What Did You Hone Today?

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drmoss_ca
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Worked on my 'pretty but dumb' razors today. I think the red one will shave, but the green will not get sharp at the point end. In fact it is hard to change the scratch pattern on the back of the blade for the last 1.5" of bevel. Looking at the blade end on I see it has the spine higher on one side than the other, so a twisted blade. I'll probably junk it.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

And the last one, a Boker:
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And for a super-common and rather boring razor, this one behaved as Bokers are reputed to do; honing up smoothly on the three stones, getting to stiction with any grinding or squeaking. I suspect it will shave beautifully.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Somewhere above there is a photo of a Joseph Rodgers 'The Rodgers' razor. Extra hollow, cutaway shank with jimps - all ultra-modern for the 1880's. However, it had quite nasty rust and pitting on the blade where it touched the scales, and around the pivot, all caused by the stinky rotting celluloid scales. I had thought I would put on some handsome but non-period scales made of black resin that had come on a Hart. But having ordered a single Chicago screw for $4.95USD, and paid $25USD for shipping (thieving b*stards), I discovered something that made me hear my poor old Dad sniggering somewhere in the underworld. Yes, I should have realised that there was no way I could drill the pivot hole out to 3/16 after it had been hardened. Not even with a brand new cobalt drill. Duh! So, a change of plan, and an old set of TI scales fitted with an appropriate brass rivet. Probably looks better anyway, and worth the effort since this razor shaved very, very well straight off the coticule. I'll have it take a trip to Arkansas and see what it's like after that.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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Since I am granted an extra 3-4 weeks of shaves, given my transplant was cancelled at the last moment because of a donor issue, I find myself drawn to the hones. And this razor, which I enjoyed today, has been enlightening me. I often refer to it as the 'Wacker from hell'. All Wackers tend to be extra hard. HRC65 is a wimpy Wacker. This one, a very lightly etched damascus has a beautiful silvery look that somehow makes me think of mithril. It's so light that I wondered it it might be stainless, but it is as enthusiastic about magnets as any carbon steel razor. But beautiful as it was, it was beyond me for a long time to make it shave the way it looked. I could make it shave, but just never as well as I thought it had in it. In retrospect, it was likely impatience, and the extra hard steel just needs an awful lot more time. I've come to believe that as I find I can get it shaving very satisfactority with a coticule alone. Adding a finishing stone doesn't seem to make it better, and maybe even spoils it a bit. Likely, the finishing stone is just acting as an opportunity for me to clumsily mess up the edge that came off the coticule, and if I were not clumsy at all, and spent hours and hundreds of strokes, it would be even better. But the good news is this, being so hard, even a relatively coarse stone like a coticule has only small effects, and the upshot is that I end up with much the same final edge as if I'd used a finer stone on a softer blade. I do have another Wacker, and I believe I might get it up from the basement and try the same with it.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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As planned, I dug out the other Wacker. This one is not damascus, but it is still awkwardly hard. I honed it on the coticule, and did a first WTG pass, and found it quite acceptable. But then I did something I haven't tried for many years - I dug way into the back of the cupboard and found a rusty old can of Edge gel, and used some on the black Arkansas to make an extra thick and protective film between blade and stone. Then re-stropped and did the XTG and ATG passes. Extremely good! May try that with the mithril Wacker tomorrow.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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So I did as promised, and spread some Edge and water on the black Ark and gave the mithril Wacker a good seeing to. I could barely feel the blade touch the stone, such is the thick cushion of synthetic lather, but the edge felt very fine, and after using just the suede and Cordovan of the Kanayama it shaved wonderfully. It's now had a thorough stropping on the canvas post-shave, and tomorrow I'll put it back on the sueade and Cordovan, and see if the canvas added anything.
Edge isn't much use for shaving in that it does not wet the beard like a soap lather. You can thoroughly soak the beard before applying it and that works OK, but has no advantages. I first tried using it for honing many years ago on a barber hone, and thought it helped tone down the aggressive little hone. Now I think I may have to replace my nearly empty can, which dates back to the Sensor days before straight razors came into my life in 2003, as it really is the cream on the honing cake.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Never honed a Wacker. That damascus blade sure does look beautiful. Reminds me of moire.

