The Greatest Sharpening Stone in the World

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cotedupy

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Right, now that I have your attention... I am not going to disappoint. Here is a picture of it:

IMG-5667.jpg


And another:


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Doesn't look like much does it? But those in the know, will know.

This is an 8x2" vitrified Aluminium Oxide combination stone rolling at around 140 grit on one side and 600-800 on the other, which can be used with either water or oil. It's extraordinarily hard and slow-wearing; this will long outlive me, my children, and probably theirs too. My cousin in fact has the exact same stone which belonged to our grandfather. But despite its hardness, it's also extremely fast - far faster than any traditional waterstone - while finishing quite fine enough for general kitchen knife purpose. It's been in continuous production for well over a hundred years, and I'd guess is probably the best-selling sharpening stone of all time. Which is unsurprising considering it's also very cheap - you can easily buy it for $20 or less.

Every single person on this forum should have one these. Because it's the best, most efficacious, well-designed, and complete whetstone ever made: the Pike-Norton India Coarse and Fine.

IMG-5663.jpg
 
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KingShapton

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Every single person on this forum should have one these. Because it's the best, most efficacious, well-designed, and complete whetstone ever made: the Pike-Norton India Coarse and Fine.
The Greatest Sharpening Stone in the World - that's a statement!

I only know the medium India that you sent me, but I was so impressed that I ordered the coarse India and the fine India from Norton.

Judging by the color of the fine side in your picture, could it possibly be the extra fine Norton that was also made earlier? I once sent you something about it... although of course the color in the picture can also be deceptive, maybe just a question of exposure...
 

btbyrd

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How slow wearing is "slow wearing"? I hate caring for stones and have been looking for a coarse stone to complement my JKI 1k and 6k diamond stones. Vitrified diamond or CBN are what I'd prefer to own, but the prices on those are bonkers. If I can get a super slow-dishing stone that cuts fast for $20... well, that'd be just swell.
 

cotedupy

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How slow wearing is "slow wearing"?

Haha! How long is a piece of string? I'll try to describe it though...

They are incomparably harder than any other whetstone stone I know, and make translucent Arkansas look like play-doh. You cannot flatten one, even a tiny amount, on a belt grinder or sic powder, and it'll kill an Atoma plate in 60 seconds. I had to break 2" off a Fine India recently - it took me 20 minutes. And I was using an axe.
 
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KingShapton

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You cannot flatten one, even a tiny amount on a belt grinder or sic powder, and it'll kill and Atoma plate in 60 seconds.
Loose sic powder but coarser than #60, takes hours with #60, I did that once and never again🤬!

Next time I'll try #36 or #24. The trick is to add new sic powder every 30-60 seconds. The stone is so hard it grinds up the sic powder almost instantly and it becomes far too fine to flatten.
 

cotedupy

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The Greatest Sharpening Stone in the World - that's a statement!

I only know the medium India that you sent me, but I was so impressed that I ordered the coarse India and the fine India from Norton.

Judging by the color of the fine side in your picture, could it possibly be the extra fine Norton that was also made earlier? I once sent you something about it... although of course the color in the picture can also be deceptive, maybe just a question of exposure...

Ah aces - glad you liked the Medium, it's a brilliant stone. Probably actually my favourite of the three on its own, but the coarse and fine versions are superb too, and when stuck together are basically flawless!

The colour thing is an interesting one - Norton seem to changed around the colours of the different 'grits' a lot, both over time, and depending on the market. Which is a little annoying of them! I don't know if I've ever had an 'Extra Fine', but I'm pretty certain this would be the standard 'Coarse and Fine'. I'm not sure in fact whether they've ever made other India combis, apart obviously from the holy grail of sharpening stones... Coarse India x Washita :).
 
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cotedupy

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your well established reputation as stone aficionado

Eeep!

TBH actually this is the stone I'd be most confident in recommending to anybody and everybody. It's just blindingly good - you'll love it :).

Just to note though - sometimes they come 'oil-filled'. So if you do want to use with water (and you can happily) you'd want to get that out by soaking in a degreaser for a day or so. Simple Green or any other kind.
 
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When I read this post I thought I could finally replace the #220 stone for something to kill low spots....

Do you think it would work for such a task?

I like my Naniwa Super Stone, but it needs a flattening every time I use it
 

cotedupy

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When I read this post I thought I could finally replace the #220 stone for something to kill low spots....

Do you think it would work for such a task?

I like my Naniwa Super Stone, but it needs a flattening every time I use it

The coarse India will take low spots out of a knife in no time at all - many magnitudes faster than a SS 220.

