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Learning the peculiarities of each hone


Well-Known Member
A quick perusal of Bart's evaluations of the hones in the vault is enough to convince one that while all cotis require techniques that are mostly the same, the differences between one hone and the next do require some tweaking of technique to get the best out of each.

I knew this going in to honing with cotis (the last class of natural hone I picked up). I've had some experience honing straight razors on synthetics, Japanese naturals, Thuringians, etc.

The first coti I got was this one:

(click on the images for large versions)


It is a natural combo with only a very fine coti layer in some parts. It came with a matching (visually, anyway) slurry stone. Slurry forms easily on it, and it is quick. Only the lightest pressure was adequate past the bevel setting stage.

The resulting edges are mellow and a pleasure to shave with. The BBW side was also very useful as a preliminary step to just water on the coti side. I honed several razors on this hone with the same great results.

This positive experience got me hooked on cotis, but my financial state at the time did not allow the collection of any more hones. However, Bart came to the rescue. He hooked me up with this (very different looking) coti:


No problems here about the depth of the coti layer :lol:. His evaluation was that these hones are slowish, but you get great edges off slurry, and brilliant edges off water (paraphrasing his comments).

I was quickly convinced about the slowness, and I did get quite good results off slurry. Getting an adequate slurry was a problem, as the stone is very hard and smooth (like marble). However, for the life of me, I couldn't get much refinement with plain water. This was frustrating and I started hunting for another coti. :rolleyes:

Yesterday, I was reading another thread on this site, and I read about the need for some pressure while honing. I tend to use little to no pressure on the blade past the bevel-setting stage (on any hone).....a hangover from reading all the posts on B&B, SRP and elsewhere. Anyway, I thought I'd give that a go (with the new and improved dilucot technique).

Wow!! The results were amazing!! I've honed three razors using a little pressure (just a finger weight) on this hone, even when I was at the plain water stage. This resulted in great edges on two razors and a nearly great edge on the third. This is from the HHT ---- I shaved with one of them this morning (a Boker Unrivalled Hollow Ground), and got a smooth, comfortable, close shave. No sting to speak of when putting on the AS. :thumbup:

Well, this showed me:
a) That I need to pay attention to Bart when honing on cotis :thumbup:
b) Techniques need to be adjusted for different hones
c) Not to give up on a hone just because initial results are not promising

Love these hones!! :love:

NOTE: You can see some whitish swirls on the right side of the second coti. I believe these are quartz inclusions. There seems to be a bit of a lip developing there (from the slurry building process). I avoid that portion of the hone now when honing, but perhaps I'll lap the other side and use that instead.


Well-Known Member
Wonderful wonderful thread :thumbup:
and I must say it highlights beautifully the need to get to know each honed in order to get the best from it
Thank you for sharing this

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)


Well-Known Member
Thank you Yohann,

I always love it when someone posts his honing experiences. :thumbup: Certainly when they contain so much detailed information.

The glassier on water the more a Coticule seems to become a very mellow finisher. At the same time, it becomes virtually useless at adding any keenness during the final stage. You have to be completely arrived by the time you start finishing on water. They will generally also need one rub with the slurry stone when used for a "touch-up".

I am pleased to know that you can match the excellent results I got from that Coticule. It is one of the samples I collected while visiting a number of abandoned Coticule mining sites. This one was picked up at one of the "Tier Du Mont" mining pits.

Kind regards,


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Bart said:
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Thats exactly how my vintage Barbers is, and boy if you havent reached top notch keenness by the time your on water forget it

Wonderful wonderful thread again :thumbup:

Ralfson (I will get to know that stone if it kills me )


Well-Known Member
Man, looking at that coti is always a sight. Yohann, any chance that I could borrow it? B)

I'm glad you're finally getting great results on it! :thumbup:


Well-Known Member
The second coticule is very interesting. I have a same slow coticule but it don't reward me with brilliant mellow edge. Mine is soft and not quite smooth - I get it smooth after lapping but rising slurry makes it surface coarse again quickly.

Bart, do you have any more such coticules?



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danjared said:
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Sure, Jared. I'll be in Boston again this weekend. If you like, I could bring it over and you can borrow it then. This will be the last time I'll be there, so you could just mail it back to me when you're done playing with it.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the kind words, Ralfson and Bart!! :)

I didn't think I put that much detail into the post.....still, I tend to ramble on, so the post was long.

I didn't mention this:

All the razors had their bevel set on DMT hones (D6E, D8EE). Two were honed close to shave readiness on other hones (Asagi finish). I wasn't pleased with the edges on these, so they were dulled and then taken to the swirly coti. The third never saw any hone except the DMT's and the swirly coti.

Basically, all I wanted to say was that the whole 'use 0 to negative pressure when honing' adage is not universally applicable, and should not be stuck to blindly. While there are certain hones on which this is definitely the case, it should be a per-hone decision.

I also wanted to thank Bart for the hone. As I learn more about how to use it, I'm sure things will improve even further. Thanks Bart! :thumbup:


Well-Known Member
Honed another razor on the swirly hone that I've never been able to get a satisfactory edge on before. It is a Simmons Keen Kutter.

---- Modified dilucot, and no plain water until the edge was 'there' - result: another brilliant edge. :thumbup:

I said this was a slow hone initially. However, with a thick slurry, it grinds down the scratch marks from the DMT D8EE very quickly. The slurry blackens quickly too (if thick). So, under the right conditions, it's not that slow. Polishing is slow, though.

This hone gives me the smoothest, mellowest edges!

I may change my mind about acquiring another hone. :lol:

On a bad note, I didn't pay attention to the super-spike point on my Kanetake Kamisori this can guess what happened next! :blush: