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Washita stone question

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Quirt, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Quirt


    Oct 10, 2005
    Cleaning my shop today I found a long lost Buck Washita Arkansas stone. I've misplaced the metal honing oil can years ago. Anyway anyone know what grit this might be? Also what liquid do I use since I lost my tin of honing oil? Water, gun oil? Suggestions.
  2. fivefold


    Mar 29, 2008
  3. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    Can you take a pic and show us the stone? I'm curious to see the surface and the condition. If it's in good shape (good enough to use), I recommend Lansky honing oil. It's the perfect weight and smells good, to boot.
  4. fervens


    Apr 26, 2009
    Washita's are coarser than soft arkansas stones. That's about as accurate a grit as you can get. Browse around dan's whetstone website. some good info on arkansas stones there.
  5. yoda4561


    May 28, 1999
    What I've heard is that all arkansas stones are around "800" grit in terms of particle size, but they tend to burnish more than cut on many steels, so the grit rating isn't all that useful. The washita is the softest of the common arkansas grades and should cut fastest due to releasing its abrasive more rapidly. I did have a smiths set a while ago with a soft arkansas and a hard/fine arkansas, and the hard one cut faster than the soft on pretty much everything I use it on, so it's more a rule of thumb than anything.
  6. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    I'd like to see pictures too. I use USP mineral oil on my translucent.
  7. Novaculite


    Jul 28, 2013
    One of my very first stones was just what you are talking about, a Buck Washita and Buck honing oil. Great stone, still have it. When comparing it to other stones, I would guess its grit is around 1000 Japanese or maybe 400 European. After my oil ran out, I started using a standard household oil, the stuff one uses to oil the joint of a garden shears, and it worked perfect. What was important there was to find an unscented oil. Some scented ones can get to you after inhaling them for a while.
  8. Skimo


    Mar 28, 2009
    Ahh, fun, I just picked up a broken Norton #1 Washita at an estate sale for $1, day later and a few drops of gorilla glue later I lapped it flat.

    Sharpened up one of my chisels and noticed a couple things, cuts slowly, oh so slowly, finish is around 600-800 grit and it doesn't appear to dish.

    The chisel was filed by me because it was also bought at an estate sale and the previous owner had given it a v bevel. I spent a good amount of time and energy trying to get the file marks out of the chisel, I gave up on the stone, grabbed the nearest sand paper which happened to be 800 grit, it cut faster and to my eye a bit smoother.

    I continued my 'research', lapped my 1k stone against it, wow, lapped incredibly smoothly, 600 grit stone lapped pretty slowly, barely touched the 400 grit stone, my 220 grit stone started lapping the Washita as was evidenced by the white slurry running off the stone.

    I don't know what purpose this stone will have, except as a sanding block.
  9. That pretty much mirrors my impression of the soft Arkansas stones I've tried. Mine were also 'inexpensive', though I don't specifically remember what I paid for them (purchased many years ago). To this day, I've yet to find any blades that respond well to them. My first experience with them, a long time ago, was in trying to re-bevel a Buck 440C blade on one; it just laughed at the stone, pretty much. I also eventually resorted to wet/dry sandpaper to convex it (a couple decades later); the SiC sandpaper eats 440C for lunch, by comparison. Really an eye-opener, and taught me a lot about the abrasive quality of each of the abrasives.

    The earlier suggestion to see the descriptions on Dan's website is a good one. There's a great comparison table there, and also some very detailed explanations of how the effective 'grit' is determined (more like estimated, based on finished results). Most of the performance of each is determined by the density of the quartz crystals in the novaculite stone, rather than the grit size. Washita stones are the least dense, therefore softest, but more coarse (400-600 grit, by Dan's info).

  10. HeavyHanded

    HeavyHanded KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 4, 2010
    My own experience with my Washita and all Arkansas stone for that matter - they like to be lapped with a coarse grit from time to time. One they glaze, lapping with a fixed abrasive, even with a lot of water, rarely restores them to fighting trim. My Washita doesn't choke until I get to 154cm or so, can handle carbon steels, 440c, Aus6,8, 420hc. Even so, I agree they aren't a good choice for changing angles or repair work. Great feedback and a real nice finish.
  11. fervens


    Apr 26, 2009
    I carry a soft arkansas stone around with me all the time. And i use it every day to touch up the edge on my knife once a day. Mostly 8cr13mov type steels. That being said, skipping a day or two can make it a pain to touch up my edge. I have found that lapping it on my XC DMT going length wise helps with the aggression quite a bit, but it doesn't last long. Goes from just finer than a norton fine india to finer than a 600 grit SiC w/d in one session. Used dry the entire time. I almost never use a lubricant with it.
  12. L2bravo


    Jun 14, 2013
    I had a set when I was a kid. Had Washita, Coarse, Fine, Black. They would sharpen the Old Timers I had, to razor sharp. Now? They would be all but completely worthless for any of my knives.
  13. Quirt


    Oct 10, 2005

    Sorry it has taken me so long to snag a photo...here is my stone.

  14. David Martin

    David Martin

    Apr 7, 2008
    Yes, that is the Buck model 134, a 2X5" Washita stone. Buck brought that out in the mid 70's. I have one, it will cut steels like 420 or 425M and is slow yet forgiving. I think it's grit is more like 450-500. I finish my stone on a concrete sidewalk and leave it more coarse and I use mineral oil on it to sharpen. You can put diamond slurry on the stone to improve it cutting abilities. Yours looks to be in good shape. DM
  15. StevieWunders


    Mar 9, 2012
    Interesting. I've never tried lapping my Arkies, but I recently inherited a couple from my late father-in-law that are in need. What exactly would you recommend for leveling a soft Arkansas and/or a white hard Arkansas?

    Sorry. I missed this in another thread on flattening waterstones:
    120 grit lapidary SiC powder and the above mentioned HD stone can do a job on any stone, even makes fairly short work of Arkansas stones, old combination stones etc. The SIC grit breaks down the longer you use it without adding more, a blob of dishsoap will help keep the mud from washing/falling off as you work.
    Would that be the loose, dry powder without a binder? (Yes, I'm slow-you have to spell it out.)
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  16. David Martin

    David Martin

    Apr 7, 2008
    Yes. It does have a binder the grits will break while working a blade on it. A SiC grit works different whereas the India stones don't work in this manner. Very little of it's grit particles will break free during use. These free grits are still working as the blade passes over this slurry.
    Another item about Arkansas stones is them being a natural is their grain structure. DM
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013

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