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Thread: I stuck to the basics.

  1. #1
    Senior Member blabbermouth 10Pups's Avatar
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    Default I stuck to the basics.

    I just got a Naniwa 12k a couple of weeks ago after a year of honing my own razors. I read somewhere in the beginning that it is a good idea to purchase and learn how to use a Norton 4/8 before doing anything else. So I did, and this is what I learned. I can take an e-Bay razor and put a shave ready edge on it with the 4/8. It did take some learning but I achieved a level of skill that gave me great shaves for a year. And in that year my shaves improved with each new razor I honed. During that year I learned the differences in how my razors edge can feel with few variables to consider. They are all Ducks and except for blade width there is not much difference in the razors themselves. That left my technique as the single most important factor in how the shave felt. I started off with the pyramid method and it served me well. It taught me to pay attention to the sharpness at each step and I learned the thumb pad test worked best for me while doing this. You only have so much hair on your arms and legs and while cutting hair is a good indicator I don't use that method as much as I did at the start. All of the little nuances of honing became clear to me while I was honing and the shave test would confirm what I thought I was doing. Be it right or wrong. I don't pyramid much anymore and use the strokes that feel right to me at the time. I have honed some smiles and W&Bs in my first year along with some razors that have issues like warps and frowns. Of these I have to go back now and hone them again to learn and expand my experience now that I feel confident I know the basics.

    I did buy some razors off the bay that seemed to take forever to get a good shave out of if not impossible. When I bought one that needed serious work(chip removal) I purchased a King 250/1000k. This was a basic step I had been missing without knowing it. Bevel setting. While this can be done with a 4/8 it is much faster on a 1k. At this level I went back to cutting arm hair for awhile to test my progress. The good thing was that it will not cut anything unless it's right. This saves a lot of arm hair. I did shave off the 1k once just to see if I could. I waited until I had some confidence in my skill at that level and once was enough for me :<0).

    Now that I am at the 12k level of learning I noticed some things right off the bat. I rely heavily on how the edge cuts water off the hone as I make a lap. The 12k showed me that I was lacking an even pass at the lower levels. In my first few laps I saw the middle of the blade was cutting water just fine but the toe was requiring a few laps before it started looking good. Often one side more that the other. Sometimes the heal would be that way too but for the most part I imagined I was dropping the scale side of the razor just enough to make a difference. I think this is a mind thing with me. I hate seeing a razor that has the toe all honed out compared to the rest of the razor. I know I think about this while honing and maybe too much. In the last week I have taken 7 razors out of my rotation and have used just those 7 to see how I progress. I left 3 of the better shavers alone and worked the other 4 on the 12k. I am a little surprised that in the first week I only noticed an improvement over the other 3 in 2 of the razors I put to the 12k. I did lightly lap the Nani with a Norton lapping stone which put few marks in it but leveled it out nicely. The sticker stain is still plain as day and I plan on refining the Nani with some 600g paper on glass. I will eventually get a better lapping plate but for now the expense is not warranted. I am not using this as an excuse because I have learned that even under perfect conditions it all boils down to what I am doing.

    To sum it all up I would say I was wise to chose the path of learning that I did. I thank Glen and Lynn and the rest of you gentlemen for all the videos and words on "How To" . To the rest of you beginning this learning curve I will say you don't have to go the same way I did. But know this, you are not going to learn any easier buy running out and buying a complete set of hones. Each stone has a purpose and if you don't fully understand what you are doing at that level, you are moving on blindly. If you need a bevel set you need a bevel set. You CAN jump from a 1k to a 12k but the time you spend on the 12k is going to be ridiculous. Same is true if you don't know what your doing at each grit you have in front of you!

    Another thing I would like to say is , don't even think about honing until you learn to strop. This is why we see posts like,,, " I have spent over an hour on my new 12k Nani and I just can't get my razor to shave like it did when I first got it from Lynn. " This is what I call the Lynn A. curse. You get an edge that very few people on the planet can put on a razor. You use it once and then rapidly degrade that edge when you go to the strop. You know it's possible to have that kind of shave and the damned part of it is that you can't get it back without going thru the learning process. All of them :<0) Sorry but that's the way it is.

    That is what I have learned. So far.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and experience....well that comes from poor judgment.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to 10Pups For This Useful Post:

    Mephisto (11-17-2013), Razorfeld (11-17-2013), sheajohnw (11-17-2013)

  3. #2
    Moderator Razorfeld's Avatar
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    10Pups, I think your post should be required reading for all new str8 users that want to jump ass first into the honing mystique. All they will get if they do is a lot of dull blade cuts on their butts for taking on a Herculean level task before learning to shave and strop properly. But then, aren't we all just basically a bunch of stubborn know-it-all's?
    "The sharpening stones from time to time provide officers with gasoline."

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    Senior Member sheajohnw's Avatar
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    The fundemental barrier is that one needs a shave ready edge to learn to shave, but that edge is gone in one shave without good stropping. This puts a nooby in the position of not knowing whether his problems are due to shaving, stropping, or both. As shaving improves, stropping deficiencies start becomming apparent. As stropping improves, shaving deficiencies become more apparent and shaving improves.

    Once shaving and stropping are solid, it becomes possible to learn touching-up because one will then know that if touching-up is not working, the touching-up is being done incorrectly, or the razor needs rehoning. With solid touching-up skills, it is then becomes possible to learn honing.
    Last edited by sheajohnw; 11-17-2013 at 06:06 PM.

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    Moderator Razorfeld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheajohnw View Post
    The fundemental barrier is that one needs a shave ready edge to learn to shave, but that edge is gone in one shave without good stropping. This puts a nooby in the position of not knowing whether his problems are due to shaving, stropping, or both. As shaving improves, stropping deficiencies start becomming apparent. As stropping improves, shaving deficiencies become more apparent and shaving improves.

    Once shaving and stropping are solid, it becomes possible to learn touching-up because one will then know that if touching-up is not working, the touching-up is being done incorrectly, or the razor needs rehoning. With solid touching-up skills, it is then becomes possible to learn honing.
    Another post that ALL new members should be required to read before they jump off the deep end of honing before you know how to shave.
    "The sharpening stones from time to time provide officers with gasoline."

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