Trouble with Razors Edge?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Claude Stewart, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    Good morning everyone.

    I am looking for advice. I have a 7/8 Convex Ground American Razor from Geneva Cutlery. The blade looks and feels wonderful. Heavy, wide blade with a nice toe and heel.

    I honed this once and discovered the edge was uneven. I used a marker on the spine and found there were high points in the middle of the spine on the right side. Two high spots on the left side of the spine.

    American Geneva.jpg
    American Geneva1.jpg

    While honing, I used a marker to mark the edge itself. It showed the toe and heel not having the same contact with the stone as the middle 2/3 rds of the blade.

    American Geneva2.jpg

    I took my time and gingerly ground the spine on both sides until the marker wore even the entire length of the spine.

    I again marked the edge of the blade. This time, the marker wore away evenly the entire length as well.

    American Geneva3.jpg

    However, after honing and stropping, I tried to use it this morning and she didn't cut a hair. Nothing. I could have used a round number 2 pencil. It would have had the same effect.

    The edge feels sharp. My thumb pad sticks to it. I wouldn't run my finger over the edge. But, Not a shave to be had.

    Any ideas why this would be?

    Thanks for taking the time.
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  2. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    Could it be a rolled edge? Do you have a loupe to inspect the edge?
    Karl G likes this.
  3. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    No. A magnifier but, I can’t see it clearly enough.
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  4. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    An old British master joiner once told me how to check for sharpness of a tool by looking down the edge of the blade while holding it so the light shines on it. If you can see reflected light on the edge of the blade, there is a burr on it. Granted, he was talking about carpentry tools, but it might also work for razors. Or, you can try running your thumbnail down both sides of the blade from spine to edge and see if you can detect a slight burr at the edge. You may have to re-hone it. Did the blade shave OK before you worked on the spine? Be especially careful with your stropping technique, as strops can roll an edge.
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  5. lottenhem

    lottenhem Well-Known Member

    I have discovered the same thing as well. 2 razors that I just gave up with. I found out that the blades were not straight. Check your razor on a flat surface and you will see if the edge is bent or not.

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    Karl G likes this.
  6. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    Thank you.
    I just put the blade on a flat whetstone. Under a magnifying glass, I can see both the toe and heel on the left hand side of the blade have a minor upward bend. It’s ever so slight. But it’s there.
    Karl G likes this.
  7. lottenhem

    lottenhem Well-Known Member

    I wonder if they left the companies that way or if they have been bent later? Hopefully the later version..
    I have a CVH and a EDV Neiström that are curved. A pity because they are in a excellent condition. Just to throw into the bucket with scrap metal

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  8. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    I was wondering the same thing?

    I can see the blade bending due to improper storage etc. But how does the spine become so uneven except through poor quality control?
    Karl G likes this.
  9. lottenhem

    lottenhem Well-Known Member

    Probably poor quality control, lack of professional workers etc. Think of all crappy cars that have been built over the years... a little bit more money than a straight razor.

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  10. Edison Carter

    Edison Carter Goo-bloomin' Stankster

    I found imperfections in a good number of my razors. I figure it is a side effect of a human manufacturing craft and accepted it.

    I have not learned how to compensate for these imperfections using popular methods.

    I have successfully used hones lapped to an elliptically crowned surface.

    I recommend you try every other option first before trying an elliptically convexed system.
  11. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Many many razors are uneven, be it the edge, or the spine. The issue you have is a relatively easy one to overcome. Either you can use smaller width stones, 1-2 inches, or you can improve your techniques. I learned from listening to others, and buying many old, and inexpensive blades, that were given up on, a hundred or more years ago, probably due to the a variety of issues. There are many ways to overcome an uneven spine. Use an "X Stroke" . In more severe cases, use, what I call, a "Rocking X Stroke". This is a typical X Stroke, but you start the stroke at the heel, and end it at the toe.
    I have not had a Geneva Cutlery Co razor that has every had severe issues. A simple X Stroke should do the trick.
    You can also learn where to add a little more pressure, when honing, and have the blade slightly bend to make appropriate blade/hone contact.
    Then again, sometimes blades are slightly warped, but not enough to compromise a bevel. Remember, as long as the entire edge is able to make contact, and you can get a good bevel going, it doesnt have to look perfect. Oh, use tape, and change when it wears through.
    I hope this helped.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2021
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  12. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I’ll give the X a try
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  13. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    If all else fails, send it to me, I like a challenge!
  14. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Ancient Straight Razor Proverb: "Hone a mans razor, and he shaves for a little while. Teach a man to hone a razor, and he shaves for a lifetime."

