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What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.

Postby Gssixgun » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:44 pm

I tend to shy away from "Too Sharp" as a reference to harsh edges...
To me sharp is one aspect and smooth is another...To bring both of them together on a razor is the art.

It has been pretty much proved that an edge gets sharp enough to shave at about the 1k level (about .50 microns) how much "sharper" it gets is limited by the steel, and physics of the blade, but about .37-.48 microns is the accepted range...
Myself I believe that you have done 99% of that by the 4k level and after that is just smoothing up the bevel...
If you somehow (pressure/number of laps) take the edge beyond it's own limit that gives you a "harsh" edge...
The finish itself can be personal too, but that gets into a whole other topic.

ps: The grit levels are only a reference to how far along you are in the honing process, it doesn't refer to specific hones... It refers to the 4 steps of honing Bevel, Sharpen, Polish, Finish...

pps: As to Stanly's "Jointing" I have used that type of system on razors that have been restored before I start honing, for quite awhile, as the buffers can leave a ragged edge, but that is restoration, and not part of my normal honing repertoire


Great discussion BTW I can talk honing for hours

ty
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Postby brothers » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:15 pm

brothers wrote: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.


Just quoting myself for reference. Here's how it went --- Did not cut one single whisker. This razor isn't suitable for meaningful honing or shaving, and now resides in a box in the bottom drawer. My wife suggested using it for a display hanging on the wall. Could be.

I'm not a metalurgist, but I'm convinced the steel in the blade has no temper. Sharp today, left alone overnight, and it's no longer sharp.

This experience has not been fun. I'll consider it one of those life experiences we survive in hopes we'll grow wiser and stronger. I'm not selling it and I'm not using it, and I'll be d____ed if I'm ever going to waste another hour honing it.
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Postby matt321 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:43 pm

Sounds like bad heat treat to me as well. If it is a restoration it may have been over heated in buffing. If it is a new factory razor like Dovo or Thiers or a new custom razor, I'd send it back and see what happens.
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Postby matt321 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:04 pm

I had another thought on this that no one mentioned. :idea:

Maybe it could be re-heat-treated to correct the problem. Can completed blades be heat treated?
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Postby brothers » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:31 am

That's a good point. I've read in some of the custom razor threads about guys who forge the steel. Maybe it would be a possibility, but again, would it be so costly that it wouldn't be practical?
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Postby Tim Zowada » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:06 am

matt321 wrote:I had another thought on this that no one mentioned. :idea:

Maybe it could be re-heat-treated to correct the problem. Can completed blades be heat treated?


Razors cannot be re-heat treated. They are just too thin after the final grinding. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

I could throw it on my micro-hardness tester for you. It is different from a regular Rockwell hardness tester in that it doesn't leave visible marks. That might help clear up any confusion about the heat treating.

Then again, if it is one of my competitor's blades, it might not be a good idea... I'll leave it up to you. I would be sworn to secrecy. If it is one of my blades... I shudder at the thought! :(

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Postby drmoss_ca » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:21 pm

I doubt if it is one of yours Tim. Gary has recently obtained a Hart and has found it acceptable. We really need him to show the blade to someone who knows about these things. It is more likely to be a problem of the grind (I assume it has been carefully honed) than one of the temper (I refer to the steel rather than the owner!)

I have a number of razors of a well known brand, recently ground from old blanks. I don't believe the blanks were rejects as has been suggested elsewhere, and the grinder is someone who is regarded as competent. Out of eleven blades I have nine that perform as advertised. Two are irredeemable, and one of the performers was ground with a slight frown that prevented the edge from being honed near the tip. Couldn't see it until I placed the edge on the hone and could just get a glint of daylight through the gap at the problem area. Easy to fix once spotted. The two I haven't tamed haven't yet told me what is wrong, and I'm not asking as they are sitting like hangar queens on the wall of shame. I had the same experience with the original Wapis - three out of four would hone, but the fourth was so deformed I sent it to someone else, who has had it for two years and hasn't been seen on the forum since. I do hope it wasn't the blade that did that, Kaptain. Geometry is just as important as temper, and more likely to vary from blade to blade than the heat treatment they received.

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Postby brothers » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:01 pm

I love my Hart! It's been on the shelf for a while while I've been toying with a couple of old DE razors, but that's changing tomorrow. I'd give anything if the razor "in question" could hold an edge as well as the Hart.
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Postby brothers » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:03 pm

Tim Zowada wrote:
matt321 wrote:I had another thought on this that no one mentioned. :idea:

Maybe it could be re-heat-treated to correct the problem. Can completed blades be heat treated?


