Frontier whetstones

18th century historical research, frontier reenacting/trekking.

Moderators: Wes, Michael Archer

Frontier whetstones

Postby Ken Hamilton » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:13 am

Wasn''t there a thread about N. American found, natural whetstones (for knife sharpening) during the Colonial period a while back?

Birdwatcher was asking I think?

Here is one from John Lawson, from his 1709 book of his southeastern travels and explorations (NC SC and GA etc...). Although I did not look up the original page #, here is a quote:

"...The valleys are here very rich, at noon, we pass'd over such another stoney river, as that eight miles from Sapona..."

"...This is called Heighwaree, and affords as good blue stone for millstones, as that from Cologn, good rags, SOME HONES, and large pebbles in great abundance besides free stone of several sorts, all very useful. I knew one of these HONES made use by an acquaintance of mine, and it prov'd rather better than any from old Spain or elsewhere......."

Ken
User avatar
Ken Hamilton
Prolific
 
Posts: 4187
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:16 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby PAUL C. DAIUTE » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:24 am

Ken,
We talk about wet stones as part of our 17th century Pemaquid Cod Fishing presentation. There is a stone that we are using that were picked up on the beech. . They were carried in a horn with a belt hook. There are different granulations to the stones so some are course and others fine. Processing a 25 pound codfish every 4 seconds would have resulted in multi sets of knives being kept sharp and ready for switching off into the hands of the shore crewmen. We wonder if that might have been one of the many chores taken care off by the green men?
Paul
The second amendment is not a Constitutional right but an obligation shared by all Americans!
User avatar
PAUL C. DAIUTE
Prolific
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: Fort Western on the Kennebec in Mayne 1740s-1760

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Ken Hamilton » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:41 am

Hello paul,
Likewise, the boucanniers of the Caribbean carried "multi knife" belt kit pouches/boxes .......... which might certainly have also contained a whetstone. These can be seen in any of the 17th cent. images of French boucanniers from Petit Goave on a google search. Similar sets are known for 19th cent buffalo hunters.

Did fishermen likewise have similar belt sets...or did they just leave them all LOOSE on a table????

Ken
User avatar
Ken Hamilton
Prolific
 
Posts: 4187
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:16 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby PAUL C. DAIUTE » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:14 am

Ken,
We don't know how the knives and the sharpening was all set up yet, like some many other aspects of our interest we just don't know. My take on all this is that the knives not being used were off the table and that there were maybe green men sharpening the unused knives in the background and that maybe the shoreman would indicate that the knife was dull and the knife would be taken from his hand an a new sharp one was there to replace it.
Paul
The second amendment is not a Constitutional right but an obligation shared by all Americans!
User avatar
PAUL C. DAIUTE
Prolific
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: Fort Western on the Kennebec in Mayne 1740s-1760

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby depot7254 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:04 pm

I have a late 18th cen hone or whetstone , it is set in wood and still has some use left it in. I got it from some guy name Bill East or something up in ME :lol: I'll send anyone pics if they're interested .
Chris
ALRA#258
3rd Westchester Militia-Amer Rev
Verplank's Coy-NY Prov-F+I
1640-50 New Netherland
...and the rum is for all your good vices.
User avatar
depot7254
Prolific
 
Posts: 2291
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: NY, Hudson's River, Van Cortlandt's Manor

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Birdwatcher » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:36 pm

Glad I happened to stop in after months of being gone.

Fascinating info as always everyone, thanks 8)
"...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them." Canasatego 1744
Birdwatcher
Prolific
 
Posts: 2316
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:48 pm
Location: San Antonio TX

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Ken Hamilton » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:00 am

You are welcome Birdwatcher! Welcome back!

Paul, it is funny that the Wabanaki canoe builders here in Maine all keep their crooked knife whetstones in an 'ol Maxwell House coffee can filled with water. Therefore, they are WATER stones and not "oil"............(one ALWAYS has water, but not always "oil" :wink: )

Ken
User avatar
Ken Hamilton
Prolific
 
Posts: 4187
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:16 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby PAUL C. DAIUTE » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:46 am

Yea Ken, the horns worn on belts had water in them from what I understand. I have only seen one stone horn and I didn't buy it much to my ongoing regret. Hand forged belt hook and good size to the horn. The Dealer just thought it was a broken or unfinished horn because of the lack of a butt plug, he had no idea what it was.
Paul
The second amendment is not a Constitutional right but an obligation shared by all Americans!
User avatar
PAUL C. DAIUTE
Prolific
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: Fort Western on the Kennebec in Mayne 1740s-1760

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Birdwatcher » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:11 pm

Here's my previous thread on the topic....

