Flattening water stones questions

Joined May 17, 2010
I have been using my stones for about 3 years now and have never flattened them. They are Norton combination stones 220(which I don't use)/1000 and 4000/8000. The 4000 has a pretty good size dip in it.  

Do I need to soak the stones before flattening? Is there a good simple technique to assure that the stone is level without using a level? After beveling off the edges, should I use a back and forth motion or circular? Should I bevel after flattening?

Is there anything else I need to know about the maintenance of my stones?

I do have a flattener that has the somewhat diagonal grooves in it. This all seems pretty straight forward, but I want to make sure. 

Joined Dec 23, 2004
My favorite method is flattening on a DMT XXC.  But that's around $70 or so.  BDL clued me into the next best thing- drywall screen (ie the sanding mesh used to sand sheetrock after taping).  When I use this I lay it on my granite reference plate but you could use float glass or a flat paving tile.  I don't soak them before I flatten but I do flatten under running water.  The standard method to tell when they're flat is to draw an X on the stone in pencil (not pen, ink will soak in too deep) and flatten until it's all evenly gone.  The mud will wash the mark off so you may have reapply occasionally.  If you want to get anal about it you could use a micrometer or dial caliper to insure the same thickness at all four corners but I don't get that precise most of the time.

I have one of those stone fixers like you describe but honestly I don't use it much.  Over time the fixer itself will dish, then you have to flatten it.  The DMT will never dish, nor will the granite plate or sheet of glass.

With drywall screen I like to go diagonally across the grain of the screen at a 45 degree angle.  Then I'll also make circular passes.  The mud will help grind to a degree but occasionally you have to wash it away or it clogs the screen.  Since you can get screens in about 8" x 11" it's pretty fast.

Latest posts

Top Bottom