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Looking to buy a hone

mihkel

Member
Hi,

I want to buy a stone that I can use to give some older razors a new sharp edge. Since I'm on a low budget (ca. 40 € max) and a student, I figured that a standard grade coticule bout would be the best choice.

I have my eye on this one -> http://uk.ardennes-coticule.com/index.asp?ID=395&IDF=111
I really can't afford bigger one since they charge 15 euros just for shipping... even inside EU.
Since I have no idea what they actually look like and how they work, I came here for advice. Please comment my decision. Is it a wise buy or should I look for something else?

Also do they add a slurry stone with that bout. I wrote them a few days back using their contact form ( http://uk.ardennes-coticule.com/index.asp?id=391 ), but no reply so far.

Thanks.
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
You will have to pay extra for a box and slurry stone as far as i no. 40 euros pushing it abit although i no standard are cheaper but still as good look in the coticule vault there are quite athew coticules that bart has tryed and tested. You will need a fast cutter if there old razors but coticule can bevel set rfine and polish but it takes practice and patients depends how bad or good your edges are to begin with barts doing free hones i think you could send one to him if you like the edge buy a coticule.
 

mihkel

Member
Ok. As a slurry stone I can use the cheapest standard grade bout (+ ~4 €). Why do I need a box? They don't sell stones without one?

Question for Bart. Have you tested a coticule in my price range? Can you recommend me one?
Right now I have in total of 5 razors. Four of them need sharpening and one (which I use now) probably needs re-honing in a few months. So I really need my personal hone... to many to send them to Bart. It is also possible that I receive more old razors.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
As far as I know, Ardennes includes a free slurry stone, certainly if you ask.

Standard grade or Select grade does not matter, these grades have nothing to do with the performance of the hones, only with how they look.

You don't need a box.

In general you can hone a razor from dull (by normal use) to sharp on just one Coticule.
I the razor is damaged, because someone was carving wood, slaughtering sheep or whatever other abuse or if the edge is very rusted, it is probably necessary to hone out the damaged part of the edge on a coarser hone, before it becomes "within reach" of a Coticule. Many razors sold on Ebay need that kind of restoration. If money 's real tight, you cold get by with sandpaper, 600 grit and perhaps also 320 grit, depending on the condition of the abused razor. After restoring a good cutting bevel shape on the 600 grit sandpaper, you can use the Coticule for the rest of the honing job.

There are some pitfalls when sharpening with sandpaper. You could find more information about it on StraightRazorPlace, a website with a vast amount of information about razor sharpening. (There's a link in the "Recommended Website" section)

I would really recommend a hone with an approximate length of 15 cm and about 4 cm overall width. Smaller might be ok to just finish the edge, but for full honing you really need enough length to develop a good stroke and enough width to keep the razor stable.

Best regards,
Bart.
 

mihkel

Member
Yesterday I went to my local post office to pick up my brand new stone. It is 13.5 cm long and 2 cm/4,5 cm wide. And I suspect that it is a coticule-Belgian Blue combo stone. Later that day I re-honed two of my razors. Both Russians - 1963 Vostok-2 and 1961 Stosi. I used 800 grit wet sandpaper on ceramic plate to set the bevel and did it as long as I was able to shave my arm hair easily. I was actually amazed that I can use just sandpaper and be able to shave hair :)
Then I used coticule with slurry, I did not count passes, but is was probably around 150, then I added some water to "lighten" the slurry and finally ~60 passes with only water followed ~60 passes on leather strop.

I haven't shave tested them yet. It will happen probably this evening. But I do have a question. These razors definitely pass the thumbnail test and the thumbpad test, but not the hanging hair test. Any comments on that? Is it something I should concern about?

In the following few days I'll hone my two Solingen razors - EMDE and ERN Sword and crown. Year unknown.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
mihkel said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

No, the HHT is just a way to probe the edge while honing. I rely on it myself, but many people do not. In any case, there's way more to the HHT than merely ripping a hair off your scalp and pushing it to the edge of a straight razor.

I have written an thorough article about how the HHT works for me and published that in the wiki of StraightRazorPlace. (It was written before I decided to develop this website). I am planning to update the article and put it into our very own "Coticule Sharpening Academy". In the mean time you can access the original article here: http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Hanging_Hair_Test,_from_trick_to_probing_method

If your test shave is fine, don't worry about all this.
If you think things could be better, I advice to proceed with steps 5 to 7 of the Unicot method. That is the easiest way to get the best out of your Coticule.
From what you described you did, I'd say that you went through the diluting stage to hastily. Some Coticules will work that way, but the majority will not give their best results that way.

Keep us posted?

Best regards,
Bart.
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
I would test shave them i find that after stroping i pass the hht from my experiance that is avery good indicator razors that hav'nt have shaved but not as good as i like. So long as you did'nt do tnt test after bevel was set tnt defanatly can dull your edge in later stages tpt is ok. i find diluting more gradual once bevel is shaving arm hair every 20 laps with a spray of water and then once down to misty water clean my hone and d 50 to 100 laps on plain water keeping light pressure in later stages works 9 times out of 10 if not i just go back to light slurry and dilute as above . i also use cro .5 oxide that can give that extra fine edge your looking for. see how it goes.
 

mihkel

Member
Well, about that Friday night test shave. It did not went very well. Definitely too much dragging. The blade was not sharp enough, although I did get more or less shave (standard two passes). Today I tired steps 5 to 7 from Unicot method. I repeated it 4 or 5 times and after every round I tested the blade with hanging hair. At first the blade did not pass the 0 level (http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Hanging_Hair_Test,_from_trick_to_probing_method), but finally I was able to it split eg. pass level 0, but no more. I got I little depressed, because I hoped for more. Then I decided that I try to hone my ERN razor. Hey maybe the Soviet Union Vostok-2 is just a crappy razor, it is not supposed to be sharp :)
With that ERN, I started from bevel setting on ceramic plate and 1200 grit wet sandpaper, followed by coticule on slurry (~150/200 laps), belgian blue on slurry (~150/200 laps) and finally coticule on water. After every "grit change" I tested the blade with hair. Still nothing good. Sometimes on some parts of the blade it did pass level 0, sometimes not. I definitely did not notice any sharpness progression between coticule with slurry and belgian blue with slurry.
So I started to hone with coticule and pure water, in 50 laps cycles. After say 400 laps, the blade was sharp enough to play violin (level 1) and sometimes even split hair (level 2). Then I went on to leather strop, 100-120 passes and it was able to pass level 3, but that seem to be the limit.
I just did a test shave with ERN. Definitely less dragging than yesterday, but could be better. So I guess I should do more cycles on water or use the tape? Actually I am not too fond of that tape. Don't know why, but I would prefer honing without it. There seems to be a very big "grit cap" between slurry and just water?
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
There is a big "keenness gap" between slurry and water.
Please do not despair. It's like learning how to ride a bike. It may look impossible to do in the beginning, bet once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder what you found so difficult when starting out.

Whether you like the idea of using tape or not, when following the Unicot procedure to the letter, most aspiring honers manage to get a very decent edge. If you do, at least you can have the confidence that the hone is capable of it (which I do not doubt). Some people are really not willing to try the Unicot procedure, or they skip certain steps because they think they don't need it. That's all fine with me.
In that's your case, you should read the article about the Dilucot method.

No tape there, and it explains why progressing from a decent slurry to plain water in one step, will not likely give you the desired keenness. But it really takes time to learn. Try it and see how far you get. If it's good, pad yourself on the back for doing an amazing job so soon in your learning curve. If it leaves something to be desired, I restate my original advice: add one layer of tape and take it through strop 5-7 of the Unicot method.
It does not harm the razor, and the secondary bevel can be very easily undone, if that's what you wish for, the next time the razor needs honing.

I do believe you're on good track. Success is not that far ahead.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

mihkel

Member
Thanks for your quick reply. I will re-read all the articles about honing with coticule and try again tomorrow.
But I have been experimenting with different types of hair now. I noticed that with thinner hair (like from head or from different parts of arm), the HHT fails more often than with thicker hair (from boar brush). With bristle from boar brush the HHT succeeds ~90% of time. What should I conclude from that observation?
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
I find after i've stropped i can pass the hht of my chest hair now if i pass of stomach hair that is finer thats a very sharp edge.

I just got my blade back from bart i sent it to him honed by me and he has dulled it and honed it him self dilucot method and trust me i had it passing hht of dilucot method but i have to say it now passes hht on the finess of hair i carn't even hear the hair pop thats how good it is now i can say this guy is a top honer i have blades from professional honers but never poped hair like this.

In most casses i find i have to hit the issards paste or cro or both to realy pop hair depends on the razor some hone up easier than others some take a bit more tuning.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Finer hair is harder to cut with the hht because the scales are finer, remember the blade catches on the scales on the strand of hair and then cuts it, thats why we feel and hear a "POP"
with finer hair theres less to catch so it takes a keener edge, imagine if we had some wooly mammoth hair, I bet you cut hht that with an axe ...lol

I too use my stomach hair as a test, if I can get my razor to pop that I know its as sharp as it will ever need to be
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I have this small container with freshly washed hair from my youngest daughter. (she's ever so proud that I use hers instead of my own:) )
A small strand of hairs (5 to 6 cm length) lasts years.

They vary in thickness. For tests right off the hone, I use the thicker ones and for tests after stropping I take a thinner hair. In time, using the same source of hair for all HHT-ing, you'll learn to read through these differences.

Best regards,
Bart.
 

mihkel

Member
It seems that I've found a suitable method for my stone. It is heavily based on dilucot, except I have modified the number of laps and the proportion of slurry vs. water and of course pressure. Since I a have a small stone I obviously need to make more laps. I also noticed that with slurry my stone cut very fast, so I need to spend less time on slurry. I also need to use a little more pressure at first when there is almost only water left on stone and finish with very light pressure.
Long story short - I think I've got it or am very close to it :)
Although, freshly honed and stropped blade still has some problems with HHT with thin hairs, but since the shave is smooth and comfortable, I really don't care.

Thanks for everything.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
That's good to hear.:thumbup:

You are truly a "Coticule" type of person.
smart enough to read advice and bold enough to find out what your particular stone needs.

Don't worry about the HHT. The idea is no to copy the results of other people, but to probe the edge with your hair and learn to interpret the readings for your honing.
That said, I am almost sure you'll find that your honing has significant margin for improvement during the next months (and years). But that can't be rushed. The important part is that you managed to get results that please you, and for that I salute you!

Enjoy the shaves,
 
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