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cotedupy

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Yuck. I’ll bet all those dirty dirt stones made a mess all over your house. How well do they compare against a more modern and advanced piece of technology like Sharp Pebble?

I’m totally not jealous btw.


I've not used Sharp Pebble specifically, but assuming they're a similar affair to other synthetic waterstones, here are handful of random thoughts...

Almost all natural stones are based on silica as the abrasive, which isn't as hard as the Aluminium Oxide or Silicon Carbide in synthetic stones. This means that natural stones tend to be a little slower.

There are certain circumstances where that doesn't necessarily hold true; Coticules, Turkish, and Washtias can all be a fair bit quicker than comparable level synthetic stones.

Natural stones are pretty much always going to be harder than synthetic stones, not many of them self slurry. And that might make them a little more difficult to use, or at least take a little practice to understand. Though they wear considerably slower than the majority of synthetic stones.

Most historic natural stones are relatively fine. Again there are a few exceptions, but coarse natural stones tend not to be all that good in comparison to coarse synths (imo). The majority of the stones in this thread would be finishing stones for either knives or razors.

Natural stones often have a wider range than synthetic stones. Depending on how you use it, a natural stone might do the work of 2, 3 or 4 synthetic stones.

I do use synths, though not a massive amount any more, except when doing heavy repair work, and the reason for that is: the Washita. Washitas are flat out extraordinary, and can work from the mid to high 100s up to the mid 1000s in a single stone, no need for a progression. For sharpening knives I probably use Washitas as much as all the other types of stones put together.

---

There are obviously a about a billion other things, and different types are different from each other, not everything here would be suitable for knives.
 

cotedupy

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* opens backpack *
* follows around like a lost puppy *


Haha! I was quite pleased with this haul certainly. Some super rare things for the collection, a handful of unusual cotis, massive Thuri out of the blue, and a pretty good hit rate on buying-grubby-stones-and-hoping-for-a-Charnley.
 

Mr Kooby Shemayrew

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I've not used Sharp Pebble specifically, but assuming they're a similar affair to other synthetic waterstones, here are handful of random thoughts...

Almost all natural stones are based on silica as the abrasive, which isn't as hard as the Aluminium Oxide or Silicon Carbide in synthetic stones. This means that natural stones tend to be a little slower.

There are certain circumstances where that doesn't necessarily hold true; Coticules, Turkish, and Washtias can all be a fair bit quicker than comparable level synthetic stones.

Natural stones are pretty much always going to be harder than synthetic stones, not many of them self slurry. And that might make them a little more difficult to use, or at least take a little practice to understand. Though they wear considerably slower than the majority of synthetic stones.

Most historic natural stones are relatively fine. Again there are a few exceptions, but coarse natural stones tend not to be all that good in comparison to coarse synths (imo). The majority of the stones in this thread would be finishing stones for either knives or razors.

Natural stones often have a wider range than synthetic stones. Depending on how you use it, a natural stone might do the work of 2, 3 or 4 synthetic stones.

I do use synths, though not a massive amount any more, except when doing heavy repair work, and the reason for that is: the Washita. Washitas are flat out extraordinary, and can work from the mid to high 100s up to the mid 1000s in a single stone, no need for a progression. For sharpening knives I probably use Washitas as much as all the other types of stones put together.

---

There are obviously a about a billion other things, and different types are different from each other, not everything here would be suitable for knives.

As an Arkaholic without a W, I’m going to politely ask you to not mention the W word…..





…..What does a high quality 8x3 W go for? And where would I find one?
 

deltaplex

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As an Arkaholic without a W, I’m going to politely ask you to not mention the W word…..





…..What does a high quality 8x3 W go for? And where would I find one?
I don't know that I've ever seen a 3" wide Washita, ~2" is typical for the 6"and 8" length stones. Labeled Norton versions will run over $100 pretty much every time, Pike labeled will fetch more. Unlabeled you can find for a decent amount less if you know what you're looking for (in the US, at least) and can see through the grime.
 

cotedupy

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As an Arkaholic without a W, I’m going to politely ask you to not mention the W word…..





…..What does a high quality 8x3 W go for? And where would I find one?


Haha!

I’m afraid though that exactly as @deltaplex said above - old Washitas were pretty much invariably cut to ‘normal’ benchstone sizes; 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 x 2”. Occasionally 9 or 10” stones come up, but you just don’t really get anything wider than 2”.

In better news - I was probably going to sell the 8x2 labelled Pike No.1 in the post above, and I wasn’t going to ask ‘market rates’ for it, it’ll be a bit under $100 US. Plus it’s a very good, fast stone - everything about what makes old Washitas great.

(I didn’t mean for this thread to be a sales pitch, but ping me a message if you’re interested, and I won’t list on BST.)
 

mozg31337

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What a great thread, thanks for sharing! you are so experienced / lucky to find the gems out of the eBay/auction sites. What's your secret I wonder? I have purchased a few stones from eBay and they were all synthetic crap full of oil, which are totally useless to me. They all came in wooden boxes full of grime and nastiness. How do I determine if a stone is natural?
 

deltaplex

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What a great thread, thanks for sharing! you are so experienced / lucky to find the gems out of the eBay/auction sites. What's your secret I wonder? I have purchased a few stones from eBay and they were all synthetic crap full of oil, which are totally useless to me. They all came in wooden boxes full of grime and nastiness. How do I determine if a stone is natural?
Once I started looking for certain aspects, you can pick things out from pictures that give you a more informed gamble on those grimy ones. Whether it be the box, or a color differentiation where the label used to be, or how it looks on the ends/in busted off corners, faint pattern under the grime layer, etc. These days I tend to avoid completely masked in grime ones and I can spot an AlOx/SiC stone pretty easily with even a few breaks in the coating.
 

Desert Rat

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Only used a couple of times so far, but they're quite like trans arks. Not quite as fine perhaps, but with nicer feedback, less hard and dead. Very good results on a razor despite the size. (The larger stone there is 100x40, the smaller is 90x30).
That is pretty much how I envisioned them being. I have seen other examples that had more color than is found in most hard arks.

I think there are some advantages to small razor hones. At least my edges are no worse off for using them but bigger is faster.

This gentlemen uses a real small black to finish @ 3 min in.

 

Desert Rat

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Haha!

I’m afraid though that exactly as @deltaplex said above - old Washitas were pretty much invariably cut to ‘normal’ benchstone sizes; 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 x 2”. Occasionally 9 or 10” stones come up, but you just don’t really get anything wider than 2”.

In better news - I was probably going to sell the 8x2 labelled Pike No.1 in the post above, and I wasn’t going to ask ‘market rates’ for it, it’ll be a bit under $100 US. Plus it’s a very good, fast stone - everything about what makes old Washitas great.

(I didn’t mean for this thread to be a sales pitch, but ping me a message if you’re interested, and I won’t list on BST.)
Somebody long ago figured out that 2" was the optimum width for most woodworking tools to span the width of the stone so that the center of the stone wouldn't hollow out. They could live with a certain amount of dishing. Some worked with lots of dishing. Not an entirely bad thing as it gives a plane blade a convex edge profile rather than a straight one with no corner to mare the work if set correctly.
 

Desert Rat

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Oh alright then... there were of course some more cotis too ;)

An interesting one from a strange, old, unknown vein. Fine, but quite fast. A lovely fine grit knife stone, but with some of the usual trickery will probably be quite good for razors too.

View attachment 193910

View attachment 193911


This stone is medium fine and very hard. Not so good on knives, will be better for razors I think. Though it is a half n half natural combi, so the BBW backing will be excellent whatever you throw at it:

View attachment 193909


And a nice big 7x2. This is a little coarser than the previous three, with some serious teeth on knife edges.

View attachment 193913

View attachment 193912


Something a bit odd about the four cotis in my haul is that three of them have pretty much no BBW backing. Don't often see this.

View attachment 193914
The surface is sure interesting on that first Coti. Flakey like I see with novaculite and it has crazing too.
She sure is pretty...
 

Mr Kooby Shemayrew

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Haha!

I’m afraid though that exactly as @deltaplex said above - old Washitas were pretty much invariably cut to ‘normal’ benchstone sizes; 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 x 2”. Occasionally 9 or 10” stones come up, but you just don’t really get anything wider than 2”.

In better news - I was probably going to sell the 8x2 labelled Pike No.1 in the post above, and I wasn’t going to ask ‘market rates’ for it, it’ll be a bit under $100 US. Plus it’s a very good, fast stone - everything about what makes old Washitas great.

(I didn’t mean for this thread to be a sales pitch, but ping me a message if you’re interested, and I won’t list on BST.)

I REALLY NEED a cooling off period. I literally just had a new and expensive rock arrive last night.

I do have a hard black Ark 8x3x1 that I will be looking to trade for stuff here soon though.
 

cotedupy

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What a great thread, thanks for sharing! you are so experienced / lucky to find the gems out of the eBay/auction sites. What's your secret I wonder? I have purchased a few stones from eBay and they were all synthetic crap full of oil, which are totally useless to me. They all came in wooden boxes full of grime and nastiness. How do I determine if a stone is natural?


