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Is this Washita

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ED65

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Car boot purchase? No expert but it certainly looks like it could be one.

Bear in mind photographic ID of stones is not an exact science. Have you tried it out? How a stone cuts and the scratch pattern or polish it leaves is useful info.

There are lots of lookalike stones; pics of the edges and ends can be helpful. Overall dimensions with an accurate weight in grams if you can manage it can also be useful as the specific gravities of some stones are known.

Osvaldd":1emvvwto said:
p.s. what is washita?
The simplest answer is it's a type of, or related stone to, Arkansas stones. Washitas are effectively one stone on a spectrum from softest and coarsest to hardest and finest, with hard black Arks at the opposite end.

You'll get much more comprehensive information on this if you Google it. Sharpening stones are big business, and an obsession with many individual user/collectors, so there's been 'rather a lot' posted about washitas and other novaculite stones :mrgreen:
 

Ttrees

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Care to give some links ED65 or direct us to some articles?
I would love to read up, or watch some more on the subject.
I've been looking at some articles and videos, mostly its knife forums rather
than woodworking forums,
From what I've watched, there's more videos of people attempting to mine the stone,
rather than using them/comparing differing grades of them.

David W has wrote in thread articles, and videoed about the best info I could get.
I would love to see more articles or anything of the sort.

Tom
 

ED65

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I did most of my reading up on stones when I first got into sharpening Tom, which I think makes it two computers and three browsers ago. Even if I had the bookmarks still there's a good chance some of the pages from then aren't around any more.

Two things that are sure to still be out there are the early Pike or Norton catalogues (on Archive.org) and an intro page on Dan's Whetstones. Neither is a definitive guide but they will serve as a good stepping-off point.
 

D_W

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Osvaldd":uii817ge said:
p.s. what is washita?
It is with about as close to 100% certainty as I could have. It has all of the characteristics of a washita (where as some that are purely waxy looking solid could be a trans or hard ark, and the ones that are pure white could be a soft arkansas from another area).

All of those stones like yours come from a single location.
 

Ttrees

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How good is a soft arkansas in your view David?
In your video "various types of oilstones" you don't mention soft arks, but mention other things one might mistake
for the washita.
This I find curious, as the soft arks look a lot closer to the washita to me, than the other ones you mention.
Having searched google for a looong time, I find about two pictures of a labeled soft arkansas stone,
with nobody talking about them.
Tom
 

scooby

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I've only owned (and seen) one Washita and it was grey/white colour. I dont have it anymore, iirc I gave it to Alf in 2006.
The only reason I know it was a Washita, was due to some very clear 'Norton Washita, etc' branding on it.

edit: just found the thread, I described it as a Norton no.1 Washita combination stone with a white side and a yellow side. Unfortunately, due to the thread being very old, the links to the photos dont work. Sorry I cant be more help.
 

D_W

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Ttrees":asig1rq0 said:
How good is a soft arkansas in your view David?
In your video "various types of oilstones" you don't mention soft arks, but mention other things one might mistake
for the washita.
This I find curious, as the soft arks look a lot closer to the washita to me, than the other ones you mention.
Having searched google for a looong time, I find about two pictures of a labeled soft arkansas stone,
with nobody talking about them.
Tom
There's no really good gauge regarding the performance of soft arkansas because they can really come from any mine. The true washita stones from the pike mine are pretty uniform other than density. They have the same cutting properties and are different than anything else.

Of the mines in the states, a norton soft arkansas is a decent stone but relatively fine and I'm not convinced that some of them aren't just washitas. But some of the later behr manning washitas are relatively uninspiring.

Dan's whetstone sells various colors of soft arkansas stones, but theirs are also underwhelming. They're slower than a washita but not finer. The washita really has an unbelievable range, and is sensitive to use and steel hardness. With something hard, the edge can be very fine. They're a great stone to gauge tool hardness.

Anyway, other softs in the us like swirly colored stones or case stones can be really coarse and fast, but not at all fine. Coarse feeling and behaving like a factor of three or four vs. the dan's stone. Not necessarily in scratches, but speed and the size of the wire edge.

The last would be my favorite of the softs, from a company called Natural Whetstone here. They're also just about the cheapest most of the time. They have nice toothy "hard" and "soft" washitas that are uniform and have good bite.

The washitas are easy to comment on because they all come from one spot/mine. Softs are harder because they come from all over the place and don't all perform the same. I'd rather have a strong cutting washita than a soft 100% of the time.

As far as stones that do look alike, a bright white washita will look almost identical vs. a bright white soft ark that's not from the pike mine, but the washita will be able to cut finely if you want it to and the soft ark will not.
 

Ttrees

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Thanks for clarifying this David
I've recently bought a old soft arkansas stone, and not had the chance to use it yet, apart
from sharpening a blade when I recieved it, It seemed courser than the washita I have.
You could hear it was a different stone, like I was leaning harder, and seemed that it left
a slightly toothier burr, but I can't be 100 percent on that yet.

