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"New La Verte" Coticules

Has anyone had a chance to use the "New Verte" cotis as Jarrod @ The Superior Shave calls them? They look like a totally different coti and according to jarrod have different qualities as well.
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
Not me. I find his sight so cluttered and cumbersome that I almost never go there, but when I do, I have no idea what I'm looking at or reading about :blush: . Is there a way to link to precisely the information you're talking about?
 
This is probably not the best way to do this but I attached a copy of the picture and I copied the descriptions he had under these stones. He has alot of this type stone for sale, this is only a few of them.

Quoted from The Superior Shave website... "#1 is a hard and crisp stone, standard grade
#2 & #3, especially #3, are this 'new' coticule breed they're just now getting, and select grade...
they're soft, and I've not seen stones like them before they reached this new vertical dig in summer 2011"
 

danjared

Well-Known Member
I don't know about those, but some of the stones that he has put up recently are ones that he's called La Verte when they're clearly La Grise, all the way from the color to the transition line to the orange dots.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I have no idea. It's hard to discern between a grayish La Verte and a La Grise, certainly based on only pictures.

To the last of my knowledge Ardennes is now quarrying on top of the hil, adjacent to the former quarry. This means that they are now extracting Coticules 30 to 40 meters higher than the depth of the former quarry. While I was there, I had the opportunity to briefly assess the very first rocks that came from the new location. I picked the rocks myself and Maurice cut them into hones on that very day. I don't recall the layers, but they were fully functional, and at first sight not deviating from any expectations. I took at least one of those specimen home, but I'd have to go through the Coticules lying here to know if I recollect which ones are "new" extraction.

It's not impossible that the "top of the pie" is a bit softer than rocks of greater depth. I would not attribute that to pressure. After all, there once was a couple km more mountain above the present surface level of the Ardens. Many 1000's of years erosion transported the bulk of these mountains back to the ocean. But when burried under a few km of rock, 30 m more or less would not make much of a difference.
Nonetheless, it seems possible to me that the perpetual annual cycles of frost and thaw could have had some effect on the rock, but only to the depth of the frost line. Considering that Ardennes cleared the top soil of the hill before starting extraction, I don't think this would be of much significance either.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Now that the picture is published. The one on the left indeed looks different. I consider it not impossible that they are tapping into a couple layers that were exhausted at the former mining depth. But before my next visit to Ardennes, I can't confirm anything.

Bart.
 
Danjared, when you definitely declare these rocks as one thing versus another, please remember that I've had the advantage of using the stones in question under a blade, and I presume you have not. I too had initially presumed these pieces were La Grise, and in fact wrote exactly that I suspected so...but then using them it seemed it couldn't be anything but La Verte, and thus wrote that...

One of the very first to purchase one, and a frequent contributor here and frequent purchaser of coticules, remarked in correspondence;

Stones arrived yesterday and I honed a few razors on them. That yellow bout with the brown dots is most definitely a La Verte. It is an excellent specimen and provided tremendous feedback. Nice to actually see darkening of slurry and water for once on a La Verte. It is slow to medium speed on slurry, but fairly fast on water. Left a very nice edge.


I have a very simple solution to be as soon as I can; remove away mention of name not bestowed by the Belgians and never again define a layer unless already done so by the quarry. People can ask me if I think rock ___ is ___ and I'll give an honest opinion, but it is nothing more than that. I really couldn't care less what the names are, anyway; they are as we see them, that's for sure, everyone gets exactly what's pictured when buying from our shop, and I'll often use them a bit and write of their characteristics. This is a better inert approach.
 

danjared

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
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I was referring to dull yellowish stones (definitely not actually gray nor a hint of green) with a gradual transition line, orange dots and that flaky wood-grain appearance. All this talk of La Grise makes me miss the one I traded to Urmas. It was relatively fast (for a Grise) on slurry and decent on water too, not to mention a good size. :)

thesuperiorshave said:
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It's true that I've not used those specific stones. I apologize for sounding so accusatory.
 
I was referring to dull yellowish stones (definitely not actually gray nor a hint of green) with a gradual transition line, orange dots and that flaky wood-grain appearance.

Yep, that's exactly what the stone referenced to in the above quotation looks like! I sure wanted them to be Grise; while I don't think they're practical because I consider them fragile, to me there's no coticule whetstone as pleasant to feel working under the blade as a Grise when soft like caulk and wood grained, and I'd like to have a big slice of this in the office instead of making do on the same ~65x95mm LGB...goodness knows nobody should be honing 100 razors a month on something like that instead of a 250x60mm, for example. But after trying 3 or 4 of those pieces, though, my hands kept saying "don't believe your eyes; this is NOT a La Grise". After hearing from the customer referenced above, I'd have a hard time believing they're anything but a Verte that looks just like a Grise. He knows his stones and is certainly a hardcore coticuleite.

In the strange geological shuffle of coticules, could it be beyond any reasonable doubt that there exists strata ___ which look like strata ___ (or, alternatively, strata __ which functions as if a strata ___)?

There's plenty of Grise that they just got, though, so I can go through a bunch of the 200mm and larger pieces and pick the favorite...just not those super cool ones with the ~orange dots, or at least none of the ones tested/sold/heard feedback of. They do NOT function like any previously-identified-in-Belgium-Grise which I've used.

Update 9.26.11 10:45 EST; I've just lapped and honed upon a big piece that, diffuse combination to BBW aside because it is upon slate, looks otherwise absolutely identical to the aforementioned bout. I've got to agree completely with my other customer; there can be no doubt that, for whatever the looks are, this feels 100% as a Verte when you hone on it. Looks like Grise. Lapped like Grise. But put a blade on there, and that singular feeling comes shining through; I describe it in my head as the sound of a blade going over an interrupted surface (as opposed to a continuous nonporous surface feeling). It isn't as prominent as it is on a bone dry green one with the pores apparent on the cross-section, but it is that same feeling nonetheless.

