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The Norton lapping/flattening stone


Well-Known Member
Hey. I know this thread is a bit off topic, but I thought id enlighten you all with my thoughts about this stone.

It seems like a good idea, mine came in a set I bought from classic hand tools - it included the lapping stone, 220/1000 and 4000/8000 combination stones and also a sharpening dvd. I bought this because I was a newbie to it all, heard these were good and thought I was getting a good bargain (which in truth you are).

Anyway, ive come to realise the lapping stone is more trouble than its worth. Earlier this month I realised it wasn't lapping my stones well, so i did the standard pencil test - scribbled all over it and sanded it on course sandpaper on a flat surface (which happened to be the kitchen table).

The flattening stone was RIDICULOUSLY unflat!! I was completely shocked. I spent aaaaaages lapping the thing flat again. Then I flattened out my 4000/8000 grit combo = great results.

I brought the flattening stone back home with me over the summer (I'm a student at the University of Southampton) and noticed my parents sharpening stone in the kitchen needed a lap. So gave it a go, and once again, came to find that the lapping stone wasnt flat! ARRRG!

Now I know that on the box, it says the lapping stone occasionally needs lapping, but ive come to find you need to lap the bugger too regularly.

In my opinion, one should buy a diamond stone such as the DMT's, go for a diamond lapping plate-shapton maybe? allthough they cost an arm and leg, OR you could do what I find pretty easy and cheap, get yourself some good 60, 80 and 120 grit sandpaper and give it a go on a nice flat surface. The sandpaper ive been using is Oakey, Liberty Green Extreme sandpaper - which is a norton product. - Great results, and no need to lap a lapping stone!

I had to write this tread as I get annoyed with all the things 'your supposed to have' according to all the forums, creating all this extra expenditure that you just dont need. If I knew about the coticule before I bought the nortons, there would have been no contest in what I had bought. Saying that, I think the norton sharpening stones are a great product and do not wish to put people off them :)
In fairness, most people recommend the synthetics because there is less variation in them. There are a lot of guys who are proficient on synthetics, and they provide a repeatable and duplicatable process. Every coticule will have some variation and you have to get to "know" each one individually. Once you know the Nortons, you'll be able to sit down with any set of Nortons and work them well... I prefer the Natural stones, especially for the quality of their edges which I find don't need paste assistance, but I understand why synthetics are gaining in popularity.

Specific to lapping plates... DMT :p
Yes, on some forums (won't call any names here... lol) you are often encouraged to "buy' the stuff that "sometimes" make the chore easier. In this case, the Norton flatting stone is a mixed bag. The stone is just an ordinary silicon carbide bench stone, however because it has those "slots" you can scarcely use it for anything else but flatting another hone, and it too is not exactly flat.

I use 220 grit silicon carbide powder and a glass plate, the powder cost about $10 for an 8oz bag on eBay.
A 12x12 inch glass plate at about 1/4" (6 mm) thick can be had at almost any hardware store for a few dollars (an old microwave oven or the tempered glass in some old refrigerators works well too).
I use a "pinch" (maybe a 1/4 tee spoon or less) and few drops of water to make a runny paste to lap the hone, it will make even the hardest stone, including those hard ceramic vintage barber hones bleed slurry (great for getting rid of chips).
If the powder gets ground up and too fine to cut the stone, or the slurry from the hone clogs the cutting, just wash off the plate and the stone, add another pinch of the stuff and continue (cheaper than 220 grit sandpaper).

Just be sure to clean your stone of possible embedded grits before use... easily done by rubbing the surface of the stone with a sponge under running water (you would want to do that if you used the Norton flatting stone anyway).
I started out with nortons and i realy like them nolt that they get used nower days as i prefer to use just the one hone with asle of soaking and glazing but the results with nortons are as good as it gets much lesser laps are also needed compared to dilucot which i don't mind as i like honing but for some one like lynn who probably hones a hell of alot of razors synthetics are what he uses probably for consistant results. As for norton flatening hone i did'nt like it one bit i rounded my corners of on my hone and it put anice groove in it. dmtc is what i got its great quik and leaves a much smoother surface on your nortons and is ideal for coticule don't use your norton lapper for coti. if you lap with wet and dry use only p600 that plenty but seriously if you can aford a 8x3 dmt c get one they are exallant
Hi Smythe,

LeeValley has a kit that include the glass, some plastic laminate sheets, it helps to get the lapping grit to stick and the grit. The whole thing cost just over $20.

I've used it and it works fine.