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using green paste after coticule finishing


Well-Known Member
hello! how many people here use the green paste after the coticule?
the edge after the coticule seems to be very smooth but a bit rougher. I think that should be refined a bit more: the last stage on coticule with only water should be about 20000 grit but the shaving edge seems not to be smooth....

i think that the linen or canvas "destroy" a bit the edge, due to the rougher surface (i have a very good fine linen).
Hi Stalker,
I used to use Crox, and CeOx, but i've since quit.
Bart once warned me that the edge would deteriorate a bit quicker, and my experiences also seem to support that.

I find that a really good stropping on clean linen and leather is all that i require, though Gary is a fan of the TI paste. I plan on giving that a whirl shortly. He told me it does wonders for a coti edge.

As to wether linen "destroys" the edge, I have not the experience to address that. In my limited experience, a good stropping on linen will improve my HHT results, so i interpret that to mean that it is further refining the edge, not damaging it it. Though I did once read a very old reference that mentioned something like "when a razor becomes too smooth to shave well from too much stropping on leather, a trip back to canvas will rough it up and make it more serviceable". I've since been unable to find that particular reference again though, so i may be misremembering. Also, sometimes those old-timers had some pretty strange ideas.

I'm sure the pro's will jump in with a real answer for ya shortly.

I have some of the TI paste in the small tube but I don;t use it anymore. I found it's actually more aggressive than CrOx on the blade. Just a heads up for ya.
i'd bet the roughness is because the kenes is'nt quite there, once the edge is sharp the smoothness will follow. i had this problem for a long time . untill one day i hit the max on my la grosse blanch and i could not beleive the differance. keep trying just rehone starting with milky slurry . it is dilucot method you have used. And use crox if it works . just less is better 10 laps and your edge should last well . if you do 30 40 laps then i would imagine the shaves won't be good after aprox 5th shave . linen in my opinion does not do any damage. best thing is hone on coticule finish on leather and test, then shave the other side by stropping linen then leather and compare. i'll bet you will get a better shave.
Gunner777 said:
I have some of the TI paste in the small tube but I don;t use it anymore. I found it's actually more aggressive than CrOx on the blade. Just a heads up for ya.

alot of people say that because of the black reidue it leaves behind . It actauly leaves a very soft edge and not a agressive edge . i only use 10 light passes . i always test after coticule if i'm happy i will leave as it is. if i'm not i will do 10 laps on ti paste as i find cro.ox does not make a differance .I'm the oposite i stopped using cr.ox. also ti paste works much better on a canvas strop. i tryed a paddle and it did'nt work as well .
mhnnnnnnnn......:-/ i m thinking that depends the beard...i have a very very hard beard....with 20 light laps on the green paste, the shave is awesome..
stalker said:
mhnnnnnnnn......:-/ i m thinking that depends the beard...i have a very very hard beard....with 20 light laps on the green paste, the shave is awesome..
I believe you, sir. But you might be missing out on something.
Obviously, we all have tough beards. Never met a man that said he had a soft beard.:) I guarantee you that a good Coticule edge will shave any beard without needing any further treatment than stropping it well on linen and leather. If it needs CrO to shave well, then Gary is correct: you've not yet quite squeezed that final bit of keenness out your Coticule, that is so imperative to unleash the true brilliance of these hones.

I am not against CrO, or any of the other pastes. They all work and the shaves are nice. They're also very convenient to boost the keenness of slightly lacking edges off hones. Plenty of people shave happily with razors that are maintained on pasted strops.
It's easy and it works!

Nonetheless: I am posting here to tell you that a good Coticule edge does not need pasted stropping. Moreover: such a good Coticule edge will loose some of its key features if you are going to refinish it with a pasted strop.

Kind regards,
i trust you bart. any tips to improve the edge? i describe you the process.
milky slurry bevel set after 60 laps, with very good halfstroke with a bit o pressure.
dilucot with 15 halfstroke x 10 diluition.
finishing on water 100 laps ( sometimes i use 10 halfstroke sometimes xstroke)
30 linen
60 leather.

the pressure is the same to the whole process
Ok, since I handle both hard balsa strops coated with Crox, and also the Crox by itself, here is my personal input.

