05-21-2015, 08:24 AM
#1
  • dajmacd
  • Member
  • Tennessee River Valley
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So I've got a handful of nice straight razors (Henckels, ERN, Novelty) and I have no trouble getting them to easily shaving arm hair and decently shaving my face and neck, but I cannot get them quite where I want them with respect to ease of shaving on the face.  I've got 3 coticules (LVRR, an unspecified vein and a hard vintage rouge du salm-backed which is oil saturated) as well as a 00 Frictionite barber's hone.  I feel like my edges are slowly improving but was wondering if anyone had any specific tips.  I'm not really interested in any more hones (well, actually I am, I'd just like to get the most out of what I have).  Thanks in advance.

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 05-21-2015, 11:21 AM
#2
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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Unfortunately,  I have been unable to get a shave I prefer from my coticule.  the current best I have across the board for various grinds is my Naniwa SS 12k synthetic.

I like a razor edge to be smooth and no tugging.  It is hard to find a natural stone that doesn't take *much* practice!  The 12k synthetic is a good investment to work with razors as a finisher.

some razors take 10 laps to finish on this stone, and other in my collection have required about 40 laps on this stone. BUT, all laps are done with strict control over the razor side (stay flat on the stone), and only the weight of the razor.

I recommend with any new finisher to only go 10 laps and then test  (arm hair, HHT, whatever!!!) 

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 05-21-2015, 05:48 PM
#3
  • MikekiM
  • Senior Member
  • Long Island, NY
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If I were on a game show I would bet my last buck your issue isn't in the coti, per se'.  The problem is in your bevel set.  It's notoriously difficult to set the bevel on a coti and if you do get it right, every step after that is a challenge.  

Consider adding a dedicated bevel setter.  A King 1k might be perfect.  And inexpensive.  If you're really good with the coti, you can pick up after the bevel set, but you probably know how easy it is to wreck a perfect bevel with an overly thick slurry..

As much as I adore naturals and have had many J-Nats and Cotis, I now use them only for finishers..

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 05-21-2015, 10:22 PM
#4
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Yeah I think the learning curve with naturals + there's also a big question mark over the quality of Coti's they are certainly not all made equal and definitely not the answer for most peoeple in producing a great edge and the reason I will always choose synthetics over naturals, another thing most newbie honers don't grasp the importance of the bevel set on the 1K stone now all your focus should start and end with this stone, you get this one stone right and in all honesty you can teach a Monkey to carry out the next three or four stone progression that's how important the bevel set is, another thing that's slightly overlooked is you need to improve your stropping technique it's no good being able to hone a razor if you don't start to speed up your stropping technique stropping slowly is OK when you are learning, but for your stropping to be effective you need a certain level of speed because you are effectively trying to polish and refine the razors edge have you ever tried polishing anything with a slow movement ? impossible.

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 05-22-2015, 03:46 AM
#5
  • dajmacd
  • Member
  • Tennessee River Valley
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Thanks for the input guys.  I do have a Sigma Power Select II 1k/6k that I use for the bevel/mid-hone work so I'm pretty confident in the bevel. I only listed my finest stones that I use for the finishing step.  I use light slurry > water on the newer cotis and oil on the vintage.  I've used water and lather on the Frictionite.  I am, admittedly, still slow on the strop so my issues may lie more in that step than in the stone work.  

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 05-22-2015, 06:34 AM
#6
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As others said, your bevel is probably a touch off.  Whenever I need to set a bevel I make sure to raise a burr on the full edge for one side, switch to the other, repeat, then about 30 full-coverage x-strokes before moving on.  Make sure that you can actually feel the burr along the full edge by gentle dragging your thumb pad from spine to edge on the opposite side you are working on.  I find this ensures a fully set bevel with fresh metal.

On a side note about the cotis - they are not as "sharp" as many other options.  What coti users prefer about them is how "skin-friendly" the edges are, since they work via polishing rather than cutting, so you don't have much serration at all, and get a pretty smooth edge.  If you reset the bevel and you swear to high heaven you did it right, but still aren't happy with the tugging, it's plausible cotis aren't in your wheelhouse right now.  Took me a few months of getting a feel for cotis before I was able to get the edges "maxxed" out and hitting HHT4-5, whereas with a synthetic took me 2 sessions at most to figure out.  

