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Thread: Lily White Washita / Different Types of Washita Stones

  1. #16
    Certainly David is the right guy to ask. I bet he has checked all the ‘back and forth’, and knows what works best. But the standard today
    is edge leading. My guess is that microscope photos of both ways determined edge leading was the “winner “.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    So, Kevin, when you sharpen side to side, are you doing some kind of patterns (figure-8) and maybe even swinging your hips? Do you lock your arms / elbows?
    Andrew, I am far from a sharpening guru, but I typically will lock my arms and elbows, really my whole upper body, and then rock from my lower body. Basically, staying as centered in my upper body as I can. I remember watching Garrett Hack sharpen and he does figure 8’s, makes it look so easy! He does skew the iron though so I’m sure that helps.

    Raf, I will usually skew the blade as well to give a longer surface area and prevent rounding. Backward motion seems to be easier to stay rigid/centered.

    Thanks, guys.
    Kevin
    Last edited by Kevin Adams; 01-10-2022 at 4:53 PM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    The razor info in the old and interesting pamphlet is wrong ,razors are honed edge leading. This type of error is just typical of the stuff
    people were buying to educate themselves in late 19th century. The Arkansas stones have been mentioned for razor honing on the straight
    razor shave forums, but it’s been a few years since I checked in on them.
    I must add that it is certainly possible that some prefer honing edge trailing.
    Let me start by saying that I think that you are correct Mel, but.... I have NEVER honed, used, held, or owned a straight razor; but I did consider it. Most videos I have seen, people do sharpen edge leading. I have seen videos where the blade is moved back and forth taking a blade through different stones. I also know that just because I see a few people doing it does not mean it is the right thing to do, but it probably works for them.

    Over the years, I have (more than once), managed to cut the blade into a synthetic stone with edge leading sharpening. I have never done this on a diamond stone or an Arkansas stone. I want to say I have not done this on a ceramic either, but when I say ceramic, I mean a stone like the Spyderco (which apparently do not come flat) or the Norton Ascent (that does come flat). i do not mean the Shapton water stones that are apparently ceramic. So i am not sure how to properly differentiate these stones. Does the word "syntered" (or something) come into play here?

    Some people claim that they are able to nicely sharpen a razor on a a Washita. I do not know if they are stropping afterwards. One guy claimed that after he dressed his Washita stone that it was rather coarse but after a little bit it went from acting like a 200 grit stone to smoothing scratches from a 1000 grit stone.

    If a stone is rougher, I wonder if pulling does leave a nicer edge than pushing? I keep thinking about using a new diamond stone when something is poking up more than it should. If I push the blade into it, it feels like that causes more of a problem than when I pull it.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Certainly David is the right guy to ask. I bet he has checked all the ‘back and forth’, and knows what works best. But the standard today
    is edge leading. My guess is that microscope photos of both ways determined edge leading was the “winner “.
    He said it was brought up in the razor forum years ago, it was tried and it works. It didn't seem to have caused as major stir. Much better to keep pining for and/or debating the Escher or coticule stones, I guess.

  5. #20
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    Remember back when...if you bought a knife...you could also buy a skinny, wooden "paddle" with one of those white Ark. stones glued to it...just to hone that knife...

    About that rumour of Kerosene (Coal Oil)....Loggers used to carry a jug of the stuff along...to drip on to the 2-man cross-cut saws....so they would cut better...

    The 2 Crystolan stones I had for a while (still have one) on the box they came in...instructions said to use the Kerosene to "clean" the stones.
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  6. #21
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    I recall reading somewhere that Kerosene of the time (turn of the century? earlier? Back when whale oil was preferred for sharpening) was not necessarily petroleum based as it is today, and depending on the make, some types could turn solid. This is likely why they advised against it.

    Modern mineral oil and kerosene will not damage your stone.

