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Burr Method Bevel Setting - What Mistakes Can You Make?

I feel It's pretty straight forward and fool proof. Only logical method IMHO. It seems to me the only 2 mistakes you could make are not flipping the razor and getting the bevels uneven, or possibly failing to remove the burr totally (most likely caused by not refining the bevel on the bevel setter).

Can you think of any other mistakes that can be made with this. Is it even possible to create a burr on one side of a razor, recreate it on the other side, refine the bevel further to remove burr.....and not have the bevel set?

I've been honing some banged up restores. I check for issues with a scope then went to bevel set. Shapton Pro 1500 with a little slurry so the stone doesn't load so bad. Most slurry gets washed off with further wetting aiding in burr formation. 50 half strokes a side until burr formation. I count down by 10 from there. 40 halfs per side,30....20,10,5,2's for a bit then conventional passes to finish things out. (pardon the lap counts...I have to) It's purely a tactile thing. I don't feel the need to even look. I don't see any way to fail with this method unless you hurry to get off the bevel setter. This was a hard lesson learn for me. Slow down and spend some quality time on the bevel setter.

I honed 4 ratty, abused knives this week. They never had proper bevels in their whole life. Using the burr method, they will be useful again. They will also most likely be the sharpest thing the owners have ever handled.
 
The same mistakes you would make setting a bevel any other way. Lifting the spine slightly for a stroke can set you back. What i think is a mistake about this way is that it encourages people to flatten their razors instead of learning to hone them as they are. You can straighten and flatten every razor you have and shave a lifetime this way. Out of the gate the razor will be subjected to drastic amount of metal being removed at least once. No critique now on it. I have done it myself long time ago. I dont sharpen my knives to a bur either. Not necessary. If you have an adequate feel for sharpness you dont have to. There are other ways to verify a bevel is set. But a bur achieved on both sides means the bevel is apexed but it wont be as keen as it should be until the bur is removed completely.
 
As a relative newb honer, here are the mistakes *I* have made.

1.Not knowing what a burr feels like. It's often subtle. Sometimes it's massive and unmistakable but usually it shows up quick if you know what to feel for.

2. Improper pressure. You need a little pressure at this stage, yes. But it's got to be biased toward the edge enough that you're not just grinding away at the spine (unless that's your thing), but not so much that the edge deflects up. This problem isn't limited to the burr method of course.

3. Not fully removing the burr

3a. Using too much pressure on the burr removal strokes and creating more partial burrs, so prolonging the process.

I still use it sometimes but it doesn't take many strokes at all. Yeah, you can take a lot of steel off if you're not careful (or if you need to) but you don't have to.

50 strokes on one side sounds like a lot to me.
 
I think the reason that using the burr method has such a good reputation is that most inexperienced people will not remove near enough steel on their first stone, while forming a burr is far more than enough steel removal by definition. When the burr is removed it leaves an apex that still needs quite a bit of refinement for a razor. This can be accomplished at the next grit but is far more efficiently done starting at the same grit that the bevel was set at. If you have the experience to determine when the bevel is refined enough after burr removal to go to the next stone, you can also determine when you have reached that state without forming the burr in the first place.

If you want to use the burr method, by all means do it. It is a time tested and probably the easiest method to teach and explain, but not the only way.
 
One other thing that is common is applying more pressure in the spine. As opposed to slightly torquing the pressure to the edge. My spine used to be beat to hell and I still had some time left before the bevel was set. 4 1/2 hours for my first gold dollar.
 
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“It seems to me the only 2 mistakes you could make are not flipping the razor and getting the bevels uneven, or possibly failing to remove the burr totally”



You hit the nail on the head, how do you get rid of the burr and make a shaving edge? If you break it off, you have a ragged edge.

Making a burr does not guarantee that the bevels are meeting. But if you do make a burr cut it off straight and even, by jointing the edge. Lightly drawing the edge on the top corner of the stone. This will cut off the burr cleanly. If you have flattened the bevels, you can easily bring them to meeting again without a burr in about 15-20 lite laps.

You can create a burr and still not have the bevels meeting fully or have a chip.

The goal of creating a burr also induces the use of more pressure and straight multi lap honing, can easily cause a frown. If you use half laps, do only 10 laps on each side at a time and arc you laps. You do not need to arc the stroke much, start with the toe at the edge of the stone and end with the heel at the opposite edge or just past it about a ½ inch on the bottom of the stroke.

That little bit of arc (X lap) will cause you to vary your pressure and not cause a frown, and if you only do 10 laps you grind the bevels evenly and not create a burr or at least not a big one because when you flip you grind it off. Also for your finish half laps use only edge leading laps to refine the edge.

The Calton video demonstrates where he fights the burr all through the video and the edge is ragged, as the burr breaks off. Excessive edge trailing laps are creating more of a burr as opposed to cutting it off with edge leading laps.

His finished edge still has a burr, note the shiny reflections from the side view in the middle of the blade, (100.05) that is a burr.

