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  1. #1
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    Default Been shaving two weeks, need help

    So I have been using my striaght razor for two weeks now and need some help.

    1 I have notice that it doesn't shave very closely. Any suggestions? I have 4/8k and 220/1k hones and leather linen strop. I have watched most if not all of the youtube viseos associated with shaving and honing. I am familar and trained in sharpening knifes and blades, but not high precision razors.

    2 Is it just me, or does the linen side actually dull the blade? The leather side seems to dull the blade as well, but not as bad. I only see this effect when I come right off the hone. Using the strop before a shave or halfway through a shave seems to help. Comments?

    3. I have lines off grey on my hones. I think it is metal fragments that have worked there way into the cracks of the stone. Do I need to do anything about this?

    4. Everyone, please list any key steps you know of or suggestions for getting a super sharp blade with similar tools to the ones stated above.

    5. It seems that, perhaps, the hairs are getting cut in a strange way, almost like they are being sliced long ways result in 1 of 2 split hairs. Comments?

  2. #2
    Brad Maggard Undream's Avatar
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    Is your razor passing tests? thumb nail, thumb pad, or hanging hair?

    Maybe it is your stropping technique that needs work -- Stropping does nothing but bring blades to life for me.

    Taught strop + light pressure strokes + rolling on the spine...

    for me, 20-30 on the canvas and then 50 on the leather after coming off the hones does absolute wonders.

  3. #3
    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunslingor View Post
    So I have been using my striaght razor for two weeks now and need some help.

    1 I have notice that it doesn't shave very closely. Any suggestions? I have 4/8k and 220/1k hones and leather linen strop. I have watched most if not all of the youtube viseos associated with shaving and honing. I am familar and trained in sharpening knifes and blades, but not high precision razors.

    Razors are just a little different, although the principle is the same the actual outcome varies greatly, what kind of razor are you working on??? and was it honed by a reputable honemiester to start with???

    2 Is it just me, or does the linen side actually dull the blade? The leather side seems to dull the blade as well, but not as bad. I only see this effect when I come right off the hone. Using the strop before a shave or halfway through a shave seems to help. Comments?

    The linen and leather should absolutely not seem like they are dulling the blade , just the opposite in fact, Just from what I am reading it sounds to me as though you are lifting the spine... When you strop if you only pay attention to the spine and keeping it flat and smooth the blade will follow along correctly...

    3. I have lines off grey on my hones. I think it is metal fragments that have worked there way into the cracks of the stone. Do I need to do anything about this?

    This is like sharpening anything else on a stone, the swarf (metal particles) clog up the stone it needs to be kept clean so it cuts evenly and smoothly... Did you get the lapping stone also, and have you lapped yer hones already???

    4. Everyone, please list any key steps you know of or suggestions for getting a super sharp blade with similar tools to the ones stated above.

    The Norton Pyramid is a great starting place, but that is why I asked the question about who honed it originally to find out if the bevel had been set correctly...

    5. It seems that, perhaps, the hairs are getting cut in a strange way, almost like they are being sliced long ways result in 1 of 2 split hairs. Comments?

    Sounds as if there are some rough spots on the edge or slightly toothy spots there that are splitting the hairs...

  4. #4
    Comrade in Arms Alraz's Avatar
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    To answer you questions:

    1) First of all, there is more to shaving than a sharp razor. You could be experiencing a variety of problems besides the sharpness of the blade. Was it ever close when you started shaving? Was it shave ready? Remember that even if the blade is ultra sharp, you still have to strop it properrly, use the right angle and pressure, prep your beard and make a decent lather. These are all the areas that need to be looked into.

    2) The linen should not dull the blade if the correct technique is used. How many strokes are you using? Are you flipping the razor correctly? You may find these useful:

    Razor stropping - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    Theory of stropping - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    In addition to the links that I included in my post in that thread, I will suggest checking out the stropping videos in the general section or watching Lynn's dvd. The wiki also has a section on stropping, here is one:

    Third Shave Frustration

    I think that you are experiencing something rather common. Many people report that their shaves worsen somehow after they start shaving with the straight. Try to go in steps and not set your expectations too high initially, there are a lot of threads about "incremental" shaving ;-). This is: tart in your cheeks, using only one pass with the grain with short strokes, and when you develop confidence, extend the area and do more passes. Also, pay attention to the angle you are using, it is very hard to change it a bit and change the entire shaving dynamics.

