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Picked up a Black Ark... now what?

I recently scored a nice used Dan's Whetstone Black Arkansas. From the website, it states the grit is around 1500+. I've read in other places that it may be around 4k. I know these numbers are just guides and estimates as this is a natural stone. When I received the stone, one side seemed to be burnished or at least used. To make sue it was flat, I lapped it with an Atoma 400. This was before I read the warnings. Luckily the stone was flat and my Atoma didn't take a lot of wear.

I've read some members use these Arks to finish razors. I've seen YouTube videos of folks finishing their knives with this stone. Finishing a knife and finishing a razor seem far apart. Can this one stone do both? Seems unlikely in its present state.

So, now what do I do with this stone? Do I need to burnish or polish to a higher grit to use on my razors?

If possible I would also like to use this stone to finish my knives. I currently have a synthetic 1K to hone my knives.

Thanks for any help,

Gabe
 
If I plan on finishing with either my black or translucent I do a synthetic progression of the following: 1, 3, 5, & 8K. Then I would do maybe 5-10 sets (40 half-strokes, 40 circles, 20 X-strokes is one set for me) on the Arkansas stone and test shave.
I use a 220# finish on both my translucent & black BTW.
 
If I plan on finishing with either my black or translucent I do a synthetic progression of the following: 1, 3, 5, & 8K. Then I would do maybe 5-10 sets (40 half-strokes, 40 circles, 20 X-strokes is one set for me) on the Arkansas stone and test shave.
I use a 220# finish on both my translucent & black BTW.

Thank you. So the 400 grit Atoma finish should be enough to finish razors with no other prep?
 
Thank you. So the 400 grit Atoma finish should be enough to finish razors with no other prep?
I would think so. I haven’t had the best results with hyper polished Arkansas surface prep. The stone always needs to be able to cut steel rather than just burnish for best results IMHO.
 
400 grit can be a bit rough for final finish on a razor. I would use it on a few kitchen knife first to even out the finish. If the atoma plate is well worn in, it might be fine. Only one way to find out:)
 
400 grit can be a bit rough for final finish on a razor. I would use it on a few kitchen knife first to even out the finish. If the atoma plate is well worn in, it might be fine. Only one way to find out:)
Sounds good. OS I can use the same side on knives and razors? I hone them the same way or different methods for each?
 
The same principles apply, but if you are new to razor sharpening i would do some research.
Heavy use of the stone with knives may warrant the stone to be flattened again.
 
The same principles apply, but if you are new to razor sharpening i would do some research.
Heavy use of the stone with knives may warrant the stone to be flattened again.
I do have some experience with a finishing Jnat. I've used it to freshen up my edges for a few years. I've never honed a knife on the Jnat as I feel it is too hard. That is why honing a razor and a knife on the same Black Ark confuses me.

For example, to be shave ready, a straight needs to be honed to at least 8k. That same grit for a knife is pretty extreme.
 
I do have some experience with a finishing Jnat. I've used it to freshen up my edges for a few years. I've never honed a knife on the Jnat as I feel it is too hard. That is why honing a razor and a knife on the same Black Ark confuses me.

For example, to be shave ready, a straight needs to be honed to at least 8k. That same grit for a knife is pretty extreme.
Consider the function of each tool and how those functions are worlds apart. The razor has to be brought up to such a high grit prior to the Arkansas stone simply because it’s used for shaving with max comfort.
Pressures between the two will be different as well based on the difference between the functions of each tool. You can lean on a knife a bit, not so much on a razor. That being said I do use a bit more pressure on a razor when finishing on an Arkansas vs other options.
 
Novaculite is quite a bit different from any other stones that you may use slurry or discuss fineness of “grit”. They just are not like that at all. It is about the density of the stone, the finish on the stone, and the amount of pressure used. When that makes sense to you, you will be using an ark well and know how.

First, Dan’s are generally good stones so you are off to good start.

I personally like mine finished pretty smooth for a razor using something like 600-1000 WD finish, but I actually don’t like it too burnished for razors because it gets too slow. Simply put, the finer you finish the stone and the more burnished it is, it becomes both finer-finishing and slower at the same time. 400 sounds a little rough for my preference of razor honing.

I really don’t use any stones for razors and knives because knife work uses more pressure and ends up more gouging and less flat fast. One thing many folks do with arks is finish one side semi-coarse and one side finely-finished so you have a quasi-dual hone. You can consider this for knives and razors if so compelled.

