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Thread: What is "overhoning"? and...Dremel cleaning...and finding my path as a newbie

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    Red face What is "overhoning"? and...Dremel cleaning...and finding my path as a newbie

    Several questions in this post. If there are links to previous posts, love to see links.

    Newbie here. Want to understand. Reading lots of posts here at SRP. I'm not quite ready to buy anything vintage on the Bay yet...but was reading posts of photos of Bay items, and some comments were "overhoning marks on spine" and the like.

    Help me understand what overhoning is. If a previous owner, perhaps decades ago, wanted to sharpen his SR, he used a hone to do so. The blade was sharp for a comfortable shave. We do the same thing today.

    Even Lynn Abrams' DVD shows how to hone, and he doesn't use electrical tape on the spine for most SR, unless it is fancy, decorative, or a Damascus blade. Most guys on SRP seem to agree no electrical tape on spine most of the time, but just hone naked blade, as it were

    So, what is overhoning on the spine? I have a new Dovo, so this question is also in the vein of taking care of my own new SR.

    Also, some comments were along the lines of "why would some idiot do something like take a Dremel to the blade to clean it up? If there is rust or crud, leave it there, so I can remove it right!"

    Hm....Lynn Abrams' DVD also suggests taking a Dremel with felt wheels and some Maas (or other rubbing compound) to clean up a blade. Yet some guys are suggesting they hate that. There are even videos posted here of a guy using a bench grinder with cloth wheels and compound to remove pitting. Some guys prefer to leave some pitting, or all. I understand if there is etching on the blade, there may be other ways to do it, or perhaps leave etching and rust, or remove etching, or perhaps it cannot be restored...there are many options here. How does one decide what actions to take in restoration?

    Now...I'm not ready to buy a vintage Bay SR yet, there are a LOT of things to look for. And I'm not ready for a restoration project, which is fine because I don't have the time for that with work right now, not to mention lack of experience, which is part of the reason behind this post. But I have to say, there seems to sometimes be contradictory info (opinions) here on SRP. How's a new guy to figure stuff out?

    It seems some guys directly contradict Lynn Abrams and what he suggests on his DVD. I realize Lynn is not the Bible truth (some guys will call me a heretic for saying so, but I imagine Lynn would just laugh) and there are many ways to skin a cat. And, it seems many of Lynn's posts end with the suggestion to "have fun" and there are many ways to do almost anything.

    So, I'm curious...

    So, what is overhoning? Is it best to use a Dremel or not to clean/restore a blade? And how is a newbie to find his way with contradictory info?

    Thanks for clarification...
    MarkC

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Rather than call it overhoning on the spine I'd call it uneven blade wear. If you get an edge that needs a lot of correction you'll get spine wear if you don't use tape. An edge that is good to start with, and the relationship between edge and spine are parallel, you won't get much wear, and what you do get will be even between the two, if you do it right.

    I've done it both ways, with and without tape, and now I always use tape. If I was as proficient as Lynn Abrams I could probably get by without it, but it is like my having the same bicycle that Lance won the Tour with ........ I still max out at 21 mph.

    Dremels can clean/polish, but in unskilled hands they can wreck a razor at worst, and leave uneven polishing marks at best. Skilled hands can do pretty good with them, but AFAIC a buffer is the better option.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    Well, you will be amazed with what you can accomplish with elbow grease and a few key tools. 000 and 0000 steel wool, WD-40, Mothers polish combine very well with elbow grease. A Dremel does not do much that you cannot do with elbow grease, that is until you get into some advance techniques. I think starting by hand until you have a thorough understanding of exactly what you are trying to accomplish and learning the techniques leads to less spoiled razors and better restores.
    Overhoning is when the fin of the bevel is so thin and fragile that it quickly and easily breaks down.
    The forum is full of a many personalities and sooner or later you will find a core group of friends on here and people that you will communicate with about all things razor related. There will be others that will hit the other end of the social scales. Ignore those you do not click with and enjoy your time with the others and feel free to search old posts and read in the library and ask question about stuff you don't understand. There is a lot of information here.
    Have fun!
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    Senior Member blabbermouth ejmolitor37's Avatar
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    Ill add that with a lot of the opinions/ information that you read there are several ways to skin a cat. Whether using tape or not you still get a honed razor and if you can use power tools to get a task done then great if not you can get hurt or damage a great blade. I can speak from experience I tried using a buffer on a gold dollar I bought for learning/experimental reason. That ended in the blade being slammed to the shop floor at mach 1 and thank god it was not sharp. I ended up with a bent toe on the razor and a scratch rather than a serious injury. Read all you can and take what advice you feel is right, there is a lot of great advice on here from very smart folks that have been at this a long time. Most all of these guys that I have dealt with on here have given great advice and I appreciate all of it. Best of luck with your straight adventure.

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    Senior Member Ernie1980's Avatar
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    I hone my razors with tape, especially if it needs lots of work or is a heavy grind. I have bought lots of eBay razors and restored them, but have found that old fasioned effort and wet/dry sandpaper are the best methods for bringing them back. I tried to speed up the process by using a dremel a couple of times with bad results! I put grinding marks in the blade that I couldn't remove no matter the amount of polishing...

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    Seeking Shaving Zen Prahston's Avatar
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    I think a lot of how you start depends on where you are at already with Tools... No Dremel or any other similar tools? Do you really want to blow $100 on a tool you "might" be able to use effectively without ruining something or getting hurt? Probably not... Better to grab some Steel Wool, High-Grit Sandpaper or Similar then grab some Polish all for just a few bucks and try that. Someone that already has a Dremel and some skill with other comparable uses may just give her a try.

    Manual Work is slower, more tedious and teaches you more ie, how to 'feel' what is going on as you are working. Definitely the best way prior to learning Power-Anything. Wait a bit as you are working on Restos amd you will quickly gather a Boneyard of parts and down the road when you get itchy you try new techniques on rusted, busted junk then take those lessons or skils as far as you would like afterward.

    I use Tape but maybe for a bit different reason... I developed completely intuitive skills while learning to hone. When I was first learning and watching hours and hours and hours of Videos it drove me nuts as, almost without fail, whatever number the person on the video said was just off and I mean by 50% or greater as in, "... So, that was about 15...", yeah, uh, nope... That was 28. It was almost stroke-causing until I realized what they were all saying but just not putting into words... The numbers matter little as it is all about "feel". So, I abandoned counting alltogether and simply started with what feels "scratchy" at whatever honing level and went until I feel like I am honing on glass... Then, I go to the next level. Tape over the spine helps to isolate those harmonics or "whatever" vibrations are traveling up the steel to just that produced by the edge and helps me feel minute variations in the vibrations so I know when it is time to move on or if there is an area needing more attention.

    Just go slow and easy and start with something to work on that you don't mind losing alltogether... Less woriries when things don't go your way.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    What the seller on EBay is describing is excessive hone wear on the spine.

    Back in the day, Barber Hones were popular, they were/are small aggressive stones, that were the cause of most of the excessive spine wear, where the spine is worn flat, sometimes the flat is more than an1/8 of an inch, sometimes, much more.

    The first rule of restoration, Restoration begins at purchase. Buy a razor in the best condition, (least amount of spine wear), here is a good post from the Library, (Purchasing a Razor), where there is a wealth of information.

    The reality is, once a razor is properly honed, shave ready, it can be maintained with a strop and may occasionally need a touch up on a high grit finishing stone that will remove a minimal amount of steel. Which is why there are so many 100 plus year old razors still available.

    As you learn to hone, it is strongly recommended to tape the spine, for protection for wear. It is not uncommon for new honers to use excessively low grit stones and too much pressure causing, needless spine wear.

    Once you master honing, then decide if you want to continue to tape, there is no downside to using tape. If you get into restoring razors, you can easily spend countless hours sanding and polishing a razor. I doubt that after you do, you will want to grind the spine of your shiny restoration needlessly.

    Dremelís can be used, with extreme care, many a razor has been ruined by one, be careful or start off by hand.

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    Senior Member Chugach68's Avatar
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    I started to reply to this earlier and got sidetracked. Most of what I wanted to say has been brought up. I look at the knowledge and advice here and form my own opinions on what I want to take from it. Yes there are contradictions but what works for some doesn't work for others. Find your own way and enjoy the journey.
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    Senior Member Chugach68's Avatar
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    I wonder how many "cut of the day" pics are from using Dremel's on a blade
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    Senior Member dinnermint's Avatar
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    I'm very experienced with using angle grinders, die grinders and the like. I've had to make welds disappear in areas the size of your pinkie toe nail to welds as long as your arm. All this experience and I dislike the dremel greatly. I have a really nice one with variable speed to aid in control. However, the dremel is a difficult tool to use, because its design is inherently a challenge. This makes it a challenge to do fine work, even though that is what it is designed to do.

    It is a great priced tool and the accessories that can be used for razors are plentiful. However, there is little benefit to it for polishing that cannot be obtained with a little elbow grease, the proper polish and a good microfiber cloth. The razors themselves were rarely mirror polished and it tends to attract fingerprints like white dog hair to black pants.

    I find the dremel is best utilized to cut broken toes to make short razors and sanding down the burs created by the die grinder. If you get the drill press stand for the dremel, it can be utilized in that fashion to remove pins and drill the holes for pins in scales. OTOH, I prefer the control of a pin vise for removing pins and a simple drill is sufficient for drilling scales.

    Overhoning could be stated two ways, as I understand it and what I have done/seen with old razors. One way is putting too much pressure on the spine and too little on the edge, causing excessive spine wear. The second is too much time spent on higher grit stones, where the edge will become overly fragile to the point that cutting hair will make it chip. Trust me, this is not a good shave when that happens. That is why I spend much time with magnification to get the best edge at 1000/2000/5000 grit stones.

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