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Thread: Anyone Bought/Used "Best Sharpening Stones" Arkansas Recently?

  1. #16
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    I've bought from Dan's and from Natural Whetstones, both are good sellers. I read a bunch of David Weaver's old posts about oil stones and it seems like Dan's translucent is finer cutting (and more expensive), but that Natural Whetstones has a cheaper and more aggressive soft ark. So I got the soft ark from natural (8x3x1). For the translucent, I waited for an 8x2x1/2 to pop up on Dan's specials page. If you wait for that you can save probably 25-50%.

    I'm happy with both of the stones, but you'll need something coarser as well. I like the fine india. It's very aggressive when new but mellows out to something close to a 1000 grit waterstone. It's a good stone to begin most sharpening sessions, but it's not very fast if you want to change bevel angles or remove nicks. For heavy jobs like that, you can always go back to sandpaper. I recently got a coarse Crystolon stone (120 grit) for these jobs. So far, it is seriously aggressive, but I'm waiting to see how much of that aggression it retains, how flat it stays, and if it can be easily re-flattened without losing aggression.

  2. #17
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    Dressing india stones with a cheap diamond stone brings back their cutting action, and usually needs to be done when new.

  3. #18
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    I dress the india regularly with a 220 grit diamond stone. It keeps the stone in a useful cutting range but its still slower than when new. On balance, with this sort of maintenance, I'd say it's a bit slower and leaves a finer finish than a shapton 1000.

  4. #19
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    I recently bought a set of three stones from Bestsharpening stones, but through Amazon. Unfortunately I've had some medical issues get in the way so I haven't really used them much but as far as buying them, that was trouble free. The three stones I received were accurate to the description, appear to be properly graded and were flat and solid. I went for one of the cheaper mounted sets, so they are only about half an inch thick, but as has been pointed out, they are harder stones and should last a good, long time. I already had a coupe of courser stones, but i would agree that even the soft Ark seems to be a little on the fine side for real grinding.

    Anyway, as a given that I haven't had a chance to use them yet, I don't have any complaints.

    Jon

  5. #20
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    i would agree that even the soft Ark seems to be a little on the fine side for real grinding.
    To me even a 1000 water stone is a bit slow for "real grinding."

    With oil stones a crystolon stone is about the fastest cutting in my collection. For a deep knick or other work to remove a lot of metal, diamond stones or sandpaper may be a better options.

    For me the water stones below 1000 wear too quickly to be of much use.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #21
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    I knew I was asking my questions in the right place. Thank you, all, for your input.

    Patrick, that was exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. I had no idea Best would have such crappy customer service! Even if their product is decent, I'm not sure I want the headache or hassle of thinking, "Will they screw up? Or will I be one of the lucky ones?" Yeah, I'd rather not gamble like that. Digging a little deeper on places like Amazon revealed that overall the quality is poor more often than not. Looks like I haven't found a whetstone unicorn after all....

    I had a suspicion I would be going with Dan's and/or Natural not unlike David Weaver's posts had suggested but I wanted a little more recent feedback before I pulled any triggers. "Smaller" stones makes sense, too. I considered the 10x3s from Best primarily because they were so affordable by comparison and I, like many I think, have a kind of knee-jerk reaction that, "Bigger is Better," even when it's not. But an 8x2 or 8x2.5 should be plenty for my tools.

    I'll keep an eye open for deals or specials - maybe I'll get lucky - although I couldn't find any "Specials" page on the Dan's website. In any event, I think I'll start with a fine stone first - translucent or a black.

    I tend to sharpen freehand, unless I need to regrind a bevel or something in which case I do use a guide. But if I'm doing that, I'm probably going to stick to paper, at least for the foreseeable future.

    jake
    Please Pick One of the Following:

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  7. #22
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    Huh. Just went to Dan's site to look for the specials page, and it seems they've totally revamped their website. It would appear they no longer do the specials, but perhaps if you can check for sure.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hazelwood View Post
    Huh. Just went to Dan's site to look for the specials page, and it seems they've totally revamped their website. It would appear they no longer do the specials, but perhaps if you can check for sure.
    I was looking at their site recently and was disappointed in the change to their site. It used to be much easier to find what was being sought.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #24
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    A silly tertiary follow-up (silly, cause I *think* I already know the answer): Translucent or Black Surgical as a final fine stone? I've read they're practically the same?
    Please Pick One of the Following:

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  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Rothermel View Post
    A silly tertiary follow-up (silly, cause I *think* I already know the answer): Translucent or Black Surgical as a final fine stone? I've read they're practically the same?
    I have a few black stones. No idea if they are true surgical black Arkansas or not.

