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With what would you hone in 1850?

We are truly blessed to live today, I mean you want the fanciest Japanese Natural Stone, just order it and get it shipped worldwide, same with Arkansas, Belgian etc.

But one question puzzled me today, with what would I hone my razor with if today was 1850? Still looking for an answer to this one..

What would you be able to find locally back then?
 
The first synthetic abrasives date back to the late 19th century, but not back to 1850, so razor hones at that time would be some type of natural stone. Rock formations around the globe tend to be fairly similar, more so that many people realize.

Some natural razor hones still in use today include Coticules which are formed from garnets.

There are several minerals comprised largely of silica. The most obvious is sandstone, but it also includes flint, quartz and similar minerals like cherts. Many popular hones like Japanese naturals, Arkansas stones, and others are some type of chert.

Many hones are some type of slate or shale. These natural stones may contain some silica, but are largely composed of corundum aka aluminum oxide. Ruby is a type of corundum with a reddish coloration. Sapphires are a type of corundum that come in a variety of coloration. There are slates and shales collected form all over the world that are used as hones. The nice thing about corundum is that it is super hard, not as hard as diamond or cubic boron nitride, but harder than pretty much anything else and much harder than even the hardest steels.

So no matter where you live, you can probably find something to use as a sharpening stone. The stone might not be as great as some of the hones available in the market today, but it would be suitable for sharpening knives, swords, arrowheads, pikes, axes, plowshares, razors and other sharp implements.
 
Coticules (and PDSO, though they may have been mostly foraged/foundstone, not commercially exploited) were definitely available. Arks were available (native Americans had used them centuries ago), but I don't think being sold widely until a few decades after your chosen year. Turkeys were available and Charnleys were just starting to be marketed. Jnats almost certainly existed but were pretty exclusive to Japan. Really what you used most likely came down to where you were with Coticules and Turkeys being the most widely exported in that timeframe, I'd suspect.
 

timwcic

"Look what I found"
Here are two coticules datec 1794 and 1820. Available at your local port as beige weight off sailing ships

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7BFA976B-A6B8-48B5-87EC-228C74123B38.jpeg
 
In Australia, most antique stones from that period I find were imported from England. And a few Turkey stones, which probably still came via England. A bit later Washita started popping up.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Novaculite exits in many locations, Arkansas, US, Charnley Forest, UK, Turkey (I believe), Moughton (?), Canada. The abrasive qualities have been known for a long, long time.

This image is from Wikipedia and the light grey ‘flatirons’ are novaculite, Arkansas stone. That’s a LOT of rock.

Washita is another spelling of ‘Ouchita’, a native American term for this area/mountains.

There’s plenty of rock, likely good quality, but a lot of it is now in a US National Forest. You can mine or log with a permit, but that likely rules out small new commercial ventures. You can however, drive over and pick up all you want within reason. You could fill your car trunk (boot) up until the bumper dragged the ground and people would just think that you are odd.

I also saw an image online of Dan’s black Ark quarry, it’s the size of a small swimming pool!

There’s also very likely plenty of JNat material left outside Kyoto, it’s just financially impractical to mine and may be in a somewhat protected area now. Alex Gilmore gave me some fragments that he picked up at the old Nakayama site (he had permission and a guide). I still use one as a nagura.

1EF0E481-3D54-4AB0-BBDF-2CAB42EE9BF4.jpeg
 
Most of the most popular and sought after types of stone have been in use since long before then, but I think your particular geo-location would determine what you honed your razors(knives and tools as well) on. I believe hard Arks have been used by natives and European settlers as whetstones at least as long as the settlers have been here. I know native Americans made knives, spear and arrow points from it because it breaks like flint and can be effectively knapped into scalpel sharp blades that are, as anyone whose lapped an ark, are extremely hard. Roman's used coticules and id assume bbws as well. I'm sure that thuringians have probably been quarried longer than that, though not commercially probably. Cretin stones were written about by Pliney or Ptollemy(spelling, and I think? ). I don't think that's too much earlier than when charnley forest stones STOPPED being pulled from the ground. I'm sure Fiddich river stone, the various other slates/ novaculites/ siltstones/ sandstones that were fairly close to the surface. I would imagine softer stones were first that were actually *quarried* throughout history because they're softer and easier to cut and faster because they slurry(conjecture). A hard, fine stone worn flat from water in a river flowing over it for rooms or because a layer separated . Slates that are soft I would imagine were more prized then than now even, because I don't think diamond flattening stones were around so anyone who had an awesome hone either worked very hard for it or paid dearly for it. Especially when you consider almost every single trade throughout history required, hand tools(at least some) that needed to be sharp constantly. Civilization wouldn't have progressed the way it did without effective tools. Hand tools are more trouble than they're worth of you don't keep them sharp. I kinda went on a rant but I love when history, anthropology, physical science, geology, and geometry intersect perfectly... or pretty much and group of sciences.. it's a need thing.
 