If you are able to put a finely finished edge on your razor, as Gary indicates, you do not need to do any more than linen and leather stropping. Anything beyond that is just wasted energy. As far as I am concerned, if you have to go to some other substance after honing with a Coticule, you didn't hone your razor correctly in the first place. I have honed one hell of a lot of razors and in the last year have used nothing but one coticule to form the edge and one to finish it off.

As far as the Crox, Cerium Oxide and hard balsa strops and other pastes are concerned, except for one razor, that I know of, a TI, these should only, and I stress this, ONLY be used between honing, to rejuvenate an edge and prolong its use. In other words, when stropping doesn't bring the edge back quite like you like it, after a shave, then you would use the Hard Balsa strop with Crox to bring it back to life, at least for a while. That is all I have found this useful for.

If you are relatively new, and are looking for that magically sharp edge beyond your Coticule, Forget it! It doesn't exist.

Been pondering this a bit...
What I've started to notice is that edges finished on CrOx seem to give me ingrowns/irritation much as edges done on synthetics also seem to. I recently honed a blade with a tiny chip in it, so I opted to foreshorten stone honing, and finished with CrOx and CeOx on a leather covered paddle strop. After two consecutive shaves, the ingrowns were back in a big way. Now I'll be the first to admit that it could very well be a result of my techinque, but with that said, the very same technique with a pure coti edge doesn't give me ingrowns. WTH's up with that?

Kind regards,
Personally, I think a lot of people like Chromium Oxide because it has smoothing effect on an edge more than anything. Imagine honing a razor on a synthetic hone up to .49 microns (think Shapton 30K). That edge is sharp, but it can be a bit harsh (not to start the sharp vs. harsh debate again). Now take that same edge, and put it on a strop loaded with Chromium Oxide (.5 microns), and it seems better to a lot of guys... It's not really about getting more keen, it's just acquiring characteristics that are different than those from a hard synthetic stone. In my experience, a hanging strop is better for this (smoothing effect) than a balsa hone because of the slightest bit of rounding on the edge that it introduces.

How does this relate to a coticule? I haven't been able to beat the combination of keenness and feel on my face, and I don't have a particularly thick beard (there you go Bart ;) ), but I've honed razors for guys who claimed to. My standards meet theirs, and even a thick beard (2 week's growth) has been mowed down effortlessly by razors I've honed for friends...
mhnnnnnn sometimes my razor only cuts very well after the finishing stage...this would be a problem ?or "stay behind" or incomplete dilucot ? (i made generally7 diluition)......for this problem , i feel the necessity of the crox...
To the best of my understanding on average, a coti will provide somewhere around 8,000 grit. It is also my understanding that CrOx will yield an average grain size of about 16,000. In terms of metal removal this is a 4,000 grain "skip". This will almost certainly have a tangible bearing on the "final character" of the blade.If the paste is used on a perfectly flat surface such as a balsa strop, there would be little to no variation in the geometry of the blade, and so using the CrOx would be similar to using a 16,000 finishing stone. However, the crystal structure (the molecular geometry) of the abrasive garnet in the coticule is supposedly a rhomboid while the CrOx is NOT. This may very well affect the nature of the "final character" as well. Last, but not least, is the steel of the blade being honed. Different blades - even from the SAME BATCH will display very slight variation in chrystaline structure - even if they where all done on some extra smart "heat treating robot". No two blades are EXACTLY the same. And then there is a matter of different and unique bristle for each and every individual.

I believe the bottom line is that it's an unquantifiable issue. It is a matter of "what works for me". It is not inconceivable that a collector would refine his intuitive knowledge, as pertains to each and every single one of his razors, so as to be able to furnish each and every one of them with it's own unique progression of abrasive materials.

