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Thread: What DON'T You Use (and why)

  1. #1
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    Default What DON'T You Use (and why)

    Gentlemen,

    Posts describing current hone progressions are pretty common across the fora. Seeing what others use is a great way to learn and improve your gear.

    I want to re-cast the 'What do you use' question into 'What don't you use and why?'. Tell us about what didn't work, why you upgraded or changed: was the change a big improvement or just fit your other stones/gear better? I'll start off.

    1k stones: I have one but only use it with a 500 to get to my main bevel setter a Shapton 2k Pro. The 2k Pro is fast enough and 2k -> 5k is less of a jump than 1k -> 3k. I don't think you normally need a stone as coarse as a 1k if the razor has a reasonably well formed bevel or the razor is ground very thin at the edge.

    Mikawa nagura progressions: I use them for fun sometimes, but my usual progression is 2k -> 5k -> 8k Shapton Pros then finisher. 'Modern' ones that I've gotten have been rather slow compared to the vintage ones, regardless of vendor. Vintage are faster and usable, but synths are faster still, and seem to keep the bevels flatter up to finish (a jnat for me) because they don't slurry much. I do use koma as a pre-finisher before the tomo nagura as a part of my current progression.

    Gok 20k: I like it, but like a good jnat edge better. I still have it, it's a great synth reference stone.

    320 Shapton Pro and 600 Chosera: Both replaced by the Shapton Glass HR 500. This stone is faster than either and about 30% coarser than the C600, but the 1k Shapton Glass HR gets me to the first stone in my main sequence, a Shapton Pro 2k with ease.

    Travel strops: A regular strop lays flat in my checked bag and doesn't take up much if any usable space. It's what I'm used to using at home which is a bonus. I carry it either in a plastic sleeve or a thicker stop case, and take a length of paracord to anchor it to whatever is available. The paracord also serves as an expedient clothesline.

    Cheers, Steve

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    My Shapton Kuromaku stones. I like them, there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. I just like my Norton hones better. And I rarely use those. Natural stones are just more fun to hone on. Synthetic stones are wrote repetition and rather boring. Naturals I have a slew of slurry options and can go a number of ways.

    I use my 1K hones for bevel setting, then whether it's a razor or tool it's off to the natural stones. Unless the blade really needs some heavy lifting. Then it's a natural and Naniwa 800 grit slurry for bevel set. Partly for amusement, partly because 800 grit slurry is faster than a 1K stone.

  3. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I don't use synthetic stones. I don't think they're necessary, and once you get a good setup going with naturals, they're not faster, either. One razor in every large number sample will have problems with synthetic stones, but I have yet to have any that have strange failures with naturals, and the naturals require no maintenance.

    if one wants the synthetic feeling, you can always follow the naturals with crox.

    I use a stiff cutting arkansas stone for bevel setting, one that's settled in for mid work and then a finisher varying pressure on the finisher rather than trying to go through more steps. I vary pressure on every stone. Mid/firm pressure to start tapering off to light pressure to set the razor up for the next stone.

    Arks don't have particularly hard particles, but they will burnish any carbon steel razor or anything close to it (including 440c like you'd find in a friodur), and if you scuff/slurry them, they will still cut harder steels without issues.

    And they're cheap. Even if you go the washita route, it's cheaper, but a NW soft/hard (almost the same stone) and a dan's hard (not true hard) will do fine for the regimen.

    Maybe not something for beginners due to subtleties, I don't know. I came to the forums past the beginner stage and already had about 75 stones on hand from accumulating them for woodworking.

    I'm not much for dogma, and I think we should each own our own sharpening process and base what we do on results. If you have low standards and can't discern results, or you are a rank beginner, then you can't go by that (not a slight, some people just can't discern differences and make decisions that improve results, and then you just do whatever paint by number process you use to get results).

    (actually, I have never found a razor that doesn't work with the above, but I mention carbon steels because the ark particles are about as hard as iron carbides on 62 RC carbon steel. It's not that important, though - logical errors can get you to believe things that aren't true, like that you couldn't use an ark then to set the bevel on a razor that is 63-65 hardness - that's not the case).

    So..what I don't use after the first learning of something is other peoples' knowledge. I borrow from everything and review results as part of the process. Not a propellerhead access database of results paramaterized, but just an enjoyable part of the process, to try and see, making most changes incrementally so that you don't lose touch with what's driving results.

    (Oh, and I never use tape unless i need it due to a substandard razor that can't hold its edge at stock angle. I never set a bevel more than one time, and you can easily learn to do it once without causing much spine wear. Day to day honing of a razor that's been properly set up is such a small tickle of sharpening each time you do it, and for me, that's once every 180 shaves or so - the linen with no abrasive does the work between and still passes HHT 4-ish easily when I touch up the razor - usually just to avoid actually letting it get dull). Even if i had one razor, I'd expect to be able to use it for an entire lifetime every day without seeing much wear on it.)
    Last edited by DaveW; 08-25-2017 at 06:12 PM.
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    I don't use norton anymore because I was lazy and didn't like soaking and cleaning the surface every time I used. I also won't use a natural that is hard to finish on. I finally found a natural that it is easy to finish on and use. Looking for a natural midstone now to replace naniwa stone but taking time in search.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Christian - hard ark or washita. Either one. If you have a diamond hone, you can make it anything from a 700 stone equivalent to a 5k grit synthetic that is an easy step for any natural finisher to follow.

