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  1. #1
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    Default Back to the coticule...

    Well, I gave up and went back to the 8k for the Boker - as before, I hit a plateau and wasn't able to get the edge any sharper on the coticule, whether with plain water or a slurry. Differences in pressure didn't seem to make a difference, either - ultra light or a bit of pressure, it just wasn't getting any sharper.

    Question for the people with both - could you describe the difference (if any) in your stroke using the 8k vs. the coticule? More pressure or less?

    I've still got the other Wapi to finish - I may do just enough on the 4k to smooth out the scratch from the DMT 1200 and then try again with the coticule.

    *sigh* It's damned frustrating, though - I was hoping to spend $175 and get something that would (for the most part) replace the 4k/8k...and I just can't get it to work.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    When you say coticule, I assume you're referring to the yellow coticule rather than the belgian blue?

    The yellow coticule will not replace the 4000 Norton in any way. It could replace the 8000 side, but is a much slower albeit far superior polisher than the 8000. I think the yellow is rated at somewhere between 10000-12000 grit.

    Can you describe a bit more detail about what kind of problem you're having with getting your boker sharp? Is is sharp in certain parts along the edge and not others?

    I think it would help if you gave a detail of describing the edge and how it felt when you shaved with it, and also describe your process to get it where you have it now.

    No less or no more pressure on the coticule than the 8000 Norton. I love my yellow coticule. I think it's an unparalleled polishing stone. It's a finish stone as a final stage prior to stropping and isn't meant to be used for any work heavier than that. This means that the edge must be good and keen from the lesser grits prior to bringing it to the coticule. The coticule is like a master veteran world class performer. It assumes and even expects that you've got everything prepared for it before its performance. Then it goes out and wows you and the edge. If you don't prepare/prep the edge for the master coticule, it will walk offstage and just get back into the limo.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisl View Post
    When you say coticule, I assume you're referring to the yellow coticule rather than the belgian blue?

    The yellow coticule will not replace the 4000 Norton in any way. It could replace the 8000 side, but is a much slower albeit far superior polisher than the 8000. I think the yellow is rated at somewhere between 10000-12000 grit.
    Yellow coticule, that's correct. I remember Josh and others saying it cuts like a 6k with a heavy slurry. I figured I could possibly use it like that, but that's not been the case, unfortunately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisl
    Can you describe a bit more detail about what kind of problem you're having with getting your boker sharp? Is is sharp in certain parts along the edge and not others?
    Yes, I "chase sharpness" up and down the edge. The whole edge is sharp, but some spots aren't as sharp as others.

    It's now (off the 8k) where it will shave arm hair with virtually no pressure, and in some places on the edge, with no pressure. I'm hoping to get the entire edge to where it will "lay the hair down" (as some have described it - the hair falls over instead of "pops off") on my arm with just the touch of the edge, not a shaving movement, as a benchmark.

    Quote Originally Posted by =Chrisl
    I think it would help if you gave a detail of describing the edge and how it felt when you shaved with it, and also describe your process to get it where you have it now.
    I had dinged the edge on the Boker and was working it back into shape. I had it shaving reasonably well off the 8k. After trying a dry coticule edge on the Wapi (another story), I thought I would try it on the Boker and see what improvement there was.

    I did 10 strokes on the dry coticule and tested - and it wouldn't cut hair. Through the scope, there was visible blunting of the edge compared to the 8k edge that I started with. I tried a water film on the coticule and then a slurry, with no appreciable change. I could still see the difference in sharpness of the edge through the scope.

    So, I went back to the 8k and now have it as described above. Yesterday evening, I shaved 4 days growth of beard with no irritation. It did pull in the heaviest areas of my beard, but EVERY straight pulls there for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisl
    No less or no more pressure on the coticule than the 8000 Norton. I love my yellow coticule. I think it's an unparalleled polishing stone. It's a finish stone as a final stage prior to stropping and isn't meant to be used for any work heavier than that. This means that the edge must be good and keen from the lesser grits prior to bringing it to the coticule. The coticule is like a master veteran world class performer. It assumes and even expects that you've got everything prepared for it before its performance. Then it goes out and wows you and the edge. If you don't prepare/prep the edge for the master coticule, it will walk offstage and just get back into the limo.
    I disagree - it could be used instead of the 8k, it would just take longer...and I'd *LOVE* to see the coticule "wow me", because it sure hasn't, yet, with one exception - a Wapi that I touched up on the dry coticule after the 8k. Every time I've tried to use the coticule as anything other than the equivalent of a pasted strop, it's dissapointed me. I get to a certain point of sharpness, then....nothing.

