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Stuck at HHT 1, even after water...

le_paulo

Member
I've been going for a few weeks with my coticule (les latneuses) and have really struggled to get any of my razors to the level of keeness required to shave decently.

I've tried full dilucot and unicot techniques and Gary Haywood's accelerated approach. No luck. The edge coming off water is about HHT 1. I've taken razors that were at HHT 3 and touched them up on water only - back down to HHT 1 or even HHT 0.

I can easily get a bevel edge off slurry and the razors easily shave hair on my arm. But the refinement and polishing just doesn't work at all. Even 60 x-strokes with almost negative pressure make no impact although the water does turn grey so my stone must be pretty fast.

I've never come close to HHT 3 off the stone but in frustration today (halfway through a very pulling shave) I took my lather, grabbed the coti and slapped lather on the stone. I've used very light x-strokes at all times and got the razor a little bit sharper (HHT 2) but still not there, even after 60 strokes on linen and another 40 on leather (back to HHT 3).

I'm wondering whether it's my technique. I can't hone one handed as the razor never stays flat so I'm using a single finger, very lightly, to keep the blade flat.

Is it necessary to hone with one hand or are there any other suggestions that I could look at?
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
First.I would like to wish you welcome in coticule be. les latneuses according my opinion is a very easy layer.Five minutes ago i suggest a trick to Mate rtedwards at
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Please try it ,will help you to increase your HHT surely.
Best regards
Emmanuel
 

le_paulo

Member
Yassoo Emmanuel! And thank you for the kind welcome.

Your suggestion is a brilliant idea... :thumbup:

I don't have a rubber bag that I can fill with water but I might experiment with plastic bags filled with water. What do you think?
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
That's a great idea indeed, I happened to miss this hint. I think, that plastic bag will do the job as well. Actually I have sort of discovered it on my own
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, only that there was no bag involved... :D

cheers,
Matt
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Welcome on Coticule.be!

I believe you've had sound advice already. I will add a few things that may make a difference for you.

1. Turning of the razor.
In most cases, when someone really struggles with degrading keenness during finishing stages (from HHT-3 to HHT-0, as you put it), the problem is with the onset of the stroke, immediately after flipping the razor. So my first advice would be to critically evaluate that part of your technique. Make sure that the spine of the razor touches the hone at all times. Some lift the razor off the hone while flipping it over. As such, that isn't detrimental, but there is the likelihood to to start the stroke before the spine is in proper contact. That would indubitably reduce the keenness of the edge.

2. It sounds to me that you have one of those Les Latneuses that are lightning fast on water. If so, they are not the easiest to achieve the ultimate keenness. (probably the speed on water is responsible for that). It often helps to make the final 30 laps under the smallest stream of a running tap. That will create a cushion of fresh water, which is a good way to "ease" the contact between hone and edge.

3. There is a trick that uses dry soap (or other solid substances such as candle wax or gum Arabic), to (temporarily) tone down the abrasiveness of the Coticule's surface. I have not yet figured out a way to get consistent results, but it's definitely worth a try.
Rub the dry Coticule with a puck of hard soap. Lightly moisten your thumb pad and "massage" the soap into the surface. The idea is to get a very thin and even coat of soap on the Coticule. Think "waxed car", not "varnished wood. Another approach is to use candle wax and a drop of lighter fluid (requires lighter fluid to clean the surface afterwards).
Once the surfaced is "waxed", use it dry, to boost the keenness of an edge that got stuck at HHT-1. Check at least every 20 X-strokes. (The edge needs to be properly cleaned from any soap or Ax residue before testing).

4. If your Les Latneuses has a hybrid side, you might find it easier going for finishing purposes.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Welcome from me :)

I will just add that a good even honing stroke is vital to success

Great advice so far, please keep us updated?

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

le_paulo

Member
Bart, Emmanuel - thank you for your insightful and knowledgeable comments. It could take me a few weeks to absorb and practice these suggestions but I'm glad for them all as I had really reached a dead-end.

I also decided yesterday to order a BBW so I'll be able to compare the finishing properties. Having read through Bart's posts and articles on this type of hone, I expect it will be slower than my coti but retain the smooth edge that coticules produce. And as a beginner, I think this could be right up my alley. But as you all point out, there are some technical skills I need to improve (eveness of pressure and how I roll the blade at the end of each stroke) and I will take a closer look at these aspects.

I've already decided that I will only shave with straight razors so I'll need to develop these skills - and quick!
 

squeezyjohn

Well-Known Member
Hi le_paolo,

I'm in the stage just beyond yours at the moment. I got some amazing advice from this place when I joined a few months back and took advantage of the free honing service from Dr. Ralfson who honed my razor beautifully with a coticule and made me even more determined to stick with straight razor shaving as the shaves off his edge were beautifully smooth - like cutting through butter on a good day.

Unfortunately the edge has faded and my attempts to reinstate them left the razor less sharp than when I started touching up and I have been very frustrated for the past week (plus having a sore badly shaved face due to my efforts). I kept on trying what I had learned before and couldn't get any HHT result at all (a 0).

