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  1. #1
    Senior Member Straight and loving it's Avatar
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    Default How to tell if razor is over honed?

    Yes, when it comes to honing, I'm a definite newbie.
    I have had good success with my Wapi's but very little if any success with a Stainless Steel razor.
    I have honed this razor using pyramids, with X pattern. Pasted paddles, hanging strop, back to honing, finishing up with a 12K Chinese hone, back to the strops, pasted and hanging. My stones are all well dressed and lapped perfectly flat. Any factory layer has been removed on my 4k/8k Norton too.
    Now, how do I know if its over honed? I have a Radio Shack scope but the resolution is too poor for my untrained eyes to detect a problem. I have no idea what to look for!
    The other thing I notice is that the edge is so thin that if I run the edge of my thumbnail along the underside of the very edge of the razor, I can see an impression of my nail on the top edge. It appears to be as thin as tin foil. Is this typical for a full hollow grind?
    What should I be looking for?
    This razor has me vexed! It will not give a pull free, smooth shave with a clean cutting of whiskers.

    Any opinions from the experienced would be very welcomed.

    Thanks guys!
    Ron

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    Sali,

    How do you know when you have done the misdeed of overhoning? From all that I can gather, you really can't know when you have done badly. If the razor shaves less well than you think it ought to, you have obviously mis-honed, but that could be an under or an over. We, the un-cognoscenti, know that things ain't as good as the many reporters say they ought to be, but unfortunately don't know where to go from where we we think we are.

    Obviously what I need to do is buy a few additional hones. You might be well counselled to do the same. Razorosis and honeritis seem to go hand in glove. If things continue as they have, I may need a stropectomy soon. And soapaholism...let me tell you, I got it bad... I'm thinking of applying for an adjunct professorism in acquistional diseases.

    At least the blades are still dull. I can take comfort in the immutability of some things. ;^)

    Bruce

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    Frameback Aficionado heavydutysg135's Avatar
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    The simple rule is that if an edge not quite sharp enough it will pull and take too much force to cut through your whiskers. If the edge is overhoned then it will feel like you are shaving with the jagged edge of a tin can lid. I have heard that if you have an overhoned edge and try to shave with it then you will know it. Stainless takes more work to hone then carbon steel razors (especially the fairly soft wipienicas) so you are probably just not sharp enough yet.

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    More hones is not the answer, imo.

    Ron, you have a Norton, and Chinese, etc - this should be more than enough.

    Overhoned edge: the fin is so drawn out and thin that it disintegrates. You can see tiny dots and breaks in the edge under magnification. Or just a very thin fin section, which is bent to the side.

    An overhoned edge will likely pass a HHT (it is thin and sharp), but in actual shave will deteriorate very fast and stop shaving. It will give you burn and stuff, most likely. An impression of the nail on the edge - sounds like an overhoned edge... A normal edge should bite a bit into your nail and would not be affected like you describe, there should be no nail impressions! - this will happen only with "foil" over-honed edge.

    People do a number of things if they fear an over-honed edge. Run the edge through a cork a couple of times, shred some paper sheet, back-hone a few laps on a Norton. I haven't dealt much with them so I cannot comment on these.

    After you do this - hone again, using (say) conservative pyramids, and / or frequent HHT and TPT.


    Cheers
    Ivo

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    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to be difficult but I think your missing some of the criteria and process flow for honing.

    First, move a little away from the pyramids, pastes, paddles, 12Ks, Nortons, etc. and ask if its overhoned process flow. Move more to the "did I get the bevel right, lets do some honing strokes and test shave many times as I learn what each stone does" process flow. You can't just follow a recipe and hone away.

    You absolutely can see overhoning in a microscope, and you are trained, albet over the internet, but your trained. Confidence is important in honing, the razor knows what emotional state your in.

    Now, go back to 4K and get rid of this thing you call a tin foil edge, that scares me even from here. Lets say about 2 strokes. And make them good ones.

    Then do a few strokes on 8K, say 10 then test shave, do 10 more and test shave again. Strop before each shave. Do 10 more and test shave again. When you stop noticing any improvement do a few strokes on the pasted paddle if its a .5 or .25 or the 12K if the paddle isn't those grits, then test shave again.

    Teach yourself how to judge the edge quality, don't worry about your honing, worry about your learning curve.

    If the razor starts to feel rough or starts shaving worse you've overhoned. You will see this as little stars or tears in the edge of the bevel in the microscope.

    Work your way very slowly using the 8k toward a good shave. If the 8k fails to take you there add another 4K stroke and start the process over again.

    Slowly, test shaving as you go. Put the Norton, strop, and razor in front of the mirror in the bathroom and you guys all have a little training session together.

    A razor off 4K should have a good bevel, a razor off 8K should shave well, a razor off 12K should shave very well, and a razor off .5 paste should shave clean, smooth, and nearly pull free (but not quite). You can achieve all this with 8k alone btw. Each step should improve slightly and each step should plateau to a noticible moment when it stops improving or changing the edge, then you move up a step, but only when you know what that step can accomplish.

    If you suspect you've gone down hill then back hone on 8K and work your way back up the cycle again.

    Remember this mantra. Your trying to apply the smoothest/cleanest bevel and apply the smallest teeth to the edge you can with the tools you have. Test shave often, this is your internship.

    Do all that and repost your thoughts and impressions.

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    Anyone ever wonder how the old time barbers were able to do this without Nortons, diamond pastes, and microscopes?

    Bruce

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    Senior Member jnich67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDavis11 View Post
    I'm not trying to be difficult but I think your missing some of the criteria and process flow for honing.

    First, move a little away from the pyramids, pastes, paddles, 12Ks, Nortons, etc. and ask if its overhoned process flow. Move more to the "did I get the bevel right, lets do some honing strokes and test shave many times as I learn what each stone does" process flow. You can't just follow a recipe and hone away.

    You absolutely can see overhoning in a microscope, and you are trained, albet over the internet, but your trained. Confidence is important in honing, the razor knows what emotional state your in.

    Now, go back to 4K and get rid of this thing you call a tin foil edge, that scares me even from here. Lets say about 2 strokes. And make them good ones.

    Then do a few strokes on 8K, say 10 then test shave, do 10 more and test shave again.....
    Great post Alan. Thanks for providing such clarity.

    Jordan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    Anyone ever wonder how the old time barbers were able to do this without Nortons, diamond pastes, and microscopes?

    Bruce
    Well, they did have Belgian and Escher-type hones - not too shabby The other barber hones, such as Swaty, etc. - still considered great by many experts.

    And I am sure they could feel the edge and feedback while using all hones - after all, it was their profession. I mean - even we can learn to *feel the edge* a bit with our amateurish attempts with some practice.

    I also think they could easily use a loupe (but have never heard of any barber use one, as I said I think they just had a feel for the edge)

    Cheers
    Ivo

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    Senior Member jnich67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    Anyone ever wonder how the old time barbers were able to do this without Nortons, diamond pastes, and microscopes?

    Bruce
    Back then, it was normal to have a local guy who sharpened people's tools. I think the barbers sent their razors out for serious honing and touched up on their barber hones. Generally, I don't think they dealt with honing on the level some of us do.

    Jordan

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDavis11 View Post
    ...Put the Norton, strop, and razor in front of the mirror in the bathroom and you guys all have a little training session together...
    Lol, I almost always do this!

    If you do this, resist looking at "the Sexy Devil in the mirror" (quoting Ashton Kutcher) - this cannot possibly help your honing

    Cheers
    Ivo

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