    As I said, I have another Wapi that I'm working with - I may give it one more shot, to see. If that doesn't do it, I'll probably put it up on the BST and order the Spyderco trio when I'm back Stateside on vacation in a couple months.
    Last edited by mnealtx; 01-22-2008 at 04:54 PM.

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    Frameback Aficionado heavydutysg135's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnealtx View Post
    Well, I gave up and went back to the 8k for the Boker - as before, I hit a plateau and wasn't able to get the edge any sharper on the coticule, whether with plain water or a slurry. Differences in pressure didn't seem to make a difference, either - ultra light or a bit of pressure, it just wasn't getting any sharper.

    Question for the people with both - could you describe the difference (if any) in your stroke using the 8k vs. the coticule? More pressure or less?

    There is no difference in my stroke on a coticule and a Norton. I use a very light x-pattern with the same motion and pressure on both stones.

    I've still got the other Wapi to finish - I may do just enough on the 4k to smooth out the scratch from the DMT 1200 and then try again with the coticule.

    *sigh* It's damned frustrating, though - I was hoping to spend $175 and get something that would (for the most part) replace the 4k/8k...and I just can't get it to work.
    Unfortunately this is not the case, a coticule will absolutely not replace the Norton 4K/8K. Although it cuts relatively fast for its grit, it is still a finishing stone and a very slow cutter compared to the Norton 4K. When I use the stones I set a bevel on a Norton 4K (if I need to use a courser stone then I will remove the scratch pattern with the 4K before moving on), then polish the edge with a belgian blue and belgian yellow. I have also left out the Norton 4K and went straight to the blue off the DMT 1200 with very good results. So basically you will need some type of fast cutting bevel creation stone to set a sharp bevel, then you can polish it to a great shaving edge with the belgian stones. After the razor is already sharp then you will just need the yellow coticule to maintain the edge indefinately

  5. #5
    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnealtx View Post
    Yellow coticule, that's correct. I remember Josh and others saying it cuts like a 6k with a heavy slurry. I figured I could possibly use it like that, but that's not been the case, unfortunately.

    I have a cotigura stone (just a small bit of yellow coticule) that I tried to use when I first got my yellow. In my experience, it did not improve the edges. Since then I have went to plain water spritzed on the coticule with better results.

    Yes, I "chase sharpness" up and down the edge. The whole edge is sharp, but some spots aren't as sharp as others.

    Have you determined that this Boker blade is absolutely flat on both sides? If not, as a suggestion, I perform the following test with any new/used blade I'm going to hone:

    Take any flat smooth surface (8000 side of the Norton works well for this) that's long or wide enough to allow you to lay the blade flat on the surface. Then place an index finger on the center of the spine to anchor the blade and use your other index finger to press on the toe of the spine, then the heel. Then use that other index finger to lightly press near the edge (extremely lightly if you have an extra hollow) on the toe, then the heel.

    What are you looking for? When you press the toe or heel of the
    spine, does the blade rock/"see-saw"/wobble?
    When you have the blade anchored by that first index finger on
    the middle of the spine, can you slip a piece of paper between the flat surface
    and the toe edge of the razor?
    I've had blades where I can slide about two to three post-its from the toe going towards the heel until about the middle of the edge before the paper stops. Bingo....warped blade. You must do this test on BOTH sides of the razor. I've had razors that lie perfectly and completely flat along the entire edge on one side of the razor, but then found that when the other side was laid on the surface...warpage.

    I wouldn't go as far as saying that a warped blade is a sucko blade (I'd almost go that far, and I'm so tempted to go that far, but even new blades can have this problem as a borderline sucko brand new TI 5/8ths Super Gnome which taunts me endlessly can attest to) but man can you be in for chasing that edge as you put it from here until Tuesday. I just hate warped blades, period. You could give me a warped, even slightly warped $500 razor and a flat plain Jane slick black $30 Sheffield or Solingen any brand and I'm sorry but I'm going to take the $30 razor since I'd be able to actually hone and shave with the thing without running it through a three ring circus to really get it sharp.



    I had dinged the edge on the Boker and was working it back into shape. I had it shaving reasonably well off the 8k. After trying a dry coticule edge on the Wapi (another story), I thought I would try it on the Boker and see what improvement there was.

    I did 10 strokes on the dry coticule and tested - and it wouldn't cut hair. Through the scope, there was visible blunting of the edge compared to the 8k edge that I started with. I tried a water film on the coticule and then a slurry, with no appreciable change.

    I think going from water to slurry, if you do want to use slurry is going backwards. That's just been my experience, so others may disagree. Shave tests for me and microscope views show slurry edges to have much more noticeable striations and a harsher shave then water edges. My worst experience to date with a slurry was buying some "Rottenstone" powder at Rockler for about $5 since I saw Bill Ellis do this in his DVD. I used this like he did on the 4000 Norton side. He's a master, I'm not. Talk about a blunt edge.......!

