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Full honing


Well-Known Member
Folks, how long does it take you to do a full honing, from scratch? By this, I mean building a proper bevel and then Dilucotting it all the way to an end.

I know this is a kind of unusual experience, but it took me over 2 hrs to complete the job yesterday. Talk about a serious family life spoiler! :scared: At first, I decided to work the bevel with one of my coticules I assume to be the most proper for it (#14); after using pretty thick slurry bevel faces appeared, but no matter what I couldn't get to arm hair shaving (AHS). By now probably those experienced know, where this is heading. After wasting some time I came to the conclusion that I began with a coticule too soon, moved to 500-1000-1500 progression, still no AHS, but since I have initiated all of my razors this way, I started with some regular milky slurry, this time on my new, mellow La Grosse Blanche.

The air in my apartment is dry as a fucking desert, but it's really hard to notice, when you're doing fast halfstrokes, that slurry is gradually losing more water than it should. I was struggling for another 20 or 40 minutes until I realised that, unnoticeably, I'm slowly getting the slurry thicker and thicker at the end of each halfstrokes set. I did a bigger dilution and from now on everything started to go well, I reached AHS, then I lost it - again got slurry thicker - finally I finished Dilucot, reaching some HHT 2,5 after clean water. I was too tired to try the soap thing this evening. Stropped, HHT-4 with my thick hair, test shave on its way. :)

I strongly believe that I could go with a coticule alone, if I only thinned the initial bevel setting slurry significantly. I could not see the edge against bright light, so bevel faces were formed and meeting properly. Note to all, who are not yet experienced enough to do it all without thinking - keep your slurry watered well. I think I underestimated how much (too thick) slurry can dull your edge. I'm aware that it's already been said many times, but the more the better I suppose?



Well-Known Member
You'll never shave arm hair off thick slurry from a La Grosse Blanche. They're rather keen on slurrydulling (how's that for some ambiguous word play?:))

Here's what I do:
If the razor is not damaged, I always start with a Coticule and milky slurry. I've never found any additional speed in making the slurry thicker than that (just more slurrydulling). Getting a razor to shave arm hair is in the vast majority if cases only a matter minutes. If It takes me more then 10 minutes, I check the edge under magnification. It's always a matter of convexity. If I play with the light source of the scope a bit, I can see the part that's flat already and the region near the very edge that's still rounded. One needs to realize that the last bit takes the longest, because the already flat part needs to be honed down in order to make it grow. And the larger it already is, the more material needs to be removed, while at the same time the pressure is spread over a wider area. Hence the process slows down on 2 accounts.
I have a golden rule: if the Coticule doesn't cut it in 15 minutes, no matter how small that strip of rounded edge may appear, I'm reaching for my DMT-600.
In absence of a microscope, you can make the same observation with the naked eye. Get a strong light source, have it shine over your shoulder and hold the razor up. Twist and turn it in every way to make the light reflect off the edge, into your eyes. The light must reflect only at one particular position, if there's a second small strip reflecting near the very edge, that's the rounded (or double beveled) portion.

Once the bevel is flat and fully developed, you can start dilution. I am getting more and more convinced that many make too much out of that. It's only normal. Been there, done that, and then some. I ended up doing way more dilutions then needed or even good, doing way too many laps per dilution. But if you make your dilution steps too small, reverting back through thickening is also a small step. On a Coticule I'm familiar with, I'm down to 5 to 10 dilution steps. Note that in dry air, I might keep the slurry hydrated with an occasional extra drop when needed, halfway a dilution. I do sets of 20-30 halfstrokes per side. On the last step, I double my efforts. I finish the dilution stage with a double set of 15 halfstrokes per side on a cleaned hone with water. At that point, you need to be at least at the "violin" level of the HHT. The rest is a matter of finishing. If 30 X-strokes on fresh water doesn't get you there, refresh the water and go for 50 more. If it still not quite there, nowadays, I think I will reach for the waxed Coticule.

The whole process, minus bevel stage is a matter of 5 - 10 minutes. Bevel setting could add maximum 20 minutes to it, but usually it's only 2 minutes.

Kind regards,


Well-Known Member
Interesting how your technique has evolved, Bart. I don't think I could put mine in print now without doing it at the same time. I have substantially lessened my number of dilutions, use hydrated slurry and do more counts of half strokes or circles per dilution. Consequently, I very rarely run into slurry dulling. Good half strokes can be done very rapidly and little time is lost doing extra strokes.

The hair I use gives me far greater HHT than violin off the slurry, but I am sure that is not a factor of extra keenness and the only difference I really see in technique is my use of a lot of edge torque (light total pressure, high edge torque) and intermediate stropping.

