Over the past few years a growing number of craftsmen in Britain and the USA have swung over to using inexpensive Japanese water stones. These are only available from specialist tool suppliers and, due to their extreme softness, are unsuitable for the novice or for school use. However, used with care, they cut fast, produce a near perfect edge, and avoid the use of messy oil. This latter is important as it is a basic necessity for the furniture-maker to keep his hands clean and free from grease, or he will spend half his time cleaning off dirty thumb prints.
Even their softness in the hands of a craftsman is an advantage as they can so easily be trued up by surfacing with a new coarse, but cheap, carborundum stone, thereby ensuring that one is constantly using a perfectly flat stone.
They are available in several grits; the writer manages perfectly with two only: 1200 and 1600.
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