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Thread: The Transition Stone

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Default The Transition Stone

    The Transition Stone may be the most important stone in a progression.

    I brought this up in another thread and there seemed some interest so, as not to completely hi-jack the old thread, I am posting a new thread, in the Advanced Honing Thread Forum.

    Background
    What started this for me was, I noticed lately several threads from new honers having issues with the quality of their edges and it always revealed, an incomplete set edge, where a reset of the bevel and re-honing progression resolved the issue. This past weekend I mentored 4 new guys, were each honed at least 2 razors and I repeatedly witnessed the same thing occur, firsthand.

    Now I know they properly set the bevels on 1k stones, a Norton, Chosera, Super Stone and a Nubatama, where I inspected the edges before they moved on, so I canít blame the bevel setting stone, because it occurred with each brand. No diamond plates were used on any of the edges, a common cause of chipping.

    When they moved to the 4k, the edges would fall apart, sometimes at the 8k. We also were using a Norton, Super Stone and Nubatama 4ks with the same results.


    Problem
    What I think is happening is the rough 1k edge either breaks off, is not fully honed sharp, (not enough Pressure or sufficient laps on the 4k), and later breaks off sometimes at the 8k, or the stone is too aggressive and leaves a new ragged edge or the honer is using too much pressure, or the 4K stones were too aggressive or not aggressive enough to reduce 1k stria and hone the edge.
    The big variable and equalizer is/are Pressure and experience. We often say no or lite pressure to hone razors, but that is just not true. And the one thing I have witnessed firsthand, with novice honers is they donít use enough pressure, especially in the 1k. We do need pressure, it is a matter of the right amount and knowing your stones. Novice honers do not have that luxury.

    Solution
    One solution is the 2-3k Transition stone or an aggressive stone like the Nubatama 4k. Some have said they use the 2k with good results. And what I believe is happening is it makes a good transition from shaping to polishing.

    Accepting that the traditional bevel set stones (800-1k stone) shape/set the bevel, (Set the Angle, flattening the Bevel & straighten the edge). The next stone (The Transition Stone) does double duty reducing the 1k stria while enhancing/straightening the edge. The 2 & 3k stones are aggressive enough to do both, (as is traditional, 3-5K stones, in experienced hands). A side problem/issue is the variation of grit rating and that all 4kís are not alike, in grit and binder.

    Or bevel set on a higher grit stone, a 4k. Most 4K are more than aggressive enough to easily set a bevel, especially if you are not starting from a bread-knifed edge where a bevel already exist and just needs re-shaping or bring to meeting.

    Conclusion

    So while we often sneak up on finishing an edge with smaller grits jumps, perhaps the smaller steps should be in the early stages and a 1,2,4, 8K progression may yield better edges, especially for the novice honers.
    Large jumps are easily made with 8-20/30k Stones with good results. Perhaps the low end is where the smaller steps need to be taken. And maybe this is where the Pyramid technique developed, because in many ways, this is what it resolves.

    This is what we do with natural slurry stones and very small step progression, with excellent results.
    For the novice honer this may be an easy solution to a persistent problem.

    What are your thoughts?
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  3. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    For some razors, that is a good answer.
    More than one of the honing Illuminati use a small jump between hones all the way up. One of my students has been shaving and honing his own razors for many years. When i gave him a Hindustan (~6KĪ) it filled in a gap for him and he said that his edges improved a great deal.

    We have the advantage of good magnification and it should be in play from the bevel set onward. A more lengthwise stroke for the last few on the bevel setter can reduce some of the problems as it removes the tops to nearer the valleys of the scratches,( Elliptical honing, the fancy endings of the stroke with a lengthwise fillip at each end, all do some of this. Lengthwise honing is for the last few strokes of a grit and at very low pressure.


    ~Richard
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    illegitimum non carborundum Utopian's Avatar
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    As a long time fan of 2k hones, I've been thinking of trying out some 1.5k hones.
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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    I quite enjoyed the other thread.

    As I mentioned, I seem to get a bevel set (cutting arm hair easily, TPT), progress to the Norton 4k, and would after finishing on the 4k, lose the arm hair cutting and there would be no "gripping" feeling on the thumb pad test.

    I invested in the Naniwa 3/8, and again, while not as pronounced, the dilemma for me has always been consistency and when to move on to the next hone. My edge would look good in the loupe, easily cut arm hairs, grip my thumb pad, and would frequently disappear altogether, or be degraded to various degrees. The just over a dozen razors I've done to completion have been nice, but taking 4-6 hours, sometimes multiple sessions of that, is clearly indicating I'm missing something.

    The Naniwa 10mm 2k is very reasonably priced, so I'm hoping further practice, and smaller steps at the beginning will help me understand how to achieve consistency.

    Great thread - thanks.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Consistency is the hard part. taking the time and looking at the edge often and seeing what you last did pays dividends. For me too long between honings means almost a whole new learning curve.

