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.

Coticule from mine at Recht

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
In the other topic about my visit to Ardennes I mention how delighted I was to be in the area that the coticule comes from.

While I was there I visited a mine dedicated to the extraction of blue stone for building at Recht. While on the tour of the mine I noticed the yellow bands of Coticule going through the underground passages and inspected them further - to my joy there was a loose bit of coticule in one of the veins and I pulled it out and I have attached a picture with this post.

The size is probably too small to make it in to a hone, more like a slurry stone, and there is much more BBW than coticule present, but I am intrigued that there is extractable coticule available a good 30 km from the Ardennes quarry, maybe different layers. One of the workers at the visitor centre at Recht told me that there were people in the village who extracted and sold Coticule themselves and that Ardennes were not the only people selling coticule if you knew who to speak to. It is with great regret that family commitments prevented me from pursuing this further.

I know it's a bit geeky - and all that is important is that one can hone the razor or knife well. But I can't help but be intrigued by the possibility of these other layers lying there in the ground un-used while we discuss the 5 or 6 veins available from Ardennes. I also know how hard the extraction is given that the Ardennes worker who spoke to me told me that they get 1kg of saleable rock from 1 tonne of extracted rock!

Cheers

Squeezy
[img=800]1[/img]
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Recht is the farthest end to the East of Coticule territory. There has been a short period of commercial Coticule exploitation, but the layers were -as you witnessed with your own eyes while taking the long walk through the entrence gallery of the Ancient Slate mine in Recht - too narrow to deliver hones of economic interest.

You are correct that there are ways to get to other Coticule layers than the ones extracted by Ardennes. Many of the closed mines used to be not all that much shielded from unauthorized access. In fact, if you didn't watch out in some woods in the Vielsalm area, one could easily die falling into a mine shaft. Only the latest few years the local authorities have started to oblige the owners to seal off the entrances better. The sad consequence is that many land owners with Coticule pits on their territory have decided to fill the entrance shafts with stone debris. This is the cheapest way to seal off entrance, but many former pits have now become inaccessible for ever.

The enterance to the Old Rock mine, which was a horizontal gallery as in Recht, used to be a joke. It was a fence with one of the corners forced open, large enough to gain access easily. Adventurers got in and mined some raw Coticule, but in the process, they heavily disturbed the rare and unique bat population that lives in the abondoned shafts. Since last year the site is sealed with a heavy galvanized fence and a new door.

There is the mine in Regné, that has an open enterance, running 70 meters down vertically. But without proper security gear and the knowledge how to undertake such a descent, it would be a suicide attempt to enter it.

Tier Du Mont is an entire area covered with many former mining pits. Many of them are caved in, but it remains, to my knowledge, the easiest place to do some personal Cotocule picking.

The former enterance of Old Rock:
[img=850]http://v4.cache4.c.bigcache.googleapis.com/static.panoramio.com/photos/original/23100464.jpg[/img]
And the vertical mineshaft of Old Rock, near Salmchateau:
[img=850]http://v7.cache8.c.bigcache.googleapis.com/static.panoramio.com/photos/original/23100704.jpg[/img]
The pit of Regné looks almost the same.


Best regards,
Bart.
 

vgeorge

Well-Known Member
Fascinating stuff, Bart and Squeezy.

Bart, do local landowners, that is people not associated with Ardennes, pick up Coticules and sell them? Quite a bit, or rather rarely? If they do, where would you find them? Local garage sales?
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I have asked around a bit in the local pubs, and have not found traces of any small scale "domestic" Coticule activity. Most of the companies that ceased all activity, all first shut down their mines, before continuing a few years to sell out their remaining stock. Business used to be slow, I think no one foresaw a revival.

Extracting Coticule is not as easy as digging a hole in your garden, it's dangerous and difficult work that required heavy machinery. Even of you own land with Coticule in the underground, it's not exactly an easy buck. Quite the contrary.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the info again Bart. I saw the old opening of the Recht mine above the level of the tunnel open to the public and it looked very similar to that at Old Rock.

Inspired by the re-opening of the tavern, I also set to the Recht Coticule with my coarse carborundum stone last night and got it flat on the coticule side and can see exactly why it's a hard job extracting good quality stone!

Firstly - the random loose piece I picked up in the mine had the cotucule at a strange angle so the yellow is thicker at one end than the other.

Secondly - the surface is full of inclusions, not just of BBW, but a thickish black mineral line and it's criss-crossed with rusty brown lines too. The black one particularly looks very hard and potentially damaging to a razor's edge.

Thirdly - it's pretty small, it would be large for a slurry stone, but too small to hone on seriously!

I would imagine that to get a stone of the quality and size of the hones that Ardennes regularly produce you'd really need to go through a lot of rock! Nevertheless I'm going to keep it and have a play around with it to see what it can do. I'm away from home tonight at a festival of folk music but will try and post a picture of it when I get back tomorrow, it's ended up a funny wedge shape natural combo. I do like finding things :)

Cheers
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
For completeness' sake - here is what the DIY coticule looks like:

[img=800]1[/img]
Side view of the odd wedge shape I was forced to make it due to the uneven breaking points

[img=800]2[/img]
The top with the inclusions - the dark ones are quite "glassy" and seem to be very hard compared to the coticule.

Cheers

Squeezy
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Thank you, John. I would love to try sharpening a razor with that small piece of Coticule form Recht.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Hi Bart,

I've tried to email you through the function on these boards but I'm not sure it sent the form.

But - I've had a go at honing on it and with my rather low skill levels it is pretty much useless to me as anything other than a momento (of which my house is too full already).

If you are serious and think it might tell you something useful, I'm more than happy to send you the stone. I'm afraid I wasn't very diligent about which band the rock came from. Of the 7 or so bands of coticule I noticed, it was in the middle and was one of the wider ones - the piece was already loose in the wall. I could probably recognise where it came from if I was in the mine again! Let me know the address you want it sent to and I'll do that in the next couple of days.

All the best,

Squeezy
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
John,
I indeed received your e-mail, just moments ago.
I'll accept your generous offer, on the one condition that you accept a fast band Les Latneuses in return. It's 40X100, which is large enough to sharpen a razor. Just think of it as if you just won the lottery. ;)

Bart.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Bart! That's a ridiculous offer!

Obviously I'd be a fool to turn it down, but honestly, you don't need to offer anything at all. I'm more than happy to send you the stone safe in the knowledge that by doing so it may be useful from a research point of view.

Cheers

Squeezy
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I don't want it any other way. I know you would have loved to try a Les Latneuses as it is mostly described on this board. I have one that fits perfectly for that, and I have already written squeezyjohn on it. :)
I won't send you my address before I have yours.:sneaky:

;)

Bart.
 

life2short1971

Well-Known Member
I sometimes hone on slurry stones for the fun and I am sure Bart could hone a a set of Chef knives to shaving grade with that little gem given enough time. Congrats to both of you for making such a fine swap.
 
Top