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Hindustan Honing Stone. (Country of origin USA).

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swagman

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Received this Hindustan from the u.k. Dimensions are 8" x 2 1/4" x 5/8". Out of flat on both major surfaces, and badly stained with iron oxide.



After flattening on 220 loose sic, followed by w & d up to 400 grt, the natural features within the stone become more noticeable.



The chisel shown was worked with a medium grit Norton Crystolon stone prior to the Hindustan stone. The Hindustan was 1st trialled using Honing Oil, but was rejected soon after due to the dulling effect it had on the cut of the stone. Using water as a stone lubricant was much more successful. Taking into account the rate of cut, and the size of the wire edge formed, my personal opinion is that this stones characteristics was comparable to a Mst Muller 8000 grit.



Testing the sharpness of cutting edge (straight from the stone). The cutting edge was good enough to cleanly slice through the end grain fibres, but slightly more effort was required, compared to that of another chisel, by the same maker, to the same bevel angle specs, but taken to a higher grit of 12000+ on my Welsh Llyn Idwall Grecian Hone.



Stewie;
 

Phil Pascoe

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Have you tried isopropyl alcohol as a lubricant? Someone suggested it here not long ago, and as I already had some on the bench I tried it on a very fine, hard stone. I found it excellent and easy and clean to wipe off afterwards.
 

AndyT

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Stewie, would you share a bit more of your thinking with us?
You keep buying more nice old stones and presumably get good results with some of them, sufficient for your woodworking needs.
Are you on a personal mission to find the "best" sharpening stone? Do you want to build up a representative collection of all the stones used by woodworkers worldwide over the last two hundred years? Are you writing a book? Or is it something else?
 

swagman

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AndyT":1z7h0tc9 said:
Stewie, would you share a bit more of your thinking with us?
You keep buying more nice old stones and presumably get good results with some of them, sufficient for your woodworking needs.
Are you on a personal mission to find the "best" sharpening stone? Do you want to build up a representative collection of all the stones used by woodworkers worldwide over the last two hundred years? Are you writing a book? Or is it something else?
"It is the beginning of wisdom, Grasshopper."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2yIkDV ... g&index=21
 

D_W

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Stewie, you've got the bug! I've got a slate on the way, too - a relatively inexpensive hard one from the uk. I've had the bug for a long time, though.
 

swagman

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The sad reality is that a lot of these natural honing stones, that was either locally quarried, or important from overseas into the U.K, seem to have been given the cold shoulder of the last 50- 60 years, in favour of modern synthetic stones. The reasoning is unclear, as these natural stones will equally match in performance to their modern replacements. It cant solely be for the reason of having to periodically re-flatten these stones, as most synthetic stones also require similar maintenance, albeit for diamond stones, but they becomes less responsive after prolonged use, as the embedded diamond particles begin to gradually wear down. Could it come down to the fact that the predominant users of these natural stones, trained craftsmen of a previous generation, have long gone, and with it, the depth of knowledge that was passed on over many centuries. Its a possibility. But in all I honestly, its most likely a combination of many factors. But what I can stated within certainty, is there is no obvious reason that these earlier type stones, often found in a used condition, some caked in years of oil build up, often found in flea markets and online ebay, cannot be cleaned up and re-dressed, and put back into service, as they still have much to offer the modern day woodworker who seek to gain a better understanding of the techniques and tooling that was being used successfully by trained craftsmen over many previous generations.

Stewie;
 

D_W

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swagman":1q5o5fmw said:
DW; that's likely an accurate statement.

regards Stewie;
There is something much more interesting about the idea of a stone that comes right out of the ground and cuts moderately without making deep grooves, and the fact that with nothing more than cutting it and making it smooth, it can provide the ability to make a sharp edge.

And with a lot of latitude to the user.

I think the reason that a lot of these stones have fallen out of favor is because they are not profitable or convenient to put to market, it takes a little nuance - a bit of a relationship more or less between the user and the stone, and because they are not the right size to sharpen wide blades with a guide. There's that, and also the overanalysis of what submicron particle someone needs to have to plane a simple piece of non-figured wood or chop a simple set of through dovetails.

