Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    882
    Thanked: 107

    Default Tam O'Shanter thread

    I'm hoping to start a thread about people's experiences with the Tam O'Shanter. I know a few very highly respected honers here (Randy Tuttle, Michael Parker, Joe Chandler) sing its praises, but there's no thread that really explores these hones the way there has been for coticules.

    In my experience the Tam is not a daily workhorse like the DMTs and belgians (for me) or the 4/8K (for others). It's more of a specialty hone. What I love about it is that you can hone forever on it without developing a wire edge or anything approaching a wire edge, in fact without weakening the edge at all. So you can really remove all low-grit scratches and tiny microchips before going on to finishing hones like belgians and eschers. Sometimes I'll even take a razor that shaves great but maybe not supergreat, and I'll do a hundred strokes on the Tam w/slurry, and then go back and put the final finish back on with the coticule, and it really takes the razor to the next level, the difference in smoothness is noticeable. All those teeny-tiny microchips you might see at 100x but you don't really 'feel' them, the Tam really goes after those and then you do notice the difference.

    There's understandably a big emphasis in honing talk on bevel-creation and final finish, which are obviously the most important aspects of honing. But I do think good mid-range honing pays off in the final edge and in this respect the Tam's a champ.

    On the other hand, I am far from being a honemeister; I'm just a guy who hones his own ebay beaters. I've honed about 30-40 razors total and may well be talking out of my #$!% (wouldn't be the first time). I'd like to hear from anyone who's used the Tam, whether you found it indispensable or a waste of time, etc. I'd especially like to hear from more experienced guys who use the DMT–Belgian blue–coticule sequence as their basic default sequence, like heavyduty and Joshearl. The three major honemeisters who use the Tam all seem to use it between the Norton 4K and the 8K, or in sequences with other artificial hones. So I'm curious if those who use mostly natural hones (and hence don't have to worry much about overhoning anyway) find the Tam superfluous. I'm ready to admit the possibility that what I'm doing with the Tam is perfectly easy to accomplish with the Belgian blue, for example.

    Thanks in advance for your input, guys.

  2. #2
    Frameback Aficionado heavydutysg135's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanked: 92

    Default

    I have one that I have been playing around with for some time. Like you said several very well respected "honemeisters" really like them so I figured that I would give it a try. In my experience you can definately shave off it (the stone leaves an edge that is fairly sturdy and smooth); however, the razor is not sharp enough for my taste. As you said I do normally use a DMT-1200, Belgian Blue, Belgian Yellow progression but I feel that the jump from the DMT to the blue is too high. Because of this I use a Norton 4K between the DMT and the Blue.

    In my experience the Tam leaves a similar edge to the belgian blue; however, the blue is just more useful for me because it cuts quicker and comes in bigger sizes which lets me do more work in less time. Both the belgian blue and the Tam are useful for refining the aggressive scratch pattern left by the synthetic Norton before moving on to a finishing stone(s), and neither have given me problems with microchipping or wire edges (no slow cutting natural stones give me these problems). I do not have the experience that some people have with using this stone, but I have never felt like I needed the Tam and I do not use it very much. I have played around with placing it in my sequence between the Norton 4K and the Blue, and between the Blue and the Yellow and have not noticed a positive or negative difference from not using it at all. It is a nice stone to have because of its history (and cool box) and it's nice feel but in terms of pure performance other stones work better for me. As I said before, I need to go to a higher grit to suit my taste, and if I want a stone to prep a great bevel before the coticule and/or Escher I reach for the blue instead of the Tam. Maybe when I experiment with the stone more my views will change but at this point it is just a cool stone in my collection that does not get used very often.

    David
    Last edited by heavydutysg135; 02-27-2008 at 10:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    882
    Thanked: 107

    Default

    David, your post pretty much gibes with my experience. As much as I like to think that every one of my natural stones has its place in an ideal progression, I sort of suspect that the belgian blue and the TOS are fairly interchangeable in terms of what they accomplish – really smoothing an edge without fear of overhoning, nicely prepping it for finer hones. I have a big TOS (8x2) so I tend to go to it instead of the blue, and at that size with a slurry, I don't find it any slower.

    Also like you I prefer to use something between the DMT 1200 and the blue/TOS. For this purpose I think the Dalmore Blue (another Scotch hone, coarser and a little faster than the Tam) is excellent. The Norton 4K is obviously great for this too but I rather rashly sold mine when I switched to natural hones. Anyway I have the Dalmore in an 8x2; it's actually the reverse side of my Tam. I think these stones are underrated, or maybe it's just that they haven't been tested and endorsed yet by any real honemeister. Simon apparently can get these as well as the TOS.

    The one scotch hone I haven't found very useful is the slate-gray "Water of Ayr" stone. It's finer than the Tam, and is specifically for razors, but it's hard to find and for the money I much prefer a coticule.