Some thoughts on this, and what I do generally when buying ebay stones...

It is really just a matter of practice, getting your eye in, and weighing up odds like @deltaplex said. And even then there are going to be misses depending on how much you gamble. There are probably a few different categories that ebay stones fall into for me, and I tend to mix up how I buy things:


Positively ID-ed / labelled stones that I really want. I have a few of these, like a labelled Pike Lily White, and the White Tam above that I've paid the best part of 100 quid for. Still a bit less than they're worth probably, especially the WTOS, but not cheap. Basically no risk here.

Nice stones that are pretty easy to ID from the pics. Lots of cotis might fall into this category, Washitas, Tams, and the two prettily patterned Dalmores and Yellow Lakes above for instance. There will be other people bidding on these but there are enough of them out there, especially in the UK, that you can nab some good bargains. And we're also helped because the ebay international shipping program is a naked scam, and will often price out people elsewhere when bidding on a single stone. Also little risk really.

Stones that maybe have a small tell, but not really sure. Here's where it gets interesting, because the stones are usually cheap and you can find some real bargains under the grime. But it takes a long time looking through ebay listings (cos there's a lot of rubbish out there), and some practice or expertise. A few of the Charnleys and the Idwal above would've been like this, as well as the Saxonians*. A fair bit of risk here, and there will always be fails.

Completely dirty stones that you can't tell anything about. This is a complete crapshoot really and there are tons of stones on ebay like this. I throw some in occasionally but wouldn't bid more than about a tenner, and only if they have a nice box, so at least you get a usable SiC or AlOx stone and box that can be sanded, oiled, and maybe used for something else in the future. The failure rate is high.



All in all - the best value things are going to be in category 2. Or after a bit of practice, putting some hours in to find them, and accepting the risk - category 3. I wouldn't really advise going for stuff in category 4.

And to offer one tip... always look out for unusually shaped or sized stones. You're usually on a hiding to nothing buying oil-caked 8x2s.


---


* I should note that I was reasonably confident that the one with the label scrap was a Saxonian, and though I spent a long time poring over the ebay pics, looking at box and clasp style &c., I was far from sure about the other. The stones are very rare, and I've only seen the Escher label once before on an old post on B&B, so it took a pretty good eye and memory. But I wasn't alone... the other bidder who'd also noticed was @ables, so it was nice that the smaller stone also turned out to be one, as it's gonna be on its way to him soon :).
 
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cotedupy

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There's probably actually one other category now that I think about it... things I can tell are slates, that I get because they're very cheap and might be a Thuringian.

Though out of 15 or 20 of these I've bought over time only two have been Thuris. But the downside here isn't massive, because a ten quid slate whetstone is usually perfectly serviceable and quite good value. But again - if you're in the US and buying from the UK then shipping costs make this kind of gamble a no go.
 
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cotedupy

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In the OP I think I had pretty much exactly 50 stones there, and when I went back to look at the 'fails' last night, there were seven which I had discarded and not bothered to clean yet. This isn't a bad miss rate; it's around what I'd expect given the amount of risky lots I go in for, and it would've been higher a year ago, when I'd had less experience with this kind of thing.

IMG-0495.jpg



Except on closer inspection I think perhaps I was a little hasty in ignoring a couple of them. I have a hunch these might be another couple of Dalmore Blues, that I had dismissed as SiC:

IMG-0500.jpg



And indeed; after a bit of a cleanup and lapping, we've got a pair of very nice (but unpatterned) Dalmores. Which I'm particularly pleased about because the two Dalmores in the thread above were really quite good - better than the one I had before. These are really rather good mid-grit natural stones, a little bit coarser and softer than Hindostans, in the region of 3-4k.

IMG-0517.jpg


IMG-0519.JPG



So that was nice!

The other nice thing was that of the five remaining stones, only one was a cheap and crappy SiC stone (good SiC stones are great, but there's a lot of crap ones too), the others are all Indias. I haven't cleaned them up fully yet, but they include a massive 9x2 Norton stamped Medium, another 9x1.5 stamped Norton I think Fine, and an 8x2 Norton stamped Coarse and Fine.

IMG-0511.JPG


IMG-0510.JPG


IMG-0521.JPG


IMG-0520.JPG



:)
 
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deltaplex

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Those medium Indias are just so good! They're basically the only thig I use for bevel setting after bread knifing/thinning and I can't imagine another option being superior for that.
 

cotedupy

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Those medium Indias are just so good! They're basically the only thig I use for bevel setting after bread knifing/thinning and I can't imagine another option being superior for that.

