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Next Hone to Get

Right now I have a Chinese 12k as a finishing hone for the periodic touchup, but what would be a good recommendation for a hone to get for fixes that require something coarser? I was thinking a Norton 4k/8k might be a good bet, but do you guys have any other suggestions? I don't plan on getting more than 2 hones, so I figure a 4k, 8k, 12k progression might be alright, and then anything needing more substantial work I can just send off.
 
I don't really know much about honing, but from the tiny bit I've learned, it might be worth looking at Naniwa stones as well. Naniwa makes a 3k/8k and I'm pretty sure that last I asked, people recommended that I get that one over the Norton.
Good luck :001_smile
 
If you prefer snythetic i would get 4k/8k n. I have used the norton they are easy to learn on. I now just use coticule with slurry this will easily do the work of 4k and 8k and 12k you could even finish with your ch12k. My coticule can set a bevel no problem .
 
I agree for personnal use the yellow belgian coticule is the way to go. You need to buy a coticule rubbing stone so you can create a slurry. This makes the hone more versitile.

I would strongly recommend the Naniwa range of hones because they are easy to use, good value for money and do a great job. They do two combination hones in their super range. A 800/5000 hone which would fit well with your 12000 Chinese finisher. They also do a 3000/8000 which in my opinion is an easier hone to use than the Norton and gives a finer edge.

But the Coticule with paste will do the job of the 4000/8000 type hones but a little more slowly.

If you ever need to remove a chip or if you need to reset the bevel, you can always buy some wet and dry. 400 grit will remove a chip, followed by 800 to smooth out the edge followed by 1000/1200/1500 (whicheveryou can buy) will reset the bevel. Then your coticule then your Chinese 12K. Perfect.

So many choices and they all work. The thing to remember is as the hones get smoother, the pressure of the blade on the hone should get lighter.

The guys who are the best at honing have one thing in common. They all have a lightness of touch.
 

professorchaos

Moderator Emeritus
I agree with English. My preference would be for the progression of Naniwas, but if you want one very functional hone, you can't do better than the Coticule.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
I've heard people say that the Naniwa 8k is rated so that it's around 12k on the Norton scale, making the 3/5 set a better comparison to the norton 4/8. Can someone confirm/deny this? It might be relevant since he already owns an ~12k stone in the chinese finisher.
 

professorchaos

Moderator Emeritus
I've heard people say that the Naniwa 8k is rated so that it's around 12k on the Norton scale, making the 3/5 set a better comparison to the norton 4/8. Can someone confirm/deny this? It might be relevant since he already owns an ~12k stone in the chinese finisher.
Don't know...I only have the 10K Naniwa.
 
This is one of those questions that returns a different answer from each member. So here is another perspective.

I have worked with Nortons, Naniwas and Shaptons. All these synthetic stones have their own peculiare traits. The Norton needs to be soaked before use and seems a little soft to me. It does, however, produce a very nice edge once you get use to it, and does need lapped on a regular basis. This is probably the best entry level stone for someone wanting to learn how to take care of their razors.

The Naniwa stones were the most tempermental for me. They required way to much lapping to get them broken in. They are fast cutters and tend to build up too much swarf, requireing lapping about every 4-5 razors, after they are broken in. The information you have read about concerning grit size is real. Some might get pissed about this but the 3/5 k is the same as the normal 4/8k. This is my personal experience and that's that! The one thing I can say about the Naniwas is that the feedback from them was very confusing for me. I never really knew what to expect until the very end. Intermediate tests seemed inclusive to me.

The Shaptons glass stones are, by far, the best overall synthetic stones I have had experience with. They are also fast cutters and produce very nice edges, and provide very nice feedback during the honing process. They too have to be lapped but not quite as often as the Naniwas.

As far as synthetics go, I personally like the Shaptons above all else, but I hone a lot of razors. For someone just wanting to maintain their own razor, however, the Norton is the best investment, I think.

Natural stones are a breed all their own. There are the Japanese stones, Belgian Blues, Thurington, Eschers and Coticules to name a few. Since these are natural, each one is totally different from the next. Amongst these, the Coticule is beginning to return in popularity. You can find out about these at Coticule.be a sight dedicated to coticules.

The coticule is a one stop shop. This stone does it all, sets the bevel - sharpens - finishes. They require a bit of patience to use and learn but may be something you might be interested in. Some don't like them. I think this is because they bought them without knowing their characteristics. Some stones are great on the low end, bevel making, and slow on the finish end. Some are the other way around. Some, still, are moderately slow and moderately fast. I haven't found one that is fast on both ends of the spectrum though. These differences are found from different veins of the mine and are actually given names. Go to the coticule website and read about these stones.

This would be your other best option.

Hope this helps. . . . . . :)

Ray
 
Right now I have a Chinese 12k as a finishing hone for the periodic touchup, but what would be a good recommendation for a hone to get for fixes that require something coarser? I was thinking a Norton 4k/8k might be a good bet, but do you guys have any other suggestions? I don't plan on getting more than 2 hones, so I figure a 4k, 8k, 12k progression might be alright, and then anything needing more substantial work I can just send off.
I think your problem is that you want a better stone than the Chinese one. Its not 12k in my book.

Coticule would be what your looking for. Better finish than the Chinese stone, quicker cutting, with slurry it will do the work of an 8k. Increase the slurry and you cut even faster, as others have said.

However, I'm not entirely sure what type of hone work that cannot be done soley by say... a Nani 12k, that a Nani 8k + 12k will be able to do. Put in another way, what exactly does this other stone need to do?

If you have to go down to 4k, your almost resetting the bevel. Something bad has happened or the razor is not quite sharp. Might as well send it off to a pro at that point, or invest in more stones. (A coticule would work for this situation btw)

At the 8k level, your basically just prepping the surface for the next progression. And really, you can just skip the 8k stone and do 3x-4x (could be more, I'm just estimating here) more laps on the next stone. Its just a time save to use the 8k stone.

Therefore, you don't need that other stone. You can make do with that Chinese one. However, that Chinese one is a horrid stone. You should throw it away.
 
Nothing has happened to either of my blades (yet) that I haven't been able to correct between strops or that chinese stone. I just know that I won't be able to maintain the edges forever using just those two means so I was curious what options were out there. What makes the chinese stone so bad just out of curiosity?
 
Nothing has happened to either of my blades (yet) that I haven't been able to correct between strops or that chinese stone. I just know that I won't be able to maintain the edges forever using just those two means so I was curious what options were out there. What makes the chinese stone so bad just out of curiosity?
I don't like the Chinese hone because, compared with other stones that I have, it is way too much work for a mediocre result. Why do a hundred laps on a Chinese hone when I can do 10-20 on a coticule and get a better edge?

I also don't like the Norton 4K/8K because it caused me a lot of grief in the beginning. First of all, it cannot be consistently lapped on abrasive paper. The hone is porous and picks up grit from the abrasive paper, which leaves a point that the razor hits when honing. The problem doesn't happen every time but it happens often enough to drive you crazy. The Norton needs to be lapped on another hone, like a DMT. For cost reasons, I bought the Norton Flattening Stone, which is another headache because it also needs to be lapped (it can be lapped on abrasive paper) and can't be used to lap any other hone.

After a lot of experimenting, I settled on a narrow BBW/coticule combo which I like because a narrow hone makes it easier to sharpen warped blades (otherwise I was going to cut my Norton in half lengthwise). The BBW side with slurry refreshes the edge and the yellow side with water puts a nice polish on it. It's small enough to fit in my hand and to travel with (another point against the Norton) and it does the whole job.

The coticule can be lapped on abrasive paper and needs to be lapped much less often than any synthetic hone.
 
So it sounds like a coticule is a pretty good all around purpose hone. I know coticule.be is supposed to sell them, but I can't find out how to order anything on that site, let alone what they cost.
 
Nothing has happened to either of my blades (yet) that I haven't been able to correct between strops or that chinese stone. I just know that I won't be able to maintain the edges forever using just those two means so I was curious what options were out there. What makes the chinese stone so bad just out of curiosity?
What Chimensch said.


As for maintaining the edges forever. Yes you can.
 
So it sounds like a coticule is a pretty good all around purpose hone. I know coticule.be is supposed to sell them, but I can't find out how to order anything on that site, let alone what they cost.
Hi, I'm the founder of Coticule.be.
We don't sell any hones. I should make some adaptations to the site that make that clearer to new visitors.
I actually just test Coticules for their slight difference and peculiarities. (I know: it's a weird hobby:blush:) After my assessment, the hones are returned to Ardennes Coticule. The good people of Ardennes have allowed me to take reservations for the members of my website. But I don't want to be a seller, because I feel that would compromise the independent nature of Coticule.be. We're not making a single dime out of this.

That said, let's address the heart of the matter:
Obviously, you like your Chinese 12K. You shave off it and are happy with the results. So it's a good hone that works well for you. Personally I think forums have too much tendency for material fetishism. That's not a direct critique to B&B. All Internet forums have that, whether they deal about guitar strings, hiking boots, hifi equipment, or shaving gear.
As far as honing razors is concerned, there are a lot of capable hones available on today's market. You can make a razor shave very well on any of them. The differences are minor and your personal preferences are as much determined by how you are used to what you have, than by the intrinsic qualities of the finishing hone.

I like Ray's post, because it primarily focuses on the differences in use. I think you should base your choice on that sort of considerations. Do you like the man-made exactness of the synthetic hones, that offer a way to go by numbers? Buy a progression of Naniwas. Are you the kind of person that believes in always taking precision to the next level? Buy the Shapton hones with the glass base and don't forget their state of the art lapping plate. Do you like a basic tools that get the job done? Norton 4K/8K. Do you like to become attached to a piece of nature that turns sharpening razors into a kind of art? Look at natural hones.
You can also approach this negatively:
Do you hate pre-soaking hones and constant lapping to de-glaze them? Don't buy synthetics.
Do you hate to spend more time than absolutely necessary for sharpening a razor? Don't buy naturals.

So far my opinion on this matter.

Bart.
 
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As far as honing razors is concerned, there are a lot of capable hones available on today's market. You can make a razor shave very well on any of them. The differences are minor and your personal preferences are as much determined by how you are used to what you have, than by the intrinsic qualities of the finishing hone.
Well said, Bart.


Me
 
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