  4. #4
    Frameback Aficionado heavydutysg135's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanked: 92

    Default

    That Dalmore Blue sounds really cool and I would love to try one someday. Simon told me that he had an order of these on the way...that is when the aging quarry owner decides to ship them. For me, the Norton 4K leaves absolutely nothing to be desired in terms of performance, but there is just something special about using a natural stone with history.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    882
    Thanked: 107

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by heavydutysg135 View Post
    For me, the Norton 4K leaves absolutely nothing to be desired in terms of performance, but there is just something special about using a natural stone with history.
    I totally agree with both parts of this statement. That "something special" is what prompted me to go 'all-natural' and sell off my Norton 4k, but I sort of regret that. The Dalmore is great for what we're talking about – a stepping stone between the 1200 and a medium-fine stone like the TOS or the belgian blue – but the thing I really miss about the Norton 4K is the way you could gently shape a bevel with it. A session on the DMT can really put some noticeable spine wear on a razor, and if you tape and then go on to natural stones you either have to keep the tape on throughout (an approach I really dislike) or if you remove the tape you've got to do endless strokes on the dalmore blue to make sure you're getting right down to the edge. Whereas when I had the Norton 4K I'd just tape at the low grits and take it off for the 4K, which made relatively short work of any resulting double-bevel but didn't seem particularly aggressive in terms of spine wear.

    I have not found any natural stone that is good for bevel creation.

  6. #6
    Frameback Aficionado heavydutysg135's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanked: 92

    Default

    A session on the DMT can really put some noticeable spine wear on a razor, and if you tape and then go on to natural stones you either have to keep the tape on throughout (an approach I really dislike) or if you remove the tape you've got to do endless strokes on the dalmore blue to make sure you're getting right down to the edge.

    Your other option would be to take off the tape with the DMT, color the edge with a permanent marker, then hone on the DMT until the permanent marker is completely gone. Then you could go to your Dalmore.

    Whereas when I had the Norton 4K I'd just tape at the low grits and take it off for the 4K, which made relatively short work of any resulting double-bevel but didn't seem particularly aggressive in terms of spine wear.

    I also used to assume that the Norton 4K would quickly remove the double bevel, but after I performed extensive testing I found that this is definately not the case. Experiment yourself and I am sure that you will be surprised at how much work it can take to remove, even with the DMT 1200; the 4K would be even more work. To perform the experiment just set a sharp bevel with the tape on, color the bevel with permanent marker, take the tape off, and see how long it takes you to remove the marker all the way to the shaving edge. Unless you torque the edge into the stone while you are doing the heavy work it will take the same amount of spine wear to re-establish the edge whether you use the DMT or Norton (or any stone for that matter). The only difference will be the depth of the scratch pattern left to polish out of the spine when you are done

    I have not found any natural stone that is good for bevel creation.

    I definately agree with this statement.
    Last edited by heavydutysg135; 02-28-2008 at 07:59 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    882
    Thanked: 107

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by heavydutysg135 View Post
    Your other option would be to take off the tape with the DMT, color the edge with a permanent marker, then hone on the DMT until the permanent marker is completely gone. Then you could go to your Dalmore.
    Great suggestion. I guess it makes sense to think of two stages of honing on the DMT 1200 the first to remove chips, punk metal, etc., and get a rough bevel underway, and the second to set the angle of that bevel and to use tape in the first stage, no tape in the second.

    I've 'd my own thread; oh well. Hopefully those who know tam o'shanters will still weigh in.

  8. #8
    Frameback Aficionado heavydutysg135's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    Thanked: 92

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dylandog View Post
    I guess it makes sense to think of two stages of honing on the DMT 1200 the first to remove chips, punk metal, etc., and get a rough bevel underway, and the second to set the angle of that bevel and to use tape in the first stage, no tape in the second.
    Exactly! (adding more words to meet 10 character minimum)

  9. #9
    Oh Yes! poona's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Belfast
    Posts
    1,103
    Thanked: 32

    Default

    I also dislike using tape on the spine but if someone sends me a new TI limited ed, then I'm not going to destroy it's perfect look with my DMT.

    If I tape then I tape throughout.. even on the test shave I leave the tape on so I dont need to re-tape if it needs more work on the belgian.

    We're going waaay off topic here lol

  10. #10
    Knife & Razor Maker Joe Chandler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    1,849
    Thanked: 49

    Default

    I can't recommend the TOS enough. I use it every day in my honing cycle. I use it after the Dalmore Blue, and do a 5/5 pyramid on it and the Norton 8k. I love the edge it produces. You just have to find where it fits in how you hone. They're also very rare. They come up on ebay much less often than Eschers. Contact Coully to get one. You may not get another chance.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •