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Thread: Anybody Use Arkansas Stones for Sharpening Planes/Chisels

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Northeast WI
    Posts
    99
    My first stone is a Norton double sided India stone I got off Amazon. It has a fine and a coarse side, which after some research I found is 100 grit and 320 grit, which I was amazed to find out considering how sharp some of my tools got. I do use a strop loaded with green compound to finish. I was getting results that were satisfactory for me, and once a blade had an intial hone it was a 2 step process to maintain an edge, whetstone then strop. I use regular old mineral oil from the grocery store and I have no complaints on its performance, plus if you don't have enough fiber in you diet it doubles as a laxative, although I haven't tried it.

    Recently I sold a cutting board and I decided to invest some of that money in my first set of water stones in 400-8000 grit. I have noticed the waterstones cut faster but you have to soak them and dress them before use. I noticed my tools have a more polished and refined look, but I don't notice a huge increase in performance. Do I feel like I wasted my money? No. I like them and they work, and I prefer sharpening my kitchen knives on them honestly because they use water instead of oil. Yes, I know mineral oil is food safe, but regardless that is my preference.

    I am happy with my little double sided India stone and strop method. I get an edge I am satisfied with and to me that's what matters.

    After all that babbling I guess what I am trying to say is I feel technique is more important than the type of stone you use. I'm not saying you should buy the cheapest stone you possibly can and expect your chisel to split an atom, but I can pare end grain with a chisel sharpened on a cheap double sided stone and an $8 strop.

    That being said, none of my tools are super high quality tool steel like lie Nielsen uses. If I had those I would probably invest in a high quality diamond plate, but for now, what I have works.

    That's my 2 cents, and it's probably worth half of that.
    Last edited by Jason Buresh; 01-24-2020 at 5:01 PM.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,764
    Mineral oil here too. I have 7 or 8 water stones and agree it's just a question of choosing your mess.

    The black Arkansas from Dan's is amazing. I finish with a few strokes a couple degrees higher and I have a perfect secondary bevel.

    I have even switched to mineral oil on my diamond stones. I think it works much better than water since it holds it's place between the grit.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    John,

    Take a look at this short pamphlet by Pike/Norton from 1905 (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31175035165789). They sold hard and soft Arkansas, and Washita stones. Lily Whites were their best stones in the Washita category, since they guaranteed them. Lower grade Washitas were No. 1 and No. 2, not guaranteed. There was also the Rosy Reds which they say in the pamphlet were similar to Lily Whites in performance. I have a few Washita stones and from the information in the pamphlet I think they're Rosy Reds. On Ebay you can find some unlabeled Washitas (for example, https://ebay.us/zMuepK, looks like a Rosy Red) that can be bought for less than $100. The Washita stone seems to have been marketed to woodworkers for their utility to them, it can sharpen O1 steel very quickly, I can attest to that.

    Harder Arkansas stones are in my wish list. I'm just taking my time waiting for the right size to be available. Some of the ones produced nowadays are 1/2" thick and don't like them. I would prefer 1" thick stones so I can mount them in wooden boxes. I have a suspicion that the current labeling/branding of stones as "translucent", "black", "surgical black" is just a marketing trick to attract customers so I'm being skeptical about what information I will use to decide what to buy. Someone mentioned David Weaver above, he has a really useful video on oilstones he posted a while ago, https://youtu.be/TgQ1xhMtoBQ.

    I'm also curious about Charnley Forest stones, quarried in England, apparently they were replaced by Washitas when they arrived in England back in the day.

    Raf

    I agree with Mel... thanks for posting the link to the pamphlet. I took a shot at buying an 'unlabeled' stone from eBay. To those with more experienced eyes, does this look like a Washita?

    stone.jpg

  4. #34
    I think it does. I have one that's mottled like that, it's finer than the unmottled ones.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,489
    It looks very much like the one I bought, that was sold as a Washita. I would buy another one, if I found it. That stone of mine is about an 1/4" thick now.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    I think it does. I have one that's mottled like that, it's finer than the unmottled ones.
    this is probably a stupid question... but what do you mean by mottled?

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    53
    John, the mottling in some washitas looks like the pictures attached.

    15779359059108407608864489796031.jpg20191104_222913.jpg

    If your stone needs to be lapped, I found that silicon carbide grit is the fastest method. I used sand paper initially and it took forever, those stones are hard.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    John, the mottling in some washitas looks like the pictures attached.

    15779359059108407608864489796031.jpg20191104_222913.jpg

    If your stone needs to be lapped, I found that silicon carbide grit is the fastest method. I used sand paper initially and it took forever, those stones are hard.
    Would a coarse diamond plate work? I happen to have one of those as I used to use it for flattening water stones. I assume you were using the grit with float glass? Where does one buy float glass?

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,461
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM Martin View Post
    Would a coarse diamond plate work?
    That's what I use, an Atoma 400.

    Just clean it with soap and water before use on your water stones. I scrub mine with a wire "file" brush.

    https://www.acehardware.com/departme...xoCJ-IQAvD_BwE

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    53
    John, a diamond plate should work, but it may be slow. I'd also do it in the sink since it will be very dusty if you do it dry. As per float glass, I imagine you can find a local industrial glass supplier in your area, 1/4" or 3/8" pane should work. I use the 1/4" glass top of a coffee table that I threw away ages ago. I don't know why I saved it, but I'm glad I did.
    Rafael

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