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Holy smokin’ whorlin’ whetstones, Batman…

A customer dropped in today to buy a rig and accessories. He was disappointed with the last Tassie Tiger I had in stock, a fairly mottled specimen, in contrast to the stripey whetstone on the product listing. I explained that they’re all different. He asked if he could hold off on the stone until I had another stripey one. No problem for me – I only had one left (and I couldn’t remember if the ones I’d left with Tony were stripey or not) so I had to make some more anyway. So I loaned him my Tassie Tiger until I can get a stripey one to him.

After he left, I started to feel a bit concerned, because I never know what the inside of a rock is going to look like just by looking at the weathered exterior. Some of the stones are blotchy, some are stripey, some are just a dead flat consistent colour. There was no guarantee that I’d be able to find a stripey stone quickly.

I took a punt on one around 30cm square and took it over to Chewie to do his job. It is a beautiful stone – fantastically consistent and hard in composition – but, due to that consistency, not stripey. So I looked around at the stack of offcuts and uncut stone that are stacked near Chewie, and decided it was time to make a start on the huge stone I’d dropped off there. It was the biggest one of the load – Tony and I had lifted it onto the ute together – and I knew it was going to be a pain in the butt to cut because every dimension was bigger than Chewie’s depth of cut, so I’d need to cut into one side, roll it over, chock it to get the previous cut lined up with the blade, and so on. I’d already tried to split it along a crack with a bolster, but it wouldn’t budge. I’d been in two minds as to whether I should just abandon it as being too unwieldy.

But I decided to give it a shot, lifted it onto the table by myself and did some ‘maverick’ cutting, breaking just about every OH&S principle in the book in the process.

And I was so glad I did. It’s a fantastic brown stone with amazing patterns – the origins of which I can only imagine. I’ve got a batch slabbed out and ready to rough out, and I’ll hopefully get a few done tomorrow. Check out the patterns below (apologies for the dodgy phone camera pics).

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