A bit later Washita started popping up.

Also via Britain I imagine... I can't imagine many boats were feckin off across the Pacific at the behest of the Australian sheep shearing community back in the day ;).


Turkey (I believe)

Crete! I'm relatively that Turkey stones never came from modern-day Turkey. They are exactly the same as modern Cretan stones.


Moughton (?)

Moughton is a siltstone, rather than novaculite. Because of that it's actually a lot more comparable in use to Japanese stones (and Tams) than it is most other UK or American stones.
 
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Richard Knight's letter of 1836 would be quite a good answer to the original question in regards to Britain. Note that at this stage both Arkansas and Ouachitas had begun being quarried in the US as whetting stones, but hadn't yet made it across the pond.

---

Sir, Foster Lane.
In compliance with your request, I have sent, for the Society’s acceptance, a collection of all the principal stones used in the mechanical arts, and of which the following is the catalogue. I have arranged them under two heads, viz. arenaceous and schistose: the few that do not come under either of these heads are separately described, and I shall be happy to give you any further information I am able on the subject.

I am, &c. &c.
Richard Knight.

1. Grit or Sandstone.— Of this variety the universally known and justly celebrated Newcastle grind-stones are formed. It abounds in the coal-districts of Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire; and is selected of different degrees of density and coarseness, best suited to the various manufactures of Sheffield and Birmingham, for grinding and giving a smooth and polished surface to their different wares.

2. Is a similar description of stone, of great excellence. It is of a lighter colour, much finer, and of a very sharp nature, and at the same time not too hard. It is confined to a very small spot, of limited extent and thickness, in the immediate vicinity of Bilston, in Staffordshire, where is lies above the coal, and is now quarried entirely for the purpose of grind-stones.

3. Is a hard close variety, known by the name of carpenters’ rub-stone; being used as a portable stone for sharpening tools by rubbing them on the flat stone instead of grinding. It is also much employed for the purpose of giving a smooth and uniform surface to copperplates for the engraver.

4. Is a much softer variety of sand-stone, usually cut into a square form, from eight to twelve inches long, in which state they are used dry by shoe-makers, corkcutters, and others, for giving a sort of coarse edge to their bladed knives, and instruments of a similar description.

5. A stone of similar properties, but of a more compact and harder description, and therefore better adapted for sharpening agricultural instruments, and may be used with or without water.

6. A porous fine-grained sand-stone, in considerable repute, from the quarries of Black Down Cliffs, near Collumpton, and well known by the name of Devonshire Batts.

7. Is a variety called Yorkshire Grit. It is not at all applied as a whet-stone, but is in considerable use as a polisher of marble, and of copper-plates for engravers.

8. Is a very similar stone, of a softer nature, and made use of by the same description of workmen, and is called Congleton Grit.

9. Norway rag-stone. This is the coarsest variety of the hone slates. It is imported in very considerable quantity from Norway in the form of square prisms, from nine to twelve inches long, and one to two inches diameter, gives a finer edge than the sand-stones, and is in very general use.

10. Charley Forest-stone is one of the best substitutes for the Turkey oil-stone, and much in request by joiners and others, for giving a fine edge. It has hitherto been found only on Charnwood Forest, near Mount Sorrel, in Leicestershire.

11. Ayr-stone, Scotch-stone, or snake-stone, is most in request as a polishing stone for marble and copperplates; but the harder varieties have of late been employed as whet-stones.

