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First time using a ‘Method’ edge.

I shaved today with the Gold Dollar which I honed on the smaller slate and am pleased to see I didn’t hate the edge at all.
It was very smooth and sharp and gave a great enjoyable shave.
Id feared that after using the balsa id be underwhelmed by anything less but this wasn’t the case. It didn’t have that always surprising sharpness and glide of the balsa but it didn’t feel a trillion miles behind.
I started my straight journey just using a couple of stones and films and honing myself, and have only just come to the method a few years in.
So for me it was less about not having to hone that sold me, it was more the A+ edges the Method offers.
I like the honing.
Every stone is its own little puzzle. I like learning it’s secrets, trying to unlock its full potential and those hard earned successes are always sweet.
Especially so, when I think that little piece of rock in my hand was formed on a prehistoric ocean floor before vertebrates evolved, before the two halves of Britain had collided, 200 million years before the first dinosaur. It makes me feel like a caveman.
I also like having different feels to my razors it gives me the option of a change up when I feel like it.
The Method edge is almost a miracle I get surprised every tine I shave with it but I’ll mix and match with the stones too.
 
Actually I have one but use plate glass
I have both. The plate glass is certainly a lot easier to store and does the job but you can’t beat the flatness and dimensional stability of a certified granite plate. It’s over the top but as they say only the best results are worth pursuing.
 
I shaved off the larger Welsh slate yesterday and it was ok but not great so I re honed the razor on it last night.
It has two sides lapped by the seller so I switched sides for last nights hone.
When I last honed on it from the 1u film it took about 30 laps to stick to the stone but last night it was a full 200 laps before it stuck and signalled me to stop. The shave from it was much better.
Now this morning my new (to me) coticule arrived.
9D5B07BC-53CA-4415-B99D-5AA9CCA8B4B0.jpeg

It’s only as long as my phone and about an inch wide but it’s perfect for me as a trial piece as I’ve never used one before and also it’s tiny so it can come along in my bag with me on my travels.
I looked at it in the sun under a loup. I could see the tiny garnets light up and sparkle as they caught the sunlight. (Is that possible?)
I decided to use it as I do my slates which is just under running water with no slurry.
I’m used to the small stones so it was really easy to hold and use and it gave a nice feedback as I ran the razor back and forth. Like a sssshhhh sound with each pass.
After just 15 laps on the little stone I noticed the edge suddenly brighten and begin to stick.
I lightened up as much as I could a couple more laps until the blade stuck fast.
Really looking forward to seeing how I did tomorrow.
So that completes my current outfit.
Four Method edged razors and three with natural stone edges.
That gives me a nice blend of crazy sharp, foolproof efficiency along with plenty to tinker with too.
 
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I shaved off the larger Welsh slate yesterday and it was ok but not great so I re honed the razor on it last night.
It has two sides lapped by the seller so I switched sides for last nights hone.
When I last honed on it from the 1u film it took about 30 laps to stick to the stone but last night it was a full 200 laps before it stuck and signalled me to stop. The shave from it was much better.
Now this morning my new (to me) coticule arrived.
View attachment 1245823
It’s only as long as my phone and about an inch wide but it’s perfect for me as a trial piece as I’ve never used one before and also it’s tiny so it can come along in my bag with me on my travels.
I looked at it in the sun under a loup. I could see the tiny garnets light up and sparkle as they caught the sunlight. (Is that possible?)
I decided to use it as I do my slates which is just under running water with no slurry.
I’m used to the small stones so it was really easy to hold and use and it gave a nice feedback as I ran the razor back and forth. Like a sssshhhh sound with each pass.
After just 15 laps on the little stone I noticed the edge suddenly brighten and begin to stick.
I lightened up as much as I could a couple more laps until the blade stuck fast.
Really looking forward to seeing how I did tomorrow.
So that completes my current outfit.
Four Method edged razors and three with natural stone edges.
That gives me a nice blend of crazy sharp, foolproof efficiency along with plenty to tinker with too.
Oil is the magic ingredient with Coticules. It will really take the edge up a couple of notches.
 
