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Bavarian-Frankonian Hones

[FONT=&amp]This thread is about some very special hones from Germany, originating from the frankonian area of Bavaria.[/FONT]
[FONT=&amp]The name Frankonian is known in regard of hones and from time to time appear some new examples called that name in different forums. But in fact, I have not seen one example of these hones that is really proven from the frankonian region. There are no labeled ancient hones with that provenience and from the hones sold by a certain german seller some years ago, the true origin is also unknown (at least to me).[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Since about two years ago I began to investigate the real known old frankonian quarries together with some local historians. I visited the old mines, tried to find written records of the hones and informations from family members of the old miners and traders. Of course I took samples from all quarries and made sharpening and honing tests.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]The frankonian whetstone layers are found in the geological formation of the Ordovician age. The quarries are in direct neighborhood to the Bavarian – Thuringian border and the Thuringian whetstone quarries.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]It is not known, when the hones in this frankonian area were first exploited. There had been some investigations in the past that tried to establish a relationship of whetstones found in old castles and trading places of the early middle ages or even before with the frankonian deposits – that is possible, but not proven. There is a high probability that some of the old mines could be dated at least in the late middle ages, but the first written proofs I found so far are some mine claim requests that are dated in the early 19[SUP]th[/SUP] century. The last mines had been in operation until 1945.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Sale and distribution of the frankonian hones in the 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century was done by the thuringian whetstone trading companies in Sonneberg. Therefore they might have been sold as thuringian whetstones without declaration of their frankonian origin.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Like with all whetstones I have seen so far in natural, the raw rocks of whetstone material distinguish from the stones surrounding them in color and appearance. Seeing these rocks you immediately think they must be something special. Here are some pics of how these whetstones appear as natural rocks:

[/FONT] $IMG_1066.jpg$IMG_1067.jpg

[FONT=&amp]The performance of the frankonian hones is a very special one. On the one side they could be used in a very wide range of honing, somehow like coticules. With a thick slurry they can be used from bevel setting all through the whole progression, diluting the slurry with water more and more, finally the endfinishing with water only and this all much faster than a normal coticule.[/FONT]
[FONT=&amp]Additionally the endfinishing itself gives a very fine, sharp and smooth edge – comparable or even better than a thuringian waterhone.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Unfortunately and like most of the old quarries in the thuringian area, the ancient mines were filled with waste and are not accessible any more.[/FONT]

[FONT=&amp]Most of the hones therefore only appear as small handstones. Larger pieces from which benchstones could be cut, are very rare.


[FONT=&amp]Honing and performance tests of these frankonian hones I did together with a good friend who is also a member here (sharpchef) and one of the most experienced honers and sharpeners I know in Germany. He also did some comparison tests to coticules and other naturals. I think he will chime in and give some more detailed assessment and informations on his tests.[/FONT]
Interesting - these look nothing like what were, a few years ago, being sold commercially as 'Frankonian' stones.
Thank you Peter for your details on the stones and your effort you put in in your own interests of researching old stones and their history, but also the effort you put in this in the thought of a community thinking!!
I`am waiting for this thread a few months now, so i do a "quick" response today, after quitting time today. (work as a pro chef...)

I think the whole story began a few jears ago, when i started a thread about frankonian hones on the german "Gut Rasiert Forum". At this time i got an old assumed frankonian hone (later it was proven by Peter that it was an so called Black mottled Escher, after i sold it him), and the well known sometimes controvertly discussed "frankonian" from Olivia.

A few months ago, Peter send me a stone for testing, and did not mention its origin, he didn`t tell me anything about it, just said "test it".

And i did, like i test every stone. Started to lap it with DMT 125/325. At this point i take a little kitchen knife and check the stone. I was absolutely amazed! The Slurry turned black within seconds..... Sharpening feeling are comparable to a Aoto Jnat, so i thought to myself, well this is an extra fast medium natural, nothing special so far, as we know that good quality synths are faster.
As i am a absolutely natural hone addict, with special bias for fast naturals (as mentioned before, mainly for kitchen knifes in job) my collection of naturals is mostly construed for speed.
Btw. after very intresting mail contact with Jnat specialists like So Yamashita and Maxim, because of searching for an touchup hone for my kitchenknifes, both stated that there is no Jnat that can be as fast as an coticule to bring back a good edge.
But even my fastest Coticules (and i got plenty of them) are not able to bring an slightly dull edge back. So i moved on with Chosera 5k for kitchenknive touchups.

Until i got this frankonian one.........

I did more tests with this tiny piece of stone, here is a pic to compare the speed against one of my fastest cotis:


First i took a razor, that needed a touchup, and dulled it on the hone, then started to hone with a slurry from worn out DMT 325 plate.
Again feelings like honing on an Aoto Jnat, but reached the first step of shaving armhairs within one minute. So i went further, as a coti guy (especially for straights i am a coti guy) would do, little dilutions till water only. For my own amazement the HHT at about level 4 was possible after a little palm stropping. I got the clock in my mind and after about 7 minutes i got a shave ready razor.

After the usual Linen Leather progression i did a first testshave. I don`t like to hype something, but the shave was very good, lets say coti smooth, as close as thüri finish wtg.. Then i checked the atg shave, and at this point i was very staggered! This was really mindblowing! No tugging, no bad feeling at all (have to admit that my skin is very special sensitive), just like an very good smooth coti edge wtg. And this was the first try of that hone on a straight.

I was amazed!

The other day i got some ebay razors from a forum member in germany to hone. They got many nics all over the cutting edge, nice razors, and i normally would choose a Chosera 1k first. Decided to hone them just with finishers, i took my fastest coti (Les Lat) and the frankonian to comapare, and just to be fair one with a synthy setup (starting with Chosera 3k).

As the expierienced honers here will know, i nearly spend half an hour with the coti, the Chosera did the job within 12 minutes, and the frankonian was the fastest one, about 9 minutes and the razor was nearly shaveready, too.

This is the next very intressting thing about these hones. The Slurry is as fast as it could be, and leaves an edge comparable to an well broken down slurry on a hard and fine Suita stone. For enthusiasts there is some air above, but mainly the edge is good to shave with.

It is hard to compare, but i did some tests against other superb finishers, a Nakayama Kiita Maruka, my beloved Les Latneuse Coti, and Y/G Escher edges, and in terms of fineness the Maruka is absolutely the best, but just for shaving comfort the frankonian is a killer.

As i got more different layer and quarry samples from this kind of stone from Peter iam convinced that this is the real holy grail of sharpening stones! (never thought this would exist.......)

Then i did a short run on a rusty japanes damascus santoku blade, just to check scratch patterns on different kinds of hard and soft steel, an this stone did nearly the same as my 3000 Dollar Jnat polishing stones. A well (maybe not perfect) polish with clearly contrast between the layers.


So i call it best stone in/of the world!

I will write more about my test on that kind of stones, but i am tired now.

Greetings Sebastian.
Thanks Sebastian for your short findings on the "best Hone of the World" ;-)

I also waited a certain time for Peters post now and iam very happy that i had the chance to get one of those stones from Peter.

I will just share some details of my Stone in pictures...i will also share some of my findings concerning the stone...But i will wait till Sebastian has revealed some more of his findings in detail ;-)



I don't know that I neccessarily agree that there are no Jnats that are as fast as a Coticule when it comes to reworking an edge.

I also wonder how one can accurately compare the speed of 3 stones, or sets of stones, when you're honing 3 different razors?

Aside from that - I think these stones are really interesting.
It's a shame that they're not available anywhere. At least, I've not seen one before this post.
Until today - the only rocks I've seen posted as a Frankonian were those mentioned above - with somewhat dubious origins.

I'll put these on the list with the elusive purple French stones I guess.
I've got a large Frankonian hone that I got from Olivia a few years ago. It's a great finishing stone. It's a very hard stone and I use a mini DMT325 to raise slurry on it. I've very happy with the results I get from it.
I've got a large Frankonian hone that I got from Olivia a few years ago. It's a great finishing stone. It's a very hard stone and I use a mini DMT325 to raise slurry on it. I've very happy with the results I get from it.

I got one of these too, but they are a whole other story. I used it after Thüris too refine the edge with a second bevel, and this was the only job mine was good for. It was very good, and i miss it a little.

I don't know that I neccessarily agree that there are no Jnats that are as fast as a Coticule when it comes to reworking an edge.

I also wonder how one can accurately compare the speed of 3 stones, or sets of stones, when you're honing 3 different razors?

As i mailed with So and Maxim, my only concern was a search for a stone that is capable to touchup a kitchenknife every day, after cooking about 200 meals within a few strokes, and maintain an edge over a period of maybe 1 or 2 years. There was no problem for some weeks with daily touchups on naturals like Okudo and Ohira Suita stones, with coticule i could maintain an good edge for about 2 months. With a time amount of about 5 minutes per day. I use mainly selfmades and some Global knifes. The only stone i found that was aggressive enough and more important the sharpness of the edge satisfy my demand was an Chosera 5k. I also tested Sigma Select 2 6k (fast enought but no good kitchen knife sharpness).
About razors you are absolutely right, a good and fast Nakayama can bring an edge back with DMT Slurry very fast, as a good coti can do.

I did many tests so far. With different and same razors (14 Blades, Gong razors, Flic razors), the first test was just to give you an impression. I got more pics and testing results, that will follow the next weeks.

If i would read that article i would not believe it, too.:thumbup1: There are too many hypes on the forums, and i have to admit that it does sound a little bit like the Zulu Grey thing.

I also can only speak for the samples i have here. There is one that is just good for final polishing, and not the best for this. An another one is fast but not able to be used without slurry, it tends to scratch the edge (they are both not out of the pure Whetstonelayer).
(The brown one left, and the one on the right). The one on top is a vintage one, got from a good friend, and it was used by his grandfather to sharpen scythes, according to the heavy dish.


This is the setup for the upcoming tests, i just bought a smaller Jnat for comparing them fair. A Maruichi Nakayama, Les Lat coti (my one and only straight razor stone for years now), and two of the pure Whetstonelayer frankonians. :


The bigger one has to be compared with my Ohira Renge Suita (a very fast one) and bigger cotis.

They will be compared in honing speed (from chosera 1k scratches too shaveready).
Shaving performance wtg and atg, with stropping and without stropping on pure leather/linen.

Greets Sebastian.
Selfmade knives?

Uh, yeah, you're gonna have to point me to some more about those.

So just for your pleasure i touched up my main workinghorse (that havent seen anything corser than a Chosera 5k for more than a year now, made about 50000 meals with this knife) on the harder Suita like frankonian. Just a little DMT Slurry and about 15 seconds of sharpening...... HHT 1 possible.


Selfmade Honyaki Style 12 inch Filesteel knife (hardened and testet to 63HRC)

Greets Sebastian.
As irrelevant as it might be - regardless of who said what to whoever - I don't know that I agree with the speed thing for knives either.
DMT slurry isn't neccessarily faster than other methods, and can be slower quite often.

Whatever - neither point has anything to do with the 'real' Frankonians here. Very interesting stones.
I've seen a few stones billed as being a Frankonian - none of them looked like the ones above.
So this is very interesting. It's like a brand new type of stone that was known long ago, then forgotten about - that just showed up.
Which - almost never happens. Locating a branded Cutlers green would be an equal find I think.
Although - I sorta suspect that the 'cutler's green' wouldn't be all that big a deal outside of it's rarity where here, these stones seem to show another level of promise I think.
@Gamma: There are lots of faster options then DMT for sure, like Botan etc. And a few years ago as i got my lovely DMT 325 and started to work it down, to the state it is, i could never ever use it to create slurry. This plate is so absolutely worn down, that it causes no scratches at all, and so it is my favorite Nagura. Sometimes i made a big failure, and quit razor honing on Jnats, and started with the cotis, and stayed there. If i had not done this i may not like the Frankonians............

Just for clarifying, this special stones are "just" stones, nothing magic!

Maybe just for me, and Peter of course......

They act like a blending of an Coticule, a Suita and a Thüri with Arkansas attitudes. It works quick like a superfast coti melted with a superfast Suita stone, finish like Thüri (wtg.) and even better than an Ark edge (atg.).

At least for me, the one i always searched for. And i mainly collect Cotis and Jnats, and some Thüris and a few Arks. In fact they are as good that i considered sometimes to change my job, and start to dig stones for enthusiasts like you all are.

If you would ask me what is the sharpest edge you can get?
-I would say: Jnat/LappingFilm/Synths/Thüri/Arkansas/Frankonian/Coti
If you would ask me what is the most comfortable shave?
-I would say:Frankonian/Coti/Thüri/Arkansas/Jnat/Synths/Film

I just love natural stones, and found the perfect match for my skin.

A comfortable shave is the thing i am looking for. I can put a frankonian or coti edge 90 degree to my skin and nothing happend, if honed with Jnat, Film, Synthies whatever i got a cut at once.
And sometimes after a hard days night, it is very refreshing to get a straights shave without paying too much attention.

Greets Sebastian.
I think, for me, the magic is in their appearance.
They look nothing at all like what I had seen billed as a Frankonian.
That - is what is so amazing to me. Of course, the fact that they work well is nice too..
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