12. Idwall, or Welsh oil-stone, is generally harder, but in other respects differs but little as a whet-stone from the Charley Forest; but in consequence of its being more expensive, is in less general use. It is obtained from the vicinity of Llyn Idwall, in the Snowdon district of North Wales.

13. Devonshire oil-stone is an excellent variety for sharpening all kind of thin-edged broad instruments, as plane-irons, chisels, &c., and deserves to be better known. This stone was first brought into notice by Mr. John Taylor, who met with it in the neighbourhood of Tavistock, and sent a small parcel to London for distribution; but for want of a constant and regular supply, it is entirely out’of use here.

14. Cutler’s green hone is of so hard and close a nature, that it is only applicable to the purposes of cutlers and instrument-makers, for giving the last edge to the lancet, and other delicate surgical instruments. It has hitherto been only found in the Snowdon mountains of North Wales.

15. German razor-hone. This is universally known throughout Europe, and generally esteemed as the best whet-stone for all kinds of the finer description of cutlery. It is obtained from the slate mountains in the neighbourhood of Ratisbon, where it occurs in the form of a yellow vein running virtually into the blue slate, sometimes not more than an inch in thickness, and varying to twelve and sometimes eighteen inches, from whence it is quarried, and then sawed into thin slabs, which are usually cemented into a similar slab of the slate, to serve as a support, and in that state sold for use. That which is obtained from the lowest part of the vein is esteemed the best, and termed old rock.

16. The same, with the hone in natural contact with the slate.

17. Is a dark slate of very uniform character; in appearance not at all laminated; is in considerable use among jewellers, clock-makers, and other workers in silver and metal, for polishing off their work, and for whose greater convenience it is cut into lengths of about six inches, and from a quarter of an inch to an inch or more wide, and packed up in small bundles of from six to sixteen in each, and secured by means of withes of osier, and in that state imported for use, and called blue polishing stones.

18. Is a stone of very similar properties, but of a somewhat coarser texture and paler colours, and thence termed grey polishing-stone. Its uses are the same, and they are manufactured near Ratisbon.

19. Is a soft variety of hone-slate, the use of which is confined to curriers, and by them employed to give a fine smooth edge to their broad and straight-edged knives for dressing leather. They are always cut of a circular form, and are called Welsh clearing-stone.

20. Turkey oil-stone. This stone can hardly be considered a hone-slate, having nothing of a lamellar or schistose appearance. As a whet-stone, it surpasses every other known substance, and possesses, in an eminent degree, the property of abrading the hardest steel, and is at the same time of so compact and close a nature, as to resist the pressure necessary for sharpening a graver, or other small instruments of that description. Little more is known of its natural history than that it is found in the interior of Asia Minor, and brought down to Smyrna for sale.

21. The French Burr mill-stone, so justly esteemed as the best material for forming mill-stones for grinding bread-corn, having the property of separating a larger proportion of flour from the bran than can be effected by stones formed from any other material.

22. Conway mill-stone very much resembles the French in appearance. A quarry of this was opened near Conway, about twenty years since, which at first appeared very promising; but it was soon discovered that it was the upper stratum only that possessed the porous property so essential, the lower stratum being found too close and compact to answer the purpose.

23. Cologne mill-stone. This substance is an exceedingly tenacious porous lava. Mill-stones are made of this material in great quantity near Cologne, and transported by the Rhine to most parts of Europe. Smaller stones, from eighteen inches to thirty, are much used for hand mills in the West Indies for grinding Indian corn, for which purpose they are well adapted.

24. Emery-stone. No substance is better known, or has been subservient to the arts for a longer period, than this. The gigantic columns, statues, and obelisks of Egypt owe their carved and polished forms and surfaces to the agency of emery. It is obtained almost entirely from the island of Naxos, where it occurs in considerable abundance, in detached irregular masses. It is reduced to the state of powder by means of rolling or stampingmills, and afterwards by sieves and levigation.

25. Pumice-stone is a volcanic product, and is obtained principally from the Campo Bianco, one of the Lipari islands, which is entirely composed of this substance. It is extensively employed in various branches of the arts, and particularly in the state of powder, for polishing the various articles of cut glass; it is also extensively used in dressing leather, and in grinding and polishing the surface of metallic plates, &c.

