Coticule Layer Test - PREVIEW!

Discussion in 'Hones/Honing' started by joel, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Just to give you fellas a heads up on what's to come, pictured below are all the different types/layers of Coticules (including a Kosher, or Kosjer stone) from the ONLY source of coticules in the world (whichever retailer you purchase a coticule from, anywhere in the world, unless a vintage coticule comes from this source).

    I'll be trying out the different types/layers of coticule, as well as some "bout" stones to find out the following.

    1.) How does each type/style perform?

    2.) What is the best type of coticule for the $?

    3.) What is the best type of coticule regardless of cost?

    Pics, Pics, Pics....






    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2017
  2. Almost forgot, the coolest part. They are numbered - as I don't know which one is which, and will not know until I have tested the stones, and come up with the results. Basically, this is a TOTALLY blind test, in that the best hone wins - regardless of price, rarity, etc.
  3. Great idea!!
  4. Any chance you will do another 8 way test like the Dovo best.... I missed that opportunity last time and I wouldn't mind buying a new blade to send to you for your tests....
  5. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    Holy moly. That's some set of stones. :w00t:
  6. That might be the same company that I got mine.

    (Silly enough they're located in belgium.)

    Very nice people if I'm thinking about the same ones.
  7. It's got to be, since there is only one :wink:
  8. Dude, you are the!
  9. My guess is that you've talked with Rob Celis at the mine? Very helpful person.

    Without seeing the side views of each stone, it's impossible to guess which is/are the Kosher stones, but still it would be fun to guess. The bout, 7, 11, 12 and 2 are out. Can you venture to say which you think out of the others I haven't mentioned as disqualified could be considered Kosher?

    I would assume you'll be grading the performance of the stones by first establishing the type/layer/style categories and then each stone that falls within those categories? That to me would be the challenge. Since a bout is simply non-rectangular, aside from how a specific bout may require you to modify your traditional honing technique, how would the polishing performance of that bout be compared to a rectangular yellow coticule of the same color/appearance?

    As a HADdict, just being in the same room with that many great stones would be a great experience so, hat's off to you!

    Chris L
  10. I think that it is great that you are taking the time to try to do this experiment and it is a nice idea; however, it seems to me that there are too many variables to get any really useful data from this experiment. Even if you were able to come to some "definative" scientific conclusions about your samples of coticules, how would we be able to tell that your sample is really representative of all the coticules in your classification. The same stone can produce an edge that feels somewhat different to shave with depending on the differences in razors and how the edge was put on the razor. Natural stones are produced by nature, which means that there is some variation that the user must accept when using them. Maybe your face is a lot more sensitive than mine, but all the coticules that I have used have had the capibility of producing a relatively equally smooth and sharp edge when used properly and the sample includes vintage, Kosher, and new stones on all different types of grinds and steels. In my opinion it will take a LOT of experimentation (at least many months) and many trials to get any type of "scientific" information out of this experiment with just this particular sample. Then if you do come to the same conclusions then you would have to test other samples of the same classifications in blind tests on several different razors to see if the findings hold true. Just my .02, hopefully you can prove me wrong.

  11. Wow this is a great great experiment. Thanks for doing this!
  12. JGS



    Please include some information on how you go about figuring where the different stones fall in terms of their grit. Do you expect that they are all similar; or that they will fall into a ranking as you go through them?


  13. That's a good idea right there!
  14. Joel, when you're finished and found out which coticule is best, can we order a similar one from Ardennes Coicule? Mr. Celis of Ardennes Coticule told me he harvests his coticules by controlled explosions of the hill side. The rubble produced is scooped up with a drag line and dumped into a truck and transported to the workshop. How on earth will you be able to determine which layer a particular piece of coticule originated from?
  15. I'm all curious about this myself. Please expound on the details of your proposed tests.

    Chris L
  16. Different color strata mebbe? If the layers of rock could be color matched, you got your layers (more or less).
  17. Joel,
    Interesting idea! I've been doing these kinds of tests for years now on coticules and there are so many variables to contend with that I don't know how you'd be able to specify repeatable and predictable results. The coticules come in different shapes such as rectangular or bout. They're both from the same layer in the quarry and just different shapes. As long as you've measured flatness on both a bout and a rectangular stone and used the same series of razors on both stones, you'll be able to say that such and such razors will perform on those stones in a predictable manner. Generalizing to other stones may not be possible. How will you measure sharpness? The HHT and fingernail tests are too subjective. An objective test is needed? Finally, there's the whole set of variables introduced by honing technique. That's where I find "shave ready" lives. I've had guys swear to me their coticules didn't work and in a few cases had them bring them to my house and we honed together. After a few minutes of coaching the coticules honed better than before . . . .

