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  1. #1
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    Default Another Thought on Honing Japanese Razors

    I thought I'd put this in a new thread.

    With all the different thoughts on honing Japanese razors I decided to contact the man who sold me mine. I posed questions to him about ratios. I requested from him to contact the Iwasaki makers to get an authoritative quote on the recommended ratio, if any, from this most respected company - seeing he has contacts with them; I did not get that, but I did get a response. The owner of aframestokyo.com seems like a knowledgable fellow on matters of sharpening Japanese steels, with much, much, much more experience than myself. Japanese Chef Knives

    Here was his response:

    "Thank you for the mail.
    Many people have confused what is right and what is not right.

    Actually, I think that they are all right, as long as the blade edge is sharp enough to sharpen beard.

    How to sharpen Japanese single bevel edge cutlery are almost the same or very similar such as cooking kinfe, and chisel and plane, and Japanese razor.

    I do not want to involve to the issue how to sharpen Japanese straight razor.

    Many people has many way to sharpen the blade edge is fine like diversity.

    However, it is waste time and waste Hagane to sharpen 7:3 for flat back side (hagane side).

    Once the back side get super fine mirror finish (it is like to see 30 times loupe, but it is still beautiful straight line. it should be hard work), we do not need sharpen the back side.
    All we have to do is to remove sliding the blade several times (on the back side blade on the stone) coming up metal (beard) from the front side after sharpned the front side.


    Iwasaki razors comes out from factory the quality can cut a hair when we hold on thumb and index finger from 1/4 inch with bottom side of hair on the top.

    It is good enough to sharve our beard, but if we want to cut a hair when we hold on thumb and index finger from 1 1/4" with bottom side of hair on the top,
    we have to have 3 of whetsones, a whetstone for correction whetstone.
    It is very detail work and we have to deal with 3/1000mm world.

    Thank you.

    Takeshi"

    From what I can make of it these razors are of the same concept as a single bevel chef knife which is designed to cut on one side. In theory the blade only needs to be sharpened on one side. The only purpose of a ratio for the other side would be to avoid a burr from forming. So the ratio of 3:1 or even Lynn's 10:1 ratio would be correct. I will be trying Lynn's recommendation as this seems logical. I like the washboard motion/method and feel anyway.

    Happy Honing. Jules

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    JonnyO (11-06-2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ISaid View Post
    I thought I'd put this in a new thread.

    With all the different thoughts on honing Japanese razors I decided to contact the man who sold me mine. I posed questions to him about ratios. I requested from him to contact the Iwasaki makers to get an authoritative quote on the recommended ratio, if any, from this most respected company - seeing he has contacts with them; I did not get that, but I did get a response. The owner of aframestokyo.com seems like a knowledgable fellow on matters of sharpening Japanese steels, with much, much, much more experience than myself. Japanese Chef Knives

    Here was his response:

    "Thank you for the mail.
    Many people have confused what is right and what is not right.

    Actually, I think that they are all right, as long as the blade edge is sharp enough to sharpen beard.

    How to sharpen Japanese single bevel edge cutlery are almost the same or very similar such as cooking kinfe, and chisel and plane, and Japanese razor.

    I do not want to involve to the issue how to sharpen Japanese straight razor.

    Many people has many way to sharpen the blade edge is fine like diversity.

    However, it is waste time and waste Hagane to sharpen 7:3 for flat back side (hagane side).

    Once the back side get super fine mirror finish (it is like to see 30 times loupe, but it is still beautiful straight line. it should be hard work), we do not need sharpen the back side.
    All we have to do is to remove sliding the blade several times (on the back side blade on the stone) coming up metal (beard) from the front side after sharpned the front side.


    Iwasaki razors comes out from factory the quality can cut a hair when we hold on thumb and index finger from 1/4 inch with bottom side of hair on the top.

    It is good enough to sharve our beard, but if we want to cut a hair when we hold on thumb and index finger from 1 1/4" with bottom side of hair on the top,
    we have to have 3 of whetsones, a whetstone for correction whetstone.
    It is very detail work and we have to deal with 3/1000mm world.

    Thank you.

    Takeshi"

    From what I can make of it these razors are of the same concept as a single bevel chef knife which is designed to cut on one side. In theory the blade only needs to be sharpened on one side. The only purpose of a ratio for the other side would be to avoid a burr from forming. So the ratio of 3:1 or even Lynn's 10:1 ratio would be correct. I will be trying Lynn's recommendation as this seems logical. I like the washboard motion/method and feel anyway.

    Happy Honing. Jules
    I just got my first Japanese Straight today and gave her about 6 times over the Shapton 16K with a ratio of 10:1 per Lynn's recommendation. It makes sense that its sharpened this way considering the Japanese like a single bevel. As long as it shaves well I dont really care.

  4. #3
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    If you want to preserve the original configuration you do need to give the non shaving side some strokes or over time the symmetry of the edge will change. Also many do use both sides to shave so in that case you would also need to keep both sides sharp.

    I don't agree with what he said about the Iwasaki. Mine wasn't exactly dull but it was not shave ready either.

