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Thread: ONE COTICULE HONING

  1. #1
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    Default ONE COTICULE HONING

    This will be a long post. The text was meant to go into the wiki, but I'm putting it up for review first. Haven't decided on the Wiki yet. I'm also planning the creation of a small video to illustrate the presented method.

    Many people, including myself, have expressed the wish of doing all their honing on only one single hone. Some because they like they zen-like notion of traveling light through life. Others because they're in love with the typical Coticule feel and miss that when they're on another hone.
    I have been searching for a consistent method to get away with a full honing job on one single Coticule for over a year now.
    A few weeks back, the pieces of the puzzle finally started matching together. I've waited with sharing till I had repeated my success on a variety of razors and different Coticules.

    It is suggested a few times here on SRP, that I make honing more complicated than it should be, in posts that were aimed to help out honing rookies with specific problems.
    I believe that the method I'm about to present is a very simple one. No testing. (ok. make that almost no testing). No fancy microscopes or special equipment.
    I do introduce a few typical twists, but they're easy to understand, and easy to perform.

    I'll paste the text in the next post.
    Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments and experiences.

    Bart.
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  3. #2
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    Default One hone sharpening - a practical method.

    Coticules are extremely versatile hones. When used with slurry, they remove steel quite rapidly. When used with water they are among the very best options for finishing a razor's edge. The challenging part of honing a razor on nothing but one Coticule is bridging the small gap of keenness that lies between the edge left by the slurry and the sharpness required to finish on water. The method, here presented, provides a simple yet elegant solution for this issue.
    To keep matters as uncomplicated as possible this method relies on as little honing test as possible. For this reason, the guideline must be followed strictly.

    Required Items.
    - a straight razor in undamaged condition. It may be dull, or not shaving well for whatever reason, as long as there are no flaws at the edge that can be seen with the naked eye. (no missing chips or obvious corrosion).
    - a serviceable Coticule. It must be lapped flat and have chamfered or rounded edges.
    - a Coticule slurry stone.
    - a cup of water
    - some electrical insulation tape
    - a glass jar or a drinking glass

    Method.
    Step 1. Make sure that the razor does not shave arm hair. If it does, run the razor without any significant pressure, edge down, over the bottom of the glass jar. Check again to make sure that it no longer shaves arm hair.

    Step 2. Raise slurry on the Coticule. Sprinkle some water on the surface and rub with the slurry stone till the fluid has a milky consistency.

    Step 3. Place the razor on the Coticule and perform half X-strokes, with the index finger pressing down at the middle of the razor, near the spine (apply slight pressure with the finger and not with the wrist). Perform diagonal back and forth motions without flipping the blade. Count 30 laps. Flip the blade and copy 30 back and forth strokes on the other side.
    Check if the razor shaves arm hair. If not, repeat the 30 laps on both sides, same fashion. Continue doing this, till the razor manages to shave arm hair. Only then, proceed to the next step. You may have to repeat this 2 to 20 times, depending on the initial condition of the razor. If it takes a long time, try keeping an eye on the width of both bevel sides. If they start showing unequal width, spend some extra laps on the narrowest side. On most undamaged edges, with a normal bevel width, it won’t take longer than 2 or 3 times 30 laps.

    Step 4. Once the razor shaves arm hair, refresh the slurry, make it slightly thinner than before.
    Perform about 30 regular X-strokes with as little pressure as you can while steadily guiding the razor.
    This amount is given for a typical 6"X2" (15cmX5cm) Coticule. Adjust the lap count according to the particular Coticule.

    Step 5. Add one layer of electrical insulation tape to the spine. Rinse the razor. Do not rinse the Coticule but add a splash of clear water. The slurry should be quite watery. Perform 30 X-stroking laps.

    Step 6. Completely rinse the Coticule and sprinkle clean water on top. Rinse the razor. Finish with 50 laps, using only clear water on the hone. Remove the tape and gently dry the razor with a piece of tissue paper.

    Step 7. Strop the razor on a good hanging strop. Keep the strop reasonably taut and apply light pressure on the razor, just enough to develop a light drawing sensation. Strop 30 laps on a clean linen and 60 laps on clean leather.

