View Poll Results: Would you be interested in participating in a honing contest?

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  1. #1
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    Default What about a honing contest?

    What about a honing contest?
    ChrisL recently started a thread about honing skills certification and relating topics.
    A lot of different visions surfaced in the subsequent postings, making it clear that a honemeister accreditation program won't be for anytime soon.
    But apart from all that heavy contemplation, I thought it would be a fun idea to organize a good old-fashioned contest. A honing contest.

    I'm not sure how many of you would be interested in such endeavor, and I'm even more unsure if the moderators find such idea acceptable, here on SRP. The only way to find out, is to start a thread, so here it goes.

    I would like to know how many of you would consider entering such a contest. Please post, if you do.
    In the mean time, I submit for revision, the following contest rules:

    Rules:
    1. Every contender pays an entrance fee. The amount yet to be decided.
    2. The contest executor holds a list of contenders. He assigns a unique number to each contender. He send to each contender a brand new and quality approved Double Arrow Razor, coded with the appropriate number. (The competition razor could also be a Dovo or a TI, if one of them is willing to cut us an awesome deal on a group buy of entery level razors for the sake of sponsoring the worlds single razor honing contest)
    3. The contender hones the razor. He oils the blade to prevent corrosion, and sends it back to the executor.
    4. The executor divides the razors into 4 groups and sends each jury member one group.
    5. The jury consists of 4 experienced straight razor shavers. They shave with each razor, and rate it a score, based on a standardized razor performance sheet. The groups are swapped 3 times, so that each razor is assessed by each member of the jury. (This also brings the durability of the edge a bit into account)
    6. Each contender receives his razor back, together with its score sheet, and its ranking in the total group.
    7. Only the THREE highest ranking razors will be made public.
    8. The winners receive a very nice price, payed with the profits coming from the enterance fees (minus razor and shipment costs) and the willingness of the Contest Sponsors (Think Dovo, TI, Ardennes Coticule, etcetera) to come up with something special. And of course also the prestigious "SRP Honing Contest 2009" trophy.
    9. The members of the jury are free to enter their own submission, but those razors remain outside the official competition.

    Any critique is much welcome,
    Bart.

  2. #2
    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    I'm not sure how many of you would be interested in such endeavor, and I'm even more unsure if the moderators find such idea acceptable, here on SRP. The only way to find out, is to start a thread, so here it goes.
    You have my blessings. This is a great idea.
    If someone is willing to take care of the logistical side of things, feel free to start a dedicated thread in the honing forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    I would like to know how many of you would consider entering such a contest. Please post, if you do.
    It sounds interesting. I am not sure if I am going to participate. On one hand it would be fun, but otoh, you know that I am mildly paranoid about remaining impartial and avoiding coi.
    But that is just me, and in part because I am a SM.
    As far as I am concerned, noone is prevented from participating, including mods.

    On the off-chance that someone might ask 'but why don't you object to this, since you objected to the SRP accreditation idea', the answer is simple: this is a contest for fun, with no commerical strings attached.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    In the mean time, I submit for revision, the following contest rules:
    Rules:
    1. Every contender pays an entrance fee. The amount yet to be decided.
    2. The contest executor holds a list of contenders. He assigns a unique number to each contender. He send to each contender a brand new and quality approved Double Arrow Razor, coded with the appropriate number. (The competition razor could also be a Dovo or a TI, if one of them is willing to cut us an awesome deal on a group buy of entery level razors for the sake of sponsoring the worlds single razor honing contest)
    Might be worth it to check out, but I wouldn't hold much hope. Dovo and TI have a serious backlog as it is.
    3. The contender hones the razor. He oils the blade to prevent corrosion, and sends it back to the executor.
    I never oiled a blade. But if you ask it, perhaps you should specify if there are restrictions to the type of oil?4. The executor divides the razors into 4 groups and sends each jury member one group.
    5. The jury consists of 4 experienced straight razor shavers. They shave with each razor, and rate it a score, based on a standardized razor performance sheet. The groups are swapped 3 times, so that each razor is assessed by each member of the jury. (This also brings the durability of the edge a bit into account)
    They'd have to be experienced indeed to prevent bad stropping from being a factor.
    6. Each contender receives his razor back, together with its score sheet, and its ranking in the total group.
    Jurors should not know each others applied score to a specific blade to prevent bias / expectation
    7. Only the THREE highest ranking razors will be made public.
    8. The winners receive a very nice price, payed with the profits coming from the enterance fees (minus razor and shipment costs) and the willingness of the Contest Sponsors (Think Dovo, TI, Ardennes Coticule, etcetera) to come up with something special. And of course also the prestigious "SRP Honing Contest 2009" trophy.
    9. The members of the jury are free to enter their own submission, but those razors remain outside the official competition.

    Any critique is much welcome,
    Bart.
    Another thing you could do is to take the top 5 or 6, and have a second set of experienced Jurors look at them. Or perhaps have the same Jurors re-evaluate them using a different razor ID. This way you'd average out difference between individuas shaves.

    Also, are there requirements regarding how they are honed, or is it free for all? e.g pastes, naturals, synthetics, teardrop shaped vs triangle, ...
    Last edited by Bruno; 10-29-2008 at 01:00 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    I'm in if you gentlemen get it together.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  4. #4
    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    It sounds like a fun idea and would make an excellent read once it was done.

    I have one question, which was touched on by Bruno. How do you mitigate for equipment? It might be a bit "Princess and the pea", but really, that is what the competition is about. You have guys with 30K Shaptons, guys with 45K+ natural Japanese stones, 0.25 micron diamond pastes etc... Does it matter? Should there be a handicap system developed? Or perhaps a limit to the maximum grit or stones allowed?

    Another thing: I've honed a couple of those DA razors - quality is variable, and sometimes not really noticable until you put blade to hone. One I did took about 10 minutes and was straight as an arrow, another took several hours and had a warp toward the heel that I only discovered through honing. Will each participants' razor be guaranteed equivalent to other participants' razors in terms of quality? How do you intend to handle dispute resolution?

    I know it is meant to be a little fun and a laugh, but stuff like this will be taken seriously and could end up ****ing people off unless it is perceived to be absolutely fair to all involved.

    Just some thoughts.

    James.
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  5. #5
    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    It sounds like a fun idea and would make an excellent read once it was done.

    I have one question, which was touched on by Bruno. How do you mitigate for equipment? It might be a bit "Princess and the pea", but really, that is what the competition is about. You have guys with 30K Shaptons, guys with 45K+ natural Japanese stones, 0.25 micron diamond pastes etc... Does it matter? Should there be a handicap system developed? Or perhaps a limit to the maximum grit or stones allowed?
    Personally, I'd say let everyone use what he uses best.
    After all, it's no fun unless you can give it your best shot.
    This way you get the best edges, and it will be nice to hear from the winner which honing method he used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    Another thing: I've honed a couple of those DA razors - quality is variable, and sometimes not really noticable until you put blade to hone. One I did took about 10 minutes and was straight as an arrow, another took several hours and had a warp toward the heel that I only discovered through honing. Will each participants' razor be guaranteed equivalent to other participants' razors in terms of quality? How do you intend to handle dispute resolution?

    I know it is meant to be a little fun and a laugh, but stuff like this will be taken seriously and could end up ****ing people off unless it is perceived to be absolutely fair to all involved.

    Just some thoughts.

    James.
    Bart already mentioned using normalized arrow razors, with the smile ground away to get consistency and near identical blades.
    Also, the honer would know if the edge was up to his normal standards or not.
    If he suspect a blade is a lemon, he could request a new blade. If he thinks the second one is bust as well, he can be given the option to withdraw silently to save face. After all, only the admin and the honers themselves know who is participating.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    If that materializes, I would love to see a new contest done annually or semi-annually to give members and newer members a chance to participate rather than a one shot deal. All the preliminary work would be done up front, so it would be an easy thing to perpetuate and tweak once it got off the ground for the first time.

    Chris L

    One question since concern for "commercial" advantages to a honemeister accreditation was one of the issues that prevented it from coming to fruition: Would the winner of this contest be allowed to advertise the fact that he was an official SRP honing contest winner if he offered his honing services to the public?
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  7. #7
    Never a dull moment hoglahoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    ...After all, only the admin...
    AKA the contest executor

    I wouldn't mind entering in order to get a honing evaluation as well as the chance to win something. It would be fun (will food, entertainment, and lady judges be provided as well?)
    Find me on SRP's official chat in ##srp on Freenode. Link is at top of SRP's homepage

  8. #8
    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
    One question since concern for "commercial" advantages to a honemeister accreditation was one of the issues that prevented it from coming to fruition: Would the winner of this contest be allowed to advertise the fact that he was an official SRP honing contest winner if he offered his honing services to the public?
    I don't see why not.
    After all, the fact that someone won only means that at one point in time, against a host of unknown competitors, the 1 razor he or she honed was better than all the rest.

    Bart mentioned only naming the top 3 or 5 winners. I think we can assume that people will be close to each other, so there is no loss of face in not winning.
    And below that, you won't be comapred with others who may or may not be more experienced.
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    this sounds fab. I think that we need to get set examples of razor to make it fair. They could be dulled by a hone pro before being given out to entrants, a deposit as well as the fee payable.
    I would also like to see a regional (world regional results list)
    One day, I'd love to enter, but for now, I'll hone you butter knifes.
    M

  10. #10
    There is no charge for Awesomeness Jimbo's Avatar
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    Just playing Devil's Advocate here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    Personally, I'd say let everyone use what he uses best.
    After all, it's no fun unless you can give it your best shot.
    This way you get the best edges, and it will be nice to hear from the winner which honing method he used.
    Then the winner is the guy with the deepest wallet, other things being equal? Better stones produce better edges, as a general rule. And anyone can wipe a razor over CrO on a strop - where's the challenge there?

    Bart already mentioned using normalized arrow razors, with the smile ground away to get consistency and near identical blades.
    He did? Anyway, the point was whether the standardisation would be guaranteed, and how that would be achieved. Grinding them is a good idea.

    Also, the honer would know if the edge was up to his normal standards or not.
    If he suspect a blade is a lemon, he could request a new blade. If he thinks the second one is bust as well, he can be given the option to withdraw silently to save face. After all, only the admin and the honers themselves know who is participating.
    Well, it is not so much getting another blade if it is a lemon, although that is certainly an option. It is more the fact that a warped blade requires more skill and/or time to get shave ready. If you are simply judging the produced edge, there are equity considerations.

    I know I am making this more complicated than it needs to be - it is, as I said, all fun and giggles. But I have been on here long enough to know that this will be taken seriously by the participants and onlookers. A bit of careful forethought could be well worth the effort.

    James.
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