Padron wrote:Hi Chris and Joe,
I know you have both used 3 line Franz Swaty's a lot in the past.. I have several of these, how do you rate the Spyderco UF compared to the Swaty? I have been on the fence with adding the 304UF to my lineup, but based upon Chris's thoughts I am re-thinking this.
Or even and Escher hone vs the UF? I believe Tim Zowada or Robert Williams stated they thought the UF provided the finest scratch patterns...do you find this to be true in your experience as well?
First of all, I have done a lot of experimentation, but as a general proposition, I don't have the patience that chris does, and I follow a much shorter routine to hone and mantain my razors.
I will do a total honing routine only once on a razor, usual when I acquire it. After that, I do only touchups and stropping, for an indefinite time (at least 6 months). The touchups are with a Swaty, at the sink when stropping doesn't totally restore sharpness, and it is just a few swipes, usually less than 5. If that doesn't work I might do a little on a pasted strop (.5). That keeps most of my razors in fine shaving condition. I might be able to do better, but the effort is generally not worth it after that point.
I don't have a 30K hone, but I have a collection that goes up to 15K, plus a few yellow Belgians and an Escher. Unless I'm experiment ing I'll stop with one of those two and finish with a little bit on a .5 pasted strop. If I don't feel like messing around I'll use the UV dry. The results of an Escher feel a little better than the other two. But I haven't done the type of lapping that Chris does. I intend to try it.
In any case, the Swaty, Escher and UF are not equivalent. Swaty is the coarsest, maybe 8K and it is relatively fast, which makes it good for the touchup. I can't tell what the UF is, but I've always considered it finer than 12K. It seems finer than the Escher, but the Escher is faster and somehow it gives a sharp edge that feels soft on the face.
I don't hone by the numbers. I usuall don't know how many reps I do. As I prgress through the grits I monitor sharpness with my thumb pad, and I move on to a finer grit when I fail to see improvement. I find that my total reps are a lot less than most guys. THis may be because I let each grit do as much as it can before I move on to the next.
I would say this. Don't use too many hones. Test a blade to decide where you need to start: new edge or just sharpening. The majority of my Ebay acquisitions have require a new edge, because of oxidation. I sart with a 1K diamond until I get down to nice, clean metal. THen I use a 4K to build the edge until it is straight and even and passess the thumbnail test. I move up to 8K and get it as sharp as I can, and I finish on an Escher, then I might see if the .5 micron strop improves the edge any. I've used .25, but the edge becomes too delicate and requires too much touching up. Actually, right off the Escher the edge is usually fine and lasts longer than if I go to the pasted strop. I finish with light stropping on leather, maybe 20 reps to just clean and smooth the edge.
Once I get to the 4K, if I don't go to pasted strops I probably will not do much more than a total of 50-70 reps on all hones.