What Did You Hone Today?

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by brothers »

This morning I spent some productive time honing the final four of my 29 straight razors. 1. King Hollow Ground pretty old but only about a quarter hollow; 2. King with a bit of a French tip appears to be full hollow, not quite as old as the other; 3. Boker Damascus Magnetic Steel - obviously not literally made of damascus steel, but is actually the name they etched on the blade - just a marketing ploy, probably 60 or 70 years ago; 4. John Rodgers & Sons For Barber Use big and beautiful, very old, very heavy.

As usual I checked the stones for flatness. With the Norton flattening stone and the Norton 320/1000 combination hone and the coticule stone it only took about 15 minutes. Then I checked the Spyderco UF stone for flatness with a pencil. Even though it had been originally dressed with 2000 grit sandpaper on a piece of marble, the UF was far from flat. It took about an hour and a half of hard labor due to the fact that the UF is very hard and the "coarse" diamond plate is less fine than the other grades of diamond plates. Nevertheless, that stone is finally flat! I'm looking forward to using all of these old blades when the time comes. Of course, the loupe tells me the edges are keen but the resulting shaves will tell me what I need to know.
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Gary

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drmoss_ca
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

I think this may have been my first honing since coming home, but maybe I'm forgetting. A 7/8 Friodur went through the whole cycle of Japanese synthetics (since Friodurs seem to get on best with them), 1k, 3k, 5k, 8k, 10k, 12k and Suehiro Gokumyo 20k. Usual pattern of 5 back and forths on each side then four, three, two and one, followed by ten alternating edge leading strokes. All done under running water and pressure getting progressively less as the hones got finer. Gave a beautiful shave!
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by fallingwickets »

37 thumbs up...lather looks fantastic
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Getting back in the saddle!

Chris
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

William's Purist, a nice quarter hollow of O1 tool steel. The perfect compromise between soft enough to hone easily and keeping the edge. Just a touch up with 2k lapped Spyderco UF and 2k lapped black Arkansas.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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Hair growth is improving slowly, and I can now do either a single pass each day, or a two-pass shave every other day. All the honing I did before the transplant left my razors sharp, but often honed in different and un-remembered ways. So for the last few weeks I have touched up each day's razor on the black Arkansas alone, just so that I know they are all finished the same way. I'm still using a mixture of water/detergent and glycerine instead of oil on this stone, and following my own eccentric pattern of honing strokes, which seems to have settled out like this:

20 back and forth strokes on one side of the blade (call it the front)
20 back and forth strokes on the other, back, side
15 back and forths on the front
15 back and forths on the back
10 back and forths on the front
10 back and forths on the back
5 back and forths on the front
5 back and forths on the back
4 back and forths on the front
4 back and forths on the back
3 back and forths on the front
3 back and forths on the back
2 back and forths on the front
2 back and forths on the back
1 back and forth on the front
1 back and forth on the back
then 50 edge-leading straight strokes, very light and often swapping to J-strokes if I don't think the lather on the stone is being swept away cleanly by the tip of the blade.

I don't suppose I'll have to do it again for a long time, since all are sharp, but there is a similar but abbreviated pattern for the coarser stones (1k Chosera, coticule and Spyderco UF), done under running water and starting with ten back and forth strokes on each side. If a razor is squeaking and sticking despite the flowing water, I know it is already good for that stone and curtail the sequence. I know some people object to mechanical, counted honing sequences, preferring to use their magic fingerspitzengefühl to know when a blade is done. I'm not so clever, so I need a way of ensuring the blade is sharpened fully but without risk of over-honing - hence the back and forth strokes. The black Arkansas is such a fine stone that I doubt it is possible to create a wire edge with it; the blades just seem to get ever sharper the more you do, and if it weren't a waste of time I think one could use it before each shave without removing measurable amounts of metal. I don't for a moment suggest this way is better than others—it works for me and I'm delighted with the results. Many of the razors I thought had turned out rather well are taking a step further after a visit (another visit, in some cases) to the Ark. Today's antique TI being a case in point. It just got better still and has left me with a perfectly smooth face with no sting when the aftershave went on. I don't know that I have the desire to do every blade the way I did last year, but I'm bring up a few favourites every few days and enjoying them. The TI Pierre Thiers Historical Limited Edition is done and ready for the next shave, then I'll do the Bergischer Löwes, the Knyn and perhaps the boxed set of 6/8 Eagles. Whatever takes my fancy!
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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A thought occurs to me: since the back and forth honing strokes are working so well for me, am I actually adding anything with the 50 edge-leading strokes at the end? I've got seven TI 6/8 Eagles to play with. Two are done as above, and have shaved with impeccable closeness and comfort. The next one will stop after the back and forths, get stropped as usual and be compared.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

I think I need to study this some more - the shave was comfortable and close, but some sting with the aftershave. I've touched up the next TI Eagle the same way and we'll see if that is a consistent effect.

