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  1. #1
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    Default A Cry for an Escher Compendium

    Eschers are certainly a highly talked about and coveted stone here at SRP. As a fascinate newbie, I have been able to glean some information about these stones, but they remain somewhat esoteric to me. Perhaps this already exists, but what we really need is a guide to Eschers. Something that would include their grit range, variations, what the colors mean, the label issue, possible sources, Thuringian/Escher clarification, and shave characteristics. I feel something of this nature would really help to clear up those ethereal Eschers.

    -Hank

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    Being natural stones it will not be possible to write the ultimate guide on Eschers. They are fine hones, finer than most coticules.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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    Senior Member xChris's Avatar
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    Thus we have HAD.

  4. #4
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    I have been seeking that info for a long time. Seems like Alan Watts remark about Zen,"Those who say don't know. those who know don't say" applies. Kidding aside, my impression is that the Dark Blue is something like a 4K to 6K, the Yellow/Green 8 to 10K and the Blue/Gray 12K. I have been fooling with them honing razors and that seems to be an accurate baseline to me. But then maybe I am proving Alan Watt's point.

    I have spoken to couple of forum members and stone collectors far more experienced then I am on this and they have said that the colors don't mean anything. That natural stones are all unique and you have to try the stone and see where it fits in to your sequence. I have found that true of my three coticules. OTOH, I can't believe that Escher didn't mark their rocks with color labels if it didn't mean something more then the obvious hue of the stone.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  5. #5
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    I used to think that some of these shaving forums withheld deep secrets that only the "in" members were a party to.

    It isn't true. The truth is some of the reasonable questions that are asked just can not be answered. Sometimes we just don't have the information.

    One thing I have learnt is that the membership on this forum will give whatever information they have openly and honestly if they have the information.

    I have a coticule that is quite hard and a patchy salmon pink/yellow in color.
    I have an Escher type stone which is usually described by Escher as "yellow/green". My Escher type stone puts a finer smoother edge on my razors than the coticule.

    The Escher is a softer stone and feels more clay like. As to grit size, I haven't got a clue, I can guess that the coticule is 8000 grit and I can guess that the Escher is 12000 grit, but I honestly have not got a clue.

    I have used many different types of finishing hone including a spyderco ultrafine, a Thuringien, a chinese 12K and my preference is for the yellow green Escher.

    What I have learnt with natural stones is that grit size is just one small part of the equation and personal preferences will vary greatly. It's part of the fun of the hobby. If you don't like these answers and think that the answers are in some way trying to build a mystique about the hones, no problem, stick with the man made stuff which is all clearly graded and documented.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyH-AD View Post

    ... my impression is that the Dark Blue is something like a 4K to 6K, the Yellow/Green 8 to 10K and the Blue/Gray 12K.
    Wow, I've never used a Thuringian that seemed to be any less than 10k.

    To answer Hank's question; Escher is a brand of Thuringian stone, there are a few variations like J.G. Escher Sohn,J. G. Escher Sons, Escher & Co, E & Co, etc. Escher's are known for being some of the finest Thuringians out there, but that's not to say that all of the finest stones were branded "Escher", I have a couple plain Thuringians that are comparable in every way, and there are even other brands that may have been superior, "Hohenzollern" IIRC is a likely candidate and I can personally vouch for S.R. Droescher stones as being as fine as any Thuringian.
    Last edited by Russel Baldridge; 10-11-2008 at 09:40 PM.

  7. #7
    illegitimum non carborundum Utopian's Avatar
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    I have created a new thread here to address the Norton issue.

    I do hope that someone will provide at least a basic explanation for Hank Williams about the scale of Escher color grades.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lt.Arclight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by English View Post

    What I have learnt with natural stones is that grit size is just one small part of the equation and personal preferences will vary greatly. It's part of the fun of the hobby. If you don't like these answers and think that the answers are in some way trying to build a mystique about the hones, no problem, stick with the man made stuff which is all clearly graded and documented.

    I thought you might wax philosophical on Natural Stones for a minute...

  9. #9
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    Default Eschers

    Hank, Eschers are a legendary German razor honing stone. They were sold by several companies including some in the US. One other German company not already mentioned is Fox, the US stones were sold as Barber's Hone etc. by a variety of barber supply houses. Belgian stones were also sold by a number of companies, the most notable one in the US is Pike. The matrix of the Escher stone is chalk and the cutting material is very fine silica, SiO2, also known as quartz. Quartz has a Mohs hardness of 7. The matrix of the Belgian stones is a mixture of clay and volcanic ash and the cutting material is fine garnet, 5-10 microns for the Coticule and 10-15+ microns for the blue. Garnet has a Mohs hardness of 6.5-7.5 depending on which garnet it is. The Belgian stones are harder than the Escher stones. Escher stones work primarily as polishing stones and are usually used without a slurry to give the best result.The Belgian stones are generally used as a natural substitute to the 4K/8K Norton. Thus, they finish setting a bevel (Blue Belgian) and sharpen (Blue Belgian and Coticule) Many straight razor shavers shave off the Belgian stones followed by stropping the razor. But I believe that the consensus is that a few strokes on an Escher before stropping and shaving produces a smoother shave. It's like the difference between a Feather and a Gillette Swede in the DE world. These blades are about the same in sharpness but the Swede is much smoother. I hope that this helps. If I were you, I'd buy a good quality Belgian Blue and Coticule and an Escher, You'll hone some magnificent edges with these stones!




    Last edited by blaireau; 10-13-2008 at 07:48 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    @ Blareau:

    Escher recommend you use it with slurry on most labels. Many Eschers come without slurry stone as it was lost. If you have an Escher in its original box you'll notice there's a space for a slurry stone. I have got a Hohenzollern hone with a box that also has a space for a slurry stone but I when I bought it it did not have a slurry stone. As has this one that is on its way to me: http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...EOIBSA:DE:1123
    Last edited by Kees; 10-13-2008 at 08:15 PM.
    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

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