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Thread: Coticule Layer Round Up - Part 1 (Warning - 62 pictures)

  1. Post Coticule Layer Round Up - Part 1 (Warning - 62 pictures)

    ** Note: This is a continuation of THIS thread which has pertinent background information. All stones were used without slurry. All stones lapped on a DMT D8C **

    So i've been using these rocks quite a bit for the last few weeks, but unfortunately since there are so many of them, it's slow going, but so far i've come up with some pretty decent descriptions/qualities of the stones. I'll take you through each one, complete with front, back, and side pics, and well as wet and dry pics. Some of these stones are exceptionally rare - with the quarry only coming across just a select few each year. So far, what's most surprising to me is the tremendous variation in color, feel, hard/softness, etc. These stones are QUITE different, and work quite differently.

    Stone #1 -
    While the other stones, I have no clue what layer/quality they are, this one I know quite well, as I have an 8" by 3" version of it. This stone is a natural combo stone, meaning a belgian blue on one side, and a yellow coticule on the other - occurring naturally.

    Characteristics: Smooth with medium-light feedback, medium harness, seems to work nicely - but nothing outstanding or particularly noteworthy.

    #1 Bottom....


    #1 Top....


    #1 Side...


    #1 Top wet....


    #1 Top wet up close...


    Stone #2 -
    This second stone is particularly interesting (see pics below) and looks nothing like the other coticules - especially from the side. This stone almost looks like it's made of 5-6 different types of stones fused together. Very neat and very strange. I used 4-5X more strokes on this stone than most of the others to achieve the desired results.

    Characteristics: VERY smooth feeling with almost no feedback, similar to a Chinese 12K almost, INCREDIBLY hard - let me repeat - INCREDIBLY hard. This stone took forever to lap, almost as if it were made of ceramic. This is hands down the slowest cutter of the group, but it seems (so far) to leave the finest edge on razors. The grit of this stone must be considerably finer than the others, and while it is much trickier to use than any of the other coticules, this one provides the a truly exceptional edge - more along the lines of a Shapton 16K or perhaps a particularly nice Escher. Smells different from the other stones when wet and in use - more of an earthy/concrete scent.

    #2 Bottom...


    #2 Top...


    #2 Top close up...


    #2 Side close up...


    #2 Side close up...


    #2 Side overall...


    #2 close up wet...


    Stone #3 -
    The third stone seems quite similar to stone #1, however with no belgian blue on the bottom. It has the similar red specs, and is quite similar in performance, save for providing slightly greater feedback. This is also the widest stone of the bunch.

    Characteristics: I'd still consider this as "moderate" feedback and medium hardness. Stone smells similar to #1 - an acidic sort of smell. As previously stated, quite similar to the first stone, and not notably different in any capacity I can discern thus far.

    #3 Bottom...


    #3 Top...


    #3 Top close up...


    #3 Side...


    #3 Wet close up...


    Stone #4 -
    This sucker is lovely. So far, it's one of my favorites. Looks beautiful, performs beautifully and is just a real gem. Looks flawless to my eyes, and I've been known to be pretty picky. Has some what of a "buttermilk" almost pattern to it - completely uniform.

    Characteristics: Very smooth, and quite soft with a ton of feedback. Very user friendly, and quite easy to use. Smells earthy - in a good way.

    #4 Bottom...


    #4 Top....


    #4 Close Up...


    #4 Side...


    #4 Wet close up...


    Stone #5 -
    This stone had a snazzy label on the side of it when I first got it with some handwritten stuff - so this might be the Kosher stone, or it might have been put on there to throw me off. In either case, while it was a flawless looking stone (which I presume is quite rare) it was just "ok" in the honing dept. for me. A good coticule, and better than #1 and #3 - but nothing superb like #4.

    Characteristics: Somewhat hard, so so feedback, smells kinda strange, seemed to take a little while to get it cutting steel well (without using a slurry stone). Good stone, but nothing "crazy."

    #5 Bottom...


    #5 Top...


    #5 Top close up...


    #5 Side...


    #5 Wet...


    #5 Wet close up...


    Stone #6 -
    If I had to choose one stone out of the batch as my favorite, it would be this one, without a moments hesitation. I don't know what layer it's from, but sweet lordy i'd love a few more like this little gem. Just an absolute peach to use.

    Characteristics: VERY soft, I'm talkin' so soft when I was able to take a chip out of one of the corners (see the pic of the top of the stone, and look at the bottom left corner of the stone) with my fingernail when it was wet! Tremendous amount of feedback, and a slurry stone would be wholly pointless with this stone as within 2-3 strokes of honing your razor, you'll have a VERY fine/light slurry built up. This is certainly the easiest, and most fun stone to use. Smells downright lovely - with a wonderful clay like scent to it when in use, and is quite fragrant when wet/used. sounds strange, but it makes me like the hone more. Markedly different than other coticules i've used - really a divine little hone!

    #6 Bottom...


    #6 Top...


    #6 Top close up...


    #6 Side...


    #6 Wet top...


    Stone #7 -
    This one is a weird one. All sorts of interesting splotches on the top, and weird lines. Very different from the others, as it feels quite gritty, almost as if it were porous stone, like an artificial Norton water stone or the like.

    Characteristics: Gritty, medium hardness, not very smooth, seems to leave the least polished edge, and remove the most amount of metal.

