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Battle of the Finishers

I'm continuing my week with the Ark and as mentioned earlier, I still have the impression, that my surface preparation is not yet fully completed but I wanted to check if there is any noticable improvement after all the work I put in since my first test on Monday.

So again, I prepared my test razor with a full 1k to 12k Naniwa Progression and ran it on the Ark (currently lapped at 1k WD paper and broken in with a kitchen knive).

- I still have some loose particles apparently coming off the surface that create deep scratch marks on the bevel and a clearly visible degradation from 12k finish (see image blow)

- The 12k edge is crumbling away (see also image)

- I still get a rather rough, rambling feedback running the razor over the surface as soon as I apply a tiny bit of torque

- Overall there is no improvement over the 12k edge neither in shaving performance nor edge finish, but a clear degradation.

This is how the edge looked like, after the Ark+lots of stropping. The nice & even polishing from the 12k Naniwa is gone & overlayed by deep scratches from the ark.
View attachment 1375465

The edge looked terrible after coming directly from the Ark. With a good amount of stropping however, I was able to improve it to the point, that I had enough courage to try to shave with it

The shave however was not rough at all. Actually, it was surprisingly smooth (no blood, no irritation not even Feedback from the aftershave), but also not especially clean and close with some trouble to cut trough my 2 day stubble around the chin. I was also shaving extra careful because I was expecting a rough ride. Overall the shave was acceptable, but a clear step below the 12k finish from before using the Ark. I still think it must be possible to improve the results.

Today the SIC powder arrived and I will continue lapping/finishing the Ark with it.
Here is an updated photo (800-900x) of my translucent black honed edge after 10 shaves. Just maintained on clean linen and leather. It does not seem like my hanging strop degrages the apex that much. I really like these Ark edges.

IPC_2021-12-17.18.31.30.1210.jpg
 
S3 E5. TI Special Coiffeur with hard translucent Ark finish.

I am happy to report that shave 15 of 15 was a win. Sharp and smooth edge with plenty of cutting power.

Like a not well-behaved child, you need to be firm with C135. The two best edges of Season 3 were the Naniwa 12k and hard Ark. And the big surprise across all three seasons was how well the Vermont slate performed.

I am now beginning to think about a Christmas special featuring stainless steel, so stay tuned!

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In the spirit of the thread, I have used an oil stone for the very first time this week.

I am on multiple self-imposed restrictions this month:

Only using one soap, SV Vetiver
Only using boar brushes (Decemboar FTW!)
Only using one of two razors (both Iwasaki, one tamahagane, one Swedish)
Honing each razor after each shave, trying out different finishers.

Yeah, I can't claim hardship here, except maybe for forgoing the luxurious touch of the badger.

But in stretching like this, I've felt obligated to pull in the Dan's Black Ark that has been languishing in my cabinet, and about time too.

They say that there's a learning curve on these Arkansas stones, and they say that surface prep is everything. I dove right in anyway.

The first foray did not go well. I was using too much pressure. The shave was not comfortable. The microscope revealed little dings along the edge.

So OK, I straightened the edge using some JNats that do that reliably, and came back to the oilstone, more cautiously and gently.

I've done that three times now, and the shave is very good, and different from the JNat/synthetic edges I'm used to. It doesn't feel quite as comfortable as those edges, but there is no irritation on the skin at all, and the edge is very very keen. I could get used to this.

These Arks are nice for sure. One thing, though. You will occasionally see an Ark fan say that he doesn't hold with waterstones, because they are so messy. That, I don't get. Oil is messier than water, every time.
 
That is pretty awesome, @Herrenberg!

I get you about the keenness of the Ark finish - I have been using the word crunchy. That said, the keenness of my Ark finishes has softened considerably as I have gained comfort using the stones and as I started using shorter and lighter strokes to finish - and throwing a few gentle short pulling strokes in doesn't hurt either :).
 
These Arks are nice for sure. One thing, though. You will occasionally see an Ark fan say that he doesn't hold with waterstones, because they are so messy. That, I don't get. Oil is messier than water, every time.
This ALWAYS baffles me. I wonder if they're teasing, realize they aren't.
 
That is pretty awesome, @Herrenberg!

