Styria - aluminium oxide (corundum), medium grit
Artificial. 22cm. Medium grit and fairly aggressive. Good for bush blades. - $8.00
Goldmarke - silicon carbide (carborundum), medium grit
Artificial. 22cm Medium grit. Fairly aggressive, yet soft and smooth. Good stone for initial honing after using a peening jig. Also really nice for repair work. - $10.00
Black-blue Bregenzer - natural stone
Austria. 21cm. An aggressive natural stone. Great for honing our light bush blades in the field. For 2013 they have more of straighter, cigar-shaped profile, instead of elliptical shape that I prefer. These cigar shapes are more condusive for "flicking on both sides equally" -type honing, which is not what I teach in my videos. Cigar-shaped stones require a lot more wrist-action in order to keep getting the correct angle. - $10.00
Mailander "Green Dragon" - natural stone
Italy. 24cm. Medium grit and very soft. Smooth and flat on one side, for sharpening knifes. The other side is left quite rough split. Good for blades peened with peening jigs. A little coarse for our triple-peened edges. For big hands, or smaller people with strong forearms. Too big for metal whetstone holders. -$14.00
White-blue Bregenzer - natural stone
Austria. 21cm. A general purpose whetstone with a softer, medium-fine grit. Good for blades peened with peening jigs. A little coarse for our triple-peened edges. Fits metal holders. For 2013 they have the straighter, cigar-shaped profile, instead of the elliptical shape that I prefer. Cigar-shaped stones require a lot more wrist-action in order to keep getting the correct angle. Doing the alternating honing technique, will feel like you are conducting an orchestra! - $8.00
New! Pyranees whetstone
From France. 23cm. Just fits in the metal holders. Finer than the whetstones above. A little coarser than the two below. An unusual whetstone made of a slate-like rock. The extremely thin sedimentary layers in the stone, naturally sandwiched together, give it an unusual feel when honing; like using two different gritted stones at the same time. Almost as fine as the Rozsutec, but more effective. -$25
Rozsutec - natural stone
Slovakia: 21cm. The beautifully finished, very fine and fairly hard Rozsutec whetstone. Finished on all 4 sides. It's hand-quarried near Rozsutec Mtn. in Slovakia. It's so fine, that beginner's often can't get it to do much. Once you learn how to really use a whetstone, it creates a very fine edge. However, you will have to stop and hone more often, when you're out mowing. Best for well-peened grass blade edges, that easily run over the nail. - $16.00
"Zwei Fahnen" (Two Flags) Red Doppelbock - natural stone
Italy. 23/24cm. In The Scythe Book it states that certain whetstones were so prized in the old days, that people would risk their lives to smuggle them. Well, this stone would have been worth it! As fine or almost as fine as the Rozsutec stone, but much harder and much more effective. At one of my Advanced Scythe Workshops, a couple of accomplished Rozsutec whetstone users were wondering, "Say Botan, how come when you hone my blade, it's sharper and stays sharp longer?" If they don't believe me when I say, "I've got skills.", I'll confess, and let them try my Doppelbock whetstone. Once you've experienced it, it's hard to go back. For big hands, or smaller people with strong forearms. Too big for metal holders. The back side has a mysterious pictogram, of the "2 Flags". Effective on Hartstahl steel. World record holder, Joseph (Sepp) Mayer uses this stone on his 150cm Hartstahl FUX Competition blade. My personal favorite whetstone! Best on well peened edges. Rough split. Lots of individual variation between stones. Finished on edges only. - $45.00
I'm not sure if you remember me, but I purchased one of your two flags whetstones last year.
Well, I have just started mowing again this year and I have, possibly for the first time, experienced real elation while mowing.
Part of this may be that my grass has settled down after three seasons of mowing - it stands better and now is developing a more diverse flora. Part may be that I'm improving and using a better blade and better fitting (home made) snath.
But a big part, I think, goes to the whetstone. I'm having to hone far less frequently now and my scythe just whistles through the grass taking 6 to 9 inch strips with ease. A quick hone when it starts to drag a bit and away it goes again - fantastic.
They're expensive, but as you say worth every penny. I'm going to buy a few more next time my travels take me to the US.
Many thanks - Paul"