05-19-2013, 04:13 PM
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At some point in their straight razor adventures, most users try to hone their razors themselves. I certainly did. In fact, when you have as many straights as I do, it's pretty much necessary to hone them yourself.

I can wax lyrical on the connection you feel with your razors when you hone them yourself, and the satisfaction you get when it shaves the way you want, but the main reason I do it is that it's just plain fun.

The hones are lovely too.....each with their own character. Here are most of the hones I have retained. Many more have passed through my hands, but these are the ones that are left.

The Coticules:

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From left to right (not including the slurry stones on the top):

La verte .. long, slow and it puts an excellent edge on a razor
Vintage unknown ... fast, puts a mellow edge
Les latneuses ... fast, and it has the hybrid layer that puts a laser sharp edge
Unknown top ... medium, a lovely finisher
Unknown bottom ... spotted, lovely stone, pretty fast

Most of these hones have a usable BBW layer, as can be seen in this pic:

[Image: temporary-40.jpg]

Here's another coticule....a La Grosse Jaune....slowish, but a great finisher.

[Image: temporary-35.jpg]

In addition to these coticules, I have a bunch of slurry stones that are not pictured. I don't think the identity of the slurry stone makes a big difference to the honing, so they're not shown here.

The Slates:

I've had many slates over the years, including very expensive Eschers, but I've never really taken to them. I got these slates on a whim. They're the Welsh tri-hone kit that a guy on SRP was selling. There are mixed reviews about these, but I found them all to be worthy finishers. They're not super-fast, but they do put a nice shaving edge on a razor. They're all slightly different, but all capable, if undistinguished hones.

[Image: temporary-39.jpg]

The Japanese Naturals:

[Image: temporary-38.jpg]

These are among my favorite hones, and they're like the coticules, in that they can take the razor from a set bevel to a finished edge.

Top: Unmarked kiita. I got this from Brian Brown, and I've found it to be a decent finisher. I usually use it to polish bevels up to the final finish, at which point I move to one of the other stones pictured with it.

Middle: Asagi. This is an excellent hone that I got a while ago. It is hard and very fine. Love the edges it produces.

Bottom: Oozuku namito karasu. This came from So Yamashita originally, and like anything he sold, it is an excellent hone, and also very expensive. This is probably my favorite hone to use on my Japanese razors.

Of course, these hones all have matching tomonagura, and I have a set of botan, and mejiro nagura. So, I can quickly progress from a set bevel, to a final polished edge with these hones.

The Oilstones:

I've been using Oilstones to finish edges for a long while. They're probably my favorite finishers for western razors. They're all slow, so they're not really useful for anything other than finishing.

[Image: temporary-36.jpg]

The three pictured above are all Charnley Forest hones. They're all fine, though the smallest one is probably the finest. If I want a 'silent cutter' edge, I use one of these hones to finish with.

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The two hones above are both Llyn Idwal hones. They're really nice hones to use. The one on the left is a pre-polisher, but the one on the right is certainly an excellent finisher. It is most accurately called a Grecian Hone....not sure why.

Not rocks, but.......

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These three are not rocks, of course. However, they form an essential portion of my honing sequence, so they deserve to be pictured here. They're all DMT diamond hones/lapping plates. From left to right we have the 8000, the 1500 and the 325/600 combo. The latter plate is mostly used for lapping my natural hones, but I'll occasionally use the 600 to set the bevel on a really damaged wedge. The 1500 is my main bevel setter, with the 8000 used as an intermediary between the 1500 and the natural hones.


When a razor gets to me, I'll always hone it......regardless of whether it was provided to me as 'shave-ready' or not. Nobody knows my edge requirements better than I do.

If it needs bevel work, I'll drop down to the DMT1500 (or the 600, in extreme cases). Once the bevel is set, I'll do a few laps on the 8000, after which I make a decision to go with coticules or Japanese Naturals.

In either case, I'll stick with that hone all the way to the finished edge. I'll sometimes use the Oilstones or the slates as a final polisher, but they're not necessary, and I only use them to change things around.


Those are my hones (not including a Chinese 12K, which I didn't dig out for this photo shoot).

Please do post pics and impressions of your own hones here.

37 1,743
 05-19-2013, 05:16 PM
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Yohann, a very interesting read. There has never been an edge, whether razor, knife, or scissors that I could not dull. When I use to shave with a straight years ago I generally had my old barber hone them. Now that I am slowly getting back into straights, I will be sending them out to be honed, when needed.

