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Norton 6" Economy Stone

Posted by me2 
me2
Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 26, 2014 06:22PM
After griping about the water stones, I caved and bought one of the $5 Norton coarse/fine economy stones. It's a neat package, and so far works pretty well.

The first knife I tried was a Faberware paring knife. This knife sees a lot of random stuff, and had a couple of chips in the edge. Aside from those, the stone worked beautifully. Destress, shape, deburr, hone, produced an edge that would shave my arm and in some places slice a plastic bag. Then I tried on a Faberware boning knife, 7" blade or so. This had a slight recurve, but recently had a sharpening notch added. The stone is hard enough to get into the recurve without undue damage, and start flattening it out. Again, I was rewarded with an arm shaving edge off the fine side. The final knife was my trusty Faberware 8" chef's knife. I like the shape and heft of this knife a lot, but for outdoor use. It's now too thick for kitchen use. In any case, the same procedure was used, except I forgot to distress, and accidentally raised a large burr (old habits and such). The fine side removed the burr with some 45 dps passes, and the refined the edge to an arm shaving sharpness.

There were a few issues. There was a break it period of about 2 tries on the paring knife. Not a big deal, but it's there. Next, the edge is still quite coarse off the fine side. It will shave my arm, and trim the odd hair from my beard, but will not catch or whittle hair above the skin...yet.

The biggest issue is the fine side has a factory supplied dip in the short direction. This led to a section of the paring knife not getting in contact with the stone during honing. Now, once I realized it was there, it's not much trouble to work around.

Today, I sharpened the cherry handled kitchen utility in a couple of my youtube vids. Once again, a coarse, yet arm shaving edge. Then I cut about 1000 inches of cardboard (old toaster box). This is roughly 100 cuts, 10 inches each, over the length of the blade (4"winking smiley. Afterward, the edge would still clip a few hairs off the back of my fingers (insert ape joke here) and slice paper with a couple of snags, though the snags were not evident in each cut. I need to try it on receipt paper, as I have no news print around, thought I doubt it would have a lot of trouble.

After sharpening, I clean it out with a brush and water. the corners are showing just a hint of wear from the recurve sharpening, but other than that, nothing. Procedure (general) below.

Destress (when I remember)
Scrubbing passes, 3-4 trips over the length of the blade on each side, matching existing edge angle.
Deburr w/ 2-3 passes per side on the fine side at about 40 dps.
Hone with light pressure a couple of degrees higher for 30-40 pps.
Test for sharpness on my finger pad, arm or beard hair or plastic bag.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 26, 2014 06:59PM
Do you use it dry?

There is a tried and true hillbilly method for getting a finer edge, you just have two stones and done clean one of them. This isn't ideal, as you get a lot of burnishing of course.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 26, 2014 07:28PM
Oh, I left that part out. Yes, I use it dry. I suppose I could try it wet and see if it made a difference. It just seemed messy and potentially muddy that way.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 27, 2014 06:43PM
I tried the paring knife again tonight with the stone soaked under running water at the sink. It was noticeably wet on the surface. The stone didn't cut differently that I could tell. The final honing on the fine side produced a little sharper edge, but I was also paying more attention to the hollow so as to avoid it, so I can't say the water made any difference for sure.

As an update, the wood kitchen utility knife was still able to slice phone book paper after cutting all that cardboard. Doesn't seem to be a problem with edge holding with this stone.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 27, 2014 07:36PM
Oh, and as a cautionary note, do not sharpen nice Japanese blades with a stone like this. It did not do the Tojiro any favors.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 28, 2014 01:48PM
Quote
me2
Oh, and as a cautionary note, do not sharpen nice Japanese blades with a stone like this. It did not do the Tojiro any favors.

That is a bit of a conclusion to jump to. Cliff has sharpened a number of expensive kitchen knives (a henckles japanese knife in VG-10 I think) on an even cheaper stone than the Norton Economy, and he hasn't noted any major problems.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2014 01:58PM by Bugout Bill.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 28, 2014 04:35PM
True enough. I'm comparing it to what I'm used to from 1k and 4k waterstones.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 28, 2014 04:58PM
Have you tried using the stone wet?
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 28, 2014 07:24PM
Nice write up. I have two of these stones. Both came out of flat in their own way. I used a tile rubbing stone to round off all the coarners on one of them. And when I tried to flatten it with the same stone or sandpaper, I found that the coarse side would take a polish. I had to switch to loose abrasive to fix that problem. Have you tried lapping them yet? If so what was the result?

Also, have you seen a noticable difference in wear rate/ abrasive break down yet? In both of mine, the coarse side had very little abrasive to binder ratio and the fine was a little too high abrasive to binder. Used with water, it starts to build up a bit of a mud. Although i did find that mud to break down pretty quickly.

