Retexturing a Stone

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Jeff B
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Retexturing a Stone

Post by Jeff B »

Hi Peter,

I've been finding more threads about sharpeners saying that your stones need retexturing beyond just flattening. The context being that beyond just keeping them flat, your stones can become less effective over time and need to be resurfaced to restore their efficiency. I would love to hear your opinion on this and steps you might take to combat this if any.
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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by Wjhunt »

I’ve heard of people dressing their stones by rubbing two stones with similar grit levels together. I follow the flattening plate with a nagura.

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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by Peter Nowlan »

Hey there.
Okay this will surprise you but I don’t bother with it.
I keep the stones flat via an Atoma 140 and there’s it. Yes I’ve heard that stones can lose their bite over time. So I did try rubbing stones together, I tried different flattening products but at the end of the day, I didn’t notice any difference. So I just keep them flat which resurfaces the stone of course.

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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by salemj »

I know this was for Peter, but I figured I'd chime in.

My issue here is with the premise. It is one thing for someone to suggest a stone needs a super-flat surface and as close to the texture of the original grit for maximal contact and efficiency when sharpening, but it is another thing entirely to suggest that one gets this by resurfacing rather than flattening. The reason is simple: the efficiency of how a stone cuts is mostly related to whether or not the stone is flat and if it is "clogged." And a stone gets clogged in two ways: from use (clogged by its own material and metal), and from flattening with another stone or using a nagura (through the particulates released by another stone). Thus, if you flatten with a medium that has minimal particulates (a diamond stone) and it is close to the original grit of the stone, you get the best of both worlds. Otherwise, if you define "resurfacing" by somehow "polishing" a stone rather than by merely flattening it with a more equivalent grit, what you are really doing is potentially clogging the stone with micro-particulates, which will reduce the cutting power more than any precision flattening could compensate in terms of perfect edge contact for efficient abrasion.

This perspective is supported by a simple fact: stones are far more likely to get clogged (and thus loose efficiency) the closer you get to the abrasion size of the stone itself. Put another way, a 1k stone should have and develop "holes" and porousness at around the 1k level, which means the closer you get to polishing the stone with a similar grit rather than flattening it with a lower grit, the more likely you will to produce debris that fits nicely in the natural texture (and porous gaps) of the stone surface, thus "clogging" it and removing its consistency, efficiency, and cutting power. This is why we don't talk about "polishing" surfaces used for abrasion. It is entirely possible, in fact, that this is why people want to "open up" a new stone: it was polished at the factory and therefore lacks abrasiveness because it is "clogged" with some other medium.

Put another way, abrasives are designed to have inconsistent surface contact. To assume it is possible to have 100% contact of a 1k abrasive across the entire edge of a knife at any moment is impossible. While it is true you might get close to this with very high-grit stones in a hypothetical universe, flattening a high-grit stone with something of similar grit that produces minimal debris will still get you as close to this ideal as anything else not involving a chemical wash.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by Jeff B »

Thank for the response Peter and I'm not surprised to be honest. I can't say I've experienced a stone that appears to lose it's bite other than loading while sharpening. I have only recently come across this theory of needing to "retexture" a stone and thought I'd explore it a little further incase I was missing something. I can't say that I understood the concept that using SIC powder or the likes on a stone would do anything that a diamond plate hadn't already did to "retexture".

Thanks for chiming in too Joe. I've always thought the same too which is why this "retexturing" thing really made no sense to me.

I'll just keep flattening and as long as my my stones are cutting and my knives are getting sharp, I won't worry about this resurfacing thing anymore.
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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by Peter Nowlan »

Nicely said Joe thanks. I have a feeling you’re one of those guys who could compose a post calling me an idiot but I’d feel like you were paying me a compliment

Jeff I read a lot and often see things that sine fold fret about and I’m one of them but at the end of the day I just keep things simple, nothing is broke so I’m not fixing it.

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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by Wjhunt »

I do seem to notice a difference in the feel of a stone after using a diamond plate to flatten harder stones like a Naniwa Pro (1k or 3k). It feels like the knife skates or slides across the stones instead of being grabbed by the abrasive. The knives still get sharp but I can feel a difference after flattening with a 140 grit diamond plate.
After sharpening a few knives, the stones feel better again. This is not a problem at all but I notice it.

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Re: Retexturing a Stone

Post by salemj »

Wjhunt wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:45 pm
I do seem to notice a difference in the feel of a stone after using a diamond plate to flatten harder stones like a Naniwa Pro (1k or 3k). It feels like the knife skates or slides across the stones instead of being grabbed by the abrasive. The knives still get sharp but I can feel a difference after flattening with a 140 grit diamond plate.
After sharpening a few knives, the stones feel better again. This is not a problem at all but I notice it.
I do, too. Mark sells a cheap 400/1000k diamond plate that I use for finish-flattening higher grits sometimes. If you just touch them up with that after the 140, they will probably feel marvellous right after flattening. In general, I find that just giving the stones a quick touch with the 400 or 1k side (for higher grit stones) alleviates the gouges you get from a 140 plate. As I say above, this is till simply flattening; the main difference is just following the practice to finish-flatten with a plate that is as close to the stone grit as possible.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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