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Thread: Natural Stones

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    Default Natural Stones

    No two stones are the same.
    Grit/hardness varies from stone to stone and possibly within stones.

    Is it romance? Is it elitism? Do they work better, worse or differently?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Thanks,
    Bob

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    I dunno about elitism; it might explain some of the allure of a $500 escher but that's really the exception. Coticules (except for the very large ones which are scarce and expensive) don't cost more and aren't any harder to get than comparable artificial finishers. And the chinese stone is thirty bucks and by all accounts a marvel.

    Romance is getting closer to the mark. Natural hones are a) traditional, and b) tens of thousands or more years old. Straight shavers tend to be intoxicated by the past more than the average guy. Coticules have been used since Roman times. Either you think that's cool or you don't.

    Not better, not worse, yes different. They feel different. There's a sort of velvety purr to them. The slurry talks to you. Depending on the stone they can be very beautiful. On the plus side, it's difficult to overhone with most natural hones and they're usually a little more forgiving of a less-than-perfect stroke. And some natural hones (esp the coticule) are quite versatile depending on how much slurry and/or pressure you use. On the downside they're slower, and can be variable in grit so there's the chance you'll buy a less-than-optimal hone or even a bum hone.

    Woodworkers say a tool edge created with a natural hone stays sharp longer; it apparently has to do with variable teeth size. I have never heard anyone make similar claims about razors. There's no intrinsic advantage to edges created with natural hones vs. artificial ones, or vice-versa. Just preference. If you're not drawn to the romance of stones count yourself lucky. Buy a fifty dollar Norton 4/8 and a thirty dollar chinese stone and you're set for life, and your edges will be inferior to no one's.

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    That is an extremely eloquent reply.

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    I use the norton 4000/8000 because it is a fast cutter and produces a wicked edge.
    Then I finish on a coticule because it is a nice finisher and it is nigh on impossible to overhone on a coticule.
    If a manmade stone could give me the same honing experience as a coticule for half the price, I would probably use that.

    The popularity of the escher also stems from the fact that they are rare, and not made anymore.
    Don't get me wrong they are probably very good stones, but any quality vintage Thuringer stone is probably just as good, only it was produced not by escher but by someone else.
    Happiness is a field, littered with the mangled corpses of your enemies. - Vlad III of Wallachia

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    Senior Member nickyspaghetti's Avatar
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    To be honest I have gone off artificial stones since I left my Norton in England for 4 months. I just got it back and find it of little use. The natural stones take longer but I feel more at home using them. They just have something about them I like but can't explain.

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    BHAD cured Sticky's Avatar
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    DMT's are made from steel and nickel. But isn't diamond a natural stone? I've also heard/read that it is hard to over-hone on a DMT.

    Since the diamonds are doing all the cutting, would a DMT be considered natural, man-made, or some kind of hybrid?

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    As I understand, the diamonds in diamond hones and pastes are man-made. Both DuPont and General Electric have proprietary methods of manufacturing artificial diamonds (that aren't jewelery quality, just hard like the real thing) that are used for grinding, honing, polishing of real diamonds, carbide tools, and sometimes our razors.

    Bench hones are generally made from monocrystalline diamonds, made by G.E. which are more expensive to make, but do not break down, thus making a consistent sharpening surface.

    Lapping pastes are generally made from DuPont's polycrystalline diamonds, which do fracture into ever finer grit diamond shards as they are used, thus producing a very fast and fine polishing compound.

    So diamond hones (the majority of those readily available, that is) would be man-made. You may be able to find natural diamond dust hones, but I think manufacturers would hype the HELL out of them, and jack the prices up substantially.

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