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Thread: Help me pick an Arkansas stone

  1. #31
    Something in my process could be amiss, or perhaps I got bad stones.

    I checked the density of both stones I got from Natural Whetstone. One was 2.16 and the other 2.22. That puts them both on the soft side of "Soft Arkansas." Interestingly, the more dense of the two seems slightly faster, but it's also more "scratchy." The less dense one is very uniform and polishes more than cuts.

    On Jim's recommendation, I picked up a cheap Smith's "Arkansas stone". It's pretty brash, and has a lot of boo-boo's on the face. I'm going to give it a once over on a diamond plate to knock down errant high spots and try that one again. Initial impression, the feedback of the stone is nice, but it feels "harder" against my tools than the ones from Natural Whetstone. Finish was similar to the other two - very slow and not really removing fine India scratches quickly. This may be improved with flattening.

    I've got a genuine Norton soft Arkansas on order, so we'll see.

    Also in the works is some actual honing oil. Maybe it matters, maybe it doesn't, but I started on soapy water and moved to "Smith's honing fluid" which is what I can buy locally, but it's water based. Nobody around here sells "Sharpening Oil" anymore, so I'll try a 50/50 mix of baby oil and odorless mineral spirits.

  2. #32
    Ha! They're called "Oil stones" for a reason.

    All three of my Arkansas stones are completely different animals when lubed with WD-40 instead of water or water based stuff. In fact, they cut better the more I used them. It's almost like the oil deglazed the stone.

    So... Method. With oil... I honed my Chinesium Buck Bro's chisel across the bevel on the India stone till all the lengthwise scratches were gone. Then tested an Ark, back to the India to reset the scratches crosswise, and so forth.

    With oil, they're 100% COMPLETELY different stones. Good feedback. All 3 will make a burr. They're reasonably fast to clean off all the scratches from the India grit, and fairly easy to tease off the burr. All three leave a dullish mirror finish.

    In order of fastest speed/best results:
    NW "Soft". The beige/swirly grain rock that was hateful with water was the best of the 3 with oil. It's faster by maybe half than the NW "Hard," and leaves a far less scratchy finish, and it's easiest to tease off the burr. The current winner.

    Smiths. Speed maybe a bit slower than the NW Soft, but it had a few uglies that left scratches. If you want to try an Ark, buy one of these, but lap it before you use it. Use it with OIL, not their "Honing fluid" or you'll hate the thing. Lapping went fast. This is a good "Entry" stone.

    NW "Hard." The white/uniform rock was slowest of the 3 but also left the scratchiest finish, but the scratches were shallow. You can feel this when working the stone. This one also has sort of weird feedback. Sections of the stone feel like it's fairly slick and there's nothing happening, then the scratches are gone. Other sections feel distinctly rough. I think this stone could use some more lapping, but gosh, lapping it is hateful.

    There's a moral to the story in here somewhere...

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    3,030
    Quote Originally Posted by John C Cox View Post
    I can see the allure of synthetic stones.
    Agreed. Once I discovered Shaptons I was hooked. Spritz and go is nice, and boy do they cut.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    791
    Brand new stones have relatively rough faces. They will settle down and smooth over time. You may want to use them for a while to get an actual feel for them.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    791
    Honing oil has been a subject of intense debate in the past. It very interesting the difference in performace you got when using water.

    I use food grade mineral oil, which I buy in gallon jugs. Baby oil, sewing machine oil, laxative oil, are also other names for mineral oil. FG mineral oil is thin, clear and odorless, which I prefer to some other honing oils which are cut with solvents and can have a strong smell.

    --

    I need to make a correction regarding the soft Arkansas stone I posted pictures of earlier. It's not a Dan's soft. It's an "Arkansas Abrasives" brand soft Arkansas I bought from ebay, no idea of the quality of the stones produced by this company. I only have a black Arkansas and a translucent from Dan's.

    I do have a Natural Whentstones soft I got after talking to David Weaver, he did take down all his videos. He has a blog and there are some whetstones articles in them.

    I made a video yesterday using this stone re-sharpening an Ashley Iles chisel. The video ends after I got a good burr.


  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    Honing oil has been a subject of intense debate in the past. It very interesting the difference in performace you got when using water.
    I saw many of the same posts. I'm just calling it as it happened.

    I didn't have any honing oil handy, so I tried water, soapy water, and a water based "honing fluid." All I got was polishing with no cutting aggression.

    There was a night and day difference with oil.

    I've run into similar sorts of things like this that made me scratch my head. For example, both my DMT diamond plates, and my old Case Moonstone ceramic stone cut WAY better with spit than with water, oil, windex, or combinations of such. They're different stones on spit.

    I didn't test the Arks on spit... Oil worked very well.

    I guess that's just how it goes.

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