Hand Tools Archive

Flattening my Washita *PIC*

Chuck Bjorgen
I posted a couple weeks back about the six-inch long Washita I picked up for a decent price on eBay. This weekend I got around to flattening the one side that seemed dished and cleaning up the other side that seemed flat, but pretty dirty. I had viewed some YouTube videos in which the authors had used Silicon Carbide (SiC) grits for the flattening and because I had some of this stuff along with the recommended laminate sheets from a long-ago purchase, I decided to go that route. I used 90 grit SiC on my 5/16" glass plate, protected by a laminate sheet because that's what I had. It was somewhat effective but very, very slow.

I became impatient and decided to try a full sheet of 80 grit sandpaper, of which I had only two sheets. The result was much better, although still somewhat slow. I kept cleaning the sandpaper with a bench brush until I felt I was done. The dished side of the stone still showed discoloring but a straight edge led me to believe the dishing was mostly resolved. I'll be using the stone as is from this point.

I recall from another Washita purchase that the seller had cleaned the stone in boiling water. And another YouTuber had cleaned Arks in hot water and dish soap. Any thoughts on those treatments?

The top photo shows the side that had been dished. I stopped with the sandpaper because with freehand sharpening I can try to use the full surface of the stone. I'm not sure I'll try the SiC grit for anything again but am open to suggestions.

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