Surgical Black Arkansas

Surg Black 1

 Surgical Black Arkansas Stone

This stone is, very probably, the best razor finishing stone I’ve ever used. It’s also the slowest and most difficult one I’ve ever used. It is unforgiving – there is no chance that lifting the spine will not kill the edge.  To finish a razor -150-300 passes or so is a good estimate. After some practice, 100 laps only takes 2 minutes but there is no room for error and a high level of concentration is an absolute must. 

Arkansas stones like this are rare. This one was custom cut for me out of an old block of stone owned by a small stone wholesaler in Arkansas. While I was picking his brain for stone info, I was also pestering him to find me a piece of the legendary old-school Arkansas stone I had read about. He had mentioned having mother-stones of that old rock in his yard, and my interest was piqued. This went on for a long time until he finally caved and cut this slab for me. After having it for a while, I decided that it was too hard/fine for my knife sharpening needs, and I put it away. 

Years later, after straight razors entered my life, I took it out and lapped it dead-flat. After a few weeks of trying to figure it out – I nailed an edge on it that was so good that it stunned me. The edge cut my steel-wire whiskers like they were non-existent, yet that same edge didn’t seem to want to cut skin. Jarrod at the Superior Shave had written about Ark edges being ‘intelligent’ – and I finally understood what he meant by that. 

Lapping this stone took weeks. During that process -I killed two DMT diamond lapping plates, along with many scores of w/d sandpaper sheets. To finish the lapping, the stone needed to be ‘broken-in’ – for that that I put many chisels, knives and screwdrivers across the top.

I’ve owned several Translucent Arks, and several other Surgical Black stones – this one seems to like me the best and I plan on keeping it forever. 

Approx. Dimensions: 10 x 3 x 1.0” /

Weight: 45.2 oz / 1.2 kg


© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2018