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Thread: Honing with/without tape... Testing the theories

  1. #11
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    Hey Glen!
    I am really interested in this discussion because I have started an experiment if my own.

    It all started for me when my uncle brought a boots razor for honing. I could not get an edge on this razor. The razor looked like it had never seen a hone in it's life. When I measured the razor using my calipers and did some math I got the angle at a nippy 8 degrees. I thought I had made a mistake maybe forgot to double the angle but that's where I ended up.

    The steel on this razor is hard as hell and I imagine this is why it can hold such an acute edge. The problem with this razor is that getting it to a shave ready state takes so bloody long it is ridiculous.

    Anyway back to the point. This made me think about the possibilities of modifying the bevel angles using tape. I have taken quite a few razors through a range of angles and each angle feels different. Some angles that are considered shaving angles won't shave on certain razors with different steel compositions.

    I think an important point to note is that each batch of steel will be slightly different, which would mean the optimal shave angle (durability vs keen edge) would be different for that steel. I honestly don't think that razor manufacturers had the equipment to measure this accurately but I would love to know how they did it.

    So from this I think that using no tape at all would be most important to try to keep as close to that optimal angle for the steel as possible.

    Have you ever tried a range of angles on one razor? If you have what did you find.

    Carl
    Last edited by straightrazorheaven; 04-09-2012 at 02:52 AM.

  2. #12
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Just to add to what I already said, I am glad that I used tape my first year honing. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I'd still use tape on all razors until I felt really secure in my muscle memory and and sense of pressure and whatnot. I didn't screw any up when I began honing without tape but I had been honing a year and gone through quite a few by then.

    Glen, Randy and others that I know of use tape and there is nothing wrong with that. I only hone my own. If I was honing for other people I would either tape them all or maybe not tape it the customer requested no tape. What I'm getting at is there is nothing 'wrong' with using tape if that is your preference. IMHO.

  3. #13
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    I agree that there is nothing wrong with using tape. I give my customers a choice when I hone for them. When I restore razors for sale though I only use tape if there is something really odd going on, and then I make customers aware of this.

    It is a funny old discussion. I wonder if tape here in the UK is the same as in the states? Each layer of tape adds 1mm to the spine. Is that the same?

    Carl
    Last edited by straightrazorheaven; 04-09-2012 at 03:16 AM.

  4. #14
    50 year str. shaver mrsell63's Avatar
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    As far as spine wear is concerned, I have an old Frederick Reynolds with plenty of blade left but the spine is practically gone because Reynolds are know to be very hard steel. Apparently the edge is harder than the spine because the spine is nearly flat. When I honed it, it took an inordinate amount of time and effort plus 4 layers of tape to get a decent looking bevel on it. Spine wear does not necessarily occur commensurate with blade wear. Had I not used tape, the bevel would have been too wide to suit me or anyone else for that matter.

    I also have an old DOVO with the same problem. I also have many with decorative spines so there is tape in my tool box and I use it when the time is right.

    Jerry
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    50 year str. shaver mrsell63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightrazorheaven View Post
    I agree that there is nothing wrong with using tape. I give my customers a choice when I hone for them. When I restore razors for sale though I only use tape if there is something really odd going on, and then I make customers aware of this.

    It is a funny old discussion. I wonder if tape here in the UK is the same as in the states? Each layer of tape adds 1mm to the spine. Is that the same?

    Carl
    __________________________________________________ ________________

    Carl

    My tape is .0057 inches thick. Just convert that to mm.

    Jerry

  7. #16
    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Carl,

    From all the measuring we did in 09 we found that 16 degrees seemed to the mean,,

    1mm seems close, the 3M #700 is .0056, we found that on a 6/8 razor 1 layer of tape changes the angle about .60 of a degree

    As too off angle razors, yes we found some, but not many, and we also found abnormal heavy hone wear on the older Sheffield razor, dropped the angle, this is one of the reasons I have always thought they have softer spines and therefore are often out of angle...

    Steel would make a difference but I doubt that most of the edges on Vintage razors are much different, I also think you are right that they didn't study angle in the beginning they used what worked well and it then the angles were figured later well after it was established... also if the razor you mention at 8 degrees and no hone wear it very well might have been honed free hand with the spine off the hone, or like another thread from 08 was written about maybe a spine guide being used on some of the really old true wedges /near wedges

    All this however is just theory still it takes time to prove this stuff out..

    My only object with this test, was much like the test I did with the pasted strops with the same razor..

    Statements like these, although true are not relevant

    Pasted strops round the bevel, or create a concave bevel,, Although true, even after 90 shaves and repeated overstropping with .50 and .25 diamond paste it did not show up..So it is not realative, the edge never failed from it within a resonable amount of shaving...

    Using tape will take the razor out of the makers designed angle ... Although true it will happen, it won't happen in at least your lifetime, and maybe not your kids or grandkids so it becomes an irrelevant statement...


    I wish more people, would do more testing, it really would help our hobby


    edit: Thanks Jerry I just went an measured to be sure
    Last edited by gssixgun; 04-09-2012 at 03:51 AM.
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  9. #17
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    That's an interesting post, but for me, mainly around the frequency of honing. I refresh my razors on a Shapton16k; maybe 20 laps, around once a month to every six weeks. Am I honing too often? I have a rotation of 5 straights. They each get used once a week. I do realise there's a lot of factors that would determine the need to refresh/hone, but what would be the 'norm', generally speaking?

    I hone normally just to practice and for something to do, i.e. as part of the 'hobby'...

  10. #18
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    To all you guys...

    I love that there are other people that enjoy learning the finer details of our hobby

    Carl

  11. #19
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    Glen

    It never occurred to me that they could have honed freehand or with a guide! I want too try this method now lol!
    0.6 degrees was also what I found for each layer of tape ... At least we found one constant
    Carl
    Last edited by straightrazorheaven; 04-09-2012 at 04:18 AM.

  12. #20
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    Glens math seems right to me – a 20% change in angle and an approximately 25% change in width (5/8’s to 4/8’s) coincide. Moreover, if my math is right, using Glen’s numbers, if you were to hone a mere 13% of the time with no tape you would have a perfect angle at all times.

    It’s fascinating really! Better yet the more I read, the more I start to think that science is a bad measure when it comes to the voodoo that is honing. If for no other reason than it’s individuals at work here, and not every individual hones the same way.

    Take for example the above information and think to all those razors we have all seen on eBay with worn down spines. By rights, many of them should have begun life as 11/8’s LOL!! As a matter a fact, after pondering Glen’s numbers I am starting to think that the vast majority (myself included) may be taking way too much off the spine when honing with no tape which could actually be worse - as others have stated.

    As a guy who bought into the whole don’t tape camp, and just being asked by a friend how I like it, I had to admit that i missed only getting feedback from the edge when honing. Once you get used to the “slide” of the tape it’s quite easy to feel what the edge is saying vs. both edge and spine.

    Thanks for the info Glen! More food for thought lol... sigh : )

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