View Full Version : How often do you flatten your stone?

06-21-2011, 11:53 AM
Say you have 4 knives to sharpen, does anyone flatten the stone quickly between knives or just once at the start (or end) of the sharpening session?

Citizen Snips
06-21-2011, 12:02 PM
depends on the stone really. my blue aoto 2k i never flatten because its so soft that moving my sharpening around on the stone does a fine job at keeping it pretty even. i just look at the stone before i start to find the places i need to work on the most. for a beston 500 on the other hand i flatten it about every time i use it. if that gets a high spot its much harder to work it out by moving your sharpening around.

it doesnt hurt to flatten every time you sharpen, in fact if you are a beginner you should flatten every time. this will give you the best training for your eyes and hands to feel what is going on for every section of your blade. the only thing you lose from sharpening is some life of your stones. personally i buy the stones for performance and i dont feel like flattening a $40 stone every time you use it will create a big enough dent in my wallet even if i sharpen 4 or more times a week. ive had my current setup for over a year and i sharpen about twice a week and the stones have plenty of life left in them.

now if i had natural stones it would be a completely different story. i dont think i would ever let those things touch a flattening stone...

06-21-2011, 12:12 PM
If I'm sharpening two or three knives at a time, which is the most I ever do at once, I don't bother flattening between knives. I do on the other hand flatten my stones at the beginning of each session.

Dave Martell
06-21-2011, 12:49 PM
When they need it. :)

Eamon Burke
06-21-2011, 04:19 PM
Yeah, it depends on the stone. Some stones dish fast, others not so fast. I'm not fond of flattening, another reason I like Shapton Pros. They are somewhat unresponsive, in trade for being very slow wearing.

06-21-2011, 04:42 PM
Depends on the stone and how many knives I am sharpening.

In most cases I will hit the stones with my DMT before I start. A few passes lets me know if it needs more work or is good to go. If nothing else it cleans anything stuck on the surface or in the outer "pores" before I set to sharpening.

06-21-2011, 05:16 PM
What Dave said. When I sharpen I basically avoid focusing on the center of the stone. I end up with high edges and corners which I periodically wear down with a "diamond nagura" deal. I do this with all of my 1k+ stones. I flatten my sub-1k stones before using them since they dish quickly and I generally put a lot of wear on them when I use them.

06-21-2011, 05:31 PM
Good ol generic answer... When needed... When I work on my AS knives I flatten after each knife. On the other hand when doing my razors I only flatten after avery 10 or so razors depending on results.

06-22-2011, 04:56 AM
I have never flattened my stones.. Maybe cause they are kinda new. I sharpen every 4 days or so. I don't think I would flatten my stone unless I can see and/or feel a deform in the stone..

mr drinky
06-22-2011, 08:44 AM
I used to do it before each sharpening, then I got lazy for a while and realized how much longer it took to get the flat back, so now I do it more frequently again. If I just touch up a knife, I don't worry about though. But do you flatten before or after use?


06-22-2011, 09:28 AM
I'd say if i had to, it would be before use.

06-22-2011, 07:10 PM
When they need it. :)
This. I've found that "when they need it" can mean every few sessions, or multiple times during one session. Just comes down to how much work is being done. When I'm thinning a knife on my coarse stones, I clean and flatten them every five minutes or so; my Rika, on the other hand, hasn't been flattened in months.

06-22-2011, 08:59 PM
Not often - I haven't in a year and a half.

06-23-2011, 01:21 AM
I guess I'm kinda OCD about flattening. If I see swarf building up in a certain spot I'll usually give a quick rub down with the plate. I also happen to use a Shapton DGLP which is super flat, and that may make a difference.

06-23-2011, 09:08 AM
Always before, and sometimes during, every sharpening session. I make sure the swarf is off the stone and the color is uniform across each stone. This way I know the stones are flat. For those who aren't this anal, how do you know your stones are flat? Especially when thinning and flattening a bevel, flat stones are absolutely needed, IMHO. The knives themselves are rarely perfectly flat so a level stone will give me a shot at a flat bevel.


06-23-2011, 10:31 AM
I work my stones in sections, and level them out this way.
It really depends on your sharpening type, whether or not a perfectly flat stone is essential, or not.

06-23-2011, 10:31 AM
For me it depends. On my coarser stones after one or two knives depending on how long I stay on them. 6k and up not so much maybe after five or so uses. I try to use the whole stone so I really minimize the use of having to flatten it. As for my natural, I've never had to flatten it and odds are I probably won't. But stranger things have happened.

06-26-2011, 02:29 PM
I flatten as often as I need to. I did seven knives a couple nights ago. I was flattening usually after each knife or two, and in the case of a couple of unusually neglected knives I was doing for a coworker, even DURING sharpening.