Some have the talent for honing, some don't. My Dad was a honing expert. He could put an edge on his pocket knife to shave with.

180 24,742
 05-19-2013, 05:57 PM
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Yohann - great hearing from you! This is a great read whether you're into straights or not. Perhaps Yohann can find time to write a Featured Article for a certain shaving forum? Eusa_whistle

Nice job, my friend...

73 4,346
 05-19-2013, 09:51 PM
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Wonderful collection, thank-you for sharing Yohann.

Now for a Rock song...

101 18,029
 05-19-2013, 10:54 PM
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Excellent information, Yohann! Thanks for contributing!Biggrin

89 21,190
 05-20-2013, 12:44 AM
  • ohpaos
  • Junior Member
  • United States
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You are a rock star! :star:

2 36
 05-22-2013, 11:32 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Yohann

A most interesting and helpful post Clap

Take care, Mike

23 1,872
 05-25-2013, 07:06 PM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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those are some beauties Biggrin

I started out with the standard Norton set (not my favorites) and a C12k
Then I got the Welsh Tri-Hone set. I like 2 of the three, but can't remember at the moment which 1 I don't like lol
Then I started working on lapping films
Then I picked up a natural combo La Grise coticule

I was just starting to learn the coticule when I picked up a Feather SS folder.....and I'm a bit embarrassed to say, I've been a bit busy these last couple months and haven't gotten back to the stones in quite a while

Only pic I have on hand is in this thread I made about how to store your hones, a crappy cell phone pic that only shows them from the sides anyway Rolleyes

10 411
 05-25-2013, 11:24 PM
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Wow! there's some great looking stones there, I would love to own a really high end JNS, but I don't want to mortgage my house to get one, those Lyn Idwal stones look beautiful and from my neck of the woods Wales, I hone a fair few razors but only use Naniwa super and King stones, all I will say is the results are top notch from those stones, but that still does not stop me wanting own a few very high end naturals.


12 2,060
 05-26-2013, 08:15 PM
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Here are a few I have at the present time. To be honest
I love using them, but there are very few that I would consider "keeper" (heck that goes for razors also).
Matter of fact the only one I would consider a "keeper" is the green/blue thuringian. Thats basically because I wouldn't want to spend the money it would take to replace it..lol

That being the case I tend to go through a good number of stones.

So here we go.
Top left -to- bottom left.
Translucent Black Arkansas stone - Slow like all oils stones but a great finisher
Vintage Green/blue thuringian stone. Fast stone, great finisher.
Coticule - La Grise. Great work horse stone. Fast with slurry, slow on water. Not the greatest finisher but can be used to shave off of with out much problem.
Japanese Natural stone. old stock Okudo stone (or Ohira, can't remember). Very hard and very fine. Edit: after going back though my records, I see it's a Ozaki lol Smile

Top Right -to- bottom right

Charnley Forest stone. Not the finest CF I've had but still a really nice finisher. (plus I like the size of it)
Coticule - LPB. fast cutter and good finisher. I use it for those problem blade that give you trouble (ie: warped, extreme smiles)
Coticule - La Nouvelle. really nice little. medium speed with slurry, med./slow on water. Nice little finisher.
Japanese Natural stone. Narutaki asagi. Big stone (205x75x40) great work horse stone, easy to finish on.
[Image: P1050828.jpg]

Also a few naguras , tomos and slurry stones
[Image: P1050829.jpg]

0 93
 05-27-2013, 10:48 AM
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That's a nice collection of stones you have there. I also agree with you about the blue-green Thuringians - they're really nice. I had a very large Droescher blue-green, and it was really east to get a nice mirror finish on my blades with it. Still, I generally prefer other stones.

Maybe I'm just a patient guy, but I really like oilstones. The CF's and the LI's are really nice to use, though I certainly don't need 'em all.

If someone twisted my arm and asked me to keep just one hone, it would probably be the Oozuku Namito Karasu above. I always enjoy using it to hone with.

37 1,743
 05-29-2013, 06:42 PM
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Thanks Yohann,
I like oil stones, I just need something a little quicker Smile
If I just maintained my own stuff, it wouldn't be a big deal.

If I were picking a oils stone.. it would be tough to go against the Arky's. They're not sexy but they are every bit as fine as any other oils stone.

I have a another Jnat coming in this weekend, a Nakayama asagi with karasu pattern. Should be interesting to see how it works.

0 93
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