For the whetting or honing of ground edges (and all edge tools are supplied ground but not honed) a variety of stones are necessary. They can be either India, carborundum, or the slower cutting Washita, which is an inferior form of Arkansas, while true Arkansas is very scarce and expensive. Both India and carborundum grits are artificial, and therefore their quality is consistent, but Washita is a natural stone and can vary considerably, with an occasional piece almost too hard to cut; the best, however, will give an excellent edge. All these stones are usually bought in the standard size of 8 in (203 mm) by 2 in (50 mm) by 1 in (25 mm) for sharpening chisels, plane-irons, etc., and should be mounted in a wooden box with a lid (Figure 65), or otherwise covered when not in use.
A nail driven into the base of the box and pinched off to leave about 1/16 in (1.5 mm) protruding will prevent the box slipping on the
sharpening-table. For general use three oilstone grits are available—coarse, medium and fine; the coarse is for the rapid restoration of grinding bevels and the medium and fine for general honing, but for occasional use only double-sided combination stones with coarse and fine grits are obtainable. For those who tend to round their bevels over when honing on the oilstone (and the knack of working with the elbow and not the wrist takes time to acquire) a honing-gauge mounted on a ball or roller and set at the correct cutting angle is a useful accessory.
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