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What would cause this? Bad Steel?

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What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby brothers » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:34 pm

New razor placed into use no more than 3 shaves a week. Time passes, after a year and 3 complete re-hones, the last of which followed by only 3 or 4 more shaves, it's dull again.

Two owners, two separate guys doing the sharpening, and this one won't keep an edge while in the same rotation and receiving the same consistent maintenance stropping and occasional touch-up as a small variety of vintage razors who are performing as expected.

A high maintenance diva among a barnful of dependable workhorses. Who needs that? Could only be bad steel, in my opinion. I'm not asking what to do. I've already done the only thing, I've oiled it and put it away. See you later. Problem solved.

There seem to be about a dozen 100 and 200 year old ugly razors laying around here that shave like a dream every day.
Gary
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Postby matt321 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:41 pm

Right. Selling a razor like that is something of a moral dilemma.
I see you've chosen not to mention the brand. :?

(I have one that I consider a diva as well. New and expensive, but troublesome!)
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Postby SiR-ed8 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:08 pm

Gary,

What razor is it? Is Solingen razor, Sheffield, Filarmonica...?
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Postby brothers » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:50 am

SiR-ed8 wrote:Gary,

What razor is it? Is Solingen razor, Sheffield, Filarmonica...?


I'm not trying to be coy, I just wouldn't say.
Gary
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Postby brothers » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:03 am

I've been reading the thread about hardness and the observations regarding honing and stropping. I have a theory that a razor that appears to be dulling too often may be the victim of a basic misunderstanding of it's unique properties that may be overlooked in the stropping regimen.

Another way of saying it would be that what works great on certain razors might be less than optimum for a razor whose forging or grinding might be different somehow. Meaning -- the fault could lie with the individual doing the stropping, rather than inherent to the steel or the blade. A pearl before swine, so to speak. Am I on to something? The learning curve's taking yet another turn I'm afraid.
Gary
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Postby SiR-ed8 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:32 pm

Well I have Torrey Razor. It's hardest steel ( American ) I've ever honed and needed more strokes compared to say my Boker. I've two friends one of which is Torrey fanatic and she asserts it indeed is one of the hardest steels as far as honing.

Stropping I've no problem it shaves great! All it needs is a scale and I'm set.
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Postby brothers » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:50 am

Interesting you'd mention the Torreys. In my top six regular shavers(formerly 7 :wink: ) I have three (3) Torreys. An old barber's notch, a bit newer and lighter spike point, and most recently, a round tip 6/8 that I had to bid against somebody a bit aggressively for (not crazy, though) because I knew how good it was going to be. None of the Torreys I have are full hollows. They take and hold their edges remarkably well, and they're great shavers. When I was pursuing the last Torrey, I declared to myself that it was going to be my last razor purchase, barring some highly unusual circumstance. Now that I've got it and it works so well, I'm quite satisfied with what I've got.
Gary
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Postby brothers » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:39 pm

After starting this thread, I started a discussion on the Gentleman's Parlor forum about this blade, and ended up with the problem quite likely identified as not the steel in the razor, but the fact that I've probably over-honed it, thanks to Chris, and his encouragement and advice. I haven't been in the mood lately to hone even one razor, much less all the others that are needing it. So it'll be a while before I get around to it. I'll try to remember to come back and post about the results.
Gary
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Postby ferroburak » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:57 am

Steel can lose its temper under heat.
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Postby brothers » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:25 am

This has been an interesting experience. I've gone from blaming my own skill at honing and stropping, to blaming the steel, back to facing the fact that I did overhone this particular razor in my seemingly endless quest for a sharp blade, then back to the realilty that after I re-honed and corrected the over honing, then to the stark realization that there is something wrong with the blade.

That is the realilty. I accept that reality, and even though I now know I'll never be able to enjoy the pretty and unique razor to shave with, I'll be able to have it and my heirs will be able to have it to enjoy from the visual perspective, but with the knowledge that something is basically wrong with it. It is quite possible that someone, the maker, may have done something to alter the steel's basic qualities, unintentionally causing it to lose it's temper, and me to lose my temper more than a few times. That's life!
Gary
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Postby EL Alamein » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:35 am

Gary, if you like I'd be happy to have a crack at it. I'll let you know if it's really the steel. This is gratis, just cover the shipping to me and I'll take care of the rest. PM if you are interested.

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Postby brothers » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:08 pm

Chris, thanks. I'll give it some serious consideration. I'll drop you a PM in a few days. That's very kind of you to offer.

I've concluded two things:

It's closer to a wedge than I realized. I've probably been using the wrong concept and approach to sharpening it.

Second, the blade is physically thicker near the point.
Gary
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Postby brothers » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:41 pm

After much deliberation and preparation I picked up the troublesome razor today and re-honed it.

I've followed Tim Zowada's suggested honing sequence, rougly.

If today's honing session doesn't persuade the razor to shave, I guarantee that it won't be a result of operator error, or for the want of the proper equipment and care in the honing and stropping process.
________________

3 layers of tape

reset the bevel on the 220/1000 Norton using the TNT and TPT, and didn't leave that hone until the razor seemed to be cutting arm hair all along the edge

did a modified version of the pyramid on the 4000/8000, until the edge looked smooth and even through the 60x Chinese loupe.

20 strokes on the Shapton 16K

10 strokes on the Shapton 30K, the edge is looking good

15 laps on the Escher

20 laps on the bench hone (leather) with Classic White lapping paste

30 laps on the bench hone (leather) with Classic Chromium Oxide Paste

removed the tape

35 laps on the backside of the Illinois strop with CrOx, laid flat on the bench

50 laps on the smooth side of the Illinois Strop laid flat on the bench

Visually, the edge looks fine. Given all of the above, the razor should cut whiskers, and even if it seems a bit harsh tomorrow, I realize sometimes the first post-honing shave sometimes is not as good as succeeding shaves.

However, keep in mind that this is the same razor that has not provided adequate shaves for nearly a year, so I'm very hopeful that it will pass the only test that really matters, the shave, but there is no guarantee.

I'll let you know how it goes.
Gary
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Postby drmoss_ca » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:40 am

If that doesn't do it, go back to the 30k and try out Glen's 3-2-1 finish.

Chris
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Postby Gssixgun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:37 am

This is a tuff one to answer because we don't know the make, and steel of the razor...

When you said near wedge, that gave me two clues, and two directions

1. New production near wedge, most likely hard new steel, then yes try the 3-2-1 on the 30k and stop, strop, and shave test tweak on pastes after if needed...

2. Vintage Sheffield near wedge, drop the 30k out of the equation altogether, and finish on the Escher starting with a very very light slurry to "train the razor to the hone for about 10 laps, then about 20 light finishing strokes on clear water, and as above , stop, strop, and test shave then tweak with pastes after if needed...

I hope that helps a bit


Edit: I am very reluctant to add that much tape also, once you go over 2 layers you have quite a bit of cushion there to mess you up...
IMHO 1 layer is more than enough, -unless- you are using a layer as a spine correction and the second layer to even that out (another trick)...

Now with doing a double bevel, that all changes but I don't even think TZ is doing that any longer, IIRC I read a post of his, that he got away from that I could of course be mistaken...
Always Very Respectfully

Glen
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Postby brothers » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:40 am

Glen, PM coming your way! Thanks, I've located the link you provided, and will certainly use it.
Gary
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Postby drmoss_ca » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:41 am

Glen,
Your 3-2-1 finish is working very nicely for me - super sharp and smooth too. I've used it on a set of seven blue tongue Livis this week and they are shaving beautifully! Full credit to you for discovering it! I had been trying something similar to tame the edge (honing, pastes, then go back for just a few strokes on a finishing hone) but it didn't work as well as your system. Now why it works is an interesting question - any ideas?

Chris
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Postby matt321 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:26 pm

The 3-2-1 finish method adds another convert. 8)
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Postby Gssixgun » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:25 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:Glen,
Your 3-2-1 finish is working very nicely for me - super sharp and smooth too. I've used it on a set of seven blue tongue Livis this week and they are shaving beautifully! Full credit to you for discovering it! I had been trying something similar to tame the edge (honing, pastes, then go back for just a few strokes on a finishing hone) but it didn't work as well as your system. Now why it works is an interesting question - any ideas?

Chris


Chris, I don't have a clue hehehe

I worked it out after the 2009 Razorcon in NC, some of us were sitting around honing, Lynn had the Naniwas, so I was using the Shaptons and Don from SRD said he getting good results from back-honing on the 30k Lynn said he would only do about 5 regular stokes... I had been using about 8-10 regular X strokes

So when I got back home I started working it out on razors,, and basically came up with the 3-forward, 2 back, 1 forward, and it seems to be the right combo for most razors... There are some that just flat don't like the 30k mostly the older the Sheffielders IMO (but even that is subjective to each persons face)

My lame theory is it might work sorta like a Pyramid does on the 4/8
Always Very Respectfully

Glen
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Postby drmoss_ca » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:25 pm

Sorry to hijack the thread, but this might be illuminating for all. It seems there is a common thread to razors being honed too sharp. Several methods slightly blunt the edge after getting it as sharp as possible by conventional means. For example:
- I was going back to a finishing hone after using pastes to refine the edge produced on that same hone
- Harrelson Stanley suggested drawing the edge across a hone in Howard Schecter's DVD (I doubt he had much experience with razors and the shave filmed afterwards causes me pain to recall)
- you backhone just a little in the 3-2-1 method

Is it all just about making the edge as thin as possible and then using some means or other to make a straight line along the resulting thin but wavy or toothed edge? I'd like a better microscope to know!

Chris
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