26. Rotten-stone is a variety of Tripoli almost peculiar to England, and proves a most valuable material for giving polish and lustre to a great variety of articles, as silver, the metals, glass, and even, in the hands of the lapidary, to the hardest stones. It is found in considerable quantities both in Derbyshire and South Wales.

27. Yellow Tripoli, or French Tripoli, although of a less soft and smooth nature, is better adapted to particular purposes, as that of polishing the lighter description of hard woods, such as holly, box, &c.

28. Touch-stone is a compact black basalt or Lydianstone, of a smooth and uniform nature, and is used principally by goldsmiths and jewellers as a ready means of determining the value of gold and silver by the touch, as it is termed—that is, by first rubbing the article under examination upon the stone, its appearance forms some criterion; and, as a further test, a drop of acid, of known strength, is let fall upon it, and its effect upon the metal denotes its value.

29. Blood-stone is a very hard, compact variety of hematite iron ore, which, when reduced to a suitable form, fixed into a handle, and well polished, forms the best description of burnisher for producing a high lustre on gilt coat-buttons, which is performed in the turning-lathe by the Birmingham manufacturers. The gold on china ware is burnished by its means. Burnishers are likewise formed of agate and flint; the former substance is preferred by bookbinders, and the latter for gilding on wood, as picture-frames, &c.
 
Also via Britain I imagine... I can't imagine many boats were feckin off across the Pacific at the behest of the Australian sheep shearing community back in the day ;).




Crete! I'm relatively that Turkey stones never came from modern-day Turkey. They are exactly the same as modern Cretan stones.




Moughton is a siltstone, rather than novaculite. Because of that it's actually a lot more comparable in use to Japanese stones (and Tams) than it is most other UK or American stones.
I actually saw some moughton on ebay today. I love their look.
 
Richard Knight's letter of 1836 would be quite a good answer to the original question in regards to Britain. Note that at this stage both Arkansas and Ouachitas had begun being quarried in the US as whetting stones, but hadn't yet made it across the pond.

---

Sir, Foster Lane.
In compliance with your request, I have sent, for the Society’s acceptance, a collection of all the principal stones used in the mechanical arts, and of which the following is the catalogue. I have arranged them under two heads, viz. arenaceous and schistose: the few that do not come under either of these heads are separately described, and I shall be happy to give you any further information I am able on the subject.

I am, &c. &c.
Richard Knight.

1. Grit or Sandstone.— Of this variety the universally known and justly celebrated Newcastle grind-stones are formed. It abounds in the coal-districts of Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire; and is selected of different degrees of density and coarseness, best suited to the various manufactures of Sheffield and Birmingham, for grinding and giving a smooth and polished surface to their different wares.

2. Is a similar description of stone, of great excellence. It is of a lighter colour, much finer, and of a very sharp nature, and at the same time not too hard. It is confined to a very small spot, of limited extent and thickness, in the immediate vicinity of Bilston, in Staffordshire, where is lies above the coal, and is now quarried entirely for the purpose of grind-stones.

3. Is a hard close variety, known by the name of carpenters’ rub-stone; being used as a portable stone for sharpening tools by rubbing them on the flat stone instead of grinding. It is also much employed for the purpose of giving a smooth and uniform surface to copperplates for the engraver.

4. Is a much softer variety of sand-stone, usually cut into a square form, from eight to twelve inches long, in which state they are used dry by shoe-makers, corkcutters, and others, for giving a sort of coarse edge to their bladed knives, and instruments of a similar description.

5. A stone of similar properties, but of a more compact and harder description, and therefore better adapted for sharpening agricultural instruments, and may be used with or without water.

6. A porous fine-grained sand-stone, in considerable repute, from the quarries of Black Down Cliffs, near Collumpton, and well known by the name of Devonshire Batts.

7. Is a variety called Yorkshire Grit. It is not at all applied as a whet-stone, but is in considerable use as a polisher of marble, and of copper-plates for engravers.

8. Is a very similar stone, of a softer nature, and made use of by the same description of workmen, and is called Congleton Grit.

9. Norway rag-stone. This is the coarsest variety of the hone slates. It is imported in very considerable quantity from Norway in the form of square prisms, from nine to twelve inches long, and one to two inches diameter, gives a finer edge than the sand-stones, and is in very general use.