Lots of discussions on what to use on the stones from mineral oils to water to glycerine. One that works for you that lifts swarf well is important. I actually use ethylene glycol and like it a lot but I may be the only one who seems to do that.

Fine arks are slow, especially if people treat it like almost other razor hones and use no pressure. Controlling pressure and actually using it sure helps use an ark properly. Starting with a great edge and shooting for keen final finish works well, but trying to create an edge can be much harder. And do be warned, arks are an unforgiving hard hard stone. A poor stroke or lifting the spine can send you very far backwards fast.

Great stones. One of my favorite finishers.
 
Novaculite is quite a bit different from any other stones that you may use slurry or discuss fineness of “grit”. They just are not like that at all. It is about the density of the stone, the finish on the stone, and the amount of pressure used. When that makes sense to you, you will be using an ark well and know how.

First, Dan’s are generally good stones so you are off to good start.

I personally like mine finished pretty smooth for a razor using something like 600-1000 WD finish, but I actually don’t like it too burnished for razors because it gets too slow. Simply put, the finer you finish the stone and the more burnished it is, it becomes both finer-finishing and slower at the same time. 400 sounds a little rough for my preference of razor honing.

I really don’t use any stones for razors and knives because knife work uses more pressure and ends up more gouging and less flat fast. One thing many folks do with arks is finish one side semi-coarse and one side finely-finished so you have a quasi-dual hone. You can consider this for knives and razors if so compelled.

Lots of discussions on what to use on the stones from mineral oils to water to glycerine. One that works for you that lifts swarf well is important. I actually use ethylene glycol and like it a lot but I may be the only one who seems to do that.

Fine arks are slow, especially if people treat it like almost other razor hones and use no pressure. Controlling pressure and actually using it sure helps use an ark properly. Starting with a great edge and shooting for keen final finish works well, but trying to create an edge can be much harder. And do be warned, arks are an unforgiving hard hard stone. A poor stroke or lifting the spine can send you very far backwards fast.

Great stones. One of my favorite finishers.
Thank you. This was very informative. I will polish it to a higher grit and burnish a little to start. Currently when my edges start to tug, I use my Jnat to freshen them up. Will this Arkie be up to the same task? Or would I need to freshen up with my Jnat, bringing the edge up to par, and then use the Arkie to change the edge?
 
Thank you. This was very informative. I will polish it to a higher grit and burnish a little to start. Currently when my edges start to tug, I use my Jnat to freshen them up. Will this Arkie be up to the same task? Or would I need to freshen up with my Jnat, bringing the edge up to par, and then use the Arkie to change the edge?
Again this comes down to surface prep. If you decide on a 600+# surface prep a trip to the Jnat may be in order. That’s why I dropped down to a 220# prep. I can get more range out of the stone. I can lean on it and actually see a small amount of steel being removed and then I can back off the pressure a lot and get a shaving edge.
Now that’s not to say that you can’t bump the keenness by going to a higher surface prep because you can. I just hate a glazed stone with a mirror surface. Even my stone set to 220# has started to develop a hazy mirror and I haven’t even used it that much. It’s a NOS Norton translucent.
Keep in mind that what I’m stating is personal opinion/ experience and should not be taken as advice necessarily.
 
Thank you. This was very informative. I will polish it to a higher grit and burnish a little to start. Currently when my edges start to tug, I use my Jnat to freshen them up. Will this Arkie be up to the same task? Or would I need to freshen up with my Jnat, bringing the edge up to par, and then use the Arkie to change the edge?
I hone a lot, so I don’t really get to touch ups too often. For razors, I typically hone up to a great edge and then finish it on a good ark to impart that ark flavor of very-sharp with no bite that I like. With knives and pressure, a fine ark can cut quickly and finely at the same time……but I don’t do much like that with arks and razors. You would have to experiment a little.
 
My Dan’s Black Ark is probably my favorite finisher. Really sharp, really consistent and quite easy to use. I second the advise of finishing in the 600-800 WD range. Preferably on a certified granite surface plate. Then break the surface in a bit by sharpening a big knife or chisel before putting it to the razor. This helps knock of any remaining high points that could scratch the edge. Soapy water or oil work equally well as a honing medium.

The nice this about arks is that once you get them flat they tend to stay that way. I don’t find them particularly slow but I’m lucky enough to have a long runway on mine. A one inch thick stone will probably last 1000 years of honing.
 
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