    I'd love to help establish the validity and reliability of these tests as I'd like to know myself! Let's chat if you'd like.

  18. Yikes - we're not making nukes here gentlemen.

    I don't know which stone is which, the gentleman who owns the quarry however does - and labeled the stones with numbers so as to keep which layer was which unknown. How they know which layer is which, I have no idea... frankly I didn't even ask, but I certainly can/will.

    These tests aren't meant to be scientific - hell, how often do we hear "x is better than y" on these forums (and others) and say "Hey - have you conducted a scientific experiment eliminating all variables - blah blah blah." Frankly at the end of the day, it's scraping hair off your face, and taking some of these tests in such a serious and end all be all factual manner is simply silly. Again... for god sakes, it's scraping hair off your face. When someone says x shaving cream performs better than y, no one says "well, did you weight how much cream use used from x VS y, use the same brush, pre-shave, aftershave, and razor, etc etc?" No, as most of us are able to tell a difference without having to go PHD on it.

    As for some of the other questions. I plan on using the same razor for all of the stones, and the only test i'll be using is the shave test... several of them. Now, allegedly they're all the same, or about the same grit - so I would expect (but we'll see) the edges to perform pretty equally, and the primary differences and helpful descriptions will be on how the different stones feel, their softness/harness, which one is easiest to use, etc.

    I've owned about 4-5 different coticules before I got this batch in, and I noticed they all felt different, hell even smelled different and some colors and some with different hardness worked a little differently, and I would get superior results, EASIER with some stones with certain characteristics. If anything - just a description of each stone from each layer and their general characteristics should prove to be helpful for many coticule buyers.

    While there will be a large portion of fellas who will think such an experiment is impossible based on the variables, as they did in my hone/paste comparo tests, etc - frankly no one is forcing, or suggesting they read or believe it, but I'd have to imagine this would be an incredibly boring place if the only information that was acceptable to post here were exceptionally long and drawn out scientific experiments.

    Many/most of us are here to just have fun and talk about different shaving gear. I've have (and have had) well over 100 hones, and have had a fair amount of experience honing, flattening, and playing around with a litany of different hones and maybe i'm just plain nuts, but like most others here, I can tell a difference in how different hones function, feel, etc -and how their edges feel differently on my face. My vintage Belgian coticule is significantly softer, puts a much finer edge, and works markedly superior than my new 8X3 coticule from the perfect edge. The coticule I received from shaving and razor shop is also softer, and seems to work marginally superior to the one from the perfect edge, etc.

    It was with this experience in mind, I figured trying stones from a wide array of sources might be a neat/fun test - however when I started looking around, I found out the variable isn't the source but the layer the coticule was harvested from. Thinking it might be a benefit to the group - I got a coticule from each layer to test blindly, hoping this would provide some sort of a general idea of what different layers looked, felt and performed like. Seeing as how the stones were sourced from the only supplier of coticules in the world, and the source itself, I think it's safe to assume they know which stone comes from which layer, and frankly if they don't - probably no one is is going to either :wink: I'm not sure if you'll be able to order/purchase the stones by layer based on my findings (although I'd have to imagine you could) - but i'm hoping with detailed pictures and descriptions, at the very least you'll be able to tell which layer your coticule came from and how it may differ from other types of coticules. Note: there are 11 (all rectangular) stones from the 11 different layers. The bouts are all from the same layer (represented by a rectangular stone as one of the 11) and are merely a side experiment/test too see how the bouts perform, and their relative ease of use compared to the rectangular stones. Bouts being less expensive may be a great option for many fellas wanting a natural Belgian Coticule on a budget - and if they're easy (or potentially easier) to use it may provide a quality hone within many fellas price range.

    To once again clarify, this isn't meant to be a scientific experiment - this is meant to be a helpful general overview. As stated by others, these are natural stones, and will vary by individual stone, so there isn't a possible way to create 100% conclusive results, as the individual stones from the different layers will vary slightly by nature. The first iteration of the test will be a general overview, however there will be further iterations, with microscope pictures (if I can get the damn thing to take good pictures) of the stone surfaces, slurry, etc - and more detailed tests of how the stones work with different razors/grinds, or if there is any significant difference in the actual quality of the edge - or merely the color/and density or hardness of the stones.

    Regardless - my clear favorite, despite the results of the test will certainly be #11. That gorgeous bright red coticule is too pretty not to love.
  19. will you be selling the hones when you are done with them ?

    if so can I stake my claim in one now:biggrin:
  20. I didn't notice that one before. The red is really cool! I have one that is pink/salmon colored but I have never seen one like that.

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