Hand Tools Archive

Re: Washita stone aquisitions & questions...

david weaver
I'm not really great with exact dates of these out of nothing more than intellectual laziness. I'm going to guess, anyway.

The pike stone, I'd guess right around turn of the century. It's a gorgeous stone, and probably worth about 7-10 times what you paid with that case (I'd keep it, I've not seen one identical). We generally like a coarse washita ("soft and fast", they'll say) for carpentry work, and the really fine ones are bumping up against trans or good black ark stones, but they always have just a little extra tooth. I like the way they describe it - fine and sharp gritted, that's exactly how the fine ones feel. They are superb in actual practical use and leave a very agreeable wire edge.

The WB-7 I'd guess as last 30 years (could be more), and the other norton marked stone - the small lilywhite I'd guess as 60s or something. But those are wild guesses.

The small lilywhite stones sell well if you don't find a use for them. since they're more of a cutting stone to me, I have trouble figuring out what to do with small fat stones. An engraver using old tools might like them, or maybe dental or fishhook work.

Take care if you use the fine one (I would) to make sure that the sides are sealed so that oil can't run down the sides of the stone to the bottom. The label will come off almost instantly. I think older users generally were more sparing with oils than we are - not always, but sometimes. And maybe sometimes to their detriment, in that I often get a stone that's in perfect shape on the back and the top side is black and completely loaded up and slow cutting.

re: the WB-7, I had a similar stone - same size. I found it a bit fine and not quite up to the same snuff as the other two stones you'll have in terms of cutting properties.

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