    #7 Bottom...


    #7 Top...


    #7 Top close up...


    #7 Side...


    #7 Wet...


    #7 Wet close up... (pic looks fuzzy, but it isn't)


    Stone #8 -
    Another one of my favorites to use. This stone was a wild one, as it provided a TON of feedback, almost as if it were a super low grit stone, yet it was soft/smooth.

    Characteristics: INSANE feedback, more feedback than any stone I have used regardless of grit, very loud (you could feel and hear exactly what the stone was doing and the quality of the edge on the razor), very soft - very easy to use, smelled clay like.

    #8 Bottom...


    #8 Top...


    #8 Top close up...


    #8 Side...


    #8 Wet top...


    Stone #9 -
    Decent stone, ok all around with an interesting salmon like color to it. Quite good looking, but nothing special or noteworthy otherwise.

    Characteristics: Hard, so-so feedback, medium grit seemed just "ok."

    #9 Bottom...


    #9 Top...


    #9 Top close up...


    #9 Side...


    #9 Wet top...


    #9 Wet top close up...


    Stone #10 -
    This one is a hone you hate to love. Works great, and is a good performer, but for some wacky reason, it smells awful once wet and in use. It has a weird looking side, almost as if some little creature got trapped in the molten rock and was turned into goo whilst it was being formed, and it brooded in rotting stank for a few million years. Works great - but smells bad.

    Characteristics: Ooo, ooo that smell - awful, somewhat soft, good feedback, very smooth, quite easy to use.

    #10 Bottom...


    #10 Top...


    #10 Top close up...


    #10 Side...


    #10 Side up close...


    #10 Wet top...


    Stone #11 -
    Like a shapton. Using this stone is like honing on a hone covered with honey. It's odd as it's smooth and has a ton of feedback, but somehow it has this odd feeling of slowing down your stroke (yet in a smooth manner) - very much like honing with a shapton, albeit with way more feedback. This stone is a gorgeous blood red with interesting veins/line, and is hands down the best looking natural stone i've ever seen.

    Characteristics: Lots of feedback, medium hardness, like pulling through molasses, leaves a lovely edge on a razor.

    #11 Bottom...


    #11 Top...


    #11 Top close up...


    #11 Side..


    #11 Wet...


    #11 Wet up close...


    Stay tuned fellas, as we're expecting the Le Grelots to show up within a week or so, and i'll have plenty of razors to hone up and create a part 2 with more info.
    - Joel
    joel (at) badgerandblade.com

  2. #2
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    Man, that's a lot of stones!

    It is interesting that the aroma of the hone is such an integral part for you. All I have right now is Spyderco hones some Japanese water stones and lapping film and of course they all have no real aroma at all.

    Can you say which stone gave you the most comfortable edge? The sharpest?

    How would you compare the edge produced by your favorite of these to the edge off a Spyderco Ultra Fine?

    Thanks for all your hard work on this. Will you be telling us where we can purchase these once it is all over? I sure would like to buy one and I'm sure others will as well.

    Joe
    Death. Inevitable. If death is inevitable, what is left? Style, only style.

  3. Thread Starter

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePerri View Post
    Man, that's a lot of stones!

    It is interesting that the aroma of the hone is such an integral part for you. All I have right now is Spyderco hones some Japanese water stones and lapping film and of course they all have no real aroma at all.

    Can you say which stone gave you the most comfortable edge? The sharpest?

    How would you compare the edge produced by your favorite of these to the edge off a Spyderco Ultra Fine?

    Thanks for all your hard work on this. Will you be telling us where we can purchase these once it is all over? I sure would like to buy one and I'm sure others will as well.

    Joe
    Joe,
    First - the aroma isn't that big a deal for me (save for the one that smelled simply horrible) however I found it interesting that the stones were so fragrant, and many smelled so different. With most of the other hones I have (Eschers, Natural Japanese stones, Spyderco's, Nortons, Shaptons, Barber hones, synthetic Japanese stones, etc etc) don't really have any scent to them - so it's just a bit different, and kinda neat/interesting.

    Since this is just round 1 of the test, I can't give you much conclusive info on which one worked best for me, but I can tell you stone #2 puts the sharpest edge on a razor of the group, and stone #6 puts the most comfortable edge of the group - at least thus far.

    As for the purchase info - sure, I can get all that to you - depending on the stones. As of right now, I don't even know which one is which (save for #1) and several layers are VERY rare, and as a result would likely be quite difficult, if not - impossible to get a hold of from a vendor.

    Regarding comparing them to a Spyderco, and general info on coticules - check out THIS thread where I compare a wide array of hones/pastes (including coticules and the spyderco) and THIS thread which I discuss just coticules.

    The primary reason for the thread, and this test is to discuss the variations of coticules, and the differences (or if possible - which layers are best suited for straight razor shaving) and how to best use the different layers to get the best results. Personally - I think Coticules are wonderful stones for sharpening straight razors, but not necessary if you have a Spyderco UF, a Green Chrome pasted paddle, etc etc. Just one of the many tools to use to sharpen a razor - and a lot of fellas like to go with natural stones.

    Belgians just happen to be extremely easy to use and provide some of the best feedback, which is why they tend to be so popular. I feel you can get better results with different stones - however they are often trickier to use, and/or not as quick and effortless.
    - Joel
    joel (at) badgerandblade.com

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