Thanks for the advice and it’s needed as today’s coticule shave was pretty rubbish.
I had to work hard to get real close and my usually bbs face isn’t as smooth as normal.
I’d optimistically thought I’d get an instant fine shave from it but it looks like I’ll have to work at it. This is no bad thing as it’ll be fun trying to unlock it. My concern is that the stone may not be the best for razors and I’d have no way of knowing. More experiments are needed. Is any type of oil ok?
 
Thanks for the advice and it’s needed as today’s coticule shave was pretty rubbish.
I had to work hard to get real close and my usually bbs face isn’t as smooth as normal.
I’d optimistically thought I’d get an instant fine shave from it but it looks like I’ll have to work at it. This is no bad thing as it’ll be fun trying to unlock it. My concern is that the stone may not be the best for razors and I’d have no way of knowing. More experiments are needed. Is any type of oil ok?
Motor oil 5W-20 synthetic will work great. Various reel or gun oils will work but not "microsphere" type lubricants or graphite lubricants, of course. Any of the commercial honing oils such as Smith's will work fine. You can also use dishwashing soap instead of oil. Mix about 50/50 with water. Thinner gives you more robust contact and faster cutting. Thicker gives you more buffering, lighter contact, slower cutting and a keener edge. Soap based honing lubricants IMHO are better than oils because they rinse quickly from the stone and carry swarf and slurry away with them. For a fine finish you want all traces of slurry gone, and if the stone self slurries then you need to be vigilant about keeping it gone. THis is why many guys will recommend finishing under running water.

So anyway your problem is your coti isn't delivering as sharp an edge as you are used to. This is pretty normal. At one time a coticule was considered a very good finisher and now it is mostly historical, but there is much you can do to achieve a better than "normal" edge off a coticule, and oil or soap is the main thing. Here is the secret. Begin with normal light pressure, but gradually lighten up more and more until the razor seems to just be floating in the soap or oil, and not even touching stone at all. This progressively reduces scratch depth, thereby improving keenness and edge quality. THis takes a couple hundred laps, at least, and you can't really go by feedback with this, only by sharpness testing as you go. It may take several attempts but once you nail it, you could have an edge about as sharp as from a 12k Naniwa. Not bad, that.

Mostly though, coticules are not favored by guys who like very sharp edges. They just don't deliver. They offer "smooth" and "gentle" edges, and variable action which allows the coti to be a one stone honing solution.

There are other natural stones that will give you a sharper edge than that, notably Arkies and Jnats but also various slate type stones. Or you can go back to what you know works.
 
Thanks a lot for the advice Slash I’ve got some engine oil in the boot and the soap or lather sounds good.
I already had this razor finished on 1u lapping film so I thought I’d just be able to finish it on the coticule with running water as it was already at the finishing stage. But the shave was pretty poor.
Do you think Slash, that it’s necessary to use a slurry etc if the razor is already at the finishing stage?
Anyway I took it back to the coticule this morning after the shave for another try, again under running water to see if I could improve it.
I used less pressure, went slower and took more care to keep the toe flat on the small stone.
Yesterday the razor stuck to the stone after 15 laps but today it took about 60 I think it was maybe the lighter pressure.
I’d just stropped on leather yesterday but today gave it 40 on linen then about 60 on leather. I never have much joy with the HHT even on my method edges which nonetheless give dazzling shaves. Either my girls hair is fine or I’m going wrong somewhere.
The shaves are always my best indicator though so I have to wait for the shave test tomorrow.
I don’t know about what grits they are but I always felt I got better edges on my slates than my Naniwa 12, though it was super reliable and easy to use. I say ‘was’ because a week ago my 1 year old grabbed it from my dressing gown pocket and threw it on the rug flat where it snapped in two. As I set her down to inspect the damage she looked at the stone then looked at me. ‘Boke!’ She said.
 
