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Barber says he uses only one stone to sharpen

After watching various videos on honing all of which use multiple stones in stages I asked a barber at the shop I go to if he does straight razor shaving and clarified I meant with a traditional straight razor not a shavette with replaceable blades - he said yes. I asked what he uses to hone his razor - he says he uses his grandfather's stone from when he was a barber. He has no idea what the grit is, but that and a strop constitutes his entire honing routine.

If you only used one stone, what would it be?
 
After watching various videos on honing all of which use multiple stones in stages I asked a barber at the shop I go to if he does straight razor shaving and clarified I meant with a traditional straight razor not a shavette with replaceable blades - he said yes. I asked what he uses to hone his razor - he says he uses his grandfather's stone from when he was a barber. He has no idea what the grit is, but that and a strop constitutes his entire honing routine.

If you only used one stone, what would it be?
Coticule is one of the few "one stone" options.

But to clarify, is he just using one stone to touch up the edges on razors that are already shave ready, or is he setting bevels and doing a full hone progression on one stone?
 
Need more information. Specifically if he's maintaining an edge or creating one.

Did he say whether or not he used slurry?
 
You could probably get by with only one stone. You just need to put in the time and have a good stone. He probably also uses paste (crox or something), which is not a one stone setup anymore.
 
Coticule is one of the few "one stone" options.

But to clarify, is he just using one stone to touch up the edges on razors that are already shave ready, or is he setting bevels and doing a full hone progression on one stone?
I didn't specifically ask that but he said he sharpens his own, doesn't send them out so he must be doing whatever needs to be done on that one stone.
 
I didn't specifically ask that but he said he sharpens his own, doesn't send them out so he must be doing whatever needs to be done on that one stone.
Well, without feeling his edges, it's hard to know for sure. But the only stone I have that can do that is a coticule, starting with heavy slurry, and then diluting it, to finish under running water. But not all cotis can do that, and the ones that can, cannot do it on all razors.

Maybe a Jnat and a series of Nagura... But...

I would ask him some more questions before letting him near my face with a traditional straight.
 
My old barber, now retired, used a coticule to do one stone honing, that's most likely the stone he's talking about. Unless it's just a touch up, I knew a barber years ago the used just a Franz Swatty for his touch ups.
 
I think one stone could do it. But from what I hear barbers sent their razors out for bevel setting periodically. They would eventually have to reset that bevel.
 
I have a friend who used only a barber hone for like 15 years, then when he found out about other hones he got a real bad case of HAD. So the barber's 'one stone' need not be all that special, nor his edges.

I shouldn't be judgmental about someone whom I've never met, but the fact that he's never bothered to learn what the stone is, is a clue.
 
I've not done this, but FWIW - I'm sure you could do it with various hard novaculites.

Even something like a translucent ark is f-ing aggressive with a roughed surface, all you'd need to do it have one side burnished and one side fresh. Equally I'm pretty sure a worn surface on a dense Washita would give a very good shave. If a novaculite has very low friability you can manipulate it to do all sorts of things.

(Also - oil vs water has quite a large impact on how lots of stones perform, ime. One could play around with that too.)
 
I have a friend who used only a barber hone for like 15 years, then when he found out about other hones he got a real bad case of HAD. So the barber's 'one stone' need not be all that special, nor his edges.

I shouldn't be judgmental about someone whom I've never met, but the fact that he's never bothered to learn what the stone is, is a clue.
Agreed. Anybody serious about their edges would at least know what sort of rock he was honing on.

Also I have had some pretty underwhelming shaves from some pretty sad razors, in barbershops. Just because a man says he is a barber and has a shop, doesn't mean he can shave or that he can hone a razor. But, if a razor is well honed in the first place, all the user should ever need is a finisher, as long as he doesn't use CrOx on a hanging strop. The bevel should never need resetting if you don't abuse it like that, or hone a frown into it, or a heel hook.
 
Agreed. Anybody serious about their edges would at least know what sort of rock he was honing on.

Also I have had some pretty underwhelming shaves from some pretty sad razors, in barbershops. Just because a man says he is a barber and has a shop, doesn't mean he can shave or that he can hone a razor. But, if a razor is well honed in the first place, all the user should ever need is a finisher, as long as he doesn't use CrOx on a hanging strop. The bevel should never need resetting if you don't abuse it like that, or hone a frown into it, or a heel hook.
A barber shaves a lot.of faces. Don't you think at least a few times a year that the razor will get slight dings and wear and tear from use? It would also stay wet longer as it's used a lot more than we do as shavers. Once a day is alot for us. How many shaves would a barber do? No idea. 15-20 doesn't seem like too many. But I really don't know.
 

timwcic

"Look what I found"
Over the years I purchased some excellent natural hones from retired barbers. Guess they all head to Florida. The all had basically the same story about SR. When they purchased new from the supply house, they would pay a separate charge to condition the edge to their standards. Some suppliers also gave away at no charge when they purchased consumables. From that point they mostly used Coticules or Thuringians to refresh when needed and leather keep them going for years. On the rare occasion that they were dropped, they told me that they usually broke. They all said, “never try to catch a falling SR”. You can put that in the bank
 
When I started straight razor shaving in the early 70’s I ordered my razor, strop and stone, (6-inch translucent Ark) from my barber.

I maintained that single razor for over 10 years with just the Translucent and strops, 10-20 laps every few days or so. Years and hundreds of stones later, my favorite edges are Arks and Jnats.

My personal razors rarely see more than a vintage Surgical Black, Translucent or Jnat for touchup and of course strops. Stropping is way Underrated.
 
I'll bet that there are a lot of barbers who do only a hand full of straight shaves per year.
I think of barbers as years past as well as the present time. We've all I'm sure seen lots of those razors on eBay that are worn badly. I don't think those would be in their condition if they were used a few times a week.
 
I've not done this, but FWIW - I'm sure you could do it with various hard novaculites.

Even something like a translucent ark is f-ing aggressive with a roughed surface, all you'd need to do it have one side burnished and one side fresh. Equally I'm pretty sure a worn surface on a dense Washita would give a very good shave. If a novaculite has very low friability you can manipulate it to do all sorts of things.

(Also - oil vs water has quite a large impact on how lots of stones perform, ime. One could play around with that too.)
Worn side of a very dense washita DOES give very good shaves with the right touch and good stropping.
 
I think of barbers as years past as well as the present time. We've all I'm sure seen lots of those razors on eBay that are worn badly. I don't think those would be in their condition if they were used a few times a week.
I was thinking of the present day barber who doesn't know what the stone he got from his grandfather.
 
I think of barbers as years past as well as the present time. We've all I'm sure seen lots of those razors on eBay that are worn badly. I don't think those would be in their condition if they were used a few times a week.
I was referencing present day barbers who only need the one stone that don't know what it is.

The edges of my down hill skis have stayed sharp for decades. It's not because they need very little maintenance.
 
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