On Jan 1, 5:33 pm, jridenou email@example.com wrote:
Arkansas stones are natural products, mostly quartz, finer grain than
the finest India stones. India stones are a man-made product, mostly
aluminum oxide. You can get a finer surface finish with an Arkansas
stone, they cost more and good ones are getting scarce, particularly
the black(super-fine) variety. Right now, I use diamond hone plates
for moving a lot of metal, ceramic hones for finer work, I save the
black Arkansas for producing the very finest finish. Arkansas stones
need oil for removing the metal from the pores, they're a bugger to
clean up once the surface is plugged up and doesn't cut anymore.
Ceramic stones can be cleaned with water or used with oil, India
stones are best used with oil but they can be used dry. Arkansas
stones come in three varieties, Washita(coarsest and softest),
white(fine and hard) and black(hardest and finest). The deposits in
Arkansas are playing out, it's hard to find a stone equivalent to what
you could get 20 years ago. Most of what is sold as Arkansas stones
these days would have been graded as Washita back then and pretty poor
ones at that. It's hard to wear a white or black one out, usual
problem is they get dropped or chipped. This is a real problem when
you depend on that stone's edge being sharp and straight for stoning
sear notches. I usually keep mine wrapped up and boxed when not in
use and don't leave them on the bench. Ceramic stones are a good
substitute, just not quite as fine as a black Arkansas, not as
If you're brave, put them in a oven at 250 - 300 deg. F until the old oil
appears on the surface. I leave them in for half an hour up to an hour. Wipe
quickly with an old towel. Don't tell your wife what you did to her oven.
This works for Indias and Crystolon stones, too. If you're not brave, soak
in warm kerosene for a week and then wipe them off. It's not as effective
but it's better than nothing.
Norton sells a nice big translucent Arkansas for just $180...
Except for a light-gray translucent (my finest) and a black surgical (almost
as fine), my newest hard Arkansas stone is around 60 years old. I have six
or seven flat ones in various sizes, five or so hard Arkansas slips in
tapers and rhombics, and a dozen or so Washitas, and they're all as flat as
new. It's a long-term investment -- if you don't drop them.
I haven't got a wife to worry about but that does sound like a very
good excuse to get a a small or even large temperature controlled
furnace. I have 2, a small muffle furnace with about a 6" x 6" x 5"
chamber and a 18" ID ex pottery kiln which I had in use today to dry a
pre-fire some insulating castable.
I was driving through Arkansas on vacation a month ago near lake
Washita and happened to see a sign for a small company that made
Arkansas sharpening stones. The owner was nice enough to show me some
of the stones he was boxing up for shipment. I told him I was looking
for a replacement for my translucent hard Arkansas stone I had dropped
years ago. He said he happened to have one on hand, which was unusual
since he normally only cuts soft Arkansas. He said the hard stones
required oil cutting and different tooling/saws than the softer stones
which were water cut. Paid $6 bucks for a really nice 2 x 7 x 1
translucent stone, rings like a piece of steel when you tap it. For
such a hard smooth stone it seems to cut fairly quickly and gives a
quick polished edge.
I asked if the hard stone was getting harder to find, and he said he
didn't think so, just the demand for the hard stones was less. (I had
heard the same story that the hard translucent & black stone was
getting harder to find). Looked like he had about 20 tons of raw soft
Arkansas material on hand and the driveway to the shop appeared to be
paved mainly with Arkansas stone chips...
Hmm. I have a theory about things like this. It's a cranky, untested,
unresearched theory, but it's one of my favorites about today's markets.
Hard Arkansas stones fit right into it.
My (patented, copyrighted, trademarked, but free) theory says that people
take their hobbies 'way too seriously today (why that is happens to be
another of my theories, but one theory at a time...), and that hobbies like
woodworking, fly fishing, golf, and so on have gotten so serious for some
people that the high end of the market has no practical limits ($4,000 fly
rods; $200 sharpening stones; $220,000 shotguns -- no shit, I get a magazine
called _The Gun_, a commercial mag from Griffin & Howe, that's full of
them). Furthermore, the high end of these markets *defines* the markets, the
aspirations, and the goals of other people who may pursue the hobbies --
particularly the latest generation of hobbyists. It's screwed up the whole
perspective. I have to admit some small culpability here because Prince
tennis racquets was one of my advertising clients a long time ago and we
were pushing that image stuff. But jeez, things hadn't gone completely nutz
then, 26 years ago.
Being a cheap bastard by nature, it annoys me; I consider it a sign of
social decadence. d8-) Also, I'm jealous. But mostly I roll my eyes about
the people who pay those prices. I want to tell them to get a life. And I
want to tell them that they're driving the market crazy for the rest of us.
I don't *want* to envy the flyrods, smoothing planes, Arkansas stones, or
other things that are really nice, that speak to the desire we hobbyists all
seem to have for the sublime, but the prices for which they've driven all
out of sensible proportion.
So, back to earth, those prices, in my opinion, have little to do with costs
of production or normal competition. The competition among the suppliers
seems to be to see who can be more outrageous than the next guy. Griffin &
Howe is a lost cause in that regard and always has been. But when solid old
Norton charges $200 for a sharpening stone -- which has almost no real
commercial purpose, BTW: there are far more efficient ways to sharpen
tools -- I know the game is lost. That *can't* be a competitive price. It's
more likely a "brand image, no competition" price.
[ranting curmudgeon mode off] I'm glad you found a great stone for a
sensible price. Maybe I'll take a drive down there and stock up. d8-)
(BTW, to those who have been told for decades that a black, "surgical"
Arkansas stone is the finest, it's not. The translucent stones that oldjag
describes are the finest. They're the ultimate, the sublime, the ne plus
India stones are man-made oilstones made from aluminum oxide. They were
actually named for American Indians, who had nothing whatsoever to do with
them. d8-) I think it was originally a Norton brand name.
Arkansas stones are natural noviculite and they come from -- you guessed
it -- Arkansas. Here's a quirky and incomplete history from Norton:
Hardness is mostly.
I want to say Arkansas is natural stone - I made a couple years ago.
India are man made - Union Carbide (r) ?
Martin H. Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal.
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member.
jridenou firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.