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Imperia La Rocca 12 - 15k; Take # 2.

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After the kerfluffle in the first ILR thread I was contacted by a recent convert to SR shaving who owned a sample of the stone in question and wanted to have someone with a little more honing experience with the more established stones test it and let him know how it stacked up. I figured I may as well post it here as well.

First impressions of the stone are that it is quite dense and heavy. The stone is approximately 2.67" (67.8mm) x 1.00" (25.4mm) x 7.15" (181.6mm) and weighed in at 29.8 oz (845 grams) so the density works out to about 2.7g/cm³ - the same as a good dense Hard Arkansas stone.

I received the stone with one side marked "Lapped," but quickly determined that it wasn't very flat. Went ahead and flattened it with my trusty worn-in Atoma 400, then raised a slurry with the supplied rubbing/slurry stone (this takes a bit of doing, the stone is quite hard - I can tell that after slurry is raised a few times it's probably going to get more difficult - likely will be best long term using a corner of the slurry stone or reducing the surface area on the rub surface with grooves or such) and commenced honing a good old carbon steel vintage razor.

The stone is what I might call slow to medium speed, the slurry darkens but it does take a good while. I will be doing further tests to see how fast it can erase a standard scratch pattern that I've used to test my other stones. I'll post that further info after that testing is done.

The honing feel is pretty nice, on slurry there's a nice sensation of fairly fine abrasion, similar to what some of my faster JNats with slurry feel like, also my fast coticule with slurry. It may be that the stone is faster than it seems, in any case I will find out with the specific speed testing later. After a very light glassing of the edge I proceeded to hone the razor starting with small circles for several laps, then switched to half-strokes and finally X-strokes, all with medium-light pressure. After this I changed to light pressure and did about 10 laps of x-strokes, then dipped the razor under the faucet to begin dilution. I brought the water on the razor back to the stone and did another 10 laps, repeating this process for about 3 iterations, then washed the razor and stone, and did about 30 or 40 laps with straight water.

Washed and dried everything, then stropped 30 laps on hanging denim strop and 60 on clean hanging leather. Next I performed the HHT and got clean HHT4 all up and down the edge no problem. Following are some scope shots I took of the resultant edge and bevel. Looks pretty decent to me. First test shave later tonight.

Built-in Ring Light:
$Imperia La Rocca Slurry Dilution Carbo Ring Light.jpg

Scratch Enhancing Light:
$Imperia La Rocca Slurry Dilution Carbo Scratch Light.jpg

Raking Light:
$Imperia La Rocca Slurry Dilution Carbo Raking Light.jpg

Edge Lit/Focused:
$Imperia La Rocca Slurry Dilution Carbo Edge Light.jpg
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Ive been hearing a lot about these lately. Ive heard they are in the $40 range and about $100 for the "premium" stones which I havent bothered to compare the 2. I have heard escher like which is a nice shave but not capable of killer shaves. That may be true or false I dont know. Im sitting this one out. I have enough rocks here but am looking forward to hearing more and how it stacks up against some of the other hones.
I haven't heard of any "premium" version, just the two different grit levels that both seem to be about $40 + shipping each.

This particular stone has a few lines on the surface that I believe to be the layers of the stone meeting the plane of the honing surface, and there is a slight difference in feel when crossing these when honing with slurry but no damage and nothing really objectionable. After a bit of honing on straight water the feel really slicks up and it starts to feel like honing on ice.

I also just had my first shave from the stone - had razors with a Y/G Escher edge and one of my Kuro edges for comparison. The ILR did pretty good on the WTG pass but I didn't feel it was up to snuff ATG. Directly compared to both the Y/G Escher and the Kuro it shaved about the same comfort-wise on the WTG pass but not quite as close - almost though. Switching to ATG on my neck pretty much stopped the ILR test after a couple short strokes. From experience I know if I keep going with an edge that feels like this I'm going to regret it later. ATG on my neck is very much a litmus test. An edge that I can't use ATG on my neck can usually still do OK ATG on my cheeks. I tried the ILR for an ATG pass on my cheek and found it a bit uncomfortable there also. Switching to the Y/G Escher edge I got a perfectly smooth BBS pass ATG on the left, and ditto with the Kuro on the right.

I will be doing some more testing and trying a few different progressions to see if that makes any difference. So far I would rate this stone very similar to a silkstone, which I also can't use ATG on my neck. Further reports as they come...
After reading buca's post, I just went back and searched eBay - looks like they have changed their pricing - this stone now costs $55 plus shipping, and I saw the "premium" version for the first time as well. Same stone but says hand selected so there are no layer lines present as I described above. Same size as the $55 stone and they are asking $120! Seems high to me on both counts.
LOL. Yeah no thanks. My $55-100+ is better spent on a Jnat or small Escher/coti that will appreciate in value. Along with performing far better.

I highly doubt in 30-40 yrs people are gonna be searching out that fabeled Roccia hone mined in Italy(but really isn't, anything called Italian sells for more I guess).