I alway use a dmt1200 to start the whole process and may go back to the 600 if I notice the bevel not setting in a couple minutes. The dmt is very consistent and aggresive but I am sure a coticule will do the same with more strokes, I just prefer the look of the dmt bevel under the scope and how fast it sets.

All this to say that a an edge that hasn't been rounded too much will take me ten to twelve minutes including setting the bevel. That is probably three times faster than when I started three or four months ago. Like Gary said, I like honing more than shaving, and I like shaving a lot.

Yours truly, Denny


Well-Known Member
FWIW, I never get it right the first time. I jokingly said to Denny recently that i dilucot the dilucot, by which i mean that I always seem to have to do two or three iterations of the process, starting with lighter and lighter slurry each time. A good round usually takes me about 20 minutes. I've taken to honing at the sink and setting the tap to drip for diluting. It can still be a frustrating process. I can get good readings from the HHT, but find that the shave lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. The micro-chipping that I've seen under the scope is a clue for me, a clue about what, I don't really know, but I'm closing in on it. I've got a few pointers to try next, hopefully that will move me one step closer. (thanks again Saint Denny and Dr. Ralfson!)
Some of what I think I've learned is that the actual amount of metal removed in this whole process is less than I thought, which shouldn't surprise me, because I've yet to detect any blade width loss, and I've honed some of them a whole bunch of times. I think I may not be starting with thick enough slurry, and so not really establishing a proper bevel, and quickly leaving the edge behind. Or, I'm starting out with too thick slurry, and again... moving too fast through dilutions.... IDFK...
Some day I'll get it figured out.


Well-Known Member
I will try and set a bevel on my fastest coticule. It was bart that i learned from, that after 15 minutes with no joy drop back to my dmt600.As he mentioned above. So that is what i do. Then i will finish with dilucot. It depends if its rebulding a bevel from nothing. It as took me a while in some cases . Two hours aint to bad . The main thing is to get the razor shave ready.

I'm now at the stage where i have been thinking. Have i been doing to many dilutions. so just latley i have been working with less dilutions. I always do more laps , say 15 to 30 per half set. The results have been just as good with say 10 to 15. I have performed as many as 30 sets .

i've not got down to five just yet. I tend to stop when the slurry action weakens , by that i mean it feels like the slurry is not cutting. Dilucoting takes me ten to fifteen minutes. If i get a good hht i'm done. If not it can take me another 30 to 90 minutes of tinkering. If i'm lucky 10 minutes. The challange is getting the desired hht of the hone


Well-Known Member
I am pretty much like Bart and Gary, if I cant set the bevel in 15 min's (Barts rule) I go to a 1K whetstone, this only happens on razors I have not honed before, and if there is serious work to do I use a 400 whetstone to take out frowns, chips etc,this can take quite a while if the blade is in bad shape, then once shaving arm hair, I dull on glass, and do a full Dilucot, takes me between 10 and 15 minutes, if my HHT is not spot on (the worse I usually get is a loud violin) I go back and do 2 sets of 30 half strokes on water, then 2 sets of 30 X strokes and that usually does it, total time 20 minutes.

Of course there are times when the honing god wont play, and I use different strategy's to get that HHT3 before stropping, that can take some time, and mood depending I either find that fun or frustrating.

So my "normal" time for a straight re-hone is on average 15 mins

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)


Well-Known Member
If it's a decent condition razor & not a Sheffield true wedge, it's 15 minute story, give or take a few minutes.

I usually give all eBay specials a couple of laps on the DMT 600, just to start out with fresh steel.


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Jens said:
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I honed a DA today with my LPB. Set the bevel and diluted with six sets .20 to 30 laps per half set. Finished with 30 laps on water. I managed a 2/3 hht of the hone. Which aint bad for a DA. i have afeeling it can be done with less sets . thats what i'm working on about now.



Well-Known Member
Impressive, Gary, 6 sets! Thanks for sharing and for such a quick action, pal. :thumbup: Are La Grosse and La Petite Blanche somewhat similar in their properties? Or is this just the name?



Well-Known Member
Not to sure on la grosse, The la patite blanch is defanatley a quik cutter on slurry and moderate on water. My la grosse jaune is much slower.


with less sets it does'nt matter if i'm not there. I could always start agian if need be and do another 6 sets .its worth atry . ten to fifteen seems plenty.


Well-Known Member
I've noticed a recent trend of people using half-strokes in the dilution phase of dilucot.

My question is: Do you guys use half stroke exclusively until you hit 'water only'? or do you do some half-strokes and some regular 'full X-strokes' at each dilution?

Also, do you use a finger to stabilize the blade for half-strokes, or do you just hold the blade at the tang, as you would for regular X-strokes.

I'll try both, but I wanted to hear about what people who use it do.