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Number 52 has arrived!

I ran around looking for my camera, but I couldn't find it, so here are some crappy cellphone shots. Actually, it arrived last week, but I've been busy all week with moving to a new place. So far I've tried the unicot method twice and the dilucot method once (just for fun), and unfortunately, I have yet to achieve any noteworthy results. I've read through the instructions probably a dozen times, and I'm following it to the letter, but I just can't seem to get it right yet. I think my problem is most likely in the bevel correction stage. Of course, I get it to the point where it can shave my leg hair, but I guess I need to do more work on it until it shaves leg hair more easily.

I'm also having a slight problem with the slurry. First, it's harder to make than Bart makes it seem in the videos! Second, it dries out relatively quickly, so I add a drop of water, but then it seems like I'm in the dilution stage more than the bevel correction stage. What's the solution to this? Is it to continually refresh the slurry so it doesn't become too diluted?

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Bart

Well-Known Member
First of all, you'll need to remove that label from the hybrid side. The hybrid side is 50% of the brilliance of a Les Latneuses.

I never intended n°52 to be Burton Series anyway, because of a few cosmetic flaws (the small chip near the corner). It seems that Ardennes mixed it up with n°51.
It also seems that the whole "Burton Series" project is taking a huge false start, for which I apologize to all whom it may concern. I was thinking that the idea would be beneficial to both Ardennes as to people who want to purchase a hand-selected Coticule with pedigree. It was never intended that the labels would be glued butt-ugly onto the hone, but that they would be nicely fitted into the lid of a wooden box.

Anyway, I hope you payed the 98EUR for a "select" Coticule, as originally listed. For 15mm of Coticule at these dimensions, that still is a sweet price, even if you need to lap off a label.:)

Too answer your question: don't worry too much about slurry thickness, but keep it well hydrated. Your stone is fast, even on thinned slurry. If someone experiences problems with Unicot, they are 9 out of 10 times caused by a problem with keeping the razor flat on the hone.
With your particular n°52, just work on thin slurry and finally on water (which will turn black also) till the edge shaves very well. Next tape the spine of the razor, turn the stone to the hybrid side, rub it 4 times with a slurry stone, make 20 laps, rinse the stone and the razor and finish with 60 laps on just water. You could do the same on the creamy side, but the hybrid side will give you a more mellow result.

I can be very formal about one thing. If you pre-dulled a razor and you manage to to make it shave arm hair again, it is not as if you need to reach an almost "shaveready" bevel, in order to make the taped stage of the Unicot procedure work. Just make it shave arm hair along the entire length of the edge. With a good honing stroke, the taped stage will take care of the rest.

If I would be forced to put the hones in the Vault in an order of personal preference, yours would without doubt make my top 10.

You have a large slurry stone. They're harder to rub slurry because the pressure is spread out over a larger surface. Tilt the slurry stone on one edge just a little, and you'll notice that slurry forms much quicker. But at any rate, on your particular Coticule, there's no need to make a dense slurry.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
But if you even decide to give it up please let me know...:w00t:

I have another Les Latneuses stone and it's the only stone I use now.
These creamy side cut fast with slurry, you would be surprised how quickly the slurry turns black, and will do a damn fine job polishing with water only. The hybrid side is a gem, simply gorgeous to look at... but not just beauty, but it's got brains too... will put a fine edge on any razor:thumbup:

Please keep us up to date
 
Thanks for the responses, guys. Since I posted, I've tried the unicot method several more times, unfortunately without success. I'm still not sure where in the process I am diverging from the correct way, but I do have some questions about the bevel correction stage.

I don't have a lot of hair on my arms, but I have plenty on my legs. I find that it's relatively easy to get the razor to shave the larger, thicker hairs on my legs. The hairs on my arms, however, are very small and thin. I can barely even see them unless I have a direct source of light. These hairs are much harder to shave, even when I apply more force and a scything motion. Bart, I know you said that the edge doesn't need to be near shave-ready at the completion of the bevel correction stage, but does the edge at least need to be able to shave these smaller, thinner hairs? Also, how much pressure do I apply when doing the test shaving? Is it ok to use a scything motion, or should I avoid that? In some of your articles on SRP, you say that a superb bevel will be able to pop a few hairs even when the edge is not touching your skin. Is this something that I should be aiming for?