This is not a new concept. For as long as anyone cares to remember, polishers of Nihonto (Togishi) are first and foremost charged with the task of prescribing which stone is to be used with every single unique blade - for every single part of the progression. It is considered by many to be the most hardcore part of the Togishi's art, as it determines the "final character" of the blade.
when i NOT use the crox, i feel a bit some "grip", when the blade cut my beard....with crox seems to be very very smooth...

but the different feeling between the two blade is evident:

coticule : silky smooth
crox : glassy feeling
A Coticule is not 8000 grit. That's just - understandable - sales talk, inspired by the grit ranges of popular synthetic hones. Allow me to explain: Coticules typically contain garnets in a 5 to 15 micron range. I think we all agree that the largest particles define the actual "coarseness" of a one. Even a Norton 8K will probably contain particles smaller than 3 micron, which is the upper limit of that hone's partical size. Translated to Coticules, that gives us a grit rating of 1500.

This immediately explains why I keep repeating that grit rating is completely irrelevant when we talk about natural hones, a forteriori Coticules. For it is not the width of the abrasive grooves that determines how well a hone can define an edge, but the depth of those grooves. And even that is only part of the whole picture, as I will explain in the next paragraph. Sure, there is a correlation between width of the paricles and their cutting depth, but different shapes of cutting media can make a *huge* difference. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that larger rhomboid garnets cut shallower than smaller ones, for the one reason that their larger surface area doesn't penetrate the steel so easily. This sheds a new light on why Coticules cut entirely differently than synthetic hones with their acute, yet smaller, abrasive particles. It also explains why Coticules demand a different kind of sharpening pressure than synthetic hones. And it indicates that BBW's with their larger garnets are possibly much finer hones than often intuitively expected.

Another largely ignored factor in the final characteristics of an edge, is the amount of plastic flow, that is inherently different between various hones and pastes. "There he goes again". I can almost hear some of you think that. Nevertheless there is no doubt that plastic flow plays a key role in the submicron world where the tip of a razor's edge resides. If not, every edge would carry a saw tooth pattern, defined by the particle size and shape of the finishing hone or paste. Coticule edges would cary a sort of an S-shaped curve, and synthetic edges fine sawtooth pattern. I once followed that idea, even drew up a 3D representtion of it.


While an interesting exercise, the above drawing is pointless, because it completely ignores the effects of plastic flow. As soon as I saw Prof. John D. Verhoeven's SEM-pictures, it became apparent how wrong my drawing was. Verhoeven magnifiied edges up to 3000X with a high resolution scanning electron microscope, and he found no sawtooth pattern, no obvious grooves running all the way up to the very edge, no so-called "striations". What he found was a smooth uninterrupted edge, with a given end-radius, typically arround 0.5 micron for razors. The top of that radius showing a number of elongated burr-like rims. The absence of the expected grooves and teeth can only been explained by plastic flow. As opossed to abrasion, plastic flow does not removes steel, but displaces it, not unlike what we can observe during the cold rolling of steel. It relies on the malleable properties of steel and not on abrassion.

The ratio abrasion/plastic flow is different for each type of working particles. It relies on several factors, interesting enough to treat separately:

1. hardness. Diamond, on one side of the sprectrum, offering a lot of abrasion, and therefor undo's a large part of its plastic action. Chalk, on the other end of the spectrum, being softer than steel, offers minimal abrasion and mostly buffing (read plastic) action. Different hardness is prossibly one of the big factors that makes 0.5 micron diamond paste differ form 0.5 chromium oxide paste.

2. particle shape. Round and smooth shapes being less abrasive and more inclided to roll the steel. This could very well be one of the advantages of Coticule hones.

3. mobility of particles. Particles that are solidly cemented in the surface of a hone, probably offer relatively less plastic action than the more mobile particles on the surface of a pasted strop.

4. applied pressure. More pressure probably favors abrasion. This explains why polishing with buffing wheels, a surface treatment that relies for a significant deal on plastic flow, differentiates between "cutting" (much pressure) and "coloring" less pressure.