    Anyway, boiling a stone (being careful to raise the heat slowly and suspend it from the bottom with a rag, so it heats up slowly and evenly as not to crack) as well as soaking it in Simple Green should remove just about any old gunk that might be clogging it up. I did both with the Washita that I own.
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 01-11-2022 at 4:12 AM.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    If a stone is rougher, I wonder if pulling does leave a nicer edge than pushing? I keep thinking about using a new diamond stone when something is poking up more than it should. If I push the blade into it, it feels like that causes more of a problem than when I pull it.
    I think this may be the case; at least, it may be less likely to damage a razor.

    I'm not a super experienced straight razor guy, but I do have one and have sharpened on a Washita, Arks, and Jnats. The edge of a razor is extremely fragile, and any errant grit in/on a stone can screw up the edge. You'll hear an unpleasant grinding sound as it happens. Same thing if you hit a poorly beveled or rough edge of the stone, or the surface of the stone is too rough, etc.

    I follow one very experienced Youtuber on razor honing who I deem to be very credible and no-nonsense, who spoke on this point, saying that this sort of accident occurs somewhat more easily on Soft Arks, and that period practice sometimes used trailing strokes to prevent it. It does seem to help in my very limited experience too, though whether or not that was the main, or sole reason for some people using edge trailing vs edge leading, I don't pretend to have any clue.

    I just think it may be premature to claim that sharpening edge trailing is nonsense.

    Edit: A few rambley but entertaining videos that might be relevant by the aforementioned Razor guy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiKbs2ZXLNI&t=1217s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2nPreTtQjY
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 01-11-2022 at 6:19 AM.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    I recall reading somewhere that Kerosene of the time (turn of the century? earlier? Back when whale oil was preferred for sharpening) was not necessarily petroleum based as it is today, and depending on the make, some types could turn solid. This is likely why they advised against it.

    Modern mineral oil and kerosene will not damage your stone.

    Anyway, boiling a stone (being careful to raise the heat slowly and suspend it from the bottom with a rag, so it heats up slowly and evenly as not to crack) as well as soaking it in Simple Green should remove just about any old gunk that might be clogging it up. I did both with the Washita that I own.
    I saw a suggestion that the chain be placed in the bottom of the pan so that there can be water circulation under the stone.

    The original statement (1800's) I saw on Kerosene was stronger (may damage / soften the stone) than the later statements ( early 1900's) on kerosene (there is disagreement on kerosene but everyone agrees that Norton / Pike honing oil is safe so use that).

    Andrew

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    Remember back when...if you bought a knife...you could also buy a skinny, wooden "paddle" with one of those white Ark. stones glued to it...just to hone that knife...

    About that rumour of Kerosene (Coal Oil)....Loggers used to carry a jug of the stuff along...to drip on to the 2-man cross-cut saws....so they would cut better...

    The 2 Crystolan stones I had for a while (still have one) on the box they came in...instructions said to use the Kerosene to "clean" the stones.
    For sure with the Crystolan stones it is safe. I still have Crystolan stones, new even, that I use regularly when I need to set a bevel. I mostly use them on knives though. That and I like my India stones as well (aluminum oxide).

    The original purpose was to understand why some Lily White washita stones are graded and some are not. Recent stones are NOT graded when they (one of the documents on how to choose a stone) made such a big deal about the Lily White stones being guaranteed. From what I can tell now, the statement is more like "this is the finest / best version". Clearly they had Lily White shortly before 2008 based on a blog entry when they were marked as no longer available.

    Also, Norton got back to me pretty quickly and said that most of the modern (newer) washita stones would all be equivalent to the Washita Number one stones.

  10. #25
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    Kerosene was initially a distillate of coal and later from crude oil. It's likely that these early processes didn't yield a clean enough product and that's why it was not recommended on Arkansas or washita stones.

    As technology improved, petroleum distillates have improved. Kerosene fuels rocket ships, it was used in those awesome Saturn V rockets and lately in SpaceX's Falcon rockets (albeit, it's not the kerosene you find in gas stations.)

