The Washita Thread

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KingShapton

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My wife found a rug and light fixture for our dining room. But nothing cool. There was a bucket of old knives at one place. But nothing that I had to have.

View attachment 154039
But not so bad for a chance find. There are minimum at least 5 knives made of simple carbon steel, looks like old Forge craft or Ontario Old Hickory, then that should be 1095 if I remember correctly. Nothing exciting, but fun to play with. Much better than the average flea market rubbish box here in Germany.
 
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VICTOR J CREAZZI

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Still trying to get me head straight on this. Is Washita a defined mineral or layer, or a marketing/grading term that separates them from other novaculites?
 

HumbleHomeCook

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Still trying to get me head straight on this. Is Washita a defined mineral or layer, or a marketing/grading term that separates them from other novaculites?
Arkansas stones are categorized by density. The Washita's are the coarsest of the lineage. The quality Washita's are very hard to come by any more.
 
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But not so bad for a chance find. There are minimum at least 5 knives made of simple carbon steel, looks like Ontario Old Hickory, then that should be 1095 if I remember correctly. Nothing exciting, but fun to play with. Much better than the average flea market rubbish box here in Germany.
Tempting. But been there done that. I've got a bunch already. It takes something pretty special and it's gotta be cheap. That bucket was neither.



I tried an Arkansas labeled 'soft' that was much coarser than one that I have that I've always thought of as a Washita.
You really can't trust the labels. It varies so much across time periods and brands and quarries etc. My one definite old school washita is my favorite stone period. With pressure it cuts anything pretty quick. At least anything I have. The fanciest alloy in my collection is vg-10. But it can also finish in the 2-4k range. I wouldn't use it or a soft ark on razors, but there are definitely people who do. Easiest way to see how your stone will perform in relation to other novaculite is to measure the specific density with the displacement method. It's easier with grams. Since mass and volume of water are equal in metric. Weigh the stone dry. Then put water in a bowl on a scale sufficient to submerge the stone. Tare the scale. Dangle the stone completely into the water on a string or wire but don't let it touch the sides. The reading on the scale will tell you how much water is being displaced by the stone. Divide the dry mass by the mass of the displaced water. Generally, the coarser stones are less dense and softer. The classic washita stones had several grades. Lily white, which was white with no blemishes but could be soft or hard, coarse or fine. Then #1, #2, and #3. Each numbered grade was further graded hard or soft and/or coarse medium fine. There was a lot of variability. Other Arkansas stones started out being labelled just soft / hard. Later they added all of the other grades like surgical black, translucent, etc. Later releases of "washita" aren't from the same mines and don't have the same characteristics as the vintage stuff.
 
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cotedupy

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Staying with my sister for the week, checked out her local tool / antique shop yesterday, and found this 9x2 :)

IMG-3730.jpg


IMG-3752.jpg


After the Norton takeover in 1933 the standard offering of bench-size Washitas topped out at 8x2, so finding 9 or 10 inch stones is quite rare. This is likely an old Pike stone.

NB - that stone is *not* multicoloured - it'd be white as the driven snow if I left it in degreaser for half a year. Pretty much all old Washitas were pure white, or sometimes had small amounts of a kinda orange/pink blush, which occasionally can go through the whole stone.
 
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cotedupy

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Dipping my toe in the water. Hope it's a real washita. View attachment 154066
There are some people who use the term ‘Washita’ only to refer to stones produced from the Pike-Norton quarries, and might say that your stone is more similar to a soft ark. I’ve only ever used old P-N stones so can’t give you a first hand comparison, but it sounds plausible. Even softer P-N Washitas are quite hard, and it gives them a lot of range, and means you can work them to a much higher ‘grit’ level than the particle size might normally. You can tell the difference in hardness also by how few old Pike brand Soft Arkansas are still around in comparison to Pike Washitas, even though the latter were considerably more expensive. The soft arks have just got worn away over the years, whereas Washitas last a very long time.

