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Thread: Paper testing razors

  1. #151
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    Warning: Done carelessly or with improper paper products, cutting paper to test a razor edge can dull the edge and/or cause premature wire edge. (see end of post for description of wire edge). Information in this post may not be suitable for new users, and as such should not be discussed on other forums.

    I came upon 5x8 notepads in search of the best medium for this purpose. They are available at all office supply stores in packages of 10 or 12 pads. This is enough for a year or more for most busy honers. The brand is not important, as you have a years’ worth with one purchase. If the next pack is slightly different, it is only a onetime adjustment. There are lots of other papers out there, but I can assure you, I have tried most, and this is one of the best. By buying a 10 pk you will have plenty of identical material.

    Each develops his own style for different things, and your ultimate style may differ from mine. As you should do your honing, if you are serious, this should be done with concentration and the fewest interruptions possible. Turn the radio and tv off. A secluded room with an available desk size work surface and a moveable strong light is ideal, and would speed up the learning process.

    Start with a sheet from the pad, holding in one hand, at the top edge. Place the heel of a razor at the top edge an inch or so from where you are holding, with the toe up at about 45 degrees. Carefully draw the razor toward you, as you allow it to cut the paper downward. This will take some practice. You do not want side pressures to be created. Take your time. Pay attention to the feel, sight, and sound of the paper. You would normally be using this method while honing, so have your hone in front of you, as you may wish to touch up the edge every so often as the paper will dull it. Cut a few pages. As you feel a little more comfortable, you may try to cut narrower slices to conserve paper, but you have plenty. You will probably want to do this over your honing bench, with a trash can nearby. The way you hold the paper and direction you cut will probably change some with practice, as you learn better ways to make the paper and razor work together. Remember when you learned to shave. For most, it wasn’t the easiest thing you ever did. This won’t be either.

    Once you feel comfortable with cutting paper, you may want to make two or three cuts in places I would make one, figuring to do 10-15 additional laps to bring the edge back where it was. IE When I think I am near finished with the 1K, I make a cut, and compare it to another I will make after about 20 more laps. I am checking to see if the edge is still improving, before I move on.

    As far as I can tell, paper cutting to test an edge started with knife makers and honers. However, the edge of your razor is much more delicate, and can be damaged more easily. That is probably why paper cutting has never been considered an appropriate edge testing method for razors. The worst damage I have seen is the premature development of a wire edge or some would call a rolled edge. I have never seen this bad enough to not be removed by 10-12 laps, max, on the hone in front of you. I have honed a few new, entry level Dovo razors. I find their geometry to produce a very thin edge, and somewhat prone to wire edge. To the point that I have had to strop long enough to go thru two wire edges before the edge backed up enough so there was enough metal behind the edge to support it thru a shave. This can be seen with experienced paper cutting, as such a razor will be more likely to produce a wire edge while testing as well. That doesn’t mean every wire edge you get is because of geometry, poor technique cutting the paper can certainly cause it as well. And it may take you some time and experience to be able to separate the two. Intentional poor technique can easily roll an edge, as was shown in a previous pic, using much heavier bond paper.

    I need to mention here, one more time, that a very good and thorough visual exam before leaving the bevel setter, often 1K, is paramount to success in honing a razor. That inspection should include a way to identify small frowns. I think most people here will agree that perfection in finding faults before leaving the 1K will make the rest of the process much easier and straight forward.

    I still hone in a room alone, with no tv or radio. Help your senses to help you. I have told some people that razors talk to me, and it actually isn’t a joke. Learn to let the razor tell you what is needed, and when you are done with a particular stone. 100 of this and 100 of that, if enough, is probably too much, and you are wasting metal. When I think I am near the end of what a particular stone can do for me, I do a few x strokes and make a test slice on the paper. Make another 20 laps and test again. When I am certain the last 20 laps made no improvement, it is time to move on. If too much pressure begins to cause microscopic chips, you will feel and hear them. If a wire edge develops, you will hear it instantly. If you have a small frown that you didn’t catch, or a spot where the hone is not getting to the edge on both sides, you will see the edge slide over a spot without cutting the paper. If the last instance happens to you, it may be time to reassess your visual exam methods.

