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  1. #1
    Senior Member persco's Avatar
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    Question Help with choosing a finishing stone

    I am a bit confused and would like some advice regarding the choice of a finishing stone. I am currently using a belgian coticule to maintain the edge on my razors, and am getting a pretty good result. I use CrO2 on a bass wood bench strop to refresh the edge, what would be the best choice for a final polishing stone before the paste?

    I have read everything I can find on the Chinese 12K (some like it, some say it is not very nice to use compared to a thuringian hone. But many people seem to think there is no sharpening benefit going from a coticule to a thuringian (or Escher). Is there a good reason to progress from the coticule to a Chinese 12K? Would I be better off getting a Shapton 16K? Then there is the Spyderco UF? Although I've read it is difficult to lap.

    I guess I am looking for a little guidance as to what would be the best route to go here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Pros/Cons, etc, of each.

    I posted this thread here in advanced honing because it is here I read all the threads about the Chinese 12K, the 'new' Eschers, etc.

    Thanks in advance,

    scott.

  2. #2
    THE OLDER I GET; THE BETTER I WAS Dean65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by persco View Post
    I am a bit confused and would like some advice regarding the choice of a finishing stone. I am currently using a belgian coticule to maintain the edge on my razors, and am getting a pretty good result. I use CrO2 on a bass wood bench strop to refresh the edge, what would be the best choice for a final polishing stone before the paste?

    I have read everything I can find on the Chinese 12K (some like it, some say it is not very nice to use compared to a thuringian hone. But many people seem to think there is no sharpening benefit going from a coticule to a thuringian (or Escher). Is there a good reason to progress from the coticule to a Chinese 12K? Would I be better off getting a Shapton 16K? Then there is the Spyderco UF? Although I've read it is difficult to lap.

    I guess I am looking for a little guidance as to what would be the best route to go here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Pros/Cons, etc, of each.

    I posted this thread here in advanced honing because it is here I read all the threads about the Chinese 12K, the 'new' Eschers, etc.

    Thanks in advance,

    scott.
    The Chinese 12K stone is truly an excellent polishing stone for the initial expense! All of the other stones including the Chinese 12K must be lapped before utilizing. The Chinese 12K stone is time consuming when it comes to lapping, but it is also the least expensive by far of the aforementioned stones. I'm curious as to whether your Belgian coticule is a yellow or a blue? If it is yellow, in my opinion this stone is superior for polishing to any of these other stones. Just ensure you are properly stropping on leather to achieve that finely keen edge that you are seeking. I now utilize a Chinese 12K personally for polishing if you have any further questions regarding this natural stone.

  3. #3
    Previously lost, now "Pasturized" kaptain_zero's Avatar
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    Yepp, I'd have to agree with Dean above. I have a yellow coticule as well as a thuringen and a Shapton 16k. I've recently experimented with them all and I find the results quite similar between the coticule and the Shapton but the coticule is the smoother shaving of the two and the Shapton leave a slightly sharper edge. I finish on Chromium oxide on a flat leather bench strop.

    I do have a couple of razors (out of about 26) that have responded favorably to being honed up with my Shapton hones until they are as sharp as I can get them, then I drop back to the Coticule for a few laps with a light slurry, then pure clean water and that seems to soften the harsh edge on those razors and yet they are sharper than what I've been able to do with the Coticule alone... but the pre Shapton results from the Coticule alone was just fine.... only not as sharp as I can get now.

    I like the Shapton for it's speed and reliability.... but I'd never give up my Coticule and if forced to pick one hone, it would be the Yellow Coticule for me.

    Regards

    Christian
    "Aw nuts, now I can't remember what I forgot!" --- Kaptain "Champion of lost causes" Zero

  4. #4
    Senior Member kelbro's Avatar
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    I use a CH12K as a finisher and am more than pleased. Many may call it blasphemy but it polishes every bit as well as my vintage Escher

    I think that some of the negatives that you have read were from folks that had spent double or triple the cost of the CH12K before they heard about it or had tried one.

  5. #5
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    Well, since many of the hones you listed are natural stones, there's also the issue of variability. My CH12k is as fine as some of my Thuringians. I have a Coticule that is the hardest hone I've ever used and is as coarse as most Belgian Blues, but then another one is almost too soft and polishes better than the CH12k. One of my "regular" thuringians is finer than one of my Eschers, but not the others. And then there's the Japanese hones that run the full range of characteristics depending on what your looking for.

    Confused?

    There are many routes that lead to "the best edge", but your current setup is good enough that you may want to consider any further acquisitions to be for the sake of experimentation rather than purely for improvement.

  6. #6
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    I totally agree with Russel.

    Natural stones are totally variable.

    The chinese 12K is a big heavy hone that is a bargain and it does a really good job.

    Some natural hones are better some are worse but generally, the natural hones are nicer to use.

    In the recent "new escher" threads I have been responsible for causing some of your confusion.

    My Escher is better than my coticule and I have said so loud and clear. Quite clearly other members have coticules that are better than their Eschers.

    Do you know I'm so sad, I will go and buy a new coticule just to see if I can better the Escher.

    Or maybe, just maybe, I will buy a japanese finishing stone off Old School before they have all gone.

    All these finishing hones are fantastic and often it can be the skill of the user more than the hone.

    You will not go wrong with the Chinese 12k and if you buy a more expensive natural stone and don't like it, you will be able to trade it on the classifieds and not loose much at all.

