From a pure stone density perspective, the Hard Black and Translucent are the same grade stones. Nevertheless, numerous professional users of Natural Arkansas stones would argue passionately that the Hard Translucent stone is definitely superior to the Hard Black stone in its polishing and finishing qualities. As the process of sharpening, in many regards, is a subjective experience this slight contradiction may not be too surprising. What is not in dispute, however, is the fact that the Hard Translucent is the rarest Arkansas grade and is becoming increasingly hard to source reliably. The Hard Translucent is an exceptional finishing/polishing stone and is a perfect complement, as a follow-on stone, to the Soft Arkansas. This stone will produce an edge of unparalleled polish and finish and, despite the price tag, is requested by demanding craftsmen who will only settle for the very best. This particular bench stone is a full 2" longer than the standard size and measures 10" long, 2" wide and 1" thick. Many practioners find the extra length very helpful in their sharpening applications. The stone comes with a practical cedar storage box and a 1 oz bottle of specially formulated honing oil.
Our Natural Arkansas Stones
All our Natural Arkansas Stones (Soft, Hard Black and Hard Translucent) are hand-crafted from Novaculite, a naturally occurring stone quarried from rock formations in the state of Arkansas. Traditionally, when our forebears referred to Arkansas Stones they referred to Novaculite stones. Unfortunately, in recent years some vendors have begun to refer to their stones as Arkansas Stones when in fact they are not Natural Novaculite Stones but rather are made from material with lesser sharpening and abrasive qualities such as reconstituted stones or sand stones. So, to make sure you are getting the real thing remember to ask what exactly make up that particular "Arkansas" Stone.