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Belgian Blue Water Stones

Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:59 pm

I've been reading a fair bit about the Belgian stones - the blue water stones and the more expensive yellow coticule stones so prized by those who sharpen straight razors. It seems to me the unique abrasive properties of the garnet crystals released by these natural stones would leave a less aggressive scratch pattern on kitchen knives than some of the other stones commonly used. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Or is it one of those things where the answer is "It depends"?

The way I see it, the ridges and valleys (or lands and grooves, if you will) left in the steel after sharpening with a garnet-based stone would be less steep than that of ceramic (and certainly diamond) abrasives. I presume this means there would be less "toothiness" to the edge, too. Or am I way off base about that?

I'm kind of leaning towards getting a Belgian Blue as the next step up from my King 1000 grit from Lee Valley, but an 8 x 3 inch stone runs around eighty bucks. There are a lot of other ways to go for that kind of money. As for the far pricier yellow coticule, I think I might be better off finishing with strop and compound than with a coticule. I can buy a BOATLOAD of stropping gear for the price of a decent-sized coticule.

I'm hoping someone with experience with these stones can give me some advice. Thanks in advance.

Re: Belgian Blue Water Stones

Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:35 pm

Well the main thing is that Coticule slurry doesn't break down like a Japanese natural slurry does. A coticule with a slurry actually leaves a coarser edge than a clean Coticule would. Same goes for the BBW which have a lower concentration of garnets.

Jumping from a 1k stone to a BBW is quite the jump and slow going, even with a slurry.

Re: Belgian Blue Water Stones

Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:55 pm

I agree with Michael but I actually use my BBW as a stopping stone on a few knifes and they get razor sharp, the only difference between the BBW and the coticule is garnet content but I will tell you this people underrate the BBW I love mine and it gets a lot of use and if you look through a microscope its a beautiful edge and will not have a burr what so ever. I am a different kind of sharpener I love my arky's my j-nats and my BBW's and coticule I use them all but that is a high jump. Michael and I sharpen with a similar take in that we use smaller jumps. Some like it some don't its whatever works for you. Peace and if you need as I w with your BBW pop me a pm or email. Jmbullman
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