The oilstone, or stone on which the edges of tools are kept keen, is a very important adjunct to the cabinetmaker's bench, and care should be used to get a good one. The qualities of the different kinds vary considerably, and even in each kind there is much variety. It is not always possible to determine, except by actual trial, the properties of any stone, and a good one is valued by its owner. Some stones are quick cutting, that is, they soon put an edge on a tool, while with others a good deal of rubbing is required to produce this, The principal kinds of stones used are Charnley Forest, Turkey, Washita (Ouachita), and Arkansas, as well as a few others, all of which have their admirers. For general good qualities I doubt if anything can surpass the Washita, which is also moderate in price. It cuts quickly, but, perhaps, does not give quite such a keen edge as the Charnley Forest and Turkey stones. The former is, however, slow cutting, and the latter is apt to wear irregularly. Good stones of any of the varieties named are to be got, and I cannot recommend any as being far superior to the others, nor, on the contrary, can I denounce any.
The stone can either be got loose or boxed, but if the former it should be cased by the user as soon as he can conveniently do so. The box generally consists merely of two pieces of wood, both hollowed out, one in which the stone is fixed and the other acting as a lid. Such a box, with stone, is shown in Fig. 38. To fix the stone in various cements are used, but nothing is better for the purpose than a mixture of hot glue and dry red lead. To keep a stone in the best condition the oil should be wiped off whenever it is laid by, and never be allowed to harden on it. In course of time the stone gets worn down, and it becomes necessary to level it. This, which at best is a tedious job, may be most expeditiously done by rubbing it on a level board, liberally sprinkled over with emery powder. Sand may be used instead of emery, but it is not so quick. Another way is to use the grindstone, the sides of which, of course, are used for the purpose.
Fig. 38. - Oilstone in Case.
Tools occasionally require grinding as well as sharpening, and the cabinet-maker may prefer to have this done for him instead of doing it himself, and may then dispense with a grindstone. Otherwise one will be necessary. As is no doubt well known, it is merely a circular slab of stone, fitted with a handle, and fixed in a more or less elaborate stand. If the latter has a trough to hold water and keep the stone constantly wet when it is turned, care should be taken to pour the water away when done with. To allow any portion of the stone to soak in water alters the density, and accordingly spoils it for grinding. A very large stone is not required, and the professional cabinet-maker may be told that the grindstone is not a personal tool or appliance, but is part of the workshop fittings.
This, for use with glass paper, has already been sufficiently referred to.