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Thread: Can't get an Edge.. yet.

  1. #1
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    Default Can't get an Edge.. yet.

    Hi Fella's,
    I'm glad I found SRP! I thought I'd be lost in a world losing touch with classic things like straight razor shaving and be without anyone to talk to!

    So I bought a basic kit a few years back. It's all made in china and my razor is stainless. When I first got it, it wasn't sharp enough for a shave so I took it to a local fellow in Montreal (where I lived at the time) and he had enough knowledge to get a decent edge on it. He still didn't have the 8000 and up for a fine finish so it was never awesome. After a few months shaving I'd take it back to him. I left that city years ago now and my straight razor has been left unused. I finally got some cash together and got a Norton 4000/8000 combo waterstone and after watching a bunch of videos (some from Lynn as well as others) I sat down and passed probably 200 or so strokes on the hone.

    Obviously I wasn't amazing starting out, but I got better and better and I think I'm getting the hang of it. Problem is, that I still can't shave my arm, let alone cut a hanging strand of hair. I tried on the 8000 side after a good stretch of strokes on the 4000 side and while I've definitely brought the edge up a notch in it's fineness, I still can't shave my arm.

    I remember my dad and I trying to get the edge to a shaveable state with a standard knife sharpening kit a few years back and I'm hoping I didn't take the bevel off a ways, and now I'm stuck trying to get it back to normal. The blade does seem to make contact on the stone, lying flat and doesn't have any super obvious irregularities of knicks etc..

    I'm just not sure if I need to go down to a 1000 to start it all again, or if there's something I'm doing wrong with the 4000/8000. Would it be worth while posting a few pics of the razor and/or a video of my honing efforts?

    Any tips or suggestions would be awesome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member MattCB's Avatar
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    Well, honing is a huge topic and almost a religious one to some people. You should be hearing from a bunch of folks pretty quick. What may help in diagnosing your razor is a picture of your razor and a sharpie test. Run a permanent marker over both sides of the cutting edge bevel. Perform 5 or 6 laps on your 8K. You will be able to see where you have a fully set bevel by the lack of marker. If you see a clean shiny area with marker further toward the tip, the bevel isn't set and you need to go down to a lower grit stone. Have some patience and you will acquire the skill set soon enough.

    Matt
    The older I get the more I realize how little I actually know.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    You might want to read this Brands of Straight Razors to Avoid - Straight Razor Place Library and see if your razor is on the avoid list. Generally razors from China have not gained a good reputation for being able to take and hold an edge in the first place. It just might not be possible to get a decent edge on it.

    It is generally recommended that a person learn to shave proficiently with a straight before attempting to learn honing a straight as both have a steep learning curve.Trying to learn both at the same time can be a bit much. That means starting with a shave ready razor which unfortunately yours does not seem to be. I would start from square one again with a used shave ready razor from the classifieds and save you original razor to practice honing.

    If you think the bevel is bunged up then it should be reset. You could use your 1000K hone for that and do not got up to the 4000K till it cuts arm hair off the 1000K hone. If it won't shave arm hair the bevel is not set and there is no point in going higher.

    Bob
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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    It takes forever to set a bevel on the 4K. Without the bevel being set it is pointless to move up the grit range. Razor sharpness is all about the bevel set. It is the foundation for your edge. If it isn't perfect the finish won't be either. Most guys bevel set on a 1K. The edge is shaped to the perfect apex in the bevel set. The progression after that is to polish the edge and refine it to the perfect whisker shaving state. It is a long learning process for most, as it is a lot of finesse and feel. The marker test is a very good indicator of a bevel set. You can also set the bevel and the fold it with one wrong move. Pressure is a touchy subject because it is impossible to pass along how much you need and when. When staring on the lower grit hones a small amount of pressure is used and the lighter at the end. Less pressure is used throughout the progression until you are using a feather touch, weight of the razor only or butterfly kisses, however you want to describe it. There is no magic to learning. I suggest you get a good benchmark to find where you are trying to go. Pick up an inexpensive razor that is shave ready out of the classifieds would be a good start. The razor you are using may or may not be able to pass a hanging hair test. The biggest problem with chinese razors is that they are of unpredictable quality.
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    Hi Guys,
    Thanks a bunch for all your help. I can't determine the make of my razor. I do know, that when I bought the kit, I received a Zeepk strop with it, which I've used and a cheap soap brush. But the razor itself, I can't remember if it had a name and it doesn't have anything except 'china' and 'stainless' on it. So it's a bit suspect for sure! :-)

    I tried the marker test as you suggested and I believe it looks pretty good. The 80% of the blade has a good bevel, but on the edges about 10% of each end, the marker wasn't so well removed.

    I've included 2 shots of the razor for potential identification as an 'avoid' razor as well as a shot of the bevel post marker test.

    I'll have a look at the classifieds! Thanks! What a great resource (SRP)!Name:  photo (5).jpg
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Looks like your razor was put on a belt sander, the bevel and spine wear are very large or the steel is soft and will not support an edge.

    I would recommend purchasing a proper razor of know quality.

    As said the first step is inspecting the edge and setting the bevel. Tons of information on both are written here.

    Read the library and find a local mentor.

    Welcome to the forum

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    @Euclid440, Thanks for the eyes. I have very little experience so it helps a bunch. I just purchased a Christianson Round point from the classifieds and I'm looking forward to getting going with it.

    Thanks again!
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    MJC
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    Quote Originally Posted by EhSepich View Post
    @Euclid440, Thanks for the eyes. I have very little experience so it helps a bunch. I just purchased a Christianson Round point from the classifieds and I'm looking forward to getting going with it.

    Thanks again!
    Excellent choice for a first razor....I have one from my Grandfather...

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    lz6
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    EhSepich you made a great choice with the Christianson. There will be a world of difference
    and you will gain the feel of using a straight razor with a well honed edge. Don't worry about
    your chinese made razor for now. The mailman will bring you a treat. Stay with us on your
    progress.
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    Bob

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    Senior Member Siguy's Avatar
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    Exciting choice.

    A minor tip regarding honing: magnification is particularly helpful. Inexpensive magnification such as a jeweler's loupe, I've found, are indispensable. I'd go as far as saying even for experienced honers.

    Welcome aboard. I very much look forward to hearing/reading of your journey.
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