I find this all very interesting stuff, but at the same time allow me to be quick to acknowledge, that a well-honed razor, remains a well honed razor, and that I highly doubt any one on these boards can discern between a truly good Cocitule edge and a truly good CrO edge. At least not by one comparative test shave. Perhaps after several shaves, when the difference in longevity between both starts to become apparent. But that has more to do with edge leading (honing) vs edge trailing (stropping) techniques. The difference in feel that is descibed by Stalker in the post above, has more to do with a difference in attained sharpness, than with the actual finishing properties. Attaining keenness is much easier on a CrO strop than on a Coticule. It is one of the reasons why many prefer other sharpening solutions. Sharpening with a Coticules differs so inherently from sharpening on a Synthetic hone or with aid of a pasted strop, that even experience sharpeneers need some time to adapt to Coticule honing.

I would also like to point out that I buy none of the steel/hone paring mythology. The Japanese have also turned tea into a ceremony, that no doubt holds its emotional rewards, but does the end result tastes any different than a non-ceremonially made tea of the same leaves? Even if I am totally wrong with my skepticism, I still don't understand how someone, short of collectioning them, is going to figure out an amount of finishing stones, that takes a Japanese honemaster an entirely lifetime of daily practice to figure out.

Kind regards,
Bart said:
I would also like to point out that I buy none of the steel/hone paring mythology. The Japanese have also turned tea into a ceremony, that no doubt holds its emotional rewards, but does the end result tastes any different than a non-ceremonially made tea of the same leaves?

Paring steel to hone is not a ceremony, it is an art or rather a craft, which, in this context would mean "an unquantifiable, scientifically irrefutable practice that derives it's internal dynamics from belief as well as empirical experience and practice. As you rightly point out, it does take a very long time to fine tune one's self to the practice - but as you are probably well aware "practice makes perfect" (such as in the case of the dilucot).Paring steel to stone is no different.

Different heat treating "batches" will inevitably produce variance in what you define as "hardness" and "Malleability" hence the need to be able to identify - by feel I might add - the extent of Malleability in relation to hardness and prescribe the best coarse of action accordingly.
thanks for all the reply, i have read this in one thread : "A sharp, toothed edge is most likely to 'catch-and-cut' a hair, rather than smoothly cut it. The point of the tooth catches the hair (like a needle piercing a tomato), and it then proceeds to rip the hair"

this is exactly the sensation of "catch and pop", that i have after the coticule honing routine...

my razor shaving very very well after the coticule finishig(very very smooth skin)..but with the crox(i have 20000 grit livi green paste) the sensation of "catch and pop" disappear completely BUT THE SHARPNESS IS THE SAME! the crox NOT shave better than the coticule!

with coticule honing this sensation of "catch and pop" should disappear???? if yes, i should improve my skills..
Stalker, if you want to answer that question, hit the "Free honing request" button. I'll happily hone up 2 razors for you, one Coticule finished, the other CrO finished. When I ship them back, I'll send an e-mail to a third guy to disclose which one is which. You can than tell us which razor is finished which way.

Tcensor, till the day someone can present me 2 razors finished on 2 hones, that each shave tangibly better in one combination and worse after switching finishers, I'll remain completely skeptical.

Tcensor said:
"an unquantifiable, scientifically irrefutable practice"
I acknowledge that you've put it behind quotes, but that is the definition of religion. I can't scientifically refute the existence of a god, but he can't be quantified either. Nonetheless, a prayer has never shaved my face.:D

Kind regards,

I beg to differ. While there are certain Arts and Crafts that require a life long commitment they remain just that - arts and crafts - NOT a religion. Praying surely will not bring one closer to becoming proficient in any sort of art or craft - only practice and leveled observation will. However, while a prayer will not shave one's face, surely in the case of straight razor shaving it could save it, and if the razor was honed properly (Coticule OR CrOx)one just might hear a hint of angel's harps and trumpets while shaving with it.

We agree to disagree :)