Back to the basics

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:24 pm

Replica blade was just fantastic today.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:24 pm

Well today I shaved with mystery blade. It was smooth and fantastic. Very close and very comfortable. What is mystery blade you ask? It's one of these. It's a 6/8 Heinrich Klein razor, supposedly the parent company of Chronik Razors. To clarify, this seems to be a later make - around the 1960's (marketing information in that link also alludes to it). It does not seem to be the same as it's older distant cousin made, perhaps, during WWII (which was put to the test in this thread).

This blade has all the hallmarks of replica blade which was probably manufactured during the same time period so I don't doubt it. It took a wonderfully keen edge right quick with one layer of tape when passed over the Conk Arkansas with slurry followed by the Belgian with slurry, then followed by the Belgian naked. I breadknifed before I started.

This one is actually my second of these. The other bought a year ago. I did test that blade and it too was a worthy blade. It's at an undisclosed location at the moment though due to current circumstances. So I bought this one just to try another with only natural hones. Glad I did.

It is worth noting that on both specimens I saw a jagged (seemingly) factory edge under magnification. It looked a lot like the received (factory, supposedly, before any honing) edges of the old Chroniks we tested back in the day. This seems like it then may be a legitimate specimen from the purported time period it was made (not a definitive indicator though). I conjecture that time and storage circumstances would have allowed the edge to decay somewhat etc. The edges were also somewhat gummy in places when received indicating that any such preservation oil had dried out perhaps allowing for some edge degradation. Or maybe they were sold that way (right off a grinder, perhaps?) and it was expected that the barber who bought it was to finish the job. Replica blade's predecessor was dull out of the box and there have been tales over the years (on the old forums, if I recall correctly) that many of the old time straights may have been this way so it's not out of the realm of possibility. Anyway, it was quickly corrected.

Breadknifing removed any jaggedness and the steel underneath was suitably strong to hold the edge I made on the natural hones. Even stropping on a crox strop after honing did not reveal any imperfections. These seem to be worthy blades.

These particular blades have a unique feature in that they have very thick spines, the thickest I've seen since the old (purportedly 1920's forged) Thiers Issard 7/8 blades sold by the Knifecenter over a decade ago (before straight razor prices went supernova). They also have very thin grinds and you can seemingly (or it may be my imagination) feel the blade slightly flex while honing with a bit of pressure during the initial bevel setting process. In any case I like this blade. It not a Wonder Razor by any stretch of the imagination but it seems like a good solid performer from it's purported era. All caveats apply though.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:45 pm

The Heinrich Klein is going strong and providing fantastic shaves so far. I wondering how long it will last.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:53 pm

So today I used replica blade. The HK was fine but gosh is seemed aggressive on the last shave (Thursday). Probably was my technique as I was running late but I decided to just touch it up anyway (along with replica blade as it's been a while). That and, well, it's old. And it seems that a lot of the old blades (NOS or not) have an oxidized edge to a point (maybe my imagination) even if it does hold an edge. And so it seems harshness can come early with these until you get past that.

Today I breadknifed it and went straight to the Belgian with slurry followed by a naked Belgian for final polishing, all sans tape. I was so hasty about honing it I forgot to tape it. It didn't take much effort to remove the secondary bevel in the HK and when I did the first thumbnail test I realized I didn't tape the spine but it was slightly passing anyway so I went with it. I did some more honing on the slurry then checked it under the scope. Looked great so went back to the naked Belgian for the final polish. Checked it again with the scope and it looked great so off to the crox strop followed by the linen then leather of an old barber strop. Checked it again and it was still looking great so I tested it with my usual HHT and it was felling hairs silently and easily. It's on deck for tomorrow's shave.

Did the same with replica blade but remembered to use the tri-layer of tape on the spine first. Same results. It's now my backup blade.

These two seem great as a team if for only the reason that one has a white set of scales while the other has a black set.

Many years ago when Ray first started selling TI's I was traveling a great deal and pondered getting one Evide Sonnet Extra in black scales and one in white scales just for travel. I never did and could kick myself for that. Seems like such a classic combination if only for visual pleasure. Now I have such a combination by luck rather than planning and it's somewhat mildly pleasing for that effect alone.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:19 pm

Used the HK last night and I did NOT like this edge. Seemed rakish but not quite, probably from the hasty bevel resetting with the Belgian. At any rate it was not comfortable and not particularly keen.

Taped it with a duo-layer tonight and reset it via the current normal method - Conk with slurry followed by the Belgian with slurry and then the naked Belgian for final polishing. It passed the HHT quite well so we'll see how it does when I shave with it next.

