Searching for my perfect Coticule

Tok

Well-Known Member
Ok, this is my first post. English is not my native language, thus I apologize for any fault.

I am looking for "my" Coticule. I am not totally new to honing, I own a BBW and a small coticule among other stones. I made a photo of it: 4724231.jpg

After using the BBW and he cot for quite a while, i like the cot more. I cannot exactly tell you why. Maybe it´s just because I can see the slurry turning grey on it.

But, as you also can see, it´s quite a small stone. Honing a razor is a pain, and this is why i am looking for a bigger stone. I´ve already read that there are different layers with different properties. I´d like to have a stone from the same layer as the stone above, because i am used to it. Could you tell me anything about it?
Also, i´m a fan of wide stones. I know, you guys always say "you don´t need wide stones, 4cm is enough", but I just like having a bit more. 6cm would be nice and 7cm would be great. On the other hand, I don´t really need a 20cm long stone. anything more than 12cm is fine to me.
Now, here are my questions:

Could you tell me anything about my stone? I don´t really have experience with other coticules, so i don´t know whether it´s a fast one or not. What do you suspect by looking at the photo?

Are there bouts that could fit my wishes in shape? I´m asking, because i just see long and narrow bouts in the Vault. A nearly rectangular shape would be great, but i´m afraid this stones become bankstones… Well, i think something similar to the 03 or 07 (in the Vault) would work for me.

If that doesn´t work, i´d buy a bankstone (5cmX15cm). Could it be, that the bankstones are a bit wider than 5cm(i´d love it)? I´m asking, because i´ve seen some 6x20cm stones sold from other retailers and my BBW is nearly 6cm wide.

As you can see, i´m pretty confused. I really was thinking about traveling to the mine, but that´s just too much money for me.
And this is a great site, by the way.

Another stupid question, I asked myself: Are there any suspicions, when the mine will be empty? I mean, it´s a natural stone and it doesn´t grow in trees…

Greetings,
Tok
 

maro

Well-Known Member
Welcome to Coticule.be, Tok.
You'll undoubtedly get other greetings, from more experienced members, followed by sound advices. I usually keep my mouth shut in such cases as I can't compare my experience to their by any means.
However, this time I decided to take the stage to express my humble opinion, as I spotted in your post quite many similarities to my initial attitude towards Coti selection.
Tok said:
I know, you guys always say "you don´t need wide stones, 4cm is enough", but I just like having a bit more. 6cm would be nice and 7cm would be great. On the other hand, I don´t really need a 20cm long stone. anything more than 12cm is fine to me.
My way of thinking was pretty the same except the lenght. I not only wanted the wide stone but also the long one. Initially I was droolling over #10 from the Vault but it has been already reserved by Ralfy. Bart recommended #26 for me so, although not convinced completely, I followed his advice. Taking the advantage of a single shipment cost I ordered from Ardennes a combo of 200x50 at the same time. Guess what? I started with #26 and till now I used the other stone two times at the most (just to make sure it's too hefty). I'd probably get used to it, as Ralfy did to his #10 but, if I remember correctly, even he admitted in one of the posts that he doesn't use the full width of his stone.
Obviously, the money is yours and so is the choice. :thumbup:
Tok said:
Are there any suspicions, when the mine will be empty? I mean, it´s a natural stone and it doesn´t grow in trees…
We'd all wished they did. :D
I woudn't worry about the availability. As far as I remember, Bart mentioned reserves for something like 100 years of extraction.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Hi Tok, Welcome on out little website.

Your bout appears to me as a "La Veinette", yet I'm not entirely sure about that assessment without the opportunity of seeing more pictures, preferable of the narrow sides of the hone.