But ‘Washita’ wasn’t a trademark. It was applied originally, in the early 19th century, to stones that were transported to market down the Ouachita river, and there were a number of quarries that produced them. In the 1890s Pike bought out the only other large company that marketed Washita stones (called George Reynolds I think). And then bought a number of the quarries; some if not all of the Sutton quarries, though there were others, and I doubt Pike bought all of them. What they did do is a very good job of monopolising the name Washita, and convincing everybody that PIKE WHETSTONES ARE THE BEST!

Smith’s who produced your stone were I think the first people after that to start marketing their own Washitas, not from the P-N quarries. Which I think makes your stone rather interesting. And obviously Smith’s, and Dan’s who also market a Washita, are well-respected companies that aren’t going to be turning out rubbish.

So yeah... it’s a ‘real’ Washita because that’s what they’ve called it. Just not a Pike-Norton one, so probably slightly different in use, and some people make a distinction. As I mentioned above - when new the P-N Washitas were almost always completely white, whereas other companies’ versions often had pretty colours and patterns like yours.

TBH I’d love to have a NOS Smith’s Washita like that to compare, so gimme a shout if you come across another! And keen to hear your thoughts when you use. (Note that it’ll be better with oil).
 
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cotedupy

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The link posted by @Bear above is a *very* good and well-researched explanation and history of Washita stones for anyone interested.

And for anyone wanting to get particularly geeky about Pike-Norton and American stones in general - I compiled links to quite a lot of old publications and price lists here:
Thread 'Depository of Information about Pike / Norton / American Novaculite'
Depository of Information about Pike / Norton / American Novaculite

Particularly good is the 1890 Geological Survey, which is probably the most in-depth look at natural sharpening stones ever written. And the various old Pike and Norton pamphlets are worth a read too; ‘How to Sharpen’, ‘History of Sharpening Stones’, ‘How to Select a Whetstone’ &c. Even if they are partial to the relentless self-aggrandisement and promotion that I mentioned above!
 

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Back in the 70's and living in Dallas, I was a virgin knife guy, but interested in all things knife. So naturally I went to Hot Springs Arkansas for several days in my trusty VW.. I just drove around and went to the mines...Many were a two man crew of "old men", probably in their 60's... First thing I noticed is that they were blasting with black powder... They said higher explosives shattered, not lifted.. Then they drilled into the giant boulders, and used wedges to split them into manageable pieces... Then into trucks to the factories where they were imbedded in grout, and a gigantic frame of parallel steel plates immersed in silicon carbide slurry spent a couple of days slicing the stone to size, at least one size, thickness.
Lots of fun, learned a lot, and the miners gave me some chunks I could carry. Say 50-75#.
So recently, 5 years ago, I discovered the chunks in my barn, and I went to the Houston Gem and Mineral society lab, and made a bunch of sharpening stones...
I forge some so a natural outgrowth of the whole knife thing.
In any event, the stones are around soft Arkansas or Washita in particle size, and a lot of fun to use with the knowledge of the whole experience.
Maybe someone should organize a trip to Japan to the Jnat mines.... Surely would be a kick... Jnat and Chef's alley in Osaka , or Tokyo..
Then of course the fish market, and tuna swords.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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There are some people who use the term ‘Washita’ only to refer to stones produced from the Pike-Norton quarries, and might say that your stone is more similar to a soft ark. I’ve only ever used old P-N stones can’t give you a first hand comparison, but it sounds plausible. Even softer P-N Washitas are quite hard, and it gives them a lot of range, and means you can work them to a much higher ‘grit’ level than the particle size might normally. You can tell the difference in hardness also by how few old Pike brand Soft Arkansas are still around in comparison to Pike Washitas, even though the latter were considerably more expensive. The soft arks have just got worn away over the years, whereas Washitas last a very long time.

