ShavingUniverse.com

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Coti Noob learning the rocks

pinklather

Well-Known Member
Gents, And Ralfy :)

'Love the site & have lurked for months. My first smooth edge was enough convince me that smooth trumps keen. So the first natural stone was a jnat & I love it. It doesn't seem to like heavy Sheffields, and those that use the jnat and experience the same issue - use a Coti for their heavy Sheffields. It's entirely appropriate I should do my diligent search before asking the Noob question - so an hour later I'm needing to ask.


As a finisher only;

1) are best finishes only on slow stones or can very smooth be had on fast stones also?

2) Which veins/layers would be the most promising for a smooth finish?

3) In finding your favorite stones - how many did you have to buy and sell to get it?

'Very much appreciate your kind help to the Coti ignoramous.
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
A coticule doesn't need to be relegated to any particular type of razor. I do find getting my stainless steel razors right isn't quite as easy as carbon, but that's my problem not the stone's (I've seen others do it en passant).

1) The vast majority of coticules finish very well, and the speed isn't as big a factor as you might think. For example, my la petite blanches are easily my favorite finishing stones, and they're my fastest stones as well.

2) La Petite Blanche, La Grosse Blanche, Les Latneuses, La Veinette, La Nouvelle Vein are all that I have experience with, and they all delivered excellent results. Each have their own nuance, and there is a learning curve to all types. The point is I don't think it matters that much from my experience.

3) My first one :) It really is more about taking the time to learn and master it. Literally, take one razor and your one stone, and work on them together until you master it on that razor. Then do it again with another razor, and another, and another... Once you feel that you have complete understanding of that stone, only then start experimenting with other coticules or other finishing options.

Welcome to Coticule.be
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
Richmond', Thank You for your kind response.

I'm certainly still deep in my learning curve w/ the Asagi - and it doesn't behave as the typical jnat - best finishes so far are from water only.

'Particularly helpful is that a fast stone can be also fine and smooth - sorta my holy grail of edges. Though I've not used a coti or tried an edge from one - it was actually Ralfy's post on another site which planted the seed and brought me here. Then I continued to run into all the variations on words like 'butter smooth', etc and I thought I should learn something about these rocks everyone loves. The only other stones I've had significant curiosity about are the Escher/Thurry which has so much attention since Lynn (and others) spoke about them.

That the vein wouldn't matter that much is counter-intuitive, but is a comfort - it simplifies the search.

For Soligens & U.S. Steel, I'm still blissing out over the asagi. It is painfully slow, but very rewarding. I sold one blade last wk where the recipient said it was the finest edge he'd ever tried (and had some from pros). But the handsome Sheffields remain elusive for the satisfying edge. It would be easy to conclude my face/skin/honing skills just don't like sheffields, but I think that conclusion would be premature. Or I'm too stubborn/dumb to know when to quit :) .

'Still a bit early to shop in earnest, but becoming smart on buying one will come onto the radar.

On learning a particular rock, my hindsight w/ the Jnat was
1) first learn how fast it is - to help gage how many strokes will be needed to evaluate a result.
2) then try slurry manipulation - thick, thin, dilution rates, water after?, dry?

I don't know if this approach would hold true for getting to know a coti.

Thank you for taking the time to school this noob. I very much appreciate it.
 

janivar123

Well-Known Member
As far as i know the Japanese naturals can give some of the thinnest most polished eges out there(heresay, i dont actually know this)
Sheffield steel(I think)is a little softer then German and American razors.
I would speculate that softer steel and extremely thin polished edge may not hold up werry good

Most coticule layers will serve well as razor hones
Read the description in the wault if your looking for something in particular
(I have a mellow and a engaging finisher, but im not sure i could always pick the difference without comparing directly)
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
Janivar, Thank You!

I notice the difference in steel and temper. Pluck a hard hollow, or even a 1/4 grind, and there's a ring of some kind. The sheffields I've tried make more of a 'Thud'. It's possible I will never make peace w/ those blades, but wanted not to bail out on the before doing some investigation.

On the finishing characteristics (mellow/egaging, etc) I'm not sure what that would mean. It shows like a linear progression, with 'engaging' in the center. keen/crispy - makes sense. 'butter smooth' makes sense. 'Not sure about the rest.

Again, thanks.
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
Could it be that you aren't liking the wedge, or maybe the the bevel isn't quite getting set (which is definitely possible). If you have a hollow ground Sheffield razor, I'd be interested in seeing your thoughts. Wedges are more challenging to get keen than hollow ground razors, in my experience.

