Sharpening Stones

I went to a tools show and didn’t buy any tools?!  What on earth could this be?

I bid on a couple items, but eventually came home with only three things.  A nice collection of sharpening stones from two different sellers.

First set was a Soft Arkansas, and a Hard Arkansas stone in box.  They are barely used, and look like much higher quality stones than you can buy today.

The other one was billed as a honing stone, and has a little more use on it but it’s still quite flat.  The box is what kept me coming back over and over again.  The box is user made, and has a carved sea horse with a dragon head on the top of the box.  I don’t know if it’s bone like it says it’s supposed to be or a mass produced item glued on, but it’s kind of charming.  The stone is a Norton and that’s all I know.

Any information on any of this would be appreciated.

Sharpening Stones in Boxes

Sharpening Stones

Detail of the carving on the top

Norton Stone detail

All in all the quality of my sharpening setup just improved a whole bunch.  I’ve only tried sandpaper on glass and a cheap stone from wood craft that work on my kitchen knives, but didn’t really ever achieve an edge worth noting on my plane blades.  I know I have to learn to sharpen better, but these stones are clearly higher quality than the Pinnacle cheapie I bought.  The Pinnacle will migrate upstairs to the kitchen for the kitchen knives.



  1. joel November 20, 2010

    Brookstone was a marketer of specialty and hard to find tools – now they mostly sell gizmos but back in the 70’s when these stones were new they sold tools. Quality should be ok but not like a Norton arkansas stone.

    The Norton stone might be an india stone – the color is sort of right but the stone is also pretty dirty so it could be something finer only needs a cleaning.

  2. Anonymous Comment Leaving Person November 24, 2010

    I’ve gotten a bunch of those lately and am still figuring them out. Go over to Norse Woodsmith–he has some info on cleaning those. I wrapped them in old dish towels and put them in a kettle with a vegetable steaming stainless collander thingee to keep the stones off the heat, filled it with cold water and boiled them with some (real) TSP. I’d recommend a thorough initial scrubbing with some warm water and soap. Then I flattened them with a DMT 325 grit diamond stone. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Yours actually look pretty clean though. If you can find one at a flea market, try a razor hone too. I found one and in combination with a strop and some green chrome oxide stropping crayon (Harbor Freight) you can get a jolly sharp edge, like “cut myself with a scalpel and didn’t notice till five minutes later” sharp.

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