Help with honing.

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Jake Gibson, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    @Jake Gibson

    For learning shaving, I came in on professionally honed straights.

    I have since spent a few bucks on my hobby.

    My first shavette was this:
    Focus R21 Evolution

    I had an unfounded fear the first time I used it. Mild.... As far as shavettes go.

    I like this tool, and it can be had for less than $20 delivered, from The Superior Shave.

    Just another option for a low cost entry to open edge shaving that removes edge maintenance variables.
  2. b1hart

    b1hart Speed Racer

    Many great responses so far, tons of good advice. As you can see, lots of ways to get where you want, depending on your budget. Keep in mind...this isn't rocket science. It's rubbing steel on an abrasive surface, something that has been done forever. You can do this!

    I went the route of acquiring a Norton 1000/4000 combo waterstone, a 8000 Norton water stone, then also a Shapton 12k ceramic stone (also water use). Throw in a Norton flattening surface stone also. Complete overkill in hindsight! Semi successful early on with watching videos from Glen (gssixgun mentioned already) as well as Lynn Abrams. Even with their videos being older, the information doesn't change much, if at all. I was getting nice sharp shaveable edges. However....I saw lots of comments on smooth shaving edges. That's the finishing step. Even with my CrOx pasted linen, then a leather strop, my edges weren't 'smooth' all the time. Some were, some weren't.

    I sent one of my razors, a Henkels Friodur, to Glen to rescale and hone for me at the same time. The scales were warped beyond most 'straightening' techniques. When the razor was returned, I completely learned what smooth sharp shaving was. My first cheek stroke with it, and WOW, oh my gosh....that's what everyone is talking about. And I set out to get there. This was over a year ago.

    Talked with Glen, but also one of the artisan blade forgers (J3Customs). Ended up mostly using the 8k after those conversations, occasionally the 12k, but added a slurry stone to both. I also dove into a mounted pasted strop setup for edge finishing/polishing & maintenance between shaves. Others go into finishing stones, can be lots of added $$$. Joe and Billy already mentioned films. All work, just different ideas to get to the same goal. The mounted pasted strop setup....I'd have to go look, but it wasn't over $80 to get 14k/50k/100k/200k surfaces. It's a 3"x18" double mounted leather (each side of a paddle). Then, you apply paste to the leather. Some do the same....but with balsa wood. That seemed more work to me to mount the balsa, for about the same $ I spent to go the leather route.

    Now, I'm getting smooth sharp shaveable edges. As smooth as the Henkels that Glen did? Don't know...but they are close enough for me.

    One takes time. I always would watch a video completely, before getting out the razor and stones. Then, watch again when everything is in place & ready to hone. I do this at the kitchen table, with a tablet on a stand, close by ready to start/stop as needed to get the ideas and techniques. Some videos I still revisit....particularly when I have to work on a smiling blade.
  3. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    I prefer a hanging strop. That's just me. Illinois 827.
  4. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Also, I dont recommend learning with a shavette. They are less forgiving, and more of a chance of cutting yourself. Maybe practice stropping with one.
    Karl G, Zykris, Jake Gibson and 3 others like this.
  5. b1hart

    b1hart Speed Racer


    I'm going to second this. While some believe it's a great introduction to open edge shaving, I'm not so sure. Get the angle wrong (crimson). Get the set down pressure wrong (crimson). Frustration and the issues may lead to stopping the adventure. Very early on my open edge shaving journey I purchased a Feather AC DX from research that said it's a great way to learn open edge shaving without stropping and all the maintenance. Also added the Feather Pro Guard Blades. Small disaster on my first outing, although a little less so on the second outing.

    If you go the shavette route, practice the strokes/angle/lightest pressure possible WITHOUT a blade first. Not sure why I never found this advice, but it totally helped. My 3rd outing with the AC DX loaded with the Pro Guard blades I was successful with only a minor weep. Not a BBS shave, nor was it a short time for shaving (20+ minutes).

    After a good number of successful straight razor shaves, I revisited the AC DX. No big deal anymore, enjoy using it a few times a month.
  6. jgreenepa

    jgreenepa Nasal Barbarian

    I’m a bit of a special case. Five years ago I ended up perforating my left cheek with a Dovo Special which revealed that I had Parkinson’s. I’m service-connected due to Agent Orange exposure back in ‘68. So I put it away and thought I’d never shave with a straight again. But 5 and a 1/2 months ago I strapped my wife’s ankle weights to my forearms and discovered it worked. I’ve been happily straight shaving my face daily ever since despite concerns expressed by my wife, daughter and granddaughters. Honing followed with guidance from my oldest son who’s been a straight shaver for two decades. I began with the old Dovo Special and have fallen happily down the razor rabbit hole. I’m having a ball!
    Karl G, MelC, J_Man and 6 others like this.
  7. Jake Gibson

    Jake Gibson Well-Known Member

    Wow! That is just awesome to hear I mean over coming Parkinson's to wet shave again is simply incredible! The Agent Orange bit is definitely wild too I've read up on it and hopefully it's not too severe for you. Definitely an inspiring read, thank you.
  8. du212

    du212 Well-Known Member

    Decent sharpening stones are not very expensive, please forget the "unknown" stone . If you have several razors you must have:
    - at least one good quality strop
    - Sharpening stones or an "honemeister" or both.
    Karl G, DaltonGang, jgreenepa and 2 others like this.
  9. jgreenepa

    jgreenepa Nasal Barbarian

    Jake, one thing I’ve learned in my 73 yrs is that if you want something bad enough there’s generally a way to get it or at least close enough to it to satisfy. At this point straight shaving works for me, and I’m just enjoying myself too much not to keep going. I just like to finish things I start, and that was the one activity in my life that was hanging over me. So despite what the docs and the women in my life thought, I’m a JDI guy! JUST DO IT!
  10. Jake Gibson

    Jake Gibson Well-Known Member

    I recently purchased an aluminum oxide sharpening stone from a discount shop near my house. Just out of curiosity I killed the edge on a razor I don't use anymore, loaded up a detailed step by step YouTube video and got to work. I was actually able to put a decent edge on the razor using one of my many many, way too many DE blades for comparison. It wasn't as sharp but it passed the hair and fingernail test so I decided to take it for a spin and by Jove I had a pretty nice shave :) I didn't prep my skin at all, no preshave just a splash of water because I honestly wasn't expecting it to go well plus I was using a razor I wasn't a fan of. Today I'm going to give my favourite razor the gold treatment and tonight I'm going to prep my skin properly. Very excited!
  11. jgreenepa

    jgreenepa Nasal Barbarian

    Congratulations, Jake! It’s always a real treat to shave with a great edge you’ve created from bevel set to finish, or even just a touch up! :happy088:
    Edison Carter and Jake Gibson like this.
  12. Jake Gibson

    Jake Gibson Well-Known Member

    After some serious Googling and then contacting my 9 yr old nephew I managed to finally tweak the camera on my phone so the pictures are not so big that they won't upload!! 20200914_190814.jpg 20200914_190814.jpg
    Edison Carter and brit like this.
  13. brit

    brit in a box

    very cool..:)
  14. Simon Smailus

    Simon Smailus Well-Known Member

    Can anyone please recommend a honing service in the UK?
  15. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    DaltonGang and Steve56 like this.
  16. Simon Smailus

    Simon Smailus Well-Known Member

    Thank you kind sir, I have contacted him.
  17. Simon Smailus

    Simon Smailus Well-Known Member

    Got my razor back and had my first shave today--awesome. Big thanks, especially to Jamie!
    Steve56 likes this.
  18. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Steve56 likes this.

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