Thuringian Bout No.4 (130 x 108 x 24mm)

Size: 130 x 108 x 24mm weight:  675gr.
Density: XXXgr./cm³ /  Estimated grit size:  very fine > 12K
Usage: only use water, no oil or grease!
Color: light-green (LG)
Hatzicho (Peter Buhlmann)

About this specific Stone:
This is a heavy weight Bout Stone in a light-green (LG) color. I got this Bout from Hatzicho. I really like those Bouts, actually they are my most loved finishing stones i have.  Those stones, especially the light-green and yellow-green color are on the softer side.

Short Rating of the Stone:
Hardness Level (7/10)
Speed Level (4/10)
Polishing Level (8/10)
Difficulty Level: easy

Short Rating of the Shave:
Keenness (7/10)
Smoothness (10/10)
AS Burn (9/10)

Don’t take this rating too serious ! Its based on my individual findings and experiences and cant be transferred 1:1 to your own findings, especially when we talk about natural stones. Besides this every shave depends on technique, the used razor and its steel and the personal feeling on the skin.
More details on my short ratings here:

General Information on Thuringian Water Razor Hones:
These stones are ones of the most known and well appreciated water razor hones today and they have been within the last 200 years. Beeing quarried in Thuringia in the region around Sonneberg (some Quarries were in Steinach, Steinheid, Goldisthal, Forschengereuth, Hämmern, Lauscha, etc.) These stones seem to have already been quarried since the 14th Century. Actually it’s a pity that there is no documented evidence about this fact . There are many historical sources naming these stones, which were sold under different older german names like (Wetzschalen, Abziehsteine, Poliersteine, etc.)

Probably the mostl well known water razor hones in the world.
Easy to use, very pretty consistent results.

The most interesting and most un-researched  Issue is the export of the Thuringian water hones around the world. They can be found everywhere around the world, especially in the USA, Russland, England, France, Spain and other countries. There are a bunch of retailers who sold the stones under their own trademark (f.ex. Bieber, Hahn, etc) . There were also a lot of US catalog companies who sold German Water Razor Hones, just to name a few here: Sears Roebruck, Gustav Knecht M.F.G. Barber Suplies, Theo A. Koch, and a lot more….also smaller Barber Supplies Stores and Companies had the stones in their product catalogues or in their stores. Within the second World War the sale of the german water razor hones were stopped which is well visible and documented in the Sears Roebruck catalogs.

One of the most known trader and exporter of the Thuringian water razor hones is “ESCHER” known during time periods as Escher & Co.  shortened E&Co., Escher & Sohn, Escher & Son, J.G. Escher & Sohn shortened JGES ). The Company was founded in 1789 by Johann Gottfried Escher from Sonneberg. Escher sold slate products in the first step afterwards their products ranged from soft water hones to hard oil-stones which were quarried from layers of Ordovician age and Devonian age.

The Company started early to sell their products after their foundation on the well-known world fair’s in Frankfurt, Leipzig (at the Union Messehaus) and Vienna. Escher was already selling products one year after their foundation on the fair in Frankfurt . Within the marketing on these fair’s Escher created a name/brand which got more and more attention around the world, probably this was the consequence of a well done marketing campaign which seems to work quite good to these days.

Between 1890 and 1925 the Escher Company had another additional business in producing and selling dolls. They had their own Puppet label signed (J. G. Escher & Sohn / IGES) with a Girl holding a puppet and a Bear in her hands.

Escher created a well-known “Brand” which is still known under Straight Razor Users and People working with fine instruments. The stones today, especially if the labels are full intact are sold for a big amount of money. But it has to be stated that only a label doesn’t say anything about the quality of these stones. So any of these Thuringian Stones without label might be in the same range or quality as a full labelled stone could be.

The last operating quarry (Christoph Luthard Fikken Sohn, Am Petersberg, Steinach) was closed in 1966, which was the end of the operating business of quarrying whetstones in this region. Actually there are nearly no official sources or stores where “Vintage” Thuringian Stones can be bought, most of the stones on the market are old finds or new old stocks from older closed companies.

Honing/Touch Up with the Thuringian Bout Stone:
Using a “touch up” with those Bout Stones is working quite good. Actually its possible to keep up the edge on a really good condition for a really long time. I personally never tried to do this over a long time period, but i know people who came around for a good year with only stropping and touching up their blade for several times between.

The feedback ist very nice, as the stones are quite soft so its really a pleasure to hone on those bouts stones. Its a smooth feeling moving over the stone.

personal shaving results (PSR):
I do have the possibilities to evaluate a lot of different stones from the actual and from the vintage market. Either if those stones are vintage stones (f.ex. Coticules, Thuringian Stones, Jnats, etc.) or also if we talk about newly mined or found stones from forum members (f.ex. Apache Strata, Colorado Slate, etc.).

Still today, after trying out more then 200 Stones, i believe that the thuringian stones in their working properties are somewhat “the best” standard for me personally.

