Honing oil? Oil stones.

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Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:42 pm

I recently decided to make more use of the nice modern (Draper/Faithfull?) coarse & fine combination oil stone, which I purchased new from my local hardware store a few years ago. I wondered what forum members use/recommend for honing oil? (Until now I have used dishwater - a technique used in abattoirs, which also helped clean some of my older stones.)
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby AlexanderTheLate » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:26 pm

Kerosene and two stroke oil mixed 2:1
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby Brian Williamson » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:37 am

When I started with oilstones I used 3-in-1 oil (a brand-name for a thin, lubricating, mineral oil in the UK).

I've aways found it a bit thick though and nowadays often just use a squirt of WD-40.

If I ever got round to mixing up a 'special brew', it would probably be about 50/50 parafin and 3-in-1. (I believe parafin and kerosene are UK/US equivalents, so that's pretty much the same as Alexander's mix).

Whatever you use, it wants to be quite thin.

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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby Billman » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:43 am

I used '3 in 1' or a similar thin bicycle oil in the workshop (or my wife's sewing machine oil when she wasn't looking, and I couldn't find my oil) - on site I used anything to hand - turps substsitute, white spirit, paraffin (kerosene) - even spit on occasion when nothing else was to hand...

By the way, what is the difference between turps substitute and white spirit?? They both do the same job and look the same - but as some makers make and sell both, there is some subtle difference...

Some stones, e.g. Japanese Water stones, British Tam O'Shanter (Water of Ayr) are stated to work best with water - I have often found if one uses even a new oil stone with water it cuts fine - using water on a stone already impregnated with oil doesn't work too well (except as a last resort, see above) - maybe the answer is just that water makes tools rust, and no-one wanted to carry a water wet stone in their tool bag, so we decided oil was the better lubricant...

On industrial grinding machines the lubricant is soluble oil, an emulsion of a small quantity of oil in a much larger quantity of water (known as suds) - the water cools the workpiece and removes the swarf, the oil prevents it rusting the machine - never tried it on a small bench stone, but maybe there is no reason why it should not be OK...
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:35 pm

In his book,Wille Sundqvist reckons an oiled blade cuts better - an additional benefit that had not occurred to me.

BTW Workshop Heaven sell some chemical (Gold-something) for use with water stones, it is supposed to prevent/inhibit rust.
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby AlexanderTheLate » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:09 pm

I used to use WD-40, but it's expensive, so is 3-in-1. Kerosene/ Paraffin is fairly cheap and we always have a container full of amsoil 2-stroke on hand. I've never used a stone that was designated water or oil, and right now I mainly only use the backs of some tiles. When I use the grinder I use a mixture of water with some comet and Mr. Clean mixed in to it just to prevent the water from going fousty when I leave it to sit (I keep a mason jar full by the grinder as my grinder is a home brew rig with no trough).
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby ToneWood » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:23 pm

Several books mention "light mineral oil" & "sewing machine oil" (which sounds like it would be sold expensively in small quantities). I couldn't find any "mineral oil" or "light mineral oil" in the UK. You can buy "Honing Oil" for about £6/$10 a can:
Image
But that seemed rather expensive.

Some folk in the USA recommend fragrance-free baby oil ("mineral oil") - but the european version contains all kinds of vegetable oils. I now use Tesco baby oil (£2 for 500ml), it contains just: "paraffinum liquidum" and "parfum", its thin & works well.

Tesco Baby Oil2.jpg
This is what I am using currently - Tesco Baby Oil, £2 for 500ml. It is thinner than Johnson's, which contains a palm-based thickener. The hole in the top is too big, so it tends to squirt out more than I need, otherwise very please with it so far.
Tesco Baby Oil2.jpg (9.83 KiB) Viewed 19260 times


BTW I looked into this "paraffinum liquidum" stuff & spoke to a retired perfume chemist. As far as I can tell, it is the same as/similar to what Americans call mineral oil. Which is not the same as liquid paraffin/kerosene fuel (perhaps just cleaner?). I think aromatherapists call it "white mineral oil". It seems that there are several thicknesses/viscosities of this stuff. The medicinal kind (laxative) is quite thick. The lighter oil (best choice for honing?) is sometimes called paraffinum perliquidum ("quite liquid"/"completely liquid") - I couldn't find anything labelled as such but I am thinking this would qualify as "light mineral oil" (or very light mineral oil even). [There is a thicker variety, sometimes called paraffinum subliquidum.]


