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Balsa Strop and Diamond Spray - Need help

Hi, Gents, I wanted to add a couple balsa strops to my routine and needed help with it. What micron spray should I get? How many laps do you do after honing? Which grit do you use first—>last?

I wanted to increase keenness on some edges and heard this is a great way to do it. I just don’t want harsh edges though. Let me know your routine(s). I greatly appreciate it.
 
I don't use sprays, I got 10% diamond pastes in .5, .25, and .1 micron from Tech Diamond Tools. Others have used 50% pastes I believe. 10% works fine because less is more. Way less than you think, really. There's a massive "how to use a pasted balsa strop) thread that describes the procedure in detail. @Slash McCoy has a shorter summary on his website. You really need to read either or both. Preparation is key. Technique is key.

The very abbreviated version of how to use it: hone your razor to 12k or the natural equivalent. It needs to be shaveable at this point. Then do 50-100 laps on .5micron. 50 laps on the .25. 50-60 laps on the .1. Strop on clean leather. Shave. 50 laps on the .1 after every shave. Make sure you wipe the blade carefully and wash your hands between each step. Do around 10 pull strokes after your main laps on each balsa, followed by a dozen short x-strokes. As little pressure as possible.

Read the thread, though. Technique and preparation are key. It's foolproof if you follow the instructions.
 
I don't use sprays, I got 10% diamond pastes in .5, .25, and .1 micron from Tech Diamond Tools. Others have used 50% pastes I believe. 10% works fine because less is more. Way less than you think, really. There's a massive "how to use a pasted balsa strop) thread that describes the procedure in detail. @Slash McCoy has a shorter summary on his website. You really need to read either or both. Preparation is key. Technique is key.

The very abbreviated version of how to use it: hone your razor to 12k or the natural equivalent. It needs to be shaveable at this point. Then do 50-100 laps on .5micron. 50 laps on the .25. 50-60 laps on the .1. Strop on clean leather. Shave. 50 laps on the .1 after every shave. Make sure you wipe the blade carefully and wash your hands between each step. Do around 10 pull strokes after your main laps on each balsa, followed by a dozen short x-strokes. As little pressure as possible.

Read the thread, though. Technique and preparation are key. It's foolproof if you follow the instructions.

Awesome! Appreciate the detailed reply.
 
Hi, Gents, I wanted to add a couple balsa strops to my routine and needed help with it. What micron spray should I get? How many laps do you do after honing? Which grit do you use first—>last?

I wanted to increase keenness on some edges and heard this is a great way to do it. I just don’t want harsh edges though. Let me know your routine(s). I greatly appreciate it.
I recommend against sprays or slurries. Tried them, paste works better.

The advantage of using "The Method" as we call it, is that everything has been tried, by multiple honers on multiple razors. The stuff that doesn't work, or that works but not as good as something else, has already been eliminated if you just follow the directions. It is like, as I have said before, making a paint by numbers copy of "Dogs Playing Poker". You could watch Bob Ross for a few seasons and become sort of an artist. You could go to art school and become an artist. You could spend a lifetime developing your art skills. Or you can get a paint by the numbers kit and simply apply color #31 to every area that calls for 31, color #9 to every area that calls for 9, and staying inside the lines. Walah. Except up close, your paint by numbers copy will look maybe amateurish, but your Method edge will be significantly better than most professional edges. The biggest advantage is you don't have to actually LEARN or become a "Honemeister". You just follow directions exactly and precisely, with absolutely zero omissions or additions or changes, just religiously and dogmatically following instructions even if you disagree with them. No guessing, no experimenting, no learning curve to speak of. You don't HAVE to do it this way. There are a kabillion zillion giga-jillion ways to hone a razor. The Method does not recognize any other, however, even though Method honers do recognize that other (inferior) paths exist and work quite well enough for a good shave. The Method demands obedience, in default of which, you are heathen, infidel, apostate, doomed to honing purgatory. IN other words, you are not a Method honer and there is little point in reading about it, if you are not willing to blindly follow it, at least for your first few edges.

