If you cannot get a comfortable shave from the Norton 8K, unfortunately, it is more YOU than any of the hones. Nortons are exceptionally consistent, and the 8K side of a norton should be able to provide you with a very nice, irritation free, smooth shave. The finishing hones will just take it to a finer degree - but you should be able to get a very nice shave outta the 8K.
Originally Posted by nickyspaghetti
I think often, people try to throw money at problems they have in honing and shaving with straight razors - only to find very little, or a marginal improvement. What would serve you best is time/practice. Most Belgian Yellow Coticules are going to do their job just fine, and if you say yours is an improvement over the 8K side of the Norton, then by golly it is... unless you are honing up quite a few razors - having a small coticule shouldn't be an issue provided it works for you. Having a bigger one can/will be a "luxury" item, but what good will it do you if already you aren't able to get the maximum benefit from the one you currently have?
This sounds like a problem that should be solved with time/dedication rather than more hones, which in my opinion will merely further complicate things for you...
joel (at) badgerandblade.com