Vendors Coticules v. Ardennes Coticules

azmark

Member
Been following for a long time so may as well post my first question I couldn't find an answer on.

I have about 8 razors that I only hone on coticules and they are about an 8 out of 10 on my shaving scale. The rest of my razors are my normal Norton and I'm experimenting with a few on Aoto and Kitta's (don't ask:blink: but it's getting there).

I'm very comfortable on a coticule but need to get to a 10 and it's gradually getting better so of course what would any other red blooded straight shaver do? Buy another coticule. So my question is if online vendors (U.S. in my case) have the same quality stones Ardennas has? Would it make a difference if Ardennes sends it to me? Is the stone I buy from x vendor be different from y vendor?

I pretty much caught on from studying the vault the stones vary and my two stones vary greatly. My 4x2 is slower than my 6x2, though I double up on strokes on my 4x2 to compensate. My 6x2 feels great using the dilucot method.
 

kinematic

Well-Known Member
azmark said:
So my question is if online vendors (U.S. in my case) have the same quality stones Ardennas has? Would it make a difference if Ardennes sends it to me? Is the stone I buy from x vendor be different from y vendor?
There's no difference in a coticule bought directly from Ardennes and one bought from a reseller. There is however a difference in knowledge. If you ask Ardennes for a particular stone, a La Veinette or soft La Dressante for example you will get exactly that. You can even ask them for a certain size you're looking for.
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
i would recomend buying one from the vault. As they are tested by bart. I have two and one on the way. And as they are described,also i have had some coti from rob and they have been good too
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
The way to purchase a coti that meets your needs is to buy one tested by Sir Bart.
Bart has spendt countless hours evaluating and comparing coti`s and his knowledge is invaluable . So is his willingness to share this knowledge. Personally I dont have a coti from the vault and that is mainly an issue of impatience and finance:p But my next coti will be from the vault - if I`m fast enough-.
Regards gents
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
azmark said:
Been following for a long time so may as well post my first question I couldn't find an answer on.

I have about 8 razors that I only hone on coticules and they are about an 8 out of 10 on my shaving scale. The rest of my razors are my normal Norton and I'm experimenting with a few on Aoto and Kitta's (don't ask:blink: but it's getting there).

I'm very comfortable on a coticule but need to get to a 10 and it's gradually getting better so of course what would any other red blooded straight shaver do? Buy another coticule. So my question is if online vendors (U.S. in my case) have the same quality stones Ardennas has? Would it make a difference if Ardennes sends it to me? Is the stone I buy from x vendor be different from y vendor?

I pretty much caught on from studying the vault the stones vary and my two stones vary greatly. My 4x2 is slower than my 6x2, though I double up on strokes on my 4x2 to compensate. My 6x2 feels great using the dilucot method.
Welcome to Coticule.be

First... Do you get the “10” with any of your other hones? Unless there is something wrong with both your current Coticules, you should be able to get that “10” with one of them. I would suggest you get to know them better before you purchase another. It is pointless to go buying another and another in hopes of getting the “10”. After all, you are gradually getting better so that’s a good sign… stick with them, it will only pay off in the long run… and believe me, you will learn a few things about honing when you get there.

However, if you intend to collect stones, then by all means buy another, but then you may want a “specific” hone with certain "physical" characteristics such as figuring, color or a stone whose "honing" characteristics have been tested and documented. In that case, please peruse the Coticule photos and data in the Vault, they are many and varied and you are more likely to find something you like rather than buying from a vendor (who may not provide a photo or other details of the stone before the purchase).

But to answer your question… yes... and no… The Coticule you buy from ANY vendor will be a Coticules (there is only one Coticule mine on this planet and every Coticule vendor gets them form the same mine), however because it’s a natural product, each stone (especially from different layers) is slightly different, so every other Coticule you buy form a single vendor, or multiple vendor will be different.

Also, since you are in the US, the cost of shipping a single stone from Ardennes will be higher than buying the same stone from a US vendor because the US vendor buys in bulk to offset this cost.