These names are/were made by man. Maybe we should call these La Vertigrise, and the youngest among us can, late in their life, smirk knowing that they were there to see it coined.
 

Harvitz81

Well-Known Member
Well, I'm the hardcore coticulite Jarrod is referring to and indeed got one of these new stones. I looked at it for days on his site and thought it had to be a La Grise, but possibly a La Verte. When I received it and put razor to the stone it was very obvious it was a La Verte despite all outward appearances.

It provides tremendous feedback and is a bit faster than your typical green Verte. The speed on water is mind-boggling and rivals my LPB in that department. I've probably had a half dozen Vertes go through my hands and they all were very similar in their feel under the blade. This new one is pretty much identical in that feel.

Maybe it is a new layer that Ardennes is getting to that feels identical to a verte. Regardless, it has now become my favorite coticule and hence the reason for my recent coticule purging.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I don't care too much about layer designations. The final edges of whatever Coticules have always been remarkably similar in my experience. I have stated, time and time again, how trivial circumstances have a bigger influence on the shaving experience than the proclaimed differences between Coticule layers.
Yet the human mind is very preceptive to suggestion, and we humans are easily inclined to ignore what doesn't coincide and only account what affirms with our expectancies.

Layer designations are interesting for collectors, and they will sometimes offer the user a head start in learning how to unleash the hone's full capacities. And they add of course to the romance and distinctiveness of Coticule hone. That may be a joke for many users and an attractive part of the equation for others.

That said:

I can testify that not all La Grises are soft and chalky. In fact, I don't know of any layer that I could recognize by estimating hardness. Density - if that is an appropriate term at all - is something that appears to vary accross several layers, notably La Dressante and La Grise, but also accross La Grosse Blanche, La Verte and Les Latneuses and even the thin and otherwise consistent La Veinette shows what I can only perceive as minor differences in density. La Petite Blanche seems to be very consistent. So is La Nouvelle Veine. From La Grosse Jaune and La Veine aux Clous , I haven't seen enough samples to tell anything meaningful about hardness.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
By the way,

Based on how they feel while honing, I couldn't possibly tell a La Grise apart from a La Verte.

Bart.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Fast on water doesn't necessarily mean that the hone is "autoslurrying".

When a stone is fast on water, the water will turn black, but in a translucent way. With autoslurrying, you get a milky cloudiness in the water. The effect is more opaque.

Autoslurrying: yes, hone under a dripping tap.
No autoslurrying: no need to hone under the tap.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 
I'm reminded of an old New Yorker cartoon where two judges are smirking to one another, one saying to other "I'm proud to say that my final judgements of my cases almost always match my prejudgement of my cases."

This just goes to show what an enigma coticules can be...I've never known 'la verte' to be anything but the ~green, extra hard, dry, and scratchy feeling stones that have high min. speed, extremely low maximum speed (we did have some exceptions to this once long ago), and the easiest time (at least to me) of making the sharpest from in the coticule realm.

Similarly, I've never known 'la grise' to be anything but the softest of stones, always sort of ashen gray and with a wood-grained surface texture, something that loves gentle pressure and feels more glorious for my hand than any other stone. I've also always considered them crazy fragile - I've scraped some with my thumbnail before and done minute damage.

If these stones that Harvitz81 & I are referring to are indeed a highly atypical 'la grise' instead of just an extraordinary 'la verte', it drops my jaw. But I'm always learning.

What I do know is that I could easily identify while blindfolded whether a stone was one that matched the prior prejudgement of what defines 'la verte' versus the prior prejudgement of what defines 'la grise', and based on those incumbencies of our daily use of these things over the last 2-3yrs I'd feel pretty confident in believing that these stones would turn out to be green or gray w/ wood grain before getting to see 'em. But the stones referred to feel like the incumbent 'la verte' perception even though they look nearly identical to the incumbent perception of what visually defines 'la grise'.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
thesuperiorshave said:
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In the Vault, n°1, 2, 9, 44 and 47 are La Grises. There is not one stone in the Vault that has its layer assessed by merely myself. There has always been Maurice Celis who confirmed or occasionally corrected what I thought it was. Maurice knows these things. Not only has he vastly greater experience in this than I, he has directly learned from his predecessor (Joseph Grogna) and some of the company employees have worked in the Coticule business their entire professional life. When Maurice determines a stone, he knows where they've been mining in the quarry, he knows what the raw rock looked like, and he has all the aforementioned experience he can lean upon. Hence I have no doubt that n°1, 2, 9, 44 and 47 are representatives from the La Grise layer.

None of these stones was particularly soft, or fragile for that matter. I have tried to scratch my own La Grise (not in the Vault, but also labeled by Maurice), and of course my finger nail leaves a trace: a trace of abraded finger nail;). But no scratch in the stone. It seems at least as hard as the average Coticule, if not harder. That's also how I recall the 5 specimen of the Vault.
There are 3 stones in the Vault that are noteworthy softer than rest of them: 2 La Veine aux clous (the two only, as good as identical pieces I ever tested) and one La Dressante (n°39).

In my experience, La Verte and La Grise are rather closely related. They're also the two outer layers of the entire deposit, minus one (La Veine aux clous), and neighboring each other. They share several peculiarities, and can be easily mixed up. I surely won't say that I can always tell them apart by looking at pictures, though I have not yet seen a La Verte that was anything different than a very distinct sort of greenish gray.

But attributing observed softness as "typical" for the whole of La Grise does not stroke with my observations about this layer, and it is probably the cause of this whole mix up.

Best regards,
Bart.
 
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