My experience with traditional oil stones has been mixed. They'll get a blade to the state that most laymen would call it sharp - as in drag your finger across it perpendicularly and think "ooohhh that's a fine edge".
However they don't seem capable of getting a blade to what I personally would call sharp - that is so sharp it shaves the hair off the back of my hand as well as my razor.
However,despite what you may read on this here knife obsessed forums "layman sharp" is more than adequate for an axe that is to to be used for splitting firewood. So the oil stones are perfectly suited to getting a blade into usable condition. They are nice and rough too and make a good first stone for changing or repairing the grind on a blade.
"Scary sharp" is only really needed if you're going to be carving etc. For this role, modern ceramics are undoubtedly better.
Last edited by Wook; 07-08-2012 at 15:49.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom."