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Thread: how long to wear in an Arkansas stone?

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    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?
    Arkansas stones are good at polishing, not so good at sharpening. If you have a sharp edge with scratches from a coarse stone, the Arkansas stone will remove the scratches, but then will not cut very fast once the bevel is polished. A freshly abraded soft Arkansas stone will cut faster than a stone that has some wear on it, but will not give as polished an edge.

    I have been to about eight Lie Nielsen events; I have never seen a surface from an A2 iron that is in the same league as what I get with Arkansas stones.

  2. #17
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    A black/trans finishing stone should have a very smooth glassy feel. If yours does not, I would first check it for flatness. If it's flat, then you should be able to accelerate the break in by working it for a while with the back of a chisel or plane iron. Just try to polish the back using the whole stone until you get bored or tired. If you have an iron with harder carbides in it (A2, V11, etc.), that might work a little faster.

    It should settle in most of the way fairly quickly, then gradually get finer with years of use.

    With all that said, arkansas stones will tend to form a larger more consistent burr than waterstones in my experience. It's very important to thin the burr with very light alternating strokes on the bevel and back, as the last step on the finishing stone prior to stropping. By touching the edge with my fingertips I can usually tell if I need to do more work on the stones to remove the burr- it gets much sharper-feeling once the burr is gone.

    I try to remove the burr completely on the finishing stone. I strop with bare leather afterwards just for good measure.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    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?
    I did not know if you needed to break in an Arkansas stone or not; since I have not previously used one. I wanted something that I did not need to worry about flattening (or almost never), not that I need to flatten my water stones that often. I remember hearing (somewhere) that over time an Arkansas stone would cut less aggressively and that you could refresh that with an abrasive. I also assumed that I should NOT be raising such a strong burr from my "Best" translucent or surgical black. I have a black hard on order from Dan's. Sanity check.

  4. #19
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    Let me start by saying that I really need to do more testing, but, I received my stone from Dan's. They list the following stones:

    https://www.danswhetstone.com/produc...-bench-stones/


    1. Soft - Medium
    2. Hard - Fine
    3. True Hard - Extra Fine (same as Translucent)
    4. Translucent - Extra Fine (Same as True Hard)
    5. Black - Ultra Fine


    I have ONE stone from Dan's at this point, and it is the Black, listed as Ultra-Fine, so what they call their smoothing / finest / polishing stone.

    If you look at Best Sharpening Stones (https://www.bestsharpeningstones.com...rpening-stones),

    I pulled numbers from here:

    https://www.bestsharpeningstones.com...sas-Stones-FAQ

    and
    https://www.bestsharpeningstones.com...ng-stone-grits

    they list the following:


    1. Soft - about 1200 grit or 12 micron
    2. Hard - about 1500 grit or 10 - 11 micron
    3. Black Surgical 2300 - 2500 Grit or 7-7.5 micron
    4. Translucent 3500 - 4000 or 5.5 - 6 micron


    I have two of each of these stones except for the Translucent, of which I have only one. My previous testing was done with a single Black Surgical stone. I did not try this with the Translucent, which they list as their finest stone. I only tried the Black Surgical.

    So, I have these two sets:

    (four stones Soft, hard, black, and translucent)
    https://www.bestsharpeningstones.com...&product_id=78

    (three stones, soft, hard, and surgical black).
    https://www.bestsharpeningstones.com...&product_id=77

    Let me start by saying that I was thinking about the surgical black as being the same as the translucent, but, they claim otherwise. In other words, it may not have been a fair test. I now need to go back and test against the translucent, which they list as their finest stone.

    I did a quick test using the finest stone offered by Dan's, and, although I did feel the need to strop it afterwards (on a clean leather strop), it did exactly what I expected. When I was doing the testing last night, I was thinking that they considered the surgical black and the translucent as being essentially the same so I did not test it.

    I am testing using old Stanley chisels, that I really like.

    I cannot bad-mouth the Best stones until I run more tests with them.

    I will add that I did like the honing oil from Dan's, it seems to work very well, but, I prefer the smell of the Norton's oil, which is listed as food safe. makes me wonder if it is more than just mineral oil. Looks like mineral oil to me (and Brian Deakin also stated so, back in 2016).

    https://www.forestry-suppliers.com/D.../2938_msds.pdf

    I saw that Stewie Simpson claimed that he liked it (back in 2016)

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hazelwood View Post
    ...
    With all that said, arkansas stones will tend to form a larger more consistent burr than waterstones in my experience. It's very important to thin the burr with very light alternating strokes on the bevel and back, as the last step on the finishing stone prior to stropping. By touching the edge with my fingertips I can usually tell if I need to do more work on the stones to remove the burr- it gets much sharper-feeling once the burr is gone.

    I try to remove the burr completely on the finishing stone. I strop with bare leather afterwards just for good measure.
    Good information, thanks. I am not used to seeing such a persistent burr. I think that part of this process will be me learning how to use the Arkansas stones. For example, it seemed to me like I was even able to pull a burr from Dan's finest stone. It was small, but it was there.

  6. #21
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    So given my previous post, I ran a few tests using the Best translucent stone (claimed to be their finest) and Dan's black (their finest). I decided that I needed more time to understand how Arkansas stones work as compared to water stones.

    It is my opinion that the Best Translucent stone produced a finer edge than the Best Surgical Black.

    I cannot say that Dan's Black (their finest) for certain produces something better then the translucent from Best (bests finest). It is sad to me that the same name means something different for each vendor. Oh well.

    After running a few tests I figured out that I was even pulling a very small burr from the finest stones. I also found that I could work that burr on the same stone. Hmmm, who mentioned that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hazelwood View Post
    With all that said, arkansas stones will tend to form a larger more consistent burr than waterstones in my experience. It's very important to thin the burr with very light alternating strokes on the bevel and back, as the last step on the finishing stone prior to stropping. By touching the edge with my fingertips I can usually tell if I need to do more work on the stones to remove the burr- it gets much sharper-feeling once the burr is gone.

    I try to remove the burr completely on the finishing stone. I strop with bare leather afterwards just for good measure.
    By the time I figured that out, I was sharpening the blade on my Lie Nielsen #6 bench plane, and, I off Dan's finest black and then a clean strop, that blade was wicked sharp.

    What I think I need to do is to fire up my Tormek and establish a new hollow grind on some of my chisels, I am probably past due on that; one of my chisels no longer has a hollow grind and I find it more difficult to free hand sharpen it; and no telling what angle it is now. Then, I can try the different stones from a much more common state for my testing.

    If some nice benefactor wants to buy one of these for me (https://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/E...ter-P1563.aspx) I will have some more objective things to say. See also https://www.edgeonup.com/

    Anyone want to have a sharpening party at my house?

  7. #22
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    Going to have one of my own...but, I will be working on a couple handsaws, instead.....

  8. #23
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    It is a natural stone, so maybe not so much just in the name, or which vendor it came from, but how the mix came out when it was formed, and luck of the draw in any particular rock as it's sliced up.

  9. #24
    Arkansas stones take some skill to use and skill to evaluate. The idea that someone is going to make comparisons on day one is not well founded. Further, unless a fine stone is really nicely polished, it will not perform until it has had some use. The best water stones are the same way; they take skill.

  10. #25
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    I would seriously spend time at some flea markets or antique malls, to search out a few vintage stones. Use your fingernail to test how fine the stone is. I got dozens of stones for a pittance of their value-Washita, hard & transluscent arkansas, etc. if real greasy, probably not a natural stone. Look for a fancy, carved case-meant the owner valued the stone.

    These used stones pretty much ready to go with a bit of cleaning. For lube, get some Marvel Mystery Oil or some Norton honing oil and have at it.
    Last edited by Tony Zaffuto; 08-22-2019 at 6:30 AM.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  11. #26
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    stones.jpg
    Sometimes, they are still in the original boxes..too....

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    stones.jpg
    Sometimes, they are still in the original boxes..too....
    Yep-got many of those. I've gotten many fine natural stones for a couple of bucks each.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    stones.jpg
    Sometimes, they are still in the original boxes..too....
    Just a little jealous. I am no good about finding such things. The problem might be where I live, but, also, I never really know where to go. Steve is really good at finding great things such as this> I enjoy just hanging in his shop to see what he managed to pickup. And sometimes, he throws a few odd-ball things at me. I have a few key-hole saws to tune up. I never owned one before, and am looking forward to reviving them....

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Zaffuto View Post
    I would seriously spend time at some flea markets or antique malls, to search out a few vintage stones. Use your fingernail to test how fine the stone is. I got dozens of stones for a pittance of their value-Washita, hard & transluscent arkansas, etc. if real greasy, probably not a natural stone. Look for a fancy, carved case-meant the owner valued the stone.

    These used stones pretty much ready to go with a bit of cleaning. For lube, get some Marvel Mystery Oil or some Norton honing oil and have at it.
    Plain mineral oil in the pharmacy section of the super market is also fine. Some folks will make their own mix with turpentine or other thinning agents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Zaffuto View Post
    Yep-got many of those. I've gotten many fine natural stones for a couple of bucks each.
    Many of my stones have also come from yard sales, flea markets and antique shops.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    Just a little jealous. I am no good about finding such things. The problem might be where I live, but, also, I never really know where to go. Steve is really good at finding great things such as this> I enjoy just hanging in his shop to see what he managed to pickup. And sometimes, he throws a few odd-ball things at me. I have a few key-hole saws to tune up. I never owned one before, and am looking forward to reviving them....
    The first key to finding is to get out and look.

    The second is talking to people. Many folks selling items know others. Some times it is the person nearby hearing your question offering a lead.

    Two of my favorite stones were found at a Gem & Mineral show my wife wanted to visit:

    Transluscent Arkansas Stone.jpg

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?148430

    The one on the left was given to my grandson so he could sharpen his blades.

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

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    Just a little jealous. I am no good about finding such things. The problem might be where I live, but, also, I never really know where to go. Steve is really good at finding great things such as this> I enjoy just hanging in his shop to see what he managed to pickup. And sometimes, he throws a few odd-ball things at me. I have a few key-hole saws to tune up. I never owned one before, and am looking forward to reviving them....
    First clue to a good stone, is if it is in a wooden case. Craftsmen would take pride in their valued tools. Next, scratch your fingernail on the stone to see how fine it is. Get Steve to take you with him!
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

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