Charnley Forest slate is one of the most famous and rare stones from the UK. Unlike most of the famous English shale mined in different parts of North Wales, Charnley Forest comes from the central part of England. The main source of Charnley Forest stone mining was Mount Sorrel in Leicestershire, next to Charnwood Forest (Charnwood Forest, Mount Sorrel, Leicestershire). Moreover, both industrial developments of this shale, such as the Whittle Hill quarry, and individual deposits scattered throughout the forests and swamps of the area are known.
Charnley Forest is a greyish slate that usually has characteristic inclusions of reddish streaks and spots. Sometimes there are darker specimens without veins or, on the contrary, stones with whitish, yellowish and greenish spots. The stone has a medium hardness, does not absorb coolant, so it can be used with both oil and water and allows for a trouble-free oil-to-water transition. When run with water, Charnley Forest produces a rich greyish-white slurry that greatly improves metal removal rates. The stone is positioned as working in the equivalent of 6000-8000 grit with water and 8000-10000 grit with oil. It has a high abrasive ability (higher than, for example, Jasper and even Translucent Arkansas), but at the same time it gives a very high surface finish and easily copes with the processing of almost any steel, even the hardest. Traditionally, Charnley Forest sharpeners are more commonly used as a finishing tool for razors, but they are also great for knives and other cutting tools.
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