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Thread: Honing journey

  1. #1
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    Default Honing journey

    I recently had a bit of a breakthrough and wanted to share my experience with anyone whom maybe on a similar path and maybe getting discouraged. I want to start off by saying that this is my journey and there were plenty of other paths along the way that I probably could have taken but for whatever reason, time/money/whatever, I didn't. So YMMV and all of that. I got my first razor, a Dovo Prima, about a year ago brand new "shave ready" and a Norton 4/8k to maintain it and thought I was good for a while. Along about shave 2/3 I dinged the blade on the faucet and got a King 1k to repair it and a cheap practice blade off the bay. This is to say that I never really experienced a shave ready edge (you don't really know what a blade feels like that early in your shaving). So I started practicing and honing and started repairing Bay razors, learning to scale, pin and hone and I was learning to shave my face. I know this isn't the normally suggested route, but I was getting good shaves I thought and that's all that mattered and as Lynn says I was having a lot of fun. By the time I learned to shave my face, I started thinking I could get better edges so I got Nani 12k. I didn't see much improvement but kept at it and eventually I did feel something better come along. I got into a routine and was reading about these buttery shaves and how BBS things were and I knew that wasn't my experience so I read everything here and watched all the videos again and didn't get anywhere. I kept at it, I am pretty bad about asking for help I like to figure things out on my own. I wasn't making any progress. I got a loop and started looking at edges, but I didn't know what I was looking at. I started looking at other people edges under magnification and that didn't seem to help. I started thinking that the BBS and Buttery smooth people talked about must be what I was getting and I needed to alter my expectations but I hate giving up more than I hate asking for help. So I bought a Coti, a thuri, and a Zulu grey to see if it was the hone. Spoiler alert! Just like GSSixgun will say, it's never the hone. So I reached out to folks here and asked for help. BTW what a great community this is, people were very generous and offers to help and are very patient as I haven't found the time to meet with them yet Thanks guys, you know who you are! So after I asked for help, something clicked. That's the best I can describe it. It might be that I dragged my daughters microscope out and got better magnification, it might be that I read every word at the science of sharp, but I really think it was all the time I spent at the hones beating my heads against those rocks. I'm no expert, he'll im just now starting to see what can be done, but just like golf or baseball when you are trying to get that perfect hit and you listen to the experts and the techniques and you try and try and try there comes a moment where you feel it. That click and then you finally know what all those people where saying. So this long rambling post is to help that person out there like me who is struggling, don't give up. The time at the hones is the thing you need. Keep at it if you are having fun it will fall in place. If your not having fun, just send it to someone to home, but that's not why I like this sport. I like figuring things out and what works for me will be different for what works for you and that's the fun of it. At least for me, YMMV.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Rossdegraw For This Useful Post:

    BobH (10-05-2017), BWH1980 (10-05-2017), Steel (10-06-2017)

  3. #2
    Senior Member Longhaultanker's Avatar
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    Excellent. Similar experience here. When learning to hone, there is no substitute for actual time honing. Glad to see you started early on too. (Contrary to some).
    Marshal and Rossdegraw like this.
    A little advice: Don't impede an 80,000 lbs. 18 wheeler tanker carrying hazardous chemicals.

  4. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Mirrors my journey almost to the letter. Looking back, I think perhaps the only thing I would change is spending more time on the Norton 1k, 4k, and 8k before branching out. I wound up with more rocks than I had time to learn to use and didn't really start making progress until I stopped fiddling with everything at once and took it one bite at a time.

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    Wink

    I agree completely. I was talking to Brad Maggart and he mentioned maxing out the 1k and I had just discovered what maxing out the 8k could be. I went back to the 1k and wow , I was leaving a lot on the table and making the latter progressions that much harder. I was using pastes on everything, strops, balsa wood, now I don't use the pastes and my edges coming off the 8k are far better than my 12ks used to be. My new stones aren't getting a lot of love but I'm finding better blades and I know they are there for latter.
    Last edited by Rossdegraw; 10-05-2017 at 05:53 PM.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Indeed. And revisiting those stones now that you have a better handle on honing will also be an, "Ah hah!" Moment. I love all of my finishers, even the ones I struggled to learn most. So I certainly don't regret purchasing a single one. I still need to add a Thuri to the stable.

    I never was too big on pastes. I will admit that they can make a nice edge, though it's a little too surgical for my liking and I end up using natural hones more. I think I may honestly enjoy honing razors more than shaving with them! Lol.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Longhaultanker's Avatar
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    There’s something magical shaving, or honing an edge to shave ready, right from the stones. Honing to stropping to shave ready, pure magic.
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    A little advice: Don't impede an 80,000 lbs. 18 wheeler tanker carrying hazardous chemicals.

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    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    I also took the same path, everything at once!! I got very lucky and had local help with my honing which saved me lots of aggravation and time. Glad to hear you are getting there.

    Don't give up on the pastes though, they are usually 30k+ and can do wonderful things to edges, they are always part of my honing routine.
    Steel and Rossdegraw like this.

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