Hope this helps some.
 

azmark

Member
Hi Smythe. Long time fan of your knowledge.

I would compare my coti edges similar to edges off my Kiita in that 8'ish range. Off my Norton finishing off with Asagi or Coti are by far my "10" (depending on the steel).

My 6x2 coti is such a nice feeling coti as a finisher and getting close to exceptional. I completely agree about getting to know my coti's I have but I guess it's that search for the perfect edge that everyone seeks. I think Im at the point where Im seeking specifics in a stone (something faster on wedges). Which if you don't mind me asking you or open to others, would the BBW useless to remove more steel? Can it replace the sharpening phase of a slurry coticule? I've been tempted to try one before buying another stone.

Is there a progression using the BBW that you would recommend?

Thanks again.


First... Do you get the “10” with any of your other hones? Unless there is something wrong with both your current Coticules, you should be able to get that “10” with one of them. I would suggest you get to know them better before you purchase another. It is pointless to go buying another and another in hopes of getting the “10”. After all, you are gradually getting better so that’s a good sign… stick with them, it will only pay off in the long run… and believe me, you will learn a few things about honing when you get there.

However, if you intend to collect stones, then by all means buy another, but then you may want a “specific” hone with certain "physical" characteristics such as figuring, color or a stone whose "honing" characteristics have been tested and documented. In that case, please peruse the Coticule photos and data in the Vault, they are many and varied and you are more likely to find something you like rather than buying from a vendor (who may not provide a photo or other details of the stone before the purchase).

But to answer your question… yes... and no… The Coticule you buy from ANY vendor will be a Coticules (there is only one Coticule mine on this planet and every Coticule vendor gets them form the same mine), however because it’s a natural product, each stone (especially from different layers) is slightly different, so every other Coticule you buy form a single vendor, or multiple vendor will be different.

Also, since you are in the US, the cost of shipping a single stone from Ardennes will be higher than buying the same stone from a US vendor because the US vendor buys in bulk to offset this cost.

Hope this helps some.[/quote]
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Welcome Azmark.
If you are getting a "10" after finishing on your coticule but not if you use the same coticule for more than just the finish, it would suggest that you are not quite there when it comes to working slurry, can you say which method you have tried, unicot or dilocut?

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

azmark

Member
Well hello tat2Ralfy.

I agree that the slurry is tricky and trying to hone on Japanese naturals and Coticules couldn't be more different in that department. It's like trying to drive on the right side of the road when you're in England:scared: But I have been practicing on coticules a bit longer.

I've tried honing using the unicot and dilucot method. By far, the dilucot is my favorite and seems to work better on my 6x2 (nice line down the middle which I've been told speeds up the cutting:confused: ). My 4x2 works well actually but of course more strokes are needed. I honed a Wonderedge last night using the unicot and feel real good and want to give it a go with a full morning shave right before Church in a few hours. I'm starting to fill out the sheet The pressure is on!

Is there something I may be overlooking?

tat2Ralfy said:
Welcome Azmark.
If you are getting a "10" after finishing on your coticule but not if you use the same coticule for more than just the finish, it would suggest that you are not quite there when it comes to working slurry, can you say which method you have tried, unicot or dilocut?

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Hi Azmark,

Welcome to Coticule.be

I believe most of your questions were already addressed, so excuse me, should I fall in repetition.

All Coticules are currently extracted by one company, at a quarry called Ol' Preu. They also operated a mine at Regné, but only very little stones are brought to the surface at present. Not because the mine is exhausted, but because the demand for Coticule is so high that they can't invest time to expand the mine. Quarrying is faster.
So, all vendors, Ardennes included, sell the same whetstones.

