Convex combo 8x3 Ark from Jarrod, arrived.

Discussion in 'Hones/Honing' started by kohalajohn, Apr 12, 2019.

    When I started honing I bought ebay specials. I managed to collect about 35 of them. Then I proceeded to identify the "good" brands from the "bad" brands based on my shaves. Once I got the honing thing sorted I went back to all those nasty cuss razors that didnt shave worth a darn and got them all shaving as good as the next.
  1. Yeah, Jim, at 200 shaves, you're doing well. I"ve been at this for three or four years and still consider myself relatively new to this.
  2. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor Ambassador

    Thank you, sir. It helps to have that relativity.



    Today I achieved a sharp, comfortable, truly shave ready edge off the Double Convex Arkansas 8X3.

    This is the first edge off the stone with which I've been completely happy. The shave and honing report is linked here.

    It really is a very nice edge on this black Devo razor.

    Happy shaves,


  3. The bevel was reset on the Chosera 1K without tape, and then honed on the Double Convex Ark. I used both sides and then used both sides again. It's not an easy stone for me yet in the sense that I don't know when I'm finished, but I decided it was likely sharp.


    Jim, could you tell us more about this? When you say you used both sides and then both sides again? And is the number 197 the number of laps?
  4. 197 is how many straight razor shaves he's had so far. He posts a count with each shave report.

    He used both sides - started honing on the soft side, then flipped the stone over to hone on the black side. Then, for some reason decided the blade probably wanted some additional work on the soft side, so he started again on the soft side, then finished up with some laps on the black side before shaving.
  5. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor Ambassador

    Ay, sorry for not being more clear.
    I've now completed 197 SR shaves and counting.

    In honing the black Devo yesterday I first established a new bevel with the Chosera 1K. I did this because I knew the previous edge and bevel had been done with tape. I don't use tape. Whether this step was at all necessary I don't know, but I figured it wouldn't hurt. Perhaps the Double Convex Ark would make the Chosera 1K work unnecessary and redundant.

    Round One

    I next honed on the "soft" side of the DCA 8x3. As you know the soft side is quite hard but it is softer or faster or more of a bevel setter than the DCA's hard, black side. I did a lot of work here using Ballistol and water in various ratios. My strokes were half strokes mostly but also circles and X strokes + movements in every direction on all parts of the stone. I was trying to mostly go by feel and get rid of every spot which felt rough.

    Following that I did the same thing on the Hard Black Translucent side of the DCA. Maybe more X strokes.

    On both sides I decreased pressure towards the end.

    Round Two

    After doing all that I wasn't convinced the edge was sharp enough (the only test I am at all good at using here to check the edge is the thumb pad test). Thus I repeated the work on both stones. On the soft tan side I did maybe 25% as much work as during the first round, or less.

    On the hard black side I did about the same, or somewhat less, work as during the first round.

    I continued until I could feel nothing rough in any area of the blade on any area of the stone. I also focused some effort on areas which visually looked like they needed more work, but mostly I was going by feel. Finally it felt smooth everywhere. Then I did many more very light strokes.

    [My stone has an area of the stone I think might be a bit rough. I'm not counting that area in the above statement. I may do something with sandpaper to smooth that rough area of the stone, but I'm not sure I have to. It's a corner and not a big deal, and it might be my imagination.]

    Other than during the Chosera bevel setting I didn't count strokes at all but I did roughly the same thing to both sides of the stone throughout.


    I generally follow the same way of stropping. I do this after every shave and before every shave and after honing. My current main strop is the hanging horsehide which is about 3.5 inches in width and very stout.
    • About 10 or so laps on my Tony Miller linen strop.
    • About 25 laps on horsehide.
    • About 10 laps on denim (the horsehide strop has a connected at both ends, and otherwise separate denim strop).
    • About 25, or more, strops on horsehide.
    Further Comments

    The shave test seemed during the shave to prove the razor's edge. I shaved yesterday in the late afternoon, maybe about 3:30 or 4. I'm not sure exactly when. My shave seemed very good all through the evening and now, the next morning, late morning, it still seems like it was a good and close shave.

    Plus, I enjoyed the edge.

    "Honing’s about what you’re feeling with any one part of the edge at any one time on any one part of the stone."

    My idea with this stone is to follow what I think Jarrod means in the statement above. I don't think of it as gospel, but it corresponds with my beliefs which are entirely informed by the little experience I have honing. I think honing is about removing the metal which when removed reveals the underlying sharpness. Sort of like how Michelangelo talked about sculpting but infinitely more simple. Not that I'm a Michelangelo of sculpture honing. I'm just fumbling along and sometimes getting a really good edge.

    I believe Round Two was necessary. I can't say that I rationally know that for sure. Nor can I say why I went back to soft stone.


    I used throughout the honing my little microscope to monitor the edge but I'm not always sure what I'm looking at. I know what I see, but not exactly what it all means. Still, it doesn't hurt and it's easy to do.


    It would be nice to know how much work to do, and when to quit, and be much more exact in everything related to honing and this stone. It has not been a stone I found intuitive or easy or simple, but I think I've figured it out. Of course I thought that prior to the previously honed razor which didn't turn out well at all, so maybe it's just a broken clock being right occasionally.

    At any rate, my black Devo now has a nice, sharp, smart, comfortable edge off the Double Convex Ark. I hope I described well enough what I did to get it there.

    Happy shaves,


  6. The more fresh edges you hone the better. When I was sorting things out I used to shave one pass 3 x a day when I had time. If you do that on the weekend you can get a weeks weeks of shaves and hones in 2 days.
  7. There’s an interesting thought indeed!

