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Some promising results!

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
I think I am finally getting the hang of this coticule malarky.

A few weeks back I got a couple of stones from Ardennes - a La Petite Blanche and a Nouvelle Veine, both small 125 x 30mm ones. To start with I just concentrated on the La Petite Blanche because I've seen all the great stories about razors sharpened on them and settled on a routine of trying to do dilucot - but taping and unicotting if the results weren't good (Sticking to my Revisor as well). The La Petite Blanche stone feels very abrasive all the time and works very fast - and I hadn't been getting great results so tonight I switched to the Nouvelle Veine one. I think I prefer it (or maybe it is more forgiving).

It feels almost shiny on the surface, but with slurry it darkens after a set of half-strokes so must be working fast enough. With this one I can feel what's happening in a Dilucot much better - the stone seems to suck the blade like a vacuum when it's ready for a dilution and tonight's dilucot was a winner. I had given up on the HHT, blaming my hair for being too fine, but like most things it was my skill to blame - and tonight I was surprised by the heel end of the blade getting HHT 4 (popping) - the toe end was playing violin after stropping. I can't wait to shave with it tomorrow!

Another thing I noticed tonight. I've taken to moving the stone more than the razor with these small coticules; my right hand holds the razor with my elbow resting on the table while my left hand moves the stone with minimal movement from the right hand. That way I find it easier to watch the bevel the whole time and keep it in contact with the stone. Does anyone else do this? Is there any reason why I shouldn't?

Cheers

Squeezy
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong about rubbing the razor and the hone together, as opposed to moving only the razor. If that feels comfortable to you, I'd say go for it. You should however try to match the same keenness all along the blade. If you can do it at the heel, then you can do it at the tip of the blade as well. Some extra halfstrokes on water only, followed by 50 X-strokes (or more, it's a smallish Cocticule). I would also monitor the improvement in HHT-results before and after the first stropping session. If you witness a big improvement at the heel part and less at the tip, that's a sign to evaluate your stropping technique. By the way: there is absolutely no disadvantage stropping a blade locally, should for some reason an certain spot stayed behind. The same counts for finishing on the Coticule. Don't hesitate to give the tip some extra attentiion.

I think you're doing fine. The La Petite Blanche will reveal itself to you later. I too consider La Veinnettes easier going, but it seems it really is a personal matter.

:thumbup:
Bart.
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
It's an unorthodox technique, but I'm never one to argue with results.

I had to give it a try just now, and i found that for me, i would have to develop a new technique to make it work well. And probably not ever with a large stone. My left hand is certainly my dumb hand, and I probably couldn't apply the same level of finesse that i can by controlling the razor with my much more dexterous right hand.

I've been honing a lot of knives lately though, and some of them have a funny curve to them that makes it very difficult for me to maintain the right bevel angle and do a smooth sweeping stroke at the same time so I find i will hold the knife still, and move the hone underneath it, but only for one portion of the blade.

Congrats on the early success! It only gets better.
 

DG7

Well-Known Member
squeezyjohn said:
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I've had the same kind of experience as well. When I try and listen to the feedback from the stone, rather than just going through the motions, I wind up with great success. I'm currently enjoying great shaves off a wedge. It had that same kind of vacuum feel to it like you mentioned.
 

IsaacRN

Well-Known Member
This reply is in response to this site more so. I just want to applaud the members here. Someone with an unorthodox approach is not ridiculed, yet his opinion is taken at face value. If it works for you, very good. Nothing is written in stone as to how things work. Not only is this site devoted to Coticules, but the exploration of the perfect edge.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Well it's just how it's going at the moment for me. Not a conscious decision at all. After my strokes seemed to be missing the tip of the blade which is the most important part for my shaving routine I realised how hard it was to keep the blade flat on a quite narrow hone, I started to concentrate on the contact with the stone which seemed easier to do the more still the blade was. I'm right handed - but always suspected that left-handedness was beaten out of me at primary school as in some situations my left is as good if not better than my right. I'm sure that if I just knuckle down and get the right hand stroke down it will prove better as a technique, but for the time being this is working best.

Thanks as always for everyone's advice and experience - it's brilliant.

Cheers

Squeezy
 

DG7

Well-Known Member
One thing I realized after the latest English PDF was released for Dilucot, was the instruction about moving the finger around that's applying pressure to the blade when you're doing halfstrokes. Before, I was mostly keeping my index finger in the same spot, applying pressure at the same spot over an over. Now, I'm sure to put it over the toe area, and other parts as well. I usually start a set of halfstrokes at the heel, the progress to the toe in 5 steps (heel, between middle and heel, middle, between to and middle, toe). This helps me get at least 10 dilutions without counting (or forgetting), and has helped me get even honing. Of course, if one part of the edge needs extra work or isn't symmetrical, I'll do extra work there.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Thanks DG7 - I think that might just be a fantastic piece of advice. I think the problem with my initial technique was due to me struggling with getting my finger far enough along the blade to apply some pressure.

