12-11-2012, 02:02 AM
#1
  • DoubleB
  • Active Member
  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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Fellows,

Since a while I started honing my own straights. It's been up and down the road really. Sometimes I get great results, sometimes I don't.
I am wondering what your prefered honing regimen is. What stones do you use? What strokes? Back and forth, X-strokes, you name it!

I think I can fairly set that bevel. But after that I sometimes can't seem to get it sharp enough. I use a Naniwa setup (1,3,8&12) and 0.5 Crox on balsa followed by .25 diamond on felt. I have a coticule but I'm really learning the stone first really.
What's the key here? More time on the 3K to get it sharp, or more time on the 8K to even out the scratches from the 3K?

I mostly use back and forth motions with two hands (I really can't hold the razor even when using one hand) and really watching the pressure. I'm planning on using X-strokes to see how that is working out.

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 12-11-2012, 07:20 AM
#2
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By results are you saying the blade isn't sharp over it's length, only sharp in certain areas?
To me, getting the bevel set is the most critical part. The rest is just refining the planes of the edge.
One thing I've found to be very helpful is a good strong loupe or magnifier .
Once you can see that edge up close you can tell if it's still a bit of a wire at some points and just how much more work it may need.
I've never been a fan of saying 25, 50 etc. strokes for this stone. So many laps for that one. If the edge appears after 5 strokes,, why bother with more ? Seeing the edge does it for me, especially bevel setting. Once that's done the rest as I said is primarily polishing away the scratches and getting an even edge.

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 12-11-2012, 07:36 AM
#3
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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(12-11-2012, 07:20 AM)mycarver Wrote: By results are you saying the blade isn't sharp over it's length, only sharp in certain areas?
To me, getting the bevel set is the most critical part. The rest is just refining the planes of the edge.
One thing I've found to be very helpful is a good strong loupe or magnifier .
Once you can see that edge up close you can tell if it's still a bit of a wire at some points and just how much more work it may need.
I've never been a fan of saying 25, 50 etc. strokes for this stone. So many laps for that one. If the edge appears after 5 strokes,, why bother with more ? Seeing the edge does it for me, especially bevel setting. Once that's done the rest as I said is primarily polishing away the scratches and getting an even edge.

Well by results some of my razors are wicked sharp and very smooth, but others aren't that smooth or sharp over it's entire lenght. Under a magnifier the edge looks good, but the shave is not.

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 12-11-2012, 08:53 AM
#4
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The secret is the lower grit stones. It doesn't matter how shiny that bevel is if the edges don't touch. The other secret is practice. Past that, the stone you use makes a difference in feel, but if you have the skill, you can make any razor shave well off any finishing stone.

If you want to read through several pages of marketing, this is what I do.
http://www.asharperrazor.com/straight-ra...ng-service

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 12-11-2012, 09:11 AM
#5
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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Setting the bevel really is the stage where you get it sharp, everything after that point is just refining that edge.

Unfortunately, there's no one way that works for everyone, or one way that works for every blade. For example, straight back and forth might work on a straight edge, but would ruin a smiling blade.

Do you notice any similarities in the blade designs on the razors you're having trouble with? Or one particular section of a blade that gives you problems?

It's easier to give advice if we can pinpoint the problem, but for now I'd agree with Lee and say it sounds like you need a little more time on the lower grits, before getting up into the polishing stages

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 12-11-2012, 09:43 AM
#6
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Two of the most important factors, one is the razor and the steel OK? If so as long as you set the bevel, lets say off a 1K stone I would expect that razor to quite easily pop individual hairs off your arm off a 1K stone, then up 3K, 6K, 8K, 12K pasted bench strop with chromium oxide, 50 linen then 60 leather.

Jamie

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 12-11-2012, 10:54 AM
#7
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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I can't add much to the above other than I've been finishing on lapping film with excellent results. 1k, 4k, 8k, 3um, 1um, my stropping varies quite a bit but I use diamond, chromium oxide, linen and leather. Very occasionally the chromium oxide and diamond, mostly just linen and leather.

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 12-11-2012, 11:33 AM
#8
  • 2dwgs
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  • North Carolina
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My Naniwa setup was originally a 1-3-8-12 progression as well. Adding the 5k into that lineup really improved my edges, telling me that, like many above pointed out, the lower grit work's the foundation for a great edge. That, and CrOx'd balsa to finish, were world-rockers for me.

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 12-11-2012, 12:54 PM
#9
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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Thanks for the replies guys.

