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My shave results; edge comparisons.

I have never had 2 swatys act the same regardless of stamp. I bought a bunch of 00 recently but didn't really feel compelled to discuss them in the thread. It's hard to come up with anything new to say. They are impressively fast in how they delete absolutely any prior footprint in minimal passes and the edge is very sharp. Not the most comfortable at all but not horrible. Every test resulted in skin flaking on my chin after the fact but that is my skin more than the rock. Btw that lakeside doppelganger should arrive in the mail tomorrow. Will be very interesting. Hopefully it isn't disintegrating...


00s? Below expectations. They are ok to shave off, but just ok. I’ve got a hundred stones that finish better, and most didn’t cost what frictionites sell for.


So I retested the dubl duck to confirm the last shave wasn't a lucky fluke... this time I used it dry as it instructs.

Comfort: 46/50
Closeness: 43.5/50

Very similar scores to before. I'll have to look for another one to try, as I've had 2 or 3 before this one and was never too impressed with them before this one. This still isn't an amazing hone or anything, but definitely near the top of the barbers synths.

Next few are likely to be retest the Clonet, the De-Fi, and then I got another Coti synth.


Finally picked up a Lakeside for a Semi-reasonable price (More than $50, less than $100). I'll be adding it hopefully by next week.


Lakeside proved to be just fine. Suspect it's very similar to the Clonet in makeup, though color is a bit different. Same box, Same size, both from Chicago, Similar labels, almost identical feel.

46/50 Comfort
45/50 Closeness
91/100 Overall

So let's do a roundup/ranking:

Exceptional/Worth seeking out: Synth Coti, Les Lat Hybrid, Sigma Power 13k, Dark Blue Escher, Panama, Mystery Synth #1 (dark red), Mystery Synth #2 (Light Tan/feels jsynth)

Perfectly fine: Clonet, Lakeside, Ambicut, De-Fi, Itsapeech, Swastika, Swaty**, Dubl Duck*

Slightly lacking: Mystery Grey/black frictionite, Fernsler's Ruby, American Buddy, Peek-In

Subpar: Brackett's Brazilian Quartz, Welch (w/ Oil), Frictionite 00, Alba Hone

Disappointing: Hirsch slate

Bear in mind these are already the best of the best of hundreds of barber's synths I've owned (plus a couple nats thrown in for comparison)... so a "Subpar" here is still WAAAAAY better than the avg barbers synth.

* means I've had several and they were NOT consistent. The Best one is scored here.
** means I've had dozens and they are the most inconsistent hone out there (Swaty's). The Best one is scored here.

Summary so far?

Look for Panama's and synth coti's. Everyone already knows to buy Les Lat's and Eschers. Sigma Power 13k is a good (albeit pricey) synth option.

Clonet/Lakeside are fine but overpriced. De-fi, Itsapeech, Swastika, and Ambicut seem reasonable (Can't vouch for consistency on any of these though... I've only had 2 of each). Probably worth snagging if they come up at a reasonable price. Dubl Duck and Swaty way too inconsistent to recommend in my book, but if you're a gambler Dubl Duck are certainly more consistent than Swatys.

Fernslers I didn't care for. Just way better options out there. Mystery Frict, Peek-In and American Buddy are all cheaper and superior options to Frict 00's... In fact of the Frictionite-style 2-sided AM-Hone co stones, 00's are actually the WORST I've encountered. These are all reasonable hones if you get them cheap, but if I were shaving off one, I'd be keeping my eyes open for a better option.

Brackett/Welch is a neat stone, but it's not something I'd recommend you buy to shave off of. Alba not much to say. Frictionite 00 same camp but also outrageously overpriced. Don't even bother unless you get one cheap, and if you do, resell it and buy something better.
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I actually sold my last 00 tonight. You need to try that wedgeway someday. I wouldn't call the edge gummy like they did, but for a bhone it was way above average in comfort.
The old razor and stone site's tests were something I never trusted because far too many of the rocks they talked up conspicuously ended up on the bay for sale at insane prices. It was getting like a penny stock forum...


