I thought I'd pass along these observations, based on my very limited experience honing and using Coticules. They aren't in any particular order, or anything like that, but I hope they might help someone like me in a small way:
Happy shaving, all!
[li]Take it slow. Especially at first, as you develop your skills, I've found it pays to slow down and keep focused on what you're doing. There are plenty of videos out there where people are honing at light speed, but don't worry about that. If you're like me, you're probably just doing this for yourself, so give yourself plenty of time, relax, and enjoy the process.[/li]
[li]Read all of the Unicot and Dilucot info, and have it in front of you when you hone. As you gain a little more experience and figure out how your particular hone behaves, you'll be able to make any adjustments as necessary. But if you're just starting out, it pays to keep it simple and follow the steps.[/li]
[li]Dilucot seems to get more of the press around here (in my opinion, at least), but don't be afraid to try Unicot! You'll be surprised that it's quite easy to do, especially for a beginner. At first, I would always try Dilucot and often get so-so results. Going from there to the taped stages of Unicot really got me the results I was looking for, though. Now, I've been trying out Unicot from step 1 rather than jumping in at the end, and I find that it's a really good way to go. Don't be afraid about the whole second bevel thing. If you've got a couple of razors, just keep track of which ones were sharpened with Unicot.[/li]
[li]Be careful when generating a slurry! I don't know if there's a set of pictures around that show you exactly how thick or thin your slurry should be, but be sure to read all the good info on the Dilucot page about not letting it get too dry, etc. One of my biggest problems is that I usually generate too thick of a slurry. It really should be milky, and not thick like yogurt! I learned this the hard day one night when I had a razor that was really popping arm hairs straight off a DMT E (1200), but almost instantly became dull after a few halfstrokes in too thick slurry. It wouldn't do anything to my arm hairs anymore. Now, I start off thinner than I think I should, and it usually works out pretty good. The comment in the Dilucot instructions about a thick slurry being like pushing your razor through mud is right on.[/li]
[li]Don't be afraid to hand hold your Coticule when honing. Like I mentioned, I have a big heavy DMT and also a Norton stone, and these are too uncomfortable for me to hold for a long time, so I wound up putting these on a small stand on the table. After a while, I convinced myself that I should try to hold the Coticule in my hand, and see if it made any difference. At least in my case, I like the feeling more, and it seems to me like I've got a better idea of what's going on. Again, start off slow here and give it a try. I can't guarantee anything, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.[/li]
[li]Don't be afraid to ask for help, or spend a good amount of time searching the forum posts for similar questions you might have.[/li]
Happy shaving, all!