But ‘Washita’ wasn’t a trademark. It was applied originally, in the early 19th century, to stones that were transported to market down the Ouachita river, and there were a number of quarries that produced them. In the 1890s Pike bought out the only other large company that marketed Washita stones (called George Reynolds I think). And then bought a number of the quarries; some if not all of the Sutton quarries, though there were others, and I doubt Pike bought all of them. What they did do is a very good job of monopolising the name Washita, and convincing everybody that PIKE BRAND ARE THE BEST!

Smith’s who produced your stone were I think the first people after that to start marketing their own Washitas, not from the P-N quarries. Which I think makes your stone rather interesting. And obviously Smith’s, and Dan’s who also market a Washita, are well-respected companies that aren’t going to be turning out rubbish.

So yeah... it’s a ‘real’ Washita because that’s what they’ve called it. Just not a Pike-Norton one, so might be slightly different in use, and some people make a distinction. As I mentioned above - when new the P-N Washitas were almost always completely white, whereas other companies’ versions often had pretty colours and patterns like yours.

TBH I’d love to have a NOS Smith’s Washita like that to compare, so gimme a shout if you come across another! And keen to hear your thoughts when you use. (Note that it’ll be better with oil).
Nice write up. Thank you! 👍
 

captaincaed

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There are some people who use the term ‘Washita’ only to refer to stones produced from the Pike-Norton quarries, and might say that your stone is more similar to a soft ark. I’ve only ever used old P-N stones can’t give you a first hand comparison, but it sounds plausible. Even softer P-N Washitas are quite hard, and it gives them a lot of range, and means you can work them to a much higher ‘grit’ level than the particle size might normally. You can tell the difference in hardness also by how few old Pike brand Soft Arkansas are still around in comparison to Pike Washitas, even though the latter were considerably more expensive. The soft arks have just got worn away over the years, whereas Washitas last a very long time.

But ‘Washita’ wasn’t a trademark. It was applied originally, in the early 19th century, to stones that were transported to market down the Ouachita river, and there were a number of quarries that produced them. In the 1890s Pike bought out the only other large company that marketed Washita stones (called George Reynolds I think). And then bought a number of the quarries; some if not all of the Sutton quarries, though there were others, and I doubt Pike bought all of them. What they did do is a very good job of monopolising the name Washita, and convincing everybody that PIKE BRAND ARE THE BEST!

Smith’s who produced your stone were I think the first people after that to start marketing their own Washitas, not from the P-N quarries. Which I think makes your stone rather interesting. And obviously Smith’s, and Dan’s who also market a Washita, are well-respected companies that aren’t going to be turning out rubbish.

So yeah... it’s a ‘real’ Washita because that’s what they’ve called it. Just not a Pike-Norton one, so might be slightly different in use, and some people make a distinction. As I mentioned above - when new the P-N Washitas were almost always completely white, whereas other companies’ versions often had pretty colours and patterns like yours.

TBH I’d love to have a NOS Smith’s Washita like that to compare, so gimme a shout if you come across another! And keen to hear your thoughts when you use. (Note that it’ll be better with oil).
This is the best thread on the forum right now. You all rock. Leaving quickly for work, but yes I'll update on how it works out.

Other fun stuff coming out of grandpa's garage. In bad need of cleaning, but I'm excited to get everything tunes up and ready for another generation.

0C5C52C9-1C3C-4D47-AFFA-7B54CD69AAD8.jpeg
 

cotedupy

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Cheers @HumbleHomeCook and @captaincaed (I just find the histories of old types of stones fascinating, so often spend a silly amount of time reading up about them! Plus of course - Washitas are genuinely excellent :))

—-

That Cco. hone looks cool too, I love the beautifully preserved label! Should also be an interesting stone; I have a few Cco. benchstones and they’re generally good quality examples of standard vitrified SiC, i.e. very useful, but relatively coarse. A razor hone though is going to be far finer than SiC stones normally are, so fun to try out.
 

