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n°13 and n°18 of the Vault


Well-Known Member

I've added the descriptions of n°13 and n°18 to the Coticule Vault.

These are both very interesting cases. Maurice Celis and I were not able to determine the layers of which these hones are harvested. Both come from the "Ol Preu" quarry, and there is little doubt in my mind that they come each from a different layer. Maybe when I reveal the honing properties to Maurice, he might come up with a suspected ID after all.

N°13 is a slow one. One of the slowest I had the honor of meeting so far. Still more than capable of correcting the bevel of a razor that dulled from regular shaving and some touch-ups on a pasted strop or so. Yields an exeptionally good HHT, straight off the hone after the Unicot procedure. The Dilucot method takes a bit of extra time. It's a slow hone, and that calls for a slow dilution phase. The hone offers a slight draw and a faint yet distinct feedback of very fine abrasion. It's the kind of Coticule that you'd love using for the presence of that unique Coticule honing feel.

It becomes interesting when we compare it to n°18. N°18 is the ugly duck in the Vault. He has these vary faint manganese line that look like cracks, but aren't. The surface looks a bit blotchy, as if covered with dried dirty slurry. Several of those spots have a sheen, while others are completely dull. The hone has a hard surface. On water it feels almost like honing on glass. On slurry there's very little feedback of abrasion. It must be a slow one, right? Wrong. This is one of the fastest Coticules I ever ever used. I estimate it slightly faster than "La Petite Blanche", more on par with the backside of "La nouvelle Veine", albeit it feels totally different, less grainy in a way. A bevel worker "par excellence".

What this illustrates is that feedback does not always correlate to Coticules' abrasive speed and properties. Based on feedback, one would expect n°13 to be fast and n°18 to be slow. Yet they are the other way 'round.
Another important observation is that regardless of all these differences in feel and speed, the final edges that can be obtained are, once again, very closely the the same. I don't think anyone would be able to discern between them.

To conclude: for honing razors, of these two, n°13 is more pleasant in use for having such agreeable feedback, n°18 is slightly more versatile,because of its great speed in slurry-mode.

Best regards,
You can reserve a hone, once the results are published. So yes, I could write your name on that one.
The actual purchase can only be made, when I have returned the current batch to Ardennes. Probably end February with the current batch. A week before I return the hones, I will put up pricing info. Please note that it's not me that sells these hones. I'm only testing them and have permission of Ardennes to take reservations.

I estimate n°18 will be approximately €30.

Best regards.
Hi guys,
The new dilucut method has made bridging the gap so much easier and am getting my best shave yet out of the ugly duckling . Just wondering Bart do you have any idea what layer it is from, just out of curiosity. Many thanks to all of you guys who are so free with your knowledge to help all us newbies.
Hi Michael,

Glad to hear you're enjoying your n°18.

We weren't able to make a positive ID, when Maurice Celis (the owner of Ardennes Coticule) and I were looking at that one. It could be a "La Dressante", but it's equally possible that it originates from an entirely different layer.
As we speak, the quarry of Ol'Preu has reached the bottom of the former mining pits. They are gaining access to some layers that haven't been seriously excavated in many years, and with some luck (it's extremely complicated to work at the depth they're currently quarrying), we'll be able to investigate new layers. It is possible that your n°18 belongs to one of these layers, from a piece of rock that was "forgotten", or just couldn't be extracted for technical reasons in the old days. If so, I might be able to come up with a name later.

Best regards,