    A good way to check a bevel edge at the early stages of honing is to rotate the blade around its long axis with the edge away from you and a bright light source on the other side and watch the reflection. A missed bevel area will shine in a different manner to the rest of that bevel. Works also between hone grits. A magnifier is still a good investment to see chipping or really small imperfections.

    I've been at this for a few years and am still a newb and learning from a few really good honing people!
    ~Richard
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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    Consistency is the hard part. taking the time and looking at the edge often and seeing what you last did pays dividends. For me too long between honings means almost a whole new learning curve.

    A good way to check a bevel edge at the early stages of honing is to rotate the blade around its long axis with the edge away from you and a bright light source on the other side and watch the reflection. A missed bevel area will shine in a different manner to the rest of that bevel. Works also between hone grits. A magnifier is still a good investment to see chipping or really small imperfections.

    I've been at this for a few years and am still a newb and learning from a few really good honing people!
    ~Richard
    Yes - the loupe is a great tool, and inspecting the edge helps enormously, as Lynn puts it, "pocketknife" sharp, easily cutting arm hairs, and gripping the thumb pad. All that I can achieve on the 1k bevel set, it seems that as soon as I move to the next stone, the edge degrades. Another member here who is local to me suggested it may be the higher grit hone is removing the "teeth" on the edge; hence, not getting the same TPT results, but I find I can also no longer cut arm hair.

    I've always made it past this stage, but it is often then having to go back to the 1k and start again, so when I do get the the proper results after the 3/4k, I have no idea how or why I got the results that time as opposed to the last time, to me, it appears I'm doing nothing differently, when obviously I am.

    That's why I think this thread is excellent for beginners like me, I'm hoping that inserting smaller steps will make the transition easier, but then again, I feel I'm falling prey to the, "It's not me, it's just I need more hones/tools"....
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    illegitimum non carborundum Utopian's Avatar
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    I think that all that you have described can occur when you have almost, but not fully, set the bevel. I'm thinking that it is just as likely that the edge is not degrading so much as it did not fully exist. What magnification of loupe are you using?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Once the bevel is set, if you lose the edge and need to bring it back,, do it on the 3, 4k or your 2k when you get it.

    If you go back to the 1k you are starting all over with the edge, the 2, 3, or 4k will refine the edge just fine without the deep 1k stria and 1k ragged edge and it should not take that many laps, maybe a little more pressure.

    Try varying your pressure, adding more in the beginning and less towards the finish laps.

    Also Side Honing finish laps on the 1k will remove a lot of heavy stria before the transition stone.

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    barba crescit caput nescit Phrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euclid440 View Post
    Once the bevel is set, if you lose the edge and need to bring it back,, do it on the 3, 4k or your 2k when you get it.

    If you go back to the 1k you are starting all over with the edge, the 2, 3, or 4k will refine the edge just fine without the deep 1k stria and 1k ragged edge and it should not take that many laps, maybe a little more pressure.

    Try varying your pressure, adding more in the beginning and less towards the finish laps.

    Also Side Honing finish laps on the 1k will remove a lot of heavy stria before the transition stone.
    Utopian - I have the standard 8, 16 power loupe, purchased a much stronger one, but I find it's to close. The 16x I can see the edge, see where it dips or is shallow or not fully formed, then back to the stones to get it as even as possible.

    Euclid440 - yes, I was always going right back to the 1k to get the "pocketknife" sharp, and arm hair cutting again. Finally, I'd just do the laps on the 4k and wouldn't even bother checking anymore, just go up the progression to the 12k, strop and test shave, and 99% of the time it would be fine. No clue how I got there and that is what's frustrating, it seems to be simply guessing when to move to the next stone, especially when to leave the 3k or 4k stone.

    Once I went from 1k to 8k to 12k, that was a disaster.

    I have a Naniwa 3k and experienced the same result, feeling like I'm losing the edge at this point, and just moving on without knowing why...is it correct in thinking that the razor should still have that sticky gripping on the TPT and easily shave arm hair at the 3k/4k level?

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    Senior Member jfk742's Avatar
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    I go 1-5-8-12 and have had the edge fall apart on me. It's usually when I think I'm almost done on the 8k that I see little shiny spots where the edge should be. Funny thing is I'd didn't see them when finishing up on the 5k. It's not that I think I missed them, though I do think it happens to me, but more so like the edge is crumbling. I just accounted it to repairing and honing vintage straights and thought that I hadn't got quite down to good steel. Problem is it has happened even after bread knifing a bunch of steel, like when correcting a frown or things of that nature.

    What Euclid addresses in his OP makes sense to me. Too much pressure will blow up an edge, which seems obvious even to me. Too little pressure makes sense as well though. I wonder if too little pressure on the bevel setter would cause a foil edge. My theory is using light strokes allows the bevel, as it gets thinner from honing, to flex, and as you flip it on the hone it just bends back the other way. The only thing is I feel like you would be able to see that under magnification, so maybe I'm way off.

    Sometimes my edges come out awesome the first time and sometimes I head back to the 5k then back through the progression.

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