The Washita Thread

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Desert Rat

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Lets discuss the Washita here. History, sharpening experiences or sharing pictures of your stones.

I'm not an expert on Washita's or any stone for that matter but I know enough that I would like to dispel a very common myth that is perpetuated by some self proclaimed experts that should know better if they had half the experience they claim.

One of the things you will hear is the Lilly White is the finest of the Washita's.
Lily White was a grade of stone that checked all the boxes for purity of color and free from all defects, uniformity. It was further graded by hardness, fine, coarse, medium or speed. They can be found in coarse grades as well as fine.

Some good information on Washita's and Arks can be found in some of the old geological surveys of Arkansas.

Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Arkansas - Arkansas Geological Survey, Geological Survey of Arkansas - Google Books
 

cotedupy

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Well I'll play! Been feeling a lot of love for novaculite stones recently, and my recently acquired cheap-old-ebay stone is remarkable...

I would have been happy enough just to have a little bit of sharpening history, as I understand the original Pike-Norton mine hasn't been operational for a while, but it's a genuinely excellent sharpening stone. Very fast, and with a massive range of effective grits - it can probably be used anything from 1-5k+ at a very random guess. Though one impression I get is that the 'speed' doesn't change much; used coarsely it's slower than the 1Ks I've used, but toward the top end it's a lot quicker than 5Ks. (Dunno if that's just me - I'm very new to these stones.)

Anyway I've used this stone pretty much every day since I got it, in what I will loosely term a 'professional' capacity. It obviates a number of my synthetic stones.

IMG-1406.jpg


IMG-1394.jpg
 

cotedupy

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I received another dirty, ebay special today, which I’m fairly certain is also an old Washita. I was wondering if DR, or any other experts, could shed any light on the colour differences between the two...?

First pic shows it wet after cleaning. 2nd dry after a bit of lapping (hence the whiter appearance), next to the first one. 3rd is a phone light shone through the new, dark red / brown stone. 4th is through the previous, light yellow / beige stone.

2745A4D1-5E93-425B-B79A-B7AFE2EA83BC.jpeg

271E2C83-A1E6-4213-A723-588546B2C78B.jpeg

DA47FCC0-8BD1-48C4-A895-EA44DA40612B.jpeg

331E0017-23D6-48CF-8420-921238F2E570.jpeg
 
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cotedupy

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Nice stones!
I think the majority of vintage Washita's were white. Even the rosy red was mostly white so what we are seeing is old oil in the stone.
Dirty stone.

Over night in Simple Green.
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2m1fFg1]

A couple of weeks in Simple Green.
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2m5fG6h]

Ah cheers, nice pics to show the progression. I did actually do a soak in degreaser last night. Initiall just for a few hours, and it has noticeably lightened the colour. So yes I think will get to somewhere near white with longer.

A really interesting thing happened to my Turkish Stone which I soaked at the same time. I shall post some pics...
 

Desert Rat

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Norton released some Washita's last year. Norton is setting on a closed mine that is not mined out, but I don't believe them stones came from their mine. They appeared to be the colored Washita's. Probably from the same source as the old Smith's.

The colored Washita's are mentioned in one of the old geological surveys of Arkansas. They had no market and in typical government fashion they claimed that the stone was fine.

Here are two colored Washita's with a vintage Norton between them. The highly figured Washita wears like a weathered hard wood stump with the white being harder than the colored portion. I would lean towards a less figured one like the one at the top. They are fast stones with tooth that I really like for some of my knifes, they lack the range of the vintage Nortons though.

Despite the inferior quality of the colored Washita's I would trip over a pile of soft Arks to pick one up.

 

schutzen-jager

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i am probably wrong but , i was always taught that the hardest + finest stones were black + the white ones were a medium grit -
 

Desert Rat

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Here are some of my sharpening stones. I just don't use them much anymore. I use the Worksharp as it is faster. The long black one was my father's grandfather. It is old.
View attachment 138291
Wow, what a nice collection!
Are they labeled? Looks like the third one from the left is a dark translucent?
 

Desert Rat

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i am probably wrong but , i was always taught that the hardest + finest stones were black + the white ones were a medium grit -
Arks can't be judged by color alone. There is some inconsistency in the blacks but it's kind of an on going debate in which is finer, a black or translucent.
 

cotedupy

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I think it doesn‘t really matter where I ask this question so I might as well do it here:
Does any of the members in the german speaking part of Europe know a good substitute for Simple green?

Oh sorry! I should have mentioned this in my message - Any water-based degreaser will do, ime. Simple green is nice because it doesn't smell like it's going to kill you, and works just as well as anything else. But even the really hardcore motor engine ones don't stay in the stone and affect it.
 

Steampunk

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I think it doesn‘t really matter where I ask this question so I might as well do it here:
Does any of the members in the german speaking part of Europe know a good substitute for Simple green?

I would recommend a strong, automotive-grade degreaser.

Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD is an excellent one, and can be found in EU automotive detailing shops that sell Bilt-Hamber. There is also the 1Z Einszett/Nextzett W99 Industrie Reiniger, which is a German product, and also very good. I believe this can be purchased on Amazon in Germany, but can also be found in online auto detailing stores.

Both are vastly superior in effectiveness to Simple Green, in my experience, and are more dilutable. You won't need to, and shouldn't use them neat. Neither smell bad.

Hope this helps.
 

Desert Rat

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I think it doesn‘t really matter where I ask this question so I might as well do it here:
Does any of the members in the german speaking part of Europe know a good substitute for Simple green?
I have wondered if a citrus based cleaner wouldn't do the same thing. Not sure...

I didn't see the other answers as I was typing. I think they have it covered.
 

cotedupy

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Yes, it is a translucent. My black is finer than my translucent.

I have more stones but they are probably in my hunting gear and out in my shop.

Seriously nice! Is your great grandfather's one a black ark too? That's an incredible looking stone.
 

cotedupy

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I would recommend a strong, automotive-grade degreaser.

Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD is an excellent one, and can be found in EU automotive detailing shops that sell Bilt-Hamber. There is also the 1Z Einszett/Nextzett W99 Industrie Reiniger, which is a German product, and also very good. I believe this can be purchased on Amazon in Germany, but can also be found in online auto detailing stores.

Both are vastly superior in effectiveness to Simple Green, in my experience, and are more dilutable. You won't need to, and shouldn't use them neat. Neither smell bad.

Hope this helps.

Haha! Snap. Yeah I've used proper engine degreaser with good effect, and even ones that smell rubbish don't stay in the stone like that if you put them in water for 15 mins after. (Though I did find SG to work just as well when I've used it).
 

Steampunk

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Haha! Snap. Yeah I've used proper engine degreaser with good effect, and even ones that smell rubbish don't stay in the stone like that if you put them in water for 15 mins after. (Though I did find SG to work just as well when I've used it).

Surfex HD in particular is a very free-rinsing product. As you said, these are not going to hang around in the stone if properly rinsed or soaked in a bucket of pure water after.
 
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Oh sorry! I should have mentioned this in my message - Any water-based degreaser will do, ime. Simple green is nice because it doesn't smell like it's going to kill you, and works just as well as anything else. But even the really hardcore motor engine ones don't stay in the stone and affect it.
I would recommend a strong, automotive-grade degreaser.

Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD is an excellent one, and can be found in EU automotive detailing shops that sell Bilt-Hamber. There is also the 1Z Einszett/Nextzett W99 Industrie Reiniger, which is a German product, and also very good. I believe this can be purchased on Amazon in Germany, but can also be found in online auto detailing stores.

Both are vastly superior in effectiveness to Simple Green, in my experience, and are more dilutable. You won't need to, and shouldn't use them neat. Neither smell bad.

Hope this helps.

Thanks guys! I think I will order the Nextzett W99 and try it on my recent acquisition once it’s here.
 

Desert Rat

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Yes, it is a translucent. My black is finer than my translucent.

I have more stones but they are probably in my hunting gear and out in my shop.
That has been my experience also, the black being slightly finer. I do think the translucents are faster though.
Either way translucent or black they are both better than I am so I will never get all they have to offer.
 

cotedupy

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I logged on to Facebook for the first time in a while the other day to find someone had posted this on an Aussie woodwork group. I hope clever Mr. Zuckerberg and his fancy algorithms throw up more of the same next time I'm there...

IMG_2417.jpg
 

captaincaed

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I looked up Chagrin Deerlick stones yesterday, and a woodworker compared them and others like somewhat unfavorably to Washita. Said they're like a second tier Washita. Not bad, just not as good. Haven't found much more info so far. Not sure if Queer Creek was mentioned.

 

captaincaed

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Here it's compared directly to a Deerlick.
Sounds like it actually might be nice for a kitchen knife, esp softer steel.
 
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Here it's compared directly to a Deerlick.
Sounds like it actually might be nice for a kitchen knife, esp softer steel.

Yeah I will probably have to get one to try. The price is right. I am also going to buy some Arkansas slip stones unless someone can talk me out of it. They wear so slowly anyway if you are just using them to finish razors, then what does it matter? They usually go for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a bench stone of the same surface area.
 

Steampunk

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How do the Queer Creek oil stones compare to Washitas?

Queer Creek are not Novaculite. These are Sandstone grinding stones from Southern Ohio, that some roughly estimate around 600-2000 grit.

Queer Creek Ohio Blue | TomoNagura.Com | Keith V. Johnson

These are a very different animal to a Washita. They have a lower and narrower cutting band than a Washita; not as much head-room for refinement. Closest I could compare them to is a Binsui in terms of how they cut, but they aren't as good at wide/single bevels as Binsui. Edge character is also a little different than Binsui (Not quite as smooth; a little rougher feeling. Kind of like how SiC edges feel different than AlOx edges at the same grit.), but 'sharpness' is in a similar range.

Interesting stones. They cut a little faster on some steels, but the edges aren't as keen as Soft Arks.
 
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