How to Test Sharpness on your SR?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Willk, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. Spyder

    Spyder Well-Known Member

    The last two posts nailed it. The only test I do is “tree topping “arm hair after the 1k/bevel set. If it doesn’t pass, it stays on the 1k until it will. Once passed, proceed through the progression. I finish on 1um diamond on leather, followed but a stropping session similar to the one Scott aka @DaltonGang speaks about.
    Final test is the first pass from ear to jaw. It should be smooth, effortless without any tugging whatsoever. With that said, I rarely (if ever) have any issues here because of the condition of the blade
    coming from the first stone.
    I also find the beard length doesn’t matter. I just took off a month of growth, with not one iota of tugging.
    PS. I personally don’t find honing that enjoyable; for me, the end to justify the means......
  2. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    Whoaaa! Are you saying after a 1k bevel set, your SR should chop hairs on your arm?? That's a good gate-check. I will try that after my 3k stone hone (after watching the video from gssixgun). BTW, great comments guys -keep-em coming!
  3. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    If done properly , a razor will tree top hairs, right off a 1k. But, I wouldn't try to shave with it. It won't be smooth .
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  4. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    DE blades and straights can be equally sharp. There is difference between what actually feels sharp and what is truly sharp. I did a non-scientific test and compared heavy grind straights and full hollow straights. In generally the full hollow straights felt sharper because they have a little big flex when they shave, when it came to the hardest test, ATG on my chin and upper lip they both cut without resistance.

    Then I compared straight with DE razors. I found in general they are equally sharp but the DE blades felt sharper but the straights smoother.
  5. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    Wow you guys are razing the bar!!! Tree top @1k!!! Now I have to try for it. My king 1k better bring the A game tomorrow!!!
  6. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    Just for the record, I cannot tree top arm hairs with a bevel set, not even if I go 1K, strop, arm hair. I can tree top chest hair. My arm hair are very short and very fine. I check to see that my apex is fully formed with a bright light source and a loupe. In Glens early videos he slowly rolls the edge with a bright light to see if it has any sparkles or a white line. I do the same thing with a loupe. I do not look at the bevel, I look at the point or tip of the apex. A fully set apex will have no sparkles no white lines and be very difficult to see. It is after all extremely small. There is a thread from SRP that has some good pictures.
    it is so much easier to learn at a meet. I live a very long way from most. I started with honing my own blades, name brand, great condition and Glens videos. I later flew to a meet with experienced guys at honing, then a meet with Glen. The two meets I learned way more than I did with a hundred hours of honing and watching videos. It is very hard to show you in a thread what I’m doing and why, and know that you understand and I am communicating well.
  7. Trigger

    Trigger Double Jedi Knight

    If a straight is truly sharp, then you should get a DFS on 1 pass or a BBS or close to a BBS after 2 passes without touchups. By the way, I hone my razors with lapping films.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  8. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    I've had great shaving edges that didn't "tree top" all that much or at all. I will sometimes do a pass on my face to test an edge, or I did back when I was amassing my collection.
  9. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    I watched the video above again, and was determined to achieve a pass with the arm hair test. Something still isn't right. I did over 20 strokes each on a 1k stone, then 3k, then 8k, and my blade was ok- sharp, but no where near the sharpness a feather DE, and could not cut arm hair. I did the test after each stone, and paid attention to the bevel. -from what I understand, the bevel is set correctly when the blade lies flat against the stone, or nearly flat against the stone. Anyway, I've decided to find someone local to me (Melbourne, Australia) who knows how to hone a razor properly, and show me first hand, if that's possible.
    Keithmax, MrEE and Trigger like this.
  10. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    Lying flat is not a bevel test.
    are you stropping before test?
    Stroke count really not effective until you know your steel and hones
    What stones do you have? Are they lapped flat?
    Was you bevel set properly?
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  11. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    My stones are lapped flat. When I received the razor, it was sharpened and set by someone experienced. However, it didn't shave very well. I can only assume the bevel was set right, but the sharpness was one of the issues. In the video by gssixgun, it looked like he was cutting arm hairs just after using the stones. And it looked like the guy was just honing with the blade flat (or close to flat). How would you set the bevel?
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
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  12. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    for the most part yes lay blade flat on stone (hopefully razor lies flat on stone)
    you can check bevel by marking bevel of blade with sharpie, then take a few laps on stone. observe bevel thats a good start. gssixgun is not a mortal honer.
    what stones do you have?
    look up sharpie test, tap test or wobble test for starters

    (maybe start a new thread and link me)
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  13. MrEE

    MrEE Half Naked Shave Stalker

    I know I struggled for a long time. Ended up getting a 20x jeweler's loop so I could see what I was doing to the edge.

    In the end I figured I was applying way to much pressure in the final steps. Too much pressure and the occasional swipe at a bad angle and I was taking the edge I had worked so hard on right off.

    I'd be willing to bet you are doing something you think is harmless which is destroying your edge. No way to really catch that without a way to inspect the edge.
    Edison Carter and Keithmax like this.
  14. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    I will try the tap and wobble test to see if my bevel is set correctly. (This video explains it nicely):

    I first tried applying very little pressure during honing (almost using the weight of the razor), and my razor couldn't pass the arm hair test (after about 10 strokes). Then I tried putting a bit more pressure on the blade, and still no success (after about 10 strokes). I'll first confirm whether my bevel is correct and go from there. I'll give it another try after I get over my frustration. Thanks to everyone for your help so far...
    And btw, my stones are:

    • Naniwa Goken-PRO Kagayaki Whetstone #12000 sharpening F/S (fused alumina material), [did not use this for my test]
    • Sharpening Stone 3000 & 8000 Grit - Double Sided Whetstone Set For Knives W Z4K7 (Made from professional grade Aluminum Oxide. Also says Made from White Corundum - maybe this is the white 8k side of the stone)
    • My Flattening Stone: Norton 69936687444 Flattening Stone With Diagonal Grooves For Waterstones, Grit, silicon carbide
    I can't find details of my 1k stone at the moment - I have to check if I really have a 1k stone -maybe I'm forgetting. For this exercise, I used 3k & 8k, just to validate it could pass the arm hair test after one of these stones (which it didn't pass).

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  15. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    the chinese 3-8K can be problematic i have a similar stone it only gets used on kitchen knives now

    i could never get arm hair to tree top with my imported 3-8k
    i can tree top with 8k equivalent with lapping film

    are you talking about tree topping arm hair, or just cutting arm hair with blade touching skin?
    with later technique you should be poppin arm hair at 1K

    your 12 k should be fine

    never handled that norton.... i have read mixed reviews.....

    if you haven't noticed some of us are elitist's when it comes to equipment , but there are many ways to skin a cat
    Keithmax likes this.
  16. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    The Tap and Wobble means nada zero zilch nothing about whether the bevel is set, it also can be VERY deceptive to new honers..
    There is no ONE test that works for everyone, try them all at the bevel set until you find the one that works for you every single time.

    I listed them for you back here
  17. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    There is one test and that is the shave.
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  18. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    For me there are two tests, is it sharp enough to shave with? Is it uber sharp?

    Sharp enough to shave with can only be determined by the shave test.

    Uber sharp or just how sharp the blade is I determine by my ATG pass on my chin and upper lip.
  19. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    The bevel is set when the two sides meet to form a perfect apex from heel to toe. I find it easiest to assess with a brute light source and a loupe. It is the only time in honing when I look at the tip of the apex, almost straight down on the edge, and not the side at the bevel. It there is a white line or sparkles along the apex, it is not complete. The finish point of the apex should be very hard to see, it’s crazy thin. You can effectively shave off the 1K once the bevel is set. If you cannot shave off the 1K there is an extremely high likelyhood that the bevel is not set.
  20. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    I do this too when checking an edge, I look on the edge for any sparkles that tells me there is a problem. Also along the edge for any ragged areas.

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