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Can I Use Oil on Diamond Stones?

Is it ok to use oil on my diamond stones?

As our article Should I Use My Sharpening Stones Wet or Dry? illustrates, we strongly recommend using a fluid of some kind whenever sharpening on a stone. For diamond stones, we recommend water. But occasionally a customer will want to know if oil works instead of water on their diamond stones. The answer is yes, but it’s not something we recommend.

Oil has long been associated with Arkansas, Crystolon, India or similar stones. Indeed these stones are commonly known as oil stones. Oil is used because it will soak into the pores of these stones and remain there in a liquid state. This oil will provide a lasting benefit as it helps to prevent future clogging and it will not harm the stone. It is not commonly acknowledged but water works with these stones as well, however it provides no lasting benefit as the stone will dry between uses.

Oil on a diamond stone will not provide the same benefit as there are no pores to absorb it like oil stones do. True, the oil will stay on the surface unless cleaned off, but this will mostly serve to make the stone slippery and to get oil on everything it comes in contact with. Water is preferred because it is neater to work with and because oil doesn’t present an advantage.

If you do decide to use oil on your diamond stones use only a non-hardening oil like mineral oil. Any oil that hardens, as most vegetable oils do, should not be used on any stone, diamond or otherwise. Such an oil will only leave a gummy mess on your stone that makes it difficult to use and more difficult to clean. Also, avoid any oils that are not highly refined or that have thinners or solvents in them, especially if you are using an interrupted surface diamond stone. Interrupted stones are mounted on plastic, and while it isn’t likely that a solvent in the oil would react with the plastic, it is a chance best not taken.

Finally, remember that if you use diamond stones to flatten water stones, make sure that the diamond stones are completely free of oil beforehand. Clean them with a degreaser or a detergent if necessary. Any oil left on the diamond stone can transfer to the water stone, and water stones and oil do not mix.