In the taped stages, what should it feel like when the razor is pushed across the hone? Should it almost feel like nothing is happening? Should there be a clear grinding sensation? You know that feeling where the razor seems like it's being sucked to the hone? Should I try to avoid that?

I know a lot of these questions don't have an easy answer, but I would definitely appreciate anyone who can find the right words to describe to me what correct honing feels like.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Bevel setting is indeed a critical stage, first, how dull is your razor?... or I should ask… What’s the condition of the edge?
If it’s really dull or just restored, then you may need to spend a bit of time setting the bevel… and I may advise you to first use a courser stone to set the bevel.

If the razor only needs a touch-up (or maybe it's a new razor with a decent bevel) you should be able to get it sharper within say 100 laps with light slurry… with that stone.

OK, don’t fuss about cutting hair just yet… when setting the bevel do the other tests (TNT and TPT). When you have a good sticky edge, then test with hair on your leg or arm… trust me on this one, when setting bevels, 9 times out of 10 the edge must pass the other two tests before it will cleanly cut thin hair.

Please let us know.
 

yohannrjm

Well-Known Member
Yep, make sure the bevel is set properly. Also, make sure that the bevel has been set without taping the spine (if you're following the Unicot method by the book).

I say this because, if the bevel was set using tape, then when you try to do the initial bevel correction on Unicot (without tape), you'll be abrading further up the bevel (not at the edge).....thereby doing no good. If the bevel was set with tape, you can use 1 layer of tape for the initial part of Unicot, and then 2 layers for the polishing stage. However, you should do this only if your razor is wide enough (see Bart's spreadsheet).

So,

- Set the bevel (without tape) - it should shave arm hairs
- Dull the edge
- Start Unicot

All the best!

If you find this doesn't work for you, I'd be glad to take the offending stone off your hands. :lol:
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Victorious said:
Bart, I know you said that the edge doesn’t need to be near shave-ready at the completion of the bevel correction stage, but does the edge at least need to be able to shave these smaller, thinner hairs? Also, how much pressure do I apply when doing the test shaving? Is it ok to use a scything motion, or should I avoid that?
The answer is simple. You dull the razor on glass to make it fail your] test. It doesn't matter that you shave arm or leg hair, scythe or not. Just make sure the razor doesn't cut your hair in the way you do it. Next you can start the bevel correction stage. All you need to do, is stay at it till the edge passes your test again. When it does, this means that your bevel is now flat and the very edge is responding to the hone. As soon as that happens, you're good to continue with the finer stages of a sharpening job. There is nothing mysterious about it. Worn out edges usually have a bevel that's not flat. Often the very edge does not make proper contact with the hone. Hence it can't pick up any sharpness before the bevel faces are rendered flat all the way to the very edge. That is all there is to it.

We are not aiming for a particular level of sharpness, we"re just waiting till the very edge starts gaining keenness. That is the whole idea behind the strategy to dull it in the slightest way, before starting bevel work. If that edge starts shaving again, we don't have to doubt that it was caused by our actions. That's the important part, not how keen it exactly is at this point.
Victorious said:
In some of your articles on SRP, you say that a superb bevel will be able to pop a few hairs even when the edge is not touching your skin. Is this something that I should be aiming for?
No, I have made that statement when I was still using the DMT-E for that kind of work. The DMT creates a sawtooth patern at the very edge, which gives it an agressive cut. These teeth are lost further up in the honing progression. That's why you'll often read that an edge appears to have become less sharp on the next stone in a progression. The teeth are gone and not yet replaced by a continuous edge with better overall keenness. A Coticule does not create teeth, so the completed bevel of a Coticule with slurry will not appear so sharp. I believe that's the reason why people often pass by Coticules for that kind of work. They're used to getting the agrassive edges of synthetic hones at that level.

