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DMT "stones"

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I have been carving for a while but recently joined Mary's course and trying to work through her lessons in an ordered way. I already had some Swiss Made gouges as well as some older (and less good to my mind) Henry Taylor tools. In December, while I was with my husband's family in cold Northern Italy (I am from Australia where it's hot this time of year) I went to the local outlet of Swiss Made and bought four of the basic gouges, including the V-chisel. I found some local tiglio wood, which is from the linden tree and thus equivalent to English lime and basswood I guess) and carved the camellia flower, the basic rosette and a few small pieces. I had nothing to sharpen my tools with but as they were already so sharp I went back to the shop and bought a razor strop with two grades of leather. I used my tools on these. Now that I am back home in Australia I have access to the DMT stones that I had - but these are coarse/fine, and after watching Mary's videos and reading her notes it seems that these are not OK. It seems I need both an extra fine and an extra extra fine DMT stone. As I can't afford to buy both at the moment, I was wondering which of these I should buy first and at what point I should sharped my new tools on this/these. Can I use the stone I already have for the other tools. Or should I just strop everything until I get one or both of these stones. The man in the Swiss Made retail store was so horrified when I talked about using the strop, let alone sharpening the tools on a stone that I got a bit worried about ruining what he described as 'the best tools in the world.'  In fact he is authorised to sharpen and grind these tools - but he was talking about using a wheel, and that made me worried as well.

I so love working in 'tiflio'/lime/basswood with sharp tools that I want to continue my journey as soon as possible so Id be most grateful for expert and considered advice here.

Wendy Owen


I would get the extra extra fine if you can only get one at the time. You can skip and go from your fine stone to the xx-fine, especially if your fine has been used for awhile and broken in. It might take a few extra sharpening strokes to smooth out the scratches from the fine stone, but for a good sharp edge, you should use the xx-fine at least as your final hone before your strop.

As for the guy in the retail store, go ahead and let that impression go away. Not sure what would be so horrid about keeping the best tools in the world sharp?!

Michael Duncan has reacted to this post.
Michael Duncan

Hi Wendy,

I agree fully with Matthew's recommendation. If you chose to use the 1200 grit (x-fine) as the final sharpening step, I think you would find that you will not be able to reach that razor sharp carving edge, but will with the 8000 grit (xx-fine). One suggestion - you may want to purchase a less expensive hard or black Arkansas stone in place of the 1200 grit diamond stone for budget purposes. I guess it really depends on how much less expensive they are in Australia, as they also can get pretty pricey.

Many thanks to both of you.

Tom Weir has reacted to this post.
Tom Weir
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