ETA: blasted typo's



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2014 07:40PM by fervens.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 28, 2014 07:24PM
Yes. It stays cleaner, but I didn't notice a difference in sharpening. I tried the Tojiro again and got decent sharpness this time.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
January 28, 2014 08:11PM
I have not tried flattening it yet. Sounds like I'd need some sand on concrete and water. The corners in the long direction on the coarse side are a little rounded over now due to recurve sharpening/removal on the long slicing/boning knife. I added a Sharpmaker sharpening notch, but there is still just enough recurve left that it doesn't touch the stone in the middle while the notch corner and belly beyond the recurve get ground neatly. I need to remove this soon. I really want to do a comparison between the coarse/fine Norton Economy and the 220 Norton and 1000 King waterstone combination. I need the good scale from the office to do it though. It has 0.1 gram increments.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
February 02, 2014 10:23PM
Sorry, forgot about this thread for a bit. What are you weighting and how are you planning on comparing the stones? Have you used Norton's Crystalon? I also believe they have a middle grade stone. I've heard much better things about their brand name version. Don't quote me though.
Also, you mentioning a scale and grams gave me an idea for guaging the cutting speed of a given stone. I only mention this because i don't want to forget it.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
February 03, 2014 05:18AM
The basic plan is to sharpen a range of knives on hand and finish with the Norton Fine and the King 1000 and 4000 water stones and compare them in sharpness by push cutting thread on a scale. We'll see how it goes. I've not used Norton Crystalon stones, but did use a coarse/fine India for many years.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
February 15, 2014 09:17PM
Did a bit of sharpening today with the Norton Economy stone. I visited family in Asheville and sharpened a few kitchen knives. These are the kind Cliff talks about seeing every few years. The blades are bent, edges are dented, points broken, edges recurved, etc.

To warm up, I started by resharpening my Salt 1. Destress, a few passes on each side, cross scratch patterns, light pressure, alternating strokes, and voila, a beard hair whittling edge in about 5 minutes.

Same procedure on 3 RADA cutlery butcher knives and a Tramontina paring knife, though the edges were worn smooth and rounded, so distressing might not be strictly necessary. One RADA with a bent blade was particularly troublesome, but the other 2 and the Tram were easily sharpened to an arm shaving edge, all in about 15 minutes, not counting stone drying time. I rinsed and cleaned the stone in between each knife. The edge angles were not intentionally changed, just apexed and sharpened. The Tram was in dire need of recurve repair, but I didn't try with just the stone I had.

So far I'm pretty happy with the ease of use, especially cleaning afterward, and the edge attainable with just this very cheap, very portable, 6" stone. I think honing/sharpening would be easier if the fine side were actually flat, so I may try to flatten it tomorrow. The coarse side shows almost no wear; just a bit at the corners.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 02, 2014 11:00PM
Did a quick side by side tonight on the Norton 220/King 1000 and the Norton Economy Coarse/Fine.

I'm not sure of the edge angle, but it's somewhere in the 12 to 15 range per side. I destressed the edge of a RADA paring knife, then gave it about 20 passes on the Norton 220 per side, deburred then went to the King 1k. I tried alternating passes, cross scratching, etc. at a slightly increased edge angle. I was rewarded with an edge that push cut thread at about 110 grams.

Rinse and repeat with the Norton Economy. Took 40 passes per side to reset the edge bevel after de-stressing. A burr formed, but was smaller and more difficult to detect than after the 220 Norton. I deburred and switched to the fine side, used the same range of stuff from the bag of tricks (alt. passes, etc.) at the same slightly increased angle. This produced an edge push cutting thread in the 50-70 gram range.

Looks like the coarse side cuts slower than the Norton 220 (no surprise really), but the fine side produces a better/sharper edge than the King 1000. Will repeat tomorrow night.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 03, 2014 05:36PM
Have you compared the coarse and fine sides on the norton stone to eachother? Cutting speed, finish, burr formation? Another technique question. How are you guys counting passes? i tried going it last night while sharpening on my norton economy to compare but kept loosing track.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 04, 2014 11:10AM
I have not, though I intend to. Its possible to get an incredibly sharp and aggressive edge I think.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 06, 2014 07:52PM
I retested tonight the 220/1000 waterstone combination and the coarse/fine Norton Economy stone. NE gets the win again. Also, in response to above, I resharpened my Salt 1 using just the coarse side. The edge is very sharp, easily whittling beard hair and shaving my arm. There is a dished area in the middle of the fine side that I think is really causing issues. Any idea how to flatten something like this?
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 06, 2014 08:09PM
I flatten stones like that on a semi-regular basis, you need a decent lapping compound. The ideal solution is actual loose coarse grit, SiC, diamond or CBN in the low double digits. I have however even used coarse sand and lots of force though that will glaze the surface which can then be cleaned with the actually lapping compound. You can also just take a cheap stone, break it into pieces with a hammer and make loose grit out of that. Or you just grind two against each other, ideally with some coarse grit between them and do it often. If you see a visible hollow you need either a lot of force or really nice grit to speed that up.

