Belgian Yellow Coticule (New and Vintage)
Belgian Coticules are world renowned and revered for creating incredibly sharp, incredibly fine, and superbly smooth edges on steel. Yellow Coticules use a slurry stone (some times referred to as a “bout”) to create a milky slurry to which to hone with. Due to the tremendous demand of Yellow Belgian Coticules, they are typically quite expensive, and are usually mounted to a dark bluish/black piece of slate to add stability. (Note: although very uncommon, there are some 4Kblue/8Kyellow Belgian Coticule combination stones) The abrasive/cutting agent in these hones is garnet – which is embedded into the stone, with a good quality (new) Yellow Coticule having about 30-40% garnet content. Since garnet is much harder than steel, it will quickly, and easily cut through steel, however the real key with these hones, and why they are the most common (and possibly desired) finishing hone is due to the Garnets having a unique shape, and the result is that they impart a smoother feeling edge when shaving, which many straight razors users prefer. After honing on a 4/8K Norton, I use the Belgian Coticule with about 10-15 passes as a finishing stone on most razors, and on particularly hard razors, or Damascus razors, 15-30 passes. Sometimes I’ll do the last few passes with no slurry, or use no slurry at all.
Vintage Belgian Yellow (sometimes white) Coticules are extremely expensive, and by many considered to be “the ultimate” razor hone. Since they are natural hones, and since the best cuts/stones have already been quarried, the “best of the best” in terms of Coticules are vintage Coticules. I personally have a vintage Coticule with about a 50-60% Garnet content, and it is noticeably finer, and provides a notably superior shaving edge.
Vintage Belgian Yellow Coticule...
1.) Belgian Yellow Coticules do not need to be soaked prior to use – merely wet the top of the hone, raise a slurry with the slurry stone (merely takes a few seconds) – and it’s ready!
2.) Leaves an exceptionally smooth edge, which is incredibly smooth/easy on your face when shaving.
3.) Harder than a water stone, which means it doesn’t have to be lapped too frequently, and the stone will not “load” with swarth or metal particles.
4.) Since both natural and limited in supply, these tend to hold their value quite well – and if anything will only go up in value. Check ebay… top quality, old stones can go for more than a custom Damascus razor.
5.) These hones are fun to use!
1.) Yellow Coticules are not easily available from many sources, and are quite expensive.
2.) Since it is a natural product, quality, grit, etc can vary from stone to stone.
3.) While a hard stone – they still need to be lapped occasionally.
4.) Coticules tend to be smaller stones – good quality large stones the size of say a Norton 4/8K are uncommon and tremendously expensive.
PROCEED TO THE NEXT SECTION OF THE GUIDE - Section 7 - 5, Chinese 12K
BACK TO THE TABLE OF CONTENTS