    Elaboration.
    There are two counterintuitive features to this method. The first is to dull the edge prior to aiming for flat and completely developed bevel faces, which is a crucial condition to be met, before the edge can be refined to a comfortable shaving keenness. The reason for starting with a razor that does not shave arm hair, is to take the guesswork out of knowing when the aforementioned goal is accomplished. Razors often have arc-shaped bevel faces, due to the use of pasted strops for maintaining the shaveability of the edge. Eventually the arc introduced in the bevel of the razor becomes so curved that the shaving comfort is compromised. At that point, it is time for honing, however the edge is still capable of shaving arm hair. When we remove this shaving ability in the slightest of ways, by running the edge once over a glass surface, we know with absolute certainty that the edge will not pass that test again before the bevel faces are completely flat and extending fully. A second advantage is that with this method, also all small blemishes accumulated by edge deterioration, will be gone. Our new edge will live in fresh and uncompromised steel.

    The second feature that might seem counterintuitive, is the application of one layer of tape halfway through the honing process. Slurry on a Coticule abrades steel with ample speed, but it is also somewhat detrimental for the extremely fine tip of the edge. The impact of the tip with the abrasive garnets in the slurry has a rounding effect. At the same time there is also a sharpening effect due to steel being removed of the bevel faces. At a certain level on the keenness scale, the dulling effect neutralizes the sharpening effect. One could hone the razor into oblivion on the hone with slurry, never would it take a keener edge than that predetermined level.
    When no slurry is used on a Coticule, the garnets stay safely embedded into the surface of the hone, only protruding with a small part of their body. They quickly loose their bite and no fresh garnets are exposed to continuously rejuvenate the cutting force of the hone. As a result the Coticule becomes a very slow and shallow polisher, superior for smoothing, but almost useless for refining the edge.For this reason, simply stepping up from a Coticule with slurry to one with merely water, will not deliver good keenness. Gradually diluting the slurry helps, but it is an inconsistent method that requires a lot of honing skills for vacillating success.
    But there is a way for exponentially boosting the performance of extremely slow hones. If the Coticule, used with water, is allowed to work on a narrow strip near at apex of the blade, it will remove enough steel to refine the edge, gradually slowing down as a new flat region grows. One layer of tape added to the spine is all it takes to divert all refining action to the tip to the bevel. Because the new, secondary bevel is only altered by the smallest possible degree, it must be allowed enough width, in order to refine the initial bevel. A drawing should clarify this:


    An extensive number of tests with different Coticules on different razors has revealed that the most consistent results are reached when doing a small amount of work with a very watery slurry before finalizing on the Coticule with clean water. A bit of experimentation will reveal the best ratio for each individual stone.
    Last edited by Bart; 04-28-2009 at 11:31 PM.

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  5. #3
    I Bleed Slurry Disburden's Avatar
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    I will post more when I read this more thoroughly. I just wanted to say though that I've been waiting for you to make a video for some time now on Coticule honing! I am very excited about this thread. thanks, Bart.
    Last edited by Disburden; 04-29-2009 at 01:41 AM.

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    Senior Member singlewedge's Avatar
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    It makes perfect sense to me. I pulled something similar off, not with those results, with a C12k. It made me wonder if I was nuts or not. Although unlike you I do not think I could repeat what I did.

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    Great post Bart!! Thanks!

    I have a couple questions.. First, I was wondering if you have any preference in soft, medium, or hard coticules, and if you have any experience with how each might affect this honing strategy?

    Also, when you are setting the bevel with the 30 half x strokes at a time (step 3), do you mean we should do a "normal" forward honing stroke, then trace it back by backhoning? And is one normal forward followed by one backward backhoning stroke considered 1x such that we should do 30 times "forward" and 30 times backhoning per side, per 30?

    Then, in steps 4/5/6, should we revert to flipping at every x stroke, per normal honing?

    (I'm just trying to make sure I'm completely clear. I think it's a big ambiguous how it's currently written).

