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Ultimate Honing

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Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:03 am

I have been occupying myself this morning with a little competition. Over the years I have selected some favourite razors and some favourite hones. As things stand in my current state of knowledge, these are the leading contenders:

Honing system: for any razor already somewhat sharp, the best, and easiest, method I have ever used is to do 100 strokes (ie 50 back and forths) on a Norton Arkansas stone which MUST be lapped with a 2k diamond plate, followed by 100 strokes (ie 50 back and forths) on a Suehiro Gokumo

Strop: Dovo Red Russian. I managed to get it to accept an indecent amount of neat's foot oil today, and rather enjoyed rubbing it in. My aim is to make it as soft and pliable as the strop used by Liam at the Waldorf in Dublin (see here at 1:20) - and, yes, a slack strop is absolutely necessary for ultimate sharpness.

Razors: this is contentious and these examples are merely that - examples of possible favourites. As things stand, I have refined my favourite shavers to these:
2 Hart 7/8 quarter hollow
1 Henckels Friodur 7/8
1 Livi Blue Tonge (Damasteel) 7/8

Each has had a honing on the Norton Hard Arkansas translucent stone, lapped with a 2k diamond plate, then the 20k Suehiro, and then stropped on the Dovo Red Russian canvas back and then the red leather. My aim is to keep the very best for myself (such selfishness!) and then put the others into the pool that will be sold. I shall report back as I test out these razors.

Chris
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby EL Alamein » Sat Nov 28, 2015 6:37 pm

Doctor Moss,

This sounds like a wonderful routine. I especially would be interested to try your refresh method with an Ark and the G20. I just don't have a 2k diamond plate so I'll have to improvise.

Today's shave indicated that Eagle needs to be touched up so I may have to give this routine a try.

Chris
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:47 pm

So far the carbon steel Harts are winning over the stainless Friodur and stainless Blue Tonge Livi - perhaps not surprising as those stainless razor often have to talk to a green strop before they show their stuff. The stainless ones are very good, but the quarter hollow Hart 7/8 razors are just getting on silently and comfortably removing whiskers. They have their imperfections - a couple of scratches on the blade that weren't polished out on one of them, and the other has corners at the point and the heel where the edge doesn't transition smoothly. Neither one seems to be able to keep the Allen screw done up tight and they both become a bit looser than I like after opening and closing a few times. Both shave like a dream, but the one with a scratched blade and the cocobolo scales is just a bit ahead of the rosewood scaled one. I'll see how that changes as they get stropped a few more times - a blade is usually its best after a few shaves and stroppings rather than straight off the hones.

Now here's an evil thought - what would an 8/8 Hart be like? If TZ were still involved I'd ask him for one, but those days are gone.

Chris
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:24 am

It's very hard to pick a winner between the two Harts. Both are sharp and comfortable and leave me velvety smooth. Now I'm thinking it might be time to go a little further down the path of quarter hollows and carbon steel. If I can remember to do it, tomorrow I will take down Big Daddy from the wall of shame and bring him hone for some honing. I never was completely reliable at honing smiling blades, so time for some practice.

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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:39 am

Big Daddy smiled right through the honing, and gave me a shave that was nearly as close as the Harts, and nearly as comfortable. So I had him chat with a green strop and tomorrow I'll see how that went. Then back to a Hart and a decision is to be made.

Chris
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:21 am

Even after the green chrome strop, the Hart (with no pasted strops) wins out. I have taken the unscratched 7/8 Hart blade and swapped it into the prettier cocobolo scales.

If you are a straight user and have never experienced a quarter hollow or wedge shave, you are in for a real surprise. I've always preferred the heavier and stiffer blades, but my surprise came when I realised they can be made as sharp as full hollow grinds with a little effort.

Chris
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby Data » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:48 pm

My question with this process has to do with honing by numbers. I always find that an edge is ready to progress forward when it is ready. That might be 50 strokes or 100. I never count. But, there is always a tell such as undercut, sound, suction etc. If I go under or past that point on any stone in the progression, the results can be less that they otherwise could. Of course this is most evident at the bevel set. But in this case you are only working with finishing stones. I can't imagine that a Friodur or Livi would respond the same as a Hart or each other to the same stroke count. Did you feel any difference in how they each responded to the progression?
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:29 pm

These are razors that are already sharp and I was simply touching them up to see which should be kept. Counting isn't hard to do, and is a useful crutch for us cripples that lack psychic honing powers.

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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby trapperjohnme » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:25 pm

I find this interesting, your conclusions run Parallel to mine, I have two 7/8 quarter hollow Harts, and a 8/8 Friodur that I tend to rotate between at the neglect of my other razors. I finish on a Gokumo. Though prior to the Gokumo I run them through 5k 8k, and 12k naniwas. I only run them 20 back and forth passes on the Gokumo. then use no paste and no linen, just leather.
do you feel the Arkansas stone offers much over the Naniwas? do you think the hundred passes on the Gokumo gives much benefit over my 40? I have been tempted to go to really high passes on the fine grits to see what might come of it
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby drmoss_ca » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:44 am

The Gokumyo is such a slow hone that it doesn't seem to risk over-honing to go to higher numbers of passes. I can't say the Arkansas stone is better than the Naniwas, just more convenient. To be honest, it really amuses me that there is an Arkansas stone out there that works on razors at all, as most are useless for this job.

Chris
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby trapperjohnme » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:31 am

given the fact that I have lived in Arkansas for over 30 years, I guess it is inexcusable that I do not have a translucent Arkansas stone for my razors. My first real experience with a fine natural stone was with an Arkansas black stone when I was in high school. It was my finishing stone for years for knives.
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Re: Ultimate Honing

Postby Utopian » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:29 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:The Gokumyo is such a slow hone that it doesn't seem to risk over-honing to go to higher numbers of passes. I can't say the Arkansas stone is better than the Naniwas, just more convenient. To be honest, it really amuses me that there is an Arkansas stone out there that works on razors at all, as most are useless for this job.

Chris

I am fairly surprised by this. Though it certainly is a fine grit hone, I consider it to be anything but slow and find that I hardly ever need to do more than 15 or 20 strokes with it and have found that some razors cannot handle more strokes without degradation of the edge.
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