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La Grosse Blanche a Cosistent Layer?


Well-Known Member
Hey all,

I'm not sure if anyone can answer this question (perhaps Bart is the best one to address ;) ), but is La Grosse Blanche a consistent layer?

I know there are some layers that yield a lot of variance within the layer, and some that produce hones that are quite consistent within that layer (La Petite Blanche and La Veinette come to mind).

The reason I am asking about La Grosse Blanche is because Bart has mentioned one key way of indentifying them, by the way they change to a dull brown. This made me wonder if they all performed quite similarly also.

Not too long ago I acquired no. 15 from the vault, and I fell in love with it. It seemed to produce the finest finish of any coticule I've ever tried. Granted that I don't have that much experience with many coticules, but it was rated as being a great polisher/finisher. Seeing as this stone interested me so much, I bought another La Grosse Blanche hone directly from Ardennes. This one is a much bigger one, at 20x6cm rectangular. It's a select hone, so the surface is a very uniform creamy very pale yellow/white. Honing on it feels almost identical to no. 15, and it has the same very fine strangely grainy feel to it even on plain water. It polishes a razor equally well and seems to cut at the same speed, with and without slurry. I haven't done a dilucot with either hone, but unicot seems to yield very comparable results.

So basically I bought a really big and thicker no. 15 from the vault. :w00t: But the no. 15 is still a nicer size to hold in your hand while honing.

I'm estatic that both of my La Grosse Blanches perform quite similarly (since I wanted another one like no. 15 to try), but is this typical of that layer? It seems to be the perfect kind of stone for putting the finish touch on a razor, and for touch-ups when necessary.

BTW, my question just stems from curiosity, and will by no means affect how much I enjoy either stone. I just find the different layers of coticule fascinating and would like to know as much as possible about the ones I have. :) (Fyi, I have 1 La Veinette, 3 La Petite Blanches, and 2 La Grosse Blanches).

Thanks anyone/everyone!


P.S. I just remembered a post where Bart mentioned no. 32 from the vault (a La Grosse Blanche) having special needle sharpening properties. Are all La Grosse Blanches like this??
I haven't tested enough "La Grosse Blanches" to confirm out of first hand that it is a consistent layer.
However: it seems that the layers they qualified in the old days as top notch showed all great uniformity in Coticule properties. La Petite Blanche and La Veinette are good examples of that. La Grosse Blanche was another highly regarded layer. It seems logical to me that it probably will turn out as quite consistent. Your own experience already confirms it.
In the heydays of the Coticule industry some sellers had over 10 quality divisions. It completely escapes me what the meaning was, as I can't discern difference in outcome that sustain such claims. La Grosse blanche is the only one that perhaps goes a hint smoother, but I'm not even sure every shaver would like a razor's edge that way. One thing they seemed to reward in the old days was honing speed. The three named are all fairly fast on slurry. But so are certain hones of "La Dressante", which was a lower ranked layer (it does have more variance in possible properties).

The needle sharpeners are on rare occasions found within "La Grosse Blanche", so they can be considered as a rare inconsistency of that layer. I still need to test if there is a special advantage for honing razors. They appear to have an extra abrasiveness on water.

Best regards,
Thanks Bart for that great response. :thumbup:

It's not at all surprising that highly regarded layers from the past were consistent, since that is how they would get their repututation after all.

I have NO idea how you could have 10 different quality divisions! :blink: That's crazy. Wouldn't there only be considered 3 now: standard, select, and kosher? Even those divisions aren't a reflection of honing quality, but rather appearence.

I have to ask you, what makes a La Grosse Blanche a "needle sharpener"??
Those old grades have nothing to do with Ardennes' Select and Standard hones, that in itself have little or nothing to do with Kosher.

I'll talk about the "needle sharpening" hone, when I have fully tested it.

Best regards,
Bart said:
Those old grades have nothing to do with Ardennes' Select and Standard hones, that in itself have little or nothing to do with Kosher.

I'll talk about the "needle sharpening" hone, when I have fully tested it.

Best regards,

Sounds good. Thanks Bart! :thumbup: