To safely and effectively sharpen instruments, appropriate armamentarium is required. Gloves and a mask must be worn during the sharpening procedure to protect against sludge; safety glasses are necessary as shavings often become airborne. Cotton tipped applicators are useful to spread the lubricant onto the stone. Gauze is needed to wipe the blade and stone surfaces. A magnifying glass or loupes are needed to examine the blade. Plastic test sticks are needed to test for sharpness (Figure 4).
The work area should provide adequate space and light for comfortable operation. The counter top or other work surface should be wide enough to support the elbows and it should be high enough so that the instrument can be held at eye level.
There are four types of sharpening stones, each with unique composition and grit. These combinations are shown in Table 1.
|Sharpening Stone||Composition||Grit||Lubrication||Shapes Available for Finishing|
|Arkansas||Natural||Fine||Oil/Dry||Conical, Cylindrical, Flat, Wedge|
|Ceramic||Synthetic||Fine or Medium||Water/Dry||Cylindrical, Flat|
|India||Synthetic||Fine or Medium||Oil||Flat, Wedge|
|Composition Stone||Aluminum Oxide||Course Grit||Oil/Water||Range of shapes and sizes for advanced sharpening needs|
When using oil to lubricate, such as with the Arkansas, India, or Composition stones, spread oil completely over stone surface. Likewise, when using water to lubricate a Ceramic stone, cover the entire surface.