C.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

No sting today, but lavender water has a lower alcohol content. Excellent shave. Will continue.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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Honed the last three 6/8 Eagles today, and compromised with the usual back and forth progression followed by 20 edge-leading strokes. I also had to make up some new honing solution, and must have put in more glycerine than before as it was pretty thick. Edge was good though, on the first of these three, and shave was lovely with no sting from the Douro afterwards. I may use this set for a little while as I'm enjoying the shaves and it amuses me that I'm ending up using the razors that were among the very first straights I owned nearly 20 years ago!
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Welcome back to the land of the TI razors. May your stay be pleasant! :)

Chris
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Certainly has been so far!
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Here's a special TI - maybe you have one, Chris?

Image

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Touched up today on the Arkansas for shave duty tomorrow.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Dr. Moss, I never did acquire one. Time wasn't right when they were offered.

I remember though that sometime after was when Ray at CS started offering the Wolf and Ram line and I was able to get two of those. I eventually sold them off so I just have my Eagles. I have even sold the majority of those leaving just the first two I ever bought.

I'll be interested to hear what your thoughts are on this Limited Edition. I've not heard anything negative over the years.

Chris
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

I shaved with it yesterday - it's just like any other TI of the era (I can't speak for them since the change to Carbonsong—if that actually was a change—as I don't have any modern ones).
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Thanks for the update. I was thinking that might be what you would find.

The blade resembles the 7/8's TI's of that era. Didn't you have one of those too? I had one and it shaved just like the others. I sold it off as well as I rarely used it.

I have honed many a carbon song TI for others but never shaved with one. To me, they definitely seemed like harder steel. That's all I can offer on those.

I think all of the modern TI's are now carbon song but I'm not sure. If that's true I guess they decided to get out of the lead-hardening business. Either way I liked their old styles better, they had much more character.

Chris
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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Regarding the original TI damascus made in a batch of five for senior figures at the old SRP Yahoo group - I didn't qualify to get one then and bought this later from John Crowley in 2005. Most of its life it's been a hangar queen, as it was just about impossible to hone. Lynn told me it took him a month of playing with it to get his right, and he had a go at this one for me, but I still wasn't happy with it. It's so bloody hard—when I rescale it one day (there is a crack in the very thin ironwood scale) I'd love to do a hardness test on a bit of the shank that doesn't show. I got it sharp to the point where it would shave for the first time during my great honing odyssey last year, and like many 'difficult' razors, it benefits from repeated trips to the black Arkansas. I don't think you can overhone on that stone, or at least, not in one lifetime. It just burnishes what's there and gets things infinitesimally sharper each visit. It's still a strange razor in that the edge doesn't feel that sharp to a thumb, and I think the metal so stiff and hard that the stroking thumb doesn't make the edge deform or vibrate at all. But it now shaves very comfortably and very close. No sting afterwards. It's not the easiest to hold for stropping as the shank is so very skinny, and as I said the thin scales have cracked. The other unusual thing about it is that the reverse of the shank has a stamp of a tiny rose on it, which I haven't seen on other TI razors.

Image

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The five razors were imported through TI's US dealer at the time, Ray Dupont of Classic Shaving and I have a copy of the webpage he made for them, instantly showing them as sold out as all five were spoken for. Here's a screenshot of the purple prose he wrote about them:

Image

and the photo:

Image
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

I remember these being offered. Great blade and good memories.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

The Wacker Neun Achtel Limited, a 9/8 damascus razor which they say is hand forged from Mieden damascus, although I am not familiar with that name. This razor had me foxed for a long time, as like the TI above, it is so hard that honing has all the effect of water on a duck's back. It seems that persistence and repeated honing sessions eventually get you there, and after several goes on the Arkansas it now shaves very nicely.

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The blade really is very pretty, and you can see why I sometimes call it mithril:

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I believe I bought this from John Crowley, just like the TI above, when he was running shavingshopdotcom (now defunct) and had a few Wackers in stock. Despite its size, and the half hollow grind, it is very light and I wondered if it was a damascus made of stainless steels - and I only know of Damasteel who makes such oddities, but it is strongly attracted to a magnet so I guess not. I see they are going for big bucks now; I'm pretty sure I paid a lot less ten years ago.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Today's razor is another one that has had a reputation as being hard to hone, because it's, well, hard. TI's first commercial damascus blade, a 5/8 horn-scaled round point, with an exceptionally fine patter-weld and hand forged. Like the last two razors it was always hit and miss until I snuck up on it with repeated trips to the Arkansas.

Image

Image
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
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