Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: I flattened a Lily White Washita Arkansas Stone today

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3,362

    I flattened a Lily White Washita Arkansas Stone today

    I was comparing a Lily White Washita stone to a stone I purchased by Accident on eBay labeled "Washita" by the seller. The partial box leas me to believe that the stone is indeed a Norton Washita but I cannot say for sure so I figured that I would compare these two stones.

    Note first of all that the Washita Stone that some of us purchased new near December of 2020 cuts faster than either of these stones.

    So I was staring at this Lily White Washita stone and I realized that it was not flat, not even almost. I have never flattened a stone like this before.

    So I added sprinkled some 90 grit Silicone Carbide crystals onto some float glass and had at it. This is a six inch stone and I expected to be going at this for at least 30 minutes, but, I stopped after 3 minutes; significant progress.

    01_Lily_White_3_min_on_90_grit_.jpg

    This is my unknown Washita stone at 8" and it was only mildly out.

    02_unknown_washita_start.jpg

    The patterns that I was using managed to drop the high spots (the ends) in about four minutes the center was a bit higher than the ends, a harder thing to correct. Oops. I think it would have been perfect at about 2 minutes. I can not believe how fast 90 grit takes these stones down.

    03_both_washita_stones.jpg

    My unknown stone is a very fast cutter. The Lily white is almost as fast now that I ground it down with 90 grit silicone carbide so i do expect it to be a bit courser now.

    Note that I was testing by sharpening an older knife that was completely flat. The blade was in bad shape but it is sharpening up nicely on these two Washita stones. Normally I would do this level of sharpening with something faster (mechanical like a belt sharpener or at least a very coarse Silicone Carbide stone).

    Oh, and who knew that Silicone Carbide is blue (ish)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    427
    SiC grit leaves diamond plates, sandpaper, concrete blocks, etc. in the dust. It works on India, crystolon and other natural stones as well. Finer grits may be needed on softer stones.

    After these treatment they're supposed to settle with use. It'll be interesting to see if that's the case.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    828
    I also have an unknown Washita which is a fast cutter. I'm guessing it might be a rosy red as it's got rusty red splotching, but no idea -- could just be stains. It came with a "SOFT, FAST CUTTING GRIT" label on the end, as many Washita did, but no other label was present.

    I just bought a labelled lily white washita -- the first labeled Washita I'll have owned, so it will be interesting to compare them when it arrives. What are your impressions of the Lilly White so far?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3,362
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    I also have an unknown Washita which is a fast cutter. I'm guessing it might be a rosy red as it's got rusty red splotching, but no idea -- could just be stains. It came with a "SOFT, FAST CUTTING GRIT" label on the end, as many Washita did, but no other label was present.

    I just bought a labelled lily white washita -- the first labeled Washita I'll have owned, so it will be interesting to compare them when it arrives. What are your impressions of the Lilly White so far?
    I expect that if it says "soft, fast cutting", then it is probably not a rosy red, but the coloring sounds like it could be. I also believe that the rosy red was typically soft / fast cutting.

    That said, my notes state the following:


    1. Rosy Red - high-grade soft or hard stone with red veins, (so they might be hard rather than soft)
    2. Pike recommended the fast cutting soft/coarse stones for carpenter’s tools such as plane irons, chisels etc with the hard/fine stones being reserved for narrow tools and pointed instruments which would otherwise quickly wear grooves in the stone.
    3. Comment fromthe badger and blade forum: Years ago I met a old timer who was retired from Pike. He told me that the Pike Pit for white and red stones is now flooded. It was flooded by the Blakely Mountain Dam on the Ouachita River. It was about a dozen miles N.W. of Hot Springs. He told a good tale but I have never found anything in writing to confirm his story.


    Probably enough of my ramblings about that, but, if I understand this correctly, Pike recommended that you buy the Soft stone for most things because it cut faster, so you should have a gem of a stone there.

    The one Lily White that I flattened and tried worked pretty well. I am very happy with it. Next I intend to compare it to one of my Number 1 Washita stones. (Time permitting).