    I absolutely love your theory on dulling before setting the bevel. Great thinking there. It may be common practice for some?, but it's the first I've heard of it, and it seems really brilliant! To guarantee the bevel is set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by singlewedge View Post
    It makes perfect sense to me. I pulled something similar off, not with those results, with a C12k. It made me wonder if I was nuts or not. Although unlike you I do not think I could repeat what I did.
    Wait, did you set a bevel with a chinese 12k? If so, you ARE nuts. I wouldn't have guessed it was even possible! Mine takes 100+ strokes just to polish an edge. In fact, I wouldn't have thought it could do much sharpening really either. At least not without 1000s of strokes, lol.

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    I'll answer directly under your questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by pjrage View Post
    Great post Bart!! Thanks!

    I have a couple questions.. First, I was wondering if you have any preference in soft, medium, or hard coticules, and if you have any experience with how each might affect this honing strategy?

    On a fast Coticule you may need to reduce the lap count a bit, on slow ones you may want to augment them. I don't know how that relates to hardness. One should try 100's of Coticules to make any meaningful statement about how the hardness affects performance. Based on my limited experience, I think the hardness/softness differences are overrated.
    The slurry should turn gray while honing at step 3. If it does, the Coticule will be good to go. With the slight pressure added and the back and forth motion, the vast majority of Coticules will work just fine.



    Also, when you are setting the bevel with the 30 half x strokes at a time (step 3), do you mean we should do a "normal" forward honing stroke, then trace it back by backhoning? And is one normal forward followed by one backward backhoning stroke considered 1x such that we should do 30 times "forward" and 30 times backhoning per side, per 30?

    Yes, that is a correct rephrasing of what I tried to explain. I believe Jimmy calls it "Japanese style" honing. Circles might work too, but I prefer the diagonal style of my explanation, because it covers the entire edge more evenly.

    Then, in steps 4/5/6, should we revert to flipping at every x stroke, per normal honing?

    Yes. And back off on the pressure.

    (I'm just trying to make sure I'm completely clear. I think it's a big ambiguous how it's currently written).

    I'm sorry about that. It would be easier for me to explain in Dutch.

    I absolutely love your theory on dulling before setting the bevel. Great thinking there. It may be common practice for some?, but it's the first I've heard of it, and it seems really brilliant! To guarantee the bevel is set.
    Thanks for reading it through. Should you decide to give it a try, please keep me posted.

    Bart.

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  13. #8
    Steel crazy after all these years RayG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjrage View Post
    Wait, did you set a bevel with a chinese 12k? If so, you ARE nuts. I wouldn't have guessed it was even possible! Mine takes 100+ strokes just to polish an edge. In fact, I wouldn't have thought it could do much sharpening really either. At least not without 1000s of strokes, lol.
    I believe he was referring to setting a double bevel. IIRC, Tim Zowada's method involved only 10 strokes on the Chinese 12k followed by a few laps on CrO, after adding the additional tape. You can read the specifics on Tim's site.

    Point is, even a very slow cutter like the C12k can set the double bevel very quickly. Did you try just water on the coticule after adding tape, Bart? I wonder if the light slurry is really necessary. Thanks for the effort you put into this, Bart. I will certainly give it a try.

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    Hi Bart,

    How would using a BBW in this progression affect the procedure?

    -Chief
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    I Bleed Slurry Disburden's Avatar
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    I definitely think this should be in the wiki if proven useful over many test runs. How many times have you tried this method before writing up the thread about it? It seems wonderful at the surface, but I am hoping that multiple test results don't hinder the results you had with your previous trials. The part about using tape on the spine after the initial slurry honing is pretty weird but makes perfect sense, especially with the drawing of bevels in the second post. I bought a really old Wikinson Straight from England in an old shoppe the other day for 4$. The thing is duller than a butter knife so I will try this ASAP on that razor, can't go wrong. The blade doesn't have any obvious chips or anything like.

    I just need a slurry stone for my coticule, I only have one for the BBW stone.

    Let us know how this goes after numerous attempts with the dulled razors.

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