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Honing stages


Well-Known Member
Hello all,

Since most of us are at various phases of learning how to squeeze as much from our stones as possible, I thought I'd share my recent observations.

By 'honing stages', mentioned in the thread title, I mean work on milky slurry vs. working on very thin slurry towards the end of Dilucot. That's been said in some places like additional notes on Dilucot by Gary, or somewhere at the forum - the thinner slurry, the more time you should spend on it. The simple logic I see for it is that, well, the less slurry, the slower it works, so one needs to spend more time towards the end of Dilucot. It was kind of a novum for me to realize that when you're half way in dilutions, you're, say, a quarter way or less in terms of overall job, i.e. number of laps. I started to progressively increase the number of halfstrokes with every one or two dilutions, which, with my La Grosse Blanche, brings me well around 70 at final stages. Maybe it's overkill, but beside me is laying a freshly dilucotted Sheffield razor, that's giving me the best HHT off the stone I've seen to date. I'm expecting a thrilling shave tomorrow. :sleep:

So if there's someone wondering what the hell he should do with his honing, maybe this will get him a bit closer. :)



Well-Known Member
:thumbup: That's a great tip.
When in doubt, always do more work on thinner slurry.
Honing a razor takes me on average 10 minutes (give or take 20 minutes more:D ).
If it's more, it's work on slurry to deal with bevels that need a lot of correction.
But once I get to dilution, it takes me 4 or 5 minutes to evolve to water.
If I have to struggle for a great edge (which often happens), the battle is always won on thin slurry and pure water.

David Polan, who was my honing godfather when I started, once did a few 1000 laps on water (not all on the same day), to disprove the hoax of "overhoning". He succeeded in doing so, though the real treat of his discovery is that he found surprising improvement in the edge, certainly during his first rounds of 100 laps extra. It is an exercise I have repeated several times and that I can recommend to everyone who's been honing on Coticules for a while. Put a razor aside and give it 300 laps a day, for the duration of a week. Water only.

But Matt's advice to do more laps further down the process, is highly commendable.

Kind regards,


Well-Known Member
I too step it up a little as I work through the dilutions, though not to the same degree, I usually start at 15 halfstrokes, and by the time I am on water I am doing 30, I do believe that a little extra helps me, however I don't find the need to go overboard, also I find it's worth spending time doing one or two more dilutions, once I have reached the stage where I would swear I am ready to rinse off and go to water, this still only makes about 10 in total during a typical Dilucot hone for me.

Best regards and happy honing


Well-Known Member
I find I really need to do this with my La Nouvelle Veine. I should probably add even more halfstrokes when I use it.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the trick. I was trying that way but was not really sure.
Now making more than 2000 strokes without a bad one is a new challenge for me:rolleyes:



Well-Known Member
Its impossible for me, Laurent. But I still get very satisfying edges w/ other rocks. I have nothing to lose by trying the death by many strokes method.


Well-Known Member
'Trying the 'death by a thousand strokes' on a Dressante that I've had a hard time using lately, with a cranky wedge.

first 200 strokes went okay. Somewhere between 2-300 I must have botched a stroke (or 5), and keenness declined. I concluded I should hold to 200 strokes at a time. At 500 strokes, keenness was back. If nothing else, the practice is always good. 'Will keep going & see if there's any change from the 500 strokes.

700 strokes, almost no change. Same at 900. For the last 100, I put some dishwashing liquid on the surface. Still no change to speak of.

Now hht at 500 (probably at 300 if I hadn't botched some strokes) was 3. Will shave test later this morn. after alot of stropping.

'Started the process w/ another cranky blade (VERY hard steel) on the long, narrow LPB.

Gary, Just saying thanks again. Your posts get my attention always & every time I've tried your suggestions, they worked well, be that technique, different stones etc. I appreciate your kind help.


Well-Known Member
There is no dout , on a coticule you could do 1000 strokes on water and this would not over hone, in my opinion , using good light stroke or even normal pressure, i have tryed it.

after dilucoting , i will work the hell out of my razor on water stages, untill my hht reaches the maximun. i will aim for a 3/4 if i'm looky a four. I also go by feel of the hht and the way it pops or catches and pop 's. this can take me any thing from just 50 laps or 500 plus laps on water. by that amount of work on water, if i have no low hht, i'd defanatley go back to a level of slurry and do another dilucot, if that fails, i'd go back another day, and try again. or just test shave . Also i agree as slurry gets a thinner extra laps would be can help keep keeness up there. I also think coming of the last slurry stages at the right time will make finishing on water a doddle.In the past i have felt i have gone alittle to far and this as not worked as well. so what i do in the middle or last stages of honing , is grab a thicker hair and see if i get a violin of slurry, if i do, i no i'm ready to move to water. before i test with the hair , i do 20 light laps on the level of slurry i'm at.

also i find once you think bevel is set. stay on bevel setting for a while longer, just to make sure.

little longer on the bevel gives a good foundation, for the rest of your dilucoting.



Yesterday I've tried the approach of many laps on water with a very nice old French razor that I've found to be quite tricky to sharpen (7/8 near wedge with a light smile). It was shaving OK so far but I'm sure that it could be better :rolleyes: :D .

So, yesterday I've spent most of the first half of the football match Germany vs Poland to make a few hundred laps on my La Verte coticule with water only (I haven't counted them). HHT 4 off the stone :w00t: (after a "regular" dulicot it was only HHT 2). After linnen and leather the old lady now is a "silent slicer" :thumbup: . Can't wait to shave now :rolleyes: :lol: ...

Thanks guys