Thoughts on refreshing edges

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drmoss_ca
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Thoughts on refreshing edges

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:45 pm

Refreshing an edge should be the easiest thing, should it not? Just a little bit of honing and no more. I recently described the general method of maintaining an edge (at least, as I do it):
drmoss_ca wrote:Something like that. If you can strop effectively the edge will only slowly deteriorate, until eventually you realise it isn't as good as it was. If the edge has had a good bevel, and hasn't gone too far downhill, the pasted strop will bring it back. Repeat this cycle until the edge doesn't come back with the pasted strop, and at that point you hone, then use the pasted strop, then the plain strop and you should be back where you started with a fresh blade. The 'should' depends on your skill with the hones!

Chris
Now to expand on the two words 'you hone'. I have four sets of man-made ceramic hones, of which three are suitable for this job. None of the following applies to butter-knifed eBay specials, which need a new bevel at the very least. As you might have gathered, I use a seven day set of stainless Friodurs as my daily shavers. I tend to refresh the edges every three months simply because I can, and I love a fresh sharp edge. I use the solstices and the equinoxes as reminders, not for druidic reasons, but because they are convenient (believe me, I prefer other tools for my human sacrifices!) Having been disgracefully late for the winter solstice, no doubt because the honing at the autumn equinox was so good I forgot, I have been getting around to it only recently. I have played with the three sets of hones. They are as follows:

1. Nortons etc. Refreshing a blade that is still shaving but not as good as it could be doesn't take much. Six strokes, or three round trip passes on the 4k, the same on the 8k, and then ten strokes or five round trip passes on a lapped (2k) Norton translucent Arkansas, followed by ten strokes (you know what I mean by now - five round trips) straight along the lapped (2k) Spyderco UF, ten strokes X-pattern, then ten strokes straight again, finishing with Glen's 3-2-1. Then I do fifty strokes/twenty five passes on an Illinois #827 with Flexcut Gold, the same on HandAmerican Liquid Chrome on another #827, then the same on a thick smooth antique Fromm horsehide strop.

2. Naniwas. Six strokes/three round trips on the 5k, 8k and 10k, followed by the translucent Arkansas, Spyderco UF, and pasted strops exactly as above. I have the Naniwa 10k and 12k and perhaps should substitute them sometime for the Arkansas and the Spyderco UF.

3. Shapton Professionals. Six strokes/three round trips on the 5k, 8k, 15k and then the 30k was used as with the Spyderco UF above. Ten straight strokes, ten X-pattern strokes, then ten straight strokes, finishing with Glen's 3-2-1. Then the pasted strops as above.

Now the interesting part. All are very close in the resulting shave, and unless you are an OCD freak, any regime would do. But if you want a ranking, the Norton 4k/8k/lapped translucent Arkansas/ lapped Spyderco UF comes last. It is very good, but not quite as smooth as the second place winner, which is the Naniwa set/lapped translucent Arkansas/lapped Spyderco UF. The winner has to be the pure set of Shapton Professional hones, which rather surprised me as I have neglected them somewhat of late. Very smooth, no pulling, almost BBS from the first downwards pass. That good. Wife approved, and she has much experience at testing my shaves with her various, um, parts. Essentially all of the above would be respectable, even superlative edges. But there are other considerations...

Ease of use: no doubt the Naniwas are the easiest to get results from. Somehow they just seem to suck the blade along, and it is hard to go wrong. The Shaptons are really just as easy, but I don't get the feedback from them that I get from the Naniwas. The good old Norton 4k/8k is not the easiest hone to learn, but is versatile and relatively cheap. The translucent Arkansas is in limited production - about 100 hones per year, and it must be lapped to show what it can do. The lapped Spyderco UF is child's play to use.

Cost: Naniwas are a bargain. Norton's are cheap, but the Arkansas will probably go up in price as this stone is relatively scarce. The Spyderco UF is cheap. The latter must be lapped, but any careful honer will want to lap his hones anyway. Add in the cost of a Shapton DGLP if feeling that only the best will do, or a few sheets of 3M diamond paper if wanting to do it cheaper. The Shapton Pro stones are not cheap, and the finer the stone the more the cost. I see they are now called Traditional stones by the importer. My advice would be to go for the glass stone series as they are much cheaper and more easily available (and SRD has a nifty wooden holder for them). The 30k Pro stone took me two attempts and two years to import from Japan, and was rather expensive. I can't say it is better than the 30k glass stone, but at least it won't disappear as quickly when I lap it.

To summarise, there are the following in my view:

Easiest to get results from: Naniwas
Cheapest: Naniwas
Ultimate Edge: Shapton Pro
Showing off less easy hones: Nortons
Best buy: probably Shapton Glass stones.

Don't forget that if you want an edge that will shave like a Feather DE blade, you need two pasted strops, one with Flexcut gold and one with HandAmerican Liquid Chrome. You also need a good smooth finishing strop, and I don't know of any like the thick, hard, shiny antique Fromm I have. The strops from SRD, Tony Miller and HandAmerican are all equal in my experience and are as good as you can get. I still use a TI paddle for stropping after a shave to dry the edge.

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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Post by Gssixgun » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:46 pm

I think the most important lesson here is that you have a system, not particularly what that system is, but you have one that works for you... 8)

Mine is "Drop 2 and Go" LOL that is my stupid name for it anyway..

For my personal razors, when they need a refresh I drop two grit levels on what ever I honed them on, and go...

IE:

Naniwa SS, I finish on the 12k so I would drop to the 8k and do 10-20 laps whatever felt right then move to the 10k and do the same and finally finish out again on the 12k... Strop and shave

Shapton GS basically the same...

But if I finished on say a Coticule or and Escher or my Nakayama I usually come up the ladder by either the 4/8 Norton then the natural or the 3/8 Naniwa.. So again I would drop 2 say to the 4k but I would be very careful on the amount of laps more in the 10 laps amount,,, then say 10-20 on the 8k then finish out again on the selected natural stone... Strop and shave...

Again for me, it is actually having a system that works that is the important part


Great thread
Always Very Respectfully

Glen

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Post by EL Alamein » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:03 pm

Nice systems, guys. Thanks for sharing. I always like learning how other guys do it cause it teaches me something new every time.

Chris

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Post by matt321 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:41 pm

There is much conventional wisdom about maintaining a razor with just a barber's hone. I figured a Naniwa 10k or 12k would cut faster and smoother than one of those, so would suffice as well. (I can't speak from experience because I only maintain my own and so far have not really established a repeating pattern.) I suppose it might come down to how long you wait before the touchup. After all, a lot of folks would like a one-stone solution at least for touchup purposes.

Chris, Spyderco UF users are somewhat rare. Translucent Arky users too. Then the flexcut. You are off the beaten path when you use all three I think! 8)

I'm impressed with my last touchups with my Spyderco UF spritzed with diamond spray. Now I may seek out some Linde A or a cheaper equivalent 0.3 micron Aluminum Oxide.

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Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:50 am

Lindy,
There are many ways to kill a cat. I can't say that such unusual hones are for everyone, but I am willing to do my own experiments and find out what I can make work rather than follow the herd's stampede to the hones of the month as recommended by certain sites. I don't regard myself as a brilliant honer, and am always looking for ways to make it easier.
This morning's shave was an interesting one as the power had gone off during the night. By the light of two oil lamps I shaved with a Friodur honed with Shaptons and pastes, using AoS Lemon soap and a Somerset T3 two band. At least the Kelly kettle made sure I had hot water.
With respect to your Spyderco UF - I would lap it, but I wouldn't put diamond spray on it. A lapped Spyderco UF is a match for a Shapton 30k Pro stone, and costs about a sixth of the price!

Chris
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Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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Post by barbiere » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:06 pm

Chris,
What did you use to lap the Spyderco UF? Did you use the pencil cross hatch technique or some other to verify the end point?

Jerry

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Post by brothers » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:17 pm

Is it OK to use a DMT 325 to lap the Spyderco UF?
Gary

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Post by drmoss_ca » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:32 am

I used a Shapton DGLP, and yes, a grid of pencil marks. I don't see why a fine DMT (~1800) shouldn't be given to the cause, but it might not be any good afterwards. A half dozen sheets of 3M diamond paper (2k) would be fine too, and by far the cheapest.

Chris
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Post by Zot! » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:51 am

On reading the original post, I thought the Naniwas would have been the winner--inexpensive, easy to use, great results. Now I wish my investment in Norton's and C12k would have been for the nani's, although those worked for me.
Ron

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Post by Tim Zowada » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:33 am

I agree with Glen. Having a system, and regular routine is important. Then, as you vary things, you have a baseline to go from.

My usual refresh routine is:

Norton 8K, Escher, Balsa with Chromium Oxide, Leather hanging strop with Chromium oxide, Clean Horsehide Strop

It's interesting how we all develop our techniques, and preferences to "skin the cat". For example, I really like the Naniwa 10K, but don't like the Naniwa 12K at all. Go figure...

Just a note on the translucent Arkansas, it actually laps relatively easily with Silicon Carbide. For some unknown reason, my 320 grit DMT didn't cut it as fast as 400 grit Silicon Carbide paper on a surface plate. I have no idea why. I didn't try my Shapton DGLP. It is getting quite worn, and I am babying it.

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Post by Blue As A Jewel » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:45 am

Thanks for posting this Chris - I'm finding the information and additional comments from everyone very helpful...
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Post by Blue As A Jewel » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:55 am

What is "Glen's 3-2-1"?
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Post by drmoss_ca » Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:28 pm

At the end of using your finishing hone, do three very light passes edge first (as normal), two very light spine first (yes, the wrong way!), then one pass edge first. Then strop or use pastes if you like to do that. Glen/Gssixgun gets the credit.

Chris
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Post by giammi » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:34 pm

I use a few strokes on a swatty hone. Then I go on lather, which is prepared with a green acrylic color (PG 17) and then normal leather.

If that does not work, then I start from the 4000 grit Norton up.
Giammi

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Re: Thoughts on refreshing edges

Post by EastTexasMan » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:45 am

If you do not mind me asking,could you specify which Handamerican spray to use.I see that there are different one.

Paul
drmoss_ca wrote:Refreshing an edge should be the easiest thing, should it not? Just a little bit of honing and no more. I recently described the general method of maintaining an edge (at least, as I do it):
drmoss_ca wrote:Something like that. If you can strop effectively the edge will only slowly deteriorate, until eventually you realise it isn't as good as it was. If the edge has had a good bevel, and hasn't gone too far downhill, the pasted strop will bring it back. Repeat this cycle until the edge doesn't come back with the pasted strop, and at that point you hone, then use the pasted strop, then the plain strop and you should be back where you started with a fresh blade. The 'should' depends on your skill with the hones!

Chris
Now to expand on the two words 'you hone'. I have four sets of man-made ceramic hones, of which three are suitable for this job. None of the following applies to butter-knifed eBay specials, which need a new bevel at the very least. As you might have gathered, I use a seven day set of stainless Friodurs as my daily shavers. I tend to refresh the edges every three months simply because I can, and I love a fresh sharp edge. I use the solstices and the equinoxes as reminders, not for druidic reasons, but because they are convenient (believe me, I prefer other tools for my human sacrifices!) Having been disgracefully late for the winter solstice, no doubt because the honing at the autumn equinox was so good I forgot, I have been getting around to it only recently. I have played with the three sets of hones. They are as follows:

1. Nortons etc. Refreshing a blade that is still shaving but not as good as it could be doesn't take much. Six strokes, or three round trip passes on the 4k, the same on the 8k, and then ten strokes or five round trip passes on a lapped (2k) Norton translucent Arkansas, followed by ten strokes (you know what I mean by now - five round trips) straight along the lapped (2k) Spyderco UF, ten strokes X-pattern, then ten strokes straight again, finishing with Glen's 3-2-1. Then I do fifty strokes/twenty five passes on an Illinois #827 with Flexcut Gold, the same on HandAmerican Liquid Chrome on another #827, then the same on a thick smooth antique Fromm horsehide strop.

2. Naniwas. Six strokes/three round trips on the 5k, 8k and 10k, followed by the translucent Arkansas, Spyderco UF, and pasted strops exactly as above. I have the Naniwa 10k and 12k and perhaps should substitute them sometime for the Arkansas and the Spyderco UF.

3. Shapton Professionals. Six strokes/three round trips on the 5k, 8k, 15k and then the 30k was used as with the Spyderco UF above. Ten straight strokes, ten X-pattern strokes, then ten straight strokes, finishing with Glen's 3-2-1. Then the pasted strops as above.

Now the interesting part. All are very close in the resulting shave, and unless you are an OCD freak, any regime would do. But if you want a ranking, the Norton 4k/8k/lapped translucent Arkansas/ lapped Spyderco UF comes last. It is very good, but not quite as smooth as the second place winner, which is the Naniwa set/lapped translucent Arkansas/lapped Spyderco UF. The winner has to be the pure set of Shapton Professional hones, which rather surprised me as I have neglected them somewhat of late. Very smooth, no pulling, almost BBS from the first downwards pass. That good. Wife approved, and she has much experience at testing my shaves with her various, um, parts. Essentially all of the above would be respectable, even superlative edges. But there are other considerations...

Ease of use: no doubt the Naniwas are the easiest to get results from. Somehow they just seem to suck the blade along, and it is hard to go wrong. The Shaptons are really just as easy, but I don't get the feedback from them that I get from the Naniwas. The good old Norton 4k/8k is not the easiest hone to learn, but is versatile and relatively cheap. The translucent Arkansas is in limited production - about 100 hones per year, and it must be lapped to show what it can do. The lapped Spyderco UF is child's play to use.

Cost: Naniwas are a bargain. Norton's are cheap, but the Arkansas will probably go up in price as this stone is relatively scarce. The Spyderco UF is cheap. The latter must be lapped, but any careful honer will want to lap his hones anyway. Add in the cost of a Shapton DGLP if feeling that only the best will do, or a few sheets of 3M diamond paper if wanting to do it cheaper. The Shapton Pro stones are not cheap, and the finer the stone the more the cost. I see they are now called Traditional stones by the importer. My advice would be to go for the glass stone series as they are much cheaper and more easily available (and SRD has a nifty wooden holder for them). The 30k Pro stone took me two attempts and two years to import from Japan, and was rather expensive. I can't say it is better than the 30k glass stone, but at least it won't disappear as quickly when I lap it.

To summarise, there are the following in my view:

Easiest to get results from: Naniwas
Cheapest: Naniwas
Ultimate Edge: Shapton Pro
Showing off less easy hones: Nortons
Best buy: probably Shapton Glass stones.

Don't forget that if you want an edge that will shave like a Feather DE blade, you need two pasted strops, one with Flexcut gold and one with HandAmerican Liquid Chrome. You also need a good smooth finishing strop, and I don't know of any like the thick, hard, shiny antique Fromm I have. The strops from SRD, Tony Miller and HandAmerican are all equal in my experience and are as good as you can get. I still use a TI paddle for stropping after a shave to dry the edge.

Chris

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Post by drmoss_ca » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:04 pm

Not a spray, but a bottle of green chromium dioxide. It's here.

Chris
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Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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Post by EastTexasMan » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:30 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:Not a spray, but a bottle of green chromium dioxide. It's here.

Chris
Thank you.

Paul

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Post by Seraphim » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:40 am

You really notice a difference in resultant edge from the hones you used, even after following them up with two levels of pasted stropping?

I'm pretty surprised by that. Any further impressions in regards to that?

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Post by drmoss_ca » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:49 pm

That's why I wrote it!

Chris :wink:
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Post by Seraphim » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:22 am

Interesting...

I honed up a razor to 3um lapping film, and then some laps on a cromox/0.5um diamond hanging strop. Shave was pretty nice.

I then took the razor back to the lapping film, but finished to 1um, followed by the same pasted stropping, and the resulting shave was indeed better.

Same finisher, but the underlying edge was different, which did make the shave feel different.

Of course, to be scientific about it, one would need to do an A B A test, but I'm too lazy at the moment to do so, as I have other edge experiments to try....

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