12-07-2012, 05:51 PM
#1
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I picked up a vintage straight a while back. It's honed to a mirror finish on a good stone. I bought a new razor and did the same thing. I tested both on my forearm. The hairs looked at the blade and jumped off.

The face is another matter. I tried both. Went over the same spots 8-10 times. Tried everything from a 90s degree angle to having the spine almost flat on my face. You wouldn't know I shaved unless I said something.

The blades aren't cutting me, which is good. But I'd accept a nick or two if they cut a whisker or two. I have a shavette and can get an amazing shave from it, so I don't think technique is all that much of an issue despite the differences.

Any suggestions? I'm almost at the point of having the neighbor's dog dig a hole so I can plant these things.

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 12-07-2012, 06:29 PM
#2
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Try sending them out for a honing and see if that makes a difference. Not sure what your honing experience is, but honing a razor is a different animal than honing knifes and such.

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 12-07-2012, 08:33 PM
#3
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Only thing I can think of is that you have a smiling blade and the center is perfectly honed, but the toe and heel are not. Thus, you would get perfect results on that one spot from your arm hairs, but when you go to shave, disaster.

Other than that, clueless.

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 12-07-2012, 10:26 PM
#4
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Something sounds amiss in the sharpening dept.
My pocket knives will shave hair off my arm all day long. But I couldn't shave with them though as they aren't sharp enough. Hold the razor a half inch or so away from your skin and see if those hairs still jump off. The blade should end up being full of hair.
It's not definitive as far as sharpness goes but have you tried the HHT across the entire length of the blade?
This will give you an indication of sharpness ( arms don't count) and tell you if the entire blade is sharp or just one area as Lee suggested.

Just curious, you said a 'good stone' , what type and grit stone was this?

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 12-07-2012, 11:04 PM
#5
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Try the HHT starting from the very toe of the blade to the heel, if the razor should complete this task then I'm almost positive it should quite easily give you a good shave, but after hearing what you are saying I doubt that razor would pass that particular test.

Jamie

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 12-07-2012, 11:21 PM
#6
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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I'm curious about the stone as well. You said the edge is polished to a mirror finish, but how well was the bevel set before that?

A razor with a perfectly set bevel is going to look rough, but shave better then a razor with a poor bevel that's been polished up to a 30k stone

There are a lot of tests out there for testing at the bevel setting stage. I second MyCarvers suggestion, don't try to shave your am, try cutting just the tips of the hair off.
You could also try the thumb nail test; wet your nail and with no pressure run the blade across the nail in a slicing motion, if the bevel is good it will drag and stay in the cut, if it hits a part where the bevel is bad it will skip and slide across the nail.
Another option is the tomato skin test; every section of the blade should be able to cleanly slice into a tomato with no more pressure than the weight of the blade (I've never tried this one, I don't keep tomatoes in the house that often, but if you try it just make sure to wash the blade well immediately after, they're very acidic)




But if you really wanna give up, pm me for my address, I'll dispose of them for you and save the neighbors dog the hard work Tongue

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 12-08-2012, 12:35 AM
#7
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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My guess is you either havent set a good bevel, or you overhoned the razors.

A straight will never shave the same as a Shavette, but should give you a good shave when honed properly. Overhoning is not that common, but can happen in a split second. To check I would suggest getting a magnifier. Something like 40x.
This way you can check your edge. If an edge is overhoned there will be a rough spot somewhere on the edge. You can see this through your magnifier as a crumbled, chippy edge.

I would also strongly suggest a magnifier during honing. You can see the scratch pattern caused by the hone. Whenever this is even you might proceede to the next hone.

Also curious what hone you are using!

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 12-08-2012, 07:24 AM
#8
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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What are you using to hone with? You should be able to do arm hair after you have the bevel set and that should be with around a 1000 grit stone (could be lower). Then you take your progression up. Straights aren't that hard to sharpen but there is a technique to it. I don't want to say setting the bevel is everything but, IMO, it's close. When you build a house you start with a good foundation, when you sharpen a razor you start with a good bevel.

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 12-08-2012, 05:35 PM
#9
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Not sure what the stone is, but it was recommended by a guy who used it for years with his straight razors. I'm trusting his judgment.

I'm laying the blade flat when I hone to use it as a guide
I can do knives without a guide, but know better for a razor.

For what it's worth, i did the nail test and it didn't jump around at all. I think I'll get a magnifier to see whether the edge is actually against the hone. If not, that would explain a lot. If so, I plan on getting some lapping strips to use, so I can do a clear progression.

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 12-08-2012, 05:57 PM
#10
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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Barbers hone maybe? I'd think it would be fairly difficult to set a bevel and totally sharpen a razor with one stone. You could maintain an edge for a long time with a Barbers hone but it would take a long, long time to set a bevel with one. Good luck.

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 12-08-2012, 05:58 PM
#11
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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It sounds like you just have a finishing stone, something for very minor touch ups when the blade still shaves, but isn't quite as comfortable anymore.
A lot of brand new razors don't have a decent bevel from the factory, so no amount of polishing will make it shave without some real honing first.
Sounds like you need to take it back to the bevel setting stage and work your way back up, like you said. Films are a good way to start, definitely less expensive than buying a bunch of stones right away

Also, I didn't see you mention anything about stropping, can we assume you did strop the blade before the test shave and just didn't mention it? Either way, you should be able to get it to cut hair straight off the stone if it's honed well, I'm just curious.


