• Beginners Tips: November 2014

    Maintaining or Refreshing Your Straight Razorís Edge.
    What stone should I use to refresh or maintain the edge on my razor? Often this question is asked and just as often, the responses can differ. You will hear everything from a barberís hone to a Japanese Natural; from a pasted strop, to a folded newspaper. Itís no wonder that beginners get discouraged after their shave ready razor begins to pull and their choice of one of the above methods, leaves them worse off than they started.
    This article is not to discredit any of the above methods; this article is written to help you, a beginner, choose a method that best suits you at this stage of your shaving journey.
    Most of the methods suggested by members are often their favorite method. One thing you can bet on is, their favorite method, was probably not their first method; the situation you are now facing.

    Many members jump right to the suggestion of a barberís hone. Letís look at this method for a moment.

    Barbers hones for the most part, are not manufactured anymore. They are vintage hones and can vary in grit from one brand to the other. Even brands such as the Swaty can vary from hone to hone. Their performance can & does vary depending on the memberís skills and the type of razor heís honing. There is limited data on the individual performance of barber hone brands. This is due to the date of original manufacture & lack of manufacturing specifications. Thankfully, there are members who dedicate a lot of their time to reviewing barber hones and the data that they accumulate helps to separate the good performers from the rest of the pack.

    Use of natural stones to refresh your edge.
    Often, natural stones are suggested to the beginner, such as Japanese naturals, Eschers, the Zulu Grey, the infamous C12K/PHIG, Welsh Slate and oh,,, letís not forget that magical Belgian Coticule. Natural stones are not always consistent within the same type and determining a grit rating is pretty much impossible. Most all naturals come with a learning curve, some steeper than others. Many naturals come with a high price tag and are not as readily available as other options.

    So, what is my tip to the beginners who asks the question, ďWhat stone should I use to refresh or maintain the edge on my razor?Ē
    I suggest a manmade water stone. Why?
    1. They are manufactured with a consistent grit rating.
    2. There are many videos showing their use, discussing their performance.
    3. They often cost a lot less that natural stones and some barber hones.
    4. They are readily available from many vendors.
    5. Many come with a stand or a case that can double as a stand.
    6. Care and maintenance is simple.
    7. Some are dual grit, allowing for repair of minor problems and refreshing.
    Shopping around and reading reviews on water stones are suggested to get a good deal. Some of the common brands are Norton, Shaptonn, Naniwa, Bester, King, Imanishi, Chosera, Arashiyama, Nubatama, Sanyo, Suehiro,,,, just to name a few.

    If your only goal at the moment is to refresh/maintain the edge on your current shave ready razor, then choose a water stone of a grit rating from 8K to16K. Yes, an 8K water stone can refresh an edge quite well. Depending on the razor, a simple 6 to 12 light strokes can bring that shave ready edge back, finish with a good stropping.

    Thank you for reading this tip for November,
    Jimbo, AxelH, JeffR and 37 others like this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Beginners Tips: November 2014 started by Hirlau View original post