UPDATE: Just found this link: http://www.cosmeticanalysis.com/cosmeti ... uidum.html
Paraffinum Liquidum
...
INCI name: Paraffinum Liquidum
Alternative names:
Paraffinöl, Paraffinum Liquidum, Mineral Oil, Paraffinum Perliquidum, Dünnflüssiges Paraffin, Flüssiges Paraffin, Light Liquid Paraffin, Light Mineral Oil, Liquid Paraffin, Liquid Petrolatum, Mineralölraffinat, Oleum Vaselini Album, Paraffina Liquida, Paraffin, Liquid, Paraffinum Subliquidum, Vaselina Liquida, Weißes Vaselinöl, Weissöl, Paraffin Oil, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Dickflüssiges Paraffin, Vaselinöl, Weisses, Parafinum Liquidum, White Oil, Huile Minerale "
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby ToneWood » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:29 pm

Brian, Re. 3-in-1 oil, my father used this 45 years ago but I associated with dirty, gunked up tools & oil mess - so haven't used it for years. However, I had a small can of it laying around & have been using it for all kinds of things very recently -- useful stuff, thicker & stickier than WD40, still good for garden tools, door hinges - the smell takes me back. I also picked up a small spray can (new product?) of 3-in-1 oil recently - cheaper than WD40 & better for protecting tool surfaces I think. I found a little rust on a little used gouge, & ended up wiping all of my gouges & carving tools with a thin coat of 3-in-1! I think you are right though, would need to thin it for honing.

By the way, I made up a v. small pump spray bottle of 50% baby oil/paraffinum liquidum & 50% white spirit (paint thinner) for honing - thought I might need it for the fine stone. But the baby oil alone seems pretty thin, so I haven't bothered with it yet. Unlike baby oil, white spirit is fairly noxious stuff.

BTW Some say that the oil allows the debris to "float" off the stone & so prevents clogging - if so where does the debris go? Perhaps in the oil on the tool and/or stone? I wipe both after use, hopefully that helps.
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby emjay » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:39 pm

I wouldn't waste money on any of these fancy oils. Paraffin white spirit or turps are all cheap and all thin enough to get right in to the cutting point on the finest stone, and they're all good cutting agents. A wipe over with an oily rag will prevent any rust after sharpening.
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby jrccaim » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:46 am

An interesting question. If you are going to use an oilstone you must use er, oil. Purpose of the oil is to float away the tiny little chips, AKA "swarf" generated by the honing process. For this the oil must not be too thick or it will just gum up. But if it is too thin (e.g straight kerosene (paraffin)) it won't float the chips off. The classic Goldilock's porridge equation. Not too hot. not too cold, but just right. I have seen all sorts of recommendations. They range from diesel fuel to 3-in-1 oil. Diesel fuel is not such a bad idea because it is quite viscous. Hence thick. I have used 3-in-1 with success. But it is my understanding that 3-in-1 contains some unspecified vegetable oil. This is not necessarily bad. On an oilstone you don't care what the composition of the oil is so long as it will float swarf. We are not cutting tool steel with carbide cutters. We are honing a knife. In fact on my chef's knives I use canola (rapeseed) oil straight -- cheap, cheap, and it works fine. I do not want mineral oil traces in my food. And the suggestion of 2-cycle oil + kerosene is not a bad idea either. What the kero is doing is reducing the viscosity of the 2-cycle oil. So what is two-cycle oil? It is a mixture of oils. It is set up so when you dilute it with gasoline, AKA petrol, it will lubricate the piston in your motorbike, chainsaw, whatever, as well as exploding in the cylinder.

Most 2-cycle oil is something like SAE 20. In this country, somewhere on the package will be the SAE viscosity. I do not know whether the EU bureaucracy has decreed a different measure of viscosity and I would appreciate some information on the subject. My immediate thought is that SAE 20 is a bit thick. I'd add some kero or diesel fuel to it. Maybe 10% kero to start. Or, if price is no object, go buy some SAE 10 "light machine oil" if you can find such a thing in the UK. I'm sure you can, only the labeling may be different.

I myself use Japanese waterstones. The swarf floating medium is water, and as long as you keep the stone flushed with water it will do the job. For the rest, I save my oil from car oil changes. I put this oil away in jars. Eventually all the nasty swarf settles to the bottom. When it has, I use it for honing or machining. It is also a very good waterproofing agent. It is a bit thick. Sometimes I dilute it with WD-40 which is basically kerosene.

Oh yes. Be sure and flush out your oilstone periodically. For that, kerosene is ideal. There will be nasty swarf lingering in the pockets of your oilstone.
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby Brian Williamson » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:00 am

I think that none of us have yet mentioned one of the most significant parts of honing. And remember, we are honing here (removing small amounts of fine metal particles) not grinding or filing.

Jrccaim has got closest in talking about 'floating' the metal particles away. I think floating is probably the wrong word. Will even fine metal particles 'float' in oil? They might persist in suspension for a while, but eventually they would settle out. But possibly I'm just being pedantic here.

It's easy to see the issue at hand when we look at japanese waterstones. A soft stone being continually eroded away, either in a water bath or in a continuous flow of water. It's the water that is the important thing here. Lots of it, contiuously washing away the swarf and leaving pure, clean stone for the next cutting operation.

