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How should I store water stones?

Stones are designed to work only with water to create a slurry for honing.

Q:

I use and store my water stones and grinder wheels in our heated basement. Can I use nontoxic antifreeze instead of water and allow them to soak in my unheated garage?
—David Hayes, Milwaukee

A:

You can avoid the threat entirely by storing stones and wheels dry, David. Most stones require only a fiveminute soak before use. After soaking a stone, place a small puddle of water on its surface to test for readiness. If water stays on the surface, the stone is ready to use. If it sinks into the stone, soak it longer. Afterward, dry the stones thoroughly, away from direct sun or high heat, and store them in a ventilated container. Store wheels as the grinder instructions recommend.

Some stones deteriorate if stored soaking in chemicals or even just water. Before doing so, read the water stone’s instructions, or ask the supplier how to store specific stones.

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