The Facts about Diamond Sharpening Stones

James Barry Sharpening Solutions Technical Information.

Grit & micron sizes are almost impossible to equate or translate into traditional grit sizes of water & oil stones, they are totally different. The the grit sizes quoted on the James Barry range of  products are accurate to within the parameters of international grading standards which is +/- 11%.

Therefore a 25 micron product may consist of diamond particles varying from between 27.5 – 22.5 (a human hair cut in half is approx 50 micron).

180 grit/70 micron 300 grit/50 micron 600 grit/25 micron 1000 grit/ 5 micron.

All the products have a breaking in period, there is an excess layer of diamond which needs to be removed before the surface is at its optimum designed sharpening abrasion (see videos). Be careful when breaking in a coarse side (300 grit / 50 micron) to wipe down the tool thoroughly before moving to the fine side (1000 grit / 15 micron) to avoid cross contamination and therefore taking a much coarser diamond onto a much finer side – it will scratch it !

Once the stone is worn in, you will not need to be quite so thorough as there is no longer a threat of cross contamination. The actual cutting medium (micron size of diamond) is actually 1/3 rd of the quoted sizes. In construction the precision ground substrate (+/- 0.005” flatness) is placed in a tank of nickel which is heated to a certain temperature. The an electrical current is added which electroplates the nickel onto the surface. This includes the diamond particles. Then the nickel is grown around the particles so that they are buried 2/3rds deep leaving 1/3rd exposed (the designed abrasive cut) Similar to the construction and appearance of an iceberg.

The only way to quote the flatness of a diamond stone accurately is from the substrate because of the variation of the diamond particles (+/- 11%) and because the new product does have to be broken in.

This is why this range of diamond products is regarded as one of the best available. The diamond is electroplated directly onto a precision ground substrate. Both sides are electroplated onto the same precision ground substrate giving the best possible flatness.

The majority of other products are constructed by a “layer” system where a plate is electroplated or impregnated with diamond and then stuck onto some sort of base material, either plastic or steel. Why ? Because its cheap and very easy to produce.

Our production is the most complicated and complex but gives by far the best results. For the best quality the diamond has to be electroplated directly onto the surface. Ensure that you use the Originla Formula James Barry lapping fluid  introduced into the Woodworking Industry by James Barry over 20 yrs ago.

Lapping fluid is a synthetic based petroleum lubricant formulated to be used with diamond compounds. This superior lubricant, with its penetrating qualities and oil/water solubility, not only increases the cutting action, but assures superior lubrication of every diamond particle throughout the honing process. Following the success of Lapping fluid it has been copied and companies have tried to reproduce the original formula.

The only brand now selling the original product is James Barry Sharpenng.

Remember its a Synthetic petroleum based lubricant formulated to be used with diamond compounds. It has penetrating qualities and is soluble in oil/water. It increases the cutting action and assures superior lubrication of every diamond particle during the honing process. Designed in the engineering Industry more than 30 years ago for use solely on diamond abrasives.

It prevents rusting, clogging and excessive build-up of residue. Using James Barry Sharpening original formula lapping fluid on these diamond products gives a 5 year guarantee warranty – with correct usage.

Remember Do not apply pressure when using these products, let the diamond do the work.

They will sharpen upto 98% quicker than traditional methods. Soft and slow is the key. A continual diamond surface prevents snagging or catching when sharpening pointed or smaller tooling. Its a smooth feel whereas surfaces with holes (or other shapes) can result in snagging and the swarf seems to accumulate in the recesses. For extreme removal of material we employ the unique clearance channels which clears easily, especially with the lapping fluid in use