Let's Talk Arkansas Stones

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by DaltonGang, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. BIG SAM

    BIG SAM Member

    What Arkansas stone do i use to set a bevel?
     
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  2. Drygulch

    Drygulch Snowballs

    Supporting Vendor
    I have only used synthetics to set the bevel, and worked through 5k with them before going to the Arkansas stones.
     
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  3. JohnDB

    JohnDB Well-Known Member

    You can set a bevel using a "Soft" or medium Arkansas stone. It will usually be a few colors with marbling throughout.

    BUT

    Be warned...it isn't going to set a bevel with just 50 strokes. It's going to take a quite a few more than that.

    After lapping the stones (which requires SiC powder and glass plate...you will destroy all lapping plates trying as arkies are harder than all lapping plates) you will have a stone that will last you several lifetime of use and abuse. My pocket stones are over 30 years old and have been used/abused that whole length of time.
    They aren't as fast as the synthetics. But I personally find that the consistency required to stroke your Razors on them that produce a great edge is invaluable. Kinda like golf... practice makes consistent strokes and a better game.
    Same thing can be said with honing your razors.

    Some people need to be done in a hurry because of time constraints...for them arkies are for finishing only. They use the synthetics because of the stack of razors waiting for them to sharpen.

    I own two razors and primarily use one. For me, Arkansas progression with three stones makes sense. (I've been told that black and translucent are virtually the same so I own no translucent)

    The soft Arkansas can be lapped with 350&400 grit wet/dry sandpaper...but it will take a whole package. (Tough stones). The hard and black and translucent will require the SiC powder and glass plate to flatten and polish appropriately. (And a ton of elbow grease)

    Pre-lapped stones are about 3-4 times the price as ones with saw marks. (Labor is expensive). Dan's as shown are usually pre-lapped. I've found suppliers who sell the same stones unlapped for $50 versus $250 for lapped ones. And it does take a few hours and lots of elbow grease to lap an Arkansas stone.

    Up to you as to budget and finished product. (I personally like having the lapping done by me... even if I bought pre-lapped stones I still would Lapp them again...so I pocketed the money)

    This is one of those things that are personal preference for a variety of reasons. Kinda like the difference between strawberry and peach ice cream as to which is better.
     
  4. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Excellently put.
     
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  5. Drygulch

    Drygulch Snowballs

    Supporting Vendor
    Last month I purchased two Arkansas stones, one 8x2 translucent and one 6x2 Washita, from a guy who had purchased a bunch of stones that didn't make the quality cut from Dan's Whetstones. They were final cut, but not lapped. The Washita had a dinged corner, and the translucent has some visable cracks that are below the surface. I have SIC powder, but decided to have a guy who makes whetstones lap them for me. He lapped both sides, and did one side with a courser finish. The translucent took 7 hours on his lapping machine to get done. I made the right choice. Including shipping three times and lapping, I have $50 bucks in these two stones. Can't wait to get them.

    With these two stones, I will have a five stone Arkansas progression, with all of them lapped more course on one side. Washita, soft, hard, black, and translucent.
    IMG_7276.JPG IMG_7277.JPG
     
  6. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja

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  7. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Excellent. You really made out well on these. I too did a progression on my Surgical Black, and am very glad I did. About what grit is the Washita stone??
     
  8. Drygulch

    Drygulch Snowballs

    Supporting Vendor
    It's supposed to be softer than a soft stone, at least the one from Dan's.
     
  9. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Bevel setter??
     
  10. Drygulch

    Drygulch Snowballs

    Supporting Vendor
    We will see. I would be happy with a bevel set on a synthetic, and going to the Arkies without having to spend hours on each.
     
  11. Drygulch

    Drygulch Snowballs

    Supporting Vendor
    Talking about my Arkies got me wanting to use them. So I broke out one of my favorite razors for a touch up tonight. Used the Hard and Surgical Black on a Cattarangus Senica. This is super fine Little Valley steel, that will take and hold edges up to 30k. (Glen did one for me that fine.) I didn't use my loupe or scope, but she is tree topping arm hairs like nobody's business. Will use tomorrow.
    IMG_7285.jpg
     
  12. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    I have a surgical black already and love how the finish is on the edge. I'd like to get another arkie. Should I get a soft or hard?
     
  13. JohnDB

    JohnDB Well-Known Member

    Hard...the soft is between a bevel setter and a hard. The hard is great for edge touch ups after 4 shaves and then followed up with the black...
     
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  14. SRNewb

    SRNewb Well-Known Member

    IMO, everyone should have a Soft Arkansas. I hone knives and razors using a medium India to set bevels, a Soft, and then a Black. I can go straight from the Soft to the Black with no issues, and IMHO the Soft in general will bring an edge back a bit faster.
    I also carry a small Soft with me when hunting to freshen up the edge of a knife in the field if it becomes necessary.
    But there really is no wrong answer; Arkansas' are lovely, very useful stones no matter what the grade, and again, IMHO the price difference between Soft and Hard is not much; they are both economical stones, and you most likely could purchase both and it would still be less cost than a single Black or Translucent.
     
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  15. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Everyone should own a Surgical Black Arkansas Stone.
     
  16. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    Got a Dan's Hard Ark on the way. What grit Sic should I use to lap it? My Surgical has 600 one side, 1000 on the other.
     
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  17. SRNewb

    SRNewb Well-Known Member

    Depends how you want it to cut, but I would start with 400 and see how that works following the hard with a Black or Translucent. Then you could run on up the grit and see what that gives you.
    Play around, see what you can get from the stone. That is half the fun with them.
     
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  18. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    I'm doing the staggered effect. One side of the stone higher grit than the other.
     
  19. SRNewb

    SRNewb Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I do that on my Soft and my Black. Don't have a hard yet.
    I do one side of the Soft at about 60 grit, the other side I polished up until it has a very slight sheen on it. I do one side of the Black highly polished, the other I keep matte with whatever I have on hand. Last I think was 600 grit.
     
  20. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    That's what I've done with my Surgical B!ack. Works great.
     
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