Apache Strata

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

  1. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member





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  2. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member

    The longer I hone the less reliant I am on bigger stones. I used to wonder how people in the olden days honed on something the size of a bar of dial soap. Now I get it. Don't get me wrong--all other things being equal the bigger hone still wins but I no longer consider 8x3 a necessity. Now I consider it a luxury. One of my best finishing stones is a coticule bout 7. Small but powerful baby.


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  3. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Moderator
    Chosera Pro 1k about the best bevel setter I've come across. Costs a bit more but it's both fast and effective.
     
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  4. Beadog

    Beadog Well-Known Member

    I honed a razor from being dulled on the edge of a stone to shave ready this evening, using only my Apache Red followed by the purple Welsh slate, then final finished on an Apache Strata. This progression worked very well, was quick (for me, at about 30 minutes, all total), and provided a wonderful, smooth BBS shave. I think that the Welsh fit in nicely between the two Apache stones. I probably should have done a shave test after the Purple Welsh, but you know how it is. The enemy of "good" is always "better"! I am of the opinion that the Apache Red is a very under appreciated stone. Probably because of very low availability, cost, and the fact the that it was made available after the Strata made a fairly big splash in our small little honing world. In my hands, it is a great workhorse that can go all the way from immediately after bevel setting up to final finisher of choice. With patience and a slurry, "mild" bevel setting is possible on an Apache Red, too. I have never shaved directly off the Apache Red, but I suspect that it would be achievable with practice, or in more experienced honing hands than mine.
     
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  5. Beadog

    Beadog Well-Known Member

    This has been my experience, too. It is fun to mess around with setting bevels on my other stones, but the Chosera 1k iPro is the best and quickest for me. However, all of my other stones are natural stones, and I have no other synthetic bevel setters to compare to it. I had a great Ouachita stone (sometimes spelled "Washita") that I foolishly sold, which was almost the equal of the Chosera Pro 1k, only in a natural stone. I think that the biggest barrier to learning how to effectively hone and straight shave is learning to spend the time/effort to get a good bevel set. Without it, all subsequent efforts/progressions are futile. One might occasionally get lucky, but most honing sessions are disappointing until one can confidently set a bevel. And I'm just talking about decent razors to start with, not old and/or cheap, very challenging to hone blades.
     
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  6. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member

    I have a stone that matches a Chosera IMHO but I'm not telling what it is. People would think I was blowing smoke and I would be setting myself up for scorn and ridicule.


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  7. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Moderator
    I've not used the Apache red extensively but I really need to give it another chance. I purchased the red not long after my first strata (see post in this thread from Nov 2014) and wasn't overly impressed with my initial attempts. I found it very 'gritty' feeling and more like a bevel setter than a mid-range stone. You've got me inspired to dig it out for more attempts. ;)
     
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  8. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Come on, no secrets
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  9. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member

    I use a fine india stone in my oilstone progression. Fastest most efficient bevel setter you ever saw. My soft arkie erases the stria quite nicely. No name calling please.


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  10. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Name of it, or link?? I'm curious now.
     
  11. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member

    That is the name of it. Norton India stone. It's a synthetic alumdum oilstone. It's very hard and very abrasive. Even the fine grit one. Ordinarily it isn't suitable for razors however if you do a little prep on the surface you can make it behave like its about 800ish grit.


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  12. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    :happy088:
     
  13. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member

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  14. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

  15. sbogill

    sbogill Well-Known Member

    As I said I prepped mine to be more gentle than that. Mine is effectively around 800ish grit.


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  16. Bookworm

    Bookworm Well-Known Member

    Norton has made synthetic stones - used for honing razors and fine edges - for a hundred years. There's nothing wrong with them. The thing 'wrong' is that most people don't understand the difference between silica oxide, aluminum oxide, and carborundum/silicon carbide :). All are 'synthetic', and all are different. Especially if your only real experience has been a Smith brand hone stone for your old Boy Scout knife.
     
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  17. Beadog

    Beadog Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to post a quick follow up on my Apache stones. I have honed about a dozen more razors in a row now using only an Apache Red and sometimes following it with the Apache Strata. I have been able to successfully shave off the Apache Red. Surprisingly smooth, considering that the Red feels like a gritty, "slow bevel setter" type stone under the razor. I raise a slurry with my old DMT coarse (it has smoothed out a lot with time). Next, I progressively dilute the slurry, like you would on a coticule. This stage feels very gritty, and cuts pretty fast. Next, I rinse the stone, and go to water and a dab of whatever "foamy" hand soap that my wife has by the sink. I dilute this down to pure water, and by this time, the blade wants to "stick and skip' on the stone. It is now ready to strop and shave. Total process takes about 10-15 minutes, after the bevel is set. Moving on to the Apache Strata adds a little bit to the edge (obviously), but is not absolutely necessary. I was out of town last week, and actually used the Apache Red to set the bevel and take an old Eric Anton Berg razor all the way to shave ready (the razor arrived, and I only had the Red with me, so what's a fellow to do?!). It took me about an hour, but the point is that an Apache Red can be used very much like a coticule, with about the same results. I actually do better with my Red than with my Coticule, but YMMV. I think my point is that an Apache Red is an excellent stone, that with practice and experimentation, can take you from your bevel setter all the way to your favorite final finishing stone. If one is a "minimalist" honer (is there such a person?!), an AR could be all one needs after the bevel is set.
     
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