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View Full Version : Q's on Arkansas Stones.....



Zwiefel
04-20-2013, 10:58 PM
A friend has asked me to help with sharpening his knives on his arkansas stones. I have no experience with these stones. Pretty much the same usage as Japanese synthetic waterstones?

I've heard that if they have been used with oil, you have to continue to use oil. True? Why would one want to use oil instead of water? seems like more chances for transfer to clothes/furniture/whatever.

TIA!
Z

chinacats
04-21-2013, 12:17 AM
I like water but I have heard that you can clean one that's been used with oil in the dishwasher...may want to wait to hear from someone who's done it before though. Seems to me that it takes more effort to use those stones, any reason not to use waterstones and just knock it out?

Zwiefel
04-21-2013, 12:29 AM
I like water but I have heard that you can clean one that's been used with oil in the dishwasher...may want to wait to hear from someone who's done it before though. Seems to me that it takes more effort to use those stones, any reason not to use waterstones and just knock it out?

He owns Arkansas Stones :)

marc4pt0
04-21-2013, 12:33 AM
oil stones, that's what I started with many,many,many years ago:biggrin:

xuz
04-21-2013, 01:00 AM
For tips on removing oil from Arkansas refer the many advices from SRP.
http://straightrazorplace.com/hones/60184-degreasing-old-stone.html

In my experience, oil has better tactile feedback than water on Arkansas. It also prevents the swarf from penetrating the pores for longer period of time. But once it clogs up the pores, it's harder to get it out. The problem with something like black Arkie is that it's pretty hard to lap, since the stone is so damn hard.

I'd follow some of the instructions from SRP (like using the oven cleaner), then lap it using sand paper till the shiny clogged surface is removed. If the oil didn't penetrate too much, you might be able to get it out and use it wet or dry. I'd personally give up on Arkie and exchange it for something like Norton 4k/8k (which is about what black Arkie will do).

TB_London
04-21-2013, 05:58 AM
Never use mine anymore as they are slow slow slow compared to a good waterstone.

DWells
04-21-2013, 12:55 PM
Agreed. I would take your waterstones, if you are going to be doing the sharpening. Maybe rehab his stones if they need it, but they are very slow in comparison to what you are probably used to, and frequently quite narrow (1-2 inches).

Zwiefel
04-21-2013, 01:00 PM
Sounds like there is a reason these stones aren't as popular as they used to be.

Squilliam
04-21-2013, 08:35 PM
Also I don't think they can cut hard or complex steels, at all.

kalaeb
04-21-2013, 09:13 PM
Never use mine anymore as they are slow slow slow compared to a good waterstone.

True, they are slow, but I still get a kick out of using them every once in awhile. The black is in my progression for razors.

Zwiefel
04-21-2013, 09:17 PM
Also I don't think they can cut hard or complex steels, at all.

In a practical sense, I think that's right.

Pensacola Tiger
04-21-2013, 09:30 PM
In a practical sense, I think that's right.

If by "in a practical sense" you mean slowly, I agree. Arkansas stones are capable of sharpening plane irons and chisels that are harder than most kitchen knives. The steel composition is not a factor.

That said, I much prefer waterstones.

SpikeC
04-21-2013, 09:32 PM
Also I don't think they can cut hard or complex steels, at all.

Yes they can.

Zwiefel
04-21-2013, 09:53 PM
If by "in a practical sense" you mean slowly, I agree.

Precisely what I meant.

keithsaltydog
04-21-2013, 10:24 PM
If by "in a practical sense" you mean slowly, I agree. Arkansas stones are capable of sharpening plane irons and chisels that are harder than most kitchen knives. The steel composition is not a factor.

That said, I much prefer waterstones.

Exactly right,I have alot of my Fathers chisels he used as a pattern & model maker for NASA.He also built wooden boats,also have a few of my Grandfathers boat chisels.All sharpened on Arkansas oil stones.

TB_London
04-22-2013, 05:55 AM
I'd question steel composition not being a factor as that's what contributes to wear resistance AFAIK. Having larger amounts of carbides (in the 80 HRC range) would likely have some impact.
With chisels and plane irons you can safely exert a much greater amount of pressure than with a knife, which may make them more usable. Not sure they are necessarily harder than knives either, my vintage ones and modern versions are around 60 HRC as far as I can tell (Addis, Ward, Sorby, Lie Nielsen, Hock etc).

Pensacola Tiger
04-22-2013, 08:39 AM
I'd question steel composition not being a factor as that's what contributes to wear resistance AFAIK. Having larger amounts of carbides (in the 80 HRC range) would likely have some impact.
With chisels and plane irons you can safely exert a much greater amount of pressure than with a knife, which may make them more usable. Not sure they are necessarily harder than knives either, my vintage ones and modern versions are around 60 HRC as far as I can tell (Addis, Ward, Sorby, Lie Nielsen, Hock etc).

Steel composition may affect the rate at which the knife can be sharpened, but it does not result in Arkansas stones being unusable for these steels, which is the comment I was referencing.

Squilliam
04-22-2013, 08:55 AM
I'm only speaking from what I recall from my time on bladeforums, with people having plenty of trouble sharpening their high alloy knives. I think some of the carbides are harder than the arkansas stone and are not going to be abraded properly as the stones have an equivalent Rockwell hardness of Rc 69.

Pensacola Tiger
04-22-2013, 10:04 AM
I'm only speaking from what I recall from my time on bladeforums, with people having plenty of trouble sharpening their high alloy knives. I think some of the carbides are harder than the arkansas stone and are not going to be abraded properly as the stones have an equivalent Rockwell hardness of Rc 69.

As to the anecdotal reports on Bladeforums, I have no doubt that there were reports of difficulty using Arkansas stones, as anyone used to the speed of waterstones might mistakenly conclude that the Arkansas stone wasn't working. Much the same thing happens with a person new to hard Japanese naturals.

Chef Niloc
04-22-2013, 10:55 AM
I have a old washita stone that works great on all of my knives. It's convenient sometimes to just pull out the old oil stone and not fuss with the mess and or setup of water stones. The washita is a "soft" Arkansas but its a finer grit and cuts faster then other soft's. trouble is they have been "mined out" for the past 25 years or so. If you can find a old norton "Lily White" that's a good one. Trouble with the old Arkansas stones is that they were usually cut small 6" and shorter. A old norton tri-hone washita would be the only longer one that I can think of that might pop up somewhere?

sgemmett
04-22-2013, 02:42 PM
I have many many Arkansas stones. I began with these and progressed to waterstones and overall waterstones are much faster. But, as previously mentioned there is some overhead with getting the stones out, soaking them, and dealing with the mess around and in the sink so I have recently been using the Arkansas stones again. With some good technique they will sharpen any knife (steel) I have, it just takes a little longer. I find getting my lily white Washita and a hard Arkansas will bring any knife I have that is not super dull back into shape pretty quickly. But if I have a really dull knife I will pull out the waterstones, there are better at moving metal.

One other reason for the Arkansas stone is I found with my pocket knives I would gouge the waterstones more frequently so for these I almost always use the Arkansas stones.

Scott

Slypig5000
04-24-2013, 11:08 AM
+1 For the slow cut, great to learn on though, it is hard to do a great deal of damage with them.