Let's reiterate at this point:
1. make your mind up about a shaving arm (leg) hair test (SAT).
2. use the trick wit the beer bottle to make the edge fail your SAT.
3. work with halfstrokes on thin, milk-like slurry till the edge passes your SAT. (Keep the slurry well hydrated)
4. finalize you bevel-stage with a few sets of halfstrokes on very thin, watery slurry. This will pick up additional keenness. Don't be afraid to use some pressure.
Always be very alert never to lift the spine above the hone, during no part of stroke. If you're not doing so already, flip the razor while the spine remains in contact. It isn't strictly necessary, but it gives the best guarantee that you won't start the stroke before the blade is laying down completely.

I can't emphasize enough: as little as one (1) partial stroke with the spine lifted above the hone can jeopardize the outcome completely. It creates a faux secondary bevel with unknown angle and roundness on the tip of the main bevel, that you created with so much attention. That faux bevel will shave, albeit poorly. All your subsequent efforts will be nullified by it, because we're working with very slow and gentle processes. Here's a series of drawings to show what happens in this case.
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Please note that the creation of these faux bevels may lead to a false positive reading at the bevel creation stage. The majority of new honers think that keeping a razor flat on the hone is child's play. It also looks like child's play. But in the majority of cases where someone struggles with reaching a good Unicot edge, the culprit is the honing stroke. That is why I keep nagging about it.
Victorious said:
In the taped stages, what should it feel like when the razor is pushed across the hone? Should it almost feel like nothing is happening?
In any case, the sensory reading during the tape stages should be faint. During the first few strokes, when the edge is leaning only at its very tip, you will discern a gentle cutting sensation. Depending on the coitcule, it will often dissipate to an almost glass-like feedback. On the creamy side of a Les Latneuses, the feedback will be showing a very dim and fine abrassion. The hybrid side will show more of the glass-like feedback.
Victorious said:
Should there be a clear grinding sensation? You know that feeling where the razor seems like it’s being sucked to the hone?
Actually I don't know that feeling, unless you're talking about an agreeble and minor draw, that feels almost like magnetism.

During the taped stages of Unicot, pressure must be kept at minimal levels. Just gracefully bristle the hone with the razor, as if you were removing a bit of dust from the collar of your jacket. Just don't lift the spine.

Please make sure your tape is 0,15 mm thick. I use standard electrical insulation tape, but it comes in 0,10 mm too. In that case, I would opt for 2 layers. (Beware that "mm" is not the same as "mil").

Kind regards,
Bart.
 
Thank you everyone for your overwhelming display of support. All your comments so far have been very insightful, and I feel I'm ready for a breakthrough. Just one last question though. If I get to the end of the unicot method and the blade still doesn't pass the HHT, do I have to start over from square one and dull the edge, or can I go back to the finishing stage?
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Victorious said:
Thank you everyone for your overwhelming display of support. All your comments so far have been very insightful, and I feel I'm ready for a breakthrough. Just one last question though. If I get to the end of the unicot method and the blade still doesn't pass the HHT, do I have to start over from square one and dull the edge, or can I go back to the finishing stage?
That depends. If you have a razor that shaves, albeit not superbly, and you add an additional layer of tape,and take it through the taped steps of Unicot, the results should always shave very well and pass the HHT with ease.
It is possible to add 2 layers of tape, for a second shot, if you somehow failed to bring the first attempt to a good end. If that second shot does not yield good results, something is definitely wrong. The hone is out of the question in your case. That leaves the honing stroke (see my previous post), or too much pressure, or too dense the slurry.

For the taped steps of Unicot, use the lightest possible pressure.
For the thickness of the slurry, keep is almost translucent, just a few rubs of the slurry stone, with plenty of water on the hone.

If the culprit is the faux bevel I spoke about in my previous post, it's best to start all over.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Congratulations on the Burton series :thumbup:
they are indeed of the finest quality and I can vouch for the edges they produce, such a shame about the label, I would soak and lap it off, the hydrid side of these as stated by the good Sir Smythe produces the smoothest ever edges, once mastered, and if you should ask Ardennes if they could send a replacement label for you to affix to the inside of the box lid (as mine is)

Keep up the great work, and I wish you every future honing success

My best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 
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