Arkansas Convex Hone

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Edison Carter, May 3, 2019.

  1. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    I view razor sharpening as a skill to be learned.

    To me it is like my Barbecue, which I've had folks tell me I should open up a restaurant. I usually respond that making good BBQ is one thing, making a living at making good BBQ is another. It is a hard to find any 2 pitmasters to agree on much anything and disagreements are at times, lively. Without shame, I have stolen most of what I find works for me and walk away enjoying what I make more than most of what I could buy.

    My desire is to find my method. Mostly to avoid the inconvenience of sending razors out. I chose to spend far more than is required to obtain the gear that I have.

    I initially found that I have been able to do simple maintenance touch ups using a Naniwa 12k and pasted balsa strops.

    One of the most often things I read critical of 'Harry Home Honer' is hone wear. It is really not hard. My 'Wagner Rat' had this sweet little bend that I could see someone had already ground away on, yet never made it something shave worthy. I further knarled away at it until I managed to get it to a point where I could contact the entire edge at once on a freshly flattened stone. Naniwa 1k is fast and easy, it does not take all that much. Glen confirmed I had successfully set a bevel, and I got shaves that surprised me, considering my inexperience. Yet I'm reasonably confident that in 100 years, someone can dig this thing up and comment on what kind of horrible person is responsible for 'this'.

    I have a Wacker with an ever so slight bend that I do not wish to suffer the same fate. There is also a French razor on my wish list manufactured from a multi-strike forging that is known to be less than perfect. An individual on this forum has 2 of them and proclaims them to have superior ability. It made common sense to me that a convex surface could more easily handle maintaining one of these pieces in MY unskilled hands. Sorry, I just don't want to buy dozens of 'Rats' to practice on.

    For those with the mindset..... yes I drank the kool-aid and bought myself one of those large size Combo ConvArkies. Remember, I am unskilled and unlearned. And I didn't spend as much as I gave Naniwa. Oh, the kool-aid won't kill you.

    First up......
    I killed the edge on the Wagner Rat and brought it back to an edge comparable to as good as it has ever been using both sides.
    Second up.....
    I have 2 Sunday Shavers, neither of which have I done anything other than maintain on pasted balsa. The first, in the lighter scales has always been my best shaver. The second, in the darker scales was a Christmas gift from my wife. The second was never quite as good as the first one. So, we went with the black, then my strop progression. My end result maybe a little sharper, but not as smooth. Certainly not meeting the standard of the first.
    Third up........
    I've read that the burnishing of a stone is an improvement. I have an old Carvel Hall slicing knife that is difficult to sharpen due to a warp. It was helpful in a burnishing effect and certainly helped the knife.
    Fourth up........
    I decided to work the #2 Sunday Shaver again. I had been using Ballistol straight as a cutting lube and went with a mix with water this time. The mix is whiteish and helps me observe where the cutting is taking place. I worked with gentle polishing pressure and skipped the pasted strops. Bom bada bing... shave test proved almost as good as #1.

    I'll keep posting my works with this stone on this thread. I would not expect a long established and accomplished honer happy with their current methods to make the buy-in to this any more than I'd expect to see other accomplished pitmasters use my BBQ techniques.

    What I will say at this point is I think an individual could for about $120 get all they would need to sharpen their razors at least reasonably. I think I'm safely convinced not to go chasing moon and asteroid rocks and $300 lapping plates.

    I also don't know if this method can get Harry Home Honer to the level of someone who has thousands of razors of experience. I also don't know if anyone can hone a 'real straight' to shave as well as the $20 shavette I am fond of.

    Be well. Happy shaving.

    Terry, Billyfergie, RyX and 10 others like this.
  2. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    The one indisputable axiom of SR Honing

    "The more you hone the better you get"
  3. Hembree

    Hembree Not as pretty smelling

    I am going to step out here on a limb. I'm no hone master nor have I ever honed a straight other than on a barber's hone and that was very little. I know that it takes practice to become a great master at this and I am in no way diminishing anyone who is. I have picked up reading through threads and post that some people seem to over complicate the process and I appreciate Bill's @Edison Carter input on this. Am I wrong or is this a complicated process or is a balance between the two?
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  4. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    It is a balance but it is actually up to the razor NOT the honer

    Simply put. it is all about the Bevel set, once that is set honing becomes pretty darn easy for most

    Here is something I said years ago and it has stood the test of time

    The bevel set is about 90% of honing
    Sharpening is about 9%
    and Finishing is about 1% it is also what we spend the most money on, and the most time arguing about too

    So if all you are doing is maintaining your edges and NOT trying to hone eBabies that need serious attention Yes Honing is pretty easy
  5. Hembree

