Hone Lapping 101

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Originally posted by Josh Earl.[1]

Most hones do not come with a flat honing surface. Vintage hones are usually worn from use; new hones aren't flat because of the manufacturing process. Before you use any hone for the first time, it is a good idea to flatten it. This is called lapping the hone.

You can do this with minimal investment. I lapped my hones for a long time with just a piece of wet-dry sandpaper and a flat surface to stick it to.

For this tutorial, I will be lapping a Belgian yellow coticule. This is one of my main workhorse hones, and it has not been lapped in a while. I do not have a Norton 4K/8K combo hone, but the procedure is pretty similar with all hones.

Getting started[edit | edit source]

To start out, I have collected a pencil, some 320-grit wet-dry sandpaper, a glass of water, and my hone. We're going to use a smooth counter top as the lapping surface.

It's important to get good quality sandpaper. Norton and 3M are good brands. Cheap sandpaper could leave particles embedded in your hone.

The first time you lap your hone, I'd suggest starting with sandpaper in the 320 to 400-grit range. This coarse paper will flatten the hone quickly. If you'd like, you can experiment with finishing the honing surface with paper between 600 and 1000 grit. Some guys find that the higher grit papers leave a smoother honing surface.

If you have a Norton hone or other waterstone that requires soaking, place it in a bucket of water for 15 minutes before you start lapping it.

Preparing Your Surface[edit | edit source]

Begin Flattening[edit | edit source]

Diamond Plates; An Alternative to Sandpaper[edit | edit source]

Often, questions concerning diamond plates are asked in the forum. Diamond plates can be used to lap, refresh stones and even hone razors. Knowing what type of diamond plate best suits your situation, can not only be helpful, but save you some money by choosing the right plate for your needs. The thread linked to, helps to give us an idea of how the different types of diamond plates can be used. A History And Justification For My Diamond Plates

References[edit | edit source]