If memory serves, didn't Modine compare under a scope, not an actual cutting test? I wouldn't trust a scope analysis of which hone makes a better shaving edge... and I use scopes all the time. They just can't tell you that.

As a for instance, the Fernsler's... yeah if you're just looking for which mirrors up the bevel best under a scope, that hone is a star. It's basically a ball of hard wax with superfine abrasives in it. Actually functional as a hone and leaving a good shaving edge however... it's near the bottom of this list.

I was more interested in the Lakeside because I'd heard a half dozen people who USED it praise it as a good hone... and it is. It's not $120+ good, but it's plenty good to shave off of. Same goes for everything in that grouping. Truth be told, the only Barber synth I've tested that I'm going to keep buying (not counting for resale) are the synth coticules. Nothing else is worth it. I got a better shave off the Sigma Power 13k than almost any of the barber's synths. And since the last Panama that sold went for $75+... I'd say the Sigma is a better deal even.

Edit: For reference... the Barbers Synths that rank up there with the Sigma Power:

(Escher @ 98)

Mystery Jsynth-like tan (97)
Synth Coti (96.5)
Sigma Power (96)
( Les Lat Hybrid @ 95 )
Mystery Red/Brown (95)
Panama (94.5)
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They did nonsense baselines of coticule edges and assigned jis grits to those and then compared the b hone scratches.
If you get a good one a swaty is one of the better hone values. I only had one synth coti and it was not great. Any number of reasons for that though. Your brackett's experience surprises me the most. It was still totally glassy or did it show signs of degradation?


Nope, still glassy. Had good feedback. Good hone (I've had 3, 2 small, 1 big). I'd be really surprised if they can break down... it's sintered quartz. Just not a fantastic shave. It still beat a Frictionite 00, so it's not BAD, but much better options out there.

The Synth coti's tend to be quite slow. They require patience, and ideally a pretty good-polishing lead up hone... but they leave a great edge. I think they sifted the coti dust very fine for them, so they are somewhat similar (in grit) to very fine coticules. Of course, this excludes the JGES stones which are barely bevelers.

And yeah, the Swaty almost made it into the top group, but it was one of the bigger drops from the Panama (94.5) to the Swaty (92), so I decided that was a good place to put the divide. It could easily be argued to slip into the top group with the 89-91.5 stones being the second group.

The problem with the Swaty's is... the second best I've ever owned (of DOZENS), would fall in the fourth group. There's a Lot of variance, and the really good ones seem to be REALLY rare.

And Frankly, Fernsler's should be down in 4th (or more likely 5th) too. I'm pretty sure I biased its test by using it off a Thuri... but I'll just say that I don't recommend them and leave it at that.
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I'm with kcb5150 on the Brackette as well. One of the better ones for sure. It behaves variably depending on how it is dressed - more so than any other hone IMO.

The Lakeside for me was outpaced by the Panama as well but it is still in the top 5 Barber hones I think.
Witte Hardware is in the Panama league for me too.
I have more than a couple Barber hones on the work bench but only the two Panama's, the Witte, Lakeside and Frictionite (has sentimental value, my barber gave me his) stay with the blades in my armoire.

With so many that are ok but not great I have stopped buying long ago but I am forever curious of others.
The nice thing about swatys is whenever you buy a lot of razors or stones you have a decent chance of having one in the pile to test. Rolls razors are in that zone as well. I must have had a dozen rolls at one point
I have been enjoying these. Thanks for taking the time to do it. I swear I have a clean twin to your mystery jsynth. I don’t give many bhones a second look but it is different. Also will parrot others with my surprise on your brackett’s. Anything but fast for me and mine started rough and ugly and I lapped fine and smooth - too smooth I think. Thanks again