Strong agree!

The CnFs are excellent because they're combis, but as a single stone - the Medium undoubtedly steals the show, one of my very favourite whetstones ever. I had very generously given my last one away to another member here, so was really very happy when I scrubbed some of the gunk off that one and saw the stamp peeping through. :)

Once I've cleaned it up properly I might do a side-by-side comparison with the SG500...
 

M1k3

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I'm more into the The Stone Temple myself. To each their own though.
 

Legion74

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Some thoughts on this, and what I do generally when buying ebay stones...

It is really just a matter of practice, getting your eye in, and weighing up odds like @deltaplex said. And even then there are going to be misses depending on how much you gamble. There are probably a few different categories that ebay stones fall into for me, and I tend to mix up how I buy things:


Positively ID-ed / labelled stones that I really want. I have a few of these, like a labelled Pike Lily White, and the White Tam above that I've paid the best part of 100 quid for. Still a bit less than they're worth probably, especially the WTOS, but not cheap. Basically no risk here.

Nice stones that are pretty easy to ID from the pics. Lots of cotis might fall into this category, Washitas, Tams, and the two prettily patterned Dalmores and Yellow Lakes above for instance. There will be other people bidding on these but there are enough of them out there, especially in the UK, that you can nab some good bargains. And we're also helped because the ebay international shipping program is a naked scam, and will often price out people elsewhere when bidding on a single stone. Also little risk really.

Stones that maybe have a small tell, but not really sure. Here's where it gets interesting, because the stones are usually cheap and you can find some real bargains under the grime. But it takes a long time looking through ebay listings (cos there's a lot of rubbish out there), and some practice or expertise. A few of the Charnleys and the Idwal above would've been like this, as well as the Saxonians*. A fair bit of risk here, and there will always be fails.

Completely dirty stones that you can't tell anything about. This is a complete crapshoot really and there are tons of stones on ebay like this. I throw some in occasionally but wouldn't bid more than about a tenner, and only if they have a nice box, so at least you get a usable SiC or AlOx stone and box that can be sanded, oiled, and maybe used for something else in the future. The failure rate is high.



All in all - the best value things are going to be in category 2. Or after a bit of practice, putting some hours in to find them, and accepting the risk - category 3. I wouldn't really advise going for stuff in category 4.

And to offer one tip... always look out for unusually shaped or sized stones. You're usually on a hiding to nothing buying oil-caked 8x2s.


---


* I should note that I was reasonably confident that the one with the label scrap was a Saxonian, and though I spent a long time poring over the ebay pics, looking at box and clasp style &c., I was far from sure about the other. The stones are very rare, and I've only seen the Escher label once before on an old post on B&B, so it took a pretty good eye and memory. But I wasn't alone... the other bidder who'd also noticed was @ables, so it was nice that the smaller stone also turned out to be one, as it's gonna be on its way to him soon :).
Another thing worth mentioning. Lately I've noticed a trend of sellers listing stones as "Natural", like it is a buzzword that they are using because they notice it makes the stones sell for more. Often they have no clue how to tell a synth from a natural stone.

Soooo.... If you are having trouble telling what the stone is from the pics it is worth taking a (small) risk when they claim it is natural. It could be something good under the gunk, or if it turns out to be a gunked up SIC or India that you don't want, you have grounds for a full or partial refund.

I got stung recently on a India in a nice box that was sold as a natural stone. After cleaning and a couple of messages the seller and ebay gave me enough money back that it eneded up being a fair price for an India in a nice box.
 

cotedupy

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I think the answer is "knowledge x obsession = rewards".

Haha, yeah that's about the gist of it! It's that third category that really takes the time and a bit of an eye - trying to win big and find a Charnley or a Tam for 15 quid that no one else had spotted. Doesn't happen all that often tbh. The whole thing is much easier in person, natural stones are quite distinctive in hand normally even if you can't tell exactly what they are.

Give a shout if there's any particular type of stone you might be after, now that I've sold a few and got some money back in my PP wallet I can start over again. We all know that PP money isn't real money and is just sitting there waiting for the right rock to come along ;).


Lately I've noticed a trend of sellers listing stones as "Natural", like it is a buzzword that they are using because they notice it makes the stones sell for more. Often they have no clue how to tell a synth from a natural stone.

Very true, and definitely worth watching. I don't think it's really done maliciously, but unless the ebay seller actually knows about and sells stones usually, then the word 'natural' should be taken with a massive fistful of salt!
 

ables

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Some thoughts on this, and what I do generally when buying ebay stones...