  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Indy
    Posts
    1,012
    I found a boxed semi-transluscent Norton stone at an estate sale years ago. The owner had been a machinist and this stone appeared to be almost unused. Most of my blades are A-2 steel and this stone just doesn't seem to hone that steel effectively. For that reason it gets little use, and I rely on waterstones for sharpening. Are natural stones typically not the answer for harder alloy honing?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3,362
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    I found a boxed semi-transluscent Norton stone at an estate sale years ago. The owner had been a machinist and this stone appeared to be almost unused. Most of my blades are A-2 steel and this stone just doesn't seem to hone that steel effectively. For that reason it gets little use, and I rely on waterstones for sharpening. Are natural stones typically not the answer for harder alloy honing?
    In general no. You might be able to touch up the blade, remove a bur (or similar). A guy did a test (knife maker I think) and he managed to add a bevel to some super hard steel, but a natural stone cannot touch the hard carbides, they can remove the binder around the carbides. Note that Aluminum Oxide can also not touch the carbides.

    I don't think that I have tried A2 on any of my natural stones. I might have one A2 blade from Lie Nielsen.

    I am curious, is the semi-translucent stone labeled? Does it say "hard", or is it one of the translucent washita stones? I have a semi-translucent True Hard stone from Dan's Whetstones, but their True Hard and their Translucent stones are mostly the same the stone (according to Dan's), but different companies name and grade their stones differently. Most claim their translucent stones are their finest and Dan's claims their Black are the finest. Different quarries, different rocks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    828
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    I found a boxed semi-transluscent Norton stone at an estate sale years ago. The owner had been a machinist and this stone appeared to be almost unused. Most of my blades are A-2 steel and this stone just doesn't seem to hone that steel effectively. For that reason it gets little use, and I rely on waterstones for sharpening. Are natural stones typically not the answer for harder alloy honing?

    I've used Arks and Washitas almost exclusively (okay, in conjunction with an India and Diamond Plates) for the last 8-9 years, on a range of steels. My observations:

    Firstly, Arks are very hard and somewhat slow cutting stones. This means they require quite a bit of skill to use. A soft, fast cutting stone is forgiving of all sorts of things, from poor geometry, to small mistakes, as they can be easily corrected and the stone conforms ever so slightly to the geometry of the tool. Arks are incredibly hard, and if the stone isn't flat, or the tool isn't flat, you'll have a really hard time getting good results. Often times, this leads people to think that the stone is at fault, when it really just takes some practice and getting used to. These attributes, and others unique to arks, have some advantages too, though.

    As for steels, A2 in specific is somewhat problematic, but I have owned A2 chisels and sharpened them regularly on Arks. The difficulty with A2 is that it has super hard, and really large, carbides, which make it challenging for any natural stone -- even really good Jnats, I would bet.

    Other modern steels are not nearly as bad. You may actually have an easier time with something like PMV-11 on an Ark than A2.

    I routinely use Arks on my Japanese tools. Japanese steels are typically very hard, at the limit of what Arks and some other natural stones can handle, but they lack the super hard carbides that plague other modern steels, esp. ones like A2 / D2. What I notice with using arks on my Japanese tools is that the Arks cut, but slower and leave a finer polish, so essentially they act like a finer grit stone.

    Arks give a unique polishing / burnishing action, and cut very shallow, wide scratches, which leaves an edge that is very easy to smooth out on a strop -- even just bare leather.

    However, Arks often get very "tired", either because they are glazed over (not used with oil. Water is not sufficient in my experience.) or just need resurfacing. Because they are so hard and do not have a friable structure to them, exposing new grit, you should occasionally use a diamond plate or SIC powder to rough up the surface a bit. Arks are so hard that they will wear out diamond plates quickly if you attempt to flatten them with one, but you shouldn't have a problem if you just dress the surface briefly.

    So, the quality of the individual stone, how well you maintain the stone, and your skill in sharpening and how well established your geometry is all factor into how successfully you can sharpen difficult steels like A2.

    Other factors that can be problematic are using too thick of an oil, or too much oil, as this can further suspend the tool and aid in "sliding" and preventing cutting action.
    Often, very short strokes, and very small circular strokes, are advantageous when using Arks, as this helps to clear away the excess oil that might be suspending the tool. I use this technique when the tool tends to be "sliding" too much. But a tired and worn stone, or glazed stone still needs to be addressed if you want good cutting action and not just ultra fine polishing / burnishing.

    And, while I've never owned a grinder, I'd imagine that with a good hollow grind, you can sharpen just about any steel quite easily. The less contact surface, the better Arks seem to cut. I find Arks work really well on pocket and kitchen knives with thin bevels, often not even requiring anything coarser, for example.

    Vintage Pike/Norton Washitas are softer and more granular, and wear quicker, making them preferable to, say, a Soft Arkansas in terms of cutting ability. They don't get "tired" nearly as easily and have a bit more bite to them, which they seem to not lose so drastically as Arks.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •