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Identifying unmarked stones

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Slick

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I have recently come into possession of some seemingly random stones and need a bit of help. Since I'm new, I'll provide a bit of background for context - I have had good results with a Spyderco Sharpmaker for years, but now I am seeing the limitations of it and wanted to get into whetstone sharpening to obtain better results and to have more flexibility. I mentioned this to my uncle while cooking chili with him. He then shows up the next day with a Chef's Choice 110 and several stones that had belonged to my grandfather. My grandfather was a great home cook and had a full woodworking shop in the garage, so he did not believe in anything being dull. However, these stones have not seen the light of day in over 20 years and I have no information on them whatsoever. I do not know if he used them for knives, tools, or both. Only one stone has a faint marking on it and it appears to be a GE stamp; all of the others are unmarked. I assume they are okay to be used on kitchen knives (nothing above HRC 58, currently) so I was going to just use them but felt it best to ask a few questions first.

1) Is there a way to identify these stones, even if unmarked?
2) Is it possible to know if they are water stones or if oil should be used with them - or if oil has been used on them?
3) what are the little stones? The black one appears to have a black GE indentation.

I have attached a photo and can upload more for detail if requested. Any obvious recommendations are surely welcome. Thank you in advance.
 

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mikaelsan

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i would not worry to much about water/oil, i know people are very particular about not mixing, you should be able to tell when you try and use it with water. Though my best guess would be the 3 on the left are oil combo stones, the two on the right looks like water stones.
the last red one looks interresting, cold just be a similar one to the brown just chipped.

as for the small ones try them out, the black one could be a natural finisher, so could the white or it could just be a small synthetic stone for axes and such

i would try the brown followed up by the white if i were you personally, it did seem like he preferred using the oil stones though, with how dished they are
 

Slick

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I wanted to follow up after trying the stones out on a few knives. The combo stones released oil when submerged into water. I ended up trying them out but did not enjoy the feel while using them, so they will likely not be used on my knives. The brownish stone was a soaking stone, producing an immense amount of mud during use and was noticeably dished after 2 knives. After browsing a few websites to find a one similar, I'm wondering if could it be a King 800.

The chipped red stone and white stone are splash and go water stones. I don't have any guesses as to the identification of those ones yet. No problem with their use, other than the poor surface conditions. Currently, I am planning on getting an Atoma 140 to flatten stones, however I would hate to potentially wear out a pricier diamond stone on an unknown stone. Is there a recommended way to resurface and flatten the chipped red stone more quickly and efficiently than to use an Atoma 140?
 

Kawa

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SiC powder...
Its cheap and you can use it for more of your stones anyway. So it wont be a let down. It's doing the same as flattening, but also resurfaces the stone. Giving them back their original feeling. A must for those stones that glaze after using them a while
You can buy it in coarse, medium and fine. Depending on what gritt wetstone you want to flatten/resurface.

You do need a hardened glass plate or a flat ceramic tile with it though...
And it's a little bit more impractical in use then a flattening stone..
I find it a little bit slower then using a flattening stone, but I also read that others find it quicker 🤷‍♂️
 

DHunter86

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One thing to note if you're using SiC powder, don't pour the remnants down your pipes / drain as this would lead to serious clogging over time.
 

Slick

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Thanks for the suggestion and tips. I had not learned about SiC powder yet but sounds like a no brainer to pick up. I ordered some very coarse grit (F60) powder and will give it a go tomorrow.
 

Slick

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I wanted to come back and thank you again for the suggestion for the SiC powder. It took a good bit longer than I had anticipated to get through the hard glazed surface, but the stones surfaces feel more consistent now so it was well worth it. A few odd things came from the resurfacing though. It turns out that red one, with fresh surfaces, actually takes a soak and is not a splash and go as it had seemed. The white one kicked off an odor after I got through the discolored and hardened surface. It also seems to absorb some water, but only in the center of the stone. I'm guessing I should keep going on the white stone to get a consistent reaction to water on the entirety of the surface. Am I correct with that assumption?

I still haven't been able to identify the three larger stones (white, red, reddish-brown). But they all share nearly identical dimensions of 8-1/8" x 2-1/2" x 1-1/4" so I'm thinking they're all from the same manufacturer/series.
 

Kawa

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I wanted to come back and thank you again for the suggestion for the SiC powder. It took a good bit longer than I had anticipated to get through the hard glazed surface, but the stones surfaces feel more consistent now so it was well worth it. A few odd things came from the resurfacing though. It turns out that red one, with fresh surfaces, actually takes a soak and is not a splash and go as it had seemed. The white one kicked off an odor after I got through the discolored and hardened surface. It also seems to absorb some water, but only in the center of the stone. I'm guessing I should keep going on the white stone to get a consistent reaction to water on the entirety of the surface. Am I correct with that assumption?

I still haven't been able to identify the three larger stones (white, red, reddish-brown). But they all share nearly identical dimensions of 8-1/8" x 2-1/2" x 1-1/4" so I'm thinking they're all from the same manufacturer/series.
👍 glad i could help.

With the soaking part I'm afraid I can't help you.
I don't have any real soakers to confirm the reaction will change after a long or short soak..
 

M1k3

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The stone with an odor, does it smell kind of chemically? Like epoxy or brake cleaner?
 
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