I've been very excited to have our own line of custom-manufactured stones produced for us, and this thread will serve both as an introduction and a place for discussing plans and progress as we roll models out. We're proud to be partnering with an experienced American manufacturer for the production of these stones. The <BYX•CO> philosophy and approach to sharpening stones is distinctly different from other companies. While most companies will produce one stone in multiple grits, edges are not the same thing as a surface finish on metal or wood, and simply progressing in grits isn't always what you want to do to get the best results. Edges optimized for slicing are different from those optimized for push-cutting, and then there's the full range of balance in between. Then there are the differences between setting a bevel, ironing out dings or chips, simple touch-up honing, etc. etc., all of which do best with different sorts of stones or progressions of stones. To top this off, the way a stone performs is the result of a large number of variables, including the type of abrasive used, the grade of that abrasive (there are many different grades of each abrasive type), the size of the grains, the degree to which they protrude above the binding substrate, the ratio of grit to binder, the kind and hardness of the bond, and so on and so forth. The problem is, companies tend not to bother with disclosing any of this information, and partly because it's a heck of a lot of variables to list out. What we aim to do with the <BYX•CO> line of stones is simplify that process with targeted stones carefully formulated for specific ranges of applications, and for each unique blend to be given a series name as a shorthand identifier. Our first stone in production is a canoe-shaped scythe stone in the Arctic Fox series. The Arctic Fox blend is a fast-cutting fine stone made with synthetic 400 grit blue sapphires in a ceramic medium-hard bond, and all single grit stones in the Arctic Fox series will be that blend. We have upcoming dual grit Arctic Fox series stones in axe pucks, 3" pocket stones, and 6" field stones in which the fine blue side is paired with a 240 grit grey coarse side. The blue fine side of these stones is slightly modified from the single grit blend to even out shrinkage rates between the two faces when firing, and results in the fine side cutting a little slower but leaving an even finer finish. All dual grit Arctic Fox stones will be in that combination. It leaves a finish and edge like you'd expect from a 1000-1200 grit stone, and with an aggressive "tacky" edge in slicing while still push-cutting well. It readily absorbs and holds water as a thin film on the surface of the stone, unlike some stones that will feel almost dry to the touch on the surface even when fully saturated, and the stone is hard enough that you can use it for edge-leading finishing strokes. Coming soon we'll be releasing 8" bench stones in the American Mutt series, which are an extra-extra-coarse stone of rather unusual character. Our manufacturer uses a diamond grinding wheel for dressing the mounted grinding points they also manufacture, and they end up with a large amount of loose grit in varying grain size in both aluminum oxide and silicon carbide, with a trace amount of loose diamond grit as well. These stones are a product of that mixed grit, and cut so quickly that you quickly develop a "mud" made entirely of steel swarf on its surface. However, the inclusion of the finer grit in the mix causes it to leave a much finer surface finish on the resulting bevel than one would expect. We've been experimenting with some samples of the material and are very impressed with the performance. The best news? They'll be super affordable! We also have plans being drafted for blends under the Bull Thistle (ruby stones) and Manticore (black silicon carbide) series names, and will be announcing the particulars once we have things finalized with them. The Arctic Fox scythe stones have already become our top selling item, and we have some significant names interested in the upcoming axe pucks. We're able to wholesale these, and I think that we'll be sending a few industry heads spinning once we get things up to speed. These aren't your old man's "India" stones, nor are they your new-fangled synthetic Japanese water stones. They harken back to the days when different varieties of natural stones were prized for the unique properties that they imparted to an edge, and we're bottling those qualities and zapping 'em into synthetics with an electric arc furnace.