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=51562

Next question is whether whetstones had other uses prior to the introduction of metals in cutting implements.

It is interesting to me that whetstones apparently became important enough there were Indian place names arising from where they could be found.

But I suppose if one considers the 140,000+ deerskins traded by the Cherokees in one year to the British at Savannah (1745??) and the 298,000+ deerskins taken in during a single year (1762?) at Fort Pitt, surely the Indians must have become industrial-scale knife users too.

Mike
"...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them." Canasatego 1744
Birdwatcher
Prolific
 
Posts: 2316
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:48 pm
Location: San Antonio TX

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby von mittler » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:24 pm

www.facebook.com/TheFrontierLife
von mittler
Prolific
 
Posts: 1052
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 9:58 pm
Location: Dayton, Ohio

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Hummingbird-in-the-Garden » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:30 am

Interesting!

I keep in my basket a stone I used for sharpening knives that I found back in the 1990's In Rome, GA, when I was working at a Girl Scout resident camp. I used it on my pocketknife there, and now use it for living history.

Also Kept a fine-grained sandstone I found at camp for sharpening knives, hatchets, and axes there. Far as I know, that stone is still in the unit shelter equipment storage where I left it.

--Hummingbird
Monsanto and its associated corporations are evil. Buy organic and local, or grow it yourself from safe seed sources and breeders if at all possible. Support your local small farmer.
User avatar
Hummingbird-in-the-Garden
 
Posts: 626
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:54 am
Location: NW GA

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Ken Hamilton » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:33 am

Here in Rural Maine, (but also near the fishing coast line), we regularly see all manner of whetstones in junk shops and flea markets.

One can almost GUESS what they were used for by the well worn "wear patterns" on them These worn areas often develop over time from the repetitive SINGULAR use for specific activities (ie. sharpening fish hooks, scythes, fisherman's knives, butcher, or shop chisel etc...). Crooked knives can have a distinctive wear pattern on their stones...often depending on how the blade is formed...(hollow ground, straight, curved, etc....but most would not know about those because using them extensively is out of the realm of "daily" experience for most people).

Anyway, all manner of sizes, shapes, colors, textures,
So, I think this info can be translated into our 18th cent. living history sometimes????

Ken
User avatar
Ken Hamilton
Prolific
 
Posts: 4187
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:16 am
Location: Central Maine

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby gizamo » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:11 am

PAUL C. DAIUTE wrote:Yea Ken, the horns worn on belts had water in them from what I understand. I have only seen one stone horn and I didn't buy it much to my ongoing regret. Hand forged belt hook and good size to the horn. The Dealer just thought it was a broken or unfinished horn because of the lack of a butt plug, he had no idea what it was.
Paul



I believe your describing a scythe horn....for a whetstone.
gizamo
Prolific
 
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:55 pm

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby PAUL C. DAIUTE » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:40 pm

Giz,
Yes you are right!
The second amendment is not a Constitutional right but an obligation shared by all Americans!
User avatar
PAUL C. DAIUTE
Prolific
 
Posts: 4333
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: Fort Western on the Kennebec in Mayne 1740s-1760

Re: Frontier whetstones

Postby Ohio Rusty » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:11 am

In the numerous vigenettes and line drawings I have seen of 'Mowers' -- people that mow with the long scythe, some of the pics show mowers sharpening their scythe knifes with a long hand held stone, fairly thin in width. These same type of stones are also use to sharpen sickle blades. The modern sickle sharpening stones that look quite similar to the ones I have seen in line drawings.
Ohio Rusty
User avatar
Ohio Rusty
Prolific
 
Posts: 2197
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 10:56 am
Location: Falls of the Hockhocking

Next

Return to 18th Century Frontier Trekking/Reenacting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest