BARYONYX “Bull Thistle” and “Arctic Fox” Sharpening Stones
The Bull Thistle and Arctic Fox are synthetic scythe stones developed by USA based knife blade and American scythe expert, Benjamin Bouchard.
The Bull Thistle (Ruby-Pink)
This is a medium to coarse synthetic stone, with a fairly aggressive action. Grit: 116 Micron (FEPA F ~110 | ANSI 120 | JIS ~110)
This “Bull Thistle” series stone is carefully formulated from premium coarse synthetic ruby grit in a medium-hard ceramic bond.
On it’s own this is a good stone for use during rougher work with ditch and bush blades, or on traditional Anglo-American blades. It is useful for repairs and removing the squared edge created by the center post of peening jigs.
It can be paired with a finer stone such as the Arctic Fox to set an underlying scratch pattern for mowing trickier grasses. Despite being fairly coarse, this stone is designed to cut scratches without excess wear on the edge. For more on pairing stones read on!
The Arctic Fox (Blue-White)
The Arctic Fox is a finer synthetic stone, reputed to hone quickly yet give a finer finish then would be expected for it’s grit rating. Grit: 22 Micron (FEPA F 360 | ANSI 400 | JIS 700)
Made from heat-treated blue synthetic sapphire crystals in a ceramic bond, they cut quickly yet leave a very fine finish. They absorb water readily and hold it well, leaving a thin layer of moisture on the surface to keep them biting without glazing…..The medium-hard bond allows the stone to be used with firm pressure if desired, and to resist gouging when used to hone dinged or rolled edges.
US scythers often recommend using pairs of stones when honing in the field.
A coarser stone, such as the Bull Thistle, is used to set an underlying “scratch pattern” which is then followed up with a finer stone such as the Arctic Fox to fine tune the finish. This gives an aggressive cutting edge which is more effective on waxier grasses.
We haven’t tried it extensively ourselves, but can imagine it is also useful when mowing in dry conditions with stalky, flowering grasses and herbs, which can blunt a fine edge quickly. If you have a go, let us know how you get on!