Ideally you sharpen the knives of a tile installer and you have him skim the top of the stone off with his wet saw.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2015 10:03AM by CliffStamp.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 10, 2014 09:56AM
Thank you all for the information in this thread (and on this site!) on this budget series of sharpening stones. I had been looking for an inexpensive stone to give to folks who are new to and interested in sharpening, and after reading this thread and finding a deal on Amazon for 10x of the 8" Norton economy stones at <$3 a unit, I decided to buy some. I have used the methods on this site to de stress, refine and sharpen on my smith 8" diamond tri hone, but I would have a hard time recommending that to someone to get started with due to the investment.

I had some problems sharpening with these stones when I first got them. They were rough stones with bits of abrasive sticking up past the surface and rough edges which could quickly dull a blade if you tried to sharpen over it. After flattening the stones on each other and chamfering the corners I felt comfortable that I could use the stone to get the job done. However, even with water the stones appeared to quickly load up or glaze over, not quite sure which one it was doing but cutting ability was greatly reduced in a hurry. The water would quickly filter through the stone and I would constantly need to replenish water to the cutting surface, and even then, the stones loaded quickly. After lapping the stones on concrete (I didn't have any loose media around, but am thinking about crushing up a freebie small stone to make some) the same thing happened - stones loaded up quickly and cutting was greatly diminished. This pretty quickly dashed my confidence in being able to hone to a nice edge that could cut newsprint and shave.

I was a bit hesitant to try the stones with oil (even though that is what is recommended for them) because then it becomes another item for whomever will receive the stone to get. I did some searching around online and found some folks used soap, and I figured "what the heck" and gave it a shot. I was surprised to find out that it worked quite well. Using bar soap I have sharpened one 6-7" kitchen knife and 2 or 3 <3" pocket knives on this and it seems to continue to cut decently well. If anyone else has any other recommendations on what could/should be used I would appreciate it, but if not I wanted to share that tidbit with everyone.

As a side note, I had read on another forum that there was some confusion as to whether or not these stones were Aluminum Oxide or Silicon Carbide. The catalog lists Aluminum Oxide, but one of the forum members emailed Norton and said that they switched to SiC in 2008. I don't really have any great insight into which it is, but just another thing about these stones I figured was worth sharing.

Thanks,
Frank
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 10, 2014 06:55PM
I have used the Al2O3 stone for a long time. The economy stone doesn't act like it. It seems like (and smells like, FWIW) SiC. The one I have doesn't behave like you describe at all. It does load, but I generally use it dry and use a stiff brush in the kitchen with water and it cleans right out. It did have a break in of a few sharpenings. After that the rough grit seems to have been torn off or worn down and it provides excellent edges, even without considering it's cost. I'm going to try to lap the fine side on a concrete rubbing stone I have. I estimate it's a SiC stone of about 40-60 grit. If these came flat, they'd be much better, but for utility edges, I can work around that. If I didn't have the rubbing stone, the upgrade to the Crystalon or India combo stones would be worth the extra $$.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 12, 2014 10:12AM
A reference thread on these stones : [www.bladeforums.com]
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 12, 2014 03:45PM
That and another thread on bladeforums linked to that one were the info I had found online, although it only lists for the 6" stone. For me there was some uncertainty also because having only really used a diamond stone I didn't know exactly what to expect out of SiC vs Al Oxide. Thank you both for your input as I am still getting the hang of consistently sharpening. I will say that when I have been successful I have had edges easily capable of shaving non-beard hair (haven't tried beard hair) coming off of the coarse side of this stone.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
March 12, 2014 11:57PM
Yea, the coarse side is capable of a very sharp edge, and can split a beard hair held between my fingers. The fine side is capable of finer, but is hampered by the hollow it came with on that side. If I can flatten it without messing it up, it should be better still.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
April 11, 2014 11:06AM
Me2, this may found like a stupid question, but which side are you calling coarse and which are you calling fine? The reason I ask is I just took out my NE and realized the coarse side is still polished from the last time I lapped this one. I've been using it as the fine side now pretty effectively.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
April 11, 2014 05:55PM
The grit on the coarse side is noticeably bigger than the fine. I haven't lapped the coarse side. I did the fine side a little to try to get rid of the dishing in the center that it came with.
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
May 03, 2014 12:10PM
As an update, after lapping, the fine side seems even finer now. It quickly put a head and arm hair tree topping edge on my Salt 1 in about 5 minutes.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
May 03, 2014 03:47PM
Quote
me2
As an update, after lapping, the fine side seems even finer now. It quickly put a head and arm hair tree topping edge on my Salt 1 in about 5 minutes.

I want video of the tree topping.


Chumgeyser on Youtube
E-nep throwing Brotherhood. Charter Member
me2
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
May 04, 2014 04:43PM
You still wouldn't really believe it.





I'll try to get some during the week and post it.
Re: Norton 6" Economy Stone
May 06, 2014 07:09AM
Have you settled on a technique for lapping? I just lapped the coarse side with 220AlO. It looks like an odd mix between fresh and glazed. Almost like the peaks of the grit are glazed but that valley's are dug out.
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