Hones and Hone Acquisitions

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Steve56, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Actually it just happened to be the photo I took when unpacking that order. TSS is the US distributor for Focus tools as well as the fabricator of the convex hone surface.

    To connect the dots, I was perfectly content with my straights until I used one of those. I had been using my original Sunday Shaver as the standard bearer for the performance of my open edge shaves.

    While I believe it possible for someone with enough experience to get a straight to the level of shave I get with that razor, I need to be able to do it for myself. It has become my new target. Just part of my journey.

    I probably should have taken another pic. Too lazy. Sorry for the confusion.
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  2. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    If I may, I'd like to offer the reasoning behind my choice to buy.

    Not all razors are perfect.

    Convexing isolates a narrow point of the edge with a narrow point of the spine on the stone and the correct stroke will ensure consistent contact for each stroke, heel to toe.

    I have two razors with a warp, one a rat, the other a Wacker crafted by one of 2 reputed individuals. While I could care less about whether I damage the rat, I fear that I lack the experience I desire for the other. Even though the variance from flat is slight, I see it.

    I think the use of a convex hone is not universally accepted, but I want to want to try it.

    I sharpen knives with a rod guided system using a narrow stone. Not being able to contact the entire cutting edge at the same time on a razor didn't bother me.
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  3. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    They basically function as a narrow hone that can ride into frowns and overground areas of razors. The idea is that the ‘dome’ ensures that you hit the entire edge.

    EDIT: oops, I didn’t finish the sentence!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  4. Timwcic

    Timwcic Well-Known Member

    Found this stone this weekend, a mystery green hone. Was found in a barn covered with bird crap. Lapped out to 600 grit and delivered a comfortable, smoooth edge refreshing a Puma. Love a green stone

  5. Timwcic

    Timwcic Well-Known Member

    Thanks, and not to bad yourself. Looks nice and kosher
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  6. thesuperiorshave

    thesuperiorshave Well-Known Member

    This statement comes up a lot in the discussions on these boards, and it is wrong. A flat-but-narrow hone and a convex hone are not 'the same' functionally to the razor, not by a long shot. Any German engineer would chortle at the suggestion. There are two important principles of the convex hone; a flat-but-narrow hone addresses one of them.

    Only a hone which is curved in the long axis changes the shape of the bevel of a razor - if the hone's concave it will make the bevel convex, and if the hone's convex it will make the bevel concave. That's a critical consideration as to why the master grinders use them. The convex stone made convex in both the X and Y axis makes the bevel itself ever so slightly curved inward, reduces the cutting angle slightly, and *ALSO* functions as a narrow hone.

    To best illustrate this to readers here with words rather than images/drawings, first imagine a 75mm x 200mm hone made cylindrical with a curvature imparted exclusively on the short 75mm axis (the 200mm axis still dead flat), with you honing normally, strokes going up and down the 200mm axis. Entirely depending upon the diameter of the curve imparted to the 75mm axis of the stone, this could "basically function as a narrow hone" as the above quoted tireless worker on this topic posits, or not change things at all. If the diameter of the curve was 150mm, a small percentage of the razor's cutting edge would be touching a small percentage of the 75mm axis just like with a narrow hone, allowing you to use that 'advantage' to 'ride in frowns and overgrown areas'....if on the other hand the diameter used equaled the Earth's diameter, it would not function differently than a flat stone. It is all about the diameter of the curve.

    Now, imagine a 75mm x 200mm hone which has been made cylindrical with the curvature imparted exclusively on the 200mm axis instead of the 75mm axis, which is now dead flat as measured directly across the 75mm axis at any given line. Depending upon the diameter of the curve given to the 200mm side, the hone could function much differently in the way it grinds a bevel plane upon the razor; if the diameter was the same as the Earth it would seem to be immeasurably different from a flat stone, and if the diameter was short enough it would make a bevel so curved inward that the steel could not hold up to task. It is all about the diameter.

    Hones used by master grinders worldwide since the late 19th century are given upward curvature in both their short and long axis so that, yes, the contact patch is isolated to solve problem razors, but also for the advantage of a concave and more acute bevel form.