    I test shave every razor I hone. It is the only true test, and even then cannot be certain to shave the next face exactly the same. That said, I would love to not have to test shave each. My method of stropping has very predictable results, but I am never quite sure how many laps it will take. The only methods I have to determine if I have reached my goal is with a microscope, (awkward to use) or a paper test. The paper test is at least 90% accurate in telling me that a razor is ready for the test shave. And that 90% will need nothing further at shave time. At that point the razor will float thru the paper as though under its own weight, and make almost no sound, if any. The edge of the paper where you cut will be slicker than the factory edge. The feel and sound will be completely consistent from heel to toe. If it isn’t, I am not done.
    Learn to get the most from each test. Heel to toe. Get a smooth slow cut, listen, watch, feel. They will each reinforce the other. If your honing is lacking a little near the ends, you will be able to detect that long before you have gotten to the test shave, and you will have corrected it.

    Like shaving, or honing itself, the more practice you get, the more the concentration and lack of interruptions, the more you will get from your tests. Many may never see a point to develop this much further. Up to you what you do with it and to what point you take it. If you learn this on razors, you will be able to use it with almost any sharp edge. If you ever happen to attempt to hone a razor with metal fatigue, you may very well reach a point that the tests get no better. If your paper cutting has gotten very smooth, you may get all of the way to the test shave before you realize that the edge is not stable enough to complete a shave. No test will always find every potential problem. With practice you will hopefully learn to recognize your intuition, and trust it more. In the last case, you might detect that something about this edge is not right. A few more cuts may help you to start to establish what it is, if the edge seems to deteriorate more quickly than you have grown used to. Remember, slow, easy, draw through the paper, from end to end. Can tell you a lot, if you are listening to your razor talk to you.

    Wire edge: Puma factory refers to it as a bur, some refer to it as a feather edge, or sometimes rolled edge. I personally feel a ‘rolled edge’ to describe something a little more severe, but some may use some terms interchangeably. In all cases, it is a very thin edge that has been forced far enough in one direction that it does not return to its proper position by itself. It can occur in honing from not honing enough with edge forward, or using too much pressure. Can also form from too much pressure stropping. Very minor wire edges are very common on very thin edged razors, and need to be honed off or sometimes stropped off. Generally, each time one is removed, the metal behind the new edge will be a little heavier with more support.
    Last edited by bigeasy1; 03-17-2015 at 03:33 AM. Reason: add more significant paragraph pauses

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  3. #152
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    Been a while, but believe the thread is still open to comments. Still getting views. Has anyone tried this? Any success or failures?
    Cheers,

  4. #153
    lz6
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    Senior Moderator lz6's Avatar
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    It has been a while and yes the thread is still open to comments.
    jfk742 likes this.
    Bob

    "God is a Havana smoker. I have seen his gray clouds" Gainsburg

  5. #154
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    I have used the paper method and found it useful at times. it is satisfying silently and smoothly slicing through a piece of paper after finishing a razor on a thuringian stone. like stated above, it usually folds the edge and needs to be taken back to the hone. For this reason, i don't do it often. I bet newspaper or tissue paper would be more forgiving but i haven't tried it.

    I cut off a hair on an old badger brush (usually the raggedy strands jetting out) and do the hanging hair test with it. it is a lot easier to pass since the hair is more course/thicker. the hairs are also fairly consistent.

    Cheers!

  6. #155
    Senior Member bluesman7's Avatar
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    I took a shave ready razor that was going to be re honed anyway, made a few paper cuts, and could see damage at 100x. I haven't found a place to really use the test in my normal honing.

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