    Either of the two types will last 10 lifetimes of daily honing, even if you scuff them, and they're not that expensive.

    Tsushima to Suita to finisher is good for japanese stones, but they are not consistent like arkansas grades and you never know if you'll get a suita that's more of a finisher or a slow tsushima (they're pretty uniform, though), etc.

    I don't know of any other good mid-range natural stones. Iyo and other coarser japanese stones are available, but I think they make sense only if you just absolutely insist on an all-japanese regimen. There's lots of money to be spent before you find something that's not even quite as good as two ark/washita stones in a row.
    Last edited by DaveW; 08-25-2017 at 06:27 PM.

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    Know thyself holli4pirating's Avatar
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    I gave up on all hones that are not my Chosera 1k (aka the Big Green Shrimp), Norton 4k/8k, and either a Thurry or Jnat (bought from oldschool about 7 years ago). They have been the easiest and most successful progression, and I lost interest in tinkering/playing with hones. Not that I'd tried/used everything, obviously, but there is a lot of stuff I set aside.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Let's start an all out war--

    I don't use y/g thuringians (or any), because they're way out of line in price and anything on the darker side is not very impressive, and I can find a japanese barber hone for $100 that will easily match the best of them and be much larger in surface area. I wouldn't turn one down for $10 at a yard sale, but there is no magic in them other than reputation, same as the axe men hones. Sure they are fine, but they aren't as fine as chromium oxide, so I don't see the point.

    And I don't use coticules, because they are all very different and same thing - expensive now for what you get. In the old days, they'd have been priced about like a washita. These days, there is an artificial crunch for them just because nobody cares to mine them. They sure are pretty, though, but I've only had one that I'd ever put in a honing regimen for regular use, and I sold it like a dope. If any of you got a coticule from me that's about 10x2 and natural combo for $260 (I remember that, just not who it went to) and you want to sell it back - I'm all ears!!

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    I am probably just going to get a nice looking jnat for midstone but will be awhile before I decide. I am not in need of it so just waiting until I see something I like.
    Also I do think there are a lot of overpriced coticules but I think there are good priced ones if you know where to look
    Last edited by Christian1; 08-25-2017 at 06:56 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian1 View Post
    I am probably just going to get a nice looking jnat for midstone but will be awhile before I decide. I am not in need of it so just waiting until I see something I like.
    Also I do think there are a lot of overpriced coticules but I think there are good priced ones if you know where to look
    I'd call the 10x2 natural (it was a little wider than 2) combo that I had a good buy at $325, which is what I paid. That's a ton of money for a coticule that had about a quarter of coti layer left, but it was a beautiful working stone. Came up short of a jnat, but it was point and shoot. It got its results if you rubbed a razor on it, period. The other four I had at the time (vintage and new) were not close to it. What was a good buy for $325 was a stupid sale for $260

    I've got quite a bit of experience with jnats, though there are folks with more. I've probably spent around $10K or a little bit more over the years on jnats, but the good middle stone is a tough problem to solve reliably. A fast suita makes a decent stone, but the terms are subjective. Below that level (the sort of 3-8k-ish grit range is iffy). Tsushima is OK, too, and they are cheap (if you don't get them from a dealer that overcharges) - about $150 for a very big one that's very uniform, but they're black and you can't see what they're doing. That's not a dealbreaker, but as a matter of pleasure, we like to see what the stones are doing by what's going on with the iron slurry - the tsushima leaves you in the dark in that aspect whereas a fast cutting suita provides nicer tactile feedback as well as excellent visual feedback.

    Iyo and mikawa nagura, they're just so inconsistent, and sometimes scratchy that I just don't know where to go with those. Getting cutting speed out of them without them being overly soft is another issue. Soft stones can affect razor geometry.

    I'd love to hear Alex Gilmore's thoughts on this because he's got access to better stones than me, and he's on the ground in japan from time to time. I gather that the fact that he has so many finishers and so few middle and coarse stones is an indication of the reliability of the supply and performance of the fine stones vs. the medium and coarse stones.

    (the unevenly graded coarse stones can scratch a razor up above the bevel, too, which is also true of mid-grit nagura that have large stray particles)
    Last edited by DaveW; 08-25-2017 at 07:15 PM.

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    Junior Tinkerer Srdjan's Avatar
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    Great topic Steve I will come back to it, now gotta run...

    Off the top of my head, I haven't used my coticules in a long while!

    I don't use Crox paste for honing.

    I don't use my Roo strop, I made when I started 5 years ago (horse feels better).

    I don't use very dark hones anymore, just seems easier to judge honing on a lighter colored hone.

    More to come, probably...
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