Got my Conk! - hanging hair test....

Discussion in 'General Straight Razor Talk' started by moses, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. I got a package in the mail today. Well actually two. One was more Mama Bear goodness. The other was my lovely pearlex handle Col. Conk by Dovo razor. I can't wait to try this thing. Just waiting for my strops to arrive so I can strop and go to it.

    Very excited about this, I have to admit.

    I must say, though I am thinking my hair just does not agree with the handing hair test very well. I could not get this razor to do it at all at first. Finally, I realized that if a brought the blade up briskly, close to where I held it, it would cut. Not smoothly - I could feel it biting and and pulling. Now, I know Joel honed this up good, so I know that isn't the issue. Although he did say he rounded the blade ever so slightly to avoid injury to me, as it was crazy sharp before.

    But it isn't that, anyway, because I got the same result from a feather Super Pro blade used once, and only and ever so slightly smoother cut with a Dog's Bollocks (I think this, not the Feather, is the sharpest blade out there). Even with the DB, I have to have a brisk motion, and I feel the grap and pull before it cuts.

    I also tried gliding along just above the skin on my arm. Similar result - much of the hair is just pushed away with all of the blades. A few get cut. More with the DB than the straight, but always with a very strong tugging. I mean a LOT of resistance. Actually on the skin of my arm, the DB will cut most of the hairs. But still with a lot of tugging. (Dry, still, of course).

    I may have to learn to feel the edge with my thumb. I have some practice with this on knives, but am a little doubtful on being able to distinguish a good shaving edge this way. Although - I have heard conflicting things on this. Hear somewhere that it is bad for the edge.


  2. Ahhh jeeze... please, please, please tell me you didn't run the blade down your thumbnail....

    Just as an FYI - you do NOT want to mess around with a straight razor blade, as that is a really, really quick way to dull it, by cutting arm hair and the like, it'll need stropping now.... and if your stropping skills are poor - it'll further worsen the edge. I had told you when it arrived, to give it a go, and if it pulled at all, give it a few light strop, then all should be fine.... now you might have to send it back to me to re-hone/touch up if it doesn't smarten up with some light stropping..... doh!
  3. No no. Calm down. I seriously doubt I have damaged the blade so very much as you think. I did nothing remotely like touching the edge with any part of my body other than hair. ESPECIALLY not my thumbnail. Heck, I hear people on SRP say they test razors with the pad of their thumb. Fine for a knife, but like I said, I'm real iffy about doing that with a razor. Maybe in initial honing stages or something.... But I FOR SURE know that a nail would ruin it.

    As for hair, I doubt three goes at hanging hair damaged it (of course, I could be wrong - what do I know). And as for the arm hair - I suppose that might not have been ideal. But I would also like to learn how to tell when my honing jobs are sharp. Anyway, with the straight, I only did less that 1/2" of movement with about 1/2 inch of blade. When I felt it tugging, I let that go.

    My experiments were almost entirely actually with the Feather and DB blades. I just did a couple quick comparisons with the Conk, to see if results were similar.

    Rest a little easier?


  4. It's your razor.... do with it what you want - but cutting hair on your arm is a hell of a lot different than cutting lubricated/softened hair on your face, and by cutting dry hair on your arm - to get a proper shave from the razor, you will more than likely have to strop it now.... the TRUE honemeisters ONLY test if a razor is shaving sharp... by shaving with it. ANY other test is wholly moot. I, Lynn, Uthe and others have razors that will pass every test under the sun, but don't particularly shave all that well - and visa versa. Hell - I have a TI LE Hammer forged that couldn't pass any "test" and it shaves like a dream. What matters is how it functions... period.

    I am not sure how you are performing the "hanging hair test" - but i've gotta say, if you are already concerned with knowing when you've honed you might want to take a step back and worry about shaving with it first. Use your razor, see how it feels, if you like it, the results, etc - then worry about all the other stuff later - when you need to. I know you're excited - but seriously - focus on learning how to shave, and shave properly with the razor, and I assure you the honing/testing, etc will come in time. The important thing is to know how a properly honed razor feels on your face when shaving - and you'll immediatly know in the future when you put a razor on your face that isn't properly sharpened, or sharp enough.
  5. Fair enough.....
  6. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    I think the HHT is the most overrated test I can think of. It bears little if any semblance to reality. Only by shaving will you know if a blade is ready to go.

    One more reason not to fool around with the blade- you are far more likely to cut yourself when the blade is any other than on your face.

    Other than that, good luck- it's a fun pastime to engage in.
  7. Just to reiterate a point that is seldom mentioned. The various tests are only on Indicator
    of shave readiness. They are not a definitive test. Each of the tests will give you information about the edge. It is with practice that you learn to read the results. My primary tests are the HHT and the thumb pad test. For me they are reliable indicators of when a razor is ready for a shave test.
  8. Randy,

    Thanks. That was kind of my understanding. I guess I will work more on trying to find what kind of test I can use for that purpose when I start restoring. I have a couple of ebay razors already that I want to play with, but not really the time to do so. I also have not acquired the hones yet. Just a pasted strop to maintain already sharp razors, (aka the one from Joel.)


  9. Mo,

    Don't sweat it, I think you did just fine. Arm hair testing and HHTing won't dull the edge. BTW in case you didn't know the hanging hair test is performed with the root of the hair hanging down. NO quick motions with the blade just slowly push the blade at the hair horizontally and maybe angled down a tad. It should slice right through the hair. I agree with Randy it is only an indicator not the final test. I find it quite useful, myself.

    And once you get the hang of honing it will be a very valuable indicator for refreshing an edge because on a razor that just needs a touch up the edge comes quick and the trick is not to overhone. Having an indicator test will help you to avoid overhoning when you're that close.

    If you can I suggest you wait until your strop gets there before using the razor as it's always best practice to strop prior anyway. Go extremely SLOW and be deliberate as you strop to make sure you don't crown the edge. Give it a test shave and let us know how it performs. Good luck.

  10. Chris,

    Thanks much. Hmm.... I did basically try the method of the hanging hair test that you suggest. It simply did not work at all for me, even with Feather blades, etc. I think my hair must just be not cooperative. Perhaps my girlfriend's will be better. It is too bad really, since it does seem like it would be, as you say, a helpful indicator.

    I will wait for the chance to strop before shaving, I imagine. I am getting more and more antsy for my strops to arrive. Darn UPS.

  11. Mo,

    Hair thickness has a lot to do with how a razor does with the hanging hair test. I have thicker hair on top of my head and thinner on the sides. The thicker hairs will cut easily well before the thinner ones. I have a tough time getting my razors to pass the test with the thin ones, but I can get them to cut the thick ones off of the 4000-grit side of my Norton hone.

    Thicker hairs mean more resistance to the edge, which makes the hair catch and cut more easily.

    If you can't get a Feather to cut your hair, maybe it's just not meant to be. I'll have to try the test with some DE blades and see how it goes.

    Good luck,

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