Just Honing

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Leclec13, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    figured i start a new thread

    I know nothing about the herolds pastes
    But I do know diamond pasted balsa
    your naniwa stone progression should get to the level
    to use diamond pasted balsa , even respectable shave on their own
    i use 0.5u 0.25u 0.1u diamond pastes on balsa after ny highest stone or film
    as long as you properly finish on stone progression then follow with diamond balsa progression you should be getting laser sharp HHT4-5 easily. (my modern razor dovo, TI, are more finicky and need more work than vintage)
    shavette will always feel different than a straight! the best way to learn straight razor is with straight razor , try and wean off of shavette, start with cheeks and/or easy parts of face regularly ....
    i prefer the straight it shaves as close if not closer with less irritation, nicks...... it is more of a real, organic, buttery feel.
    i couldn't get my edges to really sing until i got the pasted balsa progression down.
    once edge is finished i have been able to maintain edge with pasted balsa only!
    there is a ton of info on another forum... search for "how to use pasted balsa strop"

    Issues in (my) honing:
    not setting bevel appropriately !!!
    advancing too fast to next stone
    not getting edge equally sharp from toe to heel.
    if edge does not feel progressively sharper i will often drop one grit and spend more time there then advance
    especially on higher grit stone or strop finish with increasingly lighter pressure
    even pressure from heel to toe when lapping
    don't cross contaminate pasted balsa
    using improperly lapped strop, stone/hone
    shaving on a pro honed edge was an eye opening experience
    next best is trade razors with experienced and compare edges, return razor with your honing or just have a experienced hone razor for you. (i'm only 4 months in but would be glad to hone yours)

    i still finish with bench leather strop, but am doubting it is necessary with diamond pasted strop (experimenting)

    i use film, and a mix of synthetics and naturals, finishing with coe arks before, before diamond balsa progression
  2. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    I fail to understand any HHT. I figure I must be doing it wrong. I can't get HHT to work on razors freshly honed by very reputable gentlemen (a couple even drop in once in a while). I can't even do a HHT on a brand new Feather blade.

    Shaving has really been my only successful guage. I keep 1 razor as my benchmark to measure the others against. I have found balsa stropping does smooth the edge quite easily.

    As far as shavette vs straight, it is probably a comparison that you can always get at least 2 answers on. I have 8 straights and they all shave well. I have 1 shavette. If I say it outshaves my straights, it is an opinion on my experience at this point in time, and gives me a benchmark for adjusting something in my use of straights. Also, I'm sure I can find someone to tell me that I need to try the artist club shavettes when they learn mine uses 1/2 DE.

    No need for me to wean off the shavette, it is an instrument that I wish to learn. The best way for me to learn is practice.
    Keithmax, Leclec13 and Primotenore like this.
  3. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    Honing has been a interesting journey and I'm still learning my Arkansas stones as I touch up my razors. I seem to get the best edges from getting a sharp edge. Add a layer of tape and proceed from there as normal. Best shaves from my own honing abilities. Still has been fun and educational experience. But for the life of me, I can't sharpen a knife, kitchen or utility type. Lol
    brit, Keithmax and Primotenore like this.
  4. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Guys that freehand kitchen knives are incredible. If you continue pursuit, check out some of the rod guided systems that hold consistent angles for you. I use an Edgepro Apex. All my kitchen knives slice tomatoes, slice bread and shred newspaper. Then one of my loved ones jams it into a plate so I can keep in practice.

    I've touted Chef Knives To Go. They carry the Edgepro. I read somewhere about someone using it for straights. I suppose it could be done but I only go up to 1k on knives, so I'm not sure if finer grits are even available.
    Keithmax, Zykris and Leclec13 like this.
  5. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    I regret to say but Unfortunately I don’t think you will ever get straight as sharp as shavette. And many i’ve Spoken to and read agree. I broke my teeth on long blade dovo shavette. They are 2 different tools. Once my fear factor was conquered I dove into straights with shavette and or DE touch ups. Once I solved my honing issues it became all SR, and shavette I collected dust, soaked never even used the second long blade that came with it. I was thinking to revisit it but have misplaced pouch with inserts and second long blade. I still will ocassionally shave with DE and SE and enjoy those shaves. I enjoy the challenge try to master those and experimenting with blade /razor combinations.

    Shavette vs straight is like comparing apples to pears. They are distinct fruits / tools. I did not mean to insult or discourage shavette use for the sake of shavette use. I just feel it will only get you a partial experience / education with regards to straight razor. For me the the straight has more nuances with hone and edge quality, and different steel characteristics. blade length/width/ point presents different challenges. Weight and shape of scales, or how loose the pin is will effect shave. I have come to prefer the prefer the feel of thinner grinds, and vintage steel. I’ve come to find all my razors have different personalities.

