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Stone advice


Well-Known Member
Recently I've been looking into hones and stones and my head is starting to spin a bit.
I think I get the basics of honing and bevel setting and so on. Theoretically that is. Watched alot of YT clips....
I would love to be able to hone my straights myself, but then again thats an entirely hobby in its own right and I just don't think thats for me at the the moment, financially and timewise I mean.
So what to do. Most of my razors now, I have bought shaveready from a trusted source (you know who you are ;)) and I'm perfectly happy with that. But now and again I like browsing the internet and casually drop a bid on the digital marketplace if I think I see a nice razor and sometimes it gets accepted.
Off course when it arrives its not shaveready so it needs honing.
And that's where I need the advice on. Is there a way of purchasing a stone, maybe two that cover my basic needs? Refreshing razors I have that could do with a little more sharpness, and/or honing vintage/used razors that I found online?
I've been looking into a coticule but also read that it could take quite some time getting to know the stone and maybe not getting the result you want. A Jnat that covers everything is also out of the question ($$$)
Or would Shaptons be the better choice?

Maybe some of you out there with honing experience can shed some light?
Personally I would buy a set of syntatics. Like the 1,3,5,8,10k
Yes it is a bit pricier then one or two stones. But will last a lifetime. Maybe you can get a second hand set from someone who bought a jnat
And still they are cheaper than a Jnat.

Next to that, I know for sure the progression on those syntetic stones is a lot more stable than a coticule.

Coticule will work, but for me it took a while to “master” it.
While the syntatics did it spot on.

I know there are a lot of members on this forum who are a lot more capable of honing (I think I am still an amateur of it).
So I am looking forward to hear their advise
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Well most people will start of with a finisher synthetic or natural to be able to refresh the edges of their razors.

As soon as you want to sharpen razors you find “in the wild” you will at least need a bevel setter and some intermediate hones. For a bevel setter I would advise you to go for a 1k synthetic hone. For the intermediate hones you could use a coticule but it is usually easier in the learning curve to go fully synthetic.

If you take the coticule route I would add a 8k synthetic. You would then have 1k coti 8k and a final finisher.
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I’ve got the 1,3,5,8,10K from naniwa and the 20k suehiro

So I need a 2 and a 4k stone

I also got a couple of coticules and a welsh slate
I’ve got the 1,3,5,8,10K from naniwa and the 20k suehiro

So I need a 2 and a 4k stone

I also got a couple of coticules and a welsh slate

No, you should be oke with that naniwa set and the suehero tops it off very nicely. If you’re not happy with your edges it could be that you should pay more attention to the setting of the bevel. Once you have a good bevel the rest of the honing is a piece of cake. Bevel setting is the key to a good edge.
I have to say that the razors I honed on these stones are great. But then again. Its always nice to buy some new stones.

(I still hope that someone convince me to buy a Jnat)
(I still hope that someone convince me to buy a Jnat)
heh. I hope no one does. Before you know it, hones become a whole new hobby, where I see honing as a necessary chore and not a hobby. I got a working kit (naniwa's up to 12k, charnley forest to finish), and will not look for different edges. I'll get those when I purchase a razor from someone who can hone.
I agree with Tony that the easiest way to come to a sharp and keen edge are synthetic stones. I started with a 1k/3m Cerax combination stone (still a good stone) followed By Natural stones (Blue Belgian and Welsh slates) and the edges were fine. Nearly at the same time I started also with coticule. It’s also possible to go from bevel setting up to the finish with a conticule, but needs more training. However, it works, although, if you want to sharpen any Razors found somewhere, it would not be wrong to habe a 800 or 1000 Syrhetic Stone to set the bevel easier.

It took me some years until I purchased Naniwas. Now I mostly use Naniwa Gouken (I assume mine are now sold as „New Superstones“ in Europe) 1000, 3000, 5000, 12000 Followed by a finish on a natural Stone (Escher, Cretan Oil Stone or sometimes Coticule Les Letneuses). In the end of The day, I think the easiest way to get a scharp and very smooth edge. However, I think that for most people the edge after a 12k Naniwa would also be keen enough but I like it a touch smoother. Don’t have really experience wit Jnats. The few that I testes didn’t bring be more forward than Thuringian Hones. Don’t get the right feedback from Jnats, maybe because I do not speak Japanese :D
1000, 3000, 5000, 12000
I'd put an 8k between the 5 and 12, although it will be the stone that sees the fewest strokes. Still, makes the move to 12k smoother, and makes you spend less time on 12.

You see that it’s difficult to answer your Question,’ is it possible to do everything with one or two hones for not too much money’.
It kind of depends how much money and time you want to invest in a hobby.

So to start with : what is your budget ?
Another point to watch out for is that Shapton hones follow a different grit (USA) rating compared to the Japanese (JIS) hones.
A suehero 20k 0,5 micron has the same grit as a shapton 30k
So if you would want to buy a Shapton bevel setter you would want to buy a 1.5k instead of a 1k Naniwa.
You don’t really need those hi grit hones. A synthetic 8k would suffice in the beginning.
This morning I cleaned up a Spanish #14, put some scales on it and honed it. Because the bevel needed some work I started on a Naniwa Chosera 800 followed by a chosera 2k and a professional 5k. After that 20 strokes on a 8k nani Snow White and 20 strokes on a small Thuringian.
After that I had a comfortable shave with it.

If you wish to go the coticule route. I can recommend mailing directly and ask them to select a bout with a shape for razor honing.

I did it and asked for a bout where I could sharpen the complete blade of the razor. They send me a nice rectangular bout. For the sharpening itself it doesn't matter if you use the standaard or the selected.

The seller beornidas on Etsy sometimes has bouts with the bbw/coticule combi. They must be old, because coticule doesn't sell them that way anymore.

The site has lots of information on honing with a coticule.

For synthetics I have good experiences with shapton glass stones. I had them already before I started to try razor honing. I used them to sharpen speed skating blades. Modern blades are very hard. With the shaptons I could sharpen them really fast with minimal burr and I did not need to lap them that often.

Starting to learn to hone is a choice. I did it, because I wanted it to learn a skill. I'm far away of the skills levels of @Tony or @mhharsta (and probably others in the forum), but I have fun learning it.
I think anyone learning to hone there own razors , you can not go wrong with the super stones .

I also think the 3 k and 8 k is perfect to start . Once you mastered these two grits and you can get a nice shave of the 8 k. Then you can choose a finishing stone.
I would also recommend getting the 20 mm thick superstones as they don’t warp like the 10 mm version .