My father's Belgian blue sharpening stone that he brought over from Italy
was so worn through the middle over the years that it became two triangular
bits, but I'm not sure if this was exactly the same type of stone you
There was no backing stone or whatever it's called on it at all. Nor
did it have a case for storage. It was small, maybe 2.5 by 6 and maybe
3/4" thick or so. When dry it looked dark gray, when wet it was bluish in
It cut hard steel very well, and Dad always used only cold running water
(standing at the sink), never any oil and you could hear how it was
cutting. He put a lot if emphasis on the sound the blade made during the
sharpening, something that I have never seen anyone else talk about
before. He said that you could listen and tell when you were off the edge.
Does anyone else use the sound as a guide?
He got the stone in the tiny city of Maniago, Italy, a major knife
making center in the North of Italy near where he grew up. He spoke highly
of the knife makers there. I went there a few years ago (in 2000, holy
crap that's almost 20 years ago!) but couldn't find anything even remotely
like that blue stone--although I did buy a nice pocket knife there as a
souvenir (LionSteel). Maybe Japanese water stones really are better?
There are (were?) still many independent knife makers there, but the
couple places I visited seemed to have modern mechanised shops or factories
with big belt sanders, power hammers, digital heat treat furnaces and so on
(not an iconic craftsman standing over a coal forge working with hammer and