After the 1K the edge passes the TNT flawless. It really cuts in my nail. Second to that, it shaves arm hair. With some tugging though. Should it be tugging, or should it shave some hairs flawless with no pressure?
On the 3K I really watch the water move. It moves equally along the edge. When I've spent some time on the 3K I notice the edge undercutting the water really well. I always thought that can be an indicator that the edge is ready on that particular stone.

I will hone one of the trouble razors again with spending more time on the 1 and 3K to see if that improves my edge.
Thanks again, guys!

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 12-11-2012, 01:44 PM
#10
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(12-11-2012, 12:54 PM)DoubleB Wrote: Thanks for the replies guys.

After the 1K the edge passes the TNT flawless. It really cuts in my nail. Second to that, it shaves arm hair. With some tugging though. Should it be tugging, or should it shave some hairs flawless with no pressure?

No. It should shave your arm hairs off as easily as a super sharp knife edge would. Which is to say those arm hairs should be flying every which way just at the sight of the edge.

I've never done the TNT, never really put much stake into it. Seems way too subjective to me. Worse than the HHT. All IMO.

Also, off the 1k, if you have thick arm hair, the razor should be able to pop them off if you hover it slightly above the skin and hold it parallel.

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 12-11-2012, 01:50 PM
#11
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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(12-11-2012, 01:44 PM)asharperrazor Wrote:
(12-11-2012, 12:54 PM)DoubleB Wrote: Thanks for the replies guys.

After the 1K the edge passes the TNT flawless. It really cuts in my nail. Second to that, it shaves arm hair. With some tugging though. Should it be tugging, or should it shave some hairs flawless with no pressure?

No. It should shave your arm hairs off as easily as a super sharp knife edge would. Which is to say those arm hairs should be flying every which way just at the sight of the edge.

I've never done the TNT, never really put much stake into it. Seems way too subjective to me. Worse than the HHT. All IMO.

Also, off the 1k, if you have thick arm hair, the razor should be able to pop them off if you hover it slightly above the skin and hold it parallel.

Thanks, Lee. I think I've found the problem! More time on the 1K it is for me. I'll get back to the hones and make sure the edge pops hairs. Atleast, I'll try to get there!

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 12-12-2012, 01:13 AM
#12
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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After a night of sleep and some thinking, I think I screwed up dramatically! Let me tell you..

I had a straight that was shave-ready, shaved great for a few months! Had a regular touch up, but after a while that didn't cut it anymore. Instead of refining the edge again on the 8K I immediatly dropped to the 3K. That didn't work out so I stepped back to the 1K and here I am now with the 'troubling' razor.

This is definately a note to self; Start at the highest grit and step back if necessary. I think that if I kept it at the 8K it would've given a great shave..

So what do I do now? Dull the razor completely and start over?

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 12-12-2012, 09:58 AM
#13
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No! Never dull the razor unless you're trying to do some major surgery!

You'll just be spending a ton of time correcting the crap you just did to it.

You probably just need more practice and a lighter touch. If you were in the states I could offer more help. There's a free honing service via coticule.be, you should be able to find someone nearby.

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 12-12-2012, 10:08 AM
#14
  • Leon
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  • Porto, Portugal
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I suppose you can try spending more time on the lower grits.

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 12-14-2012, 08:17 AM
#15
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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So I'm getting really frustrated now (not a good thing).

I took two razors and spent the last 2 hours on the 1K. One hour with each razor. Didnt gave me anything..No good bite with the TPT, not popping armhairs at skin level..

I tried pretty much anything; half-strokes, circles, x-strokes. All with moderate pressure, all with no pressure.

Seriously; whats the key to bevel setting? And is it normal that it should take more then an hour on a razor that used to shave pretty good?

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 12-14-2012, 08:36 AM
#16
  • 2dwgs
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  • North Carolina
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It sounds like you could be putting an awful lot of wear on those razors. I think that at this point, it may be best for you to seek out the services of a honemeister; if you can find someone you can sit down with, that would be ideal. Seeing, hearing and feeling it all first hand from someone experienced will be invaluable. Second to that would be asking for the razor's bevel to be set only and then sent back to you, that way you can analyze the edge yourself and use it as a benchmark for honing your other razors.


(12-14-2012, 08:17 AM)DoubleB Wrote: So I'm getting really frustrated now (not a good thing).

I took two razors and spent the last 2 hours on the 1K. One hour with each razor. Didnt gave me anything..No good bite with the TPT, not popping armhairs at skin level..

I tried pretty much anything; half-strokes, circles, x-strokes. All with moderate pressure, all with no pressure.

Seriously; whats the key to bevel setting? And is it normal that it should take more then an hour on a razor that used to shave pretty good?

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 12-14-2012, 10:13 AM
#17
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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how about a little more detail?
What are the razors? New, old, soft antique sheffield steel, hard modern stainless, wedges, hollows, straight, smiling? If you can snap a pic of what you're working with it might help to see what you've got

Have you tried going to one hand honing instead of using two? I know personally I always use too much pressure if I put my other hand on the blade. Even when I think I'm not using any, it's too much at the toe.

What was the outcome of an hour on a 1k? Is your edge still straight? I assume the spine wear has increased, but is it still even along the length and on both sides?


Lastly, have you lapped the hones to make sure they're truly flat? I don't know what the Shapton's are like, but I was amazed by how uneven the Norton's I have were. It didn't look it to the naked eye, but when I tested it it was way off. Even the "Flattening stone", that came with the set for lapping the other stones, was far from flat Angry
Draw a grid on the face of the stone with a pencil, then lap the stone until all the grid lines are gone (I use a DMT now, but a ceramic tile with wet/dry paper on it works just as well if you don't have a DMT). Keep even pressure across the entire surface of the stone and rinse both surfaces often, or you will end up with slurry built up in the middle and only get the edges lapped.
Re-draw the grid and give it a couple light laps to make sure it's flat, and that it wasn't the slurry that wore off the pencil marks.

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 12-14-2012, 10:23 AM
#18
  • DoubleB
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  • Zeeland, The Netherlands
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(12-14-2012, 10:13 AM)Kavik79 Wrote: how about a little more detail?
What are the razors? New, old, soft antique sheffield steel, hard modern stainless, wedges, hollows, straight, smiling? If you can snap a pic of what you're working with it might help to see what you've got

Have you tried going to one hand honing instead of using two? I know personally I always use too much pressure if I put my other hand on the blade. Even when I think I'm not using any, it's too much at the toe.

What was the outcome of an hour on a 1k? Is your edge still straight? I assume the spine wear has increased, but is it still even along the length and on both sides?


Lastly, have you lapped the hones to make sure they're truly flat? I don't know what the Shapton's are like, but I was amazed by how uneven the Norton's I have were. It didn't look it to the naked eye, but when I tested it it was way off. Even the "Flattening stone", that came with the set for lapping the other stones, was far from flat Angry
Draw a grid on the face of the stone with a pencil, then lap the stone until all the grid lines are gone (I use a DMT now, but a ceramic tile with wet/dry paper on it works just as well if you don't have a DMT). Keep even pressure across the entire surface of the stone and rinse both surfaces often, or you will end up with slurry built up in the middle and only get the edges lapped.
Re-draw the grid and give it a couple light laps to make sure it's flat, and that it wasn't the slurry that wore off the pencil marks.

I'll take some pics later as I'm not home now.
It is a vintage Wester Bros 5/8 Full Hollow. The edge is even, as is the spine.
I can see the edge making contact as the water gets pushed equally on the stone.
The stones are lapped. I just did that yesterday, so to me that is not the problem.

I've tried honing with one hand. I suck at it, lol. Can't seem to keep the razor steady for the whole pass. But it might be worth another shot!

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 12-14-2012, 10:49 AM
#19
  • Kavik79
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  • Albany, NY - USA
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Okay, just wanted to check all the bases here, nothing was really jumping out as sounding like an obvious problem.

One thing that helped me with honing single handed is keeping a loose grip with thumb, index and middle finger around the tang/pivot area, keeping my ring finger out of the picture, and just lightly hooking my pinky under the scales and using just that one finger to balance it and ensure the entire edge stays in contact. Before that I was getting some wicked sharp heels and barely honing the toe end lol

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 12-14-2012, 02:20 PM
#20
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(12-14-2012, 08:17 AM)DoubleB Wrote: So I'm getting really frustrated now (not a good thing).

I took two razors and spent the last 2 hours on the 1K. One hour with each razor. Didnt gave me anything..No good bite with the TPT, not popping armhairs at skin level..

I tried pretty much anything; half-strokes, circles, x-strokes. All with moderate pressure, all with no pressure.

Seriously; whats the key to bevel setting? And is it normal that it should take more then an hour on a razor that used to shave pretty good?

Actually yes. It can take several hours or an entire day on a 1k stone to set a bevel, depending on what was done to the razor previously and how it was honed, and how it was designed to be honed (aka wedges).

Oh, and one more factor. If you're using a non-diamond stone, or probably any stone really, it gets gunked up after so many passes. It needs to be cleaned to be really effective again. So, if your hone is all blackened up, you're not accomplishing any real cutting compared to a clean stone.

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