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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/22/2005 7:26:17 PM EDT
Can someone give me the skinny on the stones? I want to know what the difference is between white\black and soft\hard. Also, are all stones pretty much the same or is there a certain "brand" or "grade" that's better? Basically I want to learn how to sharpen free hand and don't worry, I got some beaters to practice on.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 4:25:43 PM EDT
A brief history of Arkansas Sharpening stones.

There used to be 4 grades of stones, All of the Arkansas Stones were mined near Hot Springs Arkansas. there was a family - the Smith's, that produced most of the stones. They had a Knife shop and sold stones under heir name in the late 70's and early 80. ( in fact they may still be in business) I managed a franchise store for a friend in 1979, in Denver Colorado. I have since lost touch.

Washita - Very course and would remove a lot of steel to give you a quick edge but not a very fine edge. You can no longer find Washita Stones because the source ran out in the early 80s. These were great for initial edges but the stone was soft and would wear down rather quickly. This was the only stone to use on a dull Buck knife since the steel was so hard in the Bucks.

Soft Arkansas - Course but not as course as the Washita. This is the stone that is used to put the initial edge on a knife today. you can achieve a near shaving sharp edge with this stone.

Hard Arkansas - Fine stone that would give an edge that would take the hair off your arm. The knife needs to be sharp with the edge well shaped before using this stone.

Black Arkansas - This stone was used to polish the edge of a knife to near razor fine. This stone wold not "put" an edge on a knife but would polish an fine edge and take all of the microscopic imperfections out of the edge.


Link Posted: 8/23/2005 10:59:58 PM EDT
I have to mention waterstones here. Since I started using them, I'll use nothing else. They are available in all the necessary grades, from soft/fast-cutting up through a fine polishing stone. I also have a rubber strop and aluminum oxide to hone a fine edge. Yes, you can shave with them when you're done.

Heck, if you have two knives, you can use as the mirror while you shave with the other.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 11:47:17 AM EDT
Thanks Steve that's a lot of info. So if I want a utlitarian blade I should get one soft and one hard?
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 3:16:43 AM EDT
I would recomend one of the newer diamond stones. You can get them two sided. The older type stones dont do real well on some of the newer super hard metals. (This was told to me by a large local knife maker. I was wondering about it becuase I could never seem to get some knives sharp)
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 4:46:48 AM EDT

I agree with ml271. 30 years ago stones were the best available. however there are better and easier sharpening devices available today.

If you still want Arkansas Stones then the two you suggested are what you need. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time learning and then actually sharpening. The Stones need to be longer than the knife blade. ie six inch blade 8 inch stone, 4 inch blade 6 inch stone

The alumina rods (crock sticks) work good and are easier. There are also many guide devices

Link Posted: 8/27/2005 9:18:50 AM EDT
I've never used the diamond stones but the water stones are so much better than Arkansas stones, there's really no comparison.

How do the diamond "stones" stack up against the water stones with respect to cost, speed, ease of use, goodness of edge,...?
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