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Ceramic stones vs. Diamond stones???

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by usmc0811, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. usmc0811


    Jun 11, 2008
    Im new to all this and did a search but didnt find exactly what I wanted. My question is whats the difference between ceramic and diamond stones?
    What can one do better over the other?
    What types of steel should be used for which?
    any other differences, pro's con's things I should know?
    My setup will have both but I just want to make sure I use them properly for what they were intended for.
  2. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    This is my take.

    Ceramic (aluminum oxide): Good for low alloy steels like carbon steel, 440C, VG10, etc. May not work well for high alloy steels.
    Ceramic (silicon carbide and cubic boron nitride): Good for all steels including high vanadium steels like S35VN, S110V and likes.
    Diamond: Good for any steels. Grind very fast. New coarse stones may leave very deep scratches. High grit stones above #1,000 are not common.
    wardcleaver and DaveDM like this.
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Depends on what you mean by ceramic? There's different kinds and where they fit in the grand scheme of sharpening can be very different.
  4. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    USMC, thank you for serving and welcome to the Maintenance Forum. I use SiC stones for most steels I sharpen. It offers fast cutting,
    good economy and grits from 100-800. It cuts most any steel but over kill for basic carbon and simple stainless steels like kitchen knives.
    For kitchen knives I'll use India stones. These cut somewhat slower. They are offered in grits from 150- 600 grit. The 400 grit India stone of Norton leaves an aggressive edge that can shave hair. Ceramic hones go beyond these. I use my fine and ultra fine ceramic stone for a razor and a knife I want to dig splinters out with. Diamond stones offer less economy and can sharpen any steel. I would not say they cut faster than SiC grit but they can produce a good, clean edge. Good luck, DM
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
    usmc0811 and lonestar1979 like this.
  5. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    I've relied on DMT diamond hones for more than three decades and have yet to wear one out. They're the best value IMHO.
    usmc0811 and Natlek like this.
  6. lonestar1979


    Mar 2, 2014
    Dmt stones are no 1 in my book,then silicon carbide,followed by norton india
  7. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    usmc0811 and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  8. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Okay--the "ceramic" type in question here is more specifically known as a vitrified or ceramic-bond aluminum oxide stone, which is what India-type stones are one variety of. There are a lot of variations in such stones to the point where you can't really compare them easily just by looking at them and reading most product descriptions, which are usually woefully lacking in detail. However, based on the color (which is a bond type indicator of sorts in this case) it's probably a fairly hard bond white aluminum oxide in a binder containing iron oxide, which is what Norton orange-colored (fine) India stones are. There's still other variables involved, but it's probably a relatively hard bond. It'll be a slower cutter than silicon carbide or diamond at equal grit size, but produce a smoother edge that's more polished/less toothy for that particular grit. White aluminum oxide is the most friable grade, and so you'll experience some degree of abrasive grain fracture that'll produce a faster cutting action than tougher grades, but with higher wear rate. It's a good choice as a medium to fine stone, as a general rule of thumb.
    Mo2 likes this.

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