As you probably noticed in the Vault descriptions, there are differences between Coticule. Partially, these differences can be attributed to the layer of which a Coticules was extracted, with some layers offering little individual variance, while other layers deliver hones that need to be assessed on an individual basis. The differences are very minor, when it comes to the resulting keenness and the quality of the shaving edge that can be obtained, but it is the route that leads to optimal results that truly varies.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter:
You give points to the way your razors shave. That's fine of course, all though we must realize that this is a very individual qualification. The question that remains blurred to me, is whether you don't quite always get the very best your hones are capable of, or whether you have reached a level of experience that you are really looking for those fine and final nuances that differentiate between excellent shaves and formidable ones. This is really an earnest question, as I see no reason why you couldn't have arrived at the latter state of competence. But we must rule out the former, because the plan of action would be completely different.

In the first case, I need to echo Smythe's advice. There's really no need to buy another Coticule, without mastering the one's your already own.

In the second case, it might be a better investment to delve into the world of straight razors. The differences in shaving feel are in most cases greater than the variance you can get from the use of different Coticules.
If you eventually want to fine-tune a given razor to your distinct preferences, just buying one, is like entering a lottery. That's part of the reason why I've pled at Ardennes to start with a line of Coticules, sold with a label that states some of the finer properties.

Obviously, it is possible that, when it comes to these final nuances, you prefer the edge you get of another hone.

Best regards,
Bart.
 

azmark

Member
Hi Bart

You make very valid points on every aspect. I'm no expert on honing but have been familiar with sharpening, mostly with years of experience with Nortons, Spyderco's and DMT's with knives. So not being able to get the same results with the coticule has created a little impatience in my part. If you notice all mentioned hones are fast cutters.

Looking through the vault has made me write down the characteristics I believe my coticules would fall in for my next attempt. In my attempt this morning with my Wonderedge I was looking forward to seeing the shaving results. I was still in that "8" range (I'd say shaving off 8K) so I did feel some stubble when feeling ATG after the shave but completely smooth feeling WTG. One thing that your comments made me think of is after only using razors off coticules is that I have NO weepers. I usually draw a little blood off my other finishers because it's beyond the point of sharp and usually pass a few times on crox to smooth the edge. So no blood is a good thing:love: :thumbup:

I think your plea to Ardennes is such a great idea. Even if it's not pointing out characteristics but the vein/area it came from. I think just knowing that can take some guessing out.

So rehoning the Wonderedge again tonight for a quick touch up this evening.


Bart said:
Hi Azmark,

Welcome to Coticule.be

I believe most of your questions were already addressed, so excuse me, should I fall in repetition.

All Coticules are currently extracted by one company, at a quarry called Ol' Preu. They also operated a mine at Regné, but only very little stones are brought to the surface at present. Not because the mine is exhausted, but because the demand for Coticule is so high that they can't invest time to expand the mine. Quarrying is faster.
So, all vendors, Ardennes included, sell the same whetstones.

As you probably noticed in the Vault descriptions, there are differences between Coticule. Partially, these differences can be attributed to the layer of which a Coticules was extracted, with some layers offering little individual variance, while other layers deliver hones that need to be assessed on an individual basis. The differences are very minor, when it comes to the resulting keenness and the quality of the shaving edge that can be obtained, but it is the route that leads to optimal results that truly varies.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter:
You give points to the way your razors shave. That's fine of course, all though we must realize that this is a very individual qualification. The question that remains blurred to me, is whether you don't quite always get the very best your hones are capable of, or whether you have reached a level of experience that you are really looking for those fine and final nuances that differentiate between excellent shaves and formidable ones. This is really an earnest question, as I see no reason why you couldn't have arrived at the latter state of competence. But we must rule out the former, because the plan of action would be completely different.

In the first case, I need to echo Smythe's advice. There's really no need to buy another Coticule, without mastering the one's your already own.

In the second case, it might be a better investment to delve into the world of straight razors. The differences in shaving feel are in most cases greater than the variance you can get from the use of different Coticules.
If you eventually want to fine-tune a given razor to your distinct preferences, just buying one, is like entering a lottery. That's part of the reason why I've pled at Ardennes to start with a line of Coticules, sold with a label that states some of the finer properties.

