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  1. #1
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Default Thumb Pad Test After Stropping

    Oh No! Not this topic again!! Ha!

    Well, I went to the barber shop today and talked with a barber I hadn't met before. He's an older gentleman who graduated from the Los Angeles Moler Barber School back in 1959. As some of you may know, A.B. Moler started the first American barber college in 1893.

    I wanted his opinion on the thumb test.

    "Is it across the blade, or along the blade?" I asked him. "No! Not across! Along the blade," he said, and demonstrated with his thumb on the back of his barbers comb. "Very lightly," he said as he sort of lightly bounced, or brushed, his thumb along the comb.

    I tried it with the comb.

    He instructed me to move my thumb slightly diagonally and forward as I made short, light strokes with my thumb along the comb from one end to the other just as he had.

    I said, "Brushing your thumb across the blade is how you test a kitchen knife, not a razor, Is that correct?" The barber said, "Of course!"

    So I tried this with a couple of my razors when I returned home. What was new to me was the diagonal component. I had always moved the thumb directly parallel to the blade.

    The sensation is rather different with the diagonal emphasis. It will take some time for me to get used to it, and make use of the sensation.

    Just thought I'd pass this along to the group. I know this test has been a source of debate and confusion for some. I am not submitting this to re-open any debate. I'm just adding another bit of information to the data base for all to use and figure out how best to perform the test.


    Scott
    Last edited by honedright; 02-11-2007 at 12:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Shaver xman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honedright View Post
    "Very lightly," he said as he sort of lightly bounced, or brushed, his thumb along the comb.

    ...

    He instructed me to move my thumb slightly diagonally and forward as I made short, light strokes with my thumb
    This is kind of what I do, but I go much more against than along.

    X
    Last edited by xman; 03-05-2007 at 04:31 PM.

  3. #3
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    Scott:

    I hate to ask this favor but for those of me who are visualization challenged (I couldn't visualize a straight line unless I saw it), would you mind either doing a short demo video or edit some pictures so I can picture this better. I think you know that I have wondered about this test since the barber manual seems to indicate a couple of different interpretations and I try to use this test to determine sharpness off the strop.

  4. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Sure Steve, I'll try something.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by honedright View Post
    Sure Steve, I'll try something.
    Thanks Scott,

    I realy owe you an apology. I was so intent on the information you were providing that I totally missed the part where you mentioned not wanting to open up for debate. Then here I go asking you do go more indepth, which could potentially open debate. I realized this about 10 minutes after I signed off in one of those delayed comphrension moments.

    So, I'm sorry if I put you into the spot you didn't want to be.

  6. #6
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    No problem Steve...fuhgeddaboudit

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    Quote Originally Posted by honedright View Post
    No problem Steve...fuhgeddaboudit
    thank you Donny Brasco

  8. #8
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Thats very cool Scott, good work!

    Thumb and edge are at 90 degrees to each other?

    Forward? I think I usually move backwards, wonder if it makes a difference?

    How do you relate the difference between diagonal and across? My interpretation would be that diagonal would be 45 degrees across. In other words a mathematician would not emphasize that you don't go across, you go diagonal! That is technically inaccurate as diagonal IS across. See what I mean?

    Do I not understand something?

  9. #9
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Alan,

    What the barber was doing is this: He was essentially moving, or pushing, his thumb along and parallel to the blade (or barber comb) with short, light strokes, but instead of pushing his thumb directly forward towards the razor point, he put a little diagonal "english" into the stroke. Hope that make sense. It was not a purely forward movement, but mostly forward.

    I've always done the test similar to this, but without the diagonal "english."

    Scott
    Last edited by honedright; 02-11-2007 at 04:44 PM.

  10. #10
    Member AFDavis11's Avatar
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    Yes, that makes sense. I tried it this morning at it seems to do a good job of helping me feel the edge. The slight "english" part allows you to catch the edge. Neat!

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