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Finishers that give the most comfortable edge (and are easy to use).

“I think the usb microscope is a great idea to look into and will do so to at least try to isolate some of the issues.”

Yes, you will see a lot more with a USB scope, the best benefit is that you can take good clear photos and post them, to get other opinions of issues and how to fix them.

The downside is, stopping in the middle of a project put the razor on the scope to take photos can become a PIA. Here is where the hand-held Carson MicroBrite or any other lighted loupe shines, for a quick look.

Learning to hone is about identifying problems, determining the cause and course of action for repair or improvement. Google (Second try at Honing) and you will find a great old post of a new honer with a USB scope, who documented his journey of taking a trashed razor from repair/ bevel set to shave ready with a pristine edge, with a little help. Again, the benefit of this post are the great, clear photos and the honers ability to follow direction.

This was the honer’s second attempt at honing a razor. If you do nothing but follow his progression and make your edges look like his photos at each stage/stone, you will end up with a great shaving edge and learn a lot in the process.

First learn to hone on synthetics, once you have mastered that, then introduce natural finisher. Bottom line, you can shave very well from a good 8 or 12k, stropped on Chromium Oxide.
 
“I think the usb microscope is a great idea to look into and will do so to at least try to isolate some of the issues.”

Yes, you will see a lot more with a USB scope, the best benefit is that you can take good clear photos and post them, to get other opinions of issues and how to fix them.

The downside is, stopping in the middle of a project put the razor on the scope to take photos can become a PIA. Here is where the hand-held Carson MicroBrite or any other lighted loupe shines, for a quick look.

Learning to hone is about identifying problems, determining the cause and course of action for repair or improvement. Google (Second try at Honing) and you will find a great old post of a new honer with a USB scope, who documented his journey of taking a trashed razor from repair/ bevel set to shave ready with a pristine edge, with a little help. Again, the benefit of this post are the great, clear photos and the honers ability to follow direction.

This was the honer’s second attempt at honing a razor. If you do nothing but follow his progression and make your edges look like his photos at each stage/stone, you will end up with a great shaving edge and learn a lot in the process.

First learn to hone on synthetics, once you have mastered that, then introduce natural finisher. Bottom line, you can shave very well from a good 8 or 12k, stropped on Chromium Oxide.
I have been following this thread with great interest and I just want to say that's a great thread that you referred to, thanks !

Also thanks for clarifying about the USB microscope vs the Carson MicroBrite.

I have been wondering where to ask about something like that. Many of the reviews that I have seen seem to indicate that those kind of devices are difficult to use, but I think that for the purposes of inspecting razor edges, they are just fine.
 
There is a bit of a learning curve with the Carson hand held scopes, mostly because of the magnification, ability to hold it steady, and movement from right to left is reversed, because there is a single mirror.

But if you lay the back of the scope on the spine and slowly move the scope so the middle of the glass in on the bevel, (middle of the lenz), then slowly adjust the focus on the bevel and edge, you can get a great picture of the bevel and edge. Once focused, hang your pinky on the spine and slide the scope up or down the razor using your pinky as a guide, it will stay in focus the whole length. If you need to adjust focus slightly lift the scope off the bevel slightly without having to touch the focus adjuster.

Sounds complicated, but once you actually do it, it is a snap. The light is also strong and AA batteries last a long time, not so with some other scopes. Additionally, it has an easy access off and on switch, (push button). If you shop around $10-15.

I have several scopes, some a bit pricy with “Quality” glass lenses, the MicroBrite has been my go to for years.
 
There is a bit of a learning curve with the Carson hand held scopes, mostly because of the magnification, ability to hold it steady, and movement from right to left is reversed, because there is a single mirror.

But if you lay the back of the scope on the spine and slowly move the scope so the middle of the glass in on the bevel, (middle of the lenz), then slowly adjust the focus on the bevel and edge, you can get a great picture of the bevel and edge. Once focused, hang your pinky on the spine and slide the scope up or down the razor using your pinky as a guide, it will stay in focus the whole length. If you need to adjust focus slightly lift the scope off the bevel slightly without having to touch the focus adjuster.

Sounds complicated, but once you actually do it, it is a snap. The light is also strong and AA batteries last a long time, not so with some other scopes. Additionally, it has an easy access off and on switch, (push button). If you shop around $10-15.

