View Full Version : Using Arkansas Stones

12-17-2011, 03:02 AM
I inherited two Arkansas stones, a hard, surgical black Russels and a soft Norton (I know mine/manufacturer has a lot to do with quality and apparent grit, but don't know if those are good). They were dished, as my father used them for chisels since he was a sculptor. I have flattened them again on a diamond wheel at my lab, and polished the hard to 1200 grit. They have done a decent job on my softer Calphalon and Sabatier blades. I have little sharpening experience, so I can't say they're objectively great, but they're better than what I'm used to.

I know people are hot for water stones, especially Japanese ones. Since I am a poor grad student, do you think I can get away with these Arky stones for now? I have mostly soft steel, but my family just got me a Konosuke HD gyuto, which I'm psyched about, but I'm worried I'm too much a grasshopper to wield it responsibly. I mean, I have been maintaining my sanity by cooking for years, and I'm a materials scientist, so blades are way up my alley. I just don't want to make any irreversible mistakes. Do you suppose I could use Arky stones on a Jknife?

Thanks in advance for your overwhelming experience and advice ;)

12-17-2011, 03:23 AM
also, I'm using them with water. They are pretty purged of oil after flattening on the diamond pad. It is much more convenient, and I have heard of others doing it, but let me know if this is dumb.

12-17-2011, 03:38 AM
I used arks for a long time. They work just fine. Work with the materials you have, learn to keep consistant angles and you can get different stones when the situation allows it. I still pull out my arkansas stones every so often just for kicks.

12-17-2011, 03:38 AM
I don't know about the water although I would assume they are fine to use that way if they really don't have any oil in them. Arkansas stones work fine on most steel including HD.

12-17-2011, 04:52 AM
I hate to break it to you, but if I recall correctly Arks have an abrasive that might not cut the HD steel or other high tech steels. I could be mistaken I don't know a whole lot other than what they have novaculite and stuff, and I mostly know this because of straight razors. Anyway, I was going to suggest getting a king deluxe, should run you about 30 dllrs tops at a japanese market like mitsuwa. You can always order one online and that should do it. I sharpened my ex knife the Suisin inox honyaki with one of those for a while and it did a good job, not awesome but very recomendable. You can then use your arkies to polish the edge and you should be fine.

Pensacola Tiger
12-17-2011, 08:27 AM
Put a very little bit of liquid dish detergent in the water you use on the stone to help lubricate it. It will also help, although not prevent, loading of the stone with swarf. Maybe one drop in a cup.

12-17-2011, 09:14 AM
Sweet! Another materials guy! Larrin's a PhD metallurgist. I have a lowly BS. I don't know anything about about Arkansas stones, but grinding and polishing is grinding and polishing. It's all a matter that your media is harder than the surface you are polishing. I would think you will know right away if your Arkansas stones work on your Konosuke or not. Have fun!


12-17-2011, 04:32 PM
I still use mine on occasion, they will work just fine. You can even use sandpaper, fer crin' out loud! (or cement blocks!)

12-17-2011, 04:54 PM

Some information for Arkansas Stone…
"True Hard Arkansas (Extra Fine) is the finest grade abrasive available today. It is most commonly used for industrial applications where an extremely fine polish is required. True Hard Arkansas stones are often referred to as Multi-Colored Translucent; colors, both opaque and translucent, are random and may include black, red, white, and gray--often within the same stone."

It still has abrading capability. since it is a seasoned, may need to "roughed " it up with a coarser stone as natural stones gets smoother over periods of use. AS mentioned above.. once you determine the cutting power, use it when appropriate. IF you knife is still new.. then you want to remove a tiny amount adn thus need a finer stone ( less abrasive)

IF is has less cutting power, then it has become a finer stone. The black stone is of higher grit. Personally, for rougher stone ( below 1000 grit) i use any stone that I fancy. IT is only above 1000 grit that I prefer the Synthetic water stones as it is finer and gives the consistent grit as each wash expose the same grit.

I believe that you can only do irreversible damage to the knife with the stone Only if you change the profile..

SO every stone as its cutting power and you will soon realize that it can be useful at times.... Try it out on your least favorite knife and see how it cuts and develop a feel for it...

Have fun..


12-19-2011, 01:59 PM
After some sharpening sessions your knife will need some thinning as well. Your Arkansas are much too fine for that. Use sandpaper (P240 or 360, polish with P1200 or 1500). Cheap and very effective.

12-24-2011, 04:52 AM
Actually, I just found a medium and fine Carborundum SiC stone in the sharpening box, so I think that range is covered. I've been getting a lot of practice in lately by sharpening my friends' knives for the holidays (partly because it is a kind gesture, partly because I hate cooking at their house with dull knives).

Chef Niloc
12-24-2011, 05:00 AM
If you can get your hands on a old washita arkansas stone (not soft white) they are great for kitchen knives, hard to find these days.

12-24-2011, 01:01 PM
Is the old washita one that looks slightly beige with specks that look darker beige? Or can you describe it?