To be fair, though, LVRR is a pain the butt as a vein, and most "unmarked" veins you get from current mining operations are LVRRs or La Grise (superb edges, but high difficulty to use compared to other veins).  Easiest edges for me have come from La Veinette and La Verte, followed by Les Latneuses & La Dressante, followed by La Grosse Blanche, followed by La Grise & LVRR.

coticule.be has some decent videos on how to get them working, especially with regards to slurry use and dilution.

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 05-22-2015, 07:22 AM
#7
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(05-22-2015, 06:34 AM)explodyii Wrote: most "unmarked" veins you get from current mining operations are LVRRs or La Grise


This is unequivocally NOT the case for "LVRR", sorry.   LVRR (which I do agree is not easy to use like Veinette), is always a premium selection for which we are charged a higher rate.

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 05-22-2015, 08:47 AM
#8
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(05-21-2015, 05:48 PM)MikekiM Wrote: If I were on a game show I would bet my last buck your issue isn't in the coti, per se'.  The problem is in your bevel set.  It's notoriously difficult to set the bevel on a coti and if you do get it right, every step after that is a challenge.  

Consider adding a dedicated bevel setter.  A King 1k might be perfect.  And inexpensive.  If you're really good with the coti, you can pick up after the bevel set, but you probably know how easy it is to wreck a perfect bevel with an overly thick slurry..

As much as I adore naturals and have had many J-Nats and Cotis, I now use them only for finishers..

I agree with pretty much everything Michael has written here - especially the last statement. 

I use synthetics for everything except the final edge. I've had many coticules and I like them as finishers, but I almost always return to my La Verte or my La Grosse Jaune - I've used other veins successfully, but these just work best for me. 

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 05-22-2015, 02:23 PM
#9
  • MikekiM
  • Senior Member
  • Long Island, NY
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To the OP..  If you are using the bevel setter and you're ABSOLUTELY sure you've developed a proper bevel BEFORE you went to the Coti, then I would bet my last buck you are killing the edge with an overly thick slurry.  Only time with the stone will help you improve this..  Get a test blade or two and play around with various dilutions.  Err on the side of too thin, which obviously will add more time to the honing session.  Take notes so you know what worked and what didn't, though I'll tell you from experience that in the absence of a science lab, it's really hard to quantify dilutions to the point that it's repeatable as though it were pyramid honing or something.  Do the best you can.  

FWIW, I just took possession of a coti from Yohann.  I've been playing with it for a week or so (Happy Happy btw Yohann... thank you).  I don't expect to master that stone for a while.  I have a box of $5 GD's that get their bevels set and reset, only to be torched as I learn the ways of new stones.  For now, the new coti is going to be a finisher on water only, or at best.. a really misty slurry.

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 05-23-2015, 07:25 AM
#10
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(05-22-2015, 07:22 AM)kwigibocity Wrote:
(05-22-2015, 06:34 AM)explodyii Wrote: most "unmarked" veins you get from current mining operations are LVRRs or La Grise


This is unequivocally NOT the case for "LVRR", sorry.   LVRR (which I do agree is not easy to use like Veinette), is always a premium selection for which we are charged a higher rate.

Huh, I stand corrected.  I was led to believe that the LVRR was pretty common and showed up a lot in unmarked stones.

Thanks for the clarification, Jarrod.

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 05-24-2015, 06:08 PM
#11
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though they've had a few pieces decades old, they only found LVRR viable as a quantity to exploit since about a year and a half.  In our shipments we get lots of unmarked pieces, even the ones we're billed specifically for, but that is fine because LVRR's white tone and powdery texture has become something I can pick up pretty easy now, or as easy as a Veinette or Dressante.  

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 05-28-2015, 11:11 AM
#12
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Get a 12k Super Stone and you will have a great finisher on your hands. Of course your bevels have to be set correctly first.

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