Cheers

Squeezy
 

DG7

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I know the feeling, I've got small hands so it feels like a real stretch to get the toe, but it does seem to make a difference.

And enjoy the La Nouvelle Veine. It's kind of hard for me to use mine (I typically use a Les Latneuses, and haven't really committed the time and effort to figure out the La Nouvelle Veine), but when it works, I really love the results. I know I'm doing it wrong with mine if it feels kind of bumpy when I'm doing half strokes, like I need to lap the Coticule some more. When it feels like like I'm honing on glass, and it's got a little bit of that vacuum-like suction feel, then I know I'm making good progress.
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
squeezyjohn said:
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Bravo squeezy! 'Seems like my day was just a few before yours, after 10 days of 'why isn't this working'? 6 consecutive edges I'd confidently hand a friend for a first shave. I DOES feel great & I'm happy for you. Certainly it will only get better.

On unusual technique - I'd be stumped without them. I rely heavily on circles, and have to have a rather ornate hold on the razor or my stroke imperfections will show up on the edges. With a small, light stone, I can mirror any stray movement of my strong hand. I hold the shank so it can absorb stray movement in 3 directions without lifting the spine or the edge. Let someone else argue with what works :) .

May it be the start of many great shaves.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Well - I shaved with it in the condition I left it last night and I have to say it was probably the best shaving razor I have ever used! That isn't saying a huge deal as I have only ever shaved with factory edges from Dovo and Revisor, both of which seemed pretty blunt, and my own honing work on the coticule and Norton stones. But this probably halfway-there Nouvelle Veine sharpened Revisor was as smooth and sharp as I have known.

I think I may have overdone the passes on my neck as I was enjoying it so much - it's a problem area as my hairs grow sideways and I can't get ATG there. Still with a little bay rum it's no more tender than usual and a good deal smoother.

I will declare a success - but knowing there's probably a way to go.

Do you all think it would be a good idea for me to get my razor honed by someone who knows what they're doing so I can see what I'm aiming for?

Cheers

Squeezy
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you are doing great John :thumbup:

I would say it's a great idea to use our free honing service to get a benchmark, it worked wonders for me early on, and I must say I found it a great help, besides the guy that provides the service in the UK is by all accounts a very decent fellow ;)

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
Squeezy, I take it from Ralphy that you're in the UK. I don't know if you're limited to a single razor or not, but possibly someone could lend a loaner to use in the mean time. You'll want a spare for just such occasions. If you're in the states, let me know - I'll send you a loaner - just pick up shipping.

On getting a blade honed by an experienced honer - I would heartily concur w/ Ralphy. It helps. I did it with less satisfying results, 'cause I was very new and didn't know what methods/stones could produce what kind of edge. I got a blade back w/ a shapton 30k edge. 'Extremely keen, but not smooth or comfortable. 'Very unforgiving for developing skills & techniques. Maybe in other hands or with other instructions, shaptons can delivery smooth, but that wasn't my experience. I would heartily recommend a coti finish. It'll give a benchmark for your honing efforts and a wonderful shave in the mean time. I love my jnat, but the coti would be my other love at this point.
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Hi PinkL - I am in the UK and have 2 other razors, both fairly cheap Dovos which I learnt on and will turn my attention to in the next day or so and see if I can get similar results although I fear I have been spoilt by the revisor of late.

Ralf, I didn't realise you did them - but I will accept the kind offer and apply through the website page very soon. I think I will stay with the Nouvelle Veine for the time being to see if I can get better and consistent results. I think I understand the feedback on that one and haven't de-coded the Petite Blanche yet.

By the way, I have been dulling, honing from bevel-set and finishing then shaving once or twice before dulling and starting all over again for the practice. I take it this is not the normal scheme of things and should aim for a good few shaves of the same edge and then touch-up regularly to keep the edge there. Is that right?

Cheers

Squeezy
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
I look forward to honing for you Squeezy mate, the Dovo's do take a nice edge, I have one of the bottom end "best" and its a very nice shaver.

yes you are right, touching up is the norm, with a full rehone only once the touch ups dont work anymore, I believe thats very variable and could be after a year of regular use, maybe one of the honers that has regular clients will be able to give a better figure, either way its hone, then touch up as needed, then only rehone when its needed.

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
It's funny isn't it? I get the impression that you'd only need to go through a successful process once or twice a year with some touch ups on a coticule if you're just doing your own razors (a sensible collection :D )

But in order to get good enough and retain the skills you have to do it intensively and talk online about it all the time. It's a bloody good job I'm a proper nerd or I might feel embarrassed.

Thanks again Dr. Ralfson - I might have a couple more goes before letting you have her though! Otherwise I'd have to simply maintain your expert edge for 6 months and that would never do!

Cheers

Squeezy
 
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