A couple of weeks back I was sharpening some recently purchased gouges on my water stones. The curved surface thing is weird at first but it didn’t take long for me to get used to it. I wasn’t trying to change the bevel or do any other major work, just get them sharp. A few had to go back a little further so I could get crisp corners on them again. During this I learned I do not have enough control to know how far I am twisting the gouge and ended up putting several short deep groves into my lovely water stones. In the best interest of not abusing the stones any more I stopped and started investigating other options.
One thing led to another, down the deep dark hole of Google and YouTube I went. What really set me on my final path is Mary May, she uses diamond stones to sharpen her gouges. If you haven’t seen her videos, go search them out, she is a wonderful instructor and has a wealth of knowledge in carving.
Next was a little bit of wife approval to spring for four DMT Dia-Sharp stones.They really shouldn’t be called stones, plates is probably more accurate. I ordered a course, fine, extra fine and extra extra fine. About a week ago they showed up, unfortunately I have been so busy with the bench build that I had done nothing more than unpack them until the other night.
I stuck the provided little rubber feet on the bottom of each plate. Then grabbed the worst gouge out of the bunch and got into the groove. Mary’s technique is pretty simple and seems to work quite well. With a bit more practice I might consider my own results acceptable. This isn’t something you will likely pick up on the first try, maybe not even the second or third. But with practice I will get there. The diamond stones are much nicer to work on and I feel a lot more comfortable than I did on the water stones as it would be nearly impossible to put a nasty groove in them.
I have not tried the diamond stones for any chisels yet, that experiment will be reserved for another day. But for gouges, this is the way to go, now practice, practice practice!