I've now got it back in to shaving shape although not as good as Ralfy's edge by a long shot and have learnt a good bit in trying so hard to get it back. So here are my tips (I've been using dilucot):

Get the bevel set at every point along the edge first with a milky slurry - test by trying to shave individual hairs on your arm with the whole length of the blade. If there's a part that doesn't shave - go back and do some more half-strokes concentrating on that bit of the blade (I think you're supposed to put your finger on that bit of the spine - but I just look at that bit of the blade and it seems to lead to me concentrating my efforts on that part of the blade)

I find the dilutions part the hardest because the only thing you really have to test if you're doing it right is the feel of the blade along the stone. This part is very dependent on the individual stone as it's in the feedback. Just take really extra care over the contact of the blade with the stone and make sure it's complete on every stroke - it's really easy to get bored of that - but letting the concentration drop always dooms my edges. I find that you know that the blade is ready for a dilution when it starts to feel a bit slippery between the edge and the stone - as if you were honing on soapy water. If you add one drop of water and then it feels a bit grainy again on the next stroke then I think you have it right. Remember also in the dilutions not to add any pressure really like in the bevel setting stage which in my experience is hard if you're getting impatient!

Finishing on water has been my problem and still is. I know I need to have a lighter touch - almost less than the weight of the blade if that makes sense. I find it so frustrating trying to have a light touch and keep the whole blade in good contact with the stone. I can get a good HHT of some parts of the blade and not others - and when I try and fix it I end up losing the good HHT from the parts that I had them.

I think you should drop your expectation of trying to have a brilliant technique with associated brilliant results quickly otherwise you are likely to be disappointed. You will get brilliant results but only with lots of practice and success is learnt from the failures like every craft.

I would definitely recommend taking up the offer here of the free honing service if you haven't already because it opened my eyes.

Cheers

Squeezy
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
Thanks le_paulo I don't know where are you located but i suggest to use the free honing service.So you will have a starting point how should be an edge after coticule honing before stopping.
Emmanuel
 

le_paulo

Member
I live in London and I'm aware of the free honing service. I've even been tempted to take up the offer but pride keeps me from applying. :blush:

As an update to my efforts: received the BBW a few days ago as well as some Dovo white paste. Well, the BBW didn't make much difference and I know it's slow as I tried to set a bevel on a practice razor (Gold Dollar) and I gave up after 1/2 hour. Yes, it's that slow.

However the Dovo white paste really added some zing to the results. Definitely getting HHT 4's and 5's now with very fine hair. The dovo white paste was a huge leap for me and oddly produced a better result than my balsa paddle with alternate green and red CrOx paste. Plus no harsh side-effects you sometimes get with CrOx.

And even odder was the fact that the pasted strop alone wasn't enough - for some reason, it wasn't until I'd finished stropping on leather that the full result made itself known. So coti + dovo paste = HHT 3. Coti + leather = HHT 3. But coti + dovo paste + leather = HHT 4/5. OK, so Bart and you other guys are right. But to see it happen in front of you, from your own hand is another thing entirely...

Do I see armies of straight shavers cutting up their jeans and slapping Dovo white paste on the strips? Probably not - my unprimed linen (400gsm) I picked up today produced a similar result, but the dovo paste produced a quicker result.
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
le_paulo said:
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i'm certain the dovo wjite paste has no sharpening qualitys. Its more like a linen conditioner. i no ralfy uses's it and may be he will chime in.i could be wrong. i have tryed it and not noticed any differance .

gary
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Indeed I agree too, in my experience it has no abrasive properties, it is as far as I am aware chalk based, and acts as a dressing, I use it on a couple of my canvas strops because I prefer the way it makes them feel, my most effective cloth strop is my Tony Miller, and that is untreated in any way.

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

le_paulo

Member
garyhaywood said:
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I think that's right Gary, but only if one is using an already abrasive linen (or substitute with similar abrasive qualities). In my case, I'm using cotton based denim which has little abrasive qualities so adding the white paste has certainly changed the qualities of the cotton to the extent that I can see a darkening of the part of the denim with the paste.

I've seen the strop meisters - both
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and
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Miller - comment that adding paste to linen is almost pointless as the linen is naturally abrasive so it adds little. However both seem to think that the dovo white paste does add abrasiveness to a material strop so on cotton, it should make a difference. And I've certainly seen a big difference. It's either the white paste or my stropping technique has improved out of sight! :w00t:
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
I read what neil miller said about what you just mentioned. I disa gree with what he says. I'm sure tony miller says you can use use paste with his cotton/smooth cotton.The reasonfor that is the cotton holds sharpening paste sprays etc very well. he says the linen should not be pasted as it has abrasive ness. Should'nt ned it. t is also more expensive and why would any one want to paste a nice piece of linen?

I have several strops. I have tm cotton, and i have dovo white paste on the cotton. I did'nt see any differance at all. The only differance it made was the zipping sound got twice as loud.
I also have had many dovo strops with the paste on it. i never felt or noticed any differance.

I would say your honing was much better and your stropping worked much better. Take a razor to the same dovo pasted strop or what ever you used it on. Jeans. Use a razor with less than parr hht and see if it gives you another 4/5 If it does and it works constantly then may be your paste is working well for you.

I have had lots of strops including latigo,buffed horse hide from tony miller along with his slick horse hide and linen and cottons. Both meterials are great . the linen just feels and sounds nicer. Its only very slightly more abrasive not much. Is the paste defanatley white dovo paste. Or is white ti pate rasoir in a little tube?

gary
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
gull said:
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Both are definitely different techniques. The dry coating technique allow me to push the keenness off a Coticule beyond levels that can't be achieved without it. I have, however, still not figured out entirely how it works consistently. My success rate is 60% by rough estimation. The edges usually need to toned down a bit, because they are atypically harsh for Coticule edges.

Honing with lather is just one of many finishing variations that you can play with. Some people prefer oil. Some rub the Coticule once with a slurry stone. You can try finishing with a series of laps in stropping direction. Etc.

Kind regards,
Bart
 
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