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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
Gentlemen,

Here's a frequently asked question answered.


Please check it out, if it requires further discussion, feel free.
And please point out my typos and poor use of the English language.:blush:

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-10-26 23:48
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Woodash
+1
Posts: 202
Bart - This is what I keyed in on, and I think you're right on target:

iconQuote:
The geological origin of all these Coticule deposits is the same. In spite of popular belief, the fomer mines were not abandoned because they were depleted, but because extracting the narrow Coticule layers is so labor-intensive that it eventually became no longer economically feasible in a shrinking market, with the laboring costs within a post-industrial country.

From the currently mined layers, there is no single reason why the rock that is mined today would be any different from the rock that was mined 100 years ago.
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....WHOOPS!....
Steve
2010-10-27 02:30
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Chris Calvé (wdwrx)
From: Canada
Posts: 703
Well done!
Makes perfect sense to me. At a time when labour costs were rising, there was a drop in demand as the industrializing world moved away from traditional sources, and the stone's use in our hobby's aspect fell completly by the way-side. It's not surprising that the industry fell into such a slump.

At least my second-hand coti came in a vintage box!:D
2010-10-27 03:51
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Smythe
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 990
I think you said they sought the fastest cutters with the intent that the user would get the blade sharp with the stone, and then finish the honing with a pasted strop. There is plenty of evidence that pasted strops were more widespread that we today think.

Another reason the mines were abandoned was the fact that… Man-made Ceramic abrasives became much cheaper to mass-produce than it was to mine the rock out the ground. While at the same time the Open Razor, these stones were mostly used to sharpen, was being supplanted by the Disposable shaver.

If you were an Optimist, you could say “some of the best rocks are yet to be dug out the ground”… Indeed they don’t make them any more… er, that should be “they don’t make them at all”, so don’t procrastinate; get them now while you can… before there are no more at all.

OK you don’t have to include that last statement…:lol:
2010-10-27 07:41
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Matt
Associate
From: Poland
Posts: 1047
Very nice article, Sir Bart, that's all I can say.

This is truly a great place to get healed of most straight razor related myths!

my best regards,
Matt
"Very interesting indeed :) I did something similar with cheese a while ago" - Dr Ralfson
2010-10-27 09:39
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconSmythe:
I think you said they sought the fastest cutters with the intent that the user would get the blade sharp with the stone, and then finish the honing with a pasted strop. There is plenty of evidence that pasted strops were more widespread that we today think.


That is correct, but I don't think they went digging for the fastest Coticules only. Every evidence on the field suggests that yesteryears miners favored a mining spot where the layers were wide and straight. That delivers the most usable hones for the least amount of work (read: investment). Grading was only done at the end of the production process. If I look at the product lists of these old Coticule companies, everything suggests that the fastest Coticules were rated on top. In addition to that, they considered rectangular hones to be suitable for razors, and the irregular bouts to be used by butchers, carpenters, leather workers, etc... I am convinced that the gradation system was highly influenced by marketing principles. Notably the "Old Rock" company used brilliant marketing strategies. You can easily convince a barber to pay for an expensive hone, if it functions well, because the barber depends so much on edges with impeccable quality. Unlike a cabinetmaker, a barber cannot make up for any "surface defects" by subsequent sanding of his customers. For that reason, I can imagine that the whetstone market for cabinetmakers was a much tougher market, with competition of cheaper hones of that maybe not delivered the finest edges, but still worked well for the given purpose of woodworking tools. Hence the Coticule companies had to sell with lower profit margins on that market. But how to avoid that barbers would start buying Coticules on the woodworking market? The answer is easy: exaggerate the quality differences on the gradation list. It is the only sensible explanation I can come up with for the large gradation list of some former Coticule companies: sell expensive to those how can afford it and inexpensive to those who can't. After all, that is what the market demands. Even today.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-10-27 10:18
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BlueDun
Insider
From: Switzerland
Posts: 333
iconBart:


a barber cannot make up for any "surface defects" by subsequent sanding of his customers.

Kind regards,
Bart.


2010-10-27 10:47
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Marek Bednarz (maro)
Insider
From: Poland
Posts: 224
Hi Bart,

One typo noted:
iconQuote:
Such assessments remain in the field of vague impressions, easily overruled by differences in the steel of the tool and other external factors that iinterfere with objective assessment.
“Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere.” - Morihei Ueshiba
2010-10-30 22:22
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
Typo fixed.
Thank you for your keen eye, Marek.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-10-31 02:24