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Coticule/Naniwa Confusion


New Member
New to straight razors so I apologize for trying anyone's patience as I am sure this is a frequent question but a cursory search did not help me. I was all ready to pull the trigger on a Naniwa 12K as a finisher ( followed by a CrO pasted balsa strop) to prevent "serious" honing for quite a while and take things slowly.

Then I happened upon this site as well as bits and pieces of other posts where a coticule is recommended as the way to go for finishing. The coticule seems to have more of a mystique requiring experience and touch.

What are the practical differences between the 2 stones for a beginner? Do grits matter with these stones or is slurry the grit difference maker?My long range plan is to work backwards thru the grits purchasing a 4-8K waterstone next. Is this necessary if I go with a coticule? I realize this is a coticule site but I know many/most of you have been thru this dilemma and have what I don't- experience.

Thank you.


Well-Known Member
Welcome to

Unlike any other wetshaving forums, this forum is about Coticules and wetshaving. I don't think that you will find anyone here willing to say a coticule is THE best option out there, but those of use who like to hone in a more "romantic" way (i.e., natural stone, minimalist equipment, and acquired skill and intimate understanding of your stone versus paint-by-numbers) enjoy a coticule.

Yes, there are a lot of differences in coticules and naniwas. However, the end result isn't that different after you've mastered either one (I personally prefer the coticule finish to anything I've tried, but that's neither here nor there). It does take more experience, and it's a significantly more existential experience than other types of honing because you have to learn your stone, learn your stroke, learn to master your slurry, learn effective finishing techniques for you... We can give you advice based on our experiences (and best practices that we've learned work very commonly), but there's more variability due to the various factors with coticules than synthetics.

If you decide on a coticule, you're getting a very versatile option, capable of doing almost anything you want (not corrective honing), but you've also got to be prepared for the learning curve.... Which is part of the fun for some.

Again, welcome to, and enjoy your journey :)




Well-Known Member
I couldn't have said it better myself! Good job, Paul.:thumbup:
My take on it is that synthetics will offer an edge that you can use to shave with right away. Coti's take a bit more perserverance to get the most from, but once you do, there is nothing to compare it to.
For much the same reason i taught my wife and kids to drive a standard, as opposed to an automatic transmission; one's a little harder to get the hang of, but once you do, no-one can take that away from you, and everything else is easy after that.

Welcome to!



Well-Known Member
I have both and use both. I will say that I had initial trouble switching from synthetic to coticule, but I quickly learned that the feedback from my coticules were such that I could respond easily to them. I can honestly say that the first edge I was ever happy with came from my coticule. I spent more time learning with the coticule than I did with my synthetics at that time. I started working more with the synthetics after I felt comfortable leaving my coticules for a while and what I have to say is that the amount of time learning each of my coticules was longer than the amount of time learning each of my naniwas, but there are five naniwas for each coticule. If there were a way to take two people with identical abilities to sit down and learn these sets I do think that the learning curve would actually be longer for the naniwas than the coticule. Just my opinion.
Another thought regarding the two is if/when you have trouble learning to hone many people on other forums would prefer to help someone with a more predictable hone like the naniwas. Because each natural stone is unique it becomes difficult to analyze the trouble for someone who doesn't know what to look/feel for. Where you might be at an advantage here is if you decide to take part in the next vault and you get one of the stones there will be a source available to reference your specific stone. In my experience Bart is always willing to answer questions, despite his busy schedule, regarding the stones he has personally honed on.
One other thought regarding that is if you purchase a coticule from another source I am sure many people here would offer to assess your stone for naught more than the cost of shipping to and from. I know when I had initial trouble with one of mine I got many offers stating just such.
Whichever you decide please feel free to post your thoughts and progression.

As always, welcome to!!!


Well-Known Member
well I had exact the same question when I started looking for a hone(not so very long ago) I wanted something on witch I could keep my razor shaving. also meaning to do a little bit more in the future.
what persuaded me was: it's a natural stone(don't know why but I prefer natural stones even thought I never used manmade), it's "made" in Belgium witch is where I live and last and one of the most important ones it's very versatile you only need one hone except for heavy restoration.
I don't think it's that hard do learn the basics if you follow the "beginners guide" witch is posted here:
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just my impression



Well-Known Member
If you plan to start using it as a finisher/light touch up stone, i dont think there is too much difference in learning
When you start more honing there will be the factor of slurry dilution vs grit progression
And no its not much harder to do as some might want you to think(I find it easyer then guessing when to change grit)
A good honing stroke and doing it by the numbers is almost enough for a great result(then touch and learning your stone start to matter for the rest)