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A Little Honing Help?

Hey guys. I have been lazy lately, and, instead of learning to hone my own razors or sending them off, I've been shaving with DE's. That's all well and good (DE shaving is great), but I've decided to finally see something through and figure out this honing thing so I can get back to that straight razor shave that we all love so much. Plus, I have about a dozen resto-worthy blades that I badly want to fix up to use.

Here are my questions:

1 - Is it ok to mix hone types? I have a Norton 1k/4k but a Shapton 8k. Is there any problem pyramid-ing from the Norton 4k to Shapton 8k?

2 - I have an unidentifiable (to this point, anyway), old, Sheffield blade that is huge and beautiful...in a rugged sort of way. The way the thing is ground, it looks like it will hone the bevel at a different angle on each side (similar to the way some of the Japanese blades look, only one side is not flat). Is this do-able? [Note: this will, obviously, not be my first hone job, just one that I REALLY want to shave with at some point.]

3 - How does one fix a frowning blade? I have another resto that needs that kind of work, and I can't seem to find that information anywhere. If someone knows where to find some sort of tutorial for frowning blades, that would be excellent.

4 - This may be more of a restoration question, but is there a good way to tell how much pitting on/near a blade edge is too much to restore it to shaving condition without polishing it all up and trying it?

Thanks in advance for the input, amigos. I've seen some of the work you all do on razors, so I know there is some great experience around here.
 
Hey guys. I have been lazy lately, and, instead of learning to hone my own razors or sending them off, I've been shaving with DE's. That's all well and good (DE shaving is great), but I've decided to finally see something through and figure out this honing thing so I can get back to that straight razor shave that we all love so much. Plus, I have about a dozen resto-worthy blades that I badly want to fix up to use.

Here are my questions:

1 - Is it ok to mix hone types? I have a Norton 1k/4k but a Shapton 8k. Is there any problem pyramid-ing from the Norton 4k to Shapton 8k? No problem at all.

2 - I have an unidentifiable (to this point, anyway), old, Sheffield blade that is huge and beautiful...in a rugged sort of way. The way the thing is ground, it looks like it will hone the bevel at a different angle on each side (similar to the way some of the Japanese blades look, only one side is not flat). Is this do-able? [Note: this will, obviously, not be my first hone job, just one that I REALLY want to shave with at some point.] Sounds like a Mikrotome, they can be made shave ready, but save it for later for sure.

3 - How does one fix a frowning blade? I have another resto that needs that kind of work, and I can't seem to find that information anywhere. If someone knows where to find some sort of tutorial for frowning blades, that would be excellent. No idea, haven't had that problem yet.

4 - This may be more of a restoration question, but is there a good way to tell how much pitting on/near a blade edge is too much to restore it to shaving condition without polishing it all up and trying it? Hard to say without putting it on the hones really. But a couple pictures would help :smile:

Thanks in advance for the input, amigos. I've seen some of the work you all do on razors, so I know there is some great experience around here.

See above :smile:
 
That old blade is not a microtome. The original grind did not leave one side completely flat like I'm used to seeing on microtome blades (the pics I've seen of those, anyway...never actually held one). It looks like the product of inconsistent grinding.

That and the pitting question will be greatly clarified with pictures, but I have limited internet access. I'll see if I can take some pictures over the weekend and post them early next week.

In the meantime, I'll just do what I can to describe everything with words.

Oh, and thanks for the input, Blix.
 
To fix a frowning blade, first bread knife it on a low grit stone 325 DMT is great. To bread knife hold the straight just like a regular knife and with the edge down try to cut the stone just like cutting a loaf of bread with back and forth strokes. You must do this until the edge is straight. You must then use the same stone to reset the bevel. I usually do this by slowly angling the blade and using back and forth strokes. Start at 60 degrees and use back and forth strokes, then lower the edge to 45, then to 30 eventually tape the spine and set a nice bevel. After the bevel is set hone like usual.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btrOjC0S2gM
 
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Frankly, I think you should put those razors away for the future. Buy yourself one or two shave ready straights and just maintain them and enjoy. When you are ready you can must better assess whether or not these other razors are worth your time and effort.

RED
 
+1 on Doc's post. Except I don't tape, especially in that situation. Breadknifing might take a whole 1/8" from the blade width, even more for very serious frowns or chips. If the spine gets absolutely no wear, and the width is reduced drastically, you have changed the bevel angle considerably. Now, if the bevel angle is already very small, say 14 degrees or so, then this could be an opportunity to let the width catch up to the spine wear. Otherwise, it is natural for the spine to lose steel as the edge loses steel.

People obsess with hone wear to the spine because they can see the flat bevel plane on the spine, but they don't see all the steel that has been taken from the edge, because, well, it isn't there anymore. The bevel plane does not grow at the edge unless you are honing into a substantial backbone behind the edge. But as steel is lost from the width, there must be a corresponding loss from the thickness. This naturally manifests itself as a flat area along the length of the spine. It is not a sign of a ruined razor... merely one that has had a long and eventful life.

