Honing advice - how to get a sharper edge?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by feeltheburn, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. feeltheburn

    feeltheburn Well-Known Member

    I feel like I've been making some progress on my straight razor use and honing techniques. I've got a couple blades that I've been working on with a C12K and I think I've got really decent edges on them. They compare well to a couple I had honed by Glen, aka @gssixgun . I'm getting a really good comfortable shave with them everywhere except my chin. The dense and large diameter whiskers there just don't want to cut easily. I can go over my chin a dozen times trying different things like guillotine strokes, scything strokes, shallower and steeper angles, etc, but I still leave a whole bunch of whiskers behind. A good sharp DE or injector blade takes those whiskers right off so I feel like what I need is more sharpness from my straight.

    So my question is how can I get a sharper edge? I've tried CrOx on a pasted strop and 6 or 7 strokes doesn't seem to make a lot of difference. I've also tried 20 or 30 no-pressure laps on the C12K with a little slurry and without. Again, not much difference. I think my C12K is a fairly good one based on Glen's descriptions. It's not ridiculously hard but also doesn't raise a slurry when making water-only laps with a razor.

    Should I try a different finisher to get more sharpness. Maybe diamond spray? I've read that it can make a harsh edge but at this point, I think I might be willing to give up some smoothness for more sharpness if that's a choice I have to make.

    Thanks for the help everyone.
    Ceferguson likes this.
  2. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Sharpness / Keeness normally is built at the lower stages, Smoothness comes from the finisher..

    To get engineering technical yes the high grit finishers do add a tiny bit of keeness to the edge but really not much :(

    Try dropping lower like 4k 8k ish, then coming back up, and see if that doesn't add just a touch to it..

    Also to be sure, part of this is also technique, the chin and top lip are two trouble spots for many SR users it might just be you just need more time

    Pastes: Yes Diamond and CBN can cut and can add keeness, whereas CrOx and CeOx are more used to add smoothness
  3. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

    I learned something today, thank you
    Douglas Carey and gssixgun like this.
  4. feeltheburn

    feeltheburn Well-Known Member

    Thanks Glen! That's great stuff. I will try this out. I've been hesitant to drop a bunch of cash on hones since I'm still not positive this straight razor thing is ever going to really work for me. But I'm finally getting to the point that I think it might if I can get the right edge for me. I'm glad to hear your opinion on this since I was thinking maybe I'd get a Naniwa 12K to see if I could do better with that. But now, maybe first I'll get a 3/8K combo and keep finishing on the C12K for a bit. The edges do seem pretty smooth off that.
  5. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Double check prices on the Naniwa stones right now as they are coming out with newer series in Super stone and Chosera so the originals are marked down substantially at many places out there on the net..

    I saw a Chosera 1k that normally goes for near $90 going for $58 the other day, so make sure you search hard for the deals some of them are in EU but they are offering free shipping too
    macaronus, cubancigar2000 and TSimons like this.
  6. 45auto

    45auto Well-Known Member

    Really! Thanks for the update since I am looking just maybe I can afford naniwa 3-8k.
    Take care.
  7. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    This is one I'm keeping my eyes on as a future bevel-setter. I have the Naniwa 1k, but I do find it rather soft and fairly slow. Not that it doesnt do a good job of setting bevels…it does!
    I simply chalk my desire for the Chosera up to all the praisee I've read about it—and we all seem want the best, right? :p;)
    BudWhite and lindyhopper66 like this.
  8. johnus

    johnus Well-Known Member

    Great advice! The only thing that I would add is that I find that with a Crox pasted strop I usually use 20 or so passes.
  9. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Is this for refreshing or post-finishing stone?
    20 passes seems like a lot of CrOx passes—I'm not that versed with pastes, but I thought a little of it goes a long way.
    I usually finish post-stones with about 6-8 laps on a CrOx pasted strop, before the linen/leather.
    BudWhite likes this.
  10. bdalemauger

