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  1. #1
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    Question New guy here, has some questions.

    Hey everyone, I'm interested in getting into straight razor shaving and have been enjoying the site. I have a couple questions before I start actually buying anything. (I would probably get a vintage razor from ebay or I might even have a couple somewhere) My main questions are about honing and sharpening. I don't really want to be constantly taking time to hone razors, pay for honing, ship them out etc.
    1. How often do razors need to be honed?
    2. How easy is it to learn to hone your own razors?
    3. How long does it take?
    4. What is the cheapest a "good enough" hone sells for?
    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP. Check out the SRP Wiki beginner's guide here. As far as your questions, if you buy a shave ready razor you can maintain it for many moons with a strop and a vintage barber hone. If you buy a pair you can send one out and still have one to shave with. Straight Razor Designs is offering free honing for as long as you own the razor. Offer good until the end of the month. Not a bad deal. As far as learning to hone, I'll leave that to someone else to answer. Too many variables for me to be able to answer that beyond it depends.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ENUF2's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP. This is the place to learn about the art of straight shaving. I'm not a mentor but I'll try to give you a little direction.
    About razor honing ( And practically everything else)there is excellent information in the WIKI. To touch up a razor all you really need is a lapped barbers hone. People do sell them on the classifieds here. As for a razor, look here in the classifieds also, don't do ebay until you learn more about straights. Spend time here you can learn lots about what make a decent razor. If you have a razor already, send it out to be professionally honed. Again check the classifieds there are Hone Meister's listed there and there is no better way to start than with a sharp razor. Take your time do it right you will love the finished results.

  4. #4
    The original Skolor and Gentileman. gugi's Avatar
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    welcome to srp

    1. depends most on your shaving and stropping skill, then your beard preparation, then your beard you have and finally the actual razor. between 1 shave (if you damage the edge) and years, probably few weeks at the beginning
    2. depends on where the razors start. if they've been expertly honed and need just a slight refresh that's quite easy, if they have just come from ebay probably will take you at least several weeks.
    3. depends on the razor, a touch-up should take about a minute, razor from ebay few hours after you know what you're doing
    4. depends on the condition of the razor you want to hone.... same idea as above, probably $10-$15 is the minimum for a hone that would be good for touch-ups but you'll have to spend good time looking for one and then another few hours to lap it.

  5. #5
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    1. Most of the info I've seen suggests every 30 shaves or so. (I believe the wiki says every 30-300, but since every other mention I've seen was closer to the 30, I'd say it's leaning that way). Of course it also depends on all the stuff Gugi listed off.

    2. Is the razor damaged? Or is it a razor that someone just shaved a few too many times with without refreshing, but is otherwise in fine working condition? The first case, yes it could take several weeks. The second, I'd argue you can pick up a razor and manage successfully the first attempt. Unless you're a butterfingers, if you buy a shave-ready razor, all you're going to need is the second skill (the really easy one). As gugi said, if you want to start repairing eBay razors, it may take a bit more time.

    3. +1 to Gugi with the addendum that razors from eBay take UP TO a few hours. I've had some that got up to shave ready in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, my most recent one is a Big ol screwed up wedge that I've put maybe 12 hrs in already, and it's still not where I want it. Some razors that look fine will wind up being a LOT of work to fix. Some that look trashed will take a couple minutes rubbing off rust and then a few strokes on one or two different hones and you can shave. It's a gamble.

    4. Touch up hone? Three cheap options are: Swaty or similar barber (eBay, $20-40). 6k IceBear King (~$30 WoodCraft). 12k Chinese polishing ($20 WoodCraft).

    Swaty's are fine finishers, 4k IceBear is acceptable as well and I'd expect 6k would fill the "finisher" role a little better, I don't have experience with the 12k China Stone, but it's pretty popular as an entry level finishing stone. There are other options available, but these are probably the three safest and cheapest ones.

  6. #6
    They call me Mr Bear. Stubear's Avatar
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    1. Depends on your beard and how well you look after the razor. I've had to take mine to the stones after about 6 months or so. If you have a soft beard and look after the razor well, it could be over a year..! YMMV. Basically it needs honing when it starts to pull or not shave as well.

    2. Like all these things it will take a bit of time. But its not horrendous to learn and there are loads of tutorials and videos on this site and in the Wiki, plus YouTube, that will show you how to do it.

    3. As Gugi and others have said, a touch up can be done in 5 minutes and a butter knife that needs a new bevel et al can take an hour or so. It really does depend on the razor and your honing abilities as well, but if you're prepared to learn and to put the time in its well worth it!

    4. A barber hone can be had on the 'Bay for not much money, probably sub $50. You can also get a Spyderco hone, which is a modern version of the barber hone I believe. Or you can get Norton 4/8 for around $80.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the help. I'll update you on what razor I come up with in a couple weeks (I definately want vintage), and then I'll probably send it out for the first honing or two. Hopefully I can pick up from there.

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