Honing question - probably stupid

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by gregindallas, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. gregindallas

    gregindallas Rolls Razor Revivalist

    1st off, I'm not a die-hard stright guy. I send my 2 strights off to be honed when required. But I have, for years, honed knives around the house as required and am struck by the fact that stright razor honing doesn't seem to involve honing oil. Is it a choice or a requirement of the type stones used for honing razors?
  2. Jimbo

    Jimbo New Member

    I think generally it is a property of the types of stones used for straight razor honing. All barber's hones (or at least the ones I am familiar with), for example, need water or perhaps a bit of lather, as do a lot of the synthetics. There are oil stones out there, but they seem to be less favoured by straight razor honers than waterstones.

  3. woodturner

    woodturner Member

    It has something to do cleanliness and the fact that you really don't want oil going into a cut you might get. Any bacteria that comes from the blade will be transferred to any oil stone which is not easily killed by the oil and could be transferred back to the blade at some point. Water stones can be easily cleaned. The stones are also much finer grit and could be clogged by oil.
  4. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    I sharpen all my knives on a Japanese water stone using just water, no oil involved. The oil stones I think typically have a much courser grit so you need a thicker lubricant that won't soak into the pores of the stone. With straights, the stones are of a high enough grit that the pores are mostly closed so simple water provides enough lubrication.

    To throw a monkey into the wrench, I actually use a shaving lather as lubricant on my barber's hone.
  5. Utopian

    Utopian New Member

    One of the most ubiquitous of barber hones, the Swaty, could be used wet, dry, lathered, or with oil. Because most barber hones are not porous, there is little peril of oil contaminating the hone.
    This differs from hones/stones that are porous. The Eschers made a big point on their labels to declare to "be particular" to avoid getting oil on the stone. If you get oil on the stone, then you get oil in the stone and you are stuck with it. I think for most hones, they could be used either way but once you got oil on it you were committed. Water is more convenient and is cleaner. Imagine a barber carrying a hone around in is pocket. He wouldn't want an oil stain in his jacket.
  6. 8thsinner

    8thsinner New Member

    Additionally, a very good book on sharpening by a famous guy whose name I currently cannot remember suggests even on oil stones Never use oil with them. He tested this in hard use factory conditions where people didn't know he changed styles and they started asking why the blades were sharper for longer...Great book for all things sharpening, not specific to shaving other than that he sharpened an axe and let his daughter shave his winter coat clean off in about ten minutes...

    The razor edge book of sharpening...by John Juranitch who was by profession a barber.

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