Obviously, it is possible that, when it comes to these final nuances, you prefer the edge you get of another hone.

Best regards,
Bart.
 

azmark

Member
If this mornings shave wasn't a 10 then I don't know what is. Kept with the dilucot because it feels extremely comfortable with my coticule and tried the new updated version. My first attempt at the new version was terrible and I did the procedure exactly to what "I" thought.

Here's the problem. I've always used a spray bottle and tried the spray bottle with the updated version. DO NOT use a spray bottle. When Bart says use a finger drop of water...seriously that's it. My assumption is I diluted too fast at my first attempt so it was such a bad shave. Then on my second attempt without the bottle was back to where it was at, about an 8ish range. The best thing I did was to write EVERYTHING I did down during the process. I did the exact same passes and now adding the finger drop of water method changed everything. So the only thing to do, and I can't believe I didn't do it earlier, was to increase strokes. I added 5 passes at each half stroke and kept the same on the x pattern to finish. I completely dropped the spray bottle except for my synthetics.

What an absolute ridiculous difference!!!!!!!! Writing it down was so useful because you can plain as day see what you are doing as to try to picture in your mind what you need to fix.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Excellent! :thumbup: :thumbup:

Keeping a small honing journal is a great plan. I did it for over a year.:)

The difference between not quite there and Bingo! is indeed "ridiculously" big, as you state it so well.
It's one of my major frustrations, running this website, when an occasional guy gives up, while I'm absolutely certain he never experienced the true brilliance of a perfect Coticule edge.

Cheers,
Bart.
 

azmark

Member
The first WTG stroke I could tell it was going to be good. I couldn't wait to finish and feel the results. I'll be honest it doesn't feel any better than my other edges but it so much more fun on naturals. So the big test will be when I attempt to hone the rest of the razors I have set aside for my coticule and Japanese stones.

I can't stress enough on the journal for folks who have trouble with it.

Bart said:
Excellent! :thumbup: :thumbup:

Keeping a small honing journal is a great plan. I did it for over a year.:)

The difference between not quite there and Bingo! is indeed "ridiculously" big, as you state it so well.
It's one of my major frustrations, running this website, when an occasional guy gives up, while I'm absolutely certain he never experienced the true brilliance of a perfect Coticule edge.

Cheers,
Bart.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
This is good news man.
I too use a spray bottle, but it does can get a little "clumsy" and may be much easier to dip a finger in the bowl and drip on the slurry (more accurate dilution too).

It is said a Genius is often absentminded, thus, most make use a journal.
 

zib

Active Member
As a former US vendor, ( I still sell slurry stones) I can tell you as well, there is no difference. And no two Coti's are alike either. Many vendors, like me, sell Selected grade. They are more aesthetically pleasing, (cleaner surface) and was what people wanted for a time. The stones in the vault here are Standard Grade. Ardennes will sell you Standard grade as well.
Can standard cut as good as selected, yes, but it goes both ways. It depends on the stone.

I've found one US vendor, 10 miles from my house selling Standard grade. Here's a question I get a lot. Can you beat this price? (Normally Staqndard grade vs Selected grade) and of course the answer is no. We pay a premium for Selected grade stones. Bart has the luxury of living in Belgium and being able to go to the quarry and get/maybe pick out his stones. Most, or All US vendors have to take what they get from the quarry. Yes, you can request grade, size, etc...but that's it. As far as vein, no way...The quarry simply does not have the time to fill requests on that scale. At least from what I've been told. I had to beg to get vein names written on my hones by the quarry. Thank you Maurice !

Prior to Bart starting up this site, very little was known about veins. Most people wanted a fast cutter, or a Pink coti, maybe a good finisher. That was the norm. When a single person buys a stone, that's one thing. When your a vendor and buy many stones, you have to figure out veins for yourself. I'm geographically challanged by living in the U.S.
Most US vendors will go out of there way to help you and prices are competitive. Many guys that are new to honing, don't realize the grading of these stones. I get it all the time....
My two cents.
 
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