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synthetic progression


Well-Known Member
thought i'd do a synthetic progression today for a change, seeing as my mate joe gave me his 5k naniwa.

i set bevel on 1k C that was cool, i then got the 5k out, i did maybe another 80 laps on that, it swarfed up quik, and was kind of boring. i then did 30 laps on my 8k norton, this stone is acatuly like a natural stone in feel, and my favourite. i then did 30 laps on 10k naniwa that was kind of bland and the same on 12knaniwa, i have not much experiance with these stones, i got a hht 2, due to my lack of use. not shaved with razor. don't even think i'll bother. its along time since i did this, and now i no why, it was so boring and what a ball acke getting the stones out and wiping them down and putting them away.

i would rather have 20 differant coticules , maybe they can be frustrating and also wonderful when we hit the sweetpot, but one thing for sure i love honing on them. makes me apreciate my coticules.



Well-Known Member
Hear Hear Gary!

I don't have anything near the number of synthetic stones you mention, but honing on a naturally occurring stone is a challenge, and with a little perseverance - it can become a joy. And the final results are sometimes astonishing!


Well-Known Member
Hope this isn't off topic...

I have a few double grit synthetic barber hones and I have tried them a few times. But something I noticed with many of them... after setting the bevel on the course side, the fine side will only polish and does not remove those scratch marks left by the course side.

However if I use some other medium stone after the course, then the fine side completes the job...

I don't know how they did it back then.


Well-Known Member
I'm not surprised that once again, I agree with Gary's findings completely!

I'm not going to say that the synthetics, Naniwa SuperStones in my case, are bad, but for me, they're just more trouble than they're worth.
They need to be wetted before hand, at which point they start their slow rubberized movement out of flat. Once honing actually starts, they clog with swarf to the point where the razor is running over the rough swarf, and this seems to happen all too quickly. So, time to lap clean.
I put my stones away clean, so another lapping, where I usually find that the surface is once again out of flat.
Then, after the session is complete, wait for the stones to dry completely to be packed away once again...And the more stones in the progression, the longer it takes and the more troublesome the process becomes.

All far too much toil.. Which, I guess explains why mine have not been removed from the drawer in which they reside in ages!


Well-Known Member
the other thing i thought, is after first test shave , if all is not good, i'd have to do most of it again, i don't see how these big 8x3 hones are real idael for razor. Consistant maybe , but i get every time of coticule , even on a bad day i'm 95 percent there. i ca then just work hard on finishing stages and be where i ned or close. You'll find most naniwa users use cronium oxide after there 12k,

i'm sure any one could easily use there coticule alone or and then hit strop with sharpening paste, or unicot there edge and be done in max 20 minutes, with no swarfing , or quik drying out, lapping.

My 5k swarfed up in literaly 20 laps , thats why i never got on with the 1k naniwa, that swarfed up so quik. i no lots of guys like the naniwas, and i don't dout them, i just could not be botherd to use them. I supose i just prefur the naturals, they all feel differant in there own way , look differant, and produce a very nice kind natural edge .



Well-Known Member
Swarfing isn't such a big problem actually - try to use them with slurry.

Smythe said:
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Smythe, I experienced the same and not once. Reason for that, I believe, is that the surfaces of barber hones are almost always out of order. After proper restoring work the barber hones will mostly work as they should. Just few days ago, I got one to working order.



Well-Known Member
I agree swarfing is'nt such a problem, while honing as should imagine it will eventualy slow down the hone? may be maybe not , it seemed that on the 1k naniwa it realy did slow down cutting.

i never seen the point of using slurry on synthetics, naturals yes but not synthetic, what is the advantage of using slurry on manmade hones, any one no?


BlacknTan said:
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You hit it on the head. I have the norton set and the word "session" is spot on. You cannot just grab a stone and start honing.
1. unpack the stone
2. soak it (time period depending on the grit)
3. lap quickly to ensure flatness and freedom from swarf
4. perform 10 strokes (lap with dmt to generate slurry if you please)
5. repeat lapping to remove swarf
6. repeat 4 and 5 until desired keenness is achieved
7. set stone out for several days to ensure dryness
8. repack stone
9. scrub all the particulate sh!t off the bottom and sides of the sink
10. buy new dmt because the business end of yours now feels like wet glass

Since the whole process is so frigging time consuming, I tended to find myself trying to hone all my razors at once for efficiency. Thus, the dreaded "session."