I had a similar first time experience as Maro. I insisted on buying an 8cmX12cm almost rectangular bout. I wasn't all that convinced about the need to do an X-stroke for sharpening razors, so I decided to buy one that could accommodate the full length of a razor. Only later I became a strong proponent of the X-stroke, and decided to purchase a longer and narrower bout. Funnily enough I sold that first stone to my best friend, who also insisted that he wanted a full width stone, even though I was completely honest to him about my reason for selling it. He too got a narrower one later. I don't know where the wide one is now. :D

But of course, you are totally free to prefer whatever dimensions for a hone, and I am certainly not claiming that wide Coticules can't hone razors. You can check the website of Ardennes Coticule. They list all kinds of sizes, together with the price. And you could also contact them and explain in detail what you want and what your purpose for the hone will be. I'm sure they will try to pick one to suite your needs.

To answer you fear that the mine will run empty. There is plenty of Coticule still present in the underground of the Vielsalm area. The problem is not that. The problem is that there are almost no people willing to do the mining part. Mining industry as it was common in the industrialized countries till the 70's of the previous century is almost extinct. Few people in Western countries are wiling to risk their lives and health for that, as they have much better options to make a living. If Ardennes ever stops digging, chances are high that the remaining Coticule will stay where it is: locked in very narrow veins, deep underground.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Hello and welcome to Coticule.be :thumbup:

Your English by the way is very good indeed, I know native English speakers that have trouble "speaking" as clearly as you. (truth)

Ok I have to agree with whats been said, and the same as Sir Bart I made sure my first "proper" coticule was bench stone sized, it is from "La Veinette" and can be found in the Vault here as #10
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I have since gained 3 more Coticule that range in size from a typical vintage barbers hone, to a very slim specimen, and to be honest they are all easier to use than the large one.
However it is of course your personal choice, and I wish you every success
My Kindest regards
Ralfson (Dr)

Bart said:
If Ardennes ever stops digging, chances are high that the remaining Coticule will stay where it is: locked in very narrow veins, deep underground.

Kind regards,
Bart.
That will be you and I pot holing with a pick axe each then my good friend!.....lol
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
tat2Ralfy said:
Bart said:
If Ardennes ever stops digging, chances are high that the remaining Coticule will stay where it is: locked in very narrow veins, deep underground.

Kind regards,
Bart.
That will be you and I pot holing with a pick axe each then my good friend!.....lol
I'm your Huckleberry! B)
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Love that stone… another member has one just like it… if I can find the post and photo I will post a link.

I am in the same “narrow” boat, consider this… the vintage German razor hone (vintage ones in the wooden box with catch and hinge), the stone is not much bigger than the average razor box… and men have had no problems sharpening razors on them.
One of my favorite hones is 2.7 x 17 cm, (that’s right, about the size of a razor box) and I have no problems with it.

But with all that said there is nothing wrong with a wider hone… it will do the exact same thing as a narrow hone, but you get more working surface.

BTW it you want to know how fast your stone cuts?… sprinkle some water on the surface and do a few strokes with the razor, depending on your patience, when the water turns gray > black will give you an idea of it’s speed.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
tat2Ralfy said:
Bart said:
If Ardennes ever stops digging, chances are high that the remaining Coticule will stay where it is: locked in very narrow veins, deep underground.

Kind regards,
Bart.
That will be you and I pot holing with a pick axe each then my good friend!.....lol
I'm your Huckleberry! B)
Hey! don't forget me guys... hard hat, boots, pick... will dig.:thumbup:
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
Hello,

Thanks for all the responses! If the mine ever gets closed, i´ll buy as much stones as possible and sell them for Escher prices!

I think you guys pretty much convinced me about not needing a wide stone. I think, I will go for a bankstone, just to make sure I am fine with the shape.

In german forums, there are several opponents of the X-Stroke, claiming that the middle of the blade has more contact to the stone which shall lead to a frowning blade. Their solution is either using wide stones or make parallel strokes.

Yesterday, i was playing around with my cot. After using it, it showed a vry fine pink tone. I wasn´t even sure it´s there. The stone is completely opaque and shows no structure whatsoever.
And another thing happened: First of all, i used a smiling blade. After sharpening it on my cot, it had a burr. I tried it several times, starting again with heavy slurry, going to plain water, just 30 stokes per side, but it still had a burr, mainly on the front. Any suggestions?

greetings, Tok
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Tok said:
If the mine ever gets closed, i´ll buy as much stones as possible and sell them for Escher prices!
Indeed. When something becomes extinct, prices skyrocket. Look at the huge price increase we saw on Filharmonica razor shortly after that manufacturer decided to cease production.