Thanks a lot for the advice Slash I’ve got some engine oil in the boot and the soap or lather sounds good.
I already had this razor finished on 1u lapping film so I thought I’d just be able to finish it on the coticule with running water as it was already at the finishing stage. But the shave was pretty poor.
Do you think Slash, that it’s necessary to use a slurry etc if the razor is already at the finishing stage?
Anyway I took it back to the coticule this morning after the shave for another try, again under running water to see if I could improve it.
I used less pressure, went slower and took more care to keep the toe flat on the small stone.
Yesterday the razor stuck to the stone after 15 laps but today it took about 60 I think it was maybe the lighter pressure.
I’d just stropped on leather yesterday but today gave it 40 on linen then about 60 on leather. I never have much joy with the HHT even on my method edges which nonetheless give dazzling shaves. Either my girls hair is fine or I’m going wrong somewhere.
The shaves are always my best indicator though so I have to wait for the shave test tomorrow.
I don’t know about what grits they are but I always felt I got better edges on my slates than my Naniwa 12, though it was super reliable and easy to use. I say ‘was’ because a week ago my 1 year old grabbed it from my dressing gown pocket and threw it on the rug flat where it snapped in two. As I set her down to inspect the damage she looked at the stone then looked at me. ‘Boke!’ She said.

LOL "Boke" Hahaha! That would have made a great youtube. Got another stone you can sacrifice for the cause?

No on the slurry, in that situation. Unslurried, most coticules will give most honers an edge roughly on par with a 7k to 9k synthetic, somewhere around there. Slurry knocks it down as low as maybe 3.5k or 4k in effect. Just estimating, of course. You use heavy slurry to knock steel off quickly, then thinner slurry to go a little finer, then clear water for a finish. Coming from your 12k was a step down even for a coticule under running water. No need for slurry unless you have chips to fix.

The longer lap count to reach stiction definitely indicates less aggressive contact and your shave should be a bit better. Next time just rinse the stone thoroughly and add a drizzle of dish soap along with a splash of water, an hone in that. Start with normal pressure and as stiction increases, lighten up on pressure so it keeps gliding effortlessly. Add more dish soap as required. It can be a little tricky, achieving that balance.
 
@Slash McCoy and @Jakebullet:

When you guys are talking "coticule" I assume you mean the "standard" yellow coticule. Is that right?

I ask because the hybrid side of a Les Lateneuses tends to give me a much more refined and keen edge than the yellow side. Nothing like a method edge, but probably on par with a synthetic 12k.

Just checking since "coticule" is a relatively broad term...
 
@Slash McCoy and @Jakebullet:

When you guys are talking "coticule" I assume you mean the "standard" yellow coticule. Is that right?

I ask because the hybrid side of a Les Lateneuses tends to give me a much more refined and keen edge than the yellow side. Nothing like a method edge, but probably on par with a synthetic 12k.

Just checking since "coticule" is a relatively broad term...
Yes I’ve been using the the yellow side, it hadn’t even occurred to me to examine the opposite side. I don’t know where my coti is from
 
From my limited experience, most coticules have a backing of either slate, which is not suitable for honing, BBW (?), which can be suitable for coarse work but not for finishing, or, in the case of Les Lateneuses coticules, a "hybrid" material that is very fine grained and hard and is often used for finishing.

The yellow sides are usually considered to be about 8k, but masters can manipulate the slurry to achieve higher effective grits. I've not heard of a generally agreed on grit value for the LL hybrid.

Again, a diamond pasted balsa edge is probably more sharp, but I've found the LL hybrid finishes to be more than sharp enough and a reasonable alternative for those that like rocks or rebel against the mechanical nature of maintaining a method edge.
 
I use Norton honing oil and it has worked great on my coticules. I usually only need 50 or so laps and my go to coticule is 5x2.
Coticule edges can be the best thing ever, however it is harder to find a really good one. A lot of them can get a decent edge with oil but finding that great one can be a long or expensive hunt.