cotedupy

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At the risk of making @KingShapton ’s head explode, and of slightly derailing the Washita thread to include other types of novaculite, here’s a dirty old stone I found *very* cheaply at a local market yesterday:

CE432C1F-3462-4513-A85B-BD93218E2F31.jpeg


From the feel and look of it I had an inkling what it might be. And indeed now cleaned up and flattened:

1C9A90A6-6ED7-428B-9F61-44ACF09C64A1.jpeg


51A68B25-4ADF-45F9-B094-F74808B8551A.jpeg


For those not au fait with some of the world’s more recherche sharpening stones - that’s a Charnley Forest, a very pretty green stone from Leicestershire, often with distinctive red stripes through them. They’re very fine and quite slow; far more comparable to a hard black or translucent Arkansas than a Washita, and nothing like as useful for most kitchen knives as the latter, unless you’re looking for super refined 10k + finishes.

They haven’t been quarried probably for at least 100 years, after being replaced quite quickly by the Washita, which is equally hard wearing but far faster. Though recently were rediscovered by the straight razor community, and prices have exploded. That one above is a large and thick example at 270 x 47 x 28, and worth a pretty penny.
 
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cotedupy

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Here’s a contemporary account of the introduction of the Washita into the UK market:

‘All my father’s men used the “Charnley Forest”, a natural British stone resembling slate, and I have vivid memories of the incessant rubbing that was necessary before a keen edge on the tool could be obtained on them. They varied slightly in quality, but even the very best were dreadfully slow; and all demanded an abnormal amount of labour, to lighten which we sometimes applied fine emery powder to the surface. This quickened the process, but left a raw and unsatisfactory edge to the tool. Recourse to the grindstone was had immediately the sharpening bevel became wide.

In the year 1889 the “Washita”. An imported stone, appeared on the English market, and was hailed with delight by all woodworkers , who straightway discarded their “Charnley Forests” for ever. One old stone, that had till then been considered of supreme merit and priceless value, was then hawked round the workshop where I was serving a term of apprenticeship, and failed to find a purchaser at the proffered price of sixpence.’
 

cotedupy

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Damn you are a rock HOUND, every week you've got a new find. Serious congrats on the Charnley.
Haha, that CF was nothing more than blind luck! A lady selling various bits of kitchenware and trinketry happened to have got a load of tools from an old guy at the weekend. She said she maybe found half a dozen whetstones per year and they always sold very quickly, though she normally cleaned them up and asked more than £15.

Right place, right time, and a nice momento of a fun day out with my sister who I don’t get to see very often now that I’ve moved to Aus. (Though clearly I need to come back and raid the local markets on a more regular basis!)
 

KingShapton

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At the risk of making @KingShapton ’s head explode, and of slightly derailing the Washita thread to include other types of novaculite, here’s a dirty old stone I found *very* cheaply at a local market yesterday:

View attachment 154479

From the feel and look of it I had an inkling what it might be. And indeed now cleaned up and flattened:

View attachment 154480

View attachment 154481

For those not au fait with some of the world’s more recherche sharpening stones - that’s a Charnley Forest, a very pretty green stone from Leicestershire, often with distinctive red stripes through them. They’re very fine and quite slow; far more comparable to a hard black or translucent Arkansas than a Washita, and nothing like as useful for most kitchen knives as the latter, unless you’re looking for super refined 10k + finishes.

They haven’t been quarried probably for at least 100 years, after being replaced quite quickly by the Washita, which is equally hard wearing but far faster. Though recently were rediscovered by the straight razor community, and prices have exploded. That one above is a large and thick example at 270 x 47 x 28, and worth a pretty penny.
Oh man, now you're going for it ...

My head is still in one piece, but I'm reaching the limit of the pressure load.

All jokes aside - congratulations on this beautiful stone of its impressive and enviable size. "Mr. Lucky Hand" again, you should really think twice about prospecting for gold or precious stones in Australia!

