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Thread: how long to wear in an Arkansas stone?

  1. #1
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    how long to wear in an Arkansas stone?

    Especially when touching up an edge, I grab my water stones. For touching up, I got from my 6,000 Shapton to my 16,000 Shapton and then an undressed strop (sometimes). Been using them for years and it looks like I have many years left of use. If I remember correctly, the 6000 seems to be everyone's least favorite Shapton, but it works for me and I have no other reference point....

    I cut a bunch of dovetails with some chisels and thought it was time to touch them up, and I decided to use some never before used Arkansas stones.

    Not having used them before, I used Medium to Hard to Surgical Black. This was my first serious use of an Arkansas stone, but, at the end, it seemed to immediately raise a rough burr. Normally I knock that back burr off with my strop, not that I can usually see anything significant. Off the Surgical Black, that burr was sufficiently large that it left a line in the leather strop. It totally failed the paper test. I was not able to to handle this lightly enough to not raise this significant burr.

    I hit the edge on my 16,000 Shapton and it was immediately ready to go.

    Any thoughts on this? I vaguely remember hearing that there is a break-in, but, I had expected the surgical black to be finer than what I am seeing.

    IMG_20190809_123538.jpg


    I have another set that also includes a translucent, I just need to find them and I will run some more tests when I have time.
    Last edited by Andrew Pitonyak; 08-10-2019 at 2:24 PM. Reason: Added picture of stones.

  2. #2
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    There was a short period of break in for my Arkansas stones.

    My oilstones do not raise as much of a burr as my water stones. My black Arkansas barely raises a burr. Usually my burrs are removed after each stone.

    My black and translucent stones tend to polish a bevel more than remove great amounts of metal.

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

  3. #3
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    Is that your "surgical black" whetstone on the right?

    My "hard Arkansas" looks much like it.
    The grading of these isn't uniform by all purveyors.


    https://www.danswhetstone.com/inform...ne-grades-101/

  4. #4
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    The grading of these isn't uniform by all purveyors.
    For anyone who cares, my three main stones are Dan's Whetstones, a soft, hard and black Arkansas. Lately most of my blades have been worked on these instead of my set of water stones.

    My translucent stones are a couple couple of slip or shaped stones from Dan's and a large hunk purchased at a gem & mineral gathering.

    A few softer stones were acquired at various hardware stores over the last 50 years. One was labeled as a Washita. That is one that was dropped and is now in two pieces. It still works well. My intention is to someday clean it and see if it can be glued back together.

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

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Is that your "surgical black" whetstone on the right?

    My "hard Arkansas" looks much like it.
    The grading of these isn't uniform by all purveyors.


    https://www.danswhetstone.com/inform...ne-grades-101/
    Yes, that is labeled as "black surgical".

  6. #6
    My black Arkansas stone looked like a piece of black glass when it was new in 1976 and it looks like glass today. It is still 1.000 inches thick. Your stone looks awfully rough to me, as if they did not bother polishing it at all. I am skeptical that you can wear it smooth in a reasonable period of work. You would have better luck with a soft Arkansas.

    I have seen quite a few planes at hand tool shows that were sharpened with Shaptons; none leave as good a surface as an Arkansas.

  7. #7
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    I don't think my first Black stone (which turned out to be a translucent) could raise a burr if you polished an edge with it all day. Mine is also the same thickness it was to start with, and about the same age as Warren's. I've never done anything to it but used it, and cleaned it a couple of times. My later Black bought only 20 years, or so, ago, is noticeably coarser than my older one.

    I don't remember any of mine needing a breaking in period, but it might be from failing memory since it's been a while.

  8. #8
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    Sounds like I need to do some more serious "testing" to see what is going on with this.

  9. #9
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    Andrew, like Warren, my black Arkansas is glossier than what you have in the photo, and like Tom my black Arkansas does not raise any burr that I can detect.

    My “Hard” Arkansas will quickly raise a fine burr. Not sure about failing the paper test though. What comes off my hard Arkansas is pretty sharp.

  10. #10
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    My black Arkansas is also glossier. It takes a bit of work to raise a detectible burr. It is still rather minute and may barely catch on my fingernail.

    Off of my black Arkansas the blade will shave arm hair and push/slice through paper.

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

  11. #11
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    The annoying thing is that I have a set of four (medium, hard, surgical, translucent, where surgical and translucent should be the same), but I cannot find them right now. I am blaming my wife and claiming that she moved them. The real reason you get married so you can blame the spouse when you cannot find something. More often than not I am wrong, but, that is my story for the moment. I plain forgot where I put them. Grumble.

    Sounds like my "surgical black" may not as it claims and I need to work more before I can test with another sample that I have. Annoys me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    ... but I cannot find them right now. I am blaming my wife and claiming that she moved them.
    Wife came home and I asked her.... She said "oh yeah, I moved them and know right where they are. I never would have found them.

    My other surgical black and my translucent, which should be equivalent, both raise a burr that is smaller than the other "surgical black", but that could also be how I manipulated. I was also using a wider chisel with my last test and I did not spend a lot of time so there are other possibilities such as maybe I did not fully remove the burr from the previous step. I need to be more precise I think.

    Thanks for the input so far.

  13. #13
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    I may need to amend my previous post, which might have been unintentionally misleading. I never feel for a burr, so don't really know if it makes one, or not. I just go by feel of the edge on the stone to know when to stop. That's the main reason I don't like diamond stones-no feel.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I may need to amend my previous post, which might have been unintentionally misleading. I never feel for a burr, so don't really know if it makes one, or not. I just go by feel of the edge on the stone to know when to stop. That's the main reason I don't like diamond stones-no feel.
    I am under the impression at this point based on everything everyone has said that the stones that I have are perhaps not as fine as they would suggest, at least they do not perform as such for me. I can say, however, that the translucent certainly is translucent. I ordered a black hard from Dan's, which has a very good reputation and should only be able to polish. After I see how that stone behaves, I think I will have a definitive answer.

    Regardless, I think that my other stones are still highly usable, but, I expect that I will only one one Arkansas polishing stone. My existing stones, at least out of the box, are not nearly as nice as my 16,000 water stone, and I expected that they would be.

    I first noticed the burr on the back when I dropped it onto a strop and saw that it left striations and I thought "that it not right, I never get that".

  15. #15
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    I never use my natural stones becaue they simply take too long to work an A-2 bevel. I have good stones ( including a Norton certified translucent ) but I haven't used them in years. Give me a waterstone set or India stones followed by a strop.

    Why would a stone need breaking in?

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