I've been honing for a little over a year. I started with Nortons and a C12K, then moved to a Shapton Glass set to 16K with CrOX to finish. I recently decided to move to a coticule after sampling a coticule edge. I retained my DMT600 and SG1000 for bevel setting. I've been shaving off the coticule for just about two weeks now and wanted to share some of my early impressions. My limited coticule experience is from a single stone (150x50 La Dressante au bleu or La Veinette) and a sample size of about 10 shaves on about 5 different razors (all vintage French & German). I have another stone to play with when the time is right (La Grosse Blanche).
- First thing - smooth. Absolutely smooth. With the Shaptons you got sharp for free and had to work for smooth. Exactly the opposite with the coticule - smooth is free, the work goes into sharp.
- No more weepers - I haven't seen blood since I started shaving with coticule edges. I have very sensitive skin so anything that reduces irritation is welcome in my routine.
- It isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. As a synthetic hone user, I thought I would have difficulty moving to a natural hone. I got a DFS off my first attempt with no irritation (ie: smooth=free) and a BBS off my second attempt. I think this early success may be in part due to 1) Wealth of quality info on how to use these stones from coticule.be and B&B community 2) I am experienced and comfortable with various honing strokes
- Working with variability on coticules (ie: managing slurry, controlling dilutions, interpreting feedback, etc) is not entirely unlike interpreting the queues and feedback used in deciding when to move to the next hone in a synthetic progression. I find the coticules are pretty good at providing feedback queues. As noted above I haven't yet challenged myself with managing the variability between coticules.
- I need to improve on the sharpness of the edge. I am having difficulty getting good HHT results right off the Coti even when my other edge probing tests return good results (TPT, arm hair, ATG shave). It should be noted that I have never found the HHT to work that well for me. As long as I'm getting good shaving edges, it isn't a huge deal - just not that efficient to have to shave test to know whether I nailed the edge or not. However, I am proceeding assuming that it is the edge with the problem, not the hair or the laws of physics so I will continue to strive for better HHT results.
- Hand-holding the hone works well. I have moved from a benchtop stone holder to a handheld approach with the smaller cotis. It was not a difficult change to make.
- Lower overhead. What I mean by this is that it is overall less work to hone on this setup. It is just so easy to get out the single stone (+slurry) and go at it. The amount of time spent not honing (ie: handling several hones during set up, progression, clean up and storage) is cut dramatically.
I welcome any feedback or comments.