Knife sharpening & maintenance
Arkansas sharpening stones: move mountains
Arkansas sharpening stones are natural sharpening stones that are mined in different mountains in the American state of Arkansas. They are comprised of novaculite, a type of stone which can only be found in this region. The Ouachita Mountains and the Ozark plateau are the main 'suppliers' of these whetstones.
Soft and Hard Arkansas sharpening stones.
Characterizing for these stones is the high grain density. As a result the Arkansas sharpening stones are very hard and waterproof. They are available in grain sizes ranging from approximately 400 to 10.000. Based on these grain sizes the stones are characterized as Soft Arkansas, Hard Arkansas, Hard Black Arkansas, Surgical Black Arkansas and Translucent Arkansas. With the exception of the Translucent Arkansas stones, which have a light colour and are 'translucent', the stones are darker as they become harder. The Surgical Black Arkansas stone is thus the darkest stone available.
Oil stones: for years of sharpening pleasure
Arkansas stones work best when combined with oil. The oil makes sure the sharpening residue is more easily removed. In addition, you will experience less resistance while sharpening. Oil stones also wear out less quickly. As such you can enjoy them for years and only have to lap them occasionally.