Monday, December 9, 2013

And now for something COMPLETELY different.... Novaculite sharpening stones

My daughter Eliana was helping me the other day by peeling the a bark off of some branches that we dragged out of the back forty (we have decided to make a "real" cat tree). She decided that this would be a good opportunity to use some of the SHARP tools. Only 8 years of age and already a tool snob, I love it!

Bevel down, cut away from the body, smart girl.

Maybe I'll try the spokeshave....

Yeah, this works.

Well, you know what that means.....

More tools to sharpen, yay!

It just so happens that my friend Brandon, knowing well of my sharpening stone obsession, had dug out some of his old oilstones for me to play with.

Brandon on his sailboat.

Arkies, Indies and Blacks, oh my!

My oilstone experience is limited to say the least, extending to India (synthetic) and probably hard Arkansas (natural) stones, so this was a real treat. Brandon knew that I would be trying them out as waterstones, so he even had them all washed up and lapped for me, aawwww. I grabbed a handful and ran for the door/hatch/ companionway.

Strange days, snow and ice on the Oregon coast (also lots of glare, contributing to particularly bad photos).

From left (these are guesses): hard Arkansas, soft Arkansas, surgical black Arkansas (certain!), medium Arkansas, and some type of slate (very fine).

One thing I noticed right away. One of MY mystery stones (the small one) bears more than a passing resemblance here. Look, I learned something already!

I also learned something else. These stones work well using a thin oil, but if you lap them fine and try to use them with water.....

Not much happening.... more burnishing than cutting.

Make a thin diamond slurry....

That's more like it. Lots of swarf.

It's pretty neat. Just water, and the stone feels like it's rubbing or dragging but not working too well. Make a very thin slurry, just 2 or 3 seconds work, and it acts as if it's a completely different stone. Suddenly there is some feedback and the slurry turns black with metal particles. Kind of like a waterstone...... but slower. The good part is that they are harder than most waterstones, so you don't have to be QUITE as diligent about flattening. Oh yeah, MUCH cheaper than natural waterstones, too.

But wait! There's more......

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Like all of us, I am figuring this out as I go, so when you see something that is incorrect or flat out wrong (and you will!), let me know. This is a learning process. Real people and names, please. Constructive comments and questions are very welcome, but hate speak/politics are not! Life (get one!) is too short.

Thanks, Jason