    Hembree Not as pretty smelling

  6. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Well, this axiom is applicable with most if not everything in life.
    Billyfergie, Karl G, Keithmax and 2 others like this.
  7. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Yep pretty much, but oddly some people seem to not understand it with Honing Straight Razors kinda funny huh
    Briscoe, Billyfergie, Karl G and 2 others like this.
  8. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    Sunday Shaver Rocks... hands down my favorite SR i own.
    i'm not sure if burnishing improves a stone but it changes it. Or even lapping a stone to higher grit. In my head it means it becomes more polisher vs cutting... i also feel like lap count goes through the roof to finish. try a few drops of dawn in your ballistol water mix.... something im experimenting. which TSS convex stones did you get? shavette vs SR well thats like comparing texas BBQ and memphis BBQ. i love pretty much any style of BBQ. i'm experimenting with no lube on my burnised ish stone
    Keithmax and Edison Carter like this.
  9. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    I'm thinking the polishing ability goes up.
    While Jarrod has gone to great lengths to find a way to make convex stones economically and practically available to average folk, I think it questionable as to 'catching on'.

    I do believe that it would have a far greater chance if a 'dished' lapping plate were available. Then, anyone could convex any stone they wanted.
    I will try that. I use soap in the water I wet my Edgepro stones with.
    I got the 3x8 combo. More than I need. Probably should have gotten the smaller individual ones. If TSS originally honed a piece, one could get by with a hard black.
    Sometimes I'm a little surprised that I get any 'likes' at all. I definitely rattled cages when I started talking about how the Focus R48 out shaves everything I own..... easily. Now I come around and say the $20 Focus R21 shavette outshaves all my straights that have been honed by masters in their craft. If it wasn't for that small area I just can't figure out how to go ATG, it would outshave everything I've ever used.

    Oh, Texas BBQ is my weakness. My Brisket is OK, but I can buy better. And, BBQ joints rule the roost on sides. And for those who know what I'm talking about, slaw is always on the sandwich.

    Can I assume you also drank the kool-aid an got a ConvArkie?
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
    Keithmax likes this.
  10. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    Honing is easy..... until it isn't.

    I have razors with great edges from all different types of media and honers, film, synthetic, natural and even conveyed. I have tried synthetics and naturals, in the end I went with synthetics. I don't hone often enough to become proficient. I am just happy I can get a good edge from my synth stones. I think the most important thing is the honer. Glen honed a razor for me on a Zulu Grey, I also have a Zulu Grey. I can get an acceptable edge from the Zulu, but it is not the same edge that Glen gets.

    I love BBQ, my favorite is Texas BBQ.... I miss it.

    I will be following the thread, I am curious to see Bill @Edison Carter progresses.
    Billyfergie, RyX, Karl G and 2 others like this.
  11. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    I haven’t drank the kool aid / buying one..... but I am working on my own concave “master” tile..... now that is a labor of love.... i’ve Spent over 5 hours on it and am not even 1/2 way done yet, but I’m using a pottery wheel to help. I think jarrod spent over 40 manual labor hours on his lapping plates. So until the process is reliably mechanized to produce a concave / dished / master it is not going to happen. The convex stone catching on..... I like the concept... can’t wait to test it... for sure they excel on twisted Or flawed SR’s. Thing is most people are resistant to change and new ideas.... it often takes a long time... if ever.... it’s funny how people think a convex hone is heresy.....

    I have a R48. And love it. That’s some bold statements about the R21.. i figured the r28 would be better performing shavette with similar technology to the R48. Now I have to pick up a R21. Next time at TSS. TSS. They are pretty inexpensive.
  12. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Wow, making your own lapping plate is an admiral undertaking. Assuming you are making 2 by default of process, let me know if you wish to find a loving home for 1 when you are done. I'd love to convex a Naniwa 12k.

    When you do go to TSS give Jarrod my best. Also look at the Rasoir Sabre for me.
    Rasoir Sabre France Legend Köroğlu 6K111-AMFESTSEBN 6/8″

    I so totally want one of those. Has a 15.5 degree cutting angle. With instructions to be sold without additional honing. Multi Strike French forging.

    Interesting thing I saw about knife forging years back when I still worshipped Henckels knives...... Their 4 star forged series are single strike forged for the bolster only.... from coil steel. Interesting .....

    I have not tried it the R28 although I had it in my shopping cart more than once. The differences I see are lower weight and a more limited low angle. I should get one though. I love all their other stuff.

