Honing US steel

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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loueedacat1
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Honing US steel

Post by loueedacat1 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:50 pm

I'm having a heck of a time honing my christenson "brockton" razor, which looks like it should have no issues [simple structure, metal in nice shape no smile or whatsits], as wel as my cattaraugus green lizard, which is a little trickier since it has a bit of a smile. The christenson/brockton seems like it might have soft steel and the lizard really hard steel, but either way they are vexing me.

I have no problem honing my solingens, sheffield wedges, swedes, fillarmonicas etc. - just the US ones seem to vex me (though I honed my 2 robesons and 1 geneva cutlery razor fine).

Anyone find that the US razors are more friendly to a different kind of hone than the solingens etc?

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matt321
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Post by matt321 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:41 pm

loueedacat1, where do you think the problem is occurring, i.e. bevel formation or finishing? Also, what tools are you working with?

I experiment with problem razors each night and then test shave the next morning. Thus, sometimes it seems like I only shave with my worst razors. :roll:
(It sure is a rush when you get one dialed in though.)

loueedacat1
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Post by loueedacat1 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:55 pm

matt321 wrote:loueedacat1, where do you think the problem is occurring, i.e. bevel formation or finishing? Also, what tools are you working with?

I experiment with problem razors each night and then test shave the next morning. Thus, sometimes it seems like I only shave with my worst razors. :roll:
(It sure is a rush when you get one dialed in though.)
Usually I go:

1k shapton
4k shapton
yellow coticule
yellow/green escher

And usually, get great edge.

I also try just coticule and have tried using my DMT 325 lapping stone as a hone on the lizard just to see if that would help.

I think the issue is bevel or sharpening. But getting the shaptons solved that dilemna for all of my 25 razors but these two. The Brockton I just can't get that sharp. The lizard shaves ok but its very scratchy and the shave is blech by say 4pm.

And I have a paddle I don't like but I've tried .5 diamond paste and chrome ox on that too.

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xChris
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Post by xChris » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:08 pm

How does the Lizard's edge look under a loupe or microscope? If it looks jagged or chipped out, maybe it's got a problem with weakened/compromised steel near the edge?

Based on some anecdotes that I've read, you'll have to go back through your progression, and observe the edge as you go. Once you see where the fault is appearing, you can try to see if it's the particular hone you're using (e.g., harder stone chipping a hard steel edge), or if it is a flaw with the steel.

If it is the flaw, you'll have to remove all of the weakened metal to allow you to establish ta useable edge.
Chris

loueedacat1
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Post by loueedacat1 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:36 pm

interesting.

I did actually breadknife the lizard and start over. Haven't tried it since, so I will eventually. Just get sick of bad shaves when I've got 20 plus very happy blades.

The Brockton is really frustrating me though. It looks so simple and easy to hone, and it so comfortable on the face - I just can't make it cut worth a damn.

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matt321
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Post by matt321 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:58 pm

How about some type of pyramid strategy? (I don't have coticule or escher experience.)

loueedacat1
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Post by loueedacat1 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:14 pm

I'm not having any overhoning issue, which is I think the point of the pyramidding. I looked at my lizard under my cheap 10x radio shack thing and the bevel does look a mess. don't know why. I've given it the same love as all my other children....I mean razors.

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Hawkeye5
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Post by Hawkeye5 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:37 am

We all have experienced problem razors. I guess most of the time it is us, but I swear that honing is not a 100% "one size fits all" process.
Experiment. If the bevel is set correctly, try something different to finish. If your normal progression is with Shaptons, use a coticle. I've found that even a change from CO to diamond paste can make all the difference on some razors, and I don't even like the feel of a blade off diamond paste but it sure has worked on a few problem razors.
Most of my US razors have honed up very well, even better than very well, but I did have a problem Waterville, even though my other Watervilles have not been problems.
John

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Post by Percypurps » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:02 pm

I generally find that US steel is harder than Solingen or Sheffield. Whilst it is not difficult to hone in the sense of demanding a different honing strategy than other steels, it is more labour intensive. Based on the way you have described the razor's edge and your honing techniques, I don't think that anyone stage is causing you a problem, but by not using each hone optimally, ie using too few strokes, I think that you are compounding the problem each time you move up a grit.

Personally I wouldn't have breadknifed the one razor like you did, but would take the razors in question back to the lowest grit hone you use and backhone for 10 strokes just to remove any irregularities and then start again from there.

I don't know what methods you use to assess the blades edge as you go through your honing progression, but I would keep going on your low grit hone until you feel the blade suck down onto the stone. Make sure it is shaving arm hair and keep moving up grits, all the time staying on the hone until you feel the suction on the edge.

To finish I'd raise a slurry on the Escher and do anywhere from 10-50 strokes before rinsing the stone and doing at least 30 strokes with just water.

Alternatively, you could try finishing with a fast cutting medium like Diamond Paste. I know there are many who don't like an edge honed with Diamond Paste, but when honing a harder steel, it will get the edge where it needs to be much more quickly.

Kindest regards,
Alex
"Just because a chap becomes a ghost, surely it doesn't mean that he ceases to be a gentleman."

loueedacat1
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Post by loueedacat1 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:02 pm

good thoughts. I've always used tons of laps at all stages. I've also tried going soup to nus on cot and various other various experiments (inc. lapping film)

Finally, I had a minor break through las weekend honing the evil lizard on my shapton 1k wih lather and then 4k wih lather and hen blue and yellow cot with laher. that helped "suck it in" to the hone and he blade was much better. and my shaptons haven't dissolved......yet.....

I want to try the backhone idea. that makes sense for what I'm seeing.

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