10. Charley Forest-stone is one of the best substitutes for the Turkey oil-stone, and much in request by joiners and others, for giving a fine edge. It has hitherto been found only on Charnwood Forest, near Mount Sorrel, in Leicestershire.

11. Ayr-stone, Scotch-stone, or snake-stone, is most in request as a polishing stone for marble and copperplates; but the harder varieties have of late been employed as whet-stones.

12. Idwall, or Welsh oil-stone, is generally harder, but in other respects differs but little as a whet-stone from the Charley Forest; but in consequence of its being more expensive, is in less general use. It is obtained from the vicinity of Llyn Idwall, in the Snowdon district of North Wales.

13. Devonshire oil-stone is an excellent variety for sharpening all kind of thin-edged broad instruments, as plane-irons, chisels, &c., and deserves to be better known. This stone was first brought into notice by Mr. John Taylor, who met with it in the neighbourhood of Tavistock, and sent a small parcel to London for distribution; but for want of a constant and regular supply, it is entirely out’of use here.

14. Cutler’s green hone is of so hard and close a nature, that it is only applicable to the purposes of cutlers and instrument-makers, for giving the last edge to the lancet, and other delicate surgical instruments. It has hitherto been only found in the Snowdon mountains of North Wales.

15. German razor-hone. This is universally known throughout Europe, and generally esteemed as the best whet-stone for all kinds of the finer description of cutlery. It is obtained from the slate mountains in the neighbourhood of Ratisbon, where it occurs in the form of a yellow vein running virtually into the blue slate, sometimes not more than an inch in thickness, and varying to twelve and sometimes eighteen inches, from whence it is quarried, and then sawed into thin slabs, which are usually cemented into a similar slab of the slate, to serve as a support, and in that state sold for use. That which is obtained from the lowest part of the vein is esteemed the best, and termed old rock.

16. The same, with the hone in natural contact with the slate.

17. Is a dark slate of very uniform character; in appearance not at all laminated; is in considerable use among jewellers, clock-makers, and other workers in silver and metal, for polishing off their work, and for whose greater convenience it is cut into lengths of about six inches, and from a quarter of an inch to an inch or more wide, and packed up in small bundles of from six to sixteen in each, and secured by means of withes of osier, and in that state imported for use, and called blue polishing stones.

18. Is a stone of very similar properties, but of a somewhat coarser texture and paler colours, and thence termed grey polishing-stone. Its uses are the same, and they are manufactured near Ratisbon.

19. Is a soft variety of hone-slate, the use of which is confined to curriers, and by them employed to give a fine smooth edge to their broad and straight-edged knives for dressing leather. They are always cut of a circular form, and are called Welsh clearing-stone.

20. Turkey oil-stone. This stone can hardly be considered a hone-slate, having nothing of a lamellar or schistose appearance. As a whet-stone, it surpasses every other known substance, and possesses, in an eminent degree, the property of abrading the hardest steel, and is at the same time of so compact and close a nature, as to resist the pressure necessary for sharpening a graver, or other small instruments of that description. Little more is known of its natural history than that it is found in the interior of Asia Minor, and brought down to Smyrna for sale.

21. The French Burr mill-stone, so justly esteemed as the best material for forming mill-stones for grinding bread-corn, having the property of separating a larger proportion of flour from the bran than can be effected by stones formed from any other material.

22. Conway mill-stone very much resembles the French in appearance. A quarry of this was opened near Conway, about twenty years since, which at first appeared very promising; but it was soon discovered that it was the upper stratum only that possessed the porous property so essential, the lower stratum being found too close and compact to answer the purpose.

23. Cologne mill-stone. This substance is an exceedingly tenacious porous lava. Mill-stones are made of this material in great quantity near Cologne, and transported by the Rhine to most parts of Europe. Smaller stones, from eighteen inches to thirty, are much used for hand mills in the West Indies for grinding Indian corn, for which purpose they are well adapted.