It's just that the stone basically isn't friable in any way at all - it doesn't really have a binder as such. So the finish / scratch pattern it leaves is quite different to Japanese waterstones.
 

deltaplex

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They are really great, I'm doing a decent amount of cleaning up ODC knives as part of honing my skills to take care of the nicer knives I've gathered over the years, and I use one or more of the three for most of the rough work before jumping to a SG500. Both the medium and the course aggressively remove metal and as mentioned upthread, it's very slow to dish and very hard to make any progress trying to flatten with SiC and a floor tile.
 

M1k3

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Nanohone NL-4 is up to the task of flattening India's and Crystolon's. But seems a bit overkill for a $20 stone.

There's always the 3 stone method though. Which would be a good reason to get a Crystolon to go with an India.
 
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I use my Crystolon Combo to lap my Norton India Combo. Or SiC powder. I hesitate using the NL-4 on either for fear of unwarranted wear of the NL-4.

I had been oilstone-averse forever, for no good reason. Having started sharpening on water stones, I suppose I foolishly assumed that inexpensive tools could/would never perform on the level of any of my fancy-pants Japanese stones. I was wrong. If you are sharpening 'for fun/hobby' then the Norton stones are not very compelling. But given some task at hand, if a blade or tool needs maintenance: I can't think of any better option that is extremely low-maintenance, to get something sharp quickly.

These really are an excellent option for any -practical- sharpening tasks. The value is unbeatable here... $50USD could get you 1 Crystolon Combo + 1 India Combo; combined sharpening service to satisfy a Mongolian Horde.
 

M1k3

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I use my Crystolon Combo to lap my Norton India Combo. Or SiC powder. I hesitate using the NL-4 on either for fear of unwarranted wear of the NL-4.
I wrote Nanohone customer service regarding the NL-4 and Crystolon/India stones. They said it wouldn't be a problem. I used one of the NL-4's for a week and didn't destroy it flattening India's and Crystolon's. Wasn't heavy dishing... but it worked..
 

KingShapton

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I wrote Nanohone customer service regarding the NL-4 and Crystolon/India stones. They said it wouldn't be a problem. I used one of the NL-4's for a week and didn't destroy it flattening India's and Crystolon's. Wasn't heavy dishing... but it worked..
This is the first argument that could convince me of a Nanohone flattening plate....
 
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I wrote Nanohone customer service regarding the NL-4 and Crystolon/India stones. They said it wouldn't be a problem. I used one of the NL-4's for a week and didn't destroy it flattening India's and Crystolon's. Wasn't heavy dishing... but it worked..
I am happy to know it was asked and answered specifically!

Somehow I find myself underwhelmed by my NL-4. I have been using it responsibly (no major dished-stone repairs, no extremely scary abrasives // only familiar Synths 220-4k) since mid-late 2019. I acknowledge that it has served well for a long time; but I was expecting more duration of performance for price. I believe the abrasive has rounded/detached to some extent and the bulk of work is being done by the "arrow-rake" design itself. I really do like the design: the edges of the "arrows" and the space between makes for some formidable scraping.

I have been threatening to start using it with SiC, though I haven't started yet I can't see much downside given the drop in performance I'm experiencing. Curious whether any other NL-4 users have similar thoughts. Especially whether anyone has worn one out yet - how much of the service life was satisfying.
 

spaceconvoy

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Any idea how easily scratches from a medium India could be removed by the GS500?

Would be nice to finally be rid of sandpaper, just because of how messy it is to use, which makes me hesitate to use it. Thinking about buying two medium Indias so I can use the front and back sides to flatten them with the three four stone method. It would be extra nice if I could jump to the GS500 and not need to modify the rest of my stone progression.
 

M1k3

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This is the first argument that could convince me of a Nanohone flattening plate....

It's a nice flattening plate. Not sure of longevity, I only had it for a week.

I am happy to know it was asked and answered specifically!

Somehow I find myself underwhelmed by my NL-4. I have been using it responsibly (no major dished-stone repairs, no extremely scary abrasives // only familiar Synths 220-4k) since mid-late 2019. I acknowledge that it has served well for a long time; but I was expecting more duration of performance for price. I believe the abrasive has rounded/detached to some extent and the bulk of work is being done by the "arrow-rake" design itself. I really do like the design: the edges of the "arrows" and the space between makes for some formidable scraping.

I have been threatening to start using it with SiC, though I haven't started yet I can't see much downside given the drop in performance I'm experiencing. Curious whether any other NL-4 users have similar thoughts. Especially whether anyone has worn one out yet - how much of the service life was satisfying.

And this is what I was afraid of. Whether it was worth the price or just keep buying Atoma's...
 

M1k3

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Any idea how easily scratches from a medium India could be removed by the GS500?

