08-06-2020, 08:23 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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Have an unbelievable yard sale story i thought I'd share here...if you want to hear the tale, grab your coffee, tea, or what have you, and settle in for a long, rambling story. But feel free to skip to the next post if you just want to see the goodies/lend some expertise.  Going to break this up in pieces.

So, I've been out of the "game" for a while now ...still wet shaving, but mostly lazily with a Feather disposable straight.  Haven't bought, made, or restored any straights, brushes, or strops in years. 

But this past weekend I stopped at a yard sale that I saw on Craigslist, because they had a few old Stanley planes pictured.

Turns out the sale was being run by a couple who have an antiques business, and were doing the yard sale that weekend because the current state of the world caused them to cancel a town wide flea market that was supposed to happen that weekend. 
When I heard that I got discouraged, thinking everything would be set at retail antique store prices, but I started looking around anyway.

Before I even got to the planes, I saw a wire crate tucked under a table, holding about 20-25 stones, with a massive coticule peeking out on one side. No prices marked, so I ask the woman there what the deal was?  She makes a phone call to her husband, who's still in the house, then tells me "10 bucks"
I give her a questioning look and say "10 bucks per stone?", thinking that's a steal, and that it'll be a fun crate to cherry pick. She seemed unsure too, so she has the husband come out to verify and he says "No, no, 10 dollars for all the stones. 5 bucks more if you want the crate".

I think i stammered when I asked if he was sure... and he said he was! *shrug*
(i left him the crate, and he found me a nice cardboard box lol) 

At this point, I'm elated, figure nothing will make this day better, right?

All this time my son is trying to get my attention away from the stones and down to another table further back.  I keep waving him off and telling him to hold on, knowing he had no idea how exciting this box of dusty old stones was.

When i finally get down there to see him, he's standing over a display box packed full of straights, with a sign that says "$10 each".

I'm, of course, thinking this will just be run of the mill junk, honed to oblivion, chipped, cracked, no-name piles of rust, you know the type...

But he hands me the razor he wanted me to see, and it's a 17/16" or 9/8" Wade & Butcher "For Barber's Use" near wedge with no serious flaws (except a busted scale) and minimal rust!
The kid's got an eye!!  Thumbup

I spent about 30 seconds looking through the box before just asking the guy for a price on the whole lot, just for giggles, but expecting to hand pick 5 or 10 from the box. 

I counted 29 razors in the case, and 20 or so boxes (some matching, most not). He asks me to hang on and goes back inside the house.  Comes back out with a small handful more, and says "I knew i had a few more inside. How does $130 sound?"

All in all, i walked out of that random yard sale with 2 old wood bodied Stanley hand planes, 25 hones, 37 straights, a very unusual old Joseph Rodgers & Sons knife of some sort, and an unused Rubberset brush still in the box....all for under $200  Aaaaa

I feel like i just used up all my good luck on garage sale finds for the next decade lol

The moral of the story though, is that these crazy deals really do still exist out there, you just gotta get that unbelievable luck on your side just once!  Winky

Needless to say, this has sparked my interest back into the hobby again, and my 17 y/o son has already claimed a bunch of the blades for himself lol  He's learning to restore them now, had his first attempt at honing, and I'll be teaching him to use one this weekend, if time allows.

In the next couple of posts I'll share some pics of everything i got.  I'm hoping someone here might be able to help me ID at least a couple of the stones (particularly the 2 coticules, and 2 that I believe might be Thuringians, one possibly an Escher), and the weird little knife thing.

Thanks in advance for any info you all might have!

10 420
 08-06-2020, 08:44 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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The stones

List of details below the Front/back/side pics.

