Our arkansas stones are natural quarried stones. They are quarried in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas.
The arkansas stones are graded on their hardness. The most coarse is the soft arkansas, followed by the hard arkansas, and then the hard transluscent and hard black arkansas.
Arkansas stones are considered oil stones. They are all more fine than the man-made oil stones, such as this india stone. This india stone has a coarse abrasive on one side, and fine sive on the other. When comparing the fine india stone, even the soft arkansas stone is still more fine than the fine india stone. So when you are sharpening a knife, if you do have an india stone, after your india stone you would then switch to your arkansas stones to further refine your edge.
We often get the question "which stone is more fine, the hard transluscent, or the hard black?" In reality they are actually both very similar grits. The arkansas stones, because they are graded on their hardness, not their physical appearance, they are actually very similar in grit. If you were to say which on average is graded higher, the black is slightly higher, but because they are natural stones there is variation so that does not always hold true.
In practice when I'm using either of these stones they are both very fine, I cannot tell the difference on the knife. So, in practice they are the same.
The hard transluscent is slightly more expensive because it is a more rare stone to quarry. The hard black is maybe a better value, but there definately are a lot of people out there that really do like the hard transluscent.
We also have two-sided grit arkansas stones available. In this one here we have a soft arkansas on one side and a hard arkansas on the other. We also have one with a soft arkansas stone on one side and a hard black on the other.
If you still have any questions about our arkansas stones please don't hesitate to call us: 1-800-351-8234.