Would be nice to finally be rid of sandpaper, just because of how messy it is to use, which makes me hesitate to use it. Thinking about buying two medium Indias so I can use the front and back sides to flatten them with the three four stone method. It would be extra nice if I could jump to the GS500 and not need to modify the rest of my stone progression.
Not sure about polishing, but sharpening no issue.
 

spaceconvoy

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Not sure about polishing, but sharpening no issue.

On paper it would seem like a reasonable jump: medium India is ~55μm if you believe that Wicked Edge chart, and GS500 is 29.4μm if you believe Shapton's excessively precise labeling.

It's just that the stone basically isn't friable in any way at all - it doesn't really have a binder as such. So the finish / scratch pattern it leaves is quite different to Japanese waterstones.

Not sure what this means exactly, so I'm wondering if maybe the jump doesn't quite work in practice.
 

kayman67

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I'm gonna go against the general appraisal and say it is, except it's not. Anymore.
I had and still have many or these. Old, new, different countries, all same concept. Some absolute fantastic stones for edges, others not so much. I also had these with all sorts of natural combos. They are unfortunately rare.
Having a wider and wider range of knives to deal with, these got less and less useful. Just doesn't make sense to put in the extra work, amongst other things. Might be cheap, makes little difference if you pay otherwise. Anyway, I guess price was never the issue as some variations aren't exactly that cheap, tbh.
I know that diamonds and cbn were/are expensive. Mostly anyway, as some are affordable, all things considered. I also know that they aren't just force driven, making them a bit problematic. There were other shortcomings, too, but most are a thing of the past. The main concern right now is actually this entire Russian situation, rather than the price/performance. Because this is a Venev 400 finish. While not perfect, very easy to follow with anything. This is done after Venev 200 and was merely an exercise for something else. Sure, it's like 5 times more expensive. There's that. Plus the lack of real alternatives. The speed and the quality of the finish are something the greatest stone can't touch in another hundred years. I'm very familiar with all. And this is just one example.

Screenshot_20220220-174906_Gallery.jpg
 

BoSharpens

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Haha! How long is a piece of string? I'll try to describe it though...

You cannot flatten one, even a tiny amount, on a belt grinder or sic powder, and it'll kill an Atoma plate in 60 seconds.

I've used 2 sided Norton hand stones in a machine shop environment for decades and likewise at home for quick kitchen 'touch-up.' The kitchen stone has 4+ decades of work on it and I knew it was slightly dished so I wanted to flatten it. I still use an Arkansas/Washita for putting the fine edge on after the Norton India.

For flattening in my machine shop, I bought a steel surface plate with a checker board of 2mm grooves on it. Then I bought a bag of aluminum oxide grit.

I put a light layer, approx. 1 grain deep on the steel plate and rubbed the Norton India side stone on it for probably 10-15 minutes. That put the India side back to essentially new flat shape. The now finer Al2O3 grit was saved as it is now finer and usable for other lapping.

I have absolutely nothing against natural stones for my final polish and finest edges, but I'll be danged if I am going to spend high dollars to get something that isn't nearly as good as my Norton for roughing work.

Gesswein also sells small & shaped artificial toolmakers stones. Abrasives , Compounds, Tools and Supplies for Jewelry Polishing | Gesswein

I've forgotten the name of other toolmaker's stone suppliers, since I sold the tool shop.
 

VICTOR J CREAZZI

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Thinking about buying two medium Indias so I can use the front and back sides to flatten them with the three four stone method.
You need three separate pieces to do a 'three stone method'. Not to say that you can't keep two surfaces reasonably flat using them against each other with a separate reference.
 

spaceconvoy

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You need three separate pieces to do a 'three stone method'. Not to say that you can't keep two surfaces reasonably flat using them against each other with a separate reference.
But two stones have four surfaces. Of course each surface can only be used against two others (which can't be used against each other). But I don't see how it wouldn't work if you just rotate through the four possible combinations, since every surface will be referenced against two others.
 

VICTOR J CREAZZI

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But two stones have four surfaces. Of course each surface can only be used against two others (which can't be used against each other). But I don't see how it wouldn't work if you just rotate through the four possible combinations, since every surface will be referenced against two others.
You need to be able to go A to B, B to C, C to A. The point is that any pair that mates in all orientations does so as a spherical interface with flat being a spherical interface of infinite radius.

1.So if A mates to B , but A is concave and B is convex

2. A mates to C, but A is still concave.

3. You need to have a way to put B against C to see that the two convex surfaces don't mate.

As I said, you can get two stones mating and then verify that the radius of the interface is large enough to be reasonably flat with a straight edge or other reference, but this is different than the 'three stone' method.
 

kayman67

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Trying to get my head around what you mean, and I can't seem to... Can you or anyone explain that?

In my experience, a vast majority of users go for maximum force applied, while diamonds don't react to this very well in general, plates in particular (and these are the most common ones).
 
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