    Apollo_11_Launch_-_GPN-2000-000630.jpgWhy-SpaceX-uses-Kerosene.jpg
    Last edited by Rafael Herrera; 01-11-2022 at 11:06 AM.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Pitonyak View Post
    The original purpose was to understand why some Lily White washita stones are graded and some are not. Recent stones are NOT graded when they (one of the documents on how to choose a stone) made such a big deal about the Lily White stones being guaranteed. From what I can tell now, the statement is more like "this is the finest / best version". Clearly they had Lily White shortly before 2008 based on a blog entry when they were marked as no longer available.

    Also, Norton got back to me pretty quickly and said that most of the modern (newer) washita stones would all be equivalent to the Washita Number one stones.
    My personal opinion is that given the variability of these stones, as stated in the geological survey, it was necessary for Pike and the other producers to inform and assure their customers that the stones would work. They charged a premium for it, in one of the price lists above, Lily Whites are $.60 lb., as opposed to $.40 lb for the No. 1 grade. I don't find this unbelievable or deceitful, just what the market was at the time.

    In today's market, all the hoopla is in the grit size, the ceramic this or that, the diamonds, etc. We pay a premium for overengineered tools manufactured to ten thousandths tolerances and have vocal proponents of these standards. We're persuaded by these arguments and buy these products.

    I can see that, as the demand for washita stones declined, the need to go to the extra effort to grade them precisely disappeared. That would explain why the labels in Norton produced stones don't state a grade and the ones made by Pike are graded.

  12. #27
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    Grit size is kind of the main thing that matters in a manufactured 'stone, as both the cutting grit and containing media are capable of being controlled. Grading is far more important in a natural, and thus variable, stone.
    ~mike

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  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Grit size is kind of the main thing that matters in a manufactured stone, as both the cutting grit and containing media are capable of being controlled. Grading is far more important in a natural, and thus variable, stone.
    Aluminum oxide (India) and Silicon carbide (Crystolon and in the past Carborundum) stones are not advertised by grit size. They've come graded as coarse, medium or fine since they were introduced, their grit size is not part of the label. At least that's what Norton and their predecessors did and do.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    Aluminum oxide (India) and Silicon carbide (Crystolon and in the past Carborundum) stones are not advertised by grit size. They've come graded as coarse, medium or fine since they were introduced, their grit size is not part of the label. At least that's what Norton and their predecessors did and do.
    It's interesting that their water stones are classified by grit size. I still prefer knowing what the grit size is. It simply allows you to compare apples to apples. It's something they do know. Why they chose to obfuscate this on their aluminum and silicon carbide stones, I have no idea. Probably because it's accepted and expected by their consumers.
    ~mike

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  15. #30
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    As contentious as sharpening and sharpening equipment threads often become, they can really lead to increased knowledge if one so seeks.

    Rafael's comment:

    Kerosene was initially a distillate of coal and later from crude oil. It's likely that these early processes didn't yield a clean enough product and that's why it was not recommended on Arkansas or washita stones.
    This piqued my interest. Hello Wikipedia > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerosene < always a few little tid bits worth reading.

    Manufacture of kerosene under the Gesner patents began in New York in 1854 and later in Boston—being distilled from bituminous coal and oil shale.[24] Gesner registered the word "Kerosene" as a trademark in 1854, and for several years, only the North American Gas Light Company and the Downer Company (to which Gesner had granted the right) were allowed to call their lamp oil "Kerosene" in the United States.
    Other names, like 'coal oil,' were allowed.

    Other processes were developed

    In 1848, Scottish chemist James Young experimented with oil discovered seeping in a coal mine as a source of lubricating oil and illuminating fuel.
    [edited]
    he experimented with the dry distillation of coal, especially the resinous "boghead coal" (torbanite). He extracted a number of useful liquids from it, one of which he named paraffine oil because at low temperatures, it congealed into a substance that resembled paraffin wax.
    It seems at the time pamphlets were published recommending users avoid using 'kerosene' on stones was due to some of the refining methods produced an oil that could congeal on or in a stone.

    Wikipedia also mentions that kerosene and paraffin oil names were used synonymously. It is also a close relative of mineral oil.

    jtk
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