beginner question on sharpening stones - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 26 Old 12-20-2014, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
Can real Arkansas stones still be bought? I have Japanese water stones but would like some Arkansas stones, if they are from Arkansas.
Look at the link I gave above.

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post #22 of 26 Old 12-20-2014, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
Look at the link I gave above.

George, the reason I asked is I read an article the other day where the mines in Arkansas stopped mining the stones because the good stuff was gone, how true that is I don't know. That article said Arkansas stones, now days, was from somewhere over seas.

Sorry for the hijack.


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post #23 of 26 Old 12-20-2014, 06:27 PM
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For several decades now I've been producing a very fine cutting edge using my "King" combination stone. Until now I didn't know that the King stones were inferior, Ha!
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post #24 of 26 Old 12-20-2014, 07:12 PM
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I never heard anything about Arkansas stones not being mined anymore but I haven't bought any stones since the 1970's. The last stones I bought came from Hot Springs Arkansas. If the good Arkansas stones are gone you can still find vintage stones in flea markets and ebay.
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post #25 of 26 Old 12-22-2014, 08:55 PM
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Last I heard, Dan's and Halls were still slicing Arkansas stones. I bought a set from Halls a couple of years ago, before they sold the company. I bought my first set of oilstones from Smith's in 1973 or 4, and the new ones are as good. Both sets include the Black Translucents. As far as I know, the only kind that is used up is the white Wa****a. You can still find them, but they go for good money. The finer cutting stones are still as good as they used to be.

The Smith's stones were smaller than I like these days, and a couple of them were broken when a tornado took out a wall in a shop.

Definitely compare the two. Oilstones will do a fine job on 01 steel and softer, but are really too slow, to impossible, on A2 and harder steels. I like 01, so I still use oilstones if we are on a job where it's too cold to get hands in water.

The waterstones are manmade. You pay more for better quality. Better quality means that they cut faster, but still last longer. You can get a sharp edge with all of them. Kings are good to start on, because they are soft and forgiving. If you gouge one, it can easily, and quickly be fixed because they are soft. They have pretty good feel, but are slow cutting relative to more expensive stones. The good thing about slow cutting for someone just learning, is that you can't screw up an edge very quickly with them.

Tools from Japan probably has the best prices, and the best service and advice, but shipping can sometimes be a bit slow, since it's a one man show. I'd still highly recommend dealing with them. If you can afford Stu's three stone set, you will be set up fine for a couple of decades. It's probably a few dollars over 200, but includes a flattening plate. Sigma stones sold by Stu, and also Lee Valley are really nice stones.

Stu has a combination stone with something like a Sigma 1200 on one side, and 13000 on the other for about 75 bucks. It's a pretty big jump in grit, but will produce a really great woodworking edge with a minute of extra time over having a middle stone. If the 200 for the three stone set is too much right now, I'd suggest this stone, and add a middle stone recommended by Stu some time in the future.

Last edited by Tom King; 12-22-2014 at 09:17 PM.
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post #26 of 26 Old 12-23-2014, 06:55 PM
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With free shipping from Lee Valley right now, the same 1000 Sigma stone might cost 6 or 8 dollars more from LV than the TfJ price including shipping, but you will get it a LOT faster. The Sigma II's are about as good as it gets for a reasonably priced water stone. Lee Valley also has a page explaining a lot about the different grades of water stones.
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