    Even still I usually stick with one blade and skip around a few honings each stone until I find the right edge. It’s tough to make real tangible progress or judge things fairly when you can’t remember the last honing session.
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  8. Thanks Jim.

    And for the idea of daily honing, just to learn, totally yes to that. When I was learning this convex ark I would (and sometimes still do) shave morning and evening, just to have an opportunity to hone twice a day.

    Hone on the new stone, strop, shave, repeat twelve hours later. Week after week. I find over time the razor improves. I don't know if it's the addition of hundreds of laps that is doing it, or slow improvement in my ark technique. Maybe both.

    The "soft" side of the double ark is interesting. It's billed as a bevel setter. And it is, but by using light pressure, I think it should also work as an intermediary.

    The soft ark has exactly the same novaculite particles, and exactly the same size of them. It's just compressed a bit less. Technique seems to be similar to jnats and coticules, in that instead of progressing from stone to stone, you progress by lightening your pressure.

    But then yeah, when do you change from the light stone to the finishing black? And how gradually do you lighten pressure on the finishing black?

    Just hone a whole bunch a times, I guess. I'll find out.

    It's frustrating to be reading this now. I'm in hawaii, on the humid side of the big island and my straights just can't survive here. So I'm stuck doing DE while my lovely arks and straights are back in Vancouver.

    I guess I shouldn't expect any hugs of sympathy for the above. So never mind.
  9. I always killed the edge and started at the 1k. I didn't want to refine a shaving edge time after time to finally get it just right. I wanted to do it from the get go. And when I nailed it I would dull it on glass and start over on the 1k to repeat it. Just the way I did things.
  10. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor Ambassador

    You're right no hugs of sympathy for you in Hawaii. Lucky you.


    Might something like this work for you. Link. Especially if the razors were lightly coated with Ballistol (which Jarrod says is allowed with this).

    I'd love to give Hawaii some of my time, but doubt it's in the cards for me as a working man of fairly meager means. You never know though and anything can happen.

    Enjoy it for me. I'll enjoy SR shaves for you. Even Steven.

    Happy shaves,

  11. Yeah man I’d wrap in VCI paper or even cosmoline if I had to.
  12. Next time I will. I miss my Straights.

    A cloth wet with ballistol and a wipe after every shave should do it.

    Last year we had a very humid time. My beloved Bismarck suddenly pockmarked. I grabbed gun oil but was too late.
  13. MO1


    This is what i follow. plus placing it in a box with dehumidifiers.
    Humidity in Japan is unbearable and even worse for razors.
  14. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor Ambassador

    The average humidity where I live is 71. The average morning humidity is 87. Of course, it's lower in my house with heat via radiators and with the AC in the summer, but still.


    My razors do fine in the device pictured. I don't even put Ballistol on them.

    Not saying anything about your razors or where you live because how could I know.

    Happy shaves,

  15. MO1


    Looks nice though.
    I have ballistol at hand and can just buy dehumidifiers at the local 100 yen shop.
    The ballistol is only a precaution because the summers here have 100% humidity or very close to it, like being in a sauna.

    I have made the procedure easy though, box with dehumidifiers in a box in a cupboard and a rag soaked with ballistol on the wall next to the cupboard.
    Wife was only complaining about the ballistol smell for a few days then it dissappheard lol.
  16. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor Ambassador

    My latest shave with the "350" razor, a shave test, wasn't great.

    Link to shave report.

    Link to discussion of the razor and the DCA.

    I've gotten exactly one truly shave ready edge off the DCA, but that's enough to convince me it has great potential. The failure razors are blades which may be impossible on any stone (I'm not sure of them either way yet), but even one of them - the "350" - is better with the latest honing.

    Happy shaves,

  17. Ordered one of these the other day. Can’t wait for it to come in.
  18. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor Ambassador

    I suspect it will be a lot of fun for you.

    I have had only one really successful edge come off the stone, but that edge is very sharp, smart, and comfortable. I want more DCA edges!

    "Honing’s about what you’re feeling with any one part of the edge at any one time on any one part of the stone."

    There are numerous tips in the various videos on the stone. According to the little I've learned so far a few things are very important. I hope you'll teach me what's even more important.
    • I believe what I've quoted from Jarrod here is hugely important with this stone. You're honing a small portion of the blade at any moment with this stone. Attend to that part!
    • It seems to me the direction and angle of the razor relative to the stone are not important. That's what I see on the Devo videos and what I see Jarrod doing (sorta, but watch him at slow speed).
    • Start with pressure and get lighter as you go along. On both sides of the stone.
    • I've used half strokes and circles and X strokes successfully.
    • The Ballistol water mixture is worth trying. I've used 1:4 and straight Ballistol and everything in between.
    I know this kinda sounds weird but there are two ways to approach the stone.
    • As if it were flat, ignoring the stone's curvature and all that.
    • As if it's a sphere, attending to rubbing all parts of the edge on all parts of the sphere.
    That may make sense only to me, but my feeling so far is both of these approaches work. Even weirder is my view that these two apparently different approaches to the stone are not mutually exclusive.

    Obviously I'm also new to the stone and anything I know about it is "early days." I suspect I'll know a lot more in a few months.

    I look forward to your input on the DCA. I have a lot to learn about how to use it. Nothing I think I know is gospel or chiseled in stone. I'm thrilled with the one super sharp edge I've gotten with this new stone.

    Happy shaves,

  19. I tend to do the x stroke on my hones, got used to it with narrower cotis so I feel like it’ll be a good experiment with this stone.
    I also have a couple razors that need a rolling x to hone properly. Will be interesting to see what they will be like on this stone too.

    All I can do now though is play the waiting game. Since I’m in Canada though I feel like it’ll be a longer wait than for some people.

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