I get you about the keenness of the Ark finish - I have been using the word crunchy. That said, the keenness of my Ark finishes has softened considerably as I have gained comfort using the stones and as I started using shorter and lighter strokes to finish - and throwing a few gentle short pulling strokes in doesn't hurt either :).
Crunchy is the perfect evocative word for how the edge feels. It's not just the keenness -- Method edges have tons of that, and they don't feel like this.

I will play around with your suggestions, and Mr. Boonshaft's as well.
 
Oil is only messy when there is to much applied, it only takes a drop or two. I find it no more messy than water and less so with water and soap.

I am with @Wid on this one. Only takes about 2 drops. I now tear half paper towels into 3 or 4 pieces to use to wipe my fingers and the blade. Just not a biggie. A few drops of Dawn to clean things up and, voila, all done!

I use high-quality food-grade mineral oil, so I could even do as the Colonel says:

 
This is something I've played with and would love to check my understanding of things.

The way I read the oil vs water decision is this: ensuring good contact between steel and stone, with some lubrication to "soften" that contact. Honing oil adheres to some stones better than water and reduces surface tension to allow good contact between steel and stone. Water does the same with Japanese style stones due to how it adheres to that material's surface.

Just like wetting agents are added to vinyl record cleaners to ensure penetration into the groves, oil wets the novaculite surface better than plain water.
- Due to surface tension?

Some other chemicals may wet the surface of novaculite similarly to oil, such as windex, simple green, lather, because they contain soap or some soap-like compounds with both polar (water) and nonpolar (oily) ends. But these could be rinsed off easily under the tap.

How do others think about this choice? I'd really love to learn more.
 
How do others think about this choice? I'd really love to learn more.
I have been using trans arks as a machinist to polish the cutting edge carbide and HSS tools since the mid 1970's, always with water and a bit of soap.
With my SR's and arks I have used many different oil combinations, but always go back to water and a bit of Dawn.
I don't really find oil that messy as I only use a drop or two, and finish with water and Dawn.

doug
 
Standard mineral oil is much too high of viscosity for use on Black/Trans Arks with razors. You really need something a lot thinner. My go to is WD40. No matter what lube is used, you want one that will lubricate and lift and keep swarf suspended. I've never seen anything lift and suspend like WD40. I even use it on soft Arks and fine India hones.
 
I usually use soap and water but I like thin oils too. I get more feedback with soap and water. As long as it's thin enough I really don't see much difference, they all end up at the same place for me. One of the problems with water is it will dry so I have to keep adding more as I don't want to take a pass on a dry ark. I don't know if it's just me or how my stones are finished but it sends my edges backwards. So there are trade offs.
 
I don't know if it's just me or how my stones are finished but it sends my edges backwards. So there are trade offs.

I can't say I've ever heard of that before. Would love to understand the particulars of how that happens.....Now I have to try it with my stones.
 
I usually use soap and water but I like thin oils too. I get more feedback with soap and water. As long as it's thin enough I really don't see much difference, they all end up at the same place for me. One of the problems with water is it will dry so I have to keep adding more as I don't want to take a pass on a dry ark. I don't know if it's just me or how my stones are finished but it sends my edges backwards. So there are trade offs.
I don't like water and dawn at all, but I love lather as a substitute for mineral oil. I like soft soaps(prorasos green) and old school tallow soaps. I keep tallow around, I've made soap on occasion and tallow soaps are great lather makers for honing on. I make sure to wash them all very well because tallow can get an off smell over time, though I don't think the soap will. I almost always prefer mineral oil, I love it.

P.S. MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY CHANAKHA, AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERY ONE! You guys are great and contain a treasure trove of knowledge that is actively being passed down to the next generation. My 8 yo son knows almost everything I know about stones and razors and he ain't even close to shaving. I learned most of my knowledge about stones here. Thanks guys!
 
It's really interesting that you say that. I haven't shaved straight off film for several months, but at the time the finish was acceptable but not necessarily great. I'm sure a lot of that was just me. But they were plenty keen. Lately as I've been learning my trans ark, it's really crazy how it doesn't feel "sharp" during the shave but it's as close or closer than my diamond balsa edges.

Like, every time I think, "this won't be a close shave" and then after each pass I'm shocked at how much it's actually taking off.
you must be doing something wrong because i use vermont and not get any iorritatiopn. its like a soft smooth edge for me. how long do you spend on the vermont
 
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