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Thread: washita confusion

  1. #1
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    Default washita confusion

    hi there

    i am somewhat fascinated by the wide range washitas can offer. as with all "arks" there is this confusion thing going on: seems that in earlier days for some companies there wasn t a true hard category but hard and true hard was the same, some soft arks where other companies hard arks, some sell/ sold stones as washitas but beeing arks aso aso aso.
    ok, that s arks, i know.

    my question: as with all naturals you can t be sure what you get. but washitas can be coarse and/or fine, still don t know how arkansas breeded that one out but it did. i m looking for a rather coarse washita. according to davew the good quality stuff is a labeled pike lily white/ ruby red/ no 1. then there are mechanics friend, carpenters (or woodworkers) delight.
    some say lily white is superior to no1, and by saying so they don t say if superior means faster or finer or more evenly concerning particle size or whatever...???
    others say they are the same, nobody compares those to mechanics friend and the others, aso, well...???

    i would appreciate if anyone with more insight in these stones (washitas) could tell me if there are any major differences because i can t see the light here

    thank you and have a good one
    Last edited by heiopei; 11-06-2017 at 12:29 AM.

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    I do not consider myself to be an expert on Arkansas stones, but I do know that these stones are classified by density and not by grit rating, nor by color. Because each of these classifications covers a range of densities, it is possible for a stone at the lower end of the hard range, to be just slightly more dense than a stone at the upper end of the soft range. Since these are natural stones, they range in color, grit, and density, but the only aspect used for rating the stones is the density. Thus, it can be rather confusing.
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    I asked a similar question on another forum and everyone said for a bevel setter a No.1 Washita was their best, but others work based on how they are dressed. So even a soft Ark dressed properly will work. I have even seen where others have a lily white two sides dressed different so one is coarser than the other. I have not tried any of these yet still gathering info myself.
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    @RayClem
    thank u for ur fast reply. i took me a while to figure this density stuff out. well, i did it.
    i was referring to "arks" because they are neighbours of washitas and sometimes arks are/were even sold as washitas. so i wanted to point out that from a european point of view it is rather difficult to categorize these stones. to make things worse: arks are the easier ones, because they are basicly soft/hard/truehard. from which u have to figure out what company means what, there havn t been a truehard for some sellers. from what i understand is that a true hard is a newer creation.

    well, ok with that! this is about washitas and there stuff gets even more confusing:
    - this density thing is applied on arks, i havn t seen any categorisation on washitas by that. just by how "even" they are, lily white aso. according to dave w (hope he jumps in) washitas are ALL soft stones, well maybe they arn t....I DON T KNOW
    - they are not mined anymore for a long loooong time, so any newer categorisation simply doesn t exist.
    - my question is as asked above: there are so may variables here that i m totally confused. soft, hard, density, fast, slow, even, "names" like lily white/ no1/ mechanics friend, every company has it s own "stats" aso, i just don t get a benchmark here.

    thats why i m asking for anyone with expirience here concerning my question at the top.#
    @rideon66
    also thank u
    i am aware of this "dressing", i really read a lot about that arks and washis. thats why i am confused....and interrested....ROFL.
    a soft ark is not an option for me, because i got this nasty washita virus that i somehow got by reading davew´s comments about how versatile a washita can be, still don t know how that could conveyed to me via internet, but thats a different story.
    your reply goes into the right direction. i would like to know HOW those NOT categorized washitas perform, eeeeeh.....they are categorized....lily, ruby, no1, woodworker aso and if possible: WHY? via expirience, because there is a vast title throwing on going here....ROFL.
    i want to know if there are any "characteristics" behind that titles.

    i don t know how to make my question any clearer and thank u guys for ur quick response! really appreciate it!
    Last edited by heiopei; 11-06-2017 at 08:27 PM.

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    The simple answer is that there's no simple answer.

    I currently have three different washitas. All three 'act' a little differently. My Norton #1 is my favorite. I've owned several more through the years and they were all different.

    For bevel-setting try to find a Norton #1 and lap it flat on both sides. Burnish one side and keep the other side scuffed up.

    Arkies are like all other naturals, you just have to weed through them.
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    thank u kelbro for joining in
    i didn t make myself clear, please read coment above which i was typing while u sent ur response.
    the logical follow up questions are:

    - WHY is the norton #1 your favorite?
    - which leads to --> what are the other washitas like, whats their "title", do they have one?

    see my confusion?
    Last edited by heiopei; 11-06-2017 at 08:27 PM.

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    There are slight differences between Washitas just like there are between the different main Arkansas stones. There used to be a range of about 6 densities of Washitas IIRC from reading many old historical geological reports. They were differentiated by testing how much water (by weight) they could absorb. This basically was a test of their porosity. The finest would absorb something like 1% of their weight in water, the coarsest more like 6% - 7%. They were graded Lily White, #1, #2 etc. with Lily White being the finest and most uniform stones and higher numbers being more coarse (softer and more porous basically) and nonuniform in grit/porosity. #1 would be very close to a Lily White with perhaps some black speckling or very slight nonuniformity of grit or porosity size.

    Another thing mentioned in the old geological reports was that the stones were softer when first mined - the mines reportedly did their best to keep the stones wet until they were sold, at which time purchasers were advised to use a very thin oil to keep the stones soaked with and during use.
    Last edited by eKretz; 11-06-2017 at 02:20 AM.
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    ok, thats something i can work with. thank you very much.
    since u r into this: any reports about that mechanic friends/ woodworkers (carpenters) dilight?

    and of corse: any most heavily integrated rockhaunts here with expirience working with this stuff?

    thank u guys

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    Sure, as I recall, the Woodworkers Delight, Mechanics Friend, Rosy Red etc. were all equivalent to #1 Washita, so on the finer end of the scale.

    There are many here who use Washita stones, I myself have probably near a dozen.

    As far as softer or harder Washitas, this is really mostly a matter of which end of the 1 - 6 scale they're at. The ones closer to the Lily White/#1 end will be a bit finer, denser and "harder" (in reality the hardness isn't different but the higher density makes it harder to pull abrasive particles loose, so it's kind of equivalent to using a harder bond grinding wheel). "Softer" Washitas will cut faster but groove easier. Harder ones will cut a mite slower and finer but are harder to groove.
    Last edited by eKretz; 11-06-2017 at 07:45 AM.

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    GREAT, thank you very much!

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