Tok said:
In german forums, there are several opponents of the X-Stroke, claiming that the middle of the blade has more contact to the stone which shall lead to a frowning blade. Their solution is either using wide stones or make parallel strokes.
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offers a concise insight in the matter.
Honing with up and down strokes will not work well for smiling razors and razors with a slight warp in he blade (which is not uncommon). There are people who consider such blades defect, but I have several very good shavers that are warped and I would regret not being able to put a good edge on them.

Tok said:
And another thing happened: First of all, I used a smiling blade. After sharpening it on my cot, it had a burr. I tried it several times, starting again with heavy slurry, going to plain water, just 30 stokes per side, but it still had a burr, mainly on the front. Any suggestions?
Please post a picture of the problem. A razor shouldn't develop a bur. Even with halfstrokes, I've never had a Coticule raising a bur. Without being able to see the problem, I can only take very wild guesses what could be the problem.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
Hello,

sorry that I waited so long to answer.

Bart said:
Tok said:
And another thing happened: First of all, I used a smiling blade. After sharpening it on my cot, it had a burr. I tried it several times, starting again with heavy slurry, going to plain water, just 30 stokes per side, but it still had a burr, mainly on the front. Any suggestions?
Please post a picture of the problem. A razor shouldn't develop a bur. Even with halfstrokes, I've never had a Coticule raising a bur. Without being able to see the problem, I can only take very wild guesses what could be the problem.

Kind regards,
Bart.
I am not able to take photos from it. I don´t have the right equipment. I have to admit two things: first, I used a 1000 grit stone before I used the cot. Maybe, I just stopped too early with the slurry? second, i am only about 98% sure that it is really a bur. I mean, there is a reflecting line in a unfamiliar angle (that´s difficult to explain, but it looks like the angle is narrower than the actual bevel – looks like a bur to me) and it is mostly on one side.

Don´t mind if you have no idea. Haven´t tried another razor so far, so maybe it´s the blade.

Regards,
Tok
 

BlueDun

Well-Known Member
Tok said:
Hello,


And another thing happened: First of all, i used a smiling blade. After sharpening it on my cot, it had a burr. I tried it several times, starting again with heavy slurry, going to plain water, just 30 stokes per side, but it still had a burr, mainly on the front. Any suggestions?

greetings, Tok
Start properly from the beginning!
Before starting on the coti, dull the blade! No matter what you did to the blade before.
Then work on thick slurry until the razor shaves arm air along its complete length! Even without using a microscope you know that at that point the edge will have evenly developped and will not have a burr!
Only then move on to the finishing steps.

Cheers
BlueDun
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Hi Tok,

Based on your descriptions, I think your razor has a double bevel. The solver lining you see at the very edge, is a secondary bevel that has an unknown angle. It most likely was already present when you started working on the razor, and could have been the result from previous honing with one or more layers of tape added to the spine, or by lots of pasted stropping.
(As a quick aside: I hope the razor is not a wedge- or near-wedge style razor, because these require additional insights for sharpening.)

The main bevel, which is the one you are creating, starts to grow from the "far" side and slowly widens in towards the very edge. The bevel is ready, when it has reached that very edge, at which point the double bevel is gone. It is hard to say without pictures, but if I'm correct with my "blind" assessment of the situation, the sliver lining you see, will become smaller when you do more work on the hone. Note however, that this qualifies as "bevel" work and needs to be approached accordingly: hence you need to work on a Coticule of decent size with a milky slurry and "finger-pressured" halfstrokes, or rely on the 1K hone. Anything else will be too slow for the task at hand. Your smallish Coticule is probably too short for this kind of work, certainly if you don't have a lot of experience with honing.

