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Arkansas stones?


Well-Known Member
So I was window shopping (web browsing) for straight razors, and noticed some sets which included hard arkansas stones, to my surprise.

Are these some ultrafine translucent surgical hones, or ordinary opaque 'hard' arkansas which is less dense and more granular? And isn't even the surgical quality too slow to be sensible? I've got bench hones smooth enough not to ruin a razor, but they sure wouldn't be my first, or second, choice. Do people manage to do the job with 'em?
I have not the slightest clue about Arkansas hones. Maybe some of the other members will.
Otherwise you could try to search the boards on Badger and Blade, or on StraightRazorPlace, 2 of the largest forums about straight razor shaving. You're likely to find people over there that have experience with Arkansas hones.

Good luck with finding more information,
Same from me, not a clue?..hahaha although I am sure they are rated as fine finishers by some, please could you keep us posted??
I don't know too much about hones yet, but I know there are quite a few posts about arkansas-stones (as well as every other hone available) on the forum.
The translucent hone seems to be, contrary to popular believe, not the finest grid arkansas-stone.

I have a few semi-redundant arkansas stones, and have owned an opaque white hone (vintage, surgical) that was pure white, ultra fine, certainly finer than the nominal 4000 grit some claim for the translucent or black.

As I said, it wouldn't ruin a razor, being intended to hone scalpels and other surgical tools pre-WWI, but it'd be a chore indeed. I'll see if I can chase down an expert, because the only use I have for them is burnishing big knives.
Just waded through an immense pile of info about stones, with Arkansas stones nearly unmentioned. Synthetics and Japanese stones were the focus, not even *much* mention of coticules. It was easy to get an impression of who is agressively marketing and who isn't. (Possibly even a correct impression ;) )

Having read quite a lot for one session, and posted a few questions, I have considered the idea of having a known good high grit synthetic as a benchmark stone. It seems potentially useful to have something to measure natural polishing stones against, because it's hard to compare them to each other. A baseline might help establish objective and verifiable descriptions of each stones sharpening characteristics.

It may seem that I'm curious about every kind of stone but coticules, and tisn't so. I'm merely waiting on shipping to get a combo 6x2, and a combo nagura, my first. I'm anxious as heck till it gets here safe, and I'm trying not to think about it. ;)

I have, however, hunted any stone that spared wear on the coticules, splitting off the parts other stones could do well. My best one has only been lapped and tested, because it's dedicated to my adventure with straight razors. Now I'm in the place to learn much about methods. Living through the experience is my fondest desire, and I figured some education couldn't hurt.

I hope the 6x2 is adequate to restore a long neglected but apparently undamaged razor, as I'm going to try honing this 4/8 R. Droescher,Inc. "Gold Bug" into utility. The question is, will I ruin it before I learn how to improve it. If so, I've got another one, a non-stainless Solingen Meister, with a deep, even patina, also useable if I'm correct, also a 4/8.

They're mighty slim razors but a guy has to start somewhere. Any sensible advice I might not have heard before is much welcomed.I certainly don't intend to put either razor on an Arkansas hone unless I learn something currently unknown. If a coticule won't do it, I already know why not, and that's when I squeal for help.
So I lied. Sue me. I put the Gold Bug on my translucent 2x1x8, a lucky find sold by Norton in the fifties as a plain hard arkansas. Not surgical grade, but considerably finer and denser than the so called 'hard'. I gave it 20 strokes on each side, flat and straight and light, no water or detergent mix, just feeling out the stones abrasive quaity. It's long since been lapped and washed and scrubbed and fondled into my comfort zone, and then parked in a box several years. Well, it cuts and it didn't ruin it, I stropped it on my old belt just to see if I could, there being a decently flat 8 inch section by the tip. So a slow and careful 20 strokes on each side, light enough not to curl the edge and trying very hard to be dead flat to the strop and pick up BEFORE I rolled it. Gick, it's easy to screw up..

But anyway, I'd checked the razor by not quite cutting myself and pulling a few bristles out by the roots just to find out how sharp it wasn't, and it wasn't. After my primitive attempt to at least set a bevel and remove the beginnings of a burr, it remembered it was a razor for a teensy spot on my cheekbone. I have no reason yet to believe it'll do a good job, but better than my feeble test I'm sure. I'll try it again after scrubbing the stone, it loaded up enough to tell it in the few strokes it got. I'll use detergent mix and might even try a nagura, just to see if adding a trace of mud helps float the blade. Fun. I expect the coticule will be MUCH more fun, so I'm doing this first before I get spoiled. ;)
i have a surgical black 10 x3 x1 and laped it then went up to 2,000 grit wet/dry the surface is like glass, and i ues either water or oil it does a little beter with water. i cant tell the difference between it and the coticule but the edge off the ark. is a little harsher not sharper. so i do about 10 laps on the coti. and what a smooth shave it is. i dont think i will ever have to lap the ark. again it is that hard.