The worst Method wannabe disciples are those who already know how to hone a razor. Why? Because they "know better" than to blindly accept the ravings of a cabal of honing madmen when they have shaved perfectly well with edges created by doing THIS instead of THAT, or THAT instead of THIS, or without bothering with X or Y but instead doing a lot of Z. Plus, they don't need it. They already have their own ways of getting edges that satisfy them.

Taking a particular step or detail out of context might improve your own system, or it might not. You can of course use a spray. Good luck with that. It might satisfy you.

You can, if you have a GOOD clean edge at the 1ц or 12k level, proceed directly to the pasted balsa progression as per the thread on pasted balsa that is a big part of The Method. If your edge is not already quite sharp or if your edge was created with tape on the spine, all bets are off. No guarantee at all that it will work out for you. The balsa works by removing MINISCULE amounts of steel in a very controlled manner, without creating burr or fin. And so, it simply cannot do any heavy lifting. If you want an all-around finishing tool with a wide range of effectiveness, you want a Jnat or similar. The balsa isn't it. Anyway, if your edge is already quite good and not honed with tape, you should be able to jump right in with .5ц diamond on balsa, then use .25ц and .1ц as per The Method, and get a true Method edge. I highly recommend it. You will probably nail it on your first attempt, or at least by your second go at it, and the results can be surprisingly amazing, and usually gets even better with daily maintenance on the .1ц balsa, until it peaks after usually a dozen or so shaves. Used properly, the edge should never need to revisit a hone or a piece of lapping film.

The Method: Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade

The Pasted Balsa part: How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop | Badger & Blade

Because the thread is an archive of the collaborative development process, it is important to read and heed the entire thing. Some things were improved or disproved as time went by. Some early work remains unchanged and is not mentioned in later posts.

Now the short answers to your specific questions, which will actually not help you very much at all, because they are out of the context of The Method.

Q: What micron spray should I get?
A: None. Paste, instead. .5ц, .25ц, and .1ц.

Q: How many laps do you do after honing?
A: Currently I go 100 at each grit, but for daily maintenance only 50 laps and only on the .1ц.

Q: Which grit do you use first—>last?
A: Obviously, the coarser (.5ц) first, then the next, then the finest, which is .1ц. For maintenance, only the .1ц.

When properly executed, The Method creates an extremely sharp but absolutely not "harsh" edge, though if mishandled, it will definitely result in cuts or extreme exfoliation. A proper shave with a full-on Method edge is quite comfortable and only requires a single pass. As seen on Youtube:

Feel free to skip forward to about the 3:00 mark if you have a short attention span or your african violets need immediate watering or something.
 
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I recommend against sprays or slurries. Tried them, paste works better.

The advantage of using "The Method" as we call it, is that everything has been tried, by multiple honers on multiple razors. The stuff that doesn't work, or that works but not as good as something else, has already been eliminated if you just follow the directions. It is like, as I have said before, making a paint by numbers copy of "Dogs Playing Poker". You could watch Bob Ross for a few seasons and become sort of an artist. You could go to art school and become an artist. You could spend a lifetime developing your art skills. Or you can get a paint by the numbers kit and simply apply color #31 to every area that calls for 31, color #9 to every area that calls for 9, and staying inside the lines. Walah. Except up close, your paint by numbers copy will look maybe amateurish, but your Method edge will be significantly better than most professional edges. The biggest advantage is you don't have to actually LEARN or become a "Honemeister". You just follow directions exactly and precisely, with absolutely zero omissions or additions or changes, just religiously and dogmatically following instructions even if you disagree with them. No guessing, no experimenting, no learning curve to speak of. You don't HAVE to do it this way. There are a kabillion zillion giga-jillion ways to hone a razor. The Method does not recognize any other, however, even though Method honers do recognize that other (inferior) paths exist and work quite well enough for a good shave. The Method demands obedience, in default of which, you are heathen, infidel, apostate, doomed to honing purgatory. IN other words, you are not a Method honer and there is little point in reading about it, if you are not willing to blindly follow it, at least for your first few edges.