Today before going out I shaved with replica blade and Trumper's Sandalwood shaving soap (vintage, but not "Soap Base" but still has potassium stearate in it) and the shave was very good and very comfortable. I'm thinking the tri-layer honings are the way to go for me.

BTW, the Trumper's Sandalwood shaving soap followed by bay rum is a fantastic scent experience that seems to last all day.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:22 pm

I have been shaving with replica blade and Trumper's Sandalwood shaving soap since Sunday and the shaves have been outstanding. I'll probably go back to the Taylor's Lavender shaving soap tomorrow as I miss it but will keep using replica blade. Just pleased as can be with this blade since I reset it.

We'll see what the other blades I have reset will bring. (BTW, I reset obscure French blade last night - very frustrating as there seems to be a lot of pitting with this blade that produces divots while honing but I got it to the point where I feel comfortable trying it).

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:37 pm

I've been shaving with my mainstay soap the last two shaves (yesterday & today) - Taylor's old formula Lavender and the shaves have been fantastic. Using replica blade and stropping on my heavy draw strop and it's just a treat.

I recall that my very first strop - bought when I was just a teen of 12 or 13 - had a very heavy draw on the leather side and it worked magnificently for about 13 or 14 years until the draw finally gave out and it became almost glass-like. I recall telling my barber about this and saying to him that it just didn't do the job like it used to. Now in all this time I never treated it with anything. He recommended soaping it and letting the soap dry. I remember doing that with plain bar soap - Irish Spring at the time, if I recall correctly - and it did the trick for a while until it lost it's draw again. I remember repeating the procedure until I started buying other strops.

I bought two strops from the Knifecenter at the time - an Illinois 127 and a Dovo Red Russian. I settled on the Red Russian as the best because it had the kind of draw like my old strop used to have from the factory. Since then it's been many vintage strops that I've tried and this old Dovo wide strop seems to perform excellently with that heavy draw. I've only treated it with Dovo leather conditoner (in the tube with the yellow marking) and the old Morris Flamingo strop dressing (the best I've ever had). I tend to treat it around or right after Winter (as I do all my strops that I might be using) if it seems to need it (shows any sign of drying).

Seems heavy draw strops do best for me with one exception - an old vintage strop that I call "Magic Strop". This is an old barber strop with glass like leather and a linen treated with what seems to be the old time Dovo white paste (but I can't be sure). It's leather is very dark, almost black, and it seems to have been used a good deal before I bought it. The leather is very pliant still and even though it's glassy it performs a treat. I would love to know what it was treated with in it's day - on both sides (linen and leather) but that seems lost to antiquity.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:55 pm

Been shaving with replica blade and it is still outstanding, smooth and very keen (watch - tomorrow the edge will die because I've jinxed myself by posting this).

One thing I've been doing slightly different but in the same custom is stropping on linen after I'm done shaving. Nothing overt just a few round trips to cover the whole edge. The difference is the linen itself. Instead of the vintage waxed linen I was using I am using a vintage plain (it came untreated with anything I could detect) treated, by me, with the Dovo white linen paste some years ago.

I can see a slight film left by this at the edge so I speculate that it's helping to protect the edge from corrosion etc. I also use this exact linen followed by the Dovo White Wide strop before shaving. I do not clean the blade of the film at all. Let's see if it affects longevity.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:23 pm

Another great shave today with replica blade. It seemed like it pulled just a tiny bit in some areas but in other areas (later) it seemed to cut flawlessly so it may have been my technique.

Examined it under magnification tonight and it was looking great. Let's see how long it goes.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:57 pm

Another great shave today but still pulling a little. I think the edge is definitely decaying. I might let it go until I find it uncomfortable and then rehone. We'll see.

I have bug to try obscure French blade so that may upend things as this week I am at home so it don't matter what I shave with.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:13 pm

So the bug to use obscure French blade won out today and I paid for it. I don't know what's up with this blade but the edge was not as smooth as it ought to be. I had irritation afterward that tells me something's not right.

I put it away and resigned to go back to replica blade.

So I decided to rehone replica blade but this time on the Arkansas translucent slip stone I recently acquired. I breadknifed it and went to town using only that stone and oil (had some honing oil from about 15-20 years ago lying about in the garage) as it's labeled an oil stone. Seemed to cut slow but fine and off the stone it cut arm hairs but gave little to no feedback via the thumbnail test. I went through several iterations of this technique - breadknifing and then honing soley on this stone (I used a trilayer of tape the whole time). I kept getting the same results so I decided to strop it on the crox strop followed by linen and plain leather. The result was a seemingly fantastically sharp edge but I am a little leery about this. The edge looked wonderful under the scope at the purported 100X magnification but I'm still not certain about what this will translate into when the shave comes.

