Honing - Reading the Temper

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by gssixgun, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

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    From that post in the HOTD thread

    Let me try and expand
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  2. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

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    Many Customs, Semi Customs, and New Production Razors have some "Interesting tempering"

    Much like Goldilocks and Beds

    There are some that are slightly too soft
    Many that are Just Right
    Some that are slightly too hard

    Note the word "Slightly" this is for a razor that can be honed to a shave ready edge but seems to be evading the bevel set

    How can you tell what is going on ??

    Well a Hard razor will leave hardly any Swarf on the hone where a Soft razor will show Black steaks

    A hard razor often pops minute near-perfect Rectangular chips at the edge, not a normal-looking chip, often they have no scratch leading to it, they just seem to appear in the edge for no reason as you hone
    A soft razor will often foil up at the edge especially at the heel and point, you think you are doing everything right but you keep getting what looks like a Burr or Bright Sparklies at the edge

    These razors can be honed but they require a few tricks to figure out what they want, continuing down the same path will just waste steel and frustrate you

    First off try adding a light slurry to the hone, even Synthetics, a slurry will "Hold the final edge back a tiny bit which might get you where you need to be for the next hone in your progression

    For a soft edge, I often use a Natural after the Bevel setter as a bridge to the next hone in the progression

    For a hard edge, I really try and get to the next hone with as clean an edge as possible add a light slurry and see what I have

    Another trick is to use a Microbevel right after the bevel set, by adding one layer of tape to your spine, the slightly higher angle only at the very apex of the edge can often help calm down the issues
    You can try this any time on any edge to see what the results are, it takes mere seconds to erase a Microbevel if you don't like it

    These are just little tricks to help overcome difficult Tempers
  3. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Thank you Glen .
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  4. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Ditto, Thanks Glen.
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  5. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    Very helpful! I’ll try out a couple of these tips this coming weekend. Thanks Glenn!
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  6. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    Thank you, that is very helpful but I will keep you send you my problem children for honing.
  7. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

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    @Keithmax You go right ahead I like solving the mysteries, and the ones like that Kikuboshi Ooooooooooo I love those LOL
    Everytime I see that in a SOTD I drool a little
  8. speedster

    speedster Well-Known Member

    I saw one of those rectangular divots in one of my Japanese razors just last week, Glen. Took some time to hone through the little giver of weepers. "Tempering issues" may also explain some problems with a 2012 custom in 52100 steel that's a real PITA for me on the hones. Thinking I will try your micro-bevel trick this time around.

    A huge thanks for the tips, @gssixgun Glen! Oh, and I too have some rapscallions to send you. ("A man's just gotta know his limits" -- Clint Eastwood)
  9. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    :lyrtuy5: I used it yesterday, always a pleasure to shave with that smiling razor.
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  10. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    This is perfect timing. Your advice has helped sort out a razor I have been struggling with for a week. I had thought I had lost my ability to hone. It was really knocking my confidence - now everything makes sense and is sorted.

    Thank you
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  11. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

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    I really tried to get Micrographs of the bevels on the two Harts in that pic but things just wouldn't come out
    It wasn't that they couldn't be honed it was that they would have most people thinking it was their fault that it wasn't working
    They just needed a slight adjustment in the approach because the Temper was a little hard

    That prompted me to write this article, even better that it helped so fast :)
  12. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    I’ve been re-reading the thread and thinking about my own experiences. Any info about that Kikuboshi is welcome @gssixgun and @Keithmax . I had one that is very hard, and saw that strange ‘chipping’ off a Shapton Glass HC 8k - this is the softer less aggressive stone than the white HR. I could drop down a grit, and it would go away but return using the HC. I tried a 8k Shapton Pro and didn’t get it. Finishing on a jnat with slurry off the 8k HC would reduce it, or I could add koma before finishing and the koma slurry would kill it.

    I think that what I was seeing is a particular stone/steel incompatibility as the 8k Pro didn’t make those chips. and I never saw that chipping off the 8k HC with any other razor except the Kikuboshi. It was a user razor and a friend here in town wanted it so I sold it to him. He’s been maintaining it with a Nani 10k and recently told me that it was holding its edge noticeably longer than his other non-Japanese razors.
  13. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    I have a SK-3 and it was not shave ready, I struggled to get it honed, I think mostly due to the smile. I did not have any chipping issues. I sent it to Glen and it came back with a fantastic edge and so far it is holding the edge, I have only used pasted strops so far with no need to go back to finishing stone. Hopeful @gssixgun can come back with some tips for you.
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  14. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    From what I've experienced, many times, with many razors, when microchipping occurs, I immediately kill the edge, just slightly, and continue with even less pressure. That usually does the trick. But, if the microchipping continues, I again kill the edge, and add another layer of tape. My thinking is that extremely hard steel doesnt like thin bevels(aka large bevels), and adding tape makes for a smaller bevel. I have had to learn this the hard way, through trial and error.
    When I started on this hobby, a few years back, things weren't explained to everyone, in such a simple way, as they are now. Gleen from others experiences.
    Just my 2¢, and my take on Glens explanation.
  15. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

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    There are several things that can effect honing and make it problematic

    #1 Is bad honing technique
    #2 Would be Geometry issues from bad technique in the past (Worn out Spines)
    #3 Something that is not really found on Vintage razors but has been found on some newer Razors both Production and Custom is bad geometry in the build
    $ Last on that list is what I am referencing here which is Hard or Soft Temper issue

    @DaltonGang , Scott your technique of lightly killing the edge and a reset is a well proved system and it works really well I use it quite often, since many of the razors I am honing have been restored..
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  16. speedster

    speedster Well-Known Member

    My SK-3 clone, the H. Diamond #35, has caused me similar struggles on the hone, @Keithmax. That’s one I’m beyond ready to send Glen’s way. :)
  17. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    I bought two ZY razors before Christmas with the intent of using them for travel. Because of this I decided to hone them with a coticule. Chinese stainless steel. Boy was it hard work. Just couldn't get a good edge on them. The bevel would take but by the time I finished the dilucot... nah - horrible.I have honed these 3-4 times. Edge is OK but the shave is rough. I was about to give up and revert to a synth progression.

    Then I read @gssixgun 's post above. These hard Chinese razors were making a very dark slurry super quickly. It got me thinking... are they softer than I think - am I razing a foil? It's not something I worry about with a coticule, because I didn't think a coticule would do that.

    When I use a coticule I don't use x strokes much, preferring Japanes strokes. I also like to work pretty fast and dilute quickly. With my favourite coticules that usually works out fine and I get very fine edges (for a coticule).

    Following the evidence and matching it to Glen's advice above, I killed the edge to remove any foil - ok I probably didn't need to do that - and started again. This time I diluted way slower holding back the slurry thickness and I threw in x strokes at every dilution stage until I got that shift you feel both in the Japanese stroke and the x stroke. I made my x strokes quite angular.

    Everything else was as usual. The result was night and day. And the shave was baby dolphin butt smooth.
  18. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    I've honed a couple of ZY Razors, and they take on a very sharp edge. I've never used a slurry honing them, so I've never experienced those issues. I used Welsh Slate Stones on those.
  19. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

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    And here is where the real issue comes together on some of these new production Razors especially the Chinese ones

    There is the REAL possibility of different Tempers between batches, so we get different results..
    By reading the temper is gives you a heads up on some of this ..

    I remember when the original Double Arrows were hitting the fora back in 08 we had people fighting about good vs bad many of us tried to explain that there were consistency issues between the batches but it was more fun to fight about it
    Same thing happened with the Wapis and the Gold Dollars, more recently the lower priced Dovo consistency issues

    Anyway just some thoughts that I hope help
  20. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    Yes I think this is what happened because previously I had no trouble with ZYs

    This was a good lesson to learn.

    I have a soft spot for cheap Dovos because I have learnt so much from honing them :bounce015:
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