24. Emery-stone. No substance is better known, or has been subservient to the arts for a longer period, than this. The gigantic columns, statues, and obelisks of Egypt owe their carved and polished forms and surfaces to the agency of emery. It is obtained almost entirely from the island of Naxos, where it occurs in considerable abundance, in detached irregular masses. It is reduced to the state of powder by means of rolling or stampingmills, and afterwards by sieves and levigation.

25. Pumice-stone is a volcanic product, and is obtained principally from the Campo Bianco, one of the Lipari islands, which is entirely composed of this substance. It is extensively employed in various branches of the arts, and particularly in the state of powder, for polishing the various articles of cut glass; it is also extensively used in dressing leather, and in grinding and polishing the surface of metallic plates, &c.

26. Rotten-stone is a variety of Tripoli almost peculiar to England, and proves a most valuable material for giving polish and lustre to a great variety of articles, as silver, the metals, glass, and even, in the hands of the lapidary, to the hardest stones. It is found in considerable quantities both in Derbyshire and South Wales.

27. Yellow Tripoli, or French Tripoli, although of a less soft and smooth nature, is better adapted to particular purposes, as that of polishing the lighter description of hard woods, such as holly, box, &c.

28. Touch-stone is a compact black basalt or Lydianstone, of a smooth and uniform nature, and is used principally by goldsmiths and jewellers as a ready means of determining the value of gold and silver by the touch, as it is termed—that is, by first rubbing the article under examination upon the stone, its appearance forms some criterion; and, as a further test, a drop of acid, of known strength, is let fall upon it, and its effect upon the metal denotes its value.

29. Blood-stone is a very hard, compact variety of hematite iron ore, which, when reduced to a suitable form, fixed into a handle, and well polished, forms the best description of burnisher for producing a high lustre on gilt coat-buttons, which is performed in the turning-lathe by the Birmingham manufacturers. The gold on china ware is burnished by its means. Burnishers are likewise formed of agate and flint; the former substance is preferred by bookbinders, and the latter for gilding on wood, as picture-frames, &c.
The "German" stone at #15 sounds more like a coticule than a Thuringian.
 
The "German" stone at #15 sounds more like a coticule than a Thuringian.

Yep... good spot!

The Knight letter is probably the earliest properly detailed look at historic sharpening stones in the language, with regards to what they're actually like to use. And it seems to be the base for a handful of dubious/incorrect/mysterious assertions that get repeated in later texts.

What looks like a Thuri / Coti mix up is found repeated by others later in the c.19th. Ditto the idea that the Turkish stone is found in the 'interior of Asia Minor'. And obviously... the identity of the 'Cutler's Green' and 'Devonshire Oilstone', which all sorts of people have tried to investigate, or have ideas about, but will almost certainly never now be known for certain.

(FWIW - my suspicion is that the CG was either the Glanrafon or Nantlle, or both. Other texts describe it as a 'forest green' stone with darker blue lines or patterns in it.)
 
Yep... good spot!

The Knight letter is probably the earliest properly detailed look at historic sharpening stones in the language, with regards to what they're actually like to use. And it seems to be the base for a handful of dubious/incorrect/mysterious assertions that get repeated in later texts.

What looks like a Thuri / Coti mix up is found repeated by others later in the c.19th. Ditto the idea that the Turkish stone is found in the 'interior of Asia Minor'. And obviously... the identity of the 'Cutler's Green' and 'Devonshire Oilstone', which all sorts of people have tried to investigate, or have ideas about, but will almost certainly never now be known for certain.

(FWIW - my suspicion is that the CG was either the Glanrafon or Nantlle, or both. Other texts describe it as a 'forest green' stone with darker blue lines or patterns in it.)
I would question whether the Glanrafon would match the description of the CG. I'm not at all trying to be argumentative, just stimulate conversation and maybe gain some knowledge. It's very hard to find anything on the CG. That's the first I have seen of that letter so I'm probably not doing my home work very well. It sounds like a stone that is very heavy and dense. I would think something denser and harder than a Charnley?

This video has been passed around on the forms for awhile but for those that might have missed it...

 
Yep... good spot!

The Knight letter is probably the earliest properly detailed look at historic sharpening stones in the language, with regards to what they're actually like to use. And it seems to be the base for a handful of dubious/incorrect/mysterious assertions that get repeated in later texts.

