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Thread: Full Rotation of Oilstones

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Default Full Rotation of Oilstones

    Given the recent threads about hard arkansas, I had two razors to set bevels on and hone today - a friodur 451 and a razor marked griffon 99 (though I think it's much newer than the mark would imply).

    I use arkansas stones a lot, but more for tools. But I dug out a good typical progression for honing razors and got both of the razors bevels set and honed through shave ready in about 40 minutes.

    Here's the rotation, from left to right, a soft arkansas, a razor washita (this is the finest washita I have by far, out of 10), and came in a strop top box where someone had been using it for razors as they had allowed it to load. I lapped it and got a smoothed surface. Anyway, third is a semi-translucent hard arkansas, and to the right is the chinese agate, which is a bit finer than the hard ark.

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    Here's a razor after being honed by the washita:

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    Then after the bone colored hard (which is only slightly finer than the prior washita, but much finer than most washitas):
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    And after the chinese agate (I was wrong about this stone because it's so slow - it's a great follow on to a translucent ark, but not good to follow anything more coarse than that):

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Pictures of the stone surfaces:

    Soft arkansas:
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    Washita (most would look more porous than this):
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    Hard Novaculite Surface:
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    Chinese Agate:
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    The hard/bone colored stone looks finer in pictures, but it cuts less fine and shaves less fine. The bevels tell the story a little bit, but the shave off of the two of them tells a lot. Off of the bone novaculite, the shave is crispy and keen, but off of the agate (as long as it's coming off of a suitably fine stone) the shave is smoother and closer.

    The razor pictures show a lot of scratches, but the light reflection is a little misleading -the quality of the edge right at the edge shows that none of the scratches are very deep.
    Last edited by DaveW; 06-15-2014 at 05:24 PM.
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    Wid
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    Sounds (and looks) like a nice progression. Very nice looking stones. I'm not at all familiar with the Chinese stone, can you tell me more?

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    It is one of the green chinese stones that are ubiquitous on ebay and alibaba. 8x2, about $80 or a little less if bought right.

    Too slow to be useful in anything other than a follower for another finisher. You can see some pretty deep lapping scratches on the surface, it'll be eons before they come out. It is a stone that I bought to use in the shop, but it's too slow for tools, except possibly to refine a paring chisel, and even at that, it's a waste of time.

    They have large feeling particles and aren't particularly impressive right after they're lapped, but they quickly break in to cutting very slowly if you clean the surface off a couple of times and use them until there are no loose particles and the surface looks mirror. And then, unlike a novaculite stone, they're not particularly sensitive to pressure.

    The edge off of it is as keen (without any harshness) as anything that I've used of any type. It is beyond the sharpness of an escher and well beyond a coticule. The hard ark shown is between escher and coticule in sharpness for all but the best coticules (I have one coticule that is as fine, and many that are not as fine), though a coticule edge is a little less harsh.
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    What magnification is that? I do like microscope shots they reveal allot

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike1011 View Post
    What magnification is that? I do like microscope shots they reveal allot
    It's a visual microscope that claims to be 200x. Maybe there is a way to make it work that fine, but I think it's a bit less fine than that. It does allow you to see things at the edge that you can't begin to see with the naked eye, but the reflection of light can be deceiving. Something like chromium oxide powder somehow makes a bevel that doesn't reflect anything, but it's no more sharp than the chinese agate edge shown here that does show some scratches.

    In addition, the surfaces of the stone don't really show the texture you'd like them to show. You can vaguely make out the individual particles on the soft ark, etc, the little spots that are within each color change. On this picture, which is the white side of a woodworker's delight (something very similar to a lilywhite arkansas that is a little more porous and intended for tools), you can feel that it's got a little bite even on your finger tips. If I ran a tool across it, it would leave a streak of black on it, but it hardly looks any more coarse because the light isn't really reflecting that.

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    SEM pictures are nicer to deal with because they really show texture. Of course, this microscope was about $20 and I have to hold the viewfinder against the stone or razor with one hand and click the "capture" button with the other. What you can learn from your own honing is worth the $20 though.
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    A beautiful set of stones & a nice write up,,,Thanks Dave.