There is one other possibility, but it's a bit of a long shot. This shouldn't apply to the new razor (if it's a decent one), but on the vintage blade there's a chance that there is either too much of the spine or the edge worn away over the years and the bevel angle could be off, but I wouldn't worry about that unless you can't get a bevel set off a 1k stone (or a 12 micron lapping film)

Can you post clear pics of the razors so we can see what you're working with? Or at least some details? If it turns out your new razor is a made in Pakistan cheapie razor, there's not enough advice in the world to help you turn it into a good shaver Tongue

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 12-09-2012, 02:49 AM
#12
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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I'm thinking the same as the guys above me.

What you can do to actually see if your honing anything is the magic marker test.
Get a marker and mark the very edge. Then start honing. You should see the marked area dissapear, cause you are honing it off. There are tons of pics en vids on the net so for further explination I would suggest you check google to see how it's exactly done.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

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 12-09-2012, 06:10 AM
#13
  • gzp
  • Member
  • Queens, NY
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(12-07-2012, 05:51 PM)Observereport Wrote: I picked up a vintage straight a while back. It's honed to a mirror finish on a good stone. I bought a new razor and did the same thing. I tested both on my forearm. The hairs looked at the blade and jumped off.

The face is another matter. I tried both. Went over the same spots 8-10 times. Tried everything from a 90s degree angle to having the spine almost flat on my face. You wouldn't know I shaved unless I said something.

The blades aren't cutting me, which is good. But I'd accept a nick or two if they cut a whisker or two. I have a shavette and can get an amazing shave from it, so I don't think technique is all that much of an issue despite the differences.

Any suggestions? I'm almost at the point of having the neighbor's dog dig a hole so I can plant these things.
There's a big difference between straights and de razor blades or shavette blades and the experience is going to be different. That's what I'm finding out, I'm in a similar position, will be trying my third straight shave shortly, the first two were quite disappointing. I felt something had to be wrong, there was so much stubble left after each pass. My advantage is that my straight was from a well regarded source so the blade should definitely be honed properly and shave ready. The advice I'm about to try is to do a first pass with a de razor and then shave with the straight on the reduced stubble. There's a learning curve involved, don't give up, just slow down your expectations and think of it as a building process. Figure on one pass only with the straight for the first week or two (maybe only on one part of the face), starting/finishing with your shavette or de. I can't say your blade is or isn't the problem, I can only say that what you're experiencing isn't necessarily a sharpness problem.

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 12-09-2012, 02:24 PM
#14
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Regarding overhoning, I have never actually seen it past a 4,000 grit stone. Sure, it's possible, but you'd have to either not remove the flap of metal created from earlier grits or do so many laps on one side of the edge that you create a new flap. I'm calling it a flap because I forget what they're actually called, maybe a fin?

Anyway, even if you developed a fin, it would break off with stropping. Either case, it's virtually impossible to create one with an 8,000+ grit stone unless you tried extremely hard.

(12-08-2012, 05:35 PM)Observereport Wrote: Not sure what the stone is, but it was recommended by a guy who used it for years with his straight razors. I'm trusting his judgment.

I'm laying the blade flat when I hone to use it as a guide
I can do knives without a guide, but know better for a razor.

For what it's worth, i did the nail test and it didn't jump around at all. I think I'll get a magnifier to see whether the edge is actually against the hone. If not, that would explain a lot. If so, I plan on getting some lapping strips to use, so I can do a clear progression.

Reading this, I would look at the stone for the source of the issue. Post pictures.

If you're trying to shave off of a 5,000 grit stone, or even an 8,000 grit stone, the results will be very bad.

Even a 1k stone can pop arm hairs off. I've done it with a 220 stone even. Facial hair, not so comfortable.

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 12-10-2012, 12:39 PM
#15
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(12-07-2012, 10:26 PM)mycarver Wrote: It's not definitive as far as sharpness goes but have you tried the HHT across the entire length of the blade?

Hi Mark

Apologies in advance, yet another stupid question from me, what does HHT stand for?

Take care, Mike

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 12-10-2012, 12:51 PM
#16
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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(12-10-2012, 12:39 PM)mikeperry Wrote:
(12-07-2012, 10:26 PM)mycarver Wrote: It's not definitive as far as sharpness goes but have you tried the HHT across the entire length of the blade?

Hi Mark

Apologies in advance, yet another stupid question from me, what does HHT stand for?

Take care, Mike

There is no such question as a stupid question, Mike. I didn't know the meaning at first aswell.
HHT = Hanging Hair Test

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 12-10-2012, 01:07 PM
#17
  • mikeperry
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  • St Louis via the UK
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(12-10-2012, 12:51 PM)DoubleB Wrote: There is no such question as a stupid question, Mike. I didn't know the meaning at first aswell.
HHT = Hanging Hair Test

Hi Robbin

Too kind and thank you for answering, makes perfect sense once you're made aware Smile

Take care, Mike

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 12-10-2012, 04:08 PM
#18
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Yup,, what he said! Ha, I've been asleep at the wheel. Sorry.
But the same test others have been suggesting.
It's very handy and a quick guide to know if the entire blade is up to par.
Not definitive,, but a decent indicator if done right.

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 12-11-2012, 12:10 AM
#19
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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About the HHT; i've never popped a hair, but always get smooth shaves.. I must be doing something wrong!

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 12-11-2012, 05:36 AM
#20
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Not necessarily, If you enjoy your shaves that's what it's about.
This guy can't get a shave and not having the blade in our hands it's just a place to start looking for an answer for him.
Like I've said, it's not definitive.
I've had blades that didn't pop hairs and they shaved OK,, but when I refined the edge the shave was so much better. It's just a reference.

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