    Lastly, I'll say that these honing ratios are only for basic honing. if you need to do more that's all out the window. Also once you start working on these things (or at least in my case) I'm finding that these ratios are kind of like pyramids for western razors. Once your comfortable you can experiment to get the result you need and I'll bet Lynn agrees with that.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

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    I used Nakayamas for my house mainaman's Avatar
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    when you sharpen the front of the blade, you inevitably are creating a bur on the back, thus you need to do a few light strokes to eliminate it.
    that's how you sharpen traditional Japanese knives too.
    Stefan

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    mikel1942 (11-14-2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigspendur View Post
    If you want to preserve the original configuration you do need to give the non shaving side some strokes or over time the symmetry of the edge will change. Also many do use both sides to shave so in that case you would also need to keep both sides sharp.

    I don't agree with what he said about the Iwasaki. Mine wasn't exactly dull but it was not shave ready either.

    Lastly, I'll say that these honing ratios are only for basic honing. if you need to do more that's all out the window. Also once you start working on these things (or at least in my case) I'm finding that these ratios are kind of like pyramids for western razors. Once your comfortable you can experiment to get the result you need and I'll bet Lynn agrees with that.
    I totally agree with your symmetry statement; in fact until now I have been honing both sides equally throughout the process. This is part of what I had written to the afore mentioned site regarding ratios: "I feel it will constantly shift the natural bevel angle in favor of the more frequently honed side.".

    As for Iwasakis not coming shave ready - I've heard this a lot; however I was happy to receive mine sharp enough to cut atoms. In fact I didn't even strop it and I got a dream shave. Maybe it was honed by the seller?

    Thanks for the feedback all.

  8. #6
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISaid View Post
    I totally agree with your symmetry statement; in fact until now I have been honing both sides equally throughout the process. This is part of what I had written to the afore mentioned site regarding ratios: "I feel it will constantly shift the natural bevel angle in favor of the more frequently honed side.".

    As for Iwasakis not coming shave ready - I've heard this a lot; however I was happy to receive mine sharp enough to cut atoms. In fact I didn't even strop it and I got a dream shave. Maybe it was honed by the seller?

    Thanks for the feedback all.
    The three new Iwasakis I've sold have all come from the maker shave ready. I'd say that Mizuochi-san is doing his best to hone them before they go out.

  9. #7
    Administrator Lynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigspendur View Post
    If you want to preserve the original configuration you do need to give the non shaving side some strokes or over time the symmetry of the edge will change. Also many do use both sides to shave so in that case you would also need to keep both sides sharp.

    I don't agree with what he said about the Iwasaki. Mine wasn't exactly dull but it was not shave ready either.

    Lastly, I'll say that these honing ratios are only for basic honing. if you need to do more that's all out the window. Also once you start working on these things (or at least in my case) I'm finding that these ratios are kind of like pyramids for western razors. Once your comfortable you can experiment to get the result you need and I'll bet Lynn agrees with that.
    Nelson is correct. There is a lot of room for experiment with these. The first few I did, I honed like regular razors and you could shave on both sides. It was still a close shave, but considering the instrument, different. The 10:1 has been very successful using various stones and pastes and there is much room for playing around. I think I indicated somewhere that using and extra couple strokes would not hurt and it won't. Oddly enough, some guys have sent these to me and I see the same problems as with regular straights ie, to much pressure or uneven pressure with honing and I have seen some rounding on the corners.

    I don't think I'll ever use one of these every day, but they are most fun to shave with and to hone and again on the honing, they really produce an edge that chases whiskers away!

    Have fun,

    Lynn

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    Senior Member kevint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn View Post
    they are most fun to shave with and to hone and again on the honing, they really produce an edge that chases whiskers away!

    Have fun,

    Lynn
    Kinda like a straight razor, huh?

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    I have no Japanese razor, but i would imagine that honing such is somewhat similar as honing the blade of the handplane or chisel with waterstones.
    Once you get the backside of the blade fine, there's no more need to hone it every time unless there's a wire edge that has to get removed. Normally honing only front side makes the job done???
    'That is what i do. I drink and i know things'
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    Hi Jules. Takeshi makes many good points in his letter to you; but I do not see what makes it "another thought". What he describes is the same method that was demonstrated by Jim, which is the same as shown in the photo tutorials found on Japanese websites selling razors- those seen in the Sharpening Wakamisori thread.

    Lets not get hung up that your Takeshi says after the ura is polished we do not need to "sharpen" that side anymore.
    "All we have to do is to remove sliding the blade several times (on the back side blade on the stone) coming up metal (beard) from the front side after sharpned the front side."

    which means everytime we sharpen the omote we polish the ura with a few strokes. When sharpening "similar, almost the same" tools: chisel, plane knife, on coarse, medium stone we work to produce a definite bur. Using fine finish hone it becomes virtually impossible to produce a bur detectable by even the most sensitive fingertip.

    Once the ura is properly polished it need never be returned to the coarse or medium stone even though the omote may be sharpened on these, the ura is only rubbed on the finish hone to remove the bur. As well when the finish stone is reached a few strokes are given on the ura to give a smooth return to the edge even though a bur cannot be detected.

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