I was working in my shop a few weeks ago with the outside temperatures in the single digits. For fear of their freezing, I was keeping my water stones in the bathroom, the only room in the shop heated continuously. In out of the polar vortex walked the UPS Man. I wasn’t expecting a package, so I could only think of the lines from The Music Man, “O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin’ down the street, I wish, I wish I knew what it could be!” It turned out to be a package from DMT Technologies with their “about to be released” Double-Sided Dia-Sharp MagnaBase System, which is a two sided diamond plate with a nifty magnetic base. This system did well in our article to find which knife sharpener is best.
The 3” by 12” Plate has a lot of real estate, much more than the average water stone. Side one is Fine, which is about equivalent to a 1,000 grit water stone. The reverse side is Extra Fine, which is about equivalent to a 2,000 or 3,000grit stone. DMT’s timing was fortuitous for I could sharpen at the bench and not have to make excuses about why I was running to the bathroom so much. I had on hand one of DMT’s 8,000 grit polishing plates which could also be mounted on the magnet base. This additional stone allowed me bring a really dull tool to a polished edge.
I must confess to having a Zen Master’s fondness for Japanese water stones, but they are a lot of rigamarole—flatness being the most problematic. The DMT Diamond Plate is dead flat out of the box and always will be. When reforming a really dull edge, nothing cuts faster than diamonds. When sharpening very narrow tools, such as an one-eighth inch wide bench chisel, it is very easy to gouge a trench in a water stone. For this reason I don’t let my students touch mine! The diamond plate takes this in stride, and I feel that I can now fearlessly let anyone borrow it. Like the eight-hundred pound gorilla, you can’t hurt it.
The new Double Sided Dia-Sharp Diamond Sharpener is available in two grits:
- D12CX-WB Coarse/Extra-Coarse
- D12EF-WB Extra-Fine/Fine
The directions say that it can be used dry or with water. I only use water, kept in a spray bottle, to which I add a drop or two of dishwashing detergent to break the surface tension. The magnet base worked quite well on my sharpening station which has a plastic laminate top; the eight rubber feet keeping it reasonably stationary. On my wood benchtop it slides, and I had to dog it to keep it sufficiently immobile, but I probably apply much more force during sharpening than most.
Look for this product at your local knife dealer or even online. A brief warning though, at around $199 this is being pitched as a premium knife sharpening system. Of course, if you spend a lot on your knives, then you’ll quickly see the value in a long-lasting, durable knife sharpening system that will help you perfect your craft.