mystery stone

Joined Nov 2, 2013
Yesterday i bought a stone at a yard sale. The seller only knew that it had come from an old shaving kid. Since it was from the 50ties in Denmark i originally thought it was a surgical black Arkansas.

The stone were in a rough state so it had to be lapped. When i went to work i quickly realised that it wasn't an Arkansas stone since it's soft and quickly developed a greyish slurry. So i tried leaving it in water to see if it sucked up any water. It didn't.

Then i tried sharpening with it. I used it after an extra fine diamond and got a very nice edge. It was a hazy edge but still really nice.

Im pretty sure it's a natural stone. probably European. Do any of you know what it possible could be? I attached pictures of the stone
Joined Nov 15, 2012
No way to tell what it is for sure, but looks and sounds like natural stones from China once sold on ebay, claimed to be equivalent of 15K grit.

Joined Oct 5, 2011
There were tons of razor hones in Europe from lots of makers and locations.

I'll see if I can find a link to a massive article series on them. I have the .pdf's of them but need to locate a link.

Joined Nov 2, 2013
Thanks to both of you.
I'll probably never know for sure what it is. But would like to see the pdf from you knife savers.

So far im liking the stone. It's fun to play with. But i have only used it on my home knives. I'll see how it does on my work knives later this week.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Also I think that there is at least one online forum dedicated to shaving and straight razors and someone there should know something concerning your fine stone.
Joined Nov 2, 2013
Tanks jim.

seems like an intresting article, but pretty long :) never knew a lot about natural stones. only have a couple of arkansas stones and now this new one.
Joined Nov 2, 2013
Perhaps its a Belgiun Blue (Coticule)? If it is its a great find for sure. 
It might be, i looked it up and seems to fit. But i thought the belgium blue would be harder? i can easily scratch the surface of this stone with a knife.

Belgian blue or not I'm liking it :) it's a nice finishing stone to a 1/10 of the price i paid for my other finisher.

I think i might have to start going to more yard sales.

Joined Oct 2, 2010
They could be BBW's (Belgian Blue Whetstone) but I'm not exactly sure because you mentioned that your stones gave a grey-ish slurry. Normally you would get a somewhat dark-purple slurry.

both the coticules and the BBW's have the same cutting "agent" embedded but in a different concentration. The yellow-ish coticules are around 8k compare to Japanese stones and the BBW around 4k. That makes a BBW a great stone for quick daily touch-ups, especially since they don't absorb any water at all. These are natural stones so their "grit" is very variable. The smaller irregular coticule at the right is a selected quality stone that has a much higher whetting capacity than all the others in the picture.

Here's a picture of my coticules and Belgian Blues. Maybe this close-up of their surface will tell you something more?

But.... Another possibility is that your stones are French "Pierres de Pyrénées" having a 1200 grit. Here's some info on them. The same website will give you more info on coticules and BBW's as well.énées.html
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Joined Nov 2, 2013
I actually have one of those. :) bought it some time ago and forgot about it. It's a pocket stone so never really used it.
Used it a bit and it's pretty close to my mystery stone. But i don't think it's the same stone

Joined Apr 7, 2014

Just happened to stumble across this thread and thought I might chime in.  I'm one of those straight razor forum members someone was suggesting might be able to help.......and far from an expert, but I do have a couple thoughts for you here

It's hard to tell from your pictures, but I don't think BBW is right here.  Like others have said, the slurry would most likely me more bluish/purplish.  And my experience with natural coticules with BBW backs is very limited, but the one I have (and most pics I've seen) have a bluish/purplish shimmer to them

If it is a Thuringian, that would be a great find, as those are fairly hard to come by and are always grabbed quick when they pop up on the razor forums.  From what I've read about them, they are a natural rock mined in the Thuringia region in Germany before WW2, the mines have not been operational since, hence the scarceness.  I've never had a chance to try one, but never hear anything but great reviews about them as a finishing stone for razors.  One of these days I'll get my hands on one and find out for myself.

Hones I have that look similar, from what I can see:

1) "Chinese 12k" / "C12k" -  as found on eBay and sold over on woodcraft.  As the name suggests, is believed to average around 12k grit...though, as any natural stone, this may vary.  Very dense stone, doesn't absorb a noticeable amount of water.

Medium gray, sometimes with dark grey streaks (mine has long, thin, very straight streaks, almost black) when dry.

Dark grey, not black, when wet. 

Looks similar to a big block of graphite in those respects

Greyish, milky slurry similar to yours.

2) From a set of Welsh slate sold on eBay, this one is nicknamed "Dragon's Tongue".  Estimated at approximately 10-12k

Very dark grey dry, jet black wet.

Slurry is dark grey with a hint of brown.....kind of looks and smells like watered down modeling clay.  May sound crazy to mention the scent, but the scent is fairly strong on this one, you'll notice it as soon as you start raising a slurry, unlike with the C12k

3) Also from the Welsh slate set, nicknamed the "Welsh Thuringian".  If I remember right the name is because it looks and performs similar to a Thuringian hone.  Estimated around 15k

Darker grey than the C12k dry.  Wetting it only barely darkens it at all.  May have wispy streaks throughout that sort of sparkle when looked at from the right angle

And again with the smell.....the slurry looks very similar to yours, smells a lot like you just finished holding a handful of pennies in a sweaty hand (not pleasant, sorry, but it's the only thing it reminded me of lol)

All 3 of these I only use after going through 1k, 4k and 8k stones.  Both of the welsh slate stones I've used with a light slurry followed by just water on the clean stone, or just water.....don't recall noticing a difference using slurry first.  The C12k I've only used for finishing with water.

Whatever it is, the fact that it's working for you is the most important part!  But if you really want to narrow it down just for your own curiosity, I hope the information above helps point you to something useful

p.s. edit:

but, man, taking a second look at your that greenish streak in the first pic par of the stone? Or part of the slurry? 

If it's in the stone, I'd lean back towards Thuringian (maybe Escher? but without the box/paperwork there's no way to say for sure).

Once you get into natural stones, the varieties and subtle differences get to be a bit mind boggling

Here's a little extra info from a more experienced source than me:
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Joined Nov 2, 2013
Hi kavik Sorry for the late reply. Saw your post some time ago but never got around to say thanks.The Stone is still a mystery to me but after playing with it it has become one of my favourite stones. With a thick slurry it grinds pretty fast and removes the scratches from my 1200 grit diamond jjust fine. But with a thinner slurry it's slower and a lot finer. So it's like having multiple stones in one. The guy who I bought it from also had an old strop which had 1947 and denmark printed on the side. And he said the stone and the strop came from the same kit. So I don't think it Chinese. English or German is more likely.But again thanks for the info Mikael

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