    If you get an R21, throw a GSB in it. It is amazing how effortlessly it cuts hair. Go a little easy on the first ride though. I've got a Feather in mine now, about 6 shaves in.

    I'm thinking about getting a Chinese straight to see what a ConvArkie makes of it. I've seen polarizing opinions on them, but I've seen them for less than eBay rats.

    Keep us posted here on your project. Sounds really cool.
    Leclec13 and Keithmax like this.
  13. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Yup still stands.

    Did 3 with a shave tests backed up by the R21 with a Feather on about 7.

    Bummed out that I was having a difficult time bringing this Sunday Shaver into competition with my first. Rather than continue honing school on such a nice piece, I went with the Naniwa 12k. Bingo, got it! Used for the first pass of my shave.

    But.... hold on there, before the convex hone hate gets a foot in, I brought the 'Wagner Rat' around with a little more work. Totally honed on the ConvArkie, this razor has never shaved better. Not a huge fan of 4/8 tooling, but I'll shave with it some more. The second pass of my shave.

    For a 4/8 comparison, I took the Japanese razor I won in this year's raffle to the 12k. It was sluggish on the first time out and I did not make an improvement on it. Think I'll mute the edge and run the Naniwa progression, after freshly leveling 5 stones, and start with a fresh bevel set, just to see what happens. This razor has perfect geometry. The third pass of my shave.

    Finally the fourth pass. The Focus R21 w/Feather. I think 7 shaves is where this one gives up the ghost. I didn't draw blood, but I could feel I was needing the pressure of a straight. Sorry straight razor fans, the modern doodad still wins.

    I'm no where near an expert or complete and intend to keep going on playing with my stuff, but here are some thoughts.
    Flattening stones is a hassle.
    I'm not going to buy $300 diamond lapping plate.
    I'm not going to pursue other naturals requiring higher experience levels.
    I'm not going to buy a $300 30k Shapton.
    I believe an individual could be satisfied and successful with a pair of hard and a soft Arkansas Convex stones for $140. And you wanted, you could keep one side of each flat.
    Nobody needs a convex hone.
    Modern honemiesters and successful modern synthetic flat stone fans are not likely to adopt this antiquated methodology.
    If all your razors are flat, and you just want to maintain, get the 12k.
    You can go directly from a convex hone to a flat to finish a razor with good geometry.
    Honing is a skill. If you have time, resources, and like to tinker, go for it. I'm going to get an inexpensive Chinese razor or two and see what happens. I'm open to expendable wonky razor donors. If I get them to shave, I'll return on request (no rehab projects, please).
    DE shavettes outshave straights.
    Primotenore, RyX, Chuck Naill and 5 others like this.
  14. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Well said.
    Edison Carter, brit and Hembree like this.
  15. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Thank you.
  16. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    This little beauty showed up yesterday.


    For the modest sum of about $12 it has just about everything a guy could want. I look down the spine shows a nice little bend. I detect a warp going down the edge which had the cutest little metal shard still attached at the heel. It can shred paper in the middle but not on the ends. The scales are pinned crookedly.

    It appears to be the perfect educational to use with my ConvArkies. Speaking of educational, I can vision it being manufactured by a burgeoning craftsman of maybe 12yrs old working on his 12th razor. Wondering what I would have gotten if I went cheap and got one of the $5 ones.

    And, no rust.
  17. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Make sure you give us a close-up of the edge, as you progress.
    Edison Carter and gssixgun like this.
  18. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Will try my best
  19. Terry

    Terry Tool Admirer

    Been working on a straight in my spare time. Don't have it sharp for my tastes yet. I do have a shavette that uses pro blades b-30 I think, nice and sharp. Have a Focus R21 shavette comming to try out.
    Keithmax and Edison Carter like this.
  20. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    This shave dedicated to one @Terry , who word has it, has caved in to your humble servant's incessant carnival barking about this wonderful 'plastic doodad' edge forward shaving device.

    Welcome to the Focus R21 Evolution revolution. May you find the same pleasure in yours that I found in mine.

    Go ahead and load one of those Feathers in there (I like GSB) and start low and flat to the face. Start your stroke low and tip up the angle easy till you sense it cutting. Keep the water and the tunes off because the audio feedback is subtle because of the recessed blade holder.


    Was a little pressed on time so IM-Bombed me some Barbasol let down with water in my bowl.Only went for 2 easy passes, one WTG, one ATG. Rinsed off andgenerously splashed on my dad's favorite, Aqua Velva. Walkedaway feeling great. Not an issue, but I could've let the Barbasol down a little more.

    Have fun, be safe.
    If you like it as much as I do we can start up The Max HeadroomChevette Shavers Assn :cool:

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