Norton IM 200S Arkansas Sharpening Kit review

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The Norton IM200S Arkansas sharpening kit includes a 100-grit silicon carbide, a 240-grit aluminum oxide, and a 600-grit natural Arkansas stone, a self-contained three-stone bench sharpening unit with a lid and no-slip rubber feet, a reservoir, an angle guide, and a 4.5 oz. can of sharpening stone oil for lubrication. In the top of the bench sharpening unit, a rotating axis holds the stones firmly in place, protecting them against breakage, and bringing the desired stone into position for sharpening. The base of the sharpening unit is a reservoir that allows submersion of the unused stones, keeping them clean and saturated. The angle guide helps to position a tool correctly for sharpening. The three oilstones in this kit are used sequentially to restore cutting edges on straight-edged tools, such as knives, chisels, plane blades, and precision instruments; the silicon carbide stone is suitable for repairing a cutting edge, while the aluminum oxide stone is suitable for sharpening and maintaining the edge, and the Arkansas stone produces a honed and polished cutting edge.

The sharpening stone oil meets FDA requirements for use near food, and consists of pharmacopeia-grade mineral oil formulated with the correct lubricity for oilstone sharpening. It prevents metal from bonding with the abrasive surface by flushing away dislodged abrasive and metal chips. Each stone is also prefilled with oil to save time and eliminate the need to presoak it prior to use. The silicon carbide stone is fast-cutting and offers effective sharpening, even under light pressure. The aluminum oxide stone has a tough fracture- and wear-resistant grit that is more durable than silicon carbide and capable of sharpening to very close tolerances. The Arkansas stone is used for fine sharpening and honing, especially after sharpening with synthetic stones.

Both synthetic stones are created by grading material to a consistent particle size and blending it with bonding agents, and then molding and surface-finishing it. Arkansas stone is a natural hard abrasive stone that is mined for use. It is harder than most synthetic stones. These 3/8 x 8 x 2 inch (H x W x D) oilstones, which are suitable for bench use, are harder and more durable than a waterstone. (H is height, the vertical distance from lowest to highest point; W is width, the horizontal distance from left to right; D is depth, the horizontal distance from front to back.) The synthetic silicon carbide and aluminum oxide oilstones conform to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) abrasive grit standards. There are no industry-wide standards for hardness, particle size, or color of natural sharpening stones, but Norton’s standards for its natural stones have become benchmarks.

Sharpening stones, or whetstones, are abrasive surfaces used to sharpen and hone the edges of steel cutting implements, such as chisels, knives, scissors, hand scrapers, and plane blades. Sharpening is the process of creating or re-establishing a cutting edge by grinding away portions of the metal to adjust the angle of the edge and reform the shape. Honing removes small imperfections. Stones can be flat, for working flat edges, or shaped, for edges that are more complex. Sharpening stones are made of natural or synthetic materials that range from softer to harder, and are categorized by the size of their abrasive particles, known as grit. A stone with a coarser grit is used when more metal needs to be removed (e.g., when sharpening a nicked or very dull blade); the stone with the finest grit produces the sharpest edge. Where numbers are assigned to specify grit, they range from coarser grit (low) to finer grit (high). Some sharpening stones are designed for use with a lubricating liquid, some can be used dry, and others can be used either wet or dry. When used with lubricating liquid, a sharpening stone can be called a waterstone or an oilstone, based on the lubricant required.

Norton Abrasives manufactures sanding, grinding, and polishing abrasives, and has been located in the United States since 1885. Norton, now a brand of Saint-Gobain, meets ISO 9000 and 14001 certification for quality and environmental management standards.

What’s in the Box? 100-grit silicon carbide stone 240-grit aluminum oxide stone 600-grit Arkansas stone Bench sharpening unit with reservoir 4.5 oz. can of Norton sharpening stone oil Angle guide Instructions