To learn your stone, you would be very well served to learn the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
method (be sure to watch the video). Look
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
for pictures of slurry.

Have fun, and keep us posted :thumbup:
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
pinklather said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

This is how I interpreted Bart's choice of classification, and it seemed to stick.

MyOwnGoodSelf said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Bart said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Note that these should not be considered "good", "better", and "best". They are all excellent, and desirable finishes, but slightly different. I enjoy all of them :)
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
Hi Paul,

As you rightly ask, I'm entirely capable of failing to establish a clean bevel. Repeatedly! It may be the heavy sheffields throw me a curve here. What made me progress beyond the norton 1k is that it shaved hair along the entire length - which is my normal indicator that it's alright to move on. Perhaps the sheffields feel different & need additional or another indicator. For ref. I've honed somewhere between 50-60 blades at this point, and have used my own edges (for better and worse!) for about 5.5 months. I'd rather leave no stone unturned, so asking that question always seems right to me.

As to wedges, I've successfully honed 1 soligen almost wedge (wacker - hard steel), and one sheffield (B.J. Eyre). These blades were my first indicator that I preferred U.S. or Soligen blades. The Eyre was silent, the Wacker gave tactile & audible feedback, though naturally not as enthusiastically as a hollow. I love the wacker, and it loves the asagi. The two I'm working now are a Joseph Allen, 5/8 non-xll, and a Wosty 5/8+ ixl. Both seem like 1/4 grinds. Handsome blades, but never the feedback of a wacker 1/4 hollow (silence & a dead feel vs feedback).

Thank You so much for the description of the finish characteristics. On hearing this, I seem to have had each, and probably prefer engaging and mellow. One experiment w/ a micro-bevel on the asagi (water only) gave me crispy nightmares! :) Yet as demanding as it was - if I relaxed and concentrated on technique, I had to admit it was also smooth. I just like a bit more leeway in technique.

I'm grateful for your kind help. I'm finding myself on this site more and more - and am better for it, thanks to help like this.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
pinklather said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!
:blink:

Welcome to Coticule.be

I think your questions have been answered very well, and have very little to add

The only thing I can add is that my second stone became my favourite, it is a La Veinette and this layer continues to be my go to one, I also use La Petite Blanche and Les Latneuses, and find that all 3 give wonderful results, I believe the differences in finish, e.g. mellow, brisk etc. are so small they are almost hard to define at times, certainly the other variables involved, shaving technique, beard prep etc. play much more of an important role.

As for the Sheffields, I have no problems with obtaining a wonderfully sharp mellow edge on them myself, sometimes they can require a little more work than the German, Swiss, or Spanish blades I have, but they are amongst my favourite shavers.

You mention that you prefer mellow over Keen, you should find that with a Coticule edge the 2 go hand in hand, as counter intuitive as that may seem, the sharpest edges are for me at least the smoothest.

Good luck in your quest, Robert and welcome again

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

BlacknTan

Well-Known Member
I'm new to the coticule also, and while I can't answer any technical questions like the much more experienced gents here, I can add a few thoughts.
Don't be afraid of the stone, and don't look for a "method" on how to learn it... Just use it, everyday if possible for a little touch-up, or a major practice session, it really doesn't matter.
As you use the stone and become more comfortable with it, it's secrets will begin to unfold. I'm a long way from having my stone learned stone cold, but I do feel already that I have some understanding of it and it's idiosyncrasies.
I was somewhat put off by all I had read on other forums about how difficult the coticule was to learn, and how long it would take to achieve good edges. BULL!! I struggled a bit for the first week or so, but once I developed an idea of how the stone cuts, I got the best edges I've ever gotten, and part of that is because I lost my fear of the dreaded "overhoning." I can do sets of thirty laps every day, and the edge just stays smooth.

So, from one noob to another, don't believe the hype you've read elsewhere and don't be intimidated by the stone. Just use it and enjoy it... It's charms will be revealed to you as you go!

Enjoy!
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Hoorah! :thumbup:

Wonderful, myth busting, straight forward post, Sir William.

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
'Most encouraging. The threads on jnats would have one believe it was just plain voodoo. 'Just daunting. Good edges were had the first day, great edges by the end of the week.

I suspect it's much more involved for one pursuing the 'one stone' methods, which is why I prefer finishing only with the naturals.