Questions and more detailed pics of a few individual stones below that

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  1. Exide 87x50x7mm - smells/feels oily
  2. Franz Swaty 130x52x13mm
  3. Norton 130x55x15mm - red/black combo stone Update: This is the "infamous" Norton Barber's hone that those Australian axe guys go so nuts over
  4. Congo No. 4 - D. F. Politi & Co. Boston Mass 112x51x15mm - New in box/wrapped, missing lid. (see more below)
  5. American Hone Co. Olean, NY - "Moss" 70x50x15mm
  6. Possible Escher? (see more below) 178x37x19mm Update: definitely an Escher after more research, and confirmation from others who agree on the label scrap. 
  7. Possible Thuringian? (see more below) 127x62x20mm Update: definitely thuringian, some thin Escher Barber's Delight or Barber's Gem, I'm not certain, maybe Droescher based on the shape/size? 
  8. Coti 86x51x25mm (see more below)
  9. Coti 196x68x30mm (see more below)
  10. Unmarked natural stone 122x62x20mm Gray with a greenish tint, very fine, pretty dished. No clue on this, will lap it eventually to see if it's anything decent
  11. Rubbinit 600 (broken) 124x40x17mm
  12. No markings 150x50x15mm Dark grey, looks synthetic, feels medium-fine
  13. No markings 100x50x10mm Reddish-brown synthetic, looks/feels similar to the Swaty
  14. American Hone Co, Olean NY 87x49x8mm Light Gray with oily residue on top
  15. No markings 150x50x20mm Red/black combo stone, smells oily
  16. identical to 15  - Update: gifted to a friend
  17. No markings 120x50x8mm Red/Black combo stone, smells oily
  18. No clue - there is definitely something stamped on the side, but it needs a good cleaning, i can't make out what it says. 200x53x19mm  Feels like it may just be a fine carborundum  -  Update: Solved. After cleaning up the side i could partially read the original stamp ".....ndum Hone no 105". So this is, in fact, a Carborundum Hone.  A single grit SIC oil stone. 
  19. Unmarked hard Arkansas (darker than the 2 Norton labeled ones below) 122x46x24mm  -  Update: gifted to a friend
  20. Norton Hard Arkansas 122x49x24mm
  21. Norton Hard Arkansas 126x50x10mm
  22. Unknown synthetic 115x73x14mm Light grey, light weight, marked "C400  R  V". It's certainly a coarser stone, though I wouldn't have guessed as low as 400 grit, but I can't imagine what else that could mean
  23. Don't know, don't care lol  Just a soft, medium grit, brown stone that's dished to hell and back. It'll end up in the shop for rough, imprecise sharpening tasks
  24. Mystery stone 83x50x14mm (see more below)
  25. Unknown - has a label, but can't read it. Stamp on the other side is just for the distributer. 112x52x15mm Tan/Brown combo stone  Update: Leaning more towards thinking this is a Frictionite 00. Was able to make out only bits and pieces of the label using a loupe, that matched their gold/black label that tells which side to start and finish on

[Image: 1m3FSlN.jpg]
Not sure what this is, and not sure that it's important...just thought it'd be interesting to share the paperwork that was in the box, talking about the self cleaning properties of the hone

#24 Mystery Stone  83x50x14mm
Really not sure on this one.  I thought it was a small coti slurry stone at first, but it was very grimy.  
When i went to lap it, it stinks! The dark side smells like...patchouli maybe? The light side smells similar, but with sulfer mixed in. 
The long sides look 100% like a perfectly straight glue up or synthetic combo stone, but the short ends are very uneven at the transitions. 
One end shows it was obviously cut down from a larger stone, by hand, with a hacksaw, sloppily. 
Both surfaces full of micro-cracks. 
Pics shown partially lapped, to show discoloration (lighter center is fresh lapped, dark edges are original color)
[Image: q8w77sy.jpg]
[Image: FPbZIoL.jpg]
I'm thinking some old synthetic stone, but the foul smells make me leary about what may be in it.

#6 & #7
[Image: HhejVGW.jpg]
[Image: MqXSCHC.jpg]
I've never handled an Escher before, but the coloring on this reminded me of reading about them in the past. 
Then i noticed that this scrap of a label left on the end of the skinny one looks identical to the border found on some of the Escher labels I've seen online. Particularly, this old German label here

Am I reaching? Or is that a reasonable guess? 

The reason I'm thinking the wider stone is "related" is that these two stones have a very similar look/feel to eachother, and the pattern to the layers from the side view look strikingly similar. 

The long skinny one is lighter with green hue leaning towards the warmer (yellow) end of the spectrum, while the wider one is slightly darker with a green hue leaning towards cooler (blue).

It's my understanding that Eschers were just a branded version of select Thuringian slate.  Based on that, I'm thinking the skinny one with the label scrap could be an actual Escher, and the wide one with no label residue would (in theory) just be an unmarked Thuringian slate?

#8 & #9
Large and Small Coticules
I have very limited experience with coticules (i own one other), and am hoping that someone more knowledgable can help me with identifying these two. 
I have my best guesses for each below the pics, using info found in this pdf doc that i found through another forum :
http://bosq.home.xs4all.nl/info 20m/grinding_and_honing_part_4_belgian_whetstones.pd

The obvious flaw here is that the article only discusses a handful of types....but coticule.be isn't exactly set up for easily searching by identifiable criteria

Small coticule, natural combo - 86x51x25mm
[Image: BrkL7z3.jpg]
I'm thinking maybe La Nouvelle based on the sharp transition lines into the Rouge de Salm, and the overall smoothly colored surface, with just the lightest hint of blue-ish/grey marbling in places.
But I'm not very convinced, based on the darkness of the color

It seems rather large for a slurry stone, but the heavily tapered ends would imply that's all it was used for, and I'd have no intention of changing that.