Interesting you should mention Edge gel. Just the other day I got the notion to test the feel of my left over lather in my brush against the canned goo my daughters use on their legs. No comparison, soap lather beats the pants off of goo in slickness and cushion feel. I'm tempted to buy a can of Edge and give it the same test. The girls would eventually use it up so it won't go to waste.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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I wouldn't contaminate a waterstone or anything like that - but something like an Ark that would traditionally be used with oil. This keeps the blade from barely touching the stone, unlike the thinner mix of water, detergent and glycerine I normally use. I'd be interested to hear what you make of it.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

On another note you bring up a good point that I can appreciate very much. I remember my old barber - when I was a teen and learning to hone - telling me to use lather from a can or made with soap by brush on my hone. We've probably touched on this many times over the years. I don't use lather any more but it was interesting to experiment with. I can't say I thought it made all that much difference.

I've taken to using the Dove unscented bar on it. I'll just wet the stone then my hand and get a soap film from the bar with my hand and apply it to the hone. It definitely makes honing a lot smoother as a process (and I never clean or flatten my hones anymore) so the blade just glides across the hones. Seems to help remove some of the swarf embedded in the hone as well as I continue the practice. Anyway, it works quite well so I'll stick to it.

I'm looking forward to testing the Edge gel. I'll say that when you brought it up it caused a nostalgic smile for me as I remember when I was a little boy and my father would shave Edge was his canned goo.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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One thing to remember, is that the Edge is sufficiently thick and gooey that it reduces the effectiveness of the stone to the point where it will only be a benefit if the razor is as sharp as you can get it before you do this. I find I must use the Arkansas in the usual fashion, then do this as a further step that refines what the Ark has already achieved with water/detergent/glycerine.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Good point! I bought a travel can of Edge today while the Mrs. and I were doing the weekly grocery shopping. Tested on my wet hand when we got home and I'll say that it is very slick and protective feeling. Definitely better than canned foam in feel.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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I looked back among my notes from the journey I took this year through all my razors, and found what I wanted: a razor I had not previously regarded as special, but which surprised me as to how well it performed this time around. So I brought out the TI Eagle brand 5/8 with horn scales and bolsters. This is an odd razor, sold only through knifecenter, who seem to have acquired rights to all the Eagle-branded TI's and long out of stock. It was described when sold about twenty years ago as forgings made 80 - 100 years earlier, with a hand-filed ferrule and carefully fitted bolsters. Likely the blade was made somewhere between 1900 and 1920, but the bolsters, scales and Eagle logo were added before sale to Knifecenter. Here is the page which described it. My intention today was to take a razor that I rarely use but which has promise, and refinish it using the black Arkansas with water, water/detergent/glycerine, and finally with Edge gel. So that's what I did and it has certainly become extremely sharp, though perhaps I overdid it, in that it was maybe too close (on the other hand, I did have an all Eucris shave, and Eucris soap is the only Trumper soap I have that is tallow-free, and it sucks compared to the old stock). I should probably use it again tomorrow with a known good soap like the homemade stuff.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Gorgeous razor! Glad it did not disappoint.

As much as I love my TI's I sometimes wonder if they're more prone to microchipping over time - due to stropping etc. It seems when they start to fail they fail more harshly than other razors I've used. Who knows?

