07-26-2014, 05:07 AM
#1
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New SR user here. I got a couple razors, and my first three cheek shaves were less than stellar. Each one was better than the last as I had been stropping before each.

I am not sure it is as sharp as needs to be, and wonder if a blade needs to pass the hanging hair test to be shave ready?

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 07-26-2014, 05:26 AM
#2
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This is what I have to say on the matter and where experience kicks in, has I hone many razors and restore quite a few this means I cannot shave with every razor that passes through my hands so the HHT is something I apply plus the thumb pad test is another great indication of sharpness, I know many straight user will say they own straight razors that will not pass the HHT but are fine shavers, personally I've not found this to be the case myself If a razor will not pass the HHT I will mark the razor down as a failure, but I'm 100% confident that If I get the bevel set off the 1K stone and it easily shaving hair then the next progressive three stones 5K, 8K, 12K, plus stropping I would guarantee the razor to easily pass it, but another test which you can also apply and I only apply this test to my own razors how easily and with what level of pressure can they pass the HHT but that's another story.

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 07-26-2014, 05:32 AM
#3
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Thanks, I should add that I obviously don't get the right angle each stroke, and have a time stretching my skin because of the awkwardness of having to use reading glasses.
But, I do want to be sure I am starting off correctly. If it has been recently honed, can I get it that way with a lot of stropping?

On a good note, I haven't cut myself yet! Biggrin

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 07-26-2014, 08:13 AM
#4
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To me this is one of the biggest issues facing new straight users, it certainly was for me.

Yes, passing the HHT will give you a edge which will quickly and efficiently shave the face, but improper stropping and shave techniques will move an edge from HHT passing to fail in little to no time. Improper stropping alone can take an edge from pass to fail before it ever hits the cheek.

While I do agree with Jamie that it is very helpful to have one which can pass the test, I think it is less than necessary in the very beginning. Until you find the correct angles and get a proper stropping technique down, those should be your areas of most concentration. Either that or you are going to be sending your straights out for honing an awful lot.

BTW, a lot of people test blade sharpness by testing it on a small area of forearm hair.

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 07-26-2014, 08:34 AM
#5
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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Yea, when you are beginning you really don't know if you are taking a sharp blade and dulling by improper stropping and/or improper shaving technique. Just one of the hurdles you have to overcome with time and practice.

On another forum there have been many threads on the hanging hair test and a good deal of controversy about it. Many, like Jamie, use it to good effect to judge shave readiness.

Bob

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 07-26-2014, 03:12 PM
#6
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I am really trying to go slow at stropping and learn it. I feel like I am getting the blade sharper each time.
One of the shave ready razors I have not even used and it doesn't pass the test, therefore my question on this topic.

Given that I only have time to use a straight 2-3 times a week right now, this is going to take me a while Rolleyes Until I can get the sides of my face right, I see no use in moving on yet.

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 07-26-2014, 04:43 PM
#7
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If you know how your hair behaves when you do the test, it is a good indication of sharpness.

If you don't know how your hair is supposed to behave, it can give you false negatives.

It can also give false positives regardless of experience because a 1k edge can make a hair pop. But, with enough experience, you can weed those out too since it pops differently.

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 07-26-2014, 07:02 PM
#8
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(07-26-2014, 03:12 PM)Bowhnter Wrote: I am really trying to go slow at stropping and learn it. I feel like I am getting the blade sharper each time.

Stropping does not sharpen a blade. The only way to sharpen it is to hone it. It sounds to me like you are getting a bit better with each use and that is the sign of progress.

It's way too early in your learning curve to start getting caught up in non-fundamentals. As Lee pointed out, before even being able to use the HHT to determine if the edge is right you have to determine how your hair reacts to the test.

I personally prefer the thumb method, but my hair does not lend itself well to the HHT to start with.

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 07-27-2014, 07:24 AM
#9
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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(07-26-2014, 07:02 PM)wingdo Wrote: As Lee pointed out, before even being able to use the HHT to determine if the edge is right you have to determine how your hair reacts to the test.

I personally prefer the thumb method, but my hair does not lend itself well to the HHT to start with.

I am learning this through my journey too! Not only the reaction of different hairs for HHT (my wife's, my son's, or my daughter's), but each razor. I can get a much cleaner sever (pop) of the hair with my full-hollow grinds compared to a heavier grind.

And trying all this on my La Grise (hard) #10 coticule bout, forget about it!
I haven't even come close to mastering how this stone works Blush

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 07-27-2014, 11:03 AM
#10
  • Doc226
  • edge snob (and proud of it)
  • Smallest State
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The HHT is a great indicator if used correctly.

I will NOT shave with a razor that fails my HHT, I have yet to get an acceptable shave from one that did not pass it so I will not even attempt it.

The HHT does take some skill to master but once you do it is very good test.

A quick test would be if a razor passed the HHT and then after a shave or stropping it no longer does-well there is your answer.

Best HHT I have ever obtained-solid 5 across the entire edge.