Now I have the coticule, the slurry stone, a roll of tape, and a pair of scissors in a drawer and I can be honing in seconds. Only recently have I realized why so many people enjoy the act of honing a razor.


Well-Known Member
Now I feel bad for giving such a poor account...:blush:

In reality, every stone has a use, and as individuals, all these facts are colored by our personal likes and dislikes. There are people, and apparently many of them that love synthetics.
They gave me my start, and actually my dissatisfaction led me to naturals, so I do owe them something... and, of course they have a use.

My opinion is just that... my opinion. Not ever a statement of fact, which are always quite elusive.


Well-Known Member
don't feel bad joe , i have had these stones before, and they are good hones if you have the time to practise on them, even the 12k surprises me how it soon collects steel , the nortons are just the same. i liked the norton, because ita combo, you can do a [pyramid honing and then just finish on coticule, this works well, I just prefer to stick to the coticule i'm using at the time, there is no dout the coticule will repl;ace all of my synthetics, so i just don't need them.



Well-Known Member
Guys, I jest;)
I did say almost, and kinda know what you mean about the fluff on.
Listen, back in the day I used to shave of the 8k side of a Norton with a bit of paste and considered that a good shave. Looking back it was harsh:O , but have cut my teeth on the Norton.
A good basis for refining my skills
One stone start to finish, good result, nuff said.:thumbup:



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FriedLiverAndOnions said:
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Indeed, many... many strokes would be enough to get the edge in good order... there are many stones with the course way out of proportion with the smooth.
urmas said:
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Exactly, if you find one that hasn't been used much (Hint: one that hasn't been lapped recently, so it's in the same condition as would be used in old days)... I don't know how they would have done it without reconditioning the surface as soon as it is out the box.


Well-Known Member

You know I loved the norton 4/8k honee, we've talked about it before. I will say I never use my synthetic stones anymore not even to set a bevel. Lately all I've been doiing is honing on a fast la dressante to set a bevel and dilute from there. For fun I may you my big la nouvelle for finishing because I love the mellow edge it gives. If I'm gonna play around ill go coti slurry ---bbw slurry---coticule and then add my nakayama maruichi asagi as a finisher.

Either way all those options are way more fun than my synthetics. I also dislike naniwas, the 12k leaves a brital harsh edge, I really can't stand it and it clogs up. Fast. Id rather shave off the norton 8k side.



Well-Known Member
the 8k norton is a real nice stone, it feels like a nice natuaral stone, i think it is.
i don't think you can go wrong with a la drassante, i would'nt mind one my self.



Hi to All,

For a couple of years I used synthetics exclusively,

I started with a Norton 4/8, and could never really get on with the 4 k side; as Mr. Haywood has said, the 8 k is quite nice to use.

I quickly moved onto the Naniwa SuperStones (1, 3, 8 & 12 k) and these (for me) have been truly consistent and given superb results.

In reality the full battery of stones would only be used occasionally - for razors in rotation only one or two would be used for the touch-ups. So the 'aggravation' factor in using the Naniwas, is I feel, being somewhat overstated :)

About a year ago, I sent one of my razors to Mr. Haywood for honing on one of his Cotis, and was very impressed by the results; this has lead to Coti addiction :)

I got a vintage La Veinette (175mm x 45mm), a BBW & a La Verte (150mm x 50mm) and started the learning process.

Using these Cotis, I don't think I have ever had so much fun honing !! :)

I have now got an old Charnley Forest, which I will be using today to finish some razors off.

Many thanks to you all for the valuable advice you have provided on this (and other Fora).

Many apologies for the length of the waffle !!

So summary - used to use synthetics, now use Cotis & other naturals. I still have my synthetics, and mostly use these for knives these days.

Have fun !

Best regards



Well-Known Member
Good point, once your shave ready you'd only need the 10k or 12k , i think for me it was more enjoyerable using the natural stone.



Active Member
I still have my synthetics and, apart from the 220/1000 Norton used for repairs, I'm considering selling them as they haven't seen much use lately. Like the other posters on this thread, I'm finding the coticules considerably more enjoyable.