What's new

Coticule Question

Starting to tinker with coticules, so starting to read a bit and seeing a potential rabbit hole second only to jnats.

Are there certain coticules that are more likely to be good stones for razors or is finding a good stone just a process of trying different stones until the just right one is found?

Are Les Latneuses more likely to be a good performer?

It seems like guys that find a good one love them, but many struggle to produce a good edge with a coticule.

I lucked into a small coticule buying some mystery stones, but it seems to be a fairly coarse grit, even with clean water or oil.

I do see how they can be very versatile and would like to try some.

Or, should I just wade into jnats and burn all of my money? lol. 😊

Of course I have perfectly good synthetic stones and a wonderful set of Arks that I love. So I do not need any stones, but reading here has sent me down trails trying all kinds of stones I never knew about and this is still cheaper than golf.
 
Coticules do vary. Some are faster, so better for early/mid level stuff. Some are slower and finer, so can finish well, but might not set a bevel even with a bunch of slurry.

I can use most of the ones I’ve owned as a one hone solution, but depending on the stone, I will have to use different tricks to get it done.

Usually it is just easier for me to use a couple of different stones, than spend extra time messing about.
 
Legion,

do you think buying one of Ardennes basic stones is a solid choice or should I look for a Les Lat to start?
 
I’m not an expert, but I have 5-6 coticules from multiple layers. In my experience it’s much more about learning to use the stone than cherry picking a specific layer.

Frankly, if you look at the big picture of the formation of these rocks millions of years ago with a layer just a few meters away from another, this whole layer discussion serves only the purpose of subjective straight razor forum discussions

No one talks about specific locations of Jnats or Arkansas stones or any other natural stones. I don’t know where it started, I think it was Ardennes themselves as a marketing thing for the American market, but I firmly believe it didn’t go the way they expected. Now to sell one stone they need to go back and forth with a customer 30 times on the best layers. Vintage coticules have no mention of layers. Most Europeans just call these stones “Belgian yellow stone”.

All natural stones from a place will have slight differences but still will have a broadly homogeneous composition.
 
Last edited:
I’m not an expert, but I have 5-6 coticules from multiple layers. In my experience it’s much more about learning to use the stone than cherry picking a specific layer.

Frankly, if you look at the big picture of the formation of these rocks millions of years ago with a layer just a few meters away from another, this whole layer discussion serves only the purpose of subjective straight razor forum discussions

No one talks about specific locations of Jnats or Arkansas stones or any other natural stones. I don’t know where it started, I think it was Ardennes themselves as a marketing thing for the American market, but I firmly believe it didn’t go the way they expected. Now to sell one stone they need to go back and forth with a customer 30 times on the best layers. Vintage coticules have no mention of layers. Most Europeans just call these stones “Belgian yellow stone”.

All natural stones from a place will have slight differences but still will have a broadly homogeneous composition.
Mmmmm.... Respectfully disagree. Different specific locations of an Arkansas stone would change whether they are soft, hard, translucent, washita, etc. All the names for the Japanese stones refer to their type, and therefor the specific location they came from.

The way sedimentary rock is formed, two layers could be right next to each other (BBW/Coticule) and have very different compostion. Two veins meters apart, even more so. Ignoring things like hardness and friability, the garnet content was deposited by volcanic events, thousands, possibly millions of years apart.
 
Mmmmm.... Respectfully disagree. Different specific locations of an Arkansas stone would change whether they are soft, hard, translucent, washita, etc. All the names for the Japanese stones refer to their type, and therefor the specific location they came from.

The way sedimentary rock is formed, two layers could be right next to each other (BBW/Coticule) and have very different compostion. Two veins meters apart, even more so. Ignoring things like hardness and friability, the garnet content was deposited by volcanic events, thousands, possibly millions of years apart.
I see your point and fully respect your opinion, but you just proved my point with your second paragraph. Even within a layer there can be significant variances for the reasons you mention

no one knows whether two Hard Arks or two Nakayamas were extracted a few inches or a hundred meters away from each other. Because no one who extracts these rocks cares to make this distinction. Probably because it’s not meaningful.

All coticules come from the same region. The difference is that someone cared to name the different layers.
However, Even within the same layer there will be variances (as you pointed it out), so someone suggesting the OP to get a La Verte might not mean anything because his La Verte won’t be identical to the OP’s. both should be capable of sharpening a razor, they just need to be learned.

This whole layer thing probably came from Ardennes trying to squeeze some extra bucks from US customers from the more praised layers such as La Veinette many years ago.

Jarrod from TSS stopped selling coticules a couple of years ago saying that the selling process became a nightmare because of this layer paranoia from users trying to get quick and easy results from a coticule, and getting frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
 
Last edited:
Well, bit the bullet and bought a Les Lat on ebay.

Should be interesting.
You probably picked a good vein at least. Short of actually testing the stones, layer info can get you pretty far. I am getting my third Les Lat this week. I did not get it because the ones i have suck:) The yellow side of mine is really fast, but less fine then my LV. The hybrid side takes you to Arkansas sharpness with a little more comfort.