Razors cannot be re-heat treated. They are just too thin after the final grinding. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

I could throw it on my micro-hardness tester for you. It is different from a regular Rockwell hardness tester in that it doesn't leave visible marks. That might help clear up any confusion about the heat treating.

Then again, if it is one of my competitor's blades, it might not be a good idea... I'll leave it up to you. I would be sworn to secrecy. If it is one of my blades... I shudder at the thought! :(

Tim Z.


Tim, PM coming your way. :wink:
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Postby Tim Zowada » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:01 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:I doubt if it is one of yours Tim. Gary has recently obtained a Hart and has found it acceptable. We really need him to show the blade to someone who knows about these things. It is more likely to be a problem of the grind (I assume it has been carefully honed) than one of the temper (I refer to the steel rather than the owner!)

Chris


Phew! 8-[ I'm always a little nervous about such things.

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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby brothers » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:04 am

It turned out to be the geometrics of the angle: width of the spine and width of the blade. This ratio was off, and the angle wrong. Still dealing with this, not for any reason other than a distraction and something to fiddle with in some spare time. In the coming days or weeks, I'll take another crack at putting a correctly-angled edge on the razor, and hoping it works.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby brothers » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:00 am

This fiasco has been happily resolved. I am now at peace with the knowledge that it wasn't my fault this razor wouldn't hold an edge. Whomever made the razor got the geometry wrong. That's a mathematically proven fact and steel doesn't lie. I'll never again try to sharpen this razor, because the truth is that nobody, not even the person who made it, can attain normal sharpness that lasts more than about 1 pass with whiskers before the edge disappears. Only two people have ever honed this blade, the maker and me. I guarantee you I've honed it and set bevels and stropped it so many times it almost made me doubt my own competence. The maker sharpened it when it was made. Again when I bought it, for an extra $60. I'm keeping it and the beautifully made wooden display and storage box as an heirloom, but my heirs will know the sad truth, it's not a working straight razor, and it won't ever become one. Just like eveyone else, I've got almost a dozen really well made razors that accept and hold their edges with never a problem. Nothing shaves like a well sharpened straight razor.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby drmoss_ca » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:00 pm

You have outdone us all, Gary! Four and a half years to hone one razor and then it's good for one pass. You have the patience of a saint. Surely it's time to name the brand, simply as a caveat emptor for those of us who might buy one......

Chris
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby Squire » Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:02 pm

Yeah, what's the name of this mystery model.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby brothers » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:24 pm

Squire, if you're thinking about a purchase, PM me and I'll let you know if it's the one.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby Squire » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:52 pm

Gary I think you've dissuaded anyone from considering a purchase.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby brothers » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:31 pm

Everyone can rest easy. It's not a mass produced model or brand. It was a hand made one-off razor. As I've pointed out, it's a beautiful heirloom, not made to deceive or to cause harm, rather to be enjoyed and discussed. It is flawed, no doubt, as a result of an unintended design error. In its own small way, it is an existing piece of shaving history. The fact that it has this flaw makes it even more fascinating. I've never said I hate it or that I do not get pleasure from owning it. Much to the contrary. Now you see why I tried so long and hard to make it flawless. As I said, I'm happy to have been able to understand and embrace the fact that it's unique in many different ways, one of which is that it's a razor that won't shave. I'm proud to be a large part of this razor's history as is the maker.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby Squire » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:49 pm

Sometimes it just isn't worth feeding a dog that won't hunt.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby brothers » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:11 am

Now you have my point. There's hope for you after all. :D If I don't have to spend any time maintaining the edge, it's more than just a tool, it's a family heirloon of intrinsic sentimental value. Example, some of us will have old firearms or other tools of war that have sentimental value because of the old officer who used to own them, and we make no pretense of having to maintain them for the purpose they once served. It'd be foolish and outrageous to throw them away, wouldn't it, Squire. My grand and great-grands may someday say that was my Grandpa Gary's straight razor. Heaven forbid they don't want it because they can't shave with it.
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Re: What would cause this? Bad Steel?

Postby fallingwickets » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:18 am

Heaven forbid they don't want it because they can't shave with it.


17 thumbs up on the sentiment, gary

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