How to Test Sharpness on your SR?

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

  1. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    I've order the films and I'll start with that. I'll report my progress after I've tried the films. Afterwards, I can consider getting better stones, but the films should be able to get me to a state where I can at least get a decently sharp blade (as I will verify by the Tree Top Chop test). Thanks to all the advice coming in...
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  2. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor

    Just stick with one thing until you get a good shave and then Repeat that honing on another razor
    RezDog and Keithmax like this.
  3. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Gee is Slash still active over at the B&B? Somebody said they showed him the door.

    When I heard that, I thought Slash?...... The father of the stunt shave?...... Come on!

    There might be a 'few others' to get the right foot of fellowship, but Slash? No way!
  4. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    :signs011: Once I stopped trying different stones and techniques I made progress on my honing. I just settled with synthetic stones and just kept trying until I got it right.

    I have used razors honed, on films, synthetic stones, natural stones of all types that had great edges. All of these can get great edges, so stick with your films and once you get edges you like you look around at picking up some stones.
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  5. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    A man ought to be able to come here with an interest in shaving with a straight and learn how without being blamed for the lack of success because they didn't settle on a non existent method.

    Fortunately some of us, who are not experts, are willing and able to suggest a method, even a Burr Method, that will allow said OP to successfully sharpen and use his straight to provide a good shave without spending hundreds on stones. If the OP follows Slash's videos, he will achieve a good edge that is as good as one can get. Later they can dial it in and find what works for their individual needs.

    The goal of a shave forum is to educate, encourage, and support, I suspect. It is not to promote an expert's dubious opinions and disrespect, or honing as primary, I'd imagine.

    I've listed my progression several times as a nobody with no expertise. Surely some of the experts can list their favorite start up progression so that a new user might follow in simply fashion to achieve a shave ready edge.
  6. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor

    And there is your problem You actually think that isn't on this forum, that is simply your lack of knowledge or a refusal to use the forum..
    You know one thing, You push one thing and you ignore and actually dispute all other knowledge..

    You just proved your denial of all the other systems that were even shown in this thread the fact that you actually ignored it all shows your inability / reluctance to see anything else.. Keep trying.

    ps: I really think before you continue to type you should go back and read through this thread
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  7. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    Just an update:
    I've tried using the films according to Slash McCoy video above, and I did his process over and above the number of passes he recommended. The result was a sharp razor edge, but still not passing the arm-hair TTC test. So, I sent my razor to a sharpening service in another city. When I got it back, it could definitely TTC! The guy running the service was pretty nice, but he doesn't actually sharpen the blades himself - he sends them to another mysterious guy. Apparently, the guy who actually sharpens the razor is a grumpy guy who doesn't like to talk to anyone. No one knows where he works or where he lives (other than the guy who sends him the razors). This razor-sharpening man just does his job and doesn't say anything about his techniques or process. I tried to ask the guy who takes the calls and sets up the service, but he doesn't know anything about the sharpening-guy's system. It's all a mystery. The front-end guy mentioned he may use a pyramid method (using stones going up in grit number, then down again), but again, he just guessing and doesn't know for sure.

    Anyway, I like how my razor is now, and I believe I can maintain what I have with the leather strops and red-oxide paste for now. I would like to meet this mystery-razor sharpening man, but he's an enigma surrounded by secrecy...
    Keithmax, Edison Carter and gssixgun like this.
  8. Slash McCoy

    Slash McCoy Active Member

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    My usual sharpness test is the TTT, TreeTopping Test. How I rate the results is I pass the razor 1/4" above the skin of my forearm. I expect to feel a lot of hair catches, and see at least one or two hair tips lying on the razor after the sweep. That is an edge that I am pretty sure will satisfy me. Sometimes I really nail it, and the edge treetops practically every hair it encounters at 1/4", and does so without disturbing the hair base or making even the faintest sound. This is crazy sharp. Throw a party sharp. Science fiction horror movie sharp. Amazing elves in hollow tree magic stone sharp. This beats an ordinary DE blade and matches a premium DE blade such as a Feather. This is also uncommon. A lot of things have to come together for such an edge, at least for me. So there is a "good" edge, and a "fantastic" edge, defined FOR ME. If it won't treetop at all at 1/4" but will do so at 1/8" above the skin, to me that is a mediocre edge. It will shave okay. If it doesn't treetop at 1/8" then will it at least catch and cut a forearm hair at barely above skin level? That is pocketknife sharp, to me. This is just my way of testing. I often perform this test several times during the lapping film or synthetic stone finish. Or during balsa post-finish. Shave test not really practical within that context. I suppose I COULD enumerate them sort of like how many guys rate an HHT result.

    TTT0 = doesn't cut arm hair easily even skimming slightly above skin level. Literally, zero treetopping.
    TTT1 = does that, but doesn't treetop reliably at 1/8" above the skin.
    TTT2 = treetops reliably at 1/8" above the skin but not at 1/4". My minimum acceptable cutting power for shaving. If I am honing, I definitely am not done.
    TTT3 = treetops reliably at 1/4" above the skin. A satisfactory edge for me, no need to chase the dragon any further.
    TTT4 = treetops very easily at 1/4" above the skin, silently, with no disturbance to hair base, getting nearly every hair it touches. A rare edge, almost good enough to treasure instead of use.
    TTT5 = in your dreams. I don't think ordinary razor steel can get any better than TTP4, as performed by me on my arm.

    The TTT works well for me when I am not honing a lot. When I am, my arms quickly acquire a 1/4" high crew cut all over. I have been meaning to transition to HHT but TTT is very convenient for me while honing.

    If an edge gives me a DFS with a single WTG pass, I call it a great shave. I don't chase BBS and I prefer to use a single pass. The TTT3 level will do that for me, generally. I don't use a formal one stroke shave test though it certainly is a valid test.

    Of course your results will have to be calibrated to be valid. A comparison to a DE blade is a very good equalizer. There are those who say a straight razor cannot ever be as sharp as a DE blade. I say it is a worthy standard to emulate, and those who can't match even a very tame DE blade can up their honing game a lot, if they try. Knowledge, practice, tools. And perhaps least of all, aptitude. I think anyone can learn to hone, and to hone quite well, in a very short time, if they stick to typical ordinary hollowground razors at first, and a systematic approach where everything is spelled out in detail and the student need only follow directions. It is great fun to mystify stuff and talk about becoming one with the stone and capturing the soul of the man who cut a fine nagura from the mother rock, or sliced a beautiful slab of coticule. It is challenging to make honing an art instead of a science, and to some, it is apparently gratifying to tell newbies it will take years to learn to hone with the elite. But it isn't so, necessarily. I have taught guys online, without meeting face to face, how to create an edge that matches say, a Derby DE blade. And they usually succeed by at least the second attempt, if they follow directions exactly. It's not complicated, and it's not expensive. It is those things only if you wish it to be or allow it to be. A DE blade, then, is a good calibration standard, even though the comparison itself can be a bit subjective. You can't really compare a straight shave to a DE RAZOR shave, because of the way that the razor head restricts the shave angle. However, a shavette that holds the blade securely without excessive exposure (allows too much flex) but does not enforce a high shave angle, is readily used for comparing the straight shave to the DE BLADE shave, or more to the point, TTT or HHT or other testing.

    Even so, sometimes a DE blade simply does not treetop eagerly, even thought it is very sharp and shaves quite well. Those darn coatings. Another wild card.

    For comparing edges between different honers/shavers, we could maybe say "Derby sharp" or "Gillette 7:00 Green sharp", or "Feather sharp", I don't know. Maybe that is overthinking. And guys will just inflate and brag on their edges, anyway, right? When you actually shave with the edge in question, then you KNOW how sharp it is. Reasonably sharp? Pretty darn sharp? I don't believe it sharp?
  9. Slash McCoy

    Slash McCoy Active Member

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    No, I am still very active there. Actually you really have to work at it to get banned by the Badger Bunch. I think maybe you mean SRP, in the old days. When it was basically forbidden to present a certain brand of razor in a favorable light. A few others got the same treatment. Things are a bit different there now, after a regime change, and I am back, but I still spend more time on B&B than here or SRP. Been there for 10 years or so. Just found this forum a while back, when it was brought to my attention that someone was posting some very unwelcome stuff and dragging my name into it. I registered just to get my two cents in, and still check in a few times a day.
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  10. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    You're a regular fixture around here now. Sorry. :angry017:
  11. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    My apologies for the bad info. Good to have you drop in once in a while
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  12. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Did you try to shave with the film edge or just shave your arm?
  13. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    I'm not sure if I read your question right. I just shave my arm with the razor blade when I do the TTC test (Tree Top Chop test). I actually hold the blade about 1/8" above the arm.
  14. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Did you attempt to shave?
  15. Slash McCoy

    Slash McCoy Active Member

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    I only have 50 posts. I can leave any time I want to.
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  16. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Sorry, at 50, you are locked in. "One Of Us, One Of Us"!!!
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  17. Willk

    Willk Active Member

    I tried my newly 'professionally'-sharpened razor this morning, and here's what I found. -It's a very different experience using a very sharp razor (one that can pass the TTC test) verses an average sharp razor (one that does not pass the TTC test, but may sometimes pass the cherry tomato test). The normal tugging and friction I normally feel when doing the chin is now lessened. This is a good point. But the whole experience is not smoother, I'd say. Some sensitive areas, like parts of the lower neck, I had to be extra careful, and go over much slower. The irritation around these sensitive areas is actually now heightened with the very sharp razor. Even flatter areas, like the cheeks I feel are more sensitive now and need to be done more gradually and carefully. Some areas I feel a bit of irritation where I didn't feel before. Maybe my face needs to get used it. I'll see how it goes with time.
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  18. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    It is not your face. Your technique sucks and that will improve over time hopefully. Learn to hone, brother. No one can prepare your edges except you. It is not a big deal or difficult.
    Leclec13 likes this.
  19. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    no insult intended but i agree with chuck , mostly. for conversation sake i will use HHT, although no my standard for sharpness... i was at one time satisfied with HHT 3-4, but now that i am easily getting HHT4 + i had to change my shaving technique. no skimping on pre shave prep, lower razor angle, much lighter pressure........ cut to end,go easy on tender spots.... learn to shave with pro sharp edge, shave for comfort thecloseness will come take your pre and post shave game up a notch
  20. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    With time will come better shaves, and sharper blades. No big deal, it's just a learned thing. You just need to have a well honed one to compare to yours, while you learn. Who was it that honed your blade??

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