seeking true grit
July 8, 2012 3:10 PM   Subscribe

How do I identify the grit on a sharpening stone?

I have some japanese water stones that have no identifying information on them. It's obvious which is the coarsest one, but there are a couple of others that I think are 600 and 800 grit, but they are so fine that I can't tell them apart. I need to identify them so I can use them in the proper order when sharpening. Any advice? Thanks!
posted by crazylegs to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
Short of making friends with somebody with powerful magnification equipment, you probably have two options:

There's a chance you could discern a difference between the stones using a mineral hardness test kit. However, I'm not sure if this would be effective for testing artificial stones.

Otherwise, perhaps you could compare them to a set of sharpening stones with known grit ratings.
posted by BrandonW at 3:24 PM on July 8, 2012

On second thought, another option: compare against sand papers, assuming that grit size is standardized.
posted by BrandonW at 3:27 PM on July 8, 2012

Do you know the brand? They're usually color coded.
posted by jedicus at 3:27 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh you said no identifying information. Do you know where they were purchased? Most stores only carry one brand in my experience.
posted by jedicus at 3:28 PM on July 8, 2012

Assuming that you're sharpening chisels, and that you're using some kind of fixture to maintain a consistent bevel, I think you'll find that the finer one will leave the bevel noticeably shinier than the coarser one.
posted by Bruce H. at 3:44 PM on July 8, 2012

If they're very fine, they're more likely 6000 and 8000 grit stones. 600-800 is pretty coarse.

What you can do is use one of the stones to polish a small, flat piece of steel on each stone, and then compare them. The finer stone will make the steel visibly shinier.
posted by jon1270 at 3:12 AM on July 9, 2012

Or, what Bruce said...
posted by jon1270 at 3:12 AM on July 9, 2012

Sorry, my bad. 6000, 8000 of course. 600 and 800 would make for a pretty useless plane iron. Thanks for the advice!
posted by crazylegs at 7:43 PM on July 9, 2012

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