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).
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.
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?