“consistent results”
“easy usage”
and “a unbelievable smoothness”

….. are only three words which describe thuris very well. For me Thuringian Water hones have made their name into the world as probaly the most sold and best performing razor hones without any competition.

Thuringian Water Hones in their labelled apperance (f.ex. Escher hones, Karl Bracher hones, Celebrated Water Razor hones, etc.) are often very highly priced stones. If youre a collector it might suit you to own a labelled stone. To “only” use those stones its not needed to pay a lot of money for those. So, i listed the link to Hatzichos Website at the beginning of each of those pages. Check out his page and look out if you find a nice example which you would like to own, alternately shot him an email and ask him what youre into.

Hatzicho really gives us all the opportunity to supply ourselves with vintage stones, mainly focussed on german vintage razor hones. He’s for sure one of the most experienced people when it comes about knowledge about the Escher Company and when its comes to knowledge about german razor hones / sharpening stones.

External Links:

My Videos about technical topics:
Possible Touch Up Strokes on Thuringian Stone

My Videos from my Stones:

Escher & Co. Water Razor Hone type “Barber’s Delight”
yellow-green (Y/G) size: 6″x2″

Escher & Co. Water Razor Hone type “Baber’s Delight”
yellow-green (Y/G) and dark-blue (DB) size: 6″x2″

Escher & Co. Water Razor Hone Type “Rasierstube”
darkblue (DB) Size: 6″x2″

 Escher & Co. Wasserabziehstein
yellow-green (YG) size: 10″ x 2″

FASO Water Razor Hone in green C. Jul. Herbert packaging
dark-blue (DB) Size: 6″x2″

Karl Brächer Jr. Water Razor Hone
yellow-green (YG) size: X”xX”

O-ha! Magnet Elektrostein

The Celebrated Water Razor Hone in wooden Box

Thuringian double layered Stone
yellow-green (YG) and dark-blue (DB)

Thuringian Bout Stone No. 1 from Hatzicho

Thuringian Bout Stone No. 2 from Hatzicho

Thuringian Bout Stone No. 3 from Hatzicho

Thuringian Stone in Wooden Box with four cutted corners

more Information from the shaving boards: (R&S):
“Barbers Delight Escher” (R&S):
“Wide Escher Hone” (R&S):
“Nakayama Mizu Asagi vs Barbers Delight Escher” (SRP):
“Escher Price” (B&B):
“Escher Thuringian Love Show of your rocks” (GRF):
“Zeigt her eure Steine”

General Information on Thuringian
Water hones and the Escher Company:
“Thuringian waterwhetstones from the
J.G. Escher Company in Germany”

(C) by Peter Buhlmann (Hatzicho), Oktober 2013
by Gamma “Steinevergleich” “Tonschiefer”

other Literature/Information:

Bautsch, Riederer
„Zur Herkunft der Wetzsteine aus der Grabung
aus dem Burgwall in Berlin Spandau“
Rhythmus und Saisonalität, Kongreßakten des 5. Symposions des Mediävistenverbandes in Göttingen, 1933
Jan Thorbecke Verlag Sigmaringen, 1995

Hahn, Renate
“Sonneberger Spielzeug – Made in Judenbach”, 2010

Schwämmlein, Thomas
“Wetzsteinbergbau und Wetzsteinherstellung
im Landkreis Sonneberg”
Geschichts- und Köhlerverein
Mengersgereuth-Hämmern e.V. Nr. 8

Schwämmlein, Thomas
“Herstellung und Handel mit Wetzsteinen im Bereich des Thüringer Schiefergebirges während des frühen und hohen Mittelalters”
Geschichts- und Köhlerverein
Mengersgereuth-Hämmern e.V. Nr. 21

Thoma, Witzgall, Bravidor
„Seminarfacharbeit Gruppe 5 “Kulturelle und wirtschaftliche Bedeutung von Schiefern im Thüringer Schiefergebirge am Beispiel des Staatsbruchs Lehesten”

Volk, Max
„Die Wetzschiefervorkommen in der Phycodenserie bei Mengersgereuth-Hämmern, Steinach und Gräfenthal“
Hallesches Jahrbuch Mitteldeutsche Erdgeschichte, 7. Band, 1965
B.G. Teubner Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig, 1966

Volk, Max
„Die Hiftenberger Wetzsteinbrüche“
Hallesches Jahrbuch Mitteldeutsche Erdgeschichte, 8. Band, 1966
B.G. Teubner Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig, 1967

Volk, Max
„Volkstümliche Aufsätze zur Geschichte von Geologie und Bergbau“
Ausgewählte Aufsätze Teil 7, Herausgegeben von Karl Eichhorn
Museumsverein Schieferbergbau Steinach/Thüringen e.V., 2005

Weise, Gerhard
„Die Nutzung thüringischer Gesteine zur Herstellung von Wetzsteinen“

Weber, Martin
“Wetzschiefer – Wetzsteine bei Lauenstein und Gräfenthal”
Beitrag Geologie Thüringen, N.F. 12, 71-97, 5 Abb., 5 Tab., Jena 2005

© text and pictures

created: 02.05.2015/ edited: 11.04.2016