Apache Strata

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by oscar11, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    O.K., so here's my mini review. I'll preface by saying I'm not very scientific by nature and don't get too anal about stuff. I do not have alot of experience with alot of different hones. I found something that worked for me and pretty much stuck with it for years. Over time I've picked up a couple of coti's and and a stone that's supposed to be a escher marketed under another name, it's a dark blue so I expect it would be a lower grade stone. All were antique store finds and were picked up for peanuts. I get good shaves so I'm a happy guy. The razor I used in yesterdays shave of the day was finished with a Apache Strata. I noticed a couple of spots on the blade (not the edge) that needed attention because of my neglect and removed them yesterday. In the process I damaged the edge slightly so I had to take it back to the bevel to work out a small chip and did my normal routine but finished it out on the Apache Red instead of my normal stone which lately has been the Apache Strata. While lapping the Red the first thing I noticed is that it's hard and it took considerably longer to lap than the Strata. It was finished on 1500 wet dry paper. I tried to raise a light slurry with the small stone that was provided for that purpose and it was difficult to do. Seeing how I finished it to 1500 I didn't want to go to a DMT to raise a slurry so I left it as it was. The stone had a slightly glazed look when finished. I finished the edge and looked at it through my loupe and it looked very good. This mornings shave would confirm this. It was an excellent shave, very smooth and comfortable and apparently a very close shave but it'll take until 5PM to confirm this for sure. In my mind it is a finisher, for sure. The question I'm asking myself right now is it better than the Strata. We're all friends here so take the last statement as me "thinking out loud". I did not finish out the Strata to 1500 so that will be one of the first things I'll do. It'll take awhile for me to figure things out. Please don't rush out and buy this stone based off this review because it's just my first impression. The answer could be as simple as I had a better bevel set on the razor the second time around. I have very limited experience with the Strata and next to none with the Red. I do realize what the approximate grit ratings are for both stones but don't much care about that, my face will tell the tale as to what I prefer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
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  2. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Moderator
    I like your reasonable approach to this, Steve. It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement and often hyperbole associated with the 'next big thing.' I look forward to your future adventures and experiences with these stones. In the meantime, I'll continue to use my escher dk. blue as my main 'go-to' as finisher, but work in the Strata for comparative purposes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  3. kn4wd

    kn4wd Member

    if the avg joe didn't but these hones we have as vintage, where did the ones we see come from? eschers, thuris, the Japanese had jnats some are over 200 yrs old. I don't think they all came from grinders but that is just opinion.
     
  4. 45auto

    45auto Well-Known Member

    I am thinking they had them but not the amount some people have today...I could be way wrong about this
     
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  5. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    A lot of people had the cotis and thuringian as well as many many others. The average Joe would have one hone to maintain razors. Guys did not have a whole stack of varying hones. Razors and hones seem like they were crazy cheap back then, but there was no such thing as deposable income either, unless you were very very rich. Middle class is relatively new.
     
  6. MikekiM

    MikekiM Well-Known Member

    I am loving my Apache Strata.. It's making for an easy and consistent progression. Shapton Glass 2k/4k/8k/Apache. It's improved every edge I've put to it. Does that mean it will do the same for everyone? No. It's working for me.
     
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  7. kn4wd

    kn4wd Member

    I love mine too, cant wait to try the red. I have strata in light and dark only difference I can tell is the dark is a bit faster. as far as improving the edges the apache is excellent as a finish hone. I have shaved directly off the stone.it is a stone anyone can learn, not hard at all to finish on, also the feedback is there which is important to a finisher so you don't under hone or over hone
     
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  8. FacialCarnage

    FacialCarnage Well-Known Member

    I purchased one about a month ago and have used it several times. It is actually a very good finisher and lately have found myself using it more then my Escher stones. It is harder then my Eschers and takes some work to get a slurry, but at the price it cannot be beat. I've got a photo of mine on my IG @ sportshaving. Mine is light grey and my bevel setters and mid level stones are great so I don't have much interest in the others listed.
     