I gave someone (person doing the blind edge test) one of my coticule edges with oil and they thought I had put "the method" edge on there **with note saying it was almost as sharp as slash or whoever is really good at them**. With how smooth the stone can be I will take that haha! (But I would say very hard to find similar stone).

I am not sure where the razor was at before being finished on a coticule but very very important you have a perfect or best you can get bevel before progressing to the coticule.

My stone isn't a les lat but I hear those are great as well and very fine
 
You want a fairly thin, low viscosity, mineral oil. Singer sewing machine oil is excellent. Food grade mineral oil for chopping boards is good. Anything that’s not too thick. I have a 50:50 mix of mineral oil and paraffin oil that’s my favorite. Thin, fast and slick. Engine oil sounds too thick and sticky to me but I haven’t tried it. This is the first time I’ve heard anyone mention it.

For sharp edges no slurry is best. Soft stones can self slurry which is why some people finish under running water. I have not found that to be necessary. You can get very good edges from a coticule. They are one of the four most popular natural stones for razor finishing for a reason. I struggled until to get good edges until I started using oil. It’s a game changer.
 
Tried the coticule edge this morning and it was noticeably improved but still not what I’d call good.
Under the loup the bevel looked pitted and there was a tiny chip in the middle. I took it back to 1500k film honing in hand, I got the chip out quickly enough but struggled to get the worst of the pitting, though I’m pretty certain it’s just now a few spots on the face of the bevel and not the edge.
So then back to 2k, 4K, 8k and then straight to the coticule under running water.
This time it took x laps till the razor stuck.
If it doesn’t respond well after this then I’ll be pretty sure I’ve gone as far as I can on running water and will have something to compare to an oiled/soaped coticule.
I’ve got oils and detergents to try thanks to the kind advice offered here.
I was thinking of using baby oil?
I haven’t used a method edge for about a week as I’ve been playing with stones and I keep promising myself a shave with one but I’m getting distracted. I want to stick with this coti a bit longer so yesterday’s shave is always fresh in my mind, then once I’ve got it good I’ll treat myself to a method shave. I imagine the difference will be massive.
 
At last some success with the coticule. I could tell from the beginning that I’d done a better edge today and for the first time I felt the cotis smoothness and comfort.
I got a 95% all over bbs and my best coti shave to date.
Smooth as it was it wasn’t as smooth as a good balsa edge but at least I got a good finish from it.
I’ll try it with dish detergent and water tonight and see how that goes, but tomorrow as a treat to myself I’m going to use one of my balsa edged razors.
 
Today I can’t wait to apply the 'Method' to two razors, 100 laps on 0.5u, 300 laps on 0.25u, 300 laps on 0.1u, and 100 laps on leather. A little tired, but this is definitely the best edge I have ever encountered, very sharp and forgiving, magical.
 
I used my Thomas Turner 5/8ths today for the first time since I put a method edge on it about a week or so ago.
After a week spent honing and shaving with slates and coticules I was really looking forward to treating myself to a great edge.
I’d cut near my ear yesterday with the square point I’d used so had to be careful over there in case I made it any worse. I’d intended to use my Bengal near wedge today but that has a square point too so that’s why I went with the round tipped Turner.
The edge today was excellent and really delivered the goods, but I know I’ve gotten sharper edges.
After I finished I gave it another 50 laps on the balsa. I’ve found that the more of this treatment the razor gets the better it shaves. So shave number one is only brilliant, and then it goes upwards from there. Not sure what I’ll use tomorrow, maybe the method edged near wedge if the cut has healed.
 
I just did a HHT on my method edged Turner & co and it cut fine on the heel and the middle but wouldnt pass the HHT on the toe. How far should I take it back grit-wise to work on the toe?
Looking under the loup the bevel is much thinner near the toe. Plus I hone one handed with the block in my left.
 
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