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Fernsler Ruby Hone

SliceOfLife

Contributor
So I picked up one of these on a recommendation.

I flattened it on both sides and polished it up to 800grit wet/dry


I honed on it and it felt both fast and fine. Not dissimilar to a good swaty. Checked the edge and it looked solid. Not a lot of evident damage, pretty clean profile, tight scratch pattern... like a high grit (8-10k) Jsynth.


Shaved with it.

Wow. I don't even believe overhoning is a thing, and damned if this hone didn't let me overhone to a ridiculous degree. The edge crumbled on my first pass. I wasn't ten seconds into my shave and I looked like someone threw acid on my neck. The razor wasn't even a particularly delicate one.

Images are before and after the shave.

I'm going to have to mess around with this thing, try it dry instead of with water, change up the razor, etc. But damn, I've probably used a thousand hones at this point, if not more. I've never seen a hone absolutely destroy a razor edge like this before. Who out there uses one of these things on a regular basis? Any trick to it I ought to know?
 

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Sebastian loves those and he is all about naturals. They are shellac based hones and I think you are supposed to use the bottom with lather and the top dry to finish. Did you use any petroleum jelly on it to condition it?
 
Sebastian loves those and he is all about naturals. They are shellac based hones and I think you are supposed to use the bottom with lather and the top dry to finish. Did you use any petroleum jelly on it to condition it?
Yeah i like them really....actually the shaving edge is very sharp. It has two sides, one is the coarser one the orher the finer one.

You can see it on the reflection, one side reflects more then the other. This is the finer side...

I use them with water and dish soap/hand soap.

I actually would it rate around a 10k, its comparable to my Naniwa Specialty.
 
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SliceOfLife

Contributor
Yeah, they were both lapped to the same level and the bottom was clearly much coarser under the razor. I'll try giving it a good jelly rub and then finishing dry.
 
Yeah, they were both lapped to the same level and the bottom was clearly much coarser under the razor. I'll try giving it a good jelly rub and then finishing dry.
"They propose to use them with warm but not hot water...."

Wrong statement from my side, sorry
 
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SliceOfLife

Contributor
Really? The directions I've seen said dry; but there are a few different types out there, perhaps it changed over time?
 
Really? The directions I've seen said dry; but there are a few different types out there, perhaps it changed over time?
...i just googled Fernsler Ruby Hone Instructions...

Corrected: you were right, they say its possible to use dry which also inclines then it could also be used wet
 
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These are shellac hones IIRC, and I seem to remember something about not lapping them, but it's been a long time ago.

Cheers, Steve
 
Yah... Fernslers can kill your edge in a hearbeat if yer not careful. They shatter pretty easily also.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
Water seems the culprit to be honest. I managed to finagle an edge without a wire/foil on water... but it took more pressure than most people would likely use... even on a clean surface. Not sure how exactly these shellac hones cut differently... but it seems like even water provides too much cushion and keeps the surface abrasives from making good contact. After the first few strokes there was a very "air hockey table" sort of feel to the fine side. It polishes to an insane degree (comparable to top end modern synthetics), but with a TON of wiring of the edge. Using it dry seems (under the scope) to provide much more success. The hone seems plenty fine; though there's the odd bit of edge damage that the shave will have to tell the significance of.

After this testing I did give it the recommended vaseline rub, and we'll see how that impacts things. I sort of suspect the composition involves oil, and that's why you add petrolatum to maintain it. It would also explain the problem with water (and why LATHER or dry is used... not water)... if the surface actually repelled water (the way oil-soaked hones do, and the way this hone appears to).
 
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SliceOfLife

Contributor
These are shellac hones IIRC, and I seem to remember something about not lapping them, but it's been a long time ago.

Cheers, Steve
The directions actually recommend lapping them with sandpaper or emery paper to refresh the surface "good as new", if they ever seem to turn crappy on you.
 

Dcaddo

Moderator Emeritus
I got one of these in the mail today and messed around with it for a few minutes on my lunch break. It’s the strangest little hone I’ve ever held. It feels like plastic but cuts steel like mad. I’ll dress it up tonight and get a few shaves under my belt and report back. 02024E3A-454B-4CE5-B35F-EC20066F67D1.jpeg6F490BF5-780D-41D2-9F10-47D49D5938F7.jpeg
 
I like using them with lather, helps keep swarf from embedding in the waxy binder. Don't like using them dry at all. Water is ok, but lather keeps the bits floating until I rinse. Fragile buggers... gotta be careful.
 
The ruby hone is probably one of the most true to period barber hone experiences if I had to guess. The way the binder is I suspect they are either good, terminal from heat or exposure to oils and obviously wrong, or shattered. I have gotten a lot of ruined b hones lately in lots. Ones just stored with other tool grade stuff in oils where they degraded to the point they are like hone-shaped crayons. A drag..
 

duke762

Contributor
I think they are some king of hard wax, smelled like crayons while lapping. If you try to lap one to remove surface problems, they act funny. Use W/D sand paper. It will load the paper really, really fast and will stop doing anything to the surface. I only used pull stokes on the W/D and a fresh spot on the sheet after every stroke until I got the surface smooth. I think I used a lot of 400 grit. After it's resurfaced it will burnish itself nicely on loaded 400 grit with light pressure.
 

Dcaddo

Moderator Emeritus
Just picked up another one of these that was NOS and too cheap to pass up. Out of a sample size of two they are very consistent, basically identical. 5F251E4C-C933-4D6B-8E95-367ECD6481B6.jpeg
 
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