That video is a testament, why not to set the bevel by creatin a burr. The better goal is to try and not create a burr, or at least make a small one and continually remove it. The video makes the mistake most knife guys make, it is difficult to make a sharp and comfortable shaving edge, when comfort is not ever a consideration, sharp is easy.
 
This is quite an interesting thread / question. Here are some hastily cobbled together thoughts of my own...

I feel It's pretty straight forward and fool proof

Basically - yes. Creation of burrs to set a bevel works incredibly well on a SR.

getting the bevels uneven

This is possible with uneven pressure or strokes, though it might not matter all that much tbh.

failing to remove the burr totally

Failing to remove a burr is actually relatively difficult on a SR because of the way you hone it. And you’re certainly right that it would be from not doing enough on lower grits, and jumping straight to a very fine finisher. The steel can also have a big impact. Though frankly I think you’d still be unlucky whatever way.

Also - even burrs in the form of wire edges are very easy to see / detect.

Is it even possible to create a burr on one side of a razor, recreate it on the other side, refine the bevel further to remove burr.....and not have the bevel set?

It is in theory, just, though it’s rather uncommon. If you were to manage this on a SR you’d probably have something with quite defective geometry, steel, or both.
 
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I think the reason that using the burr method has such a good reputation is that most inexperienced people will not remove near enough steel on their first stone, while forming a burr is far more than enough steel removal by definition.

I emphatically agree with the first part of your sentence, and it is reason enough for newbies to start with the burr method.

The second part, I have found, to my surprise, is not quite true, at least if you want the best possible edge. I can get a nice even burr all the way along the edge, and then look under the microscope and see that I am reaching as little as 10% of a given section of edge, the rest being whatever deeper grinding or coarser stone scratches still remain.

I have to keep honing in order to get to the entire edge showing only the scratches from the current stone. And if I do, I am rewarded with a better edge.
 
I emphatically agree with the first part of your sentence, and it is reason enough for newbies to start with the burr method.

The second part, I have found, to my surprise, is not quite true, at least if you want the best possible edge. I can get a nice even burr all the way along the edge, and then look under the microscope and see that I am reaching as little as 10% of a given section of edge, the rest being whatever deeper grinding or coarser stone scratches still remain.

I have to keep honing in order to get to the entire edge showing only the scratches from the current stone. And if I do, I am rewarded with a better edge.
As I said "When the burr is removed it leaves an apex that still needs quite a bit of refinement for a razor. "
 
"Failing to remove a burr is actually relatively difficult on a SR because of the way you hone it. And you’re certainly right that it would be from not doing enough on lower grits, and jumping straight to a very fine finisher. The steel can also have a big impact. Though frankly I think you’d still be unlucky whatever way."

Not apparently for the video maker who is an accomplished knife maker. You on the other hand appear to be an accomplished knife honer.

The key word is “if. If you remove the burr and create a new smooth shaving edge.

The problem for some "Knife" guys is they fight the reality that honing a knife and honing a razor are different… with different goals.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
 
Ah, I read that, but I took to mean something else. Sorry about the misunderstanding.
Actually, on further thought I can see what I think is your issue with what I said.

To hopefully clarify the point that I was trying to make. If one took a refined apex at a given grit, formed and then removed a burr at the same grit, the apex would no longer be as refined as it was and need further refining that could be most efficiently done at the same grit before going to a finer stone.
 
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A couple of other thoughts...

Obviously the single most important thing that affects how burrs form and behave is the nature of the steel, and how it interacts with your abrasive. Softer, tougher steels are more difficult to raise and remove burrs consistently on. The size of the carbides must also have some effect, though I'm not sure how much consensus there is about their impact (?)

But then as you nudge past about 65 hrc it becomes it quite difficult to raise and remove proper burrs in the first place, especially on natural stones. To some extent this is obviated by using synths, but it can still be trickier.

I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who's used this method to set bevels on SRs made from particularly hard or soft steels. (The ones I've done, and it's only been a handful, have all been relatively similar old western steels).

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"Failing to remove a burr is actually relatively difficult on a SR because of the way you hone it. And you’re certainly right that it would be from not doing enough on lower grits, and jumping straight to a very fine finisher. The steel can also have a big impact. Though frankly I think you’d still be unlucky whatever way."

Not apparently for the video maker who is an accomplished knife maker. You on the other hand appear to be an accomplished knife honer.

The key word is “if. If you remove the burr and create a new smooth shaving edge.

The problem for some "Knife" guys is they fight the reality that honing a knife and honing a razor are different… with different goals.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

That certainly looks an interesting video, I shall have a proper watch of it later.

Certainly agree that if coming to razor honing from knife sharpening that it's important to have a decent understanding of both the differences of technique, and also as you say - the intended outcome.

