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Dan's true hard or black Arkansas

The shot as included is proof enough why a true hard is worth a shot. I like them. The Super Skrull of Arkansas finishing stones, capable of all forms...
I bought an old vintage smith's sold as "fine", marked "hard arkansas" 6x2 and sold as "hard" 4x2. I like the hard for finishing razors. It's got great feedback but the edge it gives is like butter and will cut you if you look at it wrong. I flattened them and smoothed to 220 and mild burnishing. The 6x2 is waxy and translucent, i believe it's a true hard. The 4x2 "hard" had a density of 2.5869. 20210721_125322.jpg
 
I have a Dan's #BAB-832-C which is apparently a half-inch bench-sized ultrafine. I lapped it on w/d from 320 to about 1000 if I remember (but I may have gotten tired and quit early :))

I'm pretty much just playing with it cluelessly. I read somewhere about using a ballistol emulsion so that's all I've tried. Yesterday based on a random comment I did 250 laps on the ark. I don't get *any* sensation of feedback (that I recognize as feedback) on the ark so just counted them off and thought "well, whatever!" I would not say the shave was particularly pleasant (nothing like the comfy outsourced edges I have gotten from the esteemed doc) but it was close enough that I can't really fault it.
 
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After reading all the wisdom from all you gents and speaking to a number of vendors, I finally got Kim on the phone who was "waiting" for a call from India for a razor stone. Apparently each time I called them, she was available well past midnight my time (Afternoon local Arkansas time) which didn't work out.

I spoke to her several times over last few days and exchanged emails for information and photos. Shes a wealth of information and very patient in answering questions.I've finally zeroed in on this primitive cut translucent ark. A decent size for a modest cost.

She promised me that it would be so flat that I would be able to get a great edge off this piece without much flattening efforts needed.

Speaking to Kim convinced me why paying a premium for Dan's is really worth it.

Part of my two naturals birthday purchases today. A coticule bout and this one ! :pipe:

7.75x4.25-Translucent-FrontView.jpg 7.75x4.25-Translucent-Back.jpg 7.75x4.25-Translucent-EndView.jpg 7.75x4.25-Translucent-SideView.jpg
 
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I have a Dan's #BAB-832-C which is apparently a half-inch bench-sized ultrafine. I lapped it on w/d from 320 to about 1000 if I remember (but I may have gotten tired and quit early :))

I'm pretty much just playing with it cluelessly. I read somewhere about using a ballistol emulsion so that's all I've tried. Yesterday based on a random comment I did 250 laps on the ark. I don't get *any* sensation of feedback (that I recognize as feedback) on the ark so just counted them off and thought "well, whatever!" I would not say the shave was particularly pleasant (nothing like the comfy outsourced edges I have gotten from the esteemed doc) but it was close enough that I can't really fault it.
My arks take some pressure but they are actually pretty fast i can polish a blade exactly how i want it in about 5-10 minutes. Until recently arks are all ive had experience with. Ive used them constantly my whole life.
 
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After reading all the wisdom from all you gents and speaking to a number of vendors, I finally got Kim on the phone who was "waiting" for a call from India for a razor stone. Apparently each time I called them, she was available well past midnight my time (Afternoon local Arkansas time) which didn't work out.

I spoke to her several times over last few days and exchanged emails for information and photos. Shes a wealth of information and very patient in answering questions.I've finally zeroed in on this primitive cut translucent ark. A decent size for a modest cost.

She promised me that it would be so flat that I would be able to get a great edge off this piece without much flattening efforts needed.

Speaking to Kim convinced me why paying a premium for Dan's is really worth it.

Part of my two naturals birthday purchases today. A coticule bout and this one ! :pipe:

View attachment 1300300 View attachment 1300301 View attachment 1300302 View attachment 1300303
Beautiful stone!
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
Gorgeous.

I've owned a number or Arks over the years and these days, I think Dans 1/2" stones and primitives may be the best options.

I've got a nice Surgical Black from Halls, but I've not seen many other examples, so I can't say I know for certain they are all razor-grade stones.