I still have synthetic stones but don't use them very often, except for an india and crystolon.
 

essexalan

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The slow cutting UK sourced stones that are now so desirable were probably not very popular back then because time spent sharpening meant less bread on the table. As soon as the Arkansas type stones arrived on the scene then they were quickly adopted, cut your bevel on a sandstone wheel and polish your edge. Then along came machinery and artificial oilstones, you can get a pretty fine edge from a fine AlOx stone and a strop, the demand for hand made furniture was fast disappearing as well. Add on the fact that a lot of these stones came from remote areas and were difficult to extract and prepare for a very limited market. It would be interesting to find out what those master craftsmen and carvers did use 500 years ago, whatever they could find I should think. Waterstones are popular because they have a consistent grit size and cut fast, arrival on these shores happily coincided with the increased leisure time people had. I like the idea of sharpening an old steel blade on a piece of rock but then I don't do it for a living.
Anyway keep on buying you are helping our import/export deficit!
 

Phil Pascoe

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"As soon as the Arkansas type stones arrived on the scene then they were quickly adopted ... "
Walter Rose says in "The Village Carpenter" that as soon as Arkansas stones came on the market all the tradesmen immediately abandoned their Charnley Forests.
 

D_W

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phil.p":2haqxzyx said:
"As soon as the Arkansas type stones arrived on the scene then they were quickly adopted ... "
Walter Rose says in "The Village Carpenter" that as soon as Arkansas stones came on the market all the tradesmen immediately abandoned their Charnley Forests.
I think one of the versions of Holtzapffel says something similar.

In the era of the power grinder and the ability to maintain a very small bevel, though, lots of stones do well, but if one ties themselves to a bare leather strop, a grinder and a washita, there really isn't a need for much else. I've gone so far as to make planes out of cocobolo and use only old stuff with just a washita, and the result was never lacking.

The other thing people don't need to understand with fine modern stones is stropping, and I think though stropping is trivial, a lot of beginners can screw it up contaminating strops, etc. With small bevels, I've found that the only thing that's really not sharp about highly alloyed modern steels is their desire to hold onto a wire edge. Otherwise, they sharpen easily to shaving sharpness with standard stuff like slates and novaculites. You just can't grind them with those, but that's easily done with other stuff.

The fact that a lot of these vintage stones can be used hundreds of times with no attention to the surface other than a wipe of a rag or towel makes them so much nicer to use than a fast wearing modern stone - especially once someone gets the skill in their hands to have no real use for a "really fast cutting" stone as all of the modern stones are hyped.
 

swagman

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Received some excellent info on the Hindustan from a member on the SRP forum site; http://straightrazorplace.com/hones/129 ... one-2.html


Hindostan Stones were sold from nearly all the bigger Stone Quarrying Companies, Tool Makers and Trading Companies. The offered mostly two different qualities. To name some of the companies:

- Pike Mfg. & Co. (US)
- William F. Osborn
...have the list somewhere, need to seach for it....

As far as i remember all the historical sources named that the variances are quite big,
the stones show tidal layers which were also used to research historical tidal movements. Those layers do appear in different amounts (they can reach from 9 to 32 layers). The space between those layers can reach from a few mm to some inches or less then 3inches.

Also the coloration seems not be constant and ranges from a yellow, brown towards a reddish or even white coloration.

The stones were also used as a Tombstone on the graveyards. see that reference here:
Whetstone Gravestones » American Scientist

More about the research on tides can be found here, i posted this earlier:
https://igs.indiana.edu/FossilsAndTime/Tidal.cfm

A short quote from that source:
"If you understand the semi daily tidal cycles and the tidal cycles related to the phase of the moon, you can see how tides have affected the thicknesses of the layers in the delicately layered Hindostan whetstone beds. At this point, you are beginning to understand how rocks can record time. You may also be beginning to understand how geologists are able to determine how rocks were originally deposited. We know the whetstone beds were deposited by tides because we know of no other process that would produce such regular thickness changes in the layers of the rock."

