Hand Tools

Re: Lots…

Steve Voigt
Hmm, I thought there were a LOT of interesting takeaways from the pics. I'll list what I thought and Dave or anyone can disagree if they like.

1. Most modern finishing stones are within a fairly narrow band. That is, here wasn't some huge advantage for a particular medium.
2. Fine Arkansas stones do very well. There's a persistent claim that even the finest oilstones are a much lower "grit" than fine waterstones (as if grit actually mattered) but the pics make it clear that the end result of sharpening on a fine Arkansas is as good or better than all but a very few waterstones.
3. Precursors to Arkansas stones don't fare so well. Arkansas stones do better, which makes sense because they drove most of the others from the market in the late 19th c.
4. Natural stones (both oil and water) are pressure sensitive in a way that synthetics are not. That is, using a light touch produces a noticeably finer edge. The biggest observed difference by far (in terms of heavy vs light touch) was the Washita, which seems to explain its historical popularity as a one-stop sharpening stone.
5. Abrading an oilstone does not have a significant detrimental effect on the edge. A number of people have claimed that abrading a stone results in an edge comparable a much coarser stone (e.g. abrading a trans ark gives an edge comparable to a soft ark). The photographic evidence presents a strong counter to this claim, and shows that abrading results in a scratch pattern that is perhaps a tiny bit coarser overall, but is also more uniform.
6. With applied compounds, the backer is as important as the media. A coarse compound applied to a forgiving backer will produce a much finer scratch pattern than the same media on a harder backer. Not a surprise, especially given all the buffer testing that's been going on, but it's nice to see the pictures.
7. Metal polish on softwood outperforms all other applied compounds. The only thing that looked better in the pics was pure crom ox powder on wood, but the difference was slight and the time investment with the crom ox is prohibitive.

This is obviously just my interpretation, so please fire away if y'all disagree.

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.