I have several scopes, some a bit pricy with “Quality” glass lenses, the MicroBrite has been my go to for years.
Technique explained Exactly like my handheld, but my mine seems to churn through AAAs. Its amazing how energy inefficient it is, but miles more interesting and useful to me than the loupes i have
 
There are 2 types, the old one took 3, AAA the new one takes 1,AA and is much more battery friendly and the light is brighter.

The older ones were battery eaters and the switch was difficult. The newer microbrite is also a bit wider and easier to balance on a razor.
 
As my honing journey continues, and I become proficient with more and more stones, I find that my skill and touch has evolved as well. I can get an edge now from my old Norton 4k/8k that I wouldn't have believed possible just 2 years ago.
10 years ago the old Norton 4k/8k was THE go to stone. I can get great edges off mine, but it needs frequent dressing.
A 12k naniwa is much easier.
 
That being said, it is so easy to find an Ark from Dan's that that was what I was very close to doing. Is there any way to prep the stone to be more like the edge you mention? I have ready so much about people using SIC powder to 600, then even going to 2k, then some even spending days burnishing it with a chisel. Any idea where the skin friendly edge would lie? I'm thinking about a translucent or black ultrafine from Dan's.
Send Kim (she's the service manager) at Dan's an email telling her what you are looking for in a finishing stone and she will set you up, the trans is more expensive because they are more in demand, but a black ultrafine will give you the same edge. I suggest using the stone as shipped from Dan's, they are flat and ready to go. I dress my arks with 200 dry lube S/C paper.

Get your edge sharp with a 12k naniwa, then tone it down with the ark.
 
“Does the progression leading up to the final edge make a difference on the end result?
A full nagura progression feels a little different then if i use a tomo nagura after an 6-8k synthetic. You are in principle always replacing the scratches from the previous step.”


Yes and no.

If you remove all the previous stria with the last stone, then you are left with just the finish off the last stone. For example, if you remove 1k stria with a 4k and you have honed to the edge, then you have a 4k edge. But if all the 1k stria is not removed and you have 1 and 4k stria when you jump to the 8k, you may have an issue.

It is common for new honers to do just that and after 8k they see 1k stria when the 8k polishes out the 4k stria and blame the 8k for leaving scratches. It did not, they were never removed by the 4k. if you continued to a natural finisher and do not remove the 1k, then the edge will be affected by the previous stones.

The same thing can happen with a Jnat and nagura, especially because nagura are not grit rated and they are natural stones so a “strata” progression may not be a grit progression in terms of fineness, or technique is not allowing a progression to occur.

In your example, if you jump to a Jnat from a near mirror, 8k edge, (near mirror, you know all previous stria up to 8k has been removed) any Jnat finish you apply will be pure Jnat and the edge finish is from the last stone.

So, you must quantify “grit rate” your nagura and your base stone. Not necessarily number rate the grit, but rate it in relation with the base stone and the other nagura, so you know where each fits in a progression and if they are all needed.

Really, fewer nagura are needed and a simpler 1 or 2 nagura progression may be better. And more important is knowing the capabilities of your base stone, do a 1k to diamond slurry finish to see what the base stone is capable of and how it finishes by itself. Sometimes you do not need to add salt to the soup.

You will need to experiment.


And, a mirrored or kazumi bevel means nothing if you are not fully honing to the edge, (that never happens).

"It is common for new honers to do just that and after 8k they see 1k stria when the 8k polishes out the 4k stria and blame the 8k for leaving scratches"

I remember seeing this a lot. Guys claiming their finisher is leaving scratches they can see with the naked eye... Lol nope. The way light works, a hazier finish off your mid range will often give a nice "mirror" that some polish off the finisher will improve to scatter less light and reveal beveler scratches. I've seen some low mag scope pics of guys "proving" their 10k+ leaves chips and scratches with pictures of 25+ micron scars everywhere.
 
I remember seeing this a lot. Guys claiming their finisher is leaving scratches they can see with the naked eye... Lol nope. The way light works, a hazier finish off your mid range will often give a nice "mirror" that some polish off the finisher will improve to scatter less light and reveal beveler scratches. I've seen some low mag scope pics of guys "proving" their 10k+ leaves chips and scratches with pictures of 25+ micron scars everywhere.
This is why I prefer to set my bevels with a convex coticule.
 
This is why I prefer to set my bevels with a convex coticule.
Don’t get me started. I use one fast coticule (slurry) with a small radius as the first step, one finer with a larger radius and the last midrange is a LV that is almost flat. The finisher now only need to work on a small part of the bevel. The effectiveness of the finisher increases because the affective area is much smaller. Depending on the state of the bevel i might just use two coticules.
 
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