These stones have a wide range, but i usually use them in more of a progression.
If you get a fast coticule you really need to dig deep in your pocked if you want to get a jnat that covers the midrange as well as the coticule. The good ones can be grate.

Every stone needs to be learned. I have only one stone that does not finish well, a La Grise. I am not able to finish well, but if i use it as my first stone, it somehow adds a little smoothness to the final edge, even if i finish with a different stone.

You need to post an update when you get the stone🤓
 
I see your point and fully respect your opinion, but you just proved my point with your second paragraph. Even within a layer there can be significant variances for the reasons you mention

no one knows whether two Hard Arks or two Nakayamas were extract a few inches or a hundred meters away from each other. Because no one who extracts these rocks cares to make this distinction. Probably because it’s not meaningful.

All coticules come from the same region. The difference is that someone cared to name the different layers.
However, Even within the same layer there will be variances (as you pointed it out), so someone suggesting the OP to get a La Verte might not mean anything because his La Verte won’t be identical to the OP’s. both should be capable of sharpening a razor, they just need to be learned.

This whole layer thing probably came from Ardennes trying to squeeze some extra bucks from US customers from the more praised layers such as La Veinette many years ago.

Jarrod from TSS stopped selling coticules a couple of years ago saying that the selling process became a nightmare because of this layer paranoia.
Yeah, but...

If you use, say, a La Verte and a LPB, which I did today, they are wildly different hones. And I've owned multiple examples of both veins. While there are some variances within the vein, if they were not basically mined out of the same big hole in Belgium you would think they came from different countries. They do not look or feel the same, and they certainly don't hone the same (which is why I use the two in tandem). I'm not sure how far the two veins are apart physically, but I'd guess less than a KM. Probably a lot less.

Similarly, there are trans Arks, Washitas, and then some weird hybrids. And they all came out of the same hole, are part of the same geology, but hone in very different ways. Just saying they are novaculite from XYZ coordinates, is not going to work.

Any geologist will tell you, a lot of stuff can happen in a small space, given enough time.


Now, for the OP, LV and LPB are, IME, extremes of the Coti range, so don't get fussed unless you want either end of the spectrum, or want to use two different stones. 90% of the other cotis fall somewhere in the middle, and are perhaps more one hone friendly, including the one you ordered. But yes, there is a spectrum.
 
Last edited:
Yeah, but...

If you use, say, a La Verte and a LPB, which I did today, they are wildly different hones. And I've owned multiple examples of both veins. While there are some variances within the vein, if they were not basically mined out of the same big hole in Belgium you would think they came from different countries. They do not look or feel the same, and they certainly don't hone the same (which is why I use the two in tandem). I'm not sure how far the two veins are apart physically, but I'd guess less than a KM. Probably a lot less.

Similarly, there are trans Arks, Washitas, and then some weird hybrids. And they all came out of the same hole, are part of the same geology, but hone in very different ways. Just saying they are novaculite from XYZ coordinates, is not going to work.

Any geologist will tell you, a lot of stuff can happen in a small space, given enough time.
It would really help to have a grading system for these stones. I guess i have been lucky with mine that were marked for vein.
 
It would really help to have a grading system for these stones. I guess i have been lucky with mine that were marked for vein.
In the olden days they used to have a grading system (Select, old rock, etc) but I think that might have been about visual appearance, more than anything else.

These days with the veins, at least we can kind of narrow in on how the rock is put together. It's not really grading, more making a note of the differences.
 
If you are going to Ardennes, I think it’s worth letting the guys know what you are looking for in the stone and what you will be using it for. An axe sharpener and a razor finisher will be after different properties. One stone isn’t necessarily better than another but it will be better suited to a particular task. I’m tipping that the guys know their stones pretty well and are looking for happy customers.
 
In the olden days they used to have a grading system (Select, old rock, etc) but I think that might have been about visual appearance, more than anything else.

These days with the veins, at least we can kind of narrow in on how the rock is put together. It's not really grading, more making a note of the differences.
The result using the stone is one thing. The tactile feedback and hardness might be more of a subjective thing. I like the really hard stones for the final finish, but i like a little softer stone for the rest of the work.
 
The result using the stone is one thing. The tactile feedback and hardness might be more of a subjective thing. I like the really hard stones for the final finish, but i like a little softer stone for the rest of the work.
Yeah. I have a big bench stone that is fast, and I use that for 90% of the honing. Then the hard slow stone is smaller, but I hand hold that for the last 10%.

I also have another I like for quick touch ups... They are all variations on a theme, but you would not confuse one for the other. If I wasn't a tragic stone hoarder I would probably try for one stone that does as much as possible, but it is easier to have different tools for different tasks, even if it is not so economical.
 
You made a safe choice, although normally an over priced one imo for what ya get. I've had just about every known vein and quite a few vintage (if there's really a thing) stones and they all can put a nice edge on a razor. For me it's trying to learn the stone, each is a bit different. I've had a few failures but it wasn't the stones fault it was mine. I went back a took more time to understand where I made the mistake(s) and learn the stone better.

One nice thing about knowing the vein is, it gives you a guide on what to expect. Most within a certain vein will act pretty much the same, maybe not exact but close enough to where you do have a guide.
 
Top Bottom