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Sharpener of the Week: Norton Hard Translucent Arkansas


November 10, 2020

The Hard Translucent Arkansas Stone is one of the most coveted and mysterious of sharpening stones. The translucent properties make it unlike any other stone. If you hold a light behind it, it will be completely translucent. Take any other Arkansas Stone and it won’t let any light through. Unfortunately, finding Hard Translucent Arkansas Stones is becoming more difficult due to the scarcity of these naturally quarried stones.


Norton Hard Translucent Arkansas Stone with a flashlight behind it to show light transmission. Shown on top of the included case.

The larger Norton 8” x 3” x 1/2” size has become very rare. It isn’t just that the raw quarried material is harder to find, it is even harder to find in larger sizes like these. Because of the limited availability, we often do not have enough stock to sell to customers, however, we just received a batch of these stones, so we decided to make it the Sharpener of the Week.


This examples shows the potential color variations in the Hard Translucent Stone.

Which is finer, the Hard Translucent Arkansas or the Hard Black Arkansas? That is the most common question we are asked relating to Arkansas Stones. In a world of simple answers, this one just doesn’t have a concrete answer. Some people will say that the Hard Black Arkansas is finer, and some will say the Hard Translucent is finer. You can debate it, and cite experience or point to information comparing the two, but it really comes down to hardness. Both Hard Black Arkansas and Hard Translucent Arkansas are graded to the same hardness and are thus the same relative grit. They are a natural stone, so slight variations may exist in hardness between one stone and another. The bottom line, they’re both the finest Arkansas Stones.

Learn more about the Norton 8" x 3" Hard Translucent Arkansas Stone.