I used to own a nice Translucent Black from NWC, but I've heard/seen examples of a big drop-off in the quality of their higher end stones. Last I saw wasn't the least bit translucent. And when I sold mine, it fetched twice the current asking price on their site (which suggests to me that those type of stones aren't really what you get any more).

Got a big primitive from a collector/eBayer who said he had a neighbor/friend who used to work @ the mines many decades back and he had gotten it from them. Great stone... basically Vintage Norton translucent Black material.

Had a vintage (80's maybe 90's I'd guess) Woodcraft Surgical Black that was quite nice (but no translucency at all... prototypical Surgical Black in my eyes).

Also had a number of vintage Norton hards (translucents, blacks, etc)

And of course 10-15 years ago I bought a number of Dan's translucent "Seconds" for a pittance... they were all swirly pink stones and would command a premium these days (wish I'd kept some).

I've heard that Dan's "True Hard" are also razor finishers, basically where they put "Seconds" now, and mostly means multicolored stone. I haven't confirmed this myself.

In general, any good quality SB or Translucent should be fairly comparable. Problem is as top notch stones get rarer, a lot of sellers seem to be expanding what they call SB and Translucent. To be fair, most other vendors/mines do tend to stand behind their product, but it can be a hassle to do returns, wait for a replacement, etc. So far I don't recall anyone having issues with Dan's... which is worth a bit of a premium.

Vintage stones used to be a steal, but they've gotten comparable in price (or even more expensive) vs Dan's stones.
 
The translucent I got from NWS seems to be a good finisher. I’d say pretty much on par with the Dans black. Although I probably use the Dans stone just a bit more and was no where near as hard to get prepped as the translucent stone.Dans sends them pretty much ready to use out of the box. F77C3BFF-9A6D-4585-91E1-D7B99D49BAFA.jpeg E36CF4AA-47E4-4A7B-A5A0-FFF3697BFD4B.jpeg
 
Beautiful stone!
I bought a 4x2 vintage norton "hard arkansas" it's a translucent and i look forward to trying it out. I just started my coticule journey but ark have been pst of my life since i was 6 and i have a very visceral love of those stones. Crappy arks suck but when you find a good one, hold onto it and really learn the stone then you've made a friend for life. Nothing like a premium arkansas stone that was cared for and prepped well.
 
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I have a Dan's #BAB-832-C which is apparently a half-inch bench-sized ultrafine. I lapped it on w/d from 320 to about 1000 if I remember (but I may have gotten tired and quit early :))

I'm pretty much just playing with it cluelessly. I read somewhere about using a ballistol emulsion so that's all I've tried. Yesterday based on a random comment I did 250 laps on the ark. I don't get *any* sensation of feedback (that I recognize as feedback) on the ark so just counted them off and thought "well, whatever!" I would not say the shave was particularly pleasant (nothing like the comfy outsourced edges I have gotten from the esteemed doc) but it was close enough that I can't really fault it.
Try it with pressure. I use a pretty decent amount, more than many because they fear wrecking their edge(arks will do it). i use pressure but make SURE you are doing smooth, completely even strokes. I think that smoothness greatly lowers your chances of digging in. If you can become mechanical while honing you can use pressure and it won't hurt anything.
 
Thanks for the suggestion. I've been working so hard to use less pressure everywhere that adding pressure feels counter-intuitive! With this ark I can almost see where leaning in (figuratively) a bit might be safer than a tentative stroke leading to a 'skip and a dig.'
 
Pressure won’t harm an edge on an ark and without any then expect to spend some time doing laps.

However, one foolish lift of the spine on a hard ark can absolutely send you back a few stones.

There is a difference between correct pressure and too much. That you have to learn yourself in your hands. And depending on razor flex/grind etc.
 
Pressure won’t harm an edge on an ark and without any then expect to spend some time doing laps.
What feedback/indicator says the ark is done? I can fairly easily see scratch progression from 3k/8k/20k, but once on the ark I'm not really sure what I'm shooting for. Things get a little squinty in the old loupe by this time.

