Greek Vermio Hone

Greek Vermio Hone 1

The Vermio Straight Razor Finishing Hone from Greece

What follows is, basically, a trasnscript of my ‘review’ email sent to the nice fellow that offereed to let me test this stone. 

 I can believe it to be slate, based on the ring-test but it acts very

oddly when lapping. The one exposed corner shows fissility like shale

and not so much slaty cleavage. But , it rings like slate, not shale. And - I¹ve never lapped a slate that acted or felt like this. The closest sensation to lapping the Verrmio that I can remember came off a somewhat soft Kiita Jnat; it almost smeared on the corners but the stone was, essentially, fairly hard. 

As for silica content, quartz silica in slate runs 10% to about 50-ish%,

other silicates can be present of course. It¹s my guess that Thuringen

hones are in the upper register of the species, they work pretty fast, but

other factors can apply here too. I would not guess the Vermio to be in that class based on how slow it seems but that’s a guess. 

Because it strikes me as being slow, as compared to - say, Eschers. I’d theorize that would not normally be a result of a high quartz/silica content slate. At the same time, it could be the result of how the rest of the stone is made up. Arks are

almost pure quartz silica, and they¹re slow - so there¹s that, but Arks are not slate so, admittedly, that’s a difficult comparison at best. 

Mostly though, it¹s the lapping and the unique lustre that gets me. Maybe Mother Nature swapped out some Mica for Talc, or perhaps the feel is due to an abundance of Kaolinite in the protolith. All of that is only academic mental gyrations though. It doesn¹t reallymatter what it is, if it works. 

It¹s way more gentle on the steel than say a La Lune. This I can see quite easily with a loupe, and on the scope it’s painfully obvious. Lunes will make a sharper edge for sure, and it’l do so much faster. The same goes for the grey types of French stones. I’ll also say that comfortable edges are not their strong suit. 

The striations left by the Vermio are fairly even - consistent. Not quite in the league with Eschers or similar Thuringens but still good. I¹m not seeing burnishing like say, a Zulu or another similar indurated foliated metamorphic – but I believe there is something like that going on. I did not see any plastic deformation on the bevel that would suggest burnishing in a common sense. I think  that if there is any, it¹s very subtle and due to the unique texture of the stone. 

The edges thus far have been smoother than keen, but keen enough to shave with.

If I had to make a comparison - it would be to the purple welsh slates that I¹ve tried; honestly, I feel that they produce very similar types of edges. But there is a totally different feel to the stone though. The feel of this Greek stone, when honing - is similar to the green/black welsh slate in a way; glassy with some texture. But none of those other stones gave up the same feel when lapping as this Greek stone does. This means nothing, it just makes me think about it more. 

I like the Vermio because it¹s unique in a few ways and it¹ll put a shaving edge on a razor without much difficulty. I don¹t think it¹ll ever bring up a super keen super

smooth edge, but smooth yes, and keen enough - yes. The edge seems to need

to be very close to done first - there is no real cutting power here that

would bring up an edge on a blade that was honed to, say - 5k. I would say using the Vermio after an average 8k JIS stone would/could/might bump the edge¹s sharpness up a bit, and add some smooth to the equation. That¹s a guess - but it¹s

prob close to spot-on. It took the sharpness down off a good Jnat edge that had a bunch of shaves on it, but it was pretty smooth and very shave-worthy. 

I kicked up slurry on the Vermio with an Translucent Arkansas stone, and some of the top of the stone ¹smeared¹ from the abrasion in a couple of spots - suggesting

some sort of plasticity to the stone¹s makeup. Hard to say - but it happened 4-5 times. The smear was absolutely flat, so it was no issue for honing but it fascinated me for a good hour. 

And - while the slurry seemed to be marginally helpful, it¹s also very

slow - so the process of honing with this stone seemed to be a bit lengthy

as compared to honing on most other slate hones. The main difference being

that slurry on the purple Welsh slate seemed to be detrimental, as I see

it with most garden variety slates.  Here - it was the opposite, like it is with an

Escher; the slurry did seem to add some marginal assistance, along with some extended time on the stone. 

I did not notice a big difference in keen or smooth when using slurry, but

I was able to see that the slurry was moving the edge forward. I think

It would do the same thing without slurry though. Perhaps with more trials

I¹ll see where the slurry fits in better. 

The scratch pattern off the Greek stone appear to be similar to what I get

from a high-end 8k, or a regular 10k synthetic JIS. I have seen notably

finer striations from other slates - my Ark, and Eschers. That is not indicative of much but it¹s something to think about. Lunes leave the ugliest scratches, they¹re horrible to look at actually, and the edges from those stones can be ridiculously keen. Coticules too – ugliest damn bevels but they can still be super smooth as well as very keen. So I don¹t put much stock into striations and how they look most of the time.

But I still look. I have to - it¹s in my blood. 

I want to thank you again for this stone - most slates bore me - as a

result, I don¹t pay much attention to them. Eschers are special but even

they aren¹t so exciting most of the time. This one caused me to stop and

think. I¹ll keep pushing it to see if there¹s more in there but I don¹t

think so. At the same time, one never knows unless one tries.


The guy saying the Vermio replaces Escher and Lune - first, his

progression (lEscher first, Lune second) makes no sense so I can¹t get my

head wrapped around it at all. After that - I know I can do sharper edges that are just as smooth, possibly smoother (but this is tedious now) with an Escher. But the edge off the Vermio is different than any of the typical finishing stones - to me this is not about replacing anything. I never understood that approach - it¹s so finite and formulaic.

I¹m more of a “both-and” kind of guy - and not so much into “either-or”.

© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2018