At any rate, i love that extra little strip of coticule layer down in the Rouge, gives it some nice character

Large Coticule, natural combo AND glued layer -
[Image: hrtD7Kn.jpg]
First off, let me just say this stone is a beast! Lol
Clocks in at 2lb 10oz, or 1,185 grams
Based on that pdf, I'm guessing this to be a thick piece of La Dressante, containing both the La Dressante au Bleu and the La Dressante Upper Layer mentioned in the doc. 

This side shot will show why.  There are two distinctly different colored layers in the coticule layer, lighter on top and darker near the transition line.
[Image: IKYjIZC.jpg]

The surface has very faint white streaks in it that didn't show up very well in the photos. 
The parts that look like cracks are black and reddish-orange veins (can't be felt when honing) 
The slurry is very creamy, and seems to hold up for a while. 
Tested first on an old sheffield steel chisel, and it cut very fast on a thick slurry, turning black after just a couple strokes. 
Tested on a W&B razor it seemed reasonable fast on slurry, very slow on water, left a comfortably smooth edge with the unicot method (even considering I'm WAY out of practice on honing, and didn't have a huge amount of experience using coticules in the past) 
Stone gives quite a lot of feedback, in both feel and sound. 
Pics show it only partially lapped, haven't flattened right to the very ends yet... May not waste the stone by doing that anyway, there's still plenty of surface area there.

Looking forward to hearing it anyone has thoughts? 

Will have to continue with the razors later, I've run out of time here for now

10 420
 08-06-2020, 09:20 AM
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Great haul, and great story too - thanks for sharing Smile

3 7,427
 08-06-2020, 09:27 AM
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Very nice. That should keep you busy for a while. Have fun!

9 1,624
 08-06-2020, 10:36 AM
  • Sully
  • Super Moderator
  • Cedar Park, Texas
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Wow.  What a find.  Congratulations and have fun figuring out what you have.

13 2,448
 08-06-2020, 10:45 AM
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  1. The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
    "a fortunate stroke of serendipity"

69 2,088
 08-06-2020, 11:00 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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Thanks all Smile
Yeah, this pile could keep me occupied for months, even if I didn't have a million other things going on lol
This is gonna be fun  Thumbup

I'm about half way through writing up the info to go with all the razor pics, stay tuned!

10 420
 08-06-2020, 11:05 AM
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That is an epic haul.  You have amazing luck.  You'll enjoy sorting through everything for a long time.  Let's see photos of the straights!

60 10,887
 08-06-2020, 11:35 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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(08-06-2020, 11:05 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: That is an epic haul.  You have amazing luck.  You'll enjoy sorting through everything for a long time.  Let's see photos of the straights!

Haha i really don't, usually...but you know that old saying about sunshine and dogs lol

I'll finish up with the post with the straights on my next break.  I forgot how long it really takes to organize and share things on a forum!

10 420
 08-06-2020, 12:18 PM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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The razors

Not pictured in the group shots, but pictured individually below, is an additional W&B that I forgot to grab out of the bathroom for the photo shoot.
Not pictured at all are 2 identical, Chris Johnson's Metropolitan razors that were in excellent shape, with hardly any hone wear and minimal rust. My son snagged those to clean up. I figure the round nose and a matching set will be good for him to start.  He lives with his mom, and that'll give him 2 matching blades to use, and not be without if he has to leave one with me for honing.

All lists read top to bottom in the left column, then the right colum

Group 1, the pile my son snagged
[Image: KogCjon.jpg]
  1. Wm Elliot & Sons
  2. England razor co
  3. Bonafide
  4. Franz Steinhoff Wald Solingen
  5. Illegible....?arris-goa? mfg co
  6. 42 Honeless france  P. F. ferriere
  7. Kramm - Hamburg
  8. The Bird
  9. Henckles 401 Platinum Twinworks (he later returned this one, so it's in my pics below as well) 
  10. Just says Vanadium Steel
  11. (middle) just says Damascus - made in Germany

Group 2
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  1. George Wostenholm & sons 5/8 quarter hollow - sadly going to lose most of the markings due to the amount of rust
  2. Clark & Hall cast steel 11/16 - an old stubby tail, but the plastic scales and double shouldered half hollow grind feel newer than the brand would suggest, I'm guessing a regrind at some point long ago
  3. Roberts warranted 11/16 shoulderless half hollow
  4. Frederick Reynolds 6/8 half hollow
  5. Wade & Butcher 5/8 near wedge - US Battleship etch on blade, sadly too rusted to save any of the etch
  6. W&B 13/16 quarter hollow (or less), blonde horn with bullseye washers. The blade is in great shape. Sadly, the scales are delaminating very badly, beyond saving.  Will see if i can manage to save the washers at least, when drilling out the pins
  7. W&B 6/8 half hollow. Tang is marked Wade & Butcher - Blank for Concaving - Sheffield, Englang - Arrow logo (see more below) 
  8. W&B "For Barbers Use", no other markings - Near wedge, 8/8 at heel, just shy of 9/8 at widest point. So frustrated, it would've all been original, except someone squeezed it into a regular sized razor box and cracked the rear scale (see more below)
Group 3
[Image: 5GKZvwR.jpg]