    A couple of my translucent stones actually came from a gem & mineral show. It is a bit smoother than my Dan's translucent, not by much. Of course my Dan's translucent is a slip stone and hasn't been used as much which might explain why it still has a bit of 'tooth'. After the trans Ark I use a piece of smooth jasper. It is more of a polishing stone. Then if desired a strop finishes off the blade. If you want to try a piece of jasper cheap, look for a lapidary shop in your area. My pieces of jasper are about 1/4" thick.

    Then like today it was in the 40s and the water stones got used instead. Of course this was after a little time spent flattening them first. I got picky today just incase someone comes up with a thinner shaving than mine in the "show off your sharp" thread. It looks like that one has kind of gone off the rails with mostly talk of how to cheat or what beverage we should be consuming.

    Currently I am on a project with a deadline so I haven't given a lot of thought to the how thin a shaving can be made by one of my planes. Though the cedar 2X4s on the shooting board were putting off some tempting shavings after sharpening my LA jack's blade today.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #26
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    Update: I ordered both a Soft and a Hard Arkansas from Natural Whetstones yesterday (8x3x3/4-1, in case anyone's curious - I'm just OCD enough that I want [need?] my stones to be a simliar size...). I figured I'd start from the "bottom" and work my way to the finer (and more expensive...!) stones. Once I've tried "oil" stones and determined I like them, I'll keep going. On the off chance I don't, I haven't dropped TONS of money on a system, like I might otherwise.

    Thanks again for everyone's input; it's been very helpful!

    -Jake
    Please Pick One of the Following:

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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Rothermel View Post
    Update: I ordered both a Soft and a Hard Arkansas from Natural Whetstones yesterday (8x3x3/4-1, in case anyone's curious - I'm just OCD enough that I want [need?] my stones to be a simliar size...). I figured I'd start from the "bottom" and work my way to the finer (and more expensive...!) stones. Once I've tried "oil" stones and determined I like them, I'll keep going. On the off chance I don't, I haven't dropped TONS of money on a system, like I might otherwise.

    Thanks again for everyone's input; it's been very helpful!

    -Jake
    Let us know how you like your new stones when you get a chance to use them.

    Also remember everyone likes pictures, even if it is just a kitten sniffing the box in which they came to you.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #28
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    Nice! Even though an 8x2x0.5 is just fine for freehand sharpening, there is something cool about a big chunk of rock.

    I'd check the stones for flatness when you get them- the soft ark I got from Natural was pretty close but needed a few minutes lapping with a DMT plate to get it perfect. I still lap the soft ark regularly, not because it goes out of flat, but to keep it cutting fast. Freshly lapped and with the lapping slurry on the stone, it really does a nice job on japanese tools in terms of being a bridge from a coarse stone to a finishing stone.

    The hard ark will probably not be particularly fine at first. Once you've got it flat, if you leave it alone it should get increasingly fine over time. You can speed that process along by working the back of an A2 blade (or something with hard carbides that the stone won't cut well) for a while. You'll want to avoid lapping it in the future, so it's very important to use all of the stone as evenly as possible when sharpening...which is a little harder with the extra width.

    I second Jim's request for pictures.

  14. #29
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    Jake, Try to sharpen your blades and chisels in a figure 8 pattern, and rotate the stone 180 degrees every few minutes. Every 2 or 3 passes in the figure 8 motion, I then run the blade up and down the center of the stone. This will help keep the stones flat.

    I also use the sides of my stones for smaller chisels, so as not to ruin the larger flat side of the stone.

    Enjoy your new stones.

  15. #30
    You might also take a look at sharpeningsupplies.com

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