    Then comes to maintenance and honing which I feel is a entity, hobby, zen like experience
    Trigger, Primotenore, brit and 3 others like this.
  6. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    I believe we have an accord.
    Be well, shave free!
    Trigger, brit, Keithmax and 1 other person like this.
  7. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    I worked as a chef for many years, i can understand your frustration. I can recal my own frustrations learning to hone. It all about that free hand blade angle and pressure control,

    I still have issues with curved points (points) , never got the swoop down, and all my remaining knives sadly will show it. I also followed the cooking school of thought of spine leading strokes. You were either spine or edge leading and I /we never put much thought into it. Nor understood the almost sacred usage of a visiting Japanese chef use of his JNats. I which I/we studied more about honing and sharpening when I was cooking professionally

    I recently sharpened some friends knives after learning to hone.... what an eye opening experience. Since I don’t cook professionally anymore I rarely have to sharpen my knives. I never realized our finishing stone in kitchen was approx 1000. And would never put a knife to higher grit stone. But I can still get a chef knive to pop hairs with a 1k stone. For some reason I’m not as good on with non chef knives.....

    With chef knives i’ve Come to realize it’s all about maintaining the right angle. I didn’t realize it then but type of steel makes a huge difference in edge quality and had huge difference in over all personality. Never put much thought into throughout my professional career. First rule of knive sharpening blade angle, Second rule ..... see first rule....

    Ps. I am not a taper
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Trigger, Primotenore, brit and 3 others like this.
  8. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    The thing to bear in mind with a shavette is that the blades are treated with a hardening agent and a lubricant. Cutting ability is a combination of sharpness and lubrication (lack of friction). As a result a lot of straight razor edges will not "behave" as sharp, even if you finesse the edge through a progression of ever finer pastes. Also a lot of vintage razors will not be able to maintain a very very fine sharp edge. That is my mileage - yours may vary.

    Even modern mass produced straight razors aren't necessarily produced with a rigorous hardening cycle. Just compare the (German language) Dovo video with some of the handmade descriptions e..g. Bluesman, or others.

    If I want to get a get an edge similar to a Feather AC I only bother to try on a good quality stainless, like a Böker or a Buck or with something like an Ed Brice hand made razor. I don't what Ed does to harden his razors but you can push the edge to an insane sharpness.

    Even with a super sharp straight, I find I need a slicker lather to replicate the actual shaving experience.
    Trigger, brit, Edison Carter and 2 others like this.
  9. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    That would have been my question :D how does a DE blade do for you on the HHT

    One thing I have learned while teaching at the meets, sitting around a table and passing a razor around to the guys to gauge the tests at each level..
    Without fail there is always one person with each test that can't get that test to work, doesn't matter the test, some just do not work for some people..
    I always ask have you tried that test with a DE ???
    You must find your own tests that work for you without fail

    When Voerhaven did his experiments on Razor edges, the sharpest DE was measured at .31 ~Microns the sharpest SR edge was measured at .32~microns that is 1/100th of a micron difference

    The razor types I have found over the years to take and hold the keenest edges are

    #1 Little Valley NY made SR's from the Golden age, in fact, most of the NY made razors, talking to Mike Blue many years ago at one of the meets he hypothesized that they may have used the old fine grain PA steel ore to make those razors which is why they can hold the 20k -30k edges..

    #2 Japanese Traditional Wa-Kamisori they can take a wicked keen edge, partially because of the steel and also because of the grind

    #3 The later Swedes with double hollow grinds like the mk32, mk33

    Just some thoughts
  10. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    I think it is just perception that straights can not be as sharp as DE blades. I don’t believe DE blades are honed our to the high level grits we use nor do the see pasted stops. Straights are thicker and have less flex, also straights do not have any coatings. My hollow ground razors feel sharper than my heavy grind razors, but I know they are not sharper, my extra hollow grinds feel the sharpest, they are just on the verge of flexing, giving a scary feeling that they are about to cut me. With a heavy grind the stubble just disappears from my face.

    I can tree top hairs with both straights and DE blades. I use both straights, shavettes, DE and SE razors, I can get shave from any of them, I just enjoy straights. Shavettes punish mistakes with blood the easiest but can deliver great shaves.
    Trigger, Primotenore, brit and 3 others like this.
  11. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Very interesting.

    Does anyone know what bevel angles can be found on DE or AC blades. I think I saw some photos that appear to have compound bevels.

