04-01-2015, 03:06 PM
#1
User Info
EDIT: I mis-identified the hones initially. This has been corrected now. 

I started a 'quest' to evaluate all the hones I have in a (sort of) systematic manner. Some of these have not been used much by me at all, as I stick with my favourites for the most part. 

All the hones I keep are final polishers (apart from my DMT plates), so first I started off by setting the bevels on two Gold Dollar (GD) razors as recorded here on the nook: http://shavenook.com/thread-honing-gold-dollar-razors.

-------------------

The first set of hones I decided to test are the three Welsh slate hones that are offered by a guy on Ebay. He had them evaluated over at SRP, and then started selling them on Ebay. 

They consist of:

A) The Dragon's Tongue (DT) hone - supposedly the coarsest of the three

[Image: IMG_20150401_183531.jpg]

B) Llyn Melynllyn (LM) hone - medium fine 

[Image: IMG_20150401_183618.jpg]

C) Unknown Welsh Slate (UWS) hone (supposedly the finest)

[Image: IMG_20150401_183557.jpg]

------------------

I bought these on a whim and have not used them much at all. So it was time to take my GD's and see what these hones could do. The GD's were honed to 8000 grit on DMT plates prior to starting on these hones. 

EXPERIMENT 1  - Direct finishing on the Llyn Melynllyn (B) and the UWS ( C).

I used one razor for each hone.

1) Did 50 back-and-forth strokes on milky slurry to see if the scratches from the DMT were polished off. 
2) Diluted down to water with 50 X strokes 
3) 30 X strokes on water

RESULTS: The LM did a fine job of producing a comfortable shaving edge. It was nice on the face, but wasn't too sharp. I need my razors sharper than this, so this would not do. I tried more strokes after this - both on slurry and plain water and the edge did not get sharper. 

The UWS sharpened the edge quickly and it was pretty smooth shaving, but not quite as comfortable as the LM. It is certainly faster than the LM and was able to polish off the DMT scratches quickly. I think this is a good razor sharpener, but I still haven't got edges that are quite comfortable enough from it. 30 X strokes on this hone on water also sharpened the razor that was finished on the LM - making it clear that it is a finer finisher than the DT. 

EXPERIMENT 2 - Honing progression

This was designed with the consideration that the DT is coarser than the LM which is coarser than the UWS, so a progression from hone to hone was done starting with the DT, then the LM, then the UWS. The same number of strokes was done on each hone. Both razors were first returned to the DMT 1000 for 10 strokes and the DMT 8000 for 30 strokes before starting on the finishers. 

1) 20 back-and-forth strokes on light slurry
2) 50 X strokes on light slurry
3) 50 X strokes on plain water

RESULTS: The DT is certainly fast. After a few strokes, the blade would start sticking to the hone, indicating that the edge was being properly polished. It shaved arm hairs easily at this point, but I still went on to the next hone (LM). 

The LM didn't seem to do much, but the edge seemed smoother under magnification. Moving on to the UWS added a shine to the edge, but some scratches showed as well. It was certainly sharp. 

One razor was stopped at this point. The second was returned to the LM on water to see if the LM would smooth out the UWS edge without losing sharpness. HHT showed the two to be about the same sharpness. 

So at this point, this was the progression on the two razors:

A) bevel - DT - LM - UWS
B) bevel - DT - LM - UWS - LM(water only)

I haven't shaved with the razors yet after experiment 2. We'll see how it works. 

EDIT: There are several comprehensive threads on these hones over on SRP. Look them up, if you're interested. 

37 1,743
Reply
 04-02-2015, 05:51 AM
#2
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
User Info
Very interesting, thank you for sharing Yohann

9 1,684
Reply
 04-02-2015, 08:44 AM
#3
User Info
UPDATE: 

First shave with the two razors (yes, I used both of them) from Experiment 2 was done today. 

Razor A) (Bevel - DT - LM - UWS) - This was certainly shave-sharp, and didn't have any of the bite that I noticed when I skipped the DR and LM. This edge matched a Thuringian edge and was slightly less sharp than an edge polished on a good Charnley Forest. It was also quite comfortable. 

Razor B) (Bevel - DT - LM - UWS - LM) was brilliant! Smoother than A) and as sharp. Even ATG, it was comfortable and was a real pleasure to use. 

VERDICT: After one shave it's really too early for a final verdict, but these hones surprised me. The edges were equal to anything I can get off a natural hone. Razor B) in particular was just so smooth that I was quite blown away. 

It seems like the progression is really the way to go with these hones. The LM doesn't have the cutting power of the other two, but puts a really comfy polish on the blades (on pure water).

There are also more experiments to be done to see if I can squeeze something more from these hones. There are suggestions that finishing on oil gives better results. I'll see if this is the case. Given that these are pretty cheap hones, I am really pleased with the finish they give. I have seen some bad reviews of them, but the ones I received certainly provide a smooth shaving edge that's also very keen. I think there may be a bit of snobbery creeping into the reviews. It's also possible that all the hones sold are not consistent.  

37 1,743
Reply
 04-02-2015, 11:13 AM
#4
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
User Info
(04-02-2015, 08:44 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: UPDATE: 

First shave with the two razors (yes, I used both of them) from Experiment 2 was done today. 

