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Thread: 8" x 2" stone in box marked 1896 -- what is it?

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    Senior Member jmabuse's Avatar
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    Default 8" x 2" stone in box marked 1896 -- what is it?

    I found this stone at an antique mall today, and picked it up only because I had read a little here about natural stones -- all my honing experience is with synthetic stones.

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    It's 8" x 2". I couldn't get it out of the box, and I thought it might have been hide-glued in, so I boiled it in water with dishwasher detergent (the harsh stuff for use in a dishwasher) for about 15 or 20 minutes. It cleaned up some, and I was able to get it out of the box (but it hadn't been glued in; the box had simply shrunken to hold the stone tightly).

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    You can see the underside of the stone, which is yellow. The box was marked by its owner, I believe -- "W. H. Stevens." Under the stone was the same name in cursive, with the date "Feb. 21, 1896."

    After boiling, the dark side of the stone (the upper side when it was in the box) will absorb water, albeit slowly. The top feels smooth and quite hard; harder than my high-grit synthetics. I tried it on a stainless steel kitchen knife that has a decent edge, and it wasn't quite like honing on glass, but not very far off.

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    The underside of the stone absorbs water more quickly. The underside is more coarse as well as being yellow.

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    In profile, the stone looks like this:

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    Is the dark, smooth side that way because it absorbed a bunch of oil over the years, or could the stone have been cut along a natural interface between two layers?

    Any insights would be much appreciated. Mr. Stevens did a nice job of making a box for it -- I may have to do some fitting but I'll be careful to keep the stone and box together.

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    Senior Member BWH1980's Avatar
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    Looks like my Washita.


    Enjoy the day,
    Benson

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    Senior Member doorsch's Avatar
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    Yes definately a Washita stone
    ███▓▒░░.RAZORLOVESTONES.░░▒▓███

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    Agreed. They smooth out considerably with use. You can use one side freshly lapped for faster cutting and leave the other side alone for a finer finish.
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    Senior Member Brontosaurus's Avatar
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    I have a Washita with the box drilled out with Forstner bits like that. You can use the stone with oil as a bevel-setter. Used with varying degrees of pressure and smoothness, it can have a wide range leading to a finisher.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Looks like a Washita. Probably just darkened with years of oil and use. Nice find!
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    Member Viergedefer's Avatar
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    Yes washita .

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    Senior Member Steel's Avatar
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    Those old Washitas are worth their weight in gold IMO. What a score! I have a few high quality labeled Norton Washita stones and there really is nothing like them. The pimples(grit) are very consistent which makes them fast yet leave a very fine edge. The lower quality Washita stones (like Dans) are great for being coarse for bevel setting but lack the ability to really finish an edge both quickly and finely due to the "pockets" being spaced apart and haphazardly. Just my opinion.

    Either way congrats on a beautiful stone.
    What a curse be a dull razor; what a prideful comfort a sharp one

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    Senior Member jmabuse's Avatar
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    Wondering if the pink/red/brown top part was discoloration from oil, I decided to soak it in a strong trisodium phosphate solution for a couple of days. Strong enough that I had to neutralize the stone with vinegar afterwards because my fingers were getting soapy and slick just rinsing it off under running water (TSP is basic enough to saponify the oils in your fingers). And... nope, here are the pics after two days in a strong TSP solution:

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    Looks the same, just as pretty! It's almost but not quite flat. The center along the long axis is humped upwards slightly. I'll flatten it and then start using it -- should be fun!

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    I use concentrated Simple Green for stone cleaning. It will turn Washitas white if they were originally white. I've tried TSP as well but it doesn't do as well in my experience. Enjoy the stone, looks great.

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