Info on old Hard Arkansas stone

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pgugger

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I recently got this old-looking 4” x 2” x 1” Norton Hard Arkansas oil stone from an estate sale and am wondering if anyone has any more info on it. It came in a fitted wooden box, maybe mahogany. A quick search online pulls up info on Hard Arkansas stones and it seems to be one of the standard categories that are still available, but I am not sure how old it is or if there is anything special about it. I’m also curious what this might be good for... finishing tools I suppose... what about knives or razors?

The stone is a little lighter in color than the photos show.
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HumbleHomeCook

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Man, that almost looks like a Translucent but the label makes it clear. I can't tell ya when it was sold but 30 years or so back, there were some really good stones being put out. I mean, there still is, but I think that in the broader sense, standards are not where they used to be. There just isn't as much access as there used to be.

The Hard Ark is one I just never really warmed up to but they are really nice stones. I just preferred the soft to Black or Translucent transition. It's a finishing stone, and while others will have differing opinions, I'm an advocate for using mineral oil with them.

I sharpened/finished my western-style knives on Arks for years. Work well for pocket knives with simpler steels and I know a lot of wood workers like them.

Cool stone.
 
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stringer

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It would work great for finishing razors. It's a nice find with a good label and a cool original wood case. It's pretty old. It would do well in a ebay auction if you wanted to go that route.
 

Mr.Wizard

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Man, that almost looks like a Translucent but the label makes it clear.
I am fairly certain I read that for Norton the "Translucent" differentiator was not used initially, so if this is old enough it could very well be what would later have been labeled Translucent. I'll try to find my source to back that up.
 

Mr.Wizard

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@HumbleHomeCook Okay, not the source I was thinking of but you can see "Hard Arkansas" labels on all these vintage translucent stones from Keith V Johnson's collection:

 

HumbleHomeCook

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@HumbleHomeCook Okay, not the source I was thinking of but you can see "Hard Arkansas" labels on all these vintage translucent stones from Keith V Johnson's collection:

Thank you.
 

cotedupy

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Nice find! I've been reading / learning a bit about old Norton Arks recently, and yep - as others have already said - wouldn't have been labelled 'translucent' back in the day. Shine a torch through it and you should be able to see.

It's quite old - you have Behr-Manning written on the stone's label and not Norton Bear, which I believe puts it pre the early 50s (though others here will know more).
 

pgugger

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Wow, thanks everyone! This is great information. Light definitely passes through so I think it might in fact be a Translucent. It sound like it’s probably from 1930-1950 but I’ll do a little more digging to see what else I can find, and I still need to follow some of the links you guys provided. I may also give a try with my kamisori. Really cool!

Not planning to sell now but also curious how much it might be worth.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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Yep, that's a translucent.

I don't know on value. I do know there are collectors out there. A new one in that size on Dan's Whetstones is $130USD.
 

cotedupy

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Norton acquired Behr Manning in 1931, so post 1930.
Ah, good to know!

(Do you know if I was right when I said I thought they dropped 'Behr-Manning' from the label on the stone and moved to 'Norton Bear' sometime around the early 50s? Or have I misremembered something in that regard...?)
 

Desert Rat

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Ah, good to know!

(Do you know if I was right when I said I thought they dropped 'Behr-Manning' from the label on the stone and moved to 'Norton Bear' sometime around the early 50s? Or have I misremembered something in that regard...?)
Not sure, sounds about right though.
 
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