To date I personally have never really had a problem in removing burrs* on a SR, and I actually think that knife sharpening has probably helped with that to a certain extent. In comparison to razor honing a huge amount of knife sharpening is really just about raising and removing burrs, and it means that I'm reasonably adept at detecting when and how that happens. Because it's a relatively infrequent part of razor honing I imagine there's the possibility that some people might not be so used to it (?) The other thing that probably helps is that I tend to use a reasonable number of stones in a honing progression, because I have a lot of them and find it interesting.

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One thing that's probably very obvious, but worth pointing out just in case... the reason I said that failing to remove a burr on a SR was relatively difficult, is because it's kind of an inbuilt part of the process. The overwhelming majority of razor honing is done with edge leading strokes, which is how you deburr steel. In comparison edge-trailing strokes will tend to raise them.

Assuming you've done it properly and your entire edge is subsequently in contact with the stone, deburring should happen naturally. There are certain deburring tricks that you can do on a knife that you can't really on a SR; microbevels, big pressure variations &c. but so far I've found that the simple act of honing a SR is happily enough.

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* Though the thing I do still find tricksy sometimes is even burr creation, removal, and honing of particularly curved or smiley razors. Which I assume (hope!) is probably just going to come from gradual improvement of technique through practice.
 
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“To clarify, if one took a refined apex at a given grit, formed and then removed a burr at the same grit, the apex would no longer be as refined as it was and need further refining that could be most efficiently done at the same grit before going to a finer stone.”

So, carry that thought further to an experiment on a 1k.

Set a bevel, fully set a bevel on a 1k. Joint the edge so the existing edge/burr is removed. If the bevel was fully set, 1. The bevels are flat from heel to toe, 2. The bevels are set at the correct angle, and 3. Meeting at a single edge, from heel to toe, if you only remove the edge, the bevels are still flat and in the correct orientation, 90% of bevel setting.

It will only take a few laps to create a new edge as you only need to remove a few microns of steel from the bevels to get them to meet again, 15-20 laps.

Jointing will remove any burr or micro flashing and create a straight or even edge. A smiling edge may not be straight but, it should be even.

A few lite laps on a clean freshly re-lapped stone will recreate the edge, as you are just riding on the tops of the 1k grit, you can get a very straight, smooth edge. Just washing the stone from any slurry will make a marked improvement to the bevel and edge.

If you joint it again, with even lighter pressure and add a layer of tape, you can create a micro bevel and even smoother edge from a 1k, 2-3 super lite laps, you are only honing a fraction of the bevel.

In short you are creating a very controlled edge where you control all the variables. If you break off the burr/edge in pieces and hone it haphazardly with a variety of strokes and pressure, the edge will be inconsistent, chippy and still have a partial burr.

The goal of consistent repeatable honing is, controlling as many variables as possible, creating a burr creates variables. But a burr can be delt with easily if you understand what is occurring and know how to deal with it.

If you can do this at 1k you can do it on any stone or progression.
 
“the reason I said that failing to remove a burr on a SR was relatively difficult, is because it's kind of an inbuilt part of the process. The overwhelming majority of razor honing is done with edge leading strokes, which is how you deburr steel. In comparison edge-trailing strokes will tend to raise them.”

So, everybody says that, but historical evidence, tons of desperate new honer threads and thousands of trashed razors tell a much different story.

The use of a microscope is a very telling example. Some folks see micrographs and try to understand them, issues, causes and interpret what they mean. Others say, the less I see the better my edges are.

Where’s my hammer?

In theory it is or should be simple.

“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”
Michelangelo

“So you would add the tape before moving onto a second stone in the progression...?”

I am talking about perfecting a 1k edge as an example of what is possible.

No, I do not hone a razor with a 1k micro bevel, but there are things you can do to perfect a 1k edge so when you do move up in progression you are polishing an already straight, burr free edge.

It is like polishing a knife, if you do not remove deep grinding stria your chances of removing them with higher grits are slim.
 
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rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
This is interesting, I hadn't considered it.

So you would add the tape before moving onto a second stone in the progression...?
A micro bevel increases the bevel angle at the edge. I can only see a need for that if; the base bevel angle is too acute to support an edge or you prefer a more obtuse bevel angle than that provided by the base bevel angle.
 
So, everybody says that, but historical evidence, tons of desperate new honer threads and thousands of trashed razors tell a much different story.

I certainly find it to be the case; you are much less likely to remove a burr with trailing strokes, it's not impossible, but it's a lot more difficult. Though I assume your point was more that initial deburring and subsequent steps were not necessarily always as easy as I've found it (?). I've only honed 5 razors from bevel set, so a small sample size, and I concede there's every possibility that the next one I do will be problematic in that regard. I just haven't encountered it yet.

Couple of q.s...

My best results have come from all natural progressions. Do you reckon the normally lower abrasive aggression in comparison to AlOx/SiC helps in terms of easy and even de-burring, and subsequent removal of scratch patterns?

When people have trashed razors as you mention above, what tends to be the cause and effect? Would they not be rectifiable?
 
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