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Thread: Franz Swaty

  1. #1
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Franz Swaty

    Hi everyone.

    I recently bought an original Franz Swaty.

    I bought it in order to maintain the edge of my razors as soon as they start

    to become dull.

    I'm afraid I'm a bit confused.

    I've read that it's a medium fast cutter and that I can lead to overhoning easily. I also read

    that four to six strokes would do the job.

    How's that if the grit number of the Swaty is approximately 8000 grit as I read here?

    Do the razors need a few strokes on a fine stone like the yellow coticule after the Swaty?


  2. #2
    Eagle-eyed Zephyr's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Slemmestad, Norway
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    The grit number has nothing to do with how fast a stone cuts, i.e. a Naniwa SS 12K is a much slower cutter than a Shapton Pro 12K even though they have the same grit number.
    There are several factors that determine the cutting speed, and there are people here that can explain this better than me so I'll leave the details to them.

    In most cases 4-6 strokes will be enough unless you have let the razor get too dull before trying to touch it up.

    You can shave perfectly direct from the Swaty, remember this is what they did back in the days, and a Coticule is not necessary finer, it just gives you a different feel of the edge.
    Need help or tutoring? Check out the Local Help page.


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  4. #3
    Senior Member hatzicho's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
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    Swatys normally are typical barber hones. They have been used to maintain the edge of a straight razor. The old barbers typically retained these hones in their pocket and did a few strokes sometimes in between the shaves to keep the razor sharp (they did dozens of shaves a day sometimes with only one razor).

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    The most descriptions you find with Swaty hones say do only 3-4 strokes each side than investigate the sharpness of the razor. If not good enough do another 3 to 4 stokes each side. Other descriptions talk about 8 to 10 strokes.

    But be careful there are different Swaty hones out with different capabilities. First there is a two side hone with a finer and a coarser side.

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    Then there are homogenous hones which are different to the typical ones. You can sometimes see this looking at the stone surface where you see more or less glimmer particles:

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    These hones with the glimmer particles are based on a patent that Franz Swaty registered in 1903. The self re-sharpening/ refacing hone. He mixed the basic composition of the hones with particles that had a less strong binding in the hone matrix. During honing these particles (he used iron mica for example) break out of the surface and therefore left pores and release new active sites and refaced the stone surface during honing.
    The picture above shows this effect. You can see that the surface is not totally plain but has some holes caused by breakout of the mica-particles.

    At least there are branded coarser Swaty hones. These are named Swaty “Rapid” compared to the Swaty “Alumin” barber hones. The Swaty Rapid hones were used by carpenters and mainly other woodworkers to sharpen tools.

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    They have a typical emblem on the stone:

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    Beside this Swatys can be divided by the place they have been produced: Wahring bei Wien Austria, Marburg Austria or Maribor Jugoslavia. Depending how much space the statement of the production place took, the text has two or three lines. Some hone experts state that there is also a difference in honing capability between two or three line stones. I personally could not prove that. But I think over the long time Swaty produces good barber hones (the father produced 1879 -1888, the son 1788 up to later than 1927) the composition of the hones changed time by time.
    Last edited by hatzicho; 10-20-2013 at 02:02 PM.

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  6. #4
    Junior Member hogwild69's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    rural Georgia
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    Been using a 3-line Swaty on 5 razors for 45+ years. Really only use 2 of the razors because they shave so well. The swaty is ALL I use to maintain a decent shaving razor. I shave daily, strop daily on plain leather. I may do 8-10 strokes on the swaty every 3 months.

    Keep in mind a good shaving razor only needs maintenance, not a full work up. My other stones are for the occasional ebay restoration. I really never have used anything but the swaty on these same razors for over 45yrs. I have some excellent waterstones in all grit ranges to use on restores. If I finish one on 30,000 stone then hard paddle with 0.5 CroX, it shaves well but I cant tell any better than straight off the swaty and stropping. My shaves have been silky smooth for all these years.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Middletons...or maybe Galway Bay
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    [QUOTE=hogwild69;1228918 The swaty is ALL I use to maintain a decent shaving razor. I shave daily, strop daily on plain leather. I may do 8-10 strokes on the swaty every 3 months.

    Imagine say a 25 yr. old, who acquires a good vintage straight razor, a nice strop and a Swaty hone--and is never affected by the AD's. Imagine the moohlah that guy could save over the course of his life!!

    Sadly, most of us will never know that!

    I have a few razors that Glen/sixgun has honed for me that I try to keep shavin' sharp with both a Case and a Diamond King barber hone. So far I've done pretty well but I admit that I'd like to try my hand at bringing a few beater razors up from bevel to finish. So far, the hone AD's have not kicked in yet.


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