Does anyone have a link to honing stones that they use?
What brands do you prefer?
What grits are essential?
I've got a couple of fine arkansas stones and various "Oil stones" that I've used over the years. Now I have a cheap diamond plate that I think came from Harbor Freight that I use for quick, dirty shaping and sharpening then I move to wet/dry sand paper on a pane of plate glass. The grit I use depends on what I'm sharpening but I usually end up with 2000 grit on my knives, plane blades and chisels for the fine edge. I then use a leather patch with a bit of very fine rouge to remove any residual bead on the edge. I use a few drops of water for lubrication on the paper and then dry the blade well before the finish "strop" on the leather.
If you keep up the edges and store the blades so they don't get bumped around you can usually just touch them up on the finer paper and leather for a good edge. I don't worry about making them truly razor sharp I just get the sharp enough to cut easily. I've found that "razor" sharp is too much trouble for the life of the edge.
I keep thinking I'm going to get a good set of diamond plates but never get around to it.
BTW; My oil stone's still get work sharpening my yard tools.
I did some training with Brian Burns, and I bought his Double Bevel system. It's very accurate and easy to keep things sharp!
His page on the subject is very much worth reading:
For a few years I used Japanese H2O stones. I can't recall what the grit of the coarsest stone was but I would rough in the bevel with that. I then moved up to a combo stone for fine tuning with the 1K side and doing the micro-bevel with the 6K side. That system worked okay but was too time consuming.
For the past 9 years I've had a Tormek brand water stone grinder that makes quick work of the bevel/micro bevel and gets the chisels and plane blades shaving hair from my forearm in no time. I maintain the backs of the blades with a large course DMT dia-sharp diamond stone and a smaller fine dia-sharp diamond stone to de-burr and polish the back of the blades. Although my current system had a high upfront cost, it has paid for itself many times over in the amount of time saved. I sometimes free-hand sharpen the chisels on the diamond stones between grindings.
I use a fine diamond stone (DMT), a 4000 grit waterstone (King), and a leather strop (old guitar strap) with some of the yellow compound sold by Flexcut.
II have a shelf with all the other stuff I've tried, some of which worked well, but I keep going back to the above.
Just wanted to say thank you to everyone, I just grabbed me a DMT DuoSharp Bench Stone. I'm going to try this out and see how it goes. From what I understand, this Fine/ExtraFine grit stone is also a great tool to use for leveling frets.
I use my fine diamond stone to level frets and it works well. Mine is larger than necessary for the task, 8" x 3" I think, but I bought it for sharpening plane blades, etc.
I have several other diamond stones from well-known manufacturers but found that some of them were not as flat as advertised. Usually they were flat across the width but a hair concave along the length. I discovered this long after buying them while trying to level frets or flatten the back of a wide chisel with them. Things did not come out quite right.
After checking my diamond stones with a straight edge I found only the fine one I own was truly flat. It works very well for leveling frets.
I get great results and fast too starting with (if needed...) a DMT course/extra course diamond plate and then going to a Norton 4000/8000 combination water stone. I use the $10ish, cheap guide available many places.
We have an apprentice that is one of the most expert sorts that we have ever known for sharpening edge tools. He comes to work with us later in the summer each year and we usually just save up the dull stuff for him....:) And... appreciate his efforts very much too!!!!! He's also made some of our best chisels - who could ask for anything more!
I have been using wet dry sandpaper on a thick piece of glass. I use a Veritas holder and go through the grits (as required) up to 2000, final sharp on an 8000 grit Japanese water stone.