That Eucris soap though . . . ugh! I recently got a modern cake of the Trumper's Sandalwood just to compare it to my old stock of it and it is just as abysmal as the Eucris. And to boot that cake of Sandalwood I got had the scent diddled with and smells unlike the cakes of old.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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When I was looking through those notes, I saw something I had forgotten; these razors that impressed me had also been on the lapped Spyderco UF, and I wondered if it might be necessary for some razors, but not for others. I had been trying to stick to a natural stone finish, but in the interests of getting the very best I can, I have taken the two TI's that seemed to really shine after the Spyderco, and given them a ride on it again. I should re-iterate this Ultrafine hone is not in its factory state. It has been lapped with 2k silica carbide until it has a mirror finish. I tried to capture that in this photo:


Image

The horn 5/8 has shaved both closer (maybe too close!) and more smoothly than yesterday. I did use the homemade soap as it is the thickest and best for cushion. I'll see what the 7/8 does tomorrow.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

It's curious that the spyderco hone produced a smoother edge that the Arkansas. Both stones were prepped the same, no?

I wonder if one material is more prone to have rounded micro protrusions?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's report.

The spyderco looks awesome. It's tempting to get one.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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Both the novaculite of the purer Arkansas stones and the mystery ceramic from Germany of the Spyderco are hard enough that it's surface finish alone that determines effective grit. I don't think either would be very special to razor honers if they were not well lapped. Unlapped, the Ultrafine is coarser than the black or translucent Arkansas, but it does seem to edge ahead after lapping. There are likely some other factors at play, or else any perfectly hard stone would end up equally effective if lapped to the same fine surface. The Spyderco still works faster than the Arks, so the quality of the grit - hardness, sharpness - must come into it somewhere. If you hone under running water there is only the very faintest hint of stiction, certainly less than on an Ark, which is already less obvious than on other stones.
I'm still not sure about its place in the scheme of things - for all razors or just for harder steels? I am very happy with the edges off the Ark of my old Sheffields and modern day O1 razors. There is such a thing as too sharp. The TI's seem to like the UF, though, and if there were time I would be tempted to do some comparison shaves with other hard razors. I have another date for the transplant so I have three weeks of shaves left, and I'm inclined to just enjoy them rather than experiment hard. I know, I'll probably end up doing it anyway, as honing is an absorbing and soothing activity.
I have the full set of Spyderco hones, and the medium and fine are too coarse for razors (maybe they could be lapped too....?). The UF comes in a 2" width in a plastic box, and a 3" width in a leather pouch. I like the wider one, and even have a backup in case I drop the one I use. Relatively cheap compared to an exotic Suehiro, Shapton Pro or JNat. You just have to buy 20 sheets of 2k wet and dry paper from the local autoparts shop too, and invest the time and elbow grease to get a mirror shine on one side.
The 5/8 TI did better after the UF, and later this morning I'll see if I have recreated the 7/8 edge that I noted shaved without any sensation when I made notes back in the summer.

Addendum: it worked! Super smooth, could be a one-and-only razor, but for the hollow grind. It's the raspy sound of the edge of a business card being scraped over a beard that irritates me. Going to have to take a wedge, or a quarter hollow to the UF.
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Wow, glad it worked out!

Just makes the desire for one of these UF's all the more stronger.

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by EL Alamein »

Also, I am sorry you were less than completely happy with that TI. If it puts you off too much I can help. :D

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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

Post by drmoss_ca »

Codicil time!
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Re: What Did You Hone Today?

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Two softer steel wedges have gone to Spyderco World:

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Big Daddy (the W&B) gave me a shave pretty much as close as the TI's above, but a lot more quietly, and was all-around wonderful. Tomorrow the Giant Hart gets a go.
Over there, in the corner of the room sits an elephant. He's mouthing a question at me almost inaudibly: "Are you sure you need the Arkansas?" His point, and it's a good one, is this - the progression of Chosera 1k > coticule > black Arkansas is improved by adding the Spyderco UF at the end. Might the Arkansas be deleted, or would that make too large a jump when going from coticule to Ultrafine? I may have to find a pair of razors and do some comparisons. Sometimes I wish I were finished, and had the best razor with the best edge I could make and all I had to do was shave with it. Maybe one day...
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