Just because it beats a C12k doesn't give then the right to charge so much. I'm liking the guys putting these out less and less the more I hear/learn
Yeah definitely don't think I'd go for one of these over an Ark so far. We'll see how subsequent edges go.
$120 would get you a nice second hand trans if you deal with lapping it. Unlabeled thuri.... Maybe even a new shapton glass 16000 if you shop around...
Haha, less than $50 got me an 8.25" x 1.75" Y/G Escher for crying out loud! People just need to be a little more patient.
Yeah, an 8" for $50 is "Saw it first" pricing. Not everyone has the chance to score those. $50-75 5x1" Celebrated hones happen pretty frequently however. Paying $120 for a hone that may be as good as an escher or may not? No thanks. Put it right in the same camp as zulu's. Way too much money for a stone that isn't proven.
Just want to throw these in for the sake of comparison. These will only be edge shots since that's the important thing. These are all edges I've shaved with that I consider superb. These are shot with dark field illumination so the edge shows up bright - you might need to turn up brightness to see them well if you keep your monitor/device dimmed down.

Kuro finished on light slurry:
$Kuro 2-5-8 Light Slurry GD Edge Light.jpg

eNat dark variety just honed on the same razor as shown above after the ILR honing - on straight water - extremely keen edge - HHT5 everywhere:
$eNat Dark Taped Carb Water Edge Light.jpg

Y/G Escher light slurry dilution:
$YG Escher 8k to Light Slurry GD Edge Light.jpg

Translucent Black Ark finsihed on oil:
$Translucent Black Ark Oil Tula Edge Light.jpg

So the ILR edge does at least appear to be in the ballpark as far as keenness, whether it will be possible to make it comfortable enough of an edge remains to be seen.
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It's a shame vermont black slate seems inclusion prone, and somewhat inconsistent because it would be a nice cheap option if it could be produced within a reliable spectrum.
YeahYeah, at this point, the way I would go is the way of the used stone on eBay or any of those that you guys have posted above. It is seriously possible to get some very awesome stones for very cheap on eBay if you don't obsess over winning every great stone you see. Bid low on a lot of stones and eventually you will land some very nice stuff for not much $$. I should know, I wouldn't have any stones except the ones I traded for probably if that weren't possible... I'm broke as a joke being unable to work, so I don't spend much $$ at all on stones but still have some real nice stuff I got that way.

BTW I don't think this ILR, whether the $120 premium version or not, is anywhere near as good as an Escher at this point. I think that's the same exact stone as this one but only without the cosmetic imperfections. I don't think it will make any difference to the finish or comfort level of the blade personally. Whether there are differences in that characteristic from any random individual stone to stone I couldn't say.

If there is a way to get a nice comfy ATG edge from this stone without jumping through hoops I don't know yet. IMO that is what differentiates the great stones from the good or mediocre ones though. The great stones are very straightforward to use and give superb edges.

I plan to try a slurry finished edge yet as well as a progression ending with this stone on straight water only. I also plan to try a few other razors with whatever method seems to work best just to give it a fair shake.
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Thanks Eric for your testing and information about this one, actually the first Information i could get something more
about this stone then words like "It performs great, i like it", or "its as good as a thuringian stone or a C12K"....

But i still dont like how that stone has showed up and that no further information is spread, point.
Everybody coming up with something new did explain a bit about the stones, i already mentioned it....
All the people (Peter, MichaelC, Eric, Terry, etc.) put a lot of work in making the stones available for other,
they explained were the stones do come from, what they are and how they perform....actually about the La Roccia nothing is known then what type of stone it might be, that it comes from "Italy" and a logo and company name...

I know there are a lot of people around just beeing interested about the performance, iam shure this one wont beat a Thuri as many others didnt....thats why iam a bit more interested whos doing the business and were the stones do come from...

I wouldnt like if they have been bought for cheap money somewhere in the world and then beeing brought to market to make big money thats all.....
Yep, I understand that completely. I would say definitely already it's not going to beat a Thuri or any of the other already established really great stones like very good cotis, black/translucent Arks, good JNats, the Kuro etc. I definitely prefer the very keen darker eNat edge to it also. If the proper hoops are jumped through it may get closer to these stones, but I still need further testing time to say that for certain.

It does give a quite good WTG shave, so for anyone who only shaves WTG it would be more than adequate, but at the current price points I probably wouldn't buy one personally. At the lower price I might have bought one just to have it in my collection or to use for knife sharpening possibly.
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I have both the lower rated and the higher rated grit Imperia La Roccia stones.

The coarser rated stone, sold as 8-10k is a black, hard stone and to me, it has a silky feel to it.. I took this stone to the Kansas City meet and Sham felt it was indeed in the 8k range.. I use this coming off of my 5k synthetic, before going on to my other finishers and I’m quite happy with it. I bought this for 19 dollars and consider that a bargain for this stone. It doesn’t appear that this stone is currently being offered.

I paid 29, I believe, for the 12-15k rated stone. It is a medium grey stone and has a large, dark, oval inclusion on one side with a much smaller section of the same inclusion on the other. Neither seem toxic to me or I would have returned it right away.

Very hard, it is a pain to produce thin, watery slurry.. It does improve the black stone’s edge but not as well as my C12k. Despite that improvement, the overall chalky feel of the stone makes me feel as if it sets the edge back. For 29 dollars it is a.meh.stone, usable, but just that.

If this is the same stone going for the 50 dollars now, it is in my opinion, a poor deal and if the $120 is the same stone, only without inclusions, definitely a bad deal.

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