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 07-27-2014, 11:23 AM
#11
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(07-27-2014, 11:03 AM)Doc226 Wrote: The HHT is a great indicator if used correctly.

The HHT does take some skill to master but once you do it is very good test.

I think the highlights are the important items to note. No offense meant to anyone, but I question anyone's ability to properly execute the HHT by their third or forth Straight Razor shave.

It also does matter what kind of hair you have. If my hair is short (as it is right now), I have spent so many years brushing it straight that it is straight and it will do well in a HHT, but when I let it grow out, it goes back more toward it's curly tendencies and it is much more difficult to "pop" the hairs when the hair itself absolutely refuses to even remotely cooperate. Floppy curly hair is not a great test of a blade unless you hold the hair right next to the blade, and then it's not a fair test of the blade either.

I will see if it pops hairs on my arm without issue, and the blade on the thumb or nail works for me. I have some extra hollows which still pass the HHT w/o issue, but no longer provide a smooth shave and need to get rehoned.

Sorry to go off track here, but I do question how well the HHT is being administered by people.

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 07-28-2014, 08:14 AM
#12
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(07-27-2014, 11:03 AM)Doc226 Wrote: The HHT is a great indicator if used correctly.

Yes, but you need to know how your hair will react. Without that baseline, it's like using a scale that hasn't been calibrated yet, a speedometer that's off by 5 miles, etc.

They both may well be accurate down to .01%, but without calibration, you can't know what the reading is.

Experience is the only way to calibrate the HHT. But once you have it figured out, you can use it as well as any test.

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 07-28-2014, 08:22 AM
#13
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I never use it. To me it is more of a parlor trick. I can get a almost any blade from a Swiss army knife to a Machete to whittle and pop hair off of relatively coarse stones. I just use visual inspection and my thumb. The shave itself is the final test and the only real test that counts. That just comes from experience and use. Of course your results may vary as per the course

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 07-28-2014, 04:54 PM
#14
  • Doc226
  • edge snob (and proud of it)
  • Smallest State
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The only thing that matters is the shave test-BUT it is my or your shave test.

I have shaved with many a razors that guys consider shave ready that I found unacceptable.

I have not had to stop after a few strokes on a shave because the edge sucked.

The HHT provides excellent feedback on sharp, it does not give any information on smooth.

I have always said sharp is easy, sharp and smooth is more difficult.

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 07-28-2014, 05:07 PM
#15
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This is good info, thanks for the input.

I plan to use the second razor I bought this week, and see if I don't get better results. I will not be stropping before the initial shave.

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 07-28-2014, 05:54 PM
#16
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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(07-28-2014, 04:54 PM)Doc226 Wrote: The only thing that matters is the shave test-BUT it is my or your shave test.

I have shaved with many a razors that guys consider shave ready that I found unacceptable.

I have not had to stop after a few strokes on a shave because the edge sucked.

The HHT provides excellent feedback on sharp, it does not give any information on smooth.

I have always said sharp is easy, sharp and smooth is more difficult.

Yes there sure is a difference,

Bob

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 07-28-2014, 05:56 PM
#17
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(07-28-2014, 04:54 PM)Doc226 Wrote: The only thing that matters is the shave test-BUT it is my or your shave test.

I have shaved with many a razors that guys consider shave ready that I found unacceptable.

I recently picked up a Puma #83 in butterscotch. The razor was "freshly honed and stropped specifically for sale". The blade passes the HHT fine. Wonderful slices through my thick hair. It plucks hair off my arm (it's thin and blonde but it is there) nice and easy. The edge felt "not quite right" on my thumb pad.

I could not get a decent shave out of it to save my life. I paused, washed my face, stropped on rough leather, and then on hard felt with diamond paste, and then with supple leather, and retried. No better. The edge is just not right. It's already in my pile of "need to hone" razors.

One man's honed and shave ready is another's WTH???

I've also picked up multiple razors over the past couple years from several members and although all were "ready to go" some provided far superior shaves to others even though all were freshly honed. Lots of factors seem to come into play. Especially if you are preparing a blade for someone else. You don't get to do the actual "shave test".

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 07-31-2014, 04:44 PM
#18
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Yes. The only real test that matters is the shave test.

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 07-31-2014, 05:04 PM
#19
  • Doc226
  • edge snob (and proud of it)
  • Smallest State
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(07-31-2014, 04:44 PM)BudWhite Wrote: Yes. The only real test that matters is the shave test.

Very true but that is very individual

A razor that passes your shave test may fail mine.

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 07-31-2014, 05:09 PM
#20
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(07-31-2014, 05:04 PM)Doc226 Wrote:
(07-31-2014, 04:44 PM)BudWhite Wrote: Yes. The only real test that matters is the shave test.

Very true but that is very individual

A razor that passes your shave test may fail mine.

Of that there is no doubt, and what passes your test may fail mine. But I will agree with Bud here, if it gets me a DFS in 2.5 passes, I don't care if if it passes a HHT or not.

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