Cleaning an oilstone?


September 28, 2006, 08:53 AM
What is the best way to clean an oilstone? I have a "Fine India Oilstone F86" and it is pretty clogged up. TIA

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September 28, 2006, 09:51 AM
I always found a good soaking in kerosene and scrubbing with an old toothbrush would do wonders for my oil stones. Do in a well ventilated area or course and away from open sources of ignition.

Smokey Joe
September 28, 2006, 11:47 AM
It's a piece of rock, for heavens' sake. The few times I've had to clean mine were done with dishwashing detergent and water. I like the idea of scrubbing with a toothbrush, though.

After cleaning with any effective cleanser, and allowing to dry, the stone needs to be re-oiled. I always used Buck honing oil, until I found Singer sewing machine oil was cheaper. Whatever oil you use, avoid 3-in-one, as it has a high paraffin content that will just clog yr stone right up again.

I'm pretty much of a traditionalist, but frankly, since diamond sharpeners became common and fairly cheap, I don't use an oil stone much any more. As an old traditionalist (He was one of those dress-up-and-play-middle-ages guys) to whom I confessed this, then remarked, "Once in a while, just once in a while, technology wins one."

September 28, 2006, 12:00 PM
I use mineral spirits and a toothbrush.

September 28, 2006, 12:11 PM
I keep mine in a close top tin, sitting on a "paper" towel soaked in a vanishing oil we use at the plant. No matter how "clogged" it may look when I put it up, it'll be clean when I get it out again a few days later. Haven't had to clean one in quite a while.

September 28, 2006, 12:17 PM
Serial soaks in acetone alternating with drying on a paper towel.
Boil in water with lye, saponifies the oil.
Good luck.

Dave P
September 28, 2006, 12:37 PM
An interseting way to clean is get it wet with oil, and rub a good magnet over it. Picks up almost all metal particles. (maybe not stainless)

Brian Williams
September 28, 2006, 02:40 PM
220 grit wet or dry abrasive paper taped on a table saw or other flat hard surface, this will clean and flatten it.
To just clean it, soak in acetone.

September 29, 2006, 11:58 PM
Get one that'll use water and use water instead.

pete f
September 30, 2006, 02:19 AM
My experience has been that using water to clean a used oilstone creates a worthless piece of stone. I use mineral spirits, naptha, or toulene. put the stone in a Zip lock, add enough to cover the stone and then squeeze the air out and let it soak. It usually takes a while to break down the dried up varnish and remains of the old stuff. after a couple of days, take it out, rinse it in clean mineral spirits. repeat, and then try it, I find that keeping the oil stones in a mineral spirits/kerosene mix in Ziplocks keeps them ready to go and drastically reduces the time needed to sharpen the knife. remember to keep the stone flooded with oil/mix when you sharpen as it is the mix that floats away the shavings from the stone and keeps the sharp new crystals of the stone in contact with the steel. Motor oil and the like should be kept away from the stone as they lubricate too well and float the steel well away from the cutting edges of the stone crystals.

Chris Rhines
September 30, 2006, 10:24 AM
I've always used a good soaking in liquid WD-40, followed by a good scrubbing with a stiff boot-brush. I use a piece of 80-grit wet-dry sandpaper taped to a piece of steel plate to dress my stones (infrequently.)

An aside - I hate diamond stones. The diamond particles break off and embed in the blade being sharpened, quickly resulting in a useless stone and an inferior edge. I've also tried Japanese water-stones, which cut fast and leave a wonderful, mirror-polished edge, but they're such a pain to take care of that I've gone back to the Norton India and Soft Arkansas stones, followed by a stopping on the backside of an old belt coated with rouge.

- Chris

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