Abrasives

For the Type-Maker, Technical Horologist, and Model Engineer

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For the use of abrasives, see:

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A Conspectus of Curiously Named Abrasives

To the modern home mechanic, abrasives are just sandpaper and a combination oilstone. To the modern woodworker, they may be exotic Japanese waterstones. To the modern engineer, they're an entire industry with corresponding specialists. All of these people are well served by the modern retailer.

But in the fields which interest me, abrasives are often an area of folklore and mystery. Type-making (punchcutting, patrix cutting, moldmaking), technical horology (for me primarily watchmaking), and model engineering have a rich literature with numerous references to abrasives the modern "big box store" retailer has never heard of: crocus, bluestone, degussit stone, Water of Ayr stone, and so forth. Each of these seems always to be spoken of as absolutely essential. This Notebook is a brief survey (overview, "conspectus") of these "folk abrasives," trying to identify them so that they may be acquired and may be used knowledgeably.