    bdalemauger Active Member

    I've found that having electrical tape on the spine makes for a better edge. I use it on a pasted balsa strop with CrOx thenCeOx then the leather strop. I usually do this about every 2 months. I strop every other shave and find that tape makes a difference. Anybody else do this?
  11. dfoulk

    dfoulk Active Member

    I'm fairly new to this but after many hours of honing have managed to get some really nice edges. I find my absolute sharpest razors to be the ones I spent the most time on setting the bevel with the Chosera 1k. I suspect that the bulk of the sharpness comes here in the lower grits and the bulk of the smoothness from the higher grits. If the bevel isn't set correctly the higher grit stones and or CrOx just won't get it sharp enough and the shave will be somewhat uncomfortable.

    I do use one layer of electrical tape on the spine mostly to prevent wear on the lower grit stones. I leave it on through the higher grit stones as well and remove it before stropping.
    FacialCarnage and cubancigar2000 like this.
  12. entropy1049

    entropy1049 Well-Known Member

    Just another idea to think about...It seems like if you're getting good results on other areas of your face, and just having trouble in a certain area (AND you've set a good bevel and honed through 12k) I'd really have to think about razor angle, positioning and skin tugging technique in that area.

    Now please don't think I'm trying to be critical of your skills, but I know a while back I shaved off the weird goatee thingy I had on my chin, and for the week or so before I started to grow it back, I had a hell of a time with it. Hence my weird goatee re growth.

    I also note that you said DE's and injectors don't seem to have a problem mowing down the trouble area, but both of these will do some "positioning" and tensioning of the skin against the edge as it shaves, so I don't think you can immediately find sharpness at fault. The idea I have in my head here is the difference in shave technique I have to use when switching between a Feather AC and SS, as the SS has a "ridge" along its blade holder that is designed to help pull the skin taught as it shaves.

    If you've set a nice bevel and you've honed up through 12k, and get good results on most other areas of your face, you should have an edge that will wreck anyone's beard.

    Best of luck with resolution!
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
    macaronus, MikekiM, oscar11 and 3 others like this.
  13. feeltheburn

    feeltheburn Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that reply Mike. I'm completely willing to believe it's my technique with the straight. I try a shavette once in a while too and get none of the tugging issues so I just keep thinking maybe I could wring a little more sharpness out of the straight and it would help. I guess I'll keep practicing. :)
    entropy1049 likes this.
  14. entropy1049

    entropy1049 Well-Known Member

    It certainly could be an issue with the sharpness of the straight, but it's something to think about. On the bright side, that would mean your honing was spot on :D And we all keep practicing!
  15. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

    So Glen, are you hinting that you like the Chosera better than the Naniwa super stone? Or are they basically the same stone
    gssixgun likes this.
  16. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    The Chosera 1k is the best Bevel Setter I have used to date, period

    Now does a casual honer need to spend 2-3 times as much for a bevel setter ??? I can't answer that, but I will say that every person I know that has bought one has said the same thing after.... "I should have bought this long ago" :p

    PS; Take with a grain of salt here, as this is from a guy that staunchly says 90% of honing is done at the bevel set :)
  17. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

    Thx for the honesty. Now to find one
    HolyRollah and gssixgun like this.
  18. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    Hopefully, my Chosera 1k will be arriving soon as I would love to do a comparison with the Naniwa 1k.
    As with most side-by-side testing, I suppose the biggest challenge would be controlling the variables so the results actually mean something. Same type/make of razors? Same number of strokes?….I dunno.
    I'll have to think this one through.
    :o:signs002: :think002:
  19. BudWhite

    BudWhite Well-Known Member

    I've been using my chosera 1k for a few weeks now and I must say its the cat's meow.

    It's so fast that I actually find myself skipping the 4k on my Norton 4/8 and going right to the 8k and Nani 12k quickly.

    I bought the old big one with the slurry stone which I use a lot on all my stones to lap and clean off swarf.

    Got it for 60 bucks on a British site. Best money I've spent yet on honing.
    Ceferguson and gssixgun like this.
  20. Bristle Me

    Bristle Me Insufficient

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