Concerning Dan's whetstones, or any other soft arkansas brands both in production now, or long gone...
Are they mining from any place close to Norton's Pike mine?

As said, I have only seen one or two labeled soft arkansas online, which I think were both Norton.
Is there any chance of getting a good soft arkansas somewhat comparable?
Did you ever acquire such a stone?

This one had a thick honing oil applied to it, I'm wondering if this would be preferred
for this stone to leave a finer edge or possibly counteract any loose grit?
Not had the chance of trying any other type of stone, so I hope it's not going to take much longer
to get the same results as I'm getting from the washita

Regards
Tom
 

D_W

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I think most of the mines are in the same general region down there, but the pike mine is closed to both business and public. Apparently, there are piece of stock just literally on the surface, but taking such things is obviously discouraged.

I am not aware of anything else, no matter how close, that is the same as a washita. A good mid density soft stone may be close, and a bad soft stone is just junk. Dan's softs are very fine stones for a soft, but they don't stay active long. Nortons, I just haven't had enough exposure because ...well, they have the washitas (but like I said, the later ones of those aren't that great (the ones that say "washita oilstone" on the sides, and they bring a fair bit of coin sometimes).

Having tried what I've tried, I'd say that the non-Dan's softs (natural whetstone's version being my favorite) feel like a stone made of grit particles, and washita feel like a matrix with holes in it instead. As you've found, some of the softs can be quite gritty and fast.

I mentioned natural whetstone's "hard", which is really more like a soft ark - it's also a good stone, but the same issue remains - they never get as fine cutting as a washita stone, and when they get fine, they get really slow. Washitas generally retain some cutting.

As far as oil, anything thin to thicker works fine on a washita. The thicker oil will maybe help a little bit with fineness, but not that much. It will also suspend whatever you're sharpening away from the stone if you're sharpening a flat area like a chisel back. It just depends on what you're trying to do. I have seen oxidized oil allowed to settle into a thick layer on the surface of a stone in a strop top box (being used to sharpen razors), and I'm guessing that was done to slow the stone down and make it cut more finely than it actually is. I don't like that, but someone found it workable. (I have sharpened razors on washita stones themselves and as long as one has a good linen, the edge turns out fine. That's not the case with any of the various soft arkansas stones).

So, in short. The white soft arkansas stones from natural whetstones are my favorite soft stones. I'd avoid dan's softs (dan's has the absolute best fine black stones I've ever seen, vintage or new, and their translucent stones are also as good as anything that's ever been mined, but their prices are getting very high and seconds are hard to come by). I've only got a few stones from Natural Whetstone company, so there's no guarantee they're still the same, and for anything else, it's really difficult to say - it depends on who mined the stone and what they have. The difference in speed and fineness with a cheap gray and pink thin stone that I got as a soft from one maker and dans is probably a factor of four. natural whetstone is in the middle. None of them ever quite match a washita, and it's easy to see why they were offered at half the price of a washita in old stone catalogs.
 

Osvaldd

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Another stone, can't clearly see in the picture but its kinda greenish. It’s a natural stone and is extremely heavy, almost 1kg this piece. Has a very fine scratch pattern. `Any idea what this could be?
 

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memzey

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Hard to tell from a pic but “kinda greenish” and “fine” imply a Charnley. I’ve got one too but I think they can look very different to one another with some having red flecks etc.
 

Osvaldd

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any idea what this might be? feels and smells like chalk. Very slow and fine.
 

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Trevanion

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Looks like some kind of slate, Is it a deep greyish blue when wetted with water or oil?
 

Osvaldd

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It's dark grey, perhaps a little blue-ish. There are little shiny white specks in the stone as well.
 

Trevanion

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Osvaldd":zy0y49v4 said:
It's dark grey, perhaps a little blue-ish. There are little shiny white specks in the stone as well.
Ah, Perhaps not a slate then as they're basically one colour throughout without any speckling. I think a Dalmore Blue stone has white specks in it though.
 

Trevanion

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Didn't want to start another thread so I thought I'd Hi-jack Osvaldds :D, I know it's hard to identify from a photo but what do you guys think this is? Washita? I've never really seen a Washita in the flesh before so I wouldn't know what to look for except for the obvious. I took a punt on it on eBay because I could just about see some kind of brownish mottling underneath the crud, I've tried to clean the face a bit (What is the best way to do that I have no idea?) but it still seems to be a very dark brown colour, better than the near-black it was though :). I've tried sharpening on it and whilst it's not a very fine scratch pattern, it produces a near shaving sharp edge without stropping, it also cuts pretty quick too. Seems a little better than the Llyn Idwal stone that I use.

 
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