I second Bluedun. Refining and or finishing attempts are going to be futile until you get the bevel on that razor right.
I strongly recommend to learn how to sharpen a razor on a razor that doesn't pose any special challenges. But regardless you'll decide to follow that advice, you're welcome to post, and we will try to help out to the best of our knowledge.

For a practical sequence:
1. run the edge over a beer bottle. Confirm that it does not shave any arm hair.
2. Hone with
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on your 1K hone till the razor shaves arm hair along the entire edge. This does not require that the razor becomes narrower. Please keep an eye on the smiling curve of the edge. If you think things are not going well, STOP, and pop a question in the Cafeteria.
3. Once the razor shaves arm hair again, the bevel is ready.

We will talk about refining that edge, when you've arrived at that mark.

Enjoy the process,
Kind regards,
Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Everything Sir Bart said +1 from me.
Also if it were a burr, you would be able to feel it, either try catching it with your finger nail, or try using the point of a sewing needle, that should pluck it nicely.

Also believe me, you have to work very very hard at getting it wrong to form a burr on a razors edge with a Coticule

My best wishes
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
Hello,

I don´t have my coti at the moment(another story…but I didn´t lose/sold it!), thus, I used another setup on this razor and this time: no burr. the fun thing is: The last times, I honed, I held the stones in my hand. This time, I didn´t. I can´t think of anything else, I made different… This burr might be a mystery forever… In fact, it might be, that I stopped bevelsetting too early… not sure.

Thanks for all the help! Nice site and nice people.
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
Sorry for digging this out, but I managed to make a scan from the side of the stone:

5369245.jpg

It´s the top one. The second one is my new bout, which i really like (seems to be much slower than the other one) and the last one is my natural combo slurry stone.

By the way, this certain razor in mentioned above turned out to be somewhat of a hone-diva. I think, I might retire it… I have several other razors to shave with.

Kindest regards,
Tok
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I am far from sure, but taking an educated guess:
the top one is a La Grosse Blanche.
the middle one is a La Dressante,
the combo slurry stone is almost certainly a La Dressante au bleu.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
Kind and informative answer as always. Thank you very much. I cannot emphasize enough, how much you and this site helped me. I was thinking of the first stone, that it was too coarse and not suitable to be a finisher, but with the tips i got here, I´m starting to like it more and more.

Since I don´t have that much experience, can you tell me something about "La Grosse Blanche"? Compared to the other one, it seems to be pretty fast and it feels a bit coarse (meaning, you hear it work), when I use it with water only, but in the end it doesn´t seem so coarse.

Kindest regards, Tok

(Off Topic and PS.: I really like the atmosphere in this forum.)
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the kind words, Tok.

If my educated guess is correct, and that top hone is a La Grosse Blanche, then it well be pretty fast with slurry and has a considered amount of "slurry dulling". This means that the use of slurry will remove steel fast enough till the keenness maxes out at a level that will only barely shave arm hair. I am talking about a milk-like slurry, because the thinner the slurry, the higher the keenness level that can be reached. That is, of course, the basic principle behind the Dilucot procedure.
On water, La Grosse Blanches are very fine and slow polishers. Because of that slowness, the bridging the keenness gap between use with slurry and finishing on water can be a challenge. Precise and slow dilution is required. For Unicot, the standard pocedure works very well.

Best regards,
Bart.
 

Tok

Well-Known Member
What you say matches my experience: Shaving arm hair after slurry isn´t that great. Maybe, this was one of my main mistakes. I thought, the razor wasn´t quite there. Thanks again, that´s valuable information. I cannot tell whether it is slow on water --> Too inexperienced.
In fact I had my first dilucot success with this stone. It´s not top notch right now, but it´s kinda "ok, now I know that dilucot works, let´s work on it…"

Kind regards,
Tok
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Tok said:
it´s kinda "ok, now I know that dilucot works, let´s work on it…"
I never ceases to amaze me how many people are surprised "that it actually works".:D :D

Well done!:thumbup: Keep at it and your edge will turn out better and better.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 
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