Sharpening stones

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department


Sharpening stones

Sharpening stones must be used with a fluid, either water or oil, depending on whether an oil stone or a water stone is being used. Otherwise, waste metal particles pack up on the surface of the stone, blocking its abrasive action. The oil or water keeps these particles in solution so the stones' abrasive surfaces remain accessible. The ones we use are water stones. What we sharpen with them most often are chisels, but we have also sharpened the guillotine and board shear blades with them, with good results. The two sides of both are of different grits. The coarsest of these removes metal very speedily; the finest leaves an edge that needs very little further dressing before use.


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