Norton Abrasives owns the largest quarries in Arkansas still mining top quality Arkansas stones. But finding a 1" thick piece of top quality hard-translucent stone has always been a problem and that’s why great oilstones have always been expensive. Over the years, the 8" stones have lost a 1/4" in thickness and they still are pretty expensive. But someone at Norton had a brainwave and did some math, and discovered that if they sawed the stone thinner, they could make it wider and still have a lot better yield on the available stone and end up charging less per stone. Now, we haven’t checked their books and we have no idea if this story is true, but if it isn’t, how else would we be able to offer an 8" x 3" x 1/2" thick hard-translucent Arkansas stone at such a good price? And it’s a full three inches wide - which a lot of you will really appreciate.
Once the decision was made to make the wider stones, it made a lot of sense to make a matching India stone, so we are also offering their 8 x 3 x 1/2" Medium India stone, which is our recommended complementary stone for oilstone sharpening. Both stones come packed in plastic cases with a lid that pops off for sharpening. The case has non-slip rubber feet so that you can sharpen with the stone right in the case. The cases stack too.
Note: After about a century of operations, Norton finally decided to change the name of their top quality stones from "Hard" Arkansas to "Hard-translucent" Arkansas. This was purely a marketing label change with no bearing on the attributes of the stones. These honing stones are made from the same top quality stone as their older style stones.
Please visit our instructional exhibit, "A Guide to Honing and Sharpening,"
which shows how you can learn to free-hand sharpen after about 30 minutes of practice (http://www.antiquetools.com/sharp)
. We also have a DVD covering the same approach to sharpening which is available separately (see below) or as part of a package with the stones.
We also stock the complete range of Crystolon stones in this size. Crystolon stones are silicon carbide and cut faster than the India stones but dish very rapidly. For woodworking tools we highly suggest the India stones over the Crystolon but for knives and other tools where flat geometry is less important Crystolon might be a rapid way to get a rough edge. In general Crystolon is coarser than a similar girt in an India stone.