both sides are good!!The smaller stones can be had dirt cheap and Smiths produced some very high quality stones. As a user and not a collector I don't have anything against the 1/2" stuff either.
I have less trouble with skipping and sticking on smaller hand held stones. The sticking is much more subtle on arks but I can feel the blade going harder into the stone.
This little black ark just came in the mail today and I would call it a translucent. It doesn't pass much light but some. It's a 2 x6x1/2 with what I suspect is one good side. Perhaps a second quality from Natural Whetstone Co?
For what it's worth, I have started keeping logs for what I have lapped and honed - like this:
2020-10-10. Vermont Green Slate. P220 > P600 > P800 > P1200. P1200 did not do much.
Pretty handy and, hopefully, it will save me time and effort figuring out where to start next time.
The off color stuff has cracks that catch an edge.both sides are good!!
I pretty sure your stone is transitional hard,black, translucent
maybe even some blue/surgical
if the stone colored part is softer/ coarser. Use that to prefinish it will speed up your time on ark
i’ll bet there is some denser blue/surgical mixed in !
have you tried lapping it? usually that stuff is true hard or better. and is a regular part of my ark progression. Stone in picture 2x6” top left is true hard, other side and corner is trans black. It took some elbow grease / lapping !! This is a Dan’s second.The off color stuff has cracks that catch an edge.
Yes, it was lapped. Not to the extent as the other face though after I discovered it could catch edges.have you tried lapping it? usually that stuff is true hard or better. and is a regular part of my ark progression. Stone in picture 2x6” top left is true hard, other side and corner is trans black. It took some elbow grease / lapping !! This is a Dan’s second.
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I lapped both the soft and the hard with P220, P400, P600 and P1200 - came out very nice and smooth. Not sure the P1200 did a whole lot. I did not have any P100, but next time I will.With new stones like that at the very least you will want to go over them with a hard steel, loose grit will be rolling around on the surface if you don't. Both stones will have a break in period and be coarser than they naturally are which may be OK, but if you are thinking of doing an ark progression I would lap them both.