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  9. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    On my SOTD, the Bema was finished off the Strata for today's shave. I did absolutely nothing to the blade but moved it over to the Red and finished it out for tomorrows SOTD. I wish I hadn't used MdC and stuck with my De Vergulde Hand. MdC has never been kind to my face. Again, this is just me "thinking out loud", I'm not picking on MdC but post shave skin feel isn't very good, poor actually, even after a couple of applications of balm. I'll stick with one soap while I mess around with these two stones. Today shave close but definitely lacking in comfort which is the first time I've run into that with the Strata. Soap, technique or edge, who knows, but it wasn't comfortable. This isn't the word on anything, this is just a fool playing around with a couple of rocks.
     
  10. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    I always use the same pre shave, lather and post shave when playing with new rocks. It removes many factors when judging the comfort of a given stone. I also shave straight from the stone if it is one I have never used before. There is a lot of smooth that comes from the leather not the stone. Everyone has there little routines I guess.
     
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  11. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    Makes sense. The morning after, I'm going to consider this a technique issue, though I hate to admit it. Putting a little too much effort into trying to achieve a good shave (blade pressure). There is simply not much to shave this morning, so I'll wait till Tuesday to try again.
    Edit: Well I decided to shave with the Bema anyway. It's off the RED today, very nice shave. I took another blade back to the bevel and finished it on the Strata, ready for tomorrow. I'm going to quit this post for awhile and revisit it a week or so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  12. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    All these positive reviews have me chomping at the bit to try out the test stone that is heading to the Northwoods can't wait to slide some steel across it

    This might help some of you guys.. Others it will make zero sense too :p

    I keep a "Test Bed Razor" it is always the first razor on a new hone, ps: after well over 40 complete honing sessions on this razor I can assure you that the stuff you read about angle change and tape is very overstated hehehe
    I use a standard "Test Shave" routine and unfortunately it is not a luxury shave I try and really test the edge and not my prep ability so I use a basic soap usually either Arko or Williams and simple face lathering..

    This is just my routine, not saying it would work for everyone, but I try and keep things about the edge as much as possible
     
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  13. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Moderator
    Added to the mix: a new Apache Red.
    I look forward to seeing how this one plays out as a 'pre-finisher' in lieu of my current Norton 8k.
    I'll have to find a suitable 'test bed razor,' as Glen @gssixgun mentioned above, so I have a certain benchmark to use when introducing new stones into the lineup.
    Whether I use Williams as my testing soap is under debate...:D
    With the Norton 8k, I rarely get any tactile feedback, so I imagine this stone may be comparable.....dont really know.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
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  14. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    A couple more comments on these stones, way premature. A few things I've noticed while using these hones. I've been examining the edges with my loupe after honing. With the Strata, the edge appears to be a bit fuzzy (wire edge?) and with the Apache Red the edge seems well defined. My very limited experience shaving with these edges would confirm that my shaves are better off the Red. Emphasize, very limited.
    I did touch up the Bengall ( edge was off the Strata) I shaved with yesterday on the Red today, I'll use it tomorrow.
     
  15. Stubbl E

    Stubbl E Well-Known Member

    Those new Reds sure are attractive pieces, l'll say that much. :drool::drool:
     
  16. kn4wd

    kn4wd Member

    I just got two reds and they both are extremely fine stones, I am about to put the torrey on the second stone In just a few minutes, first one is a very nice finisher and left a smooth edge. stone feels a little more toothy to me but it dosent seem to affect the edge quality, just more bite to the stone. it cuts quickly and seems to be a bit faster than the stratas. shave comes after the second torrey, both identical and both shave so close to the same no one would notice any difference between them.
     
  17. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    I think I prefer the Red.
     
  18. kn4wd

    kn4wd Member

    Oscar, I agree whole heartedly with you, the red is a whole different story. I have another one to test though and see what it does, we are hoping maybe midrange on it.
     
  19. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Moderator
    Look forward to trying the Red. Got it last Friday, but have been too busy to put any razors to it…so far. Maybe this situation will change before the weekend is up!
     
  20. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    I think I'd agree with that.
     

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