  7. #7
    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    The variability of the grit on natural stones, is the exact reason that I don't prefer them... My slightly OCD brain just can't handle that, I need to know that my finishing hone is measured at 16k or 12k or 30k....
    At $99 I personally think that the Shapton 16k is one of the best values out there....

    There I just spent my 2 pennies

  8. #8
    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by English View Post
    Do you know I'm so sad, I will go and buy a new coticule just to see if I can better the Escher.
    You're not sad in the least. Or, I'm just as sad as you are.

    Isn't that the truth though? I can not resist buying or trying to buy coticules to see how they compare to the ones I have. They're all good, but some are stellar. For me it's like culling the good from the herd if I find an exceptional one to replace it. I have a great vintage Thuringian, but one of my vintage coticules absolutely spanks that Thuringian hands down.

    Yep, definitely variation in the natural stones.

    Chris L
    "Blues fallin' down like hail." Robert Johnson
    "Aw, Pretty Boy, can't you show me nuthin but surrender?" Patti Smith

  9. #9
    Never a dull moment hoglahoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    The variability of the grit on natural stones, is the exact reason that I don't prefer them... My slightly OCD brain just can't handle that, I need to know that my finishing hone is measured at 16k or 12k or 30k....
    At $99 I personally think that the Shapton 16k is one of the best values out there....

    There I just spent my 2 pennies
    Glen you could make a living testing and grit-rating natural stones for dealers with the OCD on your side
    Find me on SRP's official chat in ##srp on Freenode. Link is at top of SRP's homepage

  10. #10
    Coticule researcher
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    Here's my story. It 'll flirt with the boundaries of the topic, but I think you might make something out of it.

    I own 3 DMT's: the 325 and the 600 models with the embedded hones, the 1200 with a continuous surface.
    I own 3 Belgian Blue Whestones, 1 vintage coticule of Ebay, 4 coticules that I purchased from Ardennes Coticule. And a whole bunch more that I cut and lapped from raw coticule rocks, picked up at various closed mining sites.
    I also own a Nakayama from Old_School.
    A loom strop with CrO on one side and Dovo red paste on the other.
    A Dovo hanging strop with a nice linen side, and a HandAmerican red latigo strop with a felt strap on the backside.
    That's it. For now.

    This is my experience:
    I can get a decent bevel with any razor, whatever the starting condition, with the DMT's. (usually going no coarser than just the DMT1200). I have learned that, using the progressive honing approach, there is a certain "landing zone" you need to hit with each hone before proceding to the next. Fail to do that, and it shows up in the end result.
    That said, I find the DMT's, once properly broken in, to have a fairly comfortable "landing zone". (Let's agree we are talking among experienced honers here)

    After that, depending on my mood, I usually hit a Belgian Blue Whetstone, with a light slurry.
    I find my blues, and a few others I've been able to try, to behave all very consistently the same.
    They also have, again in my experience, a fairly easy "landing zone". Start a polish on the edge and refine it a degree further till it maxes out.

    At that point I have no choice but to hit the coticule. Water only, 'cause at this stage slurry will actually reduce sharpness. (believe me, I have tried them all, and it's a consistent and swift effect on every coticule I used).
    For smoothness, the landing zone is large. It does not matter much which particular Coticule I use.
    For keenness, it's a different story. A Coticule with water only, does not have great edge refining ability. For sure, the resulting edge after about 70 laps can certainly be called shaveready and I guess any isolated shaver on a remote island would have a lifetime of happy shaves with the aforesaid honing method. But honing expectations easily become contaminated by too much SRP reading. So I've tried every possible trick to squeeze a bit of extra keenness out of the coticules. Found a small margin of differences in my herd of coticules. Discovered that a secundary bevel can maximize the efforts, certainly if the razor has a broad bevel.

    A logical question at that point is: what lies beyond the Coticules?
    Dovo red paste improves the keenness, but that has to be paid with a harsher and less comfortable edge.
    Chromium oxide can improve keenness, but only if the edge is allowed some convexity. Subsequent touch-ups quickly convex it into roundness, and to make matters worse, I have found CrO pasted edges to deteriorate within a few shaves. (It seems that I'm not alone with that experience). I also find that CrO has a difficult landing zone: I find it very difficult to adjust my loom strop and also rather unpredictable how much laps I need to do to get premium results. While I am pretty confident about what to expect from a shave straight of the coticule, it's always anxiously awaiting what my CrO sessions yield.

    Hence my desire to add another stone to the equasion. A Nakayama bought from our very own, noble Old_School. This stone is a true delight to use. Edges are, to my face, very consistently as comfortable as my very best coticule honed edges. The "landing zone" is bigger, and in such way that I can land more of my razors on it. In other words: with the Nakayama I can hone, with ease, more razors to the level that some of my razors were able to hit right of the coticule.
    But I still have sharpness desires. Could be just me. Could be my beard. But I doubt it.
    Based upon much reading, I suspect that synthetic hones, the Shaptons up front, are able to produce a cleaner (sharper) edge, albeit much harsher.

    So maybe the question should not be: "what do I need to add after the coticule?" but "What can I add before the coticule?", could be an equally valid question. Certainly if you feel that your edges leave something to be desired on the sharpness level, rather than on the smoothness level.

    I hope this all makes some sense to you.

    Bart, currently contemplating the purchase of a synthetic hone.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to Bart For This Useful Post:

    joke1176 (10-07-2008)

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