Special selected stones and trademarks:
Those stones also appeared in special cut sizes called "Glassmaker Stones", Pike Mfg. also offered different qualities of the Hindostan stones sold as "Hindostan Hackers" or "Hacker Stone".

"The extra Hindostan Hackers are choice, selected white stones, all full size, polished, each stone wrapped in tissue paper and packed in 2 or 3 dozen boxes, and 6 or 4 of these boxes in a case. No. 1 are all good, full sized stones, packed 1 gross in a case.
No. 2 are taken out of the extra and and No. 1 as not good enough for those grades."
Taken from - Pike Mfg. Catalog (1889)

"Hindostan stones are soft and fine gritted and are extremely useful for general sharpening purposes. Best results are obtained by using water. They are supplied in three grades: hard, medium and soft, respectively."
Taken from - Pike Mfg. Catalog 14 (1926)

"Fastcut - These Stones are made from selected Hindostan stock, neatly finished and packed in attractive individual pasteboard boxes. They cut rapidly and impart a medium coarse edge."
Taken from - Pike Mfg. Catalog 14 (1926)
 

adrspach

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Steve so far you have the information correct. What so far was not said that there are other sources of layred sandstone which can be sold as Hindostan hone by some sellers.
As with the why naturals were abandoned for faster naturals and then for manmade ones. In my opinion the speed of use is the main reason which was more valuable to users than finess of results. Synthetics allowed more repeatable results which required less skill from users as well as they are easier to make them in predictable and consistent quality.
Preference what to use is up to the user. Some like naturals, some synthetics and some like me like to play with both depending on work requirements and how much fun I want to have.
 

deema

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I find your threads on different sharpening media wonderful reading. I think Andy's suggestion of a book would be a fantastic idea. A sort of sharpening stone bible, would I'm sure gave a good circulation and if you made it a pure electronic book you could self publish.

I think it would be good to see and feel the stones, most of which I've not come across in real life. It would be great if you could be invited to a show to present your collection.

Love it keep it up and well done
 

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The simple fact is that these people were not working a leisurely 30-40 hour week but needed to through put a final product as quick as possible to avoid the kids starving.
Get the blade sharp enough, quickly and get back to the main task. They could not afford to muck around for an hour getting the edge all shiney.
Even my Dad in the 1950-60s would be doing a 60-80 hour week for a poor wage - which is why he gave it up and went to work in a dog food factory.
We are playing; for them it was a question of get the jobs done and out the door or get evicted.
 

D_W

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lurker":3bbxjj5y said:
The simple fact is that these people were not working a leisurely 30-40 hour week but needed to through put a final product as quick as possible to avoid the kids starving.
Get the blade sharp enough, quickly and get back to the main task. They could not afford to muck around for an hour getting the edge all shiney.
Even my Dad in the 1950-60s would be doing a 60-80 hour week for a poor wage - which is why he gave it up and went to work in a dog food factory.
We are playing; for them it was a question of get the jobs done and out the door or get evicted.
FWIW, a lot of the green and slate stones went out of use, but a friend's dad, who was a joiner - perhaps more of a carpenter, not sure (in England, somewhere about halfway up) until a couple of decades ago, had a silicon carbide stone and a washita in his box.

He only had three planes, too. A bit different than the way we do it these days in terms of expenditure!

The india and carborundum stones add a dimension of fast cutting, but I think everything else that's been introduced since then has been moves laterally and backwards in terms of practicality. Of course, the india and carborundum stones (and various fine barber hones) are as old as many of the labeled hones we're talking about (not as old as prior unlabeled versions, though).
 

Phil Pascoe

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"He only had three planes, too. A bit different than the way we do it these days in terms of expenditure!" As I said in another thread - I worked for years with an old chippie who to my knowledge other than a rebate plane and a granny's tooth only had a No.5. (and one hollow India medium oilstone - of which J would have been proud).
 

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