I was at Ardennes yesterday, spend over an hour going through the stock. I saw every bout and hone with a dimensions that would support razor honing. I've brought two candidates home that could be "La Grosse Jaune", but also possibly "La Grise". Layer determination isn't always that simple by only looking at the hones. When I got home, I compared them against my own "La grosse Jaune", and I'm inclined to say they look more like "La Grise". Testing them will probably allow for a conclusive determination.
Will we see more La Grosse Jaune in the future? That's a though question. No doubt there's plenty of Coticule left in the underground. But which layers are accessed, depends on many factors. Ardennes has a quarry and a mine. In the mine, the situation is simple. Everything that was made readily accessible is already brought to the surface in the past. To continue extraction, there are several options, that all lead to a different layer. It's a huge investment to dig tunnels and shafts, and it's just not economically feasible to exploit all layers at once. Hence, at the mine, I expect part of 1 or 2 layers being made accesible till the further excavation requires new tunnels and shafts. At that point, it may be more interesting to first dig out part of another constellation of 2 or 3 layers, located at a different area of the mine. I don't think they will make all layers available at the same time. It would be economical suicide to do it that way.
At the quarry, things are different. All layers are accessible from the top down. But they have to extract everything: massive amounts of blue stone, black clay, etc... All that stuff needs to find a new destination: building blocks, ceramic drainage pipes, black bricks, etc... So they're only slowly progressing through the layers. Maurice told me they're currently turning all their excavated rocks into hones immediately, while the companies in the old days kept 5 years worth of raw stock. But there's just one company now, and more demand than they can keep up with. It's not just a matter of employing more laborers. All the other stuff needs find a taker as well. Bottom line: at the quarry, you might see certain layers being turned into hones today, and other layers 6 months from now. There a lot of planning to do in quarry exploitation, much more that we could ever imagine. Many factors influence the decisions, customer demand is only one of them. Maurice told me he would like to expand the pile of raw Coticules, but I don't think it will be anytime soon.
I have no idea why some layers deliver grained textures, others even satin surfaces, as I have no idea where the different colors come from. Obviously it's all a matter of minerals. Coticules with a textured surface are nearly always slower, maybe that's why they tend to be that little bit smoother as well. I don't know.
Garry, I think you don't need to raise slurry on that La Grosse Jaune, if you're using the other one all the way till the end of the dilution phase. I believe you could then just finish on the La Grosse Jaune with water and get the edges you're after. That way, it will last you through a million of razors. But perhaps you find the dilution phase easier on the La Grosse Jaune?