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Thread: Bavarian-Frankonian Hones

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    Senior Member hatzicho's Avatar
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    Default Bavarian-Frankonian Hones

    This thread is about some very special hones from Germany, originating from the frankonian area of Bavaria.
    The name Frankonian is known in regard of hones and from time to time appear some new examples called that name in different forums. But in fact, I have not seen one example of these hones that is really proven from the frankonian region. There are no labeled ancient hones with that provenience and from the hones sold by a certain german seller some years ago, the true origin is also unknown (at least to me).

    Since about two years ago I began to investigate the real known old frankonian quarries together with some local historians. I visited the old mines, tried to find written records of the hones and informations from family members of the old miners and traders. Of course I took samples from all quarries and made sharpening and honing tests.

    The frankonian whetstone layers are found in the geological formation of the Ordovician age. The quarries are in direct neighborhood to the Bavarian Thuringian border and the Thuringian whetstone quarries.

    It is not known, when the hones in this frankonian area were first exploited. There had been some investigations in the past that tried to establish a relationship of whetstones found in old castles and trading places of the early middle ages or even before with the frankonian deposits that is possible, but not proven. There is a high probability that some of the old mines could be dated at least in the late middle ages, but the first written proofs I found so far are some mine claim requests that are dated in the early 19th century. The last mines had been in operation until 1945.

    Sale and distribution of the frankonian hones in the 20th century was done by the thuringian whetstone trading companies in Sonneberg. Therefore they might have been sold as thuringian whetstones without declaration of their frankonian origin.

    Like with all whetstones I have seen so far in natural, the raw rocks of whetstone material distinguish from the stones surrounding them in color and appearance. Seeing these rocks you immediately think they must be something special. Here are some pics of how these whetstones appear as natural rocks:

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    The performance of the frankonian hones is a very special one. On the one side they could be used in a very wide range of honing, somehow like coticules. With a thick slurry they can be used from bevel setting all through the whole progression, diluting the slurry with water more and more, finally the endfinishing with water only and this all much faster than a normal coticule.
    Additionally the endfinishing itself gives a very fine, sharp and smooth edge comparable or even better than a thuringian waterhone.

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    Unfortunately and like most of the old quarries in the thuringian area, the ancient mines were filled with waste and are not accessible any more.

    Most of the hones therefore only appear as small handstones. Larger pieces from which benchstones could be cut, are very rare.

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    Senior Member Druid's Avatar
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    So, were the hones marketed by Olivia as Frankonians truly Frankonians? I don't recall them looking anything like the stones pictured.
    Of the gents that tried them, I don't recall anyone being terrible impressed..

    But, I appreciate the topic, and all the work you put in!

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    Senior Member doorsch's Avatar
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    Thank you Peter for your details on the stones and your effort you put in in your own interests of researching old stones and their history, but also the effort you put in this in the thought of a community thinking!!
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    Senior Member hatzicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Druid View Post
    So, were the hones marketed by Olivia as Frankonians truly Frankonians? I don't recall them looking anything like the stones pictured.
    Of the gents that tried them, I don't recall anyone being terrible impressed..

    But, I appreciate the topic, and all the work you put in!
    As already written, the hones I talk about are not comparable to any hone named frankonian I have every seen or read about. The hones that Olivia sold some years ago have been hard endfinishers as I recall. I have asked her once about the origin of that hones but never get an answer. They might be somewhere from the frankonian area, but are not comparable to the hones I have researched. These hones are softer, the hardness is somehow comparable to thuringian waterhones and they are not solely endfinishers. As written these frakonians can do the "whole job" beginning from bevel set to endfinishing. It took me about 20 min to get a bevel set razor (good steel quality, full hollow ground) shave ready. The endfinishing is very smooth and skin-frindly, also for those who normally have problems with razor burn.
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    Senior Member doorsch's Avatar
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    I waited a certain time for Peters post now and iam very happy that i had the chance to get one of those stones from Peter.

    I will just share some details of my Stone in pictures...i will also share some of my findings concerning the stone...think this will follow the next days...





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    Senior Member doorsch's Avatar
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    Default Bavarian-Frankonian Hones

    Just had a little time today so i wanted to share my "personal" findings or "experiences" i had so far with Peters "Bavarian-Frankonian Hone".

    As its my personal statement it might be different from what Peter did experience...

    The most interesting talking about the properties of these stones is that they have a very wide range they can be used...setting a razors Bevel with a 1k stone its easily possible to grab the Bavarian Stone and use it afterwards till the Bevel is finished...

    It can be compared to the properties which coticules give when they are used with a thick slurry and working the bevel further more to a finish with water f.ex. Dillocut...

    The difference in the End is that the Bavarian-Frankonian gives a very smooth shave, probably a bit smoother then i experienced with fine Thuringian Stones. I have to admit the the Edge these stones give, compared in smoothness to a Thuri are different! I cant explain it myself but you can seriuosly feel that the edge wasnt finished with a Thuri...a fact i firstly didnt realized that much personally, but my girlfriend (yeah she uses a straight on her legs) did feel a difference with two straights i gave her. One was finished with a Thuri the other with the Bavarian-Frankonian...so it seems not be only my feeling...

    So lets show some more pictures, this is a 5/8 Wade & Butcher Special "Sheffield Steel" i used to experiment a bit past the last two months and i have two rubbers i use on the Bavarian-Frankonian, one is a red Jnat which is much softer and a UK very Hard Slate stone which is harder then Peters Stone...


    i dont think that any of the rubbers give a relevant use to the slurry itself, especially the Jnat, but its a good color Indicator to see how metall is removed...the slate is very hard it only creates slurry from the Bavarian-Frankonian.


    The first pictures show the slurry created with both stones after 20 laps, the stone in combination with a thick slurry is a fast cutter which sounds very coarse (you can hear it also from the sounding when honing, especially on thinner grinds)....

    Jnat rubber, 20 Laps with pressure:


    Hard Slate rubber, 20 Laps with Pressure:


    Futher more after 40 laps with less pressure:




    So you can see the stones work very fast! I prefer to dillute the slurry several times until i wash of the stone and proceed with plain water...

    Interesting is that it seems when using a thick slurry on the stone and doing several laps (50-80) i had the feeling that the slurry changes a bit in thinking of its working capacy...it seemed working slower after some time...probably a usual behavior i dont know...

    The Bevel in its optical appearance is less shiny then honed on a Thuri, it also seems that the stones are a bit lower in grit, but thats just my feeling and doesnt effect the result in shaving.

    So these are my findings!

    I really like the stones in their appearance and in their working properties and i well appreciate Peters Research here! This is one of my personal "Keepers" and its beside my Thuri Bouts, some Cotis and two Special Stones one of my most Interesting stones i have...

    Thanks Peter!
    Last edited by doorsch; 12-30-2014 at 01:04 PM.
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    illegitimum non carborundum Utopian's Avatar
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    OK the more I read this the more I want to play with one.

    Jimmy I might be willing to sell your Frankonian back to you!
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    Senior Member doorsch's Avatar
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    Well, just created a Vid with the new Bavarian-Frankonian Bout Stone i got from Peter. Thanks for that!!

    Nothing about properties, slurry, etc..just plain nature of the stone and a bit of Water ;-)

    http://youtu.be/QRWPn2xZwHo
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    With the music you had in the video, I kept expecting Stevie Nicks to start singing.

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    Senior Member doorsch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
    With the music you had in the video, I kept expecting Stevie Nicks to start singing.
    Hehe still hate the custom Tracks available...still would like to have some crazy titles in there to use without any Copyright problems....

    Some Squarepusher or Aphex Twin Stuff ;-)
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