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cant keep an edge, cursed.

i can hone my razor to the point of being shave worthy. Although it pulls like a bastard it still shaves. But by the time I get down one side of my face almost to the corner of my mouth, it is so bad i can go any further. What am I doing wrong? This is so frustrating! I hone the living crap out of the razor, I put 200 laps on it this morning on a Chinese River stone. am i not pushing hard enough? I am allowing it to glide on just a bit more then its own weight. Stropping i have a wood strop with the leather on one side. about 10 inches long. My god someone help. Save me from failing miserably :mad3:
 

ouch

Stjynnkii membörd dummpsjterd
As much as some folks make honing out to be a mystical art that may only be mastered by direct descendants of the Dalai Lama, I think the shaving part is harder to learn. That's the catch-22 of straights- when you know what you're doing, an edge can last a long time, whereas when you're new and still struggling to get a workable edge, you'll dull it quickly and have to start all over again.My suggestion- start by doing one pass with the grain using a DE/injector/weapon-of-choice. Use your straight on subsequent passes. This will minimize the inevitable blade dulling from the first, hardest pass. Now when you do your second and third pass (or more), it will be easier to concentrate on the myriad angles required for the blade to glide smoothly across your skin in various directions. Focus on pressure, angle, and feel, rather than simply removing hair. Many will argue that this will prevent you from mastering that first pass, but I think it will be a lot easier to get to that point once you feel more comfortable with blade in hand, and I think that's easier to learn on a partially cleared beard.
 
If the razor pulls, it is not sharp enough. Try a coarser stone to spead up the process. No need to put any downward force on the blade, I have honed many a razor with only the weight of the razor on a Norton 4/8K waterstone.

What type of razor do you have. If the blade is not made from quality steel, it will not keep an edge no matter how well you hone it.
 
the razor is an older boker. that doesnt say germany. just Boker. I have a 4000 king stone and the Chinese water stone. Thats it. I will go pick up an 8000 next pay if thats what i need.
 
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but there is only one way to say this, you need to practice your sharpening skills(again, I'm not trying to be a jerk). Sharpening a blade is an art, it can take years to master. The best thing to practice on is not that Boker, because you'll ruin it,quickly I might add. I learned how to sharpen cheap Chinese, Pakistani, and Afgan blades long before I moved to anything anywhere near as nice as a Boker.Assuming you know the proper angles of sharpening, that chinese water stone you're using is about as rough as you'll ever need after you have an edge started(unless you nick or roll the edge). I would finish off with a nice leather strop, with some sort of fine polish(simichrome works well) embedded in the leather.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
It "can" take years to master for some, but most of the time a few sessions should be enough to get at least a decent edge.

Before you drop coin on the 8k check out the huge lapping film thread. It might be a better solution in the short term. Or even long term.
 
The 8k will help and can produce a shave worth edge with very light finishing laps on water, "less than the weight of the blade"

Some Cnats or Chugs (Chinese hone of undetermined grit) are good finishers, others are not. If you have not lapped it on a flat surface with at least 220 grit wet/dry paper till a pencil line grid is erased cleanly and evenly (do this 2x to be sure) then take it up to 800 grit wet/dry paper you will not be able to produce an excellent edge off that stone.

Sometimes chugs are not able to produce an excellent edge at all based on what experienced people have written.

200 light finishing laps on water is what my cnat requires AFTER the bevel is set and I get to finishing. I don't use it much because a coticule produces a similar edge with a whole lot less effort.

Now, since your edge is so short in life I think you have a burr instead of a clean edge. I would drag the edge through something to remove any burr, like a pine board or a wine cork. This is a gentle process, not hacking a chunk out of the object. At that point go to the cnat for 200 laps and see what happens. If you are doing half-laps keep your counts convenient and low, say 30, then flip.

What is your strop count? I am a fan of moderately high numbers, say 100 laps if you are only on leather, or 60/60 linen/leather. Problem with higher strop counts is more chance to roll the edge by lifting the spine while stropping, or cutting the strop.

There could be something else going on if this was a flea-market or ebay special, and material needs hogged off the edge because of deep "patina" (for lack of a better word) the 4k won't remove this kind of material anytime soon. A 1k would take half to a full hour of honing to remove this material. I would measure the blade, calculate the angle, and decide if I wanted to tape the spine or not first. (I would probably bread knife the blade through about 1/2 the old bevel, or 1/32 of an inch, then profile as desired *this is extreme, but may be appropriate*)

As a side note, what does the edge *LOOK* like. Do you have a loupe? If not use a strong point light (I use a canister light in the bathroom) and look at the reflection (or lack of reflection) of the edge and see if it has anything funky going on. The loupe makes this easier. Mine is a 30x magnification, and was about $5 from Amazon.

Phil
 
i can hone my razor to the point of being shave worthy. Although it pulls like a bastard it still shaves.
If it pulls like a bastard, then it is not shave ready. New straight shavers always think the razor is not shave ready because the technique is lacking. You need to get it properly honed and then try to shave. I think it is difficult to learn to shave/hone in one sitting. It can be done but both skills take some time to learn

start by doing one pass with the grain using a DE/injector/weapon-of-choice. Use your straight on subsequent passes.

I like the advise, I did this for some time. I used a DE then my straight, then the DE again.
 
Try a film progression.