    I have a chef knife that I compound bevel. The edge lasts a little longer at the expense of some cutting keenness.
    Trigger and brit like this.
  12. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Regarding the HHT(Hanging Hair Test). I know it it referenced to a lot. But, at times it is worthless, somewhat. Case in point, when bevel setting, and on lower grit stones. When you finish a bevel, say on 3k and below, the edge is not smooth, but jagged, when looked at under magnification. The jagged edge can easily snag and cut the hanging hairs, or tree topping hairs, when the bevel is set correctly. Would I want to shave with a razor cutting hanging hairs set on a 3k stone? No! So, the higher the grit stone, the less jagged the bevel is, because you are polishing the edge(removing striations). When the edge is properly finished, on a 12k - 20k stone, the jagged edge is removed, and there is less opportunity for the Hanging Hair to snag on a jagged edge, because the edge should be smooth. Now, on a properly finished edge, to cut the Hanging Hair, the edge has to be very very sharp.
    Next comes the second test, of the HHT. This is being able to cut the hair, both root facing inward, and root facing out. This is because the hair is not smooth, when formed, but is actually overlapping layers. These overlapping layers allow the edge of a sharp razor to more easily catch and cut, going one direction, than the other.
    So, a very very sharp razor should cut a Hanging Hair, in both directions. Now, some razors can deliver a very smooth shave, but not pass the HHT. These razors are still very sharp.
    I have tested a couple of top quality DE blades, in the past, and they did not pass the HHT. They didn't consistently cut a Hanging Hair, especially both way.
    In conclusion; The HHT is not the final test of a razors capability to shave, the proper polishing of the edge is, and how the edge feels on the face is.
    I hope this clears some things up.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Keithmax, Trigger, brit and 6 others like this.
  13. Leclec13

    Leclec13 Well-Known Member

    i agree 100%
    tree topping is better
    shave test is better er
    i often just say HHT for ease of conversation

    it would be great if there was a standardized test
    Keithmax, Trigger, brit and 2 others like this.
  14. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    I am just happy, if I can get a smooth shave from my straights...regardless of this test or that. The real test is on my face.
    Keithmax, Trigger, Robert1955 and 3 others like this.
  15. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    Very good explanation!
    Helps me not feel so inferior.
    Keithmax, Trigger, brit and 2 others like this.
  16. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    I don't have any access to your face!


    I realize what I have is second rate and ugly, but I will just have to use my own.
    Keithmax, Trigger, brit and 2 others like this.
  17. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Oh, one more thing, about the HHT. The thicker , and more coarse the hair, the easier it will be, to pass the HHT. Thin(fine) hair is harder to cut while hanging loose. All the hair I test with is fine and blonde, scavenged from my wife and daughters brushes.
    Keithmax, Trigger, brit and 3 others like this.
  18. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Yes they do have compound edges, the pics that Zowada took back in 2008 showed most with a double bevel, and some (Feather) with a triple bevel creating a Convexing of sorts to the bevel itself
    My understanding is that the HIGHEST grit used in production is a 3000 with the Coatings making up for the rest
    I think I remember reading that the final bevel angles on the DE's are 22°

    These was how I learned that I was NOT god's gift to honing..
    Back in 07 when I was first learning to hone for more than just maintenance, that I had done since 1981, I heard about the HHT, this was before anyone tried to quantify it (Which personally I think is just plain ridiculous and always have) I was happily honing and decided to try the HHT plucked a hair from my brush and BAM !!! razor sliced it nice right off the Norton 8k.. I thought to myself "Huh why is this so hard for everyone"
    Few more razors fell to my Norton 4/8 and the HHT,,, I was living large thinking damn this is too easy..

    About a week later I was honing again and tried the HHT on the first razor off the 8k hone, and nothing nada zip, I went back to honing and checking, honing and checking I tried everything FINALLY after stropping I got it to pass the HHT
    It was tuff I had gone from deadly accuracy in passing the HHT to barely getting it to pass after stropping..
    I was stumped I could not figure out what I was doing wrong all of a sudden

    About a week later, I was shaving after my morning shower, and the wife comes in finishing up her morning routine, as we are talking she picks up MY Brush and uses it on HER hair..
    AHA moment, she was using my hairbrush, her fine hair was in MY brush.

    I did some testing after work that night and found that my hair would pop HHT at a good 1k, and her's wouldn't pop unless all the stars aligned in heaven. Pretty much at that point in time, I realized that before you rely on the HHT you must qualify the hair being used

    Anyway that is my HHT story :D
  19. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    So, what you are trying to say is, failing to pass the HHT was all your wife's fault. :D
  20. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    would a properly finished edge feel one way to a person with a fine beard compared to another with a course one? or is one mans sharp another mans not so sharp or too sharp..
    Keithmax, Trigger and Edison Carter like this.

Share This Page