So, 'washing away' is what we're about, but 'washing away' is something that probably rarely happens with oil stones. A little puddle of 3-in-1 or engine oil; a quick hone and away we go. And what happens to the oil and swarf? It sits on the stone, gradually eveporating, gumming-up and sinking in until we're left with a glazed, rubbery surface that (literally) couldn't cut the mustard.

The key thing with oilstones (as with waterstones) is irrigation. Use lots of your washing medium; it has to run off the edges of the stone and go to waste, and this is probably why people don't do it. Oil has a price; even if you're using parafin you'll have gone out and bought it. Water comes out of the tap at no(perceived) cost.

Billman makes a good point:
Billman wrote: - I have often found if one uses even a new oil stone with water it cuts fine - .


If you're starting with a new stone you might consider using water as a your medium - it won't hurt the stone and works perfectly well. I suspect that he's right when he says that rust may have been the reason why oil was preferred. Using oil not only did the sharpening job but also left a rustproof coating. But in these days of central heating and kitchen towels, rust really shouldn't be an issue.

So:

Do say: irrigate amd wash.

Don't say: lubricate or float.
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby goldsmithexile2013 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:04 pm

I have a very good very useful norton stone. I have a small bottle of oil cut with turps substitute, this works fine. I generally use a bit of car engine oil or 2 stroke lawn mower, whatever, not fussy. I use it fairly liberally, drenched on the whole stone surface, and yes I do lose a bit over the edge, and the box has to be wiped out every so often. After 3 or 4 honings I wipe the stone surface with a cotton cloth to keep the gunk to a minimum. You know by feel when its not cutting as good as it should. Owdman Jacob recommends using a powerful rare earth magnet to pull the metal filings out of the stone, I might try that
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby TonyH » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:31 pm

You can give them a wash off with paraffin and an old paintbrush from time to time. Even grotty looking old stones can be rescued this way. The paraffin can probably be reused many times by decanting off the sediment.
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:58 pm

Was surprised to read above that 3-in-1 contains some plant-based oil, I had always thought of it as the definitive mineral oil lubricant - but according to wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-In-One_Oil it contains Citronella (the scent). Although it is mainly Spindle oil - which can have some interesting properties w.r.t. honing.

The potential issue of using veg. oil - & any other decomposing oil, such as fish oil and, possibly, neatsfoot(?) - is that it can gunk up the stone when it solidifies/goes rancid. I expect oil cleaning products, like Gunk & Jizer - or good ol' washing-up liquid/detergent - could be used to clean them off...but that's more cost, more chemicals, more mess,... BTW In the USA you can buy food grade mineral oil (a Texan chef told me about this stuff).

Yes, you can use oilstones with water -- I normally use/used dishwater ("abattoir-style") -- and it worked very well for me. I used one of those painter's roller trays, which has a soaking area & a draining area, to hold the dishwater. Dishwater also helps clean dirty stones - although I gather some folk recommend boiling them in water and/or using washing soda. I did try heating some stones in dishwater in an old baking tray on my gas BBQ (I didn't boil it though) -- didn't seem to do very much though.

I started using oil recently not because water doesn't work (it does work) but because reading Wille Sundqvist's book helped clear up a few questions I had about it and it made me want to give it a try - you can learn a lot by trying things. The main benefit/advantage of using oil - as far as I can tell so far - seems to be:
(1) residual rust protection (although, as described by others above, wiping the tool dry after water seems to work well enough and an occasional wipe with an oily rag is probably as good or better),
(2) it makes the honing process smooth & less crunchy than honing with a dry stone (water does this too)
(3) oiled knives cut better - a point raised by Wille but, again, a wipe with an oily cloth is all that is required.
(4) You can buy a nice, good quality synthetic combination oilstone from a major toolmaker for about £6 (vs. about £32 for a similar Japanese-style waterstone).

I guess the downsides include:
(1) Oil costs a lot more than water. Especially "Honing oil".
(2) Can get messy (stone, box, surrounds, rags/newspaper, etc. - which can also be a serious fire hazard). So far the thin baby oil has not gunked up the stone noticeably.
(3) Oilstones don't continually expose a fresh cutting surface to the same degree that softer Japanese-style waterstones usually do (consequently they need to be flattened periodically - although Wille describes how do this for oilstones, which presumably need this far less frequently).
(4) Need to keep the stone covered (e.g. box*) to avoid contamination of stone/surroundings with oily gunk.

* Like this one by Faithfull (or make your own):
Image
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Re: Honing oil? Oil stones.

Postby tagnut69 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:48 pm

Never had a problem with 3 in 1 or the cheap equivilents my self when I was a cabinet maker, my granddad used it too when he worked as a chippie, only makes a mess if you don't take care of things.
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