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Thread: Where to start with natural hones

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    Default Where to start with natural hones

    I've done some lapidary in the past, so I'm sort of being pulled toward trying some natural hones. What would be a good/more forgiving type of stone to start on?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth PaulFLUS's Avatar
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    More forgiving to what, your razor or your wallet?
    As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. PR 27:17

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    Senior Member jfk742's Avatar
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    Paul makes a good point. Natural hones have many price points that come with many claims. I don’t know much about natural hones but I do know the question you asked is very open ended.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth PaulFLUS's Avatar
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    Of course I got milage at your expense, (sorry for that) but that question is quite subjective. It's almost like asking who is the best rock band or who is the best guitar player. The devil is in the details of questions of that nature. Everyone has their opinions and you know what they say about opinions so we'll leave that open ended.
    Personally I like Arkansas stones but I must disclose that my Dad had a bunch of them which he uses in his sharpening business that I inherited. Now I won't pull the appeal to authority fallacy here because he never used them on razors (that I am aware of) and even if he did he could still be wrong. But since I got them without outlay of cash plus they are heirlooms they mean a lot to me. I can attest that they give a fabulous clean and crisp edge and they are also very, very durable and more affordable than many others, at least here in the US. However, there are others who do not like them because they are slow (meaning they.take lots.of time to achieve the desired effect) and they have limits like they are not practical to slurry and their character varries so broadly within the same type of stone.
    Jnats (Japanese natural stones) are very popular with those who like them but are the primary subject of my earlier joke as they can be very , VERY expensive. Their use is also quite complicated especially for someone starting out.
    The point is that there are many different aspects.to consider. I personally will tell you Arks for the reasons.i have stated but take that for what.it is worth. Many others will dissent I'm sure.
    Last edited by PaulFLUS; 10-15-2021 at 04:53 AM.
    As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. PR 27:17

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    Giveaway Guru. Keeper of the Vault! Gasman's Avatar
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    Id say as a finisher a thuri can be nice and basic. Like an Arkie they are basic stones. But all Natural stones take time to learn. Syntetic stones are the best when learning to hone as they are straight forward. Less of a learning curve.
    Having synthetic stones to work your way up then finishing on a Natural is the way to vo if you want to do Naturals. Or open your wallet and buy a few Jnats and cross your fingers. As that swimming pool is expensive to play in and you may not ever get a great edge.
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    It's just Sharpening, right?
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    Senior Member blabbermouth outback's Avatar
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    Honing is an investment of time and money.

    I've been honing for many years, spent lots of money buying all sorts of hones, to find the four stones I need to create the desired edge.....for me and my face.

    Others have also enjoyed this edge I've created on their razors, as well. It takes several years to master honing techniques, and even I still learn new things along the way.

    Try learning the different stones, and their capabilities, before diving in head first.
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    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulFLUS View Post
    Of course I got milage at your expense, (sorry for that) but that question is quite subjective. It's almost like asking who is the best rock band or who is the best guitar player. Many others will dissent I'm sure.
    There's nothing subjective about the best rock band Paul.
    Obviously it's Queen, everyone knows that and the best guitar player is Brian May

    I do concede that natural hones are subjective though, I also found from personal experience that it's a lot easier to get help and honing advice when a person first begins razor honing if they learn on synthetics.

    Saying that, if a person was determined to learn to hone on naturals, I would have to say a Coticle is a reasonable stone to start with in my humble opinion. A lot of the experienced guys use them so there would at least be some advice available, they are quite fast so a person would be able to see some results of there work in a reasonably short time, they are not too expensive compared to some naturals and they do produce a nice smooth comfortable edge when a person learns to use them properly.

    I still maintain that learning to hone on synthetics and taking advantage of all the available help would make it so much easier to transition to naturals, there is not a guy here that hones, even just their own razors that cannot use a synth and most started on them The experienced guys and mentors will be able to offer so much more help on synths to learn with.

    Honing a razor is absolutely nothing like sharpening a knife (that's probably why all my kitchen knives are so blunt that I have trouble cutting butter) and as far as lapidary goes, a great hobby. My wife is well into that but being into rocks and honing on natural stones, I don't think I would let that influence me, initially at least.
    - - Steve

    You never realize what you have until it's gone -- Toilet paper is a good example

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    Senior Member blabbermouth PaulFLUS's Avatar
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    I think part of it depends on what kind of person you are too. Synths are definitely easier and more reliable, definable and repeatable and they are definitely quicker than nats, Arks especially. Still where's the fun in that? We all ate mushy peas when we came off the teet and had no teeth. If one's happiness depends on having success every time then stick with synths. I don't say that as a judgement, just a point of fact. Not everyone likes the wilderness. If not stay your ass in the city because tagging along will suck for everybody. For me there is something...cro magnon about finding a rock and rubbing shiny things on it to make them ouchy. That's all part of the fun. That's where the joie de vivre comes from for a man ape like me stuck in civilization whose wife makes him sleep in a building instead of under the stars...she won't come along otherwise.... Anyway that's why I walk by a rock garden and say, "hmmm"
    I started doing a full progression from bevel set to finish on Arks out of sense of adventure and because they were Dad's. It can be done but it is true that your best bet is to start with some synths, get your feet wet and then venture out. Not everyone is Jeremiah Johnson but if you are you can definitely make it happen if you're willing to fail some getting there.
    As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. PR 27:17

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    Once you have a basic progression down pat. I would, in hind sight, buy and learn a finisher, one at a time. Finishers are much easier to find. There are nice mid grade hones out there too. For restoration honing and repair most use a synthetic.
    It's not what you know, it's who you take fishing!

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Kees's Avatar
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    Walter, natural hones are a rabbit hole. Traditionally in Europe and US coticules and Thuringers were mostly used. The Japanese had their own: a rabbit hole inside a rabbit hole. Vintage codicules and Thuringers on the bay are usually good in my experience. Japanese hones IMHO are best bought off a reliable vendor.
    Coticules are still extracted and the new ones are as good as the vintage ones. They can be bought of the quarry in Belgium and some razor- and knifemongers have them on their sites as well.
    Last edited by Kees; 10-15-2021 at 03:32 PM.
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