Water of Ayr & Tam o Shanter Hones

This post was part of the Harmon Estate Sale in 2014 and all stones were sold during the sale.

Please do not contact me regarding the stones, as I no longer have inventory for sale. 



A bit of history on the stones reveals that the Water of Ayr hones and Tam O Shanter hones are not exactly alike, although were sold under the same name early on. This batch of stones is a mix of both the fine stone, known as Water of Ayr and the more course speckled stone known as the Tam O Shanter hone. You can see more information here.

The Water of Ayr and Tam O Shanter Honeworks Limited. AyrshireOpened in 1789 and still retailing old stock. Produced the Tam O Shanter and Water of Ayr Hones, which are also known as Scotch or Snakestones. Also retailed hones from other quarries including the Dalmore Blue from Craiksland Quarry and a fine stone from the Meikladale Mine. The Dalmore Yellow is a coarse stone, sold under the trade name Mikado, but I haven’t been able to find out anything more about it’s provenance, aside from the fact that it was retailed by the honeworks at a price of approximately 2/3 rds that of the TOS. There is some confusion as to the distinction between the the TOS and WOA stones, as both were sold under the same name early on. WOA is now considerded to apply to the darker, finer stones and TOS refers to the speckled stone. There is also a variant of the TOS, that is sold as the White Tam O Shanter. Also sold stones for “special purposes” under the names of “Montgomeriestone Hone” and “Soutar Johnny Stone.”The Dalmore Blue was rated as Medium, Tam O’ Shanter as fine, and Water of Ayr as very fine. Some people shave off of the Tam O’ Shanter, while the very fine Water of Ayr was designated for razors.

11 thoughts on “Water of Ayr & Tam o Shanter Hones

    1. Sorry, no – we have a few singles left that we will have at the sale, but these were a part of the estate contents and are a depleted resource.

  1. Hi

    I am interested in getting tam o shanter and water of ayr. I left message in above form already but not sure if you get it because I sent from my handset.


  2. Tam ‘o Shanter stones are NOT Water of Ayr stones. They came from different quarries and are not the same! (I have both.)

    1. Hi Dave,

      They were sold under the same name early on. This batch is mixed and looks to include both Water of Ayr and Tam o Shanter. I have updated the post to include this. Thanks.

      1. I know the two have often been considered the same. They were even produced out of the same quarry by the same company at times, but from different strata. The Tams are light in color with darker speckles. The WOA stones are slate grey, almost black.

  3. Hi Brittany, I have been following the Estate Sale with interest from Australia. I would like to find about the sale and prices that this beautiful machinery is fetching. If you send me your number and an appropriate time I would love to have a quick chat. Cheers from Micheal Ph. 02 6628 4385 Mob. 0414 663399 http://www.michealconnorwoodwork.com.au

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