  1. JA Henckles Twinworks "Platinum" 6/8 half hollow
  2. JA Henckles Twinworks (usual info on back of tang, front just has the double man logo on either side of a 401 in a circle, logos painted red.  5/8 hollow
  3. JA Henckles Twinworks "50" - 5/8 hollow - looks almost like new. No rust, minor staining, almost no hone wear
  4. Bengall 11/16 half hollow.  Looks to be MOP inlaid horn scale on the show side... Unfortunately, the two scales don't match, and are in terrible condition. The rear scale looks original, and has "1773" scratched into it.  I know Bengall has been around since the mid 1700s, but does 1773 sound possible for that tail shape and that grind? Seems way too early to me? 
  5. No clue... 6/8 half hollow, looks very well made and in real decent shape, but no signs of any stamps or etching anywhere on it
  6. Another mystery... No markings, and ground down into an extreme faux frameback
  7. Gold Arrow 5/8 hollow
  8. Peres Barrell Brand 6/8 quarter or half hollow

Group 4
[Image: 2jidwFQ.jpg]

  1. Genco Fluid Steel 5/8 hollow
  2. Robeson Cutlery 9/16 half hollow
  3. N. C. O. Extra 6/8 half hollow
  4. Worcester razor co (Mass, USA)  11/16 quarter - half hollow
  5. A sadly busted SSA Eskiltuna 6/8 half hollow, with "Military Razor" blond horn scales. Scales might be salvageable, blade would lose a full inch for the broken toe
  6. Mack 5/8 half hollow, with as much hone wear as rust
  7. Poorly stamped tang on this 4/8 half hollow. Logo feels familiar, but i can't place it, a fancy script EoL intertwined in a circle. Tang reads Edward O. La..... top line. Boston on second line.  Back of tang just says Germany.  Tiny guy, but in great condition

Group 5
[Image: 7qd0J4K.jpg]

The last of them are these 5 H. M. Christianson razors out of Massachusetts 4/8-6/8, from hollow to near wedge.  Not familiar with this maker at all, but interesting to see such a range all in one group

Individual shots of a few of the W&B's next

10 420
 08-06-2020, 12:37 PM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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The glory shots 

Well, i say that, but keep in mind that these are in the condition found

Wade & Butcher 15/16
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This was the one not pictured in the group shots.
Minor pitting, no active rust, scales are tight and centered. Almost zero hone wear. 
Taped and honed on that new brick of a coticule. 
Will likely clean it up a bit later, but it's a good user for now

W&B 6/8+
[Image: 3ITTsEZ.jpg]
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Tang on this one is stamped "Blank for concaving"?? 
[Image: 5kYc8Kv.jpg]
Haven't seen that before...?

And the big ol' chopper
W&B 8/8-9/8
[Image: Twxw0dD.jpg]
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Unfortunately, there is a little rust on the edge, but shouldn't need to take off tooooo much to get past that. 
Looking forward to coming up with some nice scales for this one, when time allows

10 420
 08-08-2020, 02:28 PM
  • 2Chops
  • Active Member
  • North Central PA
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Wow!  What a sweet haul.  Very nice.

0 397
 08-08-2020, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for all the photos!   We all know how much time and effort that takes, and appreciate it.

60 10,887
 08-08-2020, 07:37 PM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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Thanks all!  Glad it's appreciated and enjoyed
Honestly, it's helped me with the sorting too Smile

I'll keep posts updated as I figure things out.
Right now I'm working on/researching the Black/red Norton hone that I believe is the one that is the highly sought after hone for axe users. Hone #3

And Hone #25, that i think might be a frictionite 00, based on pics I've found... But unfortunately the label is beyond reading Sad

Still hoping for some help identifying a few other things in the pics above, if anyone can help? 
Let me know specifics if additional pics are needed to help with that. 


10 420
 08-09-2020, 01:42 AM
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Awesome str8s there. Quite a bit to figure out.

9 1,624
 08-10-2020, 11:40 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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Made a few updates in bold in the original post, based on some opinions I've gotten from other places.
This turned out to be a way more exciting pile of rocks than i even thought  W00t

Happy to report that that giant coti put a heck of a smooth edge on that one W&B, very nice shave!
Tried another of the W&Bs on the coti, then finished on the wide Thuri...but I don't quite have the bevel right on the whole length yet.  The parts of the blade that were good though, were goooood  Thumbup

10 420
 10-04-2020, 03:41 PM
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Makes me wanna go look for some yard sales. Spectacular haul! Thanks for sharing.

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