Hand Tools

Re: Not so predictable with sharpening stones

Yes, of course you need something like glass (or metal, as demonstrated by Isaac Newton) to get to ridiculous levels of precision that nobody is arguing would be helpful for sharpening stones.

Even in the case of glass, what is predictable is not so much what curve you'll get initially, but how to correct the inevitable flaws you measure and monitor by testing. Glass is particularly helpful because of what you learn from reflected or transmitted images, and when you put two almost matching surfaces together, you can see interference bands that clue you into precise differences between the surfaces.

I think you can tell if a stone is flat enough with a straightedge. If you look to see where you want to remove material to make stones flatter before abrading them, the difference between flat and spherical is unlikely to be a problem.

If you mindlessly rub two (or three) stones together, you will wind up in a similar situation as you would if you mindlessly planed away stock to make a surface flat: it might eventually work, but you will get there faster and easier if you think about what you are doing.

To me, one of the main advantages of sharpening by hand rather than with a guide is the ability to maintain a fairly flat stone simply by avoiding dished areas.

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