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Anyone heard of a Tamashanter Stone?


The instructor of my metal-smith/jewelry
making/Princess-of-Fire-and- Silver-in-the-making (can I use that
moniker, Jo?) class is an artist from an age gone by. From what I
understand, she has studied under some great names in this business,
back before they were great. She teaches techniques that are not old
fashioned, but more like they are original techniques. I’m not sure,
since I’m so new at this, but some of the things I’ve read in books
by, say, Tim McCreight, get to the same result, but in a different
manner. She is very facinating and I’m glad to have her as an

She gave us a list of items that we might want in our tool box; a
list of items she has relied on for years. One of the items is called
a Tamashanter stone or a Scotch stone. I am not sure of the spelling.
She said it is used for polishing, somewhere in the middle of the
’stepping down in grits’ process. She said she used to buy them from
a man in England or Scotland (she’s quite old and can’t remember
which), but he is no longer in business and she can’t find them any
longer. She is not computer savvy, so I have looked online for her,
but to no avail. Like I said before, I’m not sure I’m spelling it
right. It may be an Ireland stone, for all I know. I’m asking all the
pooled knowledge here for her (and me, too).

Has anyone heard of this, does anyone have one (or many) and where
can I get one/some?

Thanks bunches!


here’s a website that talks about the tam-o-shanter



Hi Wanda!

I believe I’ve also seen this referred to as Water of Ayr stone. I
have one I use for enamelling – you should be able to order them
from a UK watchmaker, clockmaker or jewellery supply store, but I
couldn’t name you one, unfortunately! Maybe Google will be your
friend? :slight_smile:

Good luck,

One of the items is called a Tamashanter stone or a Scotch stone. I
am not sure of the spelling. 

Scotch stones are some sort of slate, I think. Soft stuff, very fine
grained. Used with water, it quickly wears down to conform to the
shape of the surface you’re working in, so it smooths well without
digging in. Good for minor clean jup, removal of solder scars, and
the like, especially in areas you can’t well reach with standard flex
shaft or other hand tools.

The used to be pretty standard, and most good tool suppliers carried

Then, so far as I know, the factory in Scotland burned to the
ground, and for a number of years they became unavailable.

Tevel, at Allcraft, used to carry them, and had connections. He
tells me he’s not sure how the guy he’s gotten them from over the
last few years obtains them. He joked to me at the SNAG conference
that he asked the guy if he was sneaking into the old quarry to mine
them at night or something. But he doesn’t know. For all I know, the
guy he’s now getting them from, in limited quantities, is still
connected to the original firm somehow. Doesn’t matter. The key
point is that Allcraft, in New York, still does carry them. I’ve
found no other sources in the U.S. You have to order the old
fashioned way, by telephone, rather than web site. But that’s OK.
Tevel’s a good guy, and his wife is just as good to deal with. He’s
got them. And his prices are generally as good or better than anyone
for the tools he carries. Which is quite a selection, with a number
of unusual things few others carry. Japanese traditional punches,
hammers, etc, keum-boo foil, weird stuff, european polishing
compounds, watchmakers files the size of sewing needles, and much
more. And one of the best selections of hammers and stakes you can
find, again all at great prices. But you do have to call. The only
real catalog of what they’ve got is in his head. They show the bulk
of their stock of hammers and stakes on line, and have a
simple/zeroxed catalog of that, but most of their stuff isn’t in a

No, I don’t work for him, unless you call this testimonial such a
thing… But over the years, I’ve bought quite a bit from him, always
at the SNAG conferences where I can actually see the toys he’s
brought, and find stuff I didn’t know I needed…

Hope that helps.
Peter Rowe


Hi Wanda:

They’re grey natural stones, mined in Scotland. They typically came
as square sticks of various diameters from 1/4" up to about 3/4",
and 3-4 inches long.

They’re fairly rare these days. As I understand it, the mine header
burned sometime in the '90s and there wasn’t enough market to make
it worth rebuilding. Of course, I’ve heard people say they had new
production since that point, so your guess is as good as mine. I
have a few, so if anybody’s really that curious, I can take pictures.