If you have developed a fin or burr edge, you will want to go down to at least 6u film, and I would go with 12u film. To ensure that you are initially getting a good bevel, you should PUT a burr on the edge on purpose. Hone just one side of the blade until you have a burr that can be felt with the fingertips on the other side of the blade, from one end of the edge to the other, with no breaks. Then hone the other side of the blade the same number of laps and you should feel the burr on the opposite side from end to end. Next, REMOVE the burr, with about 40 ordinary alternating laps on the film NOW your bevel is truly set, and you can start into your progression. Go to 6u film. Hone until you see improved results from the HHT and then another dozen laps. Next 3u film, same way, then 1u film. After 1u film, add a piece of damp paper between your film and your lapping plate, and give it another 40 laps. Now you should be able to float the razor 1/4" over your forearm and lop off multiple hair ends with one stroke. The HHT should be a solid "4". After hitting pasted balsa (.25u diamond or .5u CrOx) you should have a very strong HHT4 and the face shave should be superb. The razor should not pull at all. If it does, start over again. You did something wrong.

Some guys like to deliberately spoil the edge in the first couple of stages of honing. To do that, just drag the edge across a beer bottle to JUST dull it. Just a good touch is all that is needed. You spoil the edge just to the point where it doesn't cut hair very well. A single stroke, extremely light, will do that for you. Then, when it once again will cut hair the full length of the edge after you hone it, however many laps it takes, you got it. Give it another dozen laps just to be sure, and move to the next stage.

Note that the HHT is very subjective. Results will vary from person to person, hair sample to hair sample, so the precise result is relative to the honer. Experience will tell you what is okay and what is sub standard.

Have you ever shaved with a known shave-ready razor? If you have only shaved with your own edges, I suggest throwing (a little bit of) money at the problem by purchasing a shave-ready razor and fine tuning your shave technique. www.whippeddog.com is an economical source. Check out his honing lessons deal, too.
 
Keep in mind that 90% or more of your honing "work" is done at the bevel setting stage. You must have a properly set bevel first and foremost. All of the polishing in the world won't help you if the bevel isn't where it needs to be. Take your razor back to your bevel setter and start from scratch, make for sure that you have a good bevel... it should be able to pop a hair off your arm effortlessly all along the edge before you move up your progession and begin finishing. Also don't let yourself get frustrated and use more pressure, it's only going to cause the blade to flex and the edge will deflect off the hone, essentially you'll just be polishing the bevel and not the edge.
 
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but there is only one way to say this, you need to practice your sharpening skills(again, I'm not trying to be a jerk). Sharpening a blade is an art, it can take years to master. The best thing to practice on is not that Boker, because you'll ruin it,quickly I might add. I learned how to sharpen cheap Chinese, Pakistani, and Afgan blades long before I moved to anything anywhere near as nice as a Boker.Assuming you know the proper angles of sharpening, that chinese water stone you're using is about as rough as you'll ever need after you have an edge started(unless you nick or roll the edge). I would finish off with a nice leather strop, with some sort of fine polish(simichrome works well) embedded in the leather.

Beg to differ, honing is a simple manual skill that can be learned quickly by anyone with average manual dexterity who is not intimidated by those who wish to make it some type or esoteric art.
 
Beg to differ, honing is a simple manual skill that can be learned quickly by anyone with average manual dexterity who is not intimidated by those who wish to make it some type or esoteric art.

Darn tootin'! There's no magic bullet and it is no more difficult than the use of or stropping of the straight. We've customers whom pay this shop repeatedly to hone upon their behalf; I sure wish my own time was so well paid to pawn off that task to another!

This is where I'd espouse creating the extra work of intentionally dulling on glass and starting anew with a bevel-maker stone, at least when that gets to cutting arm hair you'll know for sure that it is properly 'set'.
 
+1 to all the 'it ain't magic but it takes a little practice' comments. Doing the partial with the DE is what I did the first few times and it worked for me. I've only had to have one or two reconstructions since then. ;-}

However, you should start with a known sharp razor so you know what you are shooting for. It isn't clear you have ever had a sharp razor so I'm just covering that possibility.

Also, in cooperation with my sister service (I'm Air Force) - and if you are in the Navy or associated with it - I would be glad to hone your razor, test shave with it to be sure it hasn't been messed up, and get it back to you for the cost of postage. Drop me a PM if you want to do that.

Dan
 
Beg to differ, honing is a simple manual skill that can be learned quickly by anyone with average manual dexterity who is not intimidated by those who wish to make it some type or esoteric art.

+1 more. We have walked newbies through the process and had them getting fair edges right out of the box, and several have reported excellent edges after just a couple of razors. Film seems to be the quickest method to get really proficcient in. The most favorable factors for getting great edges early on are:
1 A large honing surface, at least 2-3/4" x 8"
2 A razor without any frown or dings or radical smile... the straighter the edge, the better.
3 decent motor skills and mechanical aptitude
4 comprehensive instructions and information (like this site)
5 A mentor pretty much on call the first few sessions. (like us badger-guys)
6 a willingness to listen and follow directions even if a step seems unneccessary and avoid taking shortcuts
7 Lapping Film. It's da shizzle, as Snoop Doggy Dog would say.
 
Beg to differ, honing is a simple manual skill that can be learned quickly by anyone with average manual dexterity who is not intimidated by those who wish to make it some type or esoteric art.

Tell that to the 10+ people a day that ask me to sharpen something for them. I agree that any idiot can sharpen something, but it takes genious to not butcher a blade.
 
+1 to slash all the way

I use the same technique with the lapping film with a free tile i got from a warehouse. Left a great edge that is not harsh at all. Make sure to only have the blade on the tile and not part of the handle (took like 100 laps to undo that). I then did 50 laps on the suede side of a leather strop then the nylon fabric then to leather. It really left a good edge, better that the "shave ready" came with.

Is anyone with me that a razor feels better after 3-5 shaves and stroppings?
 
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