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Honing other stuff


Well-Known Member
So I have fallen into a bit of a honing geek crowd here in Japan (YAY!) and they have expressed a lot of interest in European honing. What stones, what techniques, etc.

I can more or less discuss razors, but what about other things? Planes, knives, idea.

So, can anyone help with this? Bart? Do you use coticules to hone planes?

Any information would be most appreciated...I have a date to show off European hones next January, so I'd like to be able to talk about them with some kind of ideas.




Well-Known Member
Yes, Coticules and BBW's can be used for other sharpening tasks. Orthodox Jewish butchers are a wellknown example.
But Ardennes sells hones to a large variety of customers: woodworkers, leather workers, hunters, butchers, cooks, wood carvers, wood turners,etc. They even have a special type of Coticule for the cause of sharpening syringe needles (don't ask me why anyone would want to do that, probably some veterinary application, maybe Tattoo artists (Ralfy??!!).
In any case, only part of Ardennes' stock is sold for sharpening razors.

I know I should write articles in the Sharpening Academy about cutlery and woodworking tools. I touch-up wood working tools on a BBW and use a Coticule to sharpen my kitchen knives. Today, I saw Maurice of Ardennes sharpen his Opinel on a Coticule to shaving-arm-hair sharpness and use it as an exacto knife to cut out some foam rubber. He told me it was his first Coticule, harvested in the mine of Regné. He then handed it over and asked if I cared to test it for razors. He stressed that the hone is not for sale, unless someone buys the whole company, then the hone comes for free with it, he added jokingly.

I promise to write those articles later. But first I need to catch up with some other loose ends.

For tool sharpening, you need harder Coticules, both the reddish Coticules in the Vault are excellent for that. I'm just mentioning in case one of your friends wants to purchase a stone for trying out.

Best regards,


Well-Known Member
Bart said:
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The syringe bit beats me? we dont use hollow needles and its all single use nowadays.

I would love to read anything about sharpening knifes, I have a spanish stainless lock knife that I keep picking up, getting frustrated with and putting down again. I read a brief article that you wrote on srp I think? and it helped, but still that damn knife wont yield to my coticule skills


Well-Known Member
Bart, thank you. Of course, please take your time with the articles. It helps just to know what stones might fit for what uses--I'm sure once these guys see the coticule I'm brining back with me, they'll want to try one out for themselves.

I'm already working on converting some of them to western style straights!

As for syringes--some of the old books on honing I've looked at have recommend the very best stones for syringe sharpening. I think that before the days of disposable needles (not so long ago), doctors actually had to sharpen their needles--I think the "Jeweler's Green" was recommended, as well. Maybe there are still some holdouts? Or perhaps it's for veterinarian use, like you said.


Well-Known Member
I'm the guy who'se never sharpened a razor yet, and uses coticules nearly every day.

Most of what I sharpen is kitchen cutlery, coming off a King 1200 for the initial shaping, and then a blue Aoto. Larger knives go from that to a BBW, and the smaller ones get some time on the Finnish stone, which is slightly finer and a fair bit of my favorite stones for all that it's a mid-grade.

It isn't as fast as a BBW, but has excellent 'feel', and produces a great working edge (with slurry). The reason I don't use the larger knives on it is strictly size. I've got an 8x3 BBW, but the Finnish stone is only 7x1.5 or so.

I'm a little inhibited using a rock that small for 10-14" blades, and in fact intend to get a larger BBW to accomodate them more easily.

I use the coticules minimally, as not all of my knives require (or can benefit from) that degree of polish, and I have various other polishing stones in
rotation. I have a uber-fine grained 'surgical steel' Case XX boning knife that gets the full monty, finishing on an 8x2 coticule, and several thin Japanese style mini-santoku utility/paring knives (about Rc 62 imo) that respond well.

What I won't bother with is softer 'simple' steel, anything below (guessing) Rc 56-58, as they won't hold the edge long enough to gain much.

And I have used the BBW on a 4x2 combo as a substitute grinder, reprofiling Most Tediously a 10" D2 blade from a short bevel to a long convex. It worked better than the DMT 1200 grit, leaving minimal scratches and a good beginning for a mirror polish. Others may have differing experiences, but I find the garnets in the BBW are not as even in size as the coticules. In that particular BBW there's occasionally an oversize speck of garnet that has to be lapped off or 'dug out'.]

The coticules garnets seem to be both smaller, and more consistent in size. For my personal taste, I'm inclined to save it for very fine grained steel, as that seems proper. I've also done craft (exacto knife) blades on coticule, and touched up surgeons needles (sewing, not injection) which I'll hasten to say were 100 year old vintage, nothing contemporary.

There are certainly big knives that are fine grained enough to benefit from polishing on a coticule, but I don't own them. Mine are nearly all mid-20th century vintage, mil-spec and similar, and they just aren't of the quality that requires coticules. I finish them on a Honsuita of about 6000 grit, and the fact they're soft(ish) compared to the best modern knives isn't so obvious. The stone is also (softish), compared to Belgians.