The worst Method wannabe disciples are those who already know how to hone a razor. Why? Because they "know better" than to blindly accept the ravings of a cabal of honing madmen when they have shaved perfectly well with edges created by doing THIS instead of THAT, or THAT instead of THIS, or without bothering with X or Y but instead doing a lot of Z. Plus, they don't need it. They already have their own ways of getting edges that satisfy them.

Taking a particular step or detail out of context might improve your own system, or it might not. You can of course use a spray. Good luck with that. It might satisfy you.

You can, if you have a GOOD clean edge at the 1ц or 12k level, proceed directly to the pasted balsa progression as per the thread on pasted balsa that is a big part of The Method. If your edge is not already quite sharp or if your edge was created with tape on the spine, all bets are off. No guarantee at all that it will work out for you. The balsa works by removing MINISCULE amounts of steel in a very controlled manner, without creating burr or fin. And so, it simply cannot do any heavy lifting. If you want an all-around finishing tool with a wide range of effectiveness, you want a Jnat or similar. The balsa isn't it. Anyway, if your edge is already quite good and not honed with tape, you should be able to jump right in with .5ц diamond on balsa, then use .25ц and .1ц as per The Method, and get a true Method edge. I highly recommend it. You will probably nail it on your first attempt, or at least by your second go at it, and the results can be surprisingly amazing, and usually gets even better with daily maintenance on the .1ц balsa, until it peaks after usually a dozen or so shaves. Used properly, the edge should never need to revisit a hone or a piece of lapping film.

The Method: Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade

The Pasted Balsa part: How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop | Badger & Blade

Because the thread is an archive of the collaborative development process, it is important to read and heed the entire thing. Some things were improved or disproved as time went by. Some early work remains unchanged and is not mentioned in later posts.

Now the short answers to your specific questions, which will actually not help you very much at all, because they are out of the context of The Method.

Q: What micron spray should I get?
A: None. Paste, instead. .5ц, .25ц, and .1ц.

Q: How many laps do you do after honing?
A: Currently I go 100 at each grit, but for daily maintenance only 50 laps and only on the .1ц.

Q: Which grit do you use first—>last?
A: Obviously, the coarser (.5ц) first, then the next, then the finest, which is .1ц. For maintenance, only the .1ц.

When properly executed, The Method creates an extremely sharp but absolutely not "harsh" edge, though if mishandled, it will definitely result in cuts or extreme exfoliation. A proper shave with a full-on Method edge is quite comfortable and only requires a single pass. As seen on Youtube:


Thanks a lot for the reply. I have decided to get leather strops to use with Diamond micron paste. I hone with tape and sometimes without so balsa wouldn’t be for me then. You think I will like the edges off the leather pasted strops?
 
Thanks a lot for the reply. I have decided to get leather strops to use with Diamond micron paste. I hone with tape and sometimes without so balsa wouldn’t be for me then. You think I will like the edges off the leather pasted strops?
I don't know if you will like the edge off a pasted leather strop, or not. All I can tell you is that I don't. I find such an edge to be totally unacceptable.
 
@rbscebu I think I remember you using a balsa strop. I would kindly appreciate your input.
Sorry for the late reply, however it has been well covered by other subsequent posters.

I can't comment on diamond spray as I have never used it. As for number of laps and the order of use, that is covered in the balsa stropping thread.

If you don't have the time or inclination to read and note the balsa stropping thread, just do what you think will work and get the edge that you get.

If you follow the instructions to the letter - all of them, you will get the keenest and most comfortable edge that you have probably ever shaved with. The choice is yours. Enjoy your journey.
 
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