It's on deck for the next shave so we'll see. Maybe tomorrow if I feel up to it.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:29 pm

My apprehension in using replica blade honed solely on the Arkansas slip stone was negated today when I shaved. Very close and very comfortable with little irritation. The little irritation I had I thought was left over from the edge of obscure French blade the day before. I'll continue to use this to see how it bares out.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Comment onArkansas Slip Stones

Post by EL Alamein » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:44 pm

Just a comment on slip stones here: they are not stones of homogeneous width along the length of each side. They are about the size and length of a barber hone but shaped like a wedge along one side of the length. The other side is thick but rounded instead of square.

This is not ideal for hand honing as I do because it bares the risk of getting cut on the low side so I would not recommend this as a hand hone unless you really have your technique down with "X" strokes and can adapt that technique to hold such a hone. In short, I think a lot of folks should avoid these. I would not have bought the stone I did if I knew this ahead of time. My fault was probably not researching slip stones more to get fully informed about what I was buying and the pictures did not seem to reveal it's configuration. It's probably not a good stone for a holding device either as I imagine that you would run into problems with the edge banging against the holding device on the low side of the hone (which you may have to "X" stroke over).

That said, I can use this stone because now I've adapted to it and will continue to use it until I become interested in replacing it with a more suitable hand-holding version.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:07 pm

Another wonderful shave today with replica blade. Almost no hint of irritation (save a nick that was my fault) so I'm thinking this edge is good. Time will tell though so let's see how long it lasts.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:31 pm

Well, Thanksgiving morning I got a surprise from replica blade. The shave just seemed to become irritating and I felt sore afterward. Later that night I decided to look at it under magnification and what a surprise. Seems parts of the edge became rough and there was one section that had a half moon chunk out of it that looked like I banged the edge on the spigot. I did not bang it so I think I just hit a part of the steel that had pits etc and the steel failed.

I tried honing it tonight but just could not get that chunk out in the time I had. I'll try again next weekend, I think.

I did hone obscure French blade today and I believe I got a good edge. Tomorrow we'll see. I forsook the tape and set the bevel on the Shapton 1k then moving to the Norton 4k/8k. After the 8k I breadknifed and went to the Arkansas slip stone with oil. I had to X stroke off the stone on each of these stones because this blade apparently has an imperceptible frown. You will miss a large portion of the blades center length if you don't do this.

I got what seems to be a very straight, very smooth looking edge after the crox strop. We'll see how it shaves.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:44 pm

Obscure French blade was not so smooth today so I stopped 3/4 of the way through my shave and Got the Heinrich Kline out to finish up. It too did not seem that smooth but it got the job done. Back to the stones it will go.

The Thiers Issard Historicals are back here at the Chateau and I decided to try and hone one on the slip stone. I can't remember if I taped it or just honed it on my dished Norton 4/8. Either way the bevel needed to be reset because the slip stone wasn't touching the edge at all. I went through my Shaptons all the way to 8k then moved to the slip stone followed by the crox strop. The edge seemed keen and smooth but I've been here before so we'll see. I also breadknifed the obscure French blade and touched it up on the slip stone followed by the crox strop. Again it seems keen and smooth but we'll see.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:52 pm

Obscure French blade did better today but was not as keen as I'd like it to be so back to the hone it will go.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:04 pm

Today I chose the TI honed off the slip stone and it was excellent. Wow, was it wickedly sharp and easily mowed down my whiskers. These old TI's almost never disappoint when freshly honed right. Makes me wish I had never sold off my TI Pierre's hammered historical.

I'm looking forward to using this blade in the coming days just to see how it performs.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:24 pm

Another fantastic shave with the TI.

More to come.

Chris

EL Alamein
Posts: 2708
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Back to the basics

Post by EL Alamein » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:09 pm

Well, the day or two after this the TI left a tad irritation so I looked at it under the scope and lo and behold just a few flea bites here and there (not much though, maybe two or three and very minute). Breadknifed it and took it back to the Arkansas slip stone followed by the crox strop. Been shaving with it ever since with no issues thus far. I'm interested to see how far this goes. I'm enjoying this edge very much so far.

Chris

Post Reply