They were, and are very good abrasives for getting into the corners
of things. Enamelists use(d) them a lot. Come to think of it, the
enamelist I teach with still has a bunch, so I’ll ask her where
she’s getting them. (or if she is. She may be running on stored
supplies.) They’re soft, and fine, so they don’t gouge up the
surface as much as you’d expect from a stone.

The two places I thought to check didn’t appear to have them listed
currently. (Otto Frei & Gesswein) Allcraft’s website is down at the
moment, but give Tevel a call. He’s a scrounger at heart, and he’s
got umpteen years of backstock to dig through. He may well still
have some.

If you can’t find them, Gesswein has a tremendous selection of
abrasive sticks in their die making catalog. I’m sure something in
there will work almost as well, or perhaps better.

Brian Meek.


Also called Water of Ayr stone, so you could try googling that…

Steve Holden


Wanda, As a a printmaker, I am familiar with scotch stone as a tool
we use to polish out mistakes on etching plates. I use it pretty much
the same way as a jeweler, to get rid of scratches and even
discoloration on silver. You might check with a print making supply
house. I think I my last ones from Daniel Smith catalog, he is also

Peace, Richard


Generally called Scotch stone: it’s a stone that breaks down easily
in use. Used with water, it forms a slurry in use. I’m not sure what
would be equivalent mesh # would be. It leaves a soft finish on the
metal. I still have some so I can’t give you a source.



Hello Wanda,

Some quick googling for ‘“scotch stone” +abrasive - “3m”’ found
Scotch Stones at some etching/lithography sites. I can’t say if they
are the same as you are searching for, but it might be a place to
check. At

I found Scotch Stones with their product numbers 31085 and 31086,
and 1/8" respectively, at $6.50 USD each.

Good luck
Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


Cookson Gold in the UK sell a Water of Ayr stone, which someone
pointed out is the same thing as a Tam-o-shanter stone. Here is a



Try water of Ayr stone, or rotten stone not that different from
arkansas stone or pumice when rubbing and prepolishing. I’m sure
there are other names and variants around the world.



Hello I get mine from Cooksons in the UK…it is a water of Ayr


Printmaking suppliers and most art stores carry Scotch stones. These
are a very common stones in the etching and engraving toolbox. Try
Graphic Chemicals and Ink,

However, the local art supply shop should also carry these as well.

Also, you might find a bit of pumice to be as effective. I hope this
helps :o)

Michael Johnson


Hello Wanda and All,

It sounds like an Alundum Stone, which is a 1x1, 6 inch long
rectangle of white, stone-like abrasive that we use in enameling to
sand and polish. It is used submerged under water (we use a shallow
pyrex pan) and you sand with back and forth motions, by hand or with
a dop stick. You can get them from Thompson Enamel in 2 grits and I
am sure that Rio carries it, as well as any enamel venue on the web.
If this is not an exact replica, it certainly would serve the same

All the best,
Nanette Kroupa

It sounds like an Alundum Stone, which is a 1x1, 6 inch long
rectangle of white, stone-like abrasive that we use in enameling
to sand and polish. 

No, it’s not Alundum. While both are abrasive stones, Alundum is a
much harder abrasive than “scotch” or “water of ayre” or
"tamoshanter" stones. These are a soft natural extremely fine grained
stone. It would do little to help with your enamel. Not hard enough.
If I remember right, aren’t the Alundum stones a synthetic
manufactured aluminum oxide?



I just wanted to say how nice it was to hear from all of you! I have
explored the leads you gave me and will be tucking this info into my
ever growing list of suppliers. I know my instructor will be
thrilled to know we can get more of these stones.

Many thanks to such a great group of people!!


Cookson’s in the UK sells them also called water of ayr stones, last
week there was a discussion on this topic, and it’s a Tam-o-Shanter
stone to be precise that is why when googling it you folks are not
finding it, perhaps the instructor or whomever recommended it should
correct their announcement and put in a vending source if the item
is required. Enamemlists catalogues also sell them, but for jewelry
vendors, Rosenthals, and Coksons are the two I know of. rer