Before breadknifing, I suggest measuring several blades that you like to shave with, calculate the bevel angle, and do the same for your frownie, before deciding to tape or not to tape during this operation. This often involves removal of a lot of steel, so you want to do it right and preserve a reasonable blade geometry. If you protect the spine from wear, you should also protect the edge from wear. Obviously, you won't get much honing done if you do that. So measure, calculate, and make an informed decision.

Post-breadknifing, the edge is straight, but possibly the spine is not. Therefore, it is important to use a nice, wide stone for bevel setting. It will allow you to keep the entire edge on the stone, which will help to correct the spine to a modest degree. This is a situation where I do NOT x-stroke. Oh, and a freshly lapped bevel setter is a good idea. Everything is much more critical with a straight edge and no x-strokes.

You can indeed mix different types of hones. This is in fact very common. Probably the most common setup is a Norton 220/1k combo, a Norton 4k/8k combo, and a C12k, with possibly a DMT for certain edge repair tasks or for stone lapping. Personally I prefer sandpaper on glass for lapping, just to have a lapping surface larger than the stone, for more consistent flatness. The Norton 4k/8k combo is the workhorse for many honers, but for a finisher most will go with a naniwa or a Cnat. Coticules work well in conjunction with a Norton bevel setter, and that is a popular combination. Me, I don't use rocks at all. I use lapping film. It's all good. But you may find that you like rocks, except you like lapping film for a finisher. You can do that. It's okay. The hone police won't come and get you.

For your pitted blade, hit it with some 120 grit paper until the pitting is gone, gone, gone. If you still have a razor when you are done, then it is do-able. NEVER leave pitting to take out with the next finer grade of paper. The grunt work is done with the coarsest paper in your progression. The progressively finer grades each only remove the scratches from the preceeding grade. If you go 80/120/150/220/320/400/600/1000, for instance, you must get ALL of the 80 grit scratches out with the 120 before you even think about going for the 150. Before bumping up to the 220, the 150 must have gotten ALL the 120 scratches out. Leave it for the next grade and you will eiither never finish, or you will have an inferiour finish on the blade. In case appearance is important to you. Anyway, it is hard to tell if pitting will prevent you from getting a good edge, until enough steel is removed that the pitting is gone, at least gone from the vicinity of the edge. Then you have to set a bevel, and SEE if the center plane of the blade is intact at the edge. If you have a good bevel and the edge is straight, and the bevel flat is fairly consistent or at least is continuous from heel to toe, then you are in the game. FWIW, I have seldom had a blade so far gone that it was simply impossible to put an edge on it. Sometimes it meant I reduced a blade to a much smaller size, though. I have had a lot of blades that you would swear were impossible, come back to life with the requisite elbow grease. It's all about whether it is worth the effort to you or not. Few things are impossible. Many things might be impractical for you.

I do suggest sending at least one razor out for honing, so you have something to compare your edges to. Otherwise, have at it. It's not that difficult.
 
Thanks so much for the info, guys. That frowny blade is not too extreme. As a matter of fact, you have to put it against a flat surface to really even tell that it has a frown. I think I can figure that out, but I may get a little more honing under my belt first.

Just to clear a couple of things up, I have shaved with straights that were honed by someone who knew what they were doing. And, I have one or two that only need the periodic maintenence re-honing/finishing. Those will have my attention first. I just didn't have any questions about those other than the "can I mix hone types" thing. However, I do still plan to send one or two of them off just for some more comparisson.

Anyway, my hone set is a Norton 1k/4k combo, Shapton 8k, and Chinese 12k. I lap them with sandpaper on glass. So, it sounds like I"m good there.

I took some good pictures of the blades over the weekend, so I'll try to get some up pretty soon. That unidentifiable Sheffield blade is pretty interesting, so I definitely want to get some experienced opinions on that thing. Thanks again, everybody!
 
Ok, here are some pictures for you. I already posted the picture of all of the blades I'm pursuing over in the restoration thread I have going, so I'll spare y'all that one here.

Here is that Sheffield blade that most of my questions are concerning. If anybody has any information on what it may be, that would be GREAT. It is pictured here with my Joseph Fenton and Joseph Allen NON XLL as reference. That NON XLL is roughly 5/8. You can see that this mystery blade is pretty long and, by the profile picture, pretty hefty.

Here's the whole blade:
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Here's a closer pic of the cutting part. You can see that it once had a manufacturer's stamp on it, but the only words I can make out now are 'manufactured' and under that 'works'.
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Here's the tang, where it is clearly marked "Sheffield". Here you can also see the pitting near the edge at the heel of the blade.
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Finally, here's a pic of the blade profile. You can see that the spine is not what would hit the hone. Instead, there is a 'shoulder' below the spine, and it is slightly higher on the right side than it is the left. Thus my question about it creating a bevel with two different angles.
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