Actually, the company contacted me to make sure I received the stones and that I was happy with them. Excellent service. The stones are great! I'm pretty much a novice so the clear instructions that came with the stones and the eBook instructions were wonderful. The eBook had quality pictures demonstrating the use of the stones and the written instructions were clear and to the point. Within minutes of opening the box I had the stones figured out and sharpening my AF survival knife, my pocket knife and a couple of my wife's kitchen knives...which included a very expensive chef's knife. Very satisfied with this product and highly recommend it.
Medieval people typically used a whetstone to sharpen their knives for use either in cooking or in their craft. Whetstones were not necessarily used by an individual looking for superior quality, but were instead used mostly as a convenient tool for a quick sharpening. This is exemplified by the hole present near the top of the whetstone through which craftsmen could string some sort of cord to tie the whetstone to their clothing, which makes carrying this tool relatively simple. The guilds of London likely used whetstones regularly, as many crafts such as curriers or cooks relied on the rigorous use of blades, which could thus become dull and unusable. However, using a whetstone to finish a freshly made blade was considered inappropriate, as it would not provide the same edge as a proper grindstone would. The grindstone was a much larger instrument, capable of sharpening a blade much more quickly and effectively than a whetstone because of the speed at which one could use it. It was used more in the initial crafting of a blade, but the whetstone was used for regular upkeep. As mentioned, some crafts were displeased with the use of whetstones to finish their products. The Bladesmiths, for instance, of fifteenth-century London were particularly careful about ensuring that their blades were not ruined by others using a whetstone rather than a grindstone. They raised an official complaint about this issue at one point, which suggests that the people in charge of ensuring the sharpness of their blades were slacking off.
I give Sharp Pebble a top rating for two reasons. First, the company emailed a user guide for me to review and learn how to best use its product while it was being shipped to me. Wonderfully proactive. Second, the sharpening stone did a terrific job restoring the edge on my kitchen knives that had been woefully neglected. Ever rent a house and every knife in the kitchen has the edge of a butter knife? I was almost there. Now, the knives are cutting beautifully. I have only one suggestion for Sharp Pebble. While the stone includes a useful angle guide that can be attached to a blade and the guide gives clear steps on prepping the stone and how to hold the blade when sharpening, it does not illustrate the manner in which the blade needs to be moved across the stone. I had to go to Youtube to get some tips on the exact method. I have historically been very bad at putting an edge on a blade due to ignorance primarily. But with the help of the video and a good stone, I did an effective job. The base does a great job of holding the stone in place and is attractive in the kitchen.
A particularly odd use for the whetstone was as a tool for punishment. There are accounts of people who were found guilty of lying and were sentenced to have their head and hands stuck in a pillory with a whetstone around their neck. The origin of this practice is unknown. Such was the case for William Blackeney, who was discovered to be lying about being a pilgrim, a crime because he was coercing people into giving him gifts and other benefits. After being presented to the city officials, he was sentenced to be publicly shamed via the pillory and was forced to wear a whetstone around his neck for having deceived people for several years. Another case of this type was seen in William Hughlot’s punishment for assaulting several people, one of whom was an alderman. Upon his arrest, he proclaimed that the blame should be on the mayor and he proceeded to insult the court. Instead of the traditional punishment of cutting off the hand of a man who assaulted an alderman, he was pardoned and was given the lesser punishment of imprisonment along with being locked in the pillory with a whetstone around his neck. This use of the whetstone is curious, but when considering the duration of an individual’s punishment via the pillory, probably about an hour or more a day, it would seem that this could be an irritating and shameful punishment.