There is a difference between correct pressure and too much. That you have to learn yourself in your hands.
I hear you on that. After miserable experiences I eventually had some sort of mental reset with my synths and suddenly feel like I have a feel (and willpower to Just Stop) sufficient to get a repeatable, reasonably comfortable edge. Room for (lots of) improvement, but come the apocalypse I feel like I'm probably self-reliant enough to keep shaving :p Some blades do seem easier to work with than others.

I am wary of mistakes on the ark. I sometimes hear an awful noise and so far it's been because I've been lifting the *edge* off the stone and rolling back onto the spine. I have no doubt I'll crash an edge at some point. Sometimes crash and burn is fuel for learning, though, so onward ever better.
 
What feedback/indicator says the ark is done? I can fairly easily see scratch progression from 3k/8k/20k, but once on the ark I'm not really sure what I'm shooting for. Things get a little squinty in the old loupe by this time.



I hear you on that. After miserable experiences I eventually had some sort of mental reset with my synths and suddenly feel like I have a feel (and willpower to Just Stop) sufficient to get a repeatable, reasonably comfortable edge. Room for (lots of) improvement, but come the apocalypse I feel like I'm probably self-reliant enough to keep shaving :p Some blades do seem easier to work with than others.

I am wary of mistakes on the ark. I sometimes hear an awful noise and so far it's been because I've been lifting the *edge* off the stone and rolling back onto the spine. I have no doubt I'll crash an edge at some point. Sometimes crash and burn is fuel for learning, though, so onward ever better.
I accidently grind the spine on the arks sometimes too and i always think i just trashed the edge.
 
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I bought an old vintage smith's sold as "fine", marked "hard arkansas" 6x2 and sold as "hard" 4x2. I like the hard for finishing razors. It's got great feedback but the edge it gives is like butter and will cut you if you look at it wrong. I flattened them and smoothed to 220 and mild burnishing. The 6x2 is waxy and translucent, i believe it's a true hard. The 4x2 "hard" had a density of 2.5869. View attachment 1300038
The 6" x 2" looks like it has some action (swarf accumulation). Looks like a "true hard" (mottled translucent) Ark I have seen for sale on the German market. The leather flap on the 4" x 2" is interesting. Was it there originally or did you add it later?
 
The 6" x 2" looks like it has some action (swarf accumulation). Looks like a "true hard" (mottled translucent) Ark I have seen for sale on the German market. The leather flap on the 4" x 2" is interesting. Was it there originally or did you add it later?
Its just a strip i put inside so it doesn't rattle, the wrap i made to keep the box together because it's a travel stone and it doubles as a strop when unlaced and one side tied up(camping gear). I pushed the mounted one as a true hard from dans equivalent too, but he's the only one that uses the designation. It definitely needs to be cleaned, i hate that vits mounted I'll probably have to use a plate to degrease it. I don't use it as much even though ive had it a while so i haven't fooled with it. The small one is almost in that density range. I have a 1x4 that came with a smiths soft i bought 10 years ago and it's a molted translucent too. I got a washita/ translucent combo that should be coming in tomorrow im interested in cleaning up. No box, no label but it looks old and barely used. There is a stone with it that looks like a 8" black but im going to assume not unless proven otherwise. I got lots of fun stones coming in over the next few week.
 

duke762

Contributor
Here’s what my True Hard stone looks like.
Man....I was just getting my H.A.D. under control. I've been wanting to try a True Hard for a long time.

I wonder if Dan will pick out a colorful one if you inquire. I bet if he had more pictures of the true hard family on his website, the more colorful ones would sell like crazy on looks alone.

I want a sample of all 3 in the SB/Trans/True Hard family from Dan's just to see how they stack up to each other and my Vintage Nortons. It's a scientific thing you know.......Not really H.A.D.
 
Man....I was just getting my H.A.D. under control. I've been wanting to try a True Hard for a long time.

I wonder if Dan will pick out a colorful one if you inquire. I bet if he had more pictures of the true hard family on his website, the more colorful ones would sell like crazy on looks alone.

I want a sample of all 3 in the SB/Trans/True Hard family from Dan's just to see how they stack up to each other and my Vintage Nortons. It's a scientific thing you know.......Not really H.A.D.
I did make a special request for that stone. I told them that I wanted them to find me a stone with as much color variation that they could find while they were processing incoming stones.
 
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