    Fine by me if one says they're not important enough to consider as they've used flat all this time just fine, and believe me if you're starting a business to make money as your main objective, telling people that black is white is not your best business move! The reason I'm selling these is that I'm forty-six years young and have put straight razors to hones since my 10th grade 'metal shop' class where a cool old country boy teacher introduced me to Arks and coticules and nothing changed the outcomes as dramatically as addressing the *shape* of that which I sharpened (and, by extension, therefore that which sharpens them), which I didn't dare to try until I was forty-two (I was thirty-six when I first saw one in person, and thus knew they existed). Don't want to buy them? No worries. Nobody's getting rich off of these. Want to make your own? I truly hope you do, because I'd feel good about peoples' habits changing en masse from something I took the time to suggest which was used by the actual producers for about 130yrs before I did so [hopefully it was suggested at retail level at some time in the Victorian era, but I'll presume my shop's the first to do so in the internet age].

    But don't sell this story that they're just the same as anything that's flat along one axis and narrow upon the other - you belittle the reliability in your own name when you do that. They are marginally different things - a margin that is important to some and not to others.

    What I don't read often here on these forums (actually, I have not yet read it once) is of any experienced person who has used both and ultimately preferred a flat stone.
  7. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Concave still makes more sense, than Convex Stones. Personally, my flat stones can hone everything out there, that I have thrown at them. Trust me, I have honed some interesting razors. The only ones I couldn't hone, to my standards, were ones with crappy steel, and those with completely shot spines.
    "Dance with the one that brought you"..
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  8. thesuperiorshave

    thesuperiorshave Well-Known Member

    As I said, I have not yet read of an experienced user who tried it both ways and said they preferred flat. I have, on the other hand, read effusive praise from a fifty year old man using straight razors since being introduced by his grandfather at nineteen.

    I'm sure your flat hones can hone everything out there - they just cannot make your bevels themselves concave, nor can they give you a bevel angle more acute than the spine-to-edge geometry dictates on anything flat. You're using a slightly more blunt razor than you could be using, whatever the razor; if that's not important to you, so be it.

    I don't think that the razors honed from the factories which ~universally displease the end users here has anything to do with the geometry imparted, and only has to do with the time given to each blade; I wager if the end users simply changed their hones to convex and did just as they did before they'd like their edges at least as much and often more, and I wager if the factories spent as much time on their convex stones as these end users the end users would have nothing but praise for the edges they received.

    Doing anything again solely because it holds the position of incumbency is the entire basis of tradition.
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  9. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Not to be flippant, but you logic makes no sense. My razors are plenty sharp, and not at all blunt. Case in point, if convex stones were so good, don't you think you would see more of them out there??
    I get it now, you are pushing hard to sell them on your online sales site. I'm out of this conversation.
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  10. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

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  11. thesuperiorshave

    thesuperiorshave Well-Known Member

    Dalton, that was an antique razor of unknown grind in which the customer specifically asked for the convex stones..it will never happen with any modern full hollow.

    Convex stones were/are good enough that every famed marque of the late 19th and 20th century use them universally, whether you knew about it at home or not. They were good enough for Otto Busch and Puma but not good enough for you, born to the internet age of information basis for the topic? Believe it or not but straight razors have a much longer history than that, and much of the information of thier best era was all but lost save for the trade guild passing it down to their members.

    It is empirically true that your razor is more blunt if not using the convex stone. It isn't debatable. It is a scientific fact.

    Hilarious that you'd cite the thread link as if it is something I'd wish to hide. I live life philosophically in a fishbowl since 1989 and the ideas of both privacy and disclosure mean nothing to me - I know it is as odd to say the least, but the notion of guarding information from fear of full disclosure is something I equate to having a weak mind.

    You seem just another wholly assured guy who never used them, and yet sternly doubts that which all the producers insisted upon once they learned of them. And that is the modern internet expert for you.
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  12. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    FWIW, It was I who initiated the recent conversation on convex stones. I bought one because the background and theory made sense to me. Plus, I'm just not going to go to all the hassle required to make one for myself.

