Q: The temperature in my shop regularly dips below freezing in the winter. If there’s any water in my waterstones, it freezes, expands, and breaks them. Can I use oil to lubricate them instead? Benton Landers, Minneapolis, MN A: According to waterstone manufacturer Norton, you shouldn’t use oil on waterstones because the oil will clog the stone’s pores. That would keep slurry from developing. Slurry is a soupy mixture of water and loose abrasive particles, and it’s what does the honing. Slurry does the sharpening.With sharpening stones, it’s the muddy slurry that hones a tool’s edge. You can’t form a good slurry on a waterstone that’s clogged with oil. Your best bet during the winter is to keep your waterstones in a heated area. Or you could just switch to another sharpening method.
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