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New England Coticules.


Active Member
I just received my coticule from the vault and had a geologist friend look at it. He told me that there is rock very similar to this in Maine a couple hours up the coast from Portland. A bit of research and I stumbled upon this: Yep, New England Coticule Veins with Garnets. So when the semester is over I am going to head up the coast with him and we are going to check out the rocks. Hopefully I will be able to get at least a few hones to send out to testing. As homage to Bart, I would be honored if you would take one of the first batch as a gift.

Truly, Jonathan
Its all going to be limited to the amount of usable rock I can get my hands on. So far the list is Bart, Paul, Ray from B&B, and myself. This is gonna be a project when finals are over.
I would consider it an absolute honor to test some Appalachian (or other) Coticules.
Now, I don't want to temper your enthusiasm, Jonathan, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too high.
In Geology, the term "Coticule" is used for any piece of rock with Spessartine Garnet content. But that don't necessarily makes it a functional whetstone. Spessartine Garnets can take many shapes and unfortunately (for us) also sizes. I am familiar with that paper, although I don't even begin to understand half of it, since I'm not a geologist. Yet, if I can read, the garnets present in most samples are of a size between 100 and 500 micron. For reference, the garnets in our Coticule hones range between 5 and 15 micron. :( If I interpret the presented data correctly, the only possible candidate for whetstone purposes could be the samples that are collected at Coos Canyon in Maine. But even then the rock needs to be free of coarse inclusions, the phylosilicates that bind the garnets together need to have the right properties to allow a good release of garnet and assure the integrity of the whetstone at the same time.

But I personally wouldn't hesitate to spend some time hiking in such an interesting region and collect some rock samples.
Please keep us posted,

Kind regards,
Not to mention that if coticules from other parts of the world are also good hones Ardennes probably wouldn't be the only company left quarrying and selling them :rolleyes:
It is indeed likely that if they were good, someone would have started a mining operation long time ago, during the heydays of hand sharpened razors and scalpels.
Jonathan, I saw this thread by accident. Did you find out any thing more about the NE Coticule? Thanks.
Here's another reference to a specific coticule site by the same author cited in the OP: This one happens to be fairly close to where I live. but ike Bart said, I'm not so sure that this would be suitable for hones. There is a deposit in Nova Scotia, however, that is supposed to have a lot of similarity to the Ardennes coticules....
Thanks for the heads up, Chris - I did not see your thread before now. I've had that article that you referenced for a while ( I think that Nova Scotia site is supposed to be as close to the Belgian coticules as any other known deposit, but I think their origins and mineralogy are very different.

The Nova Scotia coticule is supposed to be more quartzitic, with lower clay content. The garnets are mainly Mn-bearing (spessartine), but unlike the Ardennes, they also have high content of Fe/Al-bearing garnet (almandine) as well. Not sure that makes a difference with respect to honing, though. And like Bart mentioned, the garnets are also an ~order-of-magnitude larger than the Ardennes (~100-200um), and that would be a problem! It also has much less of the other accessory minerals (micas, chlorites, etc.) that I believe are responsible for giving the Belgian coticules (and BBW) at least some of their unique characteristics.

Formation of the Nova Scotia deposit seems relatively straightforward; the Ardennes is a mess (but I mean that in the nicest possible way!). It just seems complicated and still not completely understood. My initial impression, anyway.

So, that's my story. I'm going to switch to decaf now...