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Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:45 pm
by EL Alamein
From all that I know breadknifing an edge prior to honing should matter a bit, but it does, at least to me and my technique.

Honed the the Thiers Issard the other week with no breadknifing. It gave all the usual indicators of a well honed edge. The shave was good but not as smooth like it should have been. I've been here before. Used the Boker for the interim to shave until I had time to hone again.

Breadknifed it last night with a few blade-weight only strokes downward on the edge of the Suehiro stone. Honed it again. It gave all the same feedback indicators as before.

Shaved today with it. Bliss. Smooth and, as usual, mowed whiskers like it was it's job.

The only thing I can think of as happening is some toothy remnant from the decay of the edge is removed, leveling the whole edge making a smooth bar for the edge to form. Shouldn't matter but somehow for me it does.

I will say that in the long past I never breadknifed and I don't recall a loss of smoothness. Maybe I didn't know any better? In the very early days three decades ago I used an Arkansas.

Open to feedback on how I might change my technique.

And just as reminder I'm using the Shapton glass backed pro hones - 1k, 4k, and 8k followed by the crox strop. (I don't go higher on the stones though I could because the higher stones seem to be a pain in the @ss because of their frangibility and tendency to create a chipped edge). In the end when I would get it right I would use the crox strop anyway and never saw a difference.

Chris

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:23 pm
by brothers
Chris, I can't respond to your post directly, but in the beginning of my straight razor days I used to breadknife old razors with some gusto, due to the fact I was looking forward to the learning curve, which includes giving an old razor a new edge while becoming familiar with various stones. I've also used breadknifing while attempting to cure seriously deteriorated or damaged edges.

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:35 am
by drmoss_ca
If the edge was very uneven prior to honing I could see that starting with the whole edge at the same level would help. We really need your blades under a microscope before and after the bread-knifing! Do irregularities break off, or simply bend over?

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:59 pm
by EL Alamein
Dr. Moss, this sounds like a good solution. I have wondered with this phenomena if I'm doing something wrong and making my edges toothy in some way. I thought perhaps maybe I'm stropping with too much pressure or something like that. Also maybe my crox strop (my finisher) is not quite as flat as it should be and over time any abnormalities are increased with wear.

Chris

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:58 am
by drmoss_ca
Honing really is a walk in the dark without some way of knowing where you are!

This is not addressed to Chris, who knows his onions, but to others with less experience:
When I first learned it was all guesswork, applying some guy's technique and seeing how it turned out. Mostly it was awful, and occasionally a razor would come right and I'd think it was special. With a cheap handheld 60x microscope I can see why a razor isn't sharp and what to do about it. There is no doubt some gifted fellows can get enough feedback from the razor and the hone that they can make an educated guess as to what state it's in. But for mere mortals, a little help makes all the difference.

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:42 pm
by EL Alamein
drmoss_ca wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:58 am
Honing really is a walk in the dark without some way of knowing where you are!

This is not addressed to Chris, who knows his onions, but to others with less experience:
When I first learned it was all guesswork, applying some guy's technique and seeing how it turned out. Mostly it was awful, and occasionally a razor would come right and I'd think it was special. With a cheap handheld 60x microscope I can see why a razor isn't sharp and what to do about it. There is no doubt some gifted fellows can get enough feedback from the razor and the hone that they can make an educated guess as to what state it's in. But for mere mortals, a little help makes all the difference.
Yep. Even for those of us that have been honing for more than three decades there are vagaries and they are perplexing.

Chris

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:29 pm
by brothers
Without the microscope to show problems and progress it's almost hopeless. Imagine how many hours of honing are simply wasted in a blind chase.

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:14 am
by drmoss_ca
I remember being sent a razor for honing once that had been honed and honed until there was around 2/8" left of the original 5/8" - all without ever getting sharp. I sent the guy a new razor rather than trying to make that right.

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:21 pm
by Bob1955
Personally, a 8k is not ever going to give me a comfortable shave, my progression is 1k, 3k, 8k, 10k, 12k and 15k followed by either a thuri or ark ( mostly thuri ) then dia spray on felt, crox on felt and then shell strop, never fails me.

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:30 am
by drmoss_ca
Welcome, Bob!

Re: Breadknifing before honing

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:17 pm
by Sando
"The only thing I can think of as happening is some toothy remnant from the decay of the edge is removed, leveling the whole edge making a smooth bar for the edge to form. Shouldn't matter but somehow for me it does."

I've seen the same results and I think it works for the reason you describe. I've had success running the edge lightly perpendicularly to the corner of the hone. Mostly I swipe like this when taking a refurbished razor to the stone for the first time but after a dozen laps or so. It seems to "reset" the edge for a bevel set.