    I had observed numerous videos of folks leveling stones AND taking a few swipes around the perimeter and rail. That also made sense.

    As an inexperienced razor sharpener I value the diverse opinions offered here. In this case, my attempt at learning is enhanced by Jarrod's participation.

    I will be initiating a new specific thread for those with interest to follow.
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  13. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja


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  14. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Well, @thesuperiorshave , I'm not going to resort to insulting you. I dont need to. If disagreements with you are an issue, then sorry.
    Good luck with your business.
  15. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers


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  16. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    E7F55774-0247-4DE4-B579-C3387A1593D7.jpeg A5F89CFA-890F-497E-A101-449E2333B0E1.jpeg F32ACDCF-267C-48EA-9F0F-628E202A7495.jpeg 4E214F42-614A-4698-9174-19D4AB5710A9.jpeg

    Picked up a couple of things lately, none of them here yet and it will likely be a couple of weeks.

    First up is a size 60 (180 x 70) that has some Nakayama signs, looks nice but as always, a roll of the dice. It’s sure to be less yellow than the image would imply, lol.

    I have a few karasu pattern hones, karasu means ‘crow’ and the pattern of black spots on a grey stone that reminded folks of crows flying against a gray sky. I’ve always wanted a karasu slurry stone but haven’t ever found one. So an auction pops up and I grab 4 pieces about 80mm long. With any luck I’ll have a razor grade karasu pattern nagura out of one or more of them.

    Wish me luck.
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  17. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Hone Testing

    A progression of
    Arkansas Grey - Marked 4-6k
    Dota Creek - Marked 10-12k
    Bethesda Grey - Marked Ultra Fine
    Coming off a Chosera 1k bevel set Shumate "Newport"
    Using Smith's solution



    KISS Test Shave


    Immediate results on the very first try with new stones
    CCS one multidirectional pass as usual

    After posting this on Facebook and some discussion and point blank asking "What are They" which for some reason is an alien concept in the FB groups **SMDH**
    I got this

    "Mkay.. you guys force my hand on the stones. McBrides Stone Company is the source for the Bethesda Black and the AR Grey. Bethesda Black is a compressed shale(slate), but unlike any other slate you will ever see. They(McBrides) make counter tops/floor tiles/ desks and several other suspended stone things from it. You ought to see it turned as a column !!! The AR Grey comes from near Wideman, AR; and McBrides makes once again floor tiles/ counter tops / desks / building cladding and even use their breaking machine to give rough face exterior on high dollar houses. I get their cut off pieces and convert them one time again. The Dota Creek Stone does come from the creek running through my family farm. I have to wait until the creek is not running in the summer and gather up the big rocks with the front bucket of the tractor. It is a super compressed shale loaded up with all sorts of glistening silica particles. A lot harder of a stone than the other 2 in the mix too. Got a friend that is going to have a Chemical Analysis done on the Dota Creek stone. I don't have to know the specifics ~ All I need to know about the stones is how they work for people. I get 3 points of reference from knowledgeable folks before I call the stone for what it is. I depend on other people since I am already biased out there cutting / lapping / working the stones. "

    I have done 7 razors on them since Monday, I have not felt comfortable enough yet to send any home to customers...

    It is my personal belief that the Grey is a Stone known as an Ozark Banded Chert...

    Testing continues
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  18. joamo

    joamo Well-Known Member

    I don't believe I would consider this stone to be a chert. Although I'm not an expert, all chert I have experience with has been flinty to glassy in texture.
    If this is sourced from the McBride's Stone Co., the stone they call "Arkansas Grey Storm Cloud" (a fitting name although I don't see any detailed pics of it on the site) is listed under limestone.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  19. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    That's a lot of Naguras, if that is what you are after, once cut up.
    Wonderful patterns.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  20. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    I guess it could be Limestone but it just isn't known for producing a fine edge..

    The other two things that makes me think Chert, is the slick oily feel of the stone, and the deep earthy smell

    Hone On :)


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