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Opinions please on Arkansas Oilstone

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whatknot

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Hi all

Just picked up an Arkansas Oilstone

Not knowing much about them I wondered if anyone could give an opinion on it please

ie age?

Hardness?

Anything on it appreciated
 

AndyT

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Years ago in this thread https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/oilstone-box-t77502.html BugBear identified my old oilstone as a Washita. I looked into the relative pricing in old catalogues.

The Arkansas stones were significantly dearer. I think that's because they were harder (and slower) so in theory could produce a finer edge if you took the time.

I expect D_W will be along soon. He knows a lot about old stones.
 

Mr_Pea

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OMG just read the label, I don't think that's legit.

It could even be a translucent , I've never had the pleasure of using one of those.

I agree with Andy, David_W is the man when it comes to stones.
 

Inspector

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The label would date it back to the days of whaling. The whale oil being the perfect lubricant of the day. The stone is about 400 million years old give or take 15 million years. :wink:
 

whatknot

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The funny thing is I didn't see the label until I got home, it looked an interesting stone in a well worn box

You can't say no for a quid can you ;-)
 

Mr_Pea

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D_W

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Great looking stone, a trans ark which you can confirm by the density if you can manage to weigh it and measure it out of the box.

2.65 specific gravity is middle of the road for a good trans ark.

Probably mid to late 1800s when sperm oil was still the thing prior to petroleum base honing oils.

Once in a while a completely easy washita comes along looking like that, but they're usually more of an earwax color.

Really nice. Be careful not to damage the label. The older stones are still common, but their labels are not. It is probably worth half as much as the stone and box.
 

deema

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I use Arkansas stones all the time. I use a soft, hard and black. Slow cutting, but very fine and produce for me a superb edge. My limited knowledge is that the Translucent produces the finest edge. Black, the grade preceding Translucent was used from my reading to sharpen surgeons scalpels.
 

D_W

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translucent stones that pass light are more reliable in terms of what you're getting. If you have a 1/2 inch thick stone that passes light really well, it will be a good stone. The worst it could be is potentially a little slow.

Black stones are all over the map. The stones that Dan's sells in the US are as fine as trans stones (and will be unless they relax their standards). Many others are not and there are some unscrupulous sellers selling black stones with visible pores in them. They're just black colored soft ark stones and often have horrible cutting qualities (not like a nice white or colored soft stone with some bite and consistent pore size).

There are white stones as good as trans that don't pass light, but it comes down to specific gravity (same as black stones - if you can find a black stone that is mid 2.6x in SG (just under 2.7 is the theoretical max), it will cut with a trans ark in fineness, but if you like to see the swarf blackening...well, it won't really participate in helping with that.

I haven't seen any other black stones as fine as the ones dans is retrieving. Not norton or anyone else. Anything that's around 2.6 or a hundredth below in specific gravity will show visible tiny pores. Fineness in ark stones is generally determined by how much air there is in the stone, and there might be some folks who prefer a stone with a little bit of bite, but I like them as fine as possible.

I've had some later mex. processed norton trans stones that are a little more aggressive. Before they're oiled, you can see tiny pores on them and they don't pass light well. They just barely pass it at half an inch thick. The ones I've been able to measure (regular in shape) are about 2.6 SG, which is where I get my numbers.
 

whatknot

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Thanks for your input, much appreciated

Its well stuck in the box and don't want to mess around with it just yet

Its not a huge stone, its 5 7/8" long x 1 7/8" wide, unable to measure its depth

I shall leave it be until I get some time to look at it a bit more in depth

Yes I thought the label was an interesting point that I shall look after

As there is not to much sperm whale oil on the shelves in our shops ;-)

What would you recommend using these days (UK) ?

D_W":2fmoklos said:
Great looking stone, a trans ark which you can confirm by the density if you can manage to weigh it and measure it out of the box.

2.65 specific gravity is middle of the road for a good trans ark.

Probably mid to late 1800s when sperm oil was still the thing prior to petroleum base honing oils.

Once in a while a completely easy washita comes along looking like that, but they're usually more of an earwax color.

Really nice. Be careful not to damage the label. The older stones are still common, but their labels are not. It is probably worth half as much as the stone and box.
 

D_W

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By the way, I didn't notice this morning in my half awake stupor that it's also a Pike stone.

The pike label makes it even more desirable than just a vintage label. As long as you don't drop the stone, nobody will be able to tell that you're using it, but take care of that label and don't let it get oil on it!
 

D_W

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whatknot":2wryq3lk said:
Thanks for your input, much appreciated

Its well stuck in the box and don't want to mess around with it just yet

Its not a huge stone, its 5 7/8" long x 1 7/8" wide, unable to measure its depth

I shall leave it be until I get some time to look at it a bit more in depth

Yes I thought the label was an interesting point that I shall look after

As there is not to much sperm whale oil on the shelves in our shops ;-)

What would you recommend using these days (UK) ?
You can use anything you'd like. if it's tight in the case, don't try to take it out - no need to check - looking at it on a bigger screen, it's definitely a "hard" ark of the old days (translucent by name now since the term hard has been diluted to really include a lot of stones that shouldn't be in that class).

Light mineral oil if you want something with some viscosity, kerosene, WD40 or something else of that sort if you want a thinner lubricant.

You'll read sometimes that folks claim that WD40 builds up on a stone (it does leave a layer on metal), but that's nonsense - you'll be continuously wearing it off. You can always scuff the surface if you want to wake the stone up.

I use WD40 on anything finer than a fine india and light mineral oil on everything more coarse.

Many ways to skin the cat - if you want to use mineral oil and don't want a big viscious film, you can just put a drop or so on the stone and wipe off any excess. The next time you add a drop, it will clean off whatever is there.
 

whatknot

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Many thanks again

I have heard some odd stories about WD40

Much appreciate the advice, I will tread carefully with the stone ;-)
 

bridger

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phil.p":3ks1owfg said:
I've a very hard fine one and I find isopropyl good and clean - it just wipes off with a paper towel.

Stones like that I generally use isopropyl as honing fluid
 
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