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Water of Ayr stone


Well-Known Member
Here is an interesting hone that's not a bad finisher at all. I had a heck of a time finding a vintage one. Here is a picture of the old mine now closed of course. It's in Canmore, Scotland then there are pics of the stone.




I have been searching for one of these for a loooong time. If you ever consider selling - please let me know.
Ive got an 8x2" water of ayr and a 6x2 fine tam o shanter (this is what yours is I believe.) I'll have to fire the camera to get some pics of both. The TOS is a very nice stone to use. The weird thing is the touting of this hone for razors that micro chip.

Now, I don't know how many razors most people own, I own maybe 30-40ish. Out of all of them I have had ONE that would micro chip. It was a Bengall 13/16 celebrated type. Anyhow, I got along just fine honing it, it just took some extra work. I eventually rehoned it just to test with the TOS, I didn't feel that it added anything that a coticule didn't.

The point I am trying to make is this. If you do a search on google for SRP and Tam O shanter you will find 7 or so threads. In every thread the owners of said stones tout their amazing ability to get rid of micro chips. It makes me wonder who thought that up in the beginning and then people read that, bought one, and repeated that. I seriously doubt all the people that own one has a razor that micro chips.

This has nothing to do with your posts, it was just something I came across as I was researching these hones.

I will try and post some pictures of mine if you would like to see them. The TOS I will keep forever, the WOA I will probably get rid of. It is a nice finisher, but it isn't something crazy special! It looks like a dragons tongue, but is much finer. It is also faster with slurry and smells like spicy dirt.

Regards, and nice stones!
I'm always interested in seeing stones:) So, you bet if it's not to much trouble. Mine is a Water of Ayr. It came in a sleeve that is stamped WOA on the outside. Heck any of these stones are very interesting!
Hey TCensor---I may just got ahead and sell that Water of Ayr to you. Can you email me at
Guys, my congratulations for the good transaction, and thanks posting for the picture of the mine, Gunner.

Just one small thing: we try to be kinda strict about sales outside the Marketplace forum.
I presume that this thread was not started as an advertisement, but should next time you find yourself in a position where you want to buy or sell something, either take it to the Marketplace (make sure to read the rules) or use the e-mail function in the members list to deal with it in private.

Kind regards,
Sorry Bart I didn't intend to sell it when I posted. I haven;t found the email link for contacting members or I would have done that. It won't happen again now that I know.
Gunner777 said:
Sorry Bart I didn't intend to sell it when I posted. I haven;t found the email link for contacting members or I would have done that. It won't happen again now that I know.
No problem, mate. We just try to keep things nice and tidy.

Have a nice day,
My bad Bart. I was the one who started it. I will make sure not to do this again. I apologize.
Gunner777 said:
I'm always interested in seeing stones:) So, you bet if it's not to much trouble. Mine is a Water of Ayr. It came in a sleeve that is stamped WOA on the outside. Heck any of these stones are very interesting!

That is the confusing part! It IS a WOA, but it really IS a TOS :scared: . Before the Scotch hone quarry had any of the WoA Slate style hones (like mine) they named their "Tam O shanter" as a "Water of Ayr". After they imported in the new slate hone from the meikldale quarry, they switched its name ot "water of ayr" and changed their older "water of ayr" to "Tam O shanter".

Does this make sense? It confused the hell out of me initially. If you post pics of it anywhere, people will call it a Tam O' Shanter, because that is the only way to distunguish it from what is now a "water of ayr". Another confusing aspect of all this is that they were both also called "snakestone".
However, ive only seen a "Water of Ayr" Tam o Shanter one time, so I bet it would increase its *collector* value somewhat. WoA TOS's are very hard to find, because they are much much older.

Hope this clears it up for you!
Here are some pictures of mine

Water of Ayr 8x2x1 - The WOA is a very fine slate type hone similar to a dragons tongue or a yellow lake oilstone. With slurry it hones in the 6k range and with water it goes up to about 12k. It leaves an edge between a coticule and an arkansas. Slightly crisp, but smooth as well. Dilution is very easy with this hone, but it requires 100 to 200 laps to finish.





Tam O Shanter Fine 6x2x1 - The TOS is a sedimentary hone I believe, most have sediment layers along the edges you can see in the last picture. It is a nice hone and one I will never sell. The feedback is like honing on very very fine sand. Has the best feedback of any stone I own. With thick slurry it will cut in the 2-3k realm, with water around 8-9k. You can shave off this stone, but it still could use a little boost. There are 3 varieties of ToS's, the regular (i believe yours is this), Fine (which is what mine is) and white which is super fine. The difference between regular and fine is small, but the white is supposedly very fine. You can tell what yours is if it is in a Scotch Hone box. On the side label it will either say TOS or TOS F.




I came across this thread, doing a search on the internet and thought i would add a picture of mine. Ive had this for a couple months, but haven't been able to spend any time with it yet.





If the above is a Fine the what does the Super Fine "white" TOS look like? I have some Cousins living in Scottland and they might have a litte luck finding one of the white if Iknow what to tell them to look for, exactly. Pitures are worth, as they say, a thousand words.

I have a newer Wacker 5/8 Spanish Point that when I look at the edge under 20X I can see some fine microchipping. I have tamed it a bit with some CrOx on balsa wood. My finisher is a CHOW (Chine Hone Of Wonder)(meaning wonder if you really have a good one.. LOL). It's grit rating, again by Woodcraft not me, is at 12,000, but since it is natural that can be taken with a grain of salt.


I have also wondered if I can hone with the CHOW and use one of my Coticule Bouts for making a bit of slurry?
Just as an aside, the Water of Ayr stones in small sizes were and are used by silver smiths and gold smiths for finishing their work prior to buffing with pumice then rouge. The sticks of WOA were from 5mm to 10mm in square cross section and about 100mm long. Each one was wrapped in a paper sleeve and clearly marked Water of Ayr. My Silversmith instructor had a drawer full! Since very fine grits of abrasives are now available they probably are no longer available. I was looking for a couple I had used in school but 40 years made them gone.
Hello, I am new to this community, my apologies for having very little knowledge on any of the subjects that are discussed. My grandfather recently passed away and left me his tools, as I am an industrial carpenter I have no idea what many of them are. One seems to be a whetstone labeled a "Tam O' Shanter" Scotch Hone in its original box with TOS Fine written on the side label. I noticed a similar one further up in this forum. Can anybody tell me anything about the history of this type of stone? I seem to be unable to find a company name for it. I don't really even know if I want to keep it. In any case I would like to know more if anybody can help me.
Welcome, you've come to the right place! While my knowledge is superfical, there is genuine expertise within this community - I'm confident you'll get plenty of good information.
The Tam O Shanter fine is quite likely a fine grade of razor hone. Fine, meaning, it is used in the last process of sharpening a straight razor. These were pretty decent hones for razors mined in the United Kingdom as opposed to Belgium or Japan or the Arkansas (US) quarries. Since they are natural hones there is some slight variance between them. But, one must consider the slight variances of individual hones as even man made in this time period were far from perfect. Nice hone if you have a straight razor (I have more razors than I need I think at times), and it might make a very nice finishing hone on some of your better knives...slow, but nice.