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Thread: Hones and how to

  1. #1
    Junior Member Horner's Avatar
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    Default Hones and how to

    Hey guys. I've been straight razor shaving for awhile now and love it. But for me I think some of the best things about shaving are the things that maybe an outsider may think to be annoying, like stroping, honing, ect. So I've been researching and am looking to get a few stones and a finishing stone. What do you guys suggest I get, stone wise? And what would be a good way to learn the basics of honing a straight? Thanks so much

    Chase

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    50 year str. shaver mrsell63's Avatar
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    Perhaps you could befriend one of the "honemeisters" in the classified ads and ask for a bit of personal guidance.

    You need someone to point you in the right direction so that you don't develop any bad habits at the outset.
    Disburden likes this.

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    lobeless earcutter's Avatar
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    Synthetics like the Norton and Naniwa's are a great way to go, in that they are consistent and do a darn fine job. There are tons BTW of synthetics - those are only two makers.

    Naturals like the Coticule are a great solution as well, and in theory could require less stones.

    Both are solutions normally touted, and both will do the job. Each has their strengths and weaknesses depending on the user... I like both. Google them or even "natural vs. synthetic." Read, read, read... and then delve in!

    When you get that far - stick with it for a while and get good with it.

    Good luck! It's fun to hone!!
    David
    Need help in N.E. KS?

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    Senior Member eleblu05's Avatar
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    if its just touch ups then a norton 4/8k will do you right.

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    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eleblu05 View Post
    if its just touch ups then a norton 4/8k will do you right.
    you absolutely can't go wrong with a Norton 4k/8k, King makes a very nice 1000 and 1200 synthetic which can be used for setting the bevel. Natural finishing stones (Coticules, Escher, C12k, welsh oil stones etc) are great but can vary greatly, so trust in the seller is very important unless you can get it very cheaply. Synthetic finishers are very consistent but can be expensive, use the search function to find reviews of different finishers to find what you need to know. Also a CrOx paddle will work nicely after a 4k/8k so you might not need a finisher until later.

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    'tis but a scratch! roughkype's Avatar
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    In my opinion, the first three hones you should acquire are a DMT 325-grit diamond plate for lapping, a middle-quality 1k hone for bevel setting, and the Norton 4/8k for sharpening and polishing. Once you're consistently getting comfortable shaving edges from the 8k, my suggestion for the next nicer level would be a Naniwa 12k. It's reasonably priced, surprisngly fast, and you know exactly what grit it is. After that, if you want to play with naturals, you can have a sort of benchmark to compare them to--nicer than Naniwa, less nice than Naniwa?

    A good hand lens is an important honing tool, too, especially as you learn. This way you can see whether your 4k has cleared all the 1k scratch pattern yet, check an edge for pitting, see whether your new natural has a finer or coarser scratch pattern than your 8k, etc. I always recommend a Hastings triplet (a type of magnifier, not a brand) because it has the best detail-resolving ability you'll get from a hand lens. Magnification without resolution will only give you a bigger blurry blob. Bausch & Lomb is a good reliable brand.

    With natural hones, there are other factors than grit size at play. There's grit shape (nearly spherical for coticules), grit density, binder, all sorts of subtleties that vary between and within types of hones. Quality control comes into play, too--that's why Eschers are so valuable, and Thuringians a little less so. They're the same kind of rock, but Eschers only earned their labels through a kind of quality control that we just don't see any more. You may find an anonymous Thuringian that's as good as any Escher, but to be guranteed the goods you pay for that old label.

    Coticules are not universally good hones, either, though a good coticule is a fantastic tool. I have four; one is a superb finisher, one is a really fast cutter, one is a very good all-around hone, and one is a pretty paperweight. It's best to buy a coticule from someone who's actually used it and whom you trust when they tell you it's a good one.

    So, if I was forced to give up all but four hones, I'd keep the DMT 325, my nameless bevel setter, my Norton 4/8k, and my Naniwa 12k. If I was forced to carry but a single hone (oh, the horror), it'd be my small, good all-around coti.

    Sources of info: there are great videos on this site (check the Wiki and the honing threads), and Lynn's DVD. I saw you started a thread somewhere else, looking to gather some guys and meet up with a honer--that's a great idea, and hands-down the best way to learn.

    Good luck and best wishes to you.
    Last edited by roughkype; 08-02-2012 at 11:18 PM.
    "These aren't the droids you're looking for." "These aren't the droids we're looking for." "He can go about his business." "You can go about your business."

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    Senior Member xMackx's Avatar
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    The Norton 4k/8k is a great stone to learn on, and if you aren't trying to break the bank a King 1000 is a great bevel setter. Just remember to learn one stone at a time and push your skill level as high as you can before moving on to another stone.

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    Senior Member razorguy's Avatar
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    My honing experience tells me that some steels get a better edge on natural stone whereas others seems to like synthetic hones better.
    I do agree a combo synthetic stone is good for learning how to hone, in my case, I bought (and still use) a Naniwa 3k/8k, which is not so different from the popular Norton 4k/8k.
    I should also suggest a natural stone, like the coticule, which really works wonders on most of edges, as well as a Chinese natural stone, the one usually rated at 12k (but you know, natural stones cannot be measured in terms of synthetic stones grit).
    Last edited by razorguy; 08-14-2012 at 05:58 PM.

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    Senior Member johna2231's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice. GSsixgun told me to start off with a Norton 4K/8K and a DMT 325 (also know as C for course). When he talks honing, I listen. Very simple....grin. And I'm not jokin' when I say that Norton will need some serious lapping. Lap before starting to learn.

    Also, it's tough to show restraint and wait until you've learned the basics and are getting great edges off of the Norton 8K, but try to hold off buying finishing hones until you've got the basics and the 8K down pat. Then you will get much more bang for the buck when you do invest in a true finishing stone. He told me that too.

    John
    Last edited by johna2231; 08-15-2012 at 07:58 PM.

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