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.
Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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