Hand Tools Archive

Re: arkansas pike is washita, else it's name only

david weaver
While there's novaculite all over the place (there are established stones from Canada (Magog), the us (obviously - several types), crete ("cretans" or turkish oilstones), UK (cutler's green, charnley forest, ...), the fine quality translucent arkansas stones come from arkansas.

The stone that's referred to as washita not only comes from one geography, but only one specific location. If you want a washita stone, it comes from the old pike mine property. It's a different characteristic in feel and cutting power and ability to cut without having the surface abraded that isn't matched by any other novaculite with the possible exception of the turkish oilstone (which is a friable novaculite that's not porous, but is softer - if you think washitas are expensive and hard to find, a good turkish oilstone of the darker and finer type is really hard to find, but they are superb stones).

Warren's point about hoping that the processing area in New Hampshire would have scrap laying around is a good one. There still may be a bunch of waste stone. There's tons of it at the pike mine - I recall roy underhill mentioning that he took stone right off of the surface. One, they don't like it if you do that - it's probably illegal - and two, surface stones (where freezing occurs) aren't always as good as stones where freezing doesn't occur. With novaculite stone where the liquids don't go all the way through, it's probably not as big of a deal. Japanese whetstones found on the surface (exposed to weather) are considered worthless in country, though I wouldn't be surprised at all if they sell them to gaijin.

One of the best places to get old japanese stones is anywhere they would've been stuffed when the mines closed (processing areas, old military installations, old vendors who closed and never sold off everything). But out in the weather where they could get wet and freeze, no.

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