..... I am almost afraid of what you will find when you visit your old home ..... no, now seriously, I am very curious whether your "fund series" will continue like this
 

cotedupy

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I've got one coming in the mail. Fingers crossed it's not SiC. Other than that I don't care.
View attachment 154496
That looks interesting...

I’ve had a couple of ebay stones that looked a bit like that - with potential - but did turn out to be SiC. However one particular detail in your stone (which I imagine caught your eye too) looks very promising, and slightly unusual... the corners are rounded. And who the hell rounds the corners of SiC or AlOx stones?

Looking forward to seeing what comes out!
 
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That looks interesting...

I’ve had a couple of ebay stones that looked a bit like that - with potential - but did turn out to be SiC. However one particular detail in your stone (which I imagine caught your eye too) looks very promising, and slightly unusual... the corners are rounded. And who the hell rounds the corners of SiC or AlOx stones?

Looking forward to seeing what comes out!
Yup. SiC usually has very square edges and corners. Even if extremely dished. The box is also pretty. Although I've been burned on that one a couple of times. There were evidently quite a few master woodworkers out there making beautiful boxes for craptastic stones. Like a figured koa saya for a Victorinox. Or I guess the original stone could have been replaced I guess.

But here's the box for this one. 8"X2" stone dimensions

A lot of promise. And I don't have too much invested in it.

Screenshot_20211202-132204.png


Screenshot_20211202-132224.png
 

cotedupy

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Yup. SiC usually has very square edges and corners. Even if extremely dished. The box is also pretty. Although I've been burned on that one a couple of times. There were evidently quite a few master woodworkers out there making beautiful boxes for craptastic stones. Like a figured koa saya for a Victorinox. Or I guess the original stone could have been replaced I guess.

But here's the box for this one. 8"X2" stone dimensions

A lot of promise. And I don't have too much invested in it.

View attachment 154506

View attachment 154507
That is quite a nice box isn’t it! I too have had a couple of cheap stones in smart boxes, and it somewhat makes up for it - quite a few of my posher stones now sit in boxes that came with others.
 

cotedupy

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Seeing as this thread is getting a bit of interest here’s are a couple posts with some info about things to look out for in an old Washita, in case you come across one at a flea market, or old relation’s shed, or something. You could find all this out by trawling through hundreds of pages about them on razor forums, but easier to have it all in one place...

As with anything that does its job well and is no longer produced, the prices of Washitas have been creeping up. However considering they’re one of the very best stones ever quarried anywhere, they are still remarkably cheap. The going rate for an unlabelled bench size Washita atm is about 60 bucks, maybe a little more, which is a screaming bargain. Though they can be found much cheaper if the seller doesn’t know what they’ve got, and they’re quite distinctive looking stones once you’ve got your eye in (and if you look at them under a scope, they’re wildly different from anything else).

If it hasn’t been cleaned; an old stone will be covered in grime and oil, making it look brown/grey/black, and feel quite smooth to the touch. Although the stones are very hard, they’re also quite porous so oil soaks in and affects the colour, and for novaculites they’re relatively heterogenous meaning that after time the surface might often take on a blotchy or mottled appearance. Here’s a pic of the one I got recently; it’s probably been wiped clean in this picture, but before I degreased it, this is unmistakably an old Washita:

E25D5BA1-8076-4574-98CB-0539F90EA338.jpeg


At this point it’s popular to degrease them, by soaking in your preferred degreaser for as long as you want. Simple green is popular in the US, but any will do and the more hardcore the better - you want the kinda stuff you’d use to degrease an oil rig, and don’t dilute it. You can leave the stone soaking for anything from about a day to many months, and it’ll get progressively lighter, returning after time to something approaching the pure white that they were originally. This is really just an aesthetic thing, and they’ll discolour again once you use them, so I personally tend only to do it for a day or two, here’s the stone above after a day soaking. You can see the stone still has the distinctive mottled appearance:

4EC3CDA6-67D9-4045-8FE7-784901DCDBAE.jpeg


And here for reference is what they look like new. This is something of a rarity - a completely unused NOS Washita from the 30s/40s. This stone doesn’t look mottled, that appearance of Washitas is a product of oil soaking into the stone.

