When sharpening tools on some of my Japanese water stones, there's an incredible amount of suction between the tool and the stone, particularly when flattening the back of a wide tool like a plane iron. Is there some way to overcome this resistance?

Simon Cronley Haly, SD

A Suction occurs when a wet paste of stone and steel is created during sharpening. The water in the paste is sucked into the stone, and the dry paste glazes the stone's surface. This happens more in man-made water-stones because they're more porous than natural stones.

To overcome the suction, you need to keep the pores of the stones clean. First, submerge man-made stones in water for about 20 minutes before you use them to fill the pores with water. (Natural stones don't need soaking.)

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