  15. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    I agree Scott, but short of a face-to-face meeting (not going to happen anytime soon), having someone else with experience examine and critique your ‘as-found’ edge is helpful. Alfredo did that for me years ago when I was learning to hone, and I’ve done that for others with positive comments. Once you know what’s wrong, you can also make some suggestions for how to best hone the problem child.
    DaltonGang, Edison Carter and Karl G like this.
  16. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    "Honing a SR is easy, until it isn't" ~gssixgun ca 2008
    "Honing a SR isn't Rocket Science" ~ Unknown
    "Of course it isn't Rocket Science if it was it would be the same each time" ~ Unknown

    As DaltonGang mentioned, more razors are NOT straight and even than those that are..
    From your pics this razor has been mis-honed in the past, we can see that from the spine wear, now you are going to have to adjust the honing stroke to correct that..
    This is where Honing becomes not so easy, you have to learn the moves to hone around the issues you are going to find out there "Honing Gymnastics"
    We all, myself included were guilty of inventing cute names for the strokes used in doing this years ago

    Rocking X
    Rolling X
    Heel forward X
    Swooping X
    Half Stroke
    Etc: Etc:

    All these have one thing in common, You are adjusting the stroke so that the edge is in continual contact with the hone and Pushing / Undercutting the Water/Oil/Slurry as you hone "Honing Gymnastics"
    Once you realize that all you have to do is adjust the Pressure, Torque, and Stroke to do just that, you have learned to hone :)

    ps: Simple fact

    "The more you hone the better you get at honing"

    By applying 2 layers of tape, you will eliminate the effect of the ham-handed honing before you got the razor, using a Sharpie/ Magic Marker Test (MMT) this will allow you to see just the edge, and what need to be corrected there, Do you understand the concept of "Pushing the edge ???
    Once that is corrected you can decide what you want to do

    Hone On !!!
  17. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Here is a good example of what I mean

    This Dovo is back after about 5 months for it's second honing by me

    It was of course originally Frowned by the "Masters" at Dovo and their insistence on wrecking razors :(
    The owner sent it out to be honed and whoever did that made it worse, it came to me, I did exactly what I am saying to you..
    I applied 2 layers of 3M 700 and used a MMT to determine where the issues were with the BEVEL eliminating the spine that the unknown honer crapped all over..

    This straightened out the edge

    Now this time, since I am not having to correct issues, I used 1 layer of tape and honed for effect the bevel is now almost dead even and the razor is back to normal


    The spine will NEVER be right, but at least it can be honed easily and fairly straight foreword and it looks pretty good without excessive spine wear
  18. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    I’ll certainly consider that, Steve!

    its a nice blade. Would love to have it in my rotation.
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  19. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    I used the marker to see if the edge was uneven. In the one pick that indicates low points, is where the marker was not removed by the whetstone. But only on the left side of the blade.

    I spent last night re-honing using the X stroke. After a long time, the marker test showed an even edge contact.

    I continued the X stroke to a 15K stone. It shaved the arm hairs easily. Will see if it takes my whiskers that easily in the morning.

    Thank you for such detailed information. It’s very much appreciated.
  20. Claude Stewart

    Claude Stewart Well-Known Member

    Today was the day, gentleman. I gave this razor another shot at glory. Unfortunately, her performance was less than satisfactory. I honed and re-honed with different techniques provided here. I seemed to have failed miserably in my attempts. UGH.
    Edison Carter likes this.

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