    So, I went back to the 8k and now have it as described above. Yesterday evening, I shaved 4 days growth of beard with no irritation. It did pull in the heaviest areas of my beard, but EVERY straight pulls there for me.



    I disagree - it could be used instead of the 8k,
    I don't think I explained myself as I should have. Absolutely the yellow can replace the 8000. I meant since you were talking about the yellow possibly replacing both the 8000 AND the 4000, I don't see that as a possibility.
    it would just take longer...and I'd *LOVE* to see the coticule "wow me", because it sure hasn't, yet, with one exception - a Wapi that I touched up on the dry coticule after the 8k. Every time I've tried to use the coticule as anything other than the equivalent of a pasted strop, it's dissapointed me. I get to a certain point of sharpness, then....nothing.

    As I said, I have another Wapi that I'm working with - I may give it one more shot, to see. If that doesn't do it, I'll probably put it up on the BST and order the Spyderco trio when I'm back Stateside on vacation in a couple months.
    After the edge is keen off the 8000, I may do 100 passes or more on the water spritzed yellow. 200 passes, and the striations are almost... gone, that bevel is like a mirror across most of it. Nice! How many passes did you do on the yellow with the Boker?

    I love the yellow and I haven't had mine that long. I'd sure like to help you any way I could to keep you from selling it. It's such a great stone. I'm waiting for an 8"x3" Belgian Blue to come in the mail from Howard any day now. I can't wait. Now a blue and yellow combo can DEFINITELY replace the 4000/8000! That's what I'm hoping for. Sorry for the long replies.

  6. #6
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    Another mini crash, I take it.

    I've not tried your check for the blade being warped, but I will - thanks for mentioning it.

    I went to slurry to try to get some improvement after none with plain water.

    Again, the reference to the "all in one" stone was due to posts where some of the experts on the board described the yellow with a slurry as cutting similarly to a (at a guess) a 6k hone. At this point, I don't have a problem with slower cutting, as it gives me a chance to see if I'm going wrong before it's irreversible.

    A rough guess to number of passes? Probably 150 with water. 50 with slurry.

    The current 8k edge shows almost no straitions in the bevel area.

    I just want what I have to actually work like it should. I'll probably end up sending it off for an evaluation by one of the honemeisters, as well.

  7. #7
    Razorsmith JoshEarl's Avatar
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    Mike,

    I continue to be mystified by this problem. The only thing I've thought of is that you should get some 300-grit wet/dry sandpaper and put a nice radius on the edges of your hone. The chamfered edges on the coticules I've used were sharp enough that they might cause a problem.

    What's really throwing me off is that you can see the edge get damaged or dulled.

    Using a coticule with a slurry does greatly increase its cutting rate. It leaves a duller edge, as has been mentioned.

    Josh

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    It doesn't make any sense to me either, Josh.

    They don't have any sandpaper at the PX - I've looked. I radius the edges using the flattening stone every time I lap my hones (including the coticule).

    I wish I had one of the USB scopes... I'd take pics. When I look at my edges , I tilt the blade so that the light catches the bevel... then just a tiny bit more so the light catches the very edge. I can see the blunting of the coticule edge in comparison with the 8k when I do that.

    If it was just a softening of the feel of the edge, I could deal with it. But going from an edge that will shave arm hair with no pressure to one that won't shave arm hair at all isn't acceptable.
    Last edited by mnealtx; 01-24-2008 at 07:26 AM.

  9. #9
    Hones & Honing randydance062449's Avatar
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    Not all coticules are equal! I have had several that were to coarse so I cut them up for slurry stones and one so bad that I graded it a 2K, it did not even have the right color!

    In the old days the coticules were graded. I have an "Extra Select" , an "Old Rock" and two "Deep Rock Belgians" marked "Extra Extra". These are the finest of my coticules.

    In summation, your coticule just may be a bummer.
    If I were to buy a new coticule today then I would specify a "Kosher" quality. Nothing less.
    Last edited by randydance062449; 01-24-2008 at 01:58 PM.
    Randolph Tuttle, a SRP Mentor for residents of Minnesota & western Wisconsin

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    Interesting info, Randy...thanks!

    I have no clue as to the grade of my coticule, but I hardly think Howard would have knowingly sold me a bum hone.

    I need to finish out my other Wapi on the low grit hones, then I'll try it on the coticule again - one last try.

    Any of the honemiesters willing to evaluate my coticule if I can't get this issue worked out?

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