    3) Grey lines, huh? do you lap your stones frequently? Some people lap them after every use, they work better when they are clean and flat, and more importantly, they should not be cracked.

    4) As I said, there is more to shaving than just a sharp blade. I would aim for a a comfortable shave instead of a ultra close one; closeness comes with experience. And remember that every single aspect of the shave counts, not just the blade.

    5) Angle is very important important. Perhaps these links from the wiki would help:

    Basic Shaving Passes - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    The Multiple Pass Shaving Technique - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    Advanced shaving techniques for the straight razor - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    Shaving videos - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    Good luck and definitely let us know how it goes.

    Al raz.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post

    Originally Posted by gunslingor
    So I have been using my striaght razor for two weeks now and need some help.

    1 I have notice that it doesn't shave very closely. Any suggestions? I have 4/8k and 220/1k hones and leather linen strop. I have watched most if not all of the youtube viseos associated with shaving and honing. I am familar and trained in sharpening knifes and blades, but not high precision razors.

    Razors are just a little different, although the principle is the same the actual outcome varies greatly, what kind of razor are you working on??? and was it honed by a reputable honemiester to start with???

    2 Is it just me, or does the linen side actually dull the blade? The leather side seems to dull the blade as well, but not as bad. I only see this effect when I come right off the hone. Using the strop before a shave or halfway through a shave seems to help. Comments?

    The linen and leather should absolutely not seem like they are dulling the blade , just the opposite in fact, Just from what I am reading it sounds to me as though you are lifting the spine... When you strop if you only pay attention to the spine and keeping it flat and smooth the blade will follow along correctly...

    3. I have lines off grey on my hones. I think it is metal fragments that have worked there way into the cracks of the stone. Do I need to do anything about this?

    This is like sharpening anything else on a stone, the swarf (metal particles) clog up the stone it needs to be kept clean so it cuts evenly and smoothly... Did you get the lapping stone also, and have you lapped yer hones already???

    4. Everyone, please list any key steps you know of or suggestions for getting a super sharp blade with similar tools to the ones stated above.

    The Norton Pyramid is a great starting place, but that is why I asked the question about who honed it originally to find out if the bevel had been set correctly...

    5. It seems that, perhaps, the hairs are getting cut in a strange way, almost like they are being sliced long ways result in 1 of 2 split hairs. Comments?

    1. I am the only one who has honed it. I wanted to learn how. Sending it off to somewhere wouldn't be teaching me anything, unless I get to watch somehow. The blade is the Dovo with the ebony handle. You can find it on most of the sites.

    2. I am paying close attention to not lifting the spine. Perhaps I am applying to much pressure or letting the strop bend to much. Is it "the lighter the better"?

    3. I do have the lapping stone. How often should one lap? Whenever one sees the metal buildup? Perhaps this is why the blade doesn't appear to be that sharp. I did an initial lap out of the box because the stones seems a little not flat. It was more noticable on the corser stones. How often should I hone the blade I have. 1 every month, 1 every 2 months, on average?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undream View Post
    Is your razor passing tests? thumb nail, thumb pad, or hanging hair?
    Not positive. I rub the edge along the tip of the finger nail to look for dings. There is one, but It doesn't effect me much as I worked most of it out on the initial hone. The edges of the spine have been flatted a bit from the initial hone. Rubbing the blade along the top of a fingernail doesn't seem to tell me anying. Rubbing it along the thumb seems to be a good way to test for sharpness, but I gotta be carfeul not to cut myself.

    Maybe it is your stropping technique that needs work -- Stropping does nothing but bring blades to life for me.
    What do you mean "brings the blade to life"?

    Taught strop + light pressure strokes + rolling on the spine...
    Okay, so correct me if I am wrong. The strop should remain 100% flat as if it were laying on the table. Pressure should not exceed the weight of the blade. DOES THIS INCLUDE THE WEIGHT OF THE HANDLE? I think that the rolling spine technique has been mastered, Just not 100% positive about the correct pressure.

    for me, 20-30 on the canvas and then 50 on the leather after coming off the hones does absolute wonders.
    I don't think I strop that much. Probably 20 on the linen and 30 on the leather, but when I started noticing that the blade appears to get duller when stroping, I would do 4 on the linen just to remove any microscopic burs and 30 on the leather. I also found that stroping halfway through a shave on the leather seems to help, perhaps it is removing dead tissue from the microscope contours of the blade?

  7. #7
    I Bleed Slurry Disburden's Avatar
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    I don't know if this would be relevent to your problem. But when I started I blamed the razor for not getting a close shave, getting stuck in my beard and tugging, etc. I am beginning to find out (on my second week) that these issues are due to my lack of technique and stropping knowledge. I had heavy stubble and a lot of burn after my shaves and I thought I needed to get it rehoned by someone else.

    I got near BBS yesterday after something clicked during my first WTG pass.


    Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with your equipment.

  8. #8
    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunslingor View Post
    1. I am the only one who has honed it. I wanted to learn how. Sending it off to somewhere wouldn't be teaching me anything, unless I get to watch somehow. The blade is the Dovo with the ebony handle. You can find it on most of the sites.

    There is nothing wrong with jumping into the deep end right off the get go, but you have to expect to choke a few times while learning to swim... There is a lot to learn when switching to straights and trying to figure out where the actual problem lies when you are taking on all the variables is tuff... That's why most people get one razor honed first then proceed from there, to learn to shave, then when the first razor needs a touch up you can learn on one that you know has a proper bevel set on it and a touch up is fairly straight forward, this teaches the technique, then as you progress you can learn the harder parts of honing such as setting the bevel...

    2. I am paying close attention to not lifting the spine. Perhaps I am applying to much pressure or letting the strop bend to much. Is it "the lighter the better"?

    Light is better, but if you learn to only pay attention to the spine while stropping, everything else will take care of itself just keep the spine flat and move it smoothly on the strop which should be taut but not tight, this is what I mean there is a lot of adjustment that needs to take place as you progress...

    3. I do have the lapping stone. How often should one lap? Whenever one sees the metal buildup? Perhaps this is why the blade doesn't appear to be that sharp. I did an initial lap out of the box because the stones seems a little not flat. It was more noticable on the corser stones. How often should I hone the blade I have. 1 every month, 1 every 2 months, on average?
    I really recommend taping the spine since you are going after learning to hone by yourself here, One it will help by keeping the stoke toward the blade not the spine.. Two half the swarf so half the wear on razor and stone... Three no sense in burning up a new Dovo spine on learning to hone... 1 layer of 3m black plastic electrical tape is what I use ... As to lapping and re-honing thse are questions that are hard to answer, in general the time between honing will increase as your stropping techniques and shaving tehniques improve...
    You really need to learn the magic marker test before going back to the hones, it will show you what the bevel looks like very easily...
    If you are going to try and learn everything at once this adventure is going to take quite awhile... Trust me here as everyone else is going to tell you it is well worth the money to have the razor honed correctly once so at least you have some good shaving under yer belt and have an idea of what to shoot for when you try honing again down the road....

    PS; If you were to search back in some of my first posts on here I used to believe the same as you, that everyone should learn to hone their own razors... But when I started restoring them I found that new razors today are not pre-honed at the factory like they were in years gone by, so I changed my view on this... getting the bevel set correctly the first time is the key...
    Last edited by gssixgun; 02-23-2009 at 03:54 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    I was reluctant to send mine out to a honemiester at first and I had more then a few to start. Until I got a truly shave ready pro honed razor I didn't know what I was missing. Even then the technique had to catch up to the quality of the edge.

    My advice is to go to Straight Razor Designs or one of the other vendors on SRP and buy an entry level Dovo or whatever pre honed. Send your razor to a honemiester and get some ebay specials to practice honing.

    Go to the SRP Wiki and read the tutorials on honing and look at Lynn's and heavydutysg's videos on honing. If you've already done the vids and the tutorials do it again.

    You are best off honing with a flat stone. You can do it with sandpaper on a flat surface if you don't want to spend the $$ on a lapping plate. There are tutorials on that too in the forum archives if not in the Wiki.

    I second Glen's suggestion on taping the spine with one layer of electrical tape. If you can find an experienced member close by who knows how to hone and is willing to show you that would be very cool too.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  10. #10
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    Default Hone master

    Does anyone know of a honemaster around chattanooga (GA, TN, NC, AL, KY). I have looked on this site, but none of the honemaster seem to list their locations.

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