Razor A) (Bevel - DT - LM - UWS) - This was certainly shave-sharp, and didn't have any of the bite that I noticed when I skipped the DR and LM. This edge matched a Thuringian edge and was slightly less sharp than an edge polished on a good Charnley Forest. It was also quite comfortable. 

Razor B) (Bevel - DT - LM - UWS - LM) was brilliant! Smoother than A) and as sharp. Even ATG, it was comfortable and was a real pleasure to use. 

VERDICT: After one shave it's really too early for a final verdict, but these hones surprised me. The edges were equal to anything I can get off a natural hone. Razor B) in particular was just so smooth that I was quite blown away. 

It seems like the progression is really the way to go with these hones. The LM doesn't have the cutting power of the other two, but puts a really comfy polish on the blades (on pure water).

There are also more experiments to be done to see if I can squeeze something more from these hones. There are suggestions that finishing on oil gives better results. I'll see if this is the case. Given that these are pretty cheap hones, I am really pleased with the finish they give. I have seen some bad reviews of them, but the ones I received certainly provide a smooth shaving edge that's also very keen. I think there may be a bit of snobbery creeping into the reviews. It's also possible that all the hones sold are not consistent.  

Thank you for sharing the shaving results!

I ha e been curious give these stones a try

Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

9 1,684
Reply
 04-03-2015, 10:22 AM
#5
User Info
Had another shave today with the second razor (B - finished on the LM). It was just a phenomenal shave! 

[Image: IMG_20150403_081647.jpg]

What I noticed is that this razor is really sharp, while still having an edge that I didn't have to worry about. Some hones produce edges that are equally sharp, but you know that a small error will result in a nick. The best edges (for me) to shave with are the ones that will 'cut hair, not skin'. These are edges that seem to be more forgiving on skin. I usually get my coticule edges to this point and some of the edges off my Oozuku Namito Karasu. 

This razor was sharp enough for me to wonder if ATG touch-ups were necessary after I had done my WTG and XTG passes. I did them and the shave was really close. 

I really wasn't expecting anything like this off these slates, but they really surprised me. 

I used Pinaud Clubman VI Bay Rum as my aftershave today. People who use it know that it can burn like the fires of hell if the shave was even slightly harsh. Today, I just received a gentle burn - indicating that the shave really was smooth. 7 hours later, my face is still smooooth. 

This is unfortunate, as I was expecting these hones to not meet my 'keeping' criteria and I was going to list them for sale. Now they've made it hard for me to get rid of them. Smile

37 1,743
Reply
 04-03-2015, 01:22 PM
#6
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
User Info
Whew! I don't have the money to spend right now

9 1,684
Reply
 04-03-2015, 02:26 PM
#7
User Info
Ha, ha! Please don't take this as an endorsement of the 'Welsh Slate Hones'. 

Just because I'm finding them to be really good for honing, doesn't mean you will. I would approach them as curiosities that could be really good hones. If you want a daily driver, get a coticule or something like that. I still am not convinced - I will test them further, with different razors, before making up my mind about them.

I think my reluctance to endorse them comes from a bias against cheap finishing hones. Biggrin

37 1,743
Reply
 04-03-2015, 07:48 PM
#8
User Info
Great write-up, Yohann!  Thumbsup

82 21,056
Reply
 04-06-2015, 11:44 AM
#9
User Info
I have used on for about 2 years. I like them and with slurry I find they give me a nice edge faster then a c13k as a finisher

3 742
Reply
 04-08-2015, 02:39 AM
#10
User Info
(04-06-2015, 11:44 AM)SteelTown Wrote: I have used on for about 2 years. I like them and with slurry I find they give me a nice edge faster then a c13k as a finisher


Yes, that was my experience with them as well. Used in progression, they're really quite efficient. I just used them on a non-GD razor, and am looking forward to shaving with the razor. I'll have to see if they refine the edge off a C12K (I have a really good one of those). I know they're faster than the C12K, now I want to study if they're finer than it. 

37 1,743
Reply
 04-08-2015, 10:35 AM
#11
User Info
Tried these hones on a non-GD razor (a lovely French razor this time). The edge was superb. Perhaps a little harsher than the GD edge, but I limited myself to 30 strokes on each hone. 

Anyway, I am satisfied with these hones - the combination of excellent edges and very affordable price makes them a really good option for people who are just moving into natural hones and who don't want to shell out a lot of money for an Escher etc. In fact, I don't think you lose too much by using these instead of an Escher. I'll be trying these razors on my vintage Thuringian (a proven finisher) to see if the edges improve - just to see if it has any advantage over these.

37 1,743
Reply
 04-12-2015, 02:56 AM
#12
User Info
Using my vintage Thuringian (a good one) after these hones didn't improve the edge noticeably. My thuri is a pretty good one (though there certainly may be better ones out there), and I was expecting some more keenness from the hone, but it was imperceptible if it did make an improvement. 

For now, I rate the edge off these hones on par with my thuri. Pretty good, given the price difference. 

--------------------

Next up, comparisons to my favourite coticules. 

37 1,743
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)