E50BDA49-C2E4-4CF7-B3D7-F40D7DBD6562.jpeg


TBC...
 
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cotedupy

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Some good news now... because this type of old Washita were only ever quarried and produced by Pike / Norton - if you’ve got one you can basically be guaranteed it’s going to be good. However they do vary. The most important thing that governs or indicates what a particular stone might be like is Specific Gravity - how dense it is. @stringer has talked about this above, and outlined how you measure it. But in short; SGs in Washitas run from about 2 to about 2.5, which is quite a wide range. All Washitas are pretty quick and have a large range of effective ‘grit’ levels depending on how much pressure you apply, but *in general* stones with lower SGs will be coarser, softer, and faster, and ones with high SGs finer, harder, and slower. And the various quality levels of Washitas does not generally have anything to do with their SGs.

Before about 1933 Washitas were produced by Pike in various grades; Lily White, Rosy Red, No.1, No.2, and these indicate how homogenous the stone is.

Lily White was the top grade, but they can be softer or harder - and actually the old Pike stones included an end label indicating whether the stone was a softer, faster example or a harder, finer one. These end labels have often been lost over time, and if you find a stone with one it increases the value quite significantly. A 6x2 Pike Lily White sold on ebay a few days back for about $200 because it had this label still intact:

CC7AA841-8B55-4021-B23C-6E7112256F34.jpeg


Here is my old Pike LW, which in contrast to the above is very hard and fine, with a SG about 2.45. Unfortunately it doesn’t still have its end label:

DC862B2D-FC5E-4D5F-8454-B19C0D3D7DB6.jpeg




Rosy Red Washitas were so-called because of the orange/pink blush that the stones had, and indicated that they were particularly coarse and fast. They were the same ‘quality’ and price as Lily Whites, just very coarse. This is by some distance the rarest and most expensive type of old Washita - labelled examples tend to go for at least $300. So if you come across one - snap it up.

No.1 and No.2 are stones that have less homogenous structure and grit, perhaps with inclusions or cracks, though as with Lily Whites they can be softer or harder, it doesn’t refer to how fine they are. I don’t believe No.2 Washitas were ever sold with labels, though there are some stones labelled ‘Red Washita’ that old catalogues show were No.2 quality.

There are also some Pike stones at various points called things like; Woodworkers Delight, Mechanics Friend, and Extra Quality. These, I think, sat between No.1 and Lily White, though don’t quote me on that. And occasionally you see some old Pike Washitas with labels for specific customers or shops.

After Norton bought Pike in the early ‘30s all this plurality was cut down considerably, with only Lily White and No.1 offered. And the Lily White grade no longer had end labels indicating the character of the stone.

While this stuff to do with labels can have quite a significant impact on the value of something, as I said at the beginning - if you just want one to use - you don’t need to concern yourself with it too much. If you get this kind of old Washita; they were only ever produced by Pike / Norton, and they’re all good, labelled or not, because they had proper quality control.
 
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KingShapton

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Some good news now... because this type of old Washita were only ever quarried and produced by Pike / Norton - if you’ve got one you can basically be guaranteed it’s going to be good. However they do vary. The most important thing that governs or indicates what a particular stone might be like is Specific Gravity - how dense it is. @stringer has talked about this above, and outlined how you measure it. But in short; SGs in Washitas run from about 2 to about 2.5, which is quite a large range. All Washitas are quite quick and have a large range of effective ‘grit’ levels depending on how much pressure you apply, but *in general* stones with lower SGs will be coarser, softer, and faster, and ones with high SGs finer, harder, and slower. And the various quality levels of Washitas does not generally have anything to do with their SGs.

