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JOEL Joel's Blog

Goodbye Lily White Washita - We hardly knew you


Goodbye Lily White Washita - We hardly knew you 1
A few years ago I asked the plant manager of Norton's Littleton, New Hampshire factory if he has a little bit of Lily White Washita stone around because I collected sharpening stones and I didn't have any and Lily White had been out of production for 50 years or so. He said "Sure - we own the quarry." "Huh" I said, "Does that mean I can order some?". He said he didn't see any reason why not. and in the following months we were able to reintroduce Lily White Washita stones to the modern world. Most people use waterstones to sharpen, but razor sharpeners, carvers, anyone needing a quick fine edge, really appreciated the stone and while demand wasn't huge - it was steady.

The plant manager retired, Littleton, which is down the road from oldest Norton factory location, where Norton got it's start back in the mid-nineteeth century, was closed and the production moved to Mexico.
Now you might say how is it possible to make an India stone cheaper, or finish an Arkansas stone in Mexico when you have to ship it up North with $4.00 gas - I don't know - but last month I got the call from Norton saying that Lily White Washita would be discontinued because there was too little demand for it, and it took too much time to quarry for the effort.

So when we run out of what we have that's it. I'm sad to see it go, and it's a shame Norton isn't just willing to raise the price but still keep it available :(
Maybe one day it will return.

PS - I don't like writing negative entries, but I also hate to see niche, but very useful products disappear

Join the conversation
08/01/2008 Peter
That is too bad. I replaced an old one I had been using and really enjoy the stone (old and new). The speed of cut and edge quality given by this stone is excellent with little wear on the surface.
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