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    One more example of what looks like vs. what is. This is the surface of a tsushima hone, which is a middle stone like an aoto (japanese). It's black, so everything on it is reflective. I just got it yesterday, and I'm pretty sure at least with the skin that's on the stone, I could shave off of it. Completely different animal than the novaculite.

    It looks coarser than most everything on this page, but it's probably in the ballpark of the fine washita, and much finer than the woodworker's delight shown above. it sparkles in the light, though, and shows a lot more of its character. And there are other aspects, too, I guess. The japanese stones come apart more easily and act a lot more like individual particles. The novaculites are a matrix of hard particles bonded together hard. A few hard particles bond together in a martix and sort of act as one. It's more the porosity of the surface that determines how fine they are or aren't than the size of an individual particle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hirlau View Post
    A beautiful set of stones & a nice write up,,,Thanks Dave.
    Thanks. I don't think I have a problem or anything, but I think I could probably do this with at least 5 sets of arkansas stones without any repeats. One thing that I do that I noticed a lot of people don't do on this forum is that I use these stones with oil. If I want something thin, Wd 40 is OK, but usually I finish on light mineral oil. That means they won't work well with water, or more importantly, if I want to switch to a waterstone, I usually am careful to wipe the razor off completely. I don't do that, though.

    I probably didn't reiterate it much, but the soft stone in the rotation has to be woken up with a diamond hone every couple of razors. If that's done, it cuts *very* fast without necessarily leaving too deep of grooves. Like faster than a 1000 grit waterstone, but with a very satisfying feel and something cleaned up easily by the following washita (I should've chosen a different washita, though, as this one is almost as fine as a trans ark, and didn't make sense in this rotation like I thought it would).

    All of that said, I'm just enamored completely with natural stones, especially when the steel is kept at a hardness and/or alloy where they work well from coarse to finish. I used to have about 6 sets of synthetic stones (choseras, shaptons, kings, sigma powers, ...) and was completely wrapped up in having the newest alloy stuff (in the wood shop). I've dumped almost all of that stuff. I still have some kings and sigma power stones, but don't use them much. I really like the carbon steel tools, and in razors, most of the stuff, even the alloys, is kept at a hardness where natural stones work well (like the friodurs - they are a touch soft it seems, which makes them strop nicely and sharpen on anything).
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    On a whim two days ago, I prepared a new razor (new as in never honed or bevel set) only on the brown stone. Someone used it for razors before I bought it, but they had completely allowed the surface to load slick. It's settling in, though. So I set the bevel with it just using some pressure, and then took some light strokes, linen and then strop, and I shaved with it the next day.

    It was borderline dangerous around my chin and lips because it didn't quite have the keenness to shave that area safely. Downright dull compared to what I'm used to.

    So on a whim, the next day after the linen and strop, I took 20 light passes with light mineral oil (fairly thick stuff for a razor) and I went at it again with the linen (but lightly) and then the strop again.

    I shaved this morning, expecting to see a small improvement. I was shocked - I can't really say that the edge off of any of the other stones I have has been any sharper for any shave.

    I figured the way I was using it after cleaning up the edge with the linen was that those light passes were like a barber hone. The wire edge and trash was gone from the first honing because of the linen and stropping on leather. I figured like a barber hone, it would remove some of the rounding that occurred from the prior linen and strop, and maybe it'd get a little sharper from thinning the edge. I cannot believe how sharp the razor actually was, though. No razorburn, no resistance around lip and chin and a very clean shave.

    So I did it again tonight, and I'll see tomorrow if it's any better. I can hardly believe it. I microscoped the edge - keep in mind I reduced this picture 50% vs. some of the other pictures online. You can see the deep marks that are on the bevel, but it doesn't look too bad because this stone is not too coarse. It's just not fine enough to provide a good shave without stropping the edge.

    I'm inclined to try this technique with some marginal stones now, including other faster cutting natural stones (like suita) that don't provide a very good shave straight off of the stone, and even with a linen only provide a fairly smooth but very dull shave.

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