What looks like a Thuri / Coti mix up is found repeated by others later in the c.19th. Ditto the idea that the Turkish stone is found in the 'interior of Asia Minor'. And obviously... the identity of the 'Cutler's Green' and 'Devonshire Oilstone', which all sorts of people have tried to investigate, or have ideas about, but will almost certainly never now be known for certain.

(FWIW - my suspicion is that the CG was either the Glanrafon or Nantlle, or both. Other texts describe it as a 'forest green' stone with darker blue lines or patterns in it.)
I had a stone that met your latter description. It was almost camo-patterned forest green with some blue and hard as glass but felt waxy to the touch. Came out of a barbers bag (~1890-1950 era based on his union/license booklet). Was a pretty mediocre stone. Slow and barely a finisher.
 
I had a stone that met your latter description. It was almost camo-patterned forest green with some blue and hard as glass but felt waxy to the touch. Came out of a barbers bag (~1890-1950 era based on his union/license booklet). Was a pretty mediocre stone. Slow and barely a finisher.

Ah yeah, I think I remember an reading an old post of yours saying you had what you suspected to be a CG, and it went for a surprising amount on ebay when you listed. Haven't still got any pictures of it do you...?

As you say - I imagine it's likely that a lot of these old stones probably weren't much cop actually. And the reason we don't know what they are, and there aren't loads out there, is that they weren't really worth the effort of quarrying and cutting them, if they're just going to be a slightly less good version of a Charnley or Idwal. And especially not after Washitas and Arks came along.

I did find some very, very good razor stone in Devon at the beginning of the year, but f me is it hard and difficult to flatten. And then when you do - 3/4 of the pieces have large chunks of pyrite in them. Trying to do something like that in any kind of commercial way would just be impossible and/or stupid back in the day.
 
I would question whether the Glanrafon would match the description of the CG. I'm not at all trying to be argumentative, just stimulate conversation and maybe gain some knowledge. It's very hard to find anything on the CG. That's the first I have seen of that letter so I'm probably not doing my home work very well. It sounds like a stone that is very heavy and dense. I would think something denser and harder than a Charnley?

This video has been passed around on the forms for awhile but for those that might have missed it...



Yeah you're right - it probably doesn't match it completely exactly, the Nantlle would be closer. It's obviously very possible that the CG was something nobody's ever seen today. But if it was properly quarried and sold as whetstones, then of the ones we know that came from Snowdonia - the Nantlle (and maybe GR) would probably be the likeliest I think. Or possibly just a type of Idwal.

---

Cheers for sharing the vid, looks interesting, will have a watch in a bit!
 
We are truly blessed to live today, I mean you want the fanciest Japanese Natural Stone, just order it and get it shipped worldwide, same with Arkansas, Belgian etc.

But one question puzzled me today, with what would I hone my razor with if today was 1850? Still looking for an answer to this one..

What would you be able to find locally back then?

A lot would have depended on where you would have been located, I suppose. For example, here in New England, I might have used a Magog stone to hone. This is a "unicorn" stone of sorts as there has never been a documented example shown on the forums as far as I'm aware. In the first half of the 19th century, the stone was quarried on a very small island in Lake Memphremagog (hence the name), in southeastern Quebec. It was cut to size and packaged in nearby Derby, Vermont, then sold locally and possibly shipped to Britain. In 1850, tensions arose between the USA and Britain (Canada still being a British colony at the time). All the quarrying stopped as the market dried up due to trade being blocked. Since then, the water level of the lake has been artificially raised and the area has been developed as vacation homes for people from Montreal, making a return to quarrying there impossible.

Griffith Shaving Goods, based in the state of Rhode Island, has sold local Rhode Island hones in the past that are quite interesting. These are described using historical documents dating from the late-18th, early-19th century.
 
I would question whether the Glanrafon would match the description of the CG. I'm not at all trying to be argumentative, just stimulate conversation and maybe gain some knowledge. It's very hard to find anything on the CG. That's the first I have seen of that letter so I'm probably not doing my home work very well. It sounds like a stone that is very heavy and dense. I would think something denser and harder than a Charnley?

This video has been passed around on the forms for awhile but for those that might have missed it...

I was trying to see what the stone was in GW's kit. Coticule maybe?
 
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