'Very gracious, Ralphy - about the sheffields. I've managed to get respectable shaving edges from them, but never the joyful feel of others. One thing I appreciate is that here, 'tape' isn't a bad word. 2 layers on the 1/4 grind sheffields has given the best results yet. Others have mentioned that the asagi isn't the best choice for heavy sheffields. So far, I'd have to agree.

Thanks again, Gents
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Not so fast, Bart! I think the original post by Pinklather might be considered for best post of the year. "Gents and Ralphy" gets my vote. Pinklather is obviously a man of distinction and a great judge of character. He must have been lurking for quite a while to capture the spirit of TOCB.:w00t: Denny
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Err do I know you?

and how come your reading this? come to think of it, the OP did say "Gents and Ralfy" so your interest is.....?

Bwhahahaha

enough noise from me

Best wishes
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Phlier

Active Member
Hey Pinklather, :)

An interesting thing I learned about Coticules from Bart... They make *fantastic* polishers.

When I was honing every day, I had a complete set of Shapton GS's, all the way to 30k. Bart suggested something to me that seemed like sacrilege at the time: take a razor honed through the 30k Shapton series, and try a few laps afterward on the coti with just water. To say it was an epiphany is an understatement. Coticules (as Bart mentions in numerous places) are fantastic polishers. Until I got rid of the Shaptons, that became my normal progression: Shaptons 1k through 30k, then a few laps on the coti with water.

You may want to try a few laps on a coti after your normal progression (jealous of your J-nats, btw.. just want to get that out there) and compare the shave to one that sees just your normal progression.

Just something else to try if you get a chance. :)
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Yes... Those days when it was still sacrilege to place a Coticule above an 8k synthetic hone... We were still young back then... (daydreams away to long lost days)
:D :D :lol:

There is an article about that progressive approach in the Sharpening Academy, although as a valuable procedure, it doesn't receive as much attention as the one-hone methods.

Kind regards,
Bart
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Sssh dont tell, but I have done that myself ;) and sometimes I go "past" the coticule, with a Balsa hone, or Charnley Forest, and then drop back to the coticule too.

Of course this "past" and "Back" is not really how it works, my point is this, finishing on the Coticule after another medium, if the "other" medium left the edge sharper than a Coticule edge, will most often impart that famous smoothness, whilst retaining the sharpness of the other medium, its a case of getting the balance right.

I dont own a 20,000 grit hone, but I know a man that does, and the razor he sent me that was finished on it, gave a shave I didnt care for, 20 light laps on a Coticule with water gave a wonderful very very sharp smooth shave indeed.

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

IsaacRN

Well-Known Member
This may sound a bit odd, but I do want you to hear me out. I have spent a great deal of money on hones through the year. Like many people, I started with the Norton 4k/8k combo. I had bought a coticule for finishing the edge after the 8k but never had great success. I then bought an Escher to finish, and again never bothered to properly learn that technique as well.

I then moved up to the Shapton on glass. I have the 1k/4k/8k/16k hones. They are extraordinary in their ability to produce an edge. I do recommend them as a way to hone if your not doing the natural route. I had met Russell and talked to him and he recommended I buy a nice, more manageable La Petite Blanche hone. He then actually helped me to learn the Dilucot method. Before I started to figure out what was going on, he honed a few razors for me so that I might get the feel for a coticule edge.

Now, I usually suffer from what I would call pre ingrowns. The second day post shave the hairs tend to start going inward regardless of the type of edge. I usually have to preform facial scrubs to break the hairs free. Surprisingly, the coticule edge was a bit more mellow, but just as sharp. I didnt notice as many issues with these pre ingrowns. I can honestly say that other than the 1k Shapton, I only use a coticule. It provides a nice shave that rivals a 16k Shapton in my opinion.

It is important to play, play, and play often. I became a bit over confident while I was honing well, and put the stones down for a few months. When I came back, I basically had to put the training wheels back on the bike. I can still ride, but im not near where I was. It will return, but I need the practice.

There is something special about honing with a coticule or any natural stone. The smell the stone releases on my hones is wonderful. Its an earthy wet dirt smell, and makes you take a moment to realize that this is something the earth has produced and given up so that it might help out man with the task at hand.

Whatever you do, I do wish you the best of luck.
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
I started out with the 4k/8k. finishing on bbw/coti. same as your self i only ever use the coticule.

I've even tryed the 4k/8k just for a change. I would never turn back now. It will always be coticule for me. I still practice a couple of times a week. This way i don't get hone rusty. Plus i get to use my hones.

Gary
 
Top