It is really just a matter of practice, getting your eye in, and weighing up odds like @deltaplex said. And even then there are going to be misses depending on how much you gamble. There are probably a few different categories that ebay stones fall into for me, and I tend to mix up how I buy things:


Positively ID-ed / labelled stones that I really want. I have a few of these, like a labelled Pike Lily White, and the White Tam above that I've paid the best part of 100 quid for. Still a bit less than they're worth probably, especially the WTOS, but not cheap. Basically no risk here.

Nice stones that are pretty easy to ID from the pics. Lots of cotis might fall into this category, Washitas, Tams, and the two prettily patterned Dalmores and Yellow Lakes above for instance. There will be other people bidding on these but there are enough of them out there, especially in the UK, that you can nab some good bargains. And we're also helped because the ebay international shipping program is a naked scam, and will often price out people elsewhere when bidding on a single stone. Also little risk really.

Stones that maybe have a small tell, but not really sure. Here's where it gets interesting, because the stones are usually cheap and you can find some real bargains under the grime. But it takes a long time looking through ebay listings (cos there's a lot of rubbish out there), and some practice or expertise. A few of the Charnleys and the Idwal above would've been like this, as well as the Saxonians*. A fair bit of risk here, and there will always be fails.

Completely dirty stones that you can't tell anything about. This is a complete crapshoot really and there are tons of stones on ebay like this. I throw some in occasionally but wouldn't bid more than about a tenner, and only if they have a nice box, so at least you get a usable SiC or AlOx stone and box that can be sanded, oiled, and maybe used for something else in the future. The failure rate is high.



All in all - the best value things are going to be in category 2. Or after a bit of practice, putting some hours in to find them, and accepting the risk - category 3. I wouldn't really advise going for stuff in category 4.

And to offer one tip... always look out for unusually shaped or sized stones. You're usually on a hiding to nothing buying oil-caked 8x2s.


---


* I should note that I was reasonably confident that the one with the label scrap was a Saxonian, and though I spent a long time poring over the ebay pics, looking at box and clasp style &c., I was far from sure about the other. The stones are very rare, and I've only seen the Escher label once before on an old post on B&B, so it took a pretty good eye and memory. But I wasn't alone... the other bidder who'd also noticed was @ables, so it was nice that the smaller stone also turned out to be one, as it's gonna be on its way to him soon :).

These Saxonian stones seem to be really rare outside of Germany! On the German razor forums there seem to be a few collectors. This was the first one I've identified in years for sale online and am really glad you noticed too! They seem like the OG novaculite type stone before arkansas stones were shipped back to Europe. I can only imagine the mine/deposit is much smaller than the massive amount of stone in arkansas.

I really like your buying stone online gamble breakdown. It really is just about accessing probability and your own value. I like you, kind of prefer the gamble of unknown stones. The problem is you often waste more money doing this! The types of stone I don't own yet always have biggest worth to me but has cost me. I've bought atleast a dozen dirty brown stones hoping they were Hindostans no luck, when It would of been better to just buy an IDed one.
 

cotedupy

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On the German razor forums there seem to be a few collectors.

Oh dear, I'm about to fall down a Google-translated-rabbit-hole aren't I! Any particularly good ones you'd recommend...?


They seem like the OG novaculite type stone before arkansas stones were shipped back to Europe. I can only imagine the mine/deposit is much smaller than the massive amount of stone in arkansas.

Yeah pretty tiny, and difficult to get to, hidden away in the Thuringian hills apparently. And as you say - production was presumeably just completely killed overnight with the introduction of imported Arkansas stone.

I'm sure you've read Peter's history of them, but for anyone else who's interested:

 

ables

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Oh dear, I'm about to fall down a Google-translated-rabbit-hole aren't I! Any particularly good ones you'd recommend...?




Yeah pretty tiny, and difficult to get to, hidden away in the Thuringian hills apparently. And as you say - production was presumeably just completely killed overnight with the introduction of imported Arkansas stone.

I'm sure you've read Peter's history of them, but for anyone else who's interested:


Here's the German razor hone rabbit hole:

One of the threads on the Troutstone/saxon/frankonian: Die etwas anderen Thüringer (Forelle und sächsischer Ölstein)

One post says they were marketed as "Nearly as hard and serviceable as an Arkansas stone" which has always stuck with me regarding trout stones haha.

I have read almost every post there and really enjoyed some of the unique opinions that are not exactly the same as talked about on English razor hone forums. There are some really unique stones posted that I likely will never get my hands on which is a tad depressing lol. Especially the stones found in the wild from the old mines.
 
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