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03-02-2010, 03:40 AM #1
Surgical Black Arkansas v Translucent Arkansas
I am looking at buying an arkansas stone to fine hone my knives and maybe my razors. Does anyone have any experience with the Arkansas stones and have any recommendations. Or maybe even some recommendations for hones that i can use for both knives and razors.
03-02-2010, 05:41 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
I'm glad to see this post. I'm fascinated by Arks as well. Old references speak of them highly for razors, I know of one that mentions them as equals to belgian hones and Swaty's, yet they seem to get a bum rap around here. I'm still a newbie so hopefully some of the other Ark afficianados with more experience than me will comment... (I think mparker762 might have a lot to add).
That being said, I can share my ONE experience with you. I honed an ebay special from butterknife dull to shave-ready on a progression of soft to hard to translucent stones. I found the bevel setting fairly straightforward on the soft and could get arm hair sharp but not pass the HHT off the hard ark (I don't recall how many passes to get there but it wasn't terribly slow on an 8" stone, IMO). My translucent is 6x2 and feels like glass, very little feedback, but after many passes (?100 or so) it passed the HHT handily and provided a brilliant shave on my face - nicer than my Swaty! Of course that's my razor on my face with my stone so YMMV...
I don't have any experience with the black ark yet (I just cleaned one up and hopefully can try it out soon).
I have to say the so-called grit ratings don't seem to apply to AR's (or any naturals) as I see it. My soft and hard both produce a highly polished edge that is similar to the translucent, altho feedback and cutting speed increase as the density (hardness) drops. All seem to respond well to progressively lightening pressure to increase keeness. I read a post over at Badger & Blade by a gentleman who brought his razor from dull to shave-ready on a single Washita (lowest density Ark) using lighter and lighter strokes.
As for other hones to use on knives AND razors, the coticule comes to mind...
Thanks for the post, I eagerly await other's input!
03-02-2010, 03:17 PM #3
Forum member Russel Baldridge has posted on honing razors with Arks here and said that it works but that it is slow and that there are better alternatives because of that. As far as knives, I like the oilstones for knives or tools because of the hardness of the stones.
I would be reluctant to use my waterstones, coticules, Thuringans or synthetics on knives because of the wear that the increased pressure would cause. Maybe it wouldn't be significant but I still wouldn't want to mess with it.
Your post has prompted me to give razors a try on my Arks and I will do that with one razor just to see how that will work for me. Up until now I haven't but you've piqued my curiosity in spite of what I've read others say about it.“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” attributed to Ian Maclaren, circa1897
03-02-2010, 11:08 PM #4
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
- San Diego/LA, Calif.
I have a hard Arkansas and it is so slowwww. The finish ended up being 3k-4k but it is slower than my 12k waterstone.
03-03-2010, 01:17 AM #5
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
In using Arkansas, as they are quite slow, generating a slurry with a 600 grit diamond card, can increase their speed considerably...especially in the difficult stage of bevel setting, imo.
From the surgical black on up, i just use the stones with oil. Hope that helps.
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03-03-2010, 02:09 AM #6
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Either the black or translucent will put a fine edge on a razor, but they are both so slow that they are better used as a barber hone than as a primary hone, i.e. fine for keeping a razor sharp but suboptimal for getting it there in the first place.
Both types are pretty much equivalent for razors, some guys claim the black is superior to the translucent or vice versa, but really they're the same. Arkansas stones are graded by density, not color, and blacks and translucents have the same allowable density range. They get their color from contaminants in the binder not from anything inherent in the abrasive. Because there is an allowable density range for the two types of fine arkansas, there are good translucents and blacks, and mediocre translucents and blacks.
I use mine with either Kroil (very thin liquid penetrating oil similar to WD-40) or soap and water.
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03-04-2010, 12:17 AM #7
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
mparker's pretty spot-on there. Used black and translucent, can't tell difference. They seem same to me. Buy based on real estate/$.
Definitely couldn't care less what the grit rating is. It shaves well whatever it is called so of no concern to the pragmatic.
Verrrry slow. Likely slowest stone I've ever used. Gonna guess multiple hundred laps coming from a 1k and then a 4k waterstone. Slow's a relative term; finishing a honing with it is time well spent for me, and I really like the edges it makes.
It is a keeper in the sickness of stone collection. Well, to be fair hardly any of them leave the door. But it is both a keeper and a user, which I can't say for all.
Absolute bloody war to flatten if not delivered flat, but stay that way once you get 'em there.
03-04-2010, 05:27 AM #8
Whats a good way to test if they are flat?
03-04-2010, 08:38 AM #9
- Join Date
- Aug 2008
- Pothole County, PA
- Blog Entries
I bought a hard black Arkansas Surgical about three years ago but haven't been able to use it yet. I started to lap this stone with a DMT 325 and have only been able to achieve an oval shaped area in the center of the stone. I would say that the stone is 50% flattened just on that oval area.
This is one hard stone and if I ever get it totally lapped, I think it will be one heck of a polisher. Please note the oval outline on the stone in the photo. That's the only flat part of the stone so far.
I think my DMT 325 is about shot because of this stone. I hope the people in Arkansas aren't as hard as their stones...!!JERRY
OOOPS! Pass the styptic please.
03-04-2010, 09:07 AM #10
I only had Arks when I started str8 shaving. Slow but nice results. If I had to shave off a low grit stone it would be a Washita rather than a synthetic.
They will lap pretty easily on glass & a progression of SiC powders. I know diamonds are harder but you get the benefit of a slurry which you can't allow on diamond plates.
Last edited by onimaru55; 03-04-2010 at 09:15 AM.Honing ain't rocket science. It's more like quantum entanglement.
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