Before about 1933 Washitas were produced by Pike in various grades; Lily White, Rosy Red, No.1, No.2, and these indicate how homogenous the stone is.

Lily White was the top grade, but they can be softer or harder - and actually the old Pike stones included an end label indicating whether the stone was a softer, faster example or a harder, finer one. These end labels have often been lost over time, and if you find a stone with one it increases the value quite significantly. A 6x2 Pike Lily White sold on ebay a few days back for about $200 because it had this label still intact:

View attachment 154644

Here is my old Pike LW, which is contrast to the above is very hard and fine, with a SG about 2.45. Unfortunately it doesn’t still have its end label:

View attachment 154645



Rosy Red Washitas were so-called because of the orange/pink blush that the stones had, and indicated that they were particularly coarse and fast. The stone were the same quality as Lily Whites, just very coarse. This is by some distance the rarest and most expensive type of old Washita - labelled examples tend to go for at least $300. So if you come across one - snap it up.

No.1 and No.2 are stones that have less homogenous structure and grit, perhaps with inclusions or cracks, though as with Lily Whites they can be softer or harder, it doesn’t refer to how fine they are. I don’t believe No.2 Washitas were ever sold with labels, though there are some stones labelled ‘Red Washita’ that old catalogues show were No.2 quality.

There are also some Pike stones at various points called things like; Woodworkers Delight, Mechanics Friend, and Extra Quality. These, I think, sat between No.1 and Lily White, though don’t quote me on that. And occasionally you see some old Pike Washitas with labels for specific customers or shops.

After Norton bought Pike in the early 30s all this plurality was cut down considerably, and only Lily White and No.1 were offered. And the Lily White grade no longer had end labels indicating the character of the stone.

While this stuff to do with labels can have quite a significant impact on the value of a stone, as I said at the beginning - if you just want one to use - you don’t need to concern yourself with it too much. If you’ve get this kind of old Washita they were only produced by Pike / Norton, and they’re all good, labelled or not, because they had proper quality control.
Well written and very interesting information.

If you continue to research so successfully then you should write a treatise or a summary on the subject of Norton / Pike and Washita.
 

cotedupy

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Last of three posts for anyone looking for, or finding an old Washita...

Because the stones are quite hard, they are also quite brittle. You often see old ones in boxes that are broken in two, and it’s not necessarily a problem. If the stone’s wedged in its box then often you may not be able to feel the break in use, though if you want to - they can be fixed easily.

Here are two stones I picked up cheaply on ebay recently, which unfortunately got broken in the post. If you’re buying an old Washita online - it’s worth reminding the seller to package it well. These stones were both 8x2:

6CBCAC5F-B7FE-41FD-BB09-B75654A3E5DE.jpeg


9DBFC9A7-7B7F-4D13-83CA-FA8229A9A001.jpeg


The break on the first is much cleaner, though it’s near the middle of the stone, the second is a mess, but it’s at the end. I got in touch with the sellers who refunded half of the price making them quite cheap indeed, and set about fixing, but in different ways.

After degreasing them, the first I simply glued back together using CA glue, or Super Glue. Lapped and sanded flat you can no longer feel the break at all. I also steamed the label off the box, sanded it down a little, and then sealed it back on using wood lacquer. This is a partial Norton No.1 label:

A7C4366D-44E4-4ACD-B4D6-65795CD6BB85.jpeg


The second stone had a billion tiny fragments and trying to glue it back neatly would have been something of a fool’s errand. But because of where the break was, I was able to lap the end of the stone and still have it as a 6.5 x 2 stone. I then glued the two largest broken chunks together to make a rubbing stone, which can be useful, as Washitas can sometimes burnish or clog slightly and need the the surface refreshing.

93BFD3DC-C784-4189-AF92-5DEA8B21574E.jpeg


So don’t overlook something if it does have a break in it. They’re not difficult to fix, and you might get a completely usable gem on the cheap!
 
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