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Gold Dollar 66 Bevel Set - How many laps?

Hi Everyone,

Still trying to learn how to bevel set and still not getting anywhere. Currently, trying with a Gold dollar 66 and on a Shapton 1k. The GD66 is flat and straight. The shoulder has been modified (and the toe) so it does it sit flat on the stone. Have tried several times with this razor to get a bevel but no luck.

On the weekend, I ran the edge along the corner of the stone to kill so that I am starting afresh. Meanwhile over a thousand laps later - probably closer to 1500, it's still not cutting hair. I try to shave my arm hair and it cuts a few but not really shaving at all. Guess the bevel isn't set.

My biggest problem is trying to tell if the bevel is set - have absolutely no idea but if it's not really shaving arm hair, then I guess it's not set.

Not sure if I just keep going until it is, but how do I tell. I would have thought that by 1500+ laps it would be set. Or was is set at 200 laps and I have over done it and the edge is stuffed. Not a clue.

With a GD66 and a Shapton 1k, what would be a ballpark figure for the number of laps required to get a bevel?

cheers
Andrew
 
First, stop making it harder for yourself by running the edge on something for absolutely no reason. Seriously, that helps you Zero.

Second but almost First as well, the exact number of laps to set a bevel is……..however many it takes. If you have a number in mind like 200 and then it is not set after 200….then what? It is done when the bevel is set. It is as simple and as complicated as that at the same time. There is no single answer.

That said, if the razor is flat and laying on the stone well then thousands of laps is crazy overkill almost for sure.

Are you familiar with the sharpie method? You color the bevel with a sharpie and see if your honing is reaching the edge. That is what you need to make sure is happening first.
 
Thanks LJS - yes did the Sharpie thing and the ink wore off evenly on both sides. I am assuming that it's touching the stone evenly and being honed. But as you say, thousands of laps is overkill, but no idea why I can't the bevel to set.
 
Thanks LJS - yes did the Sharpie thing and the ink wore off evenly on both sides.

Even wearing is not the key though. A good thing and we all appreciate even bevels, but the sharpie test should tell you if you are reaching the edge. After the number of laps you mentioned, I would hope that the ink would be gone all the way to the edge on both sides in just a pass or two. IF this is the case, then you are honing the edge but have other problems going on. This is IF you are reaching the edge - don’t skip that because the rest of what I say means nothing if you are not easily honing the true edge/apex. If you are then your other issues could be things like using too much pressure while honing (common), poor honing technique resulting in poor/rounded bevel, foil edge, etc. Try your sharpie test again at this point but using ultra light pressure and see if it leaves any black right at the very edge. Also, try mixing in some good stropping during your honing. Could even be that after some stropping your bevel will actually shave arm hair. Also consider some very short strokes or even a few sideways strokes. Are you using x-strokes? Again, none of these suggestions can help you if you are not already honing to the edge (proven by sharpie test).
 
Thanks for the help guys.

As far as the Sharpie test goes, the ink disappears within about 10 laps. Leading me to believe that the whole of the edge is touching the stone, all the way along the blade.

As for pressure - not sure how much is too much or not enough. After reading comments on forums for a while, everyone uses different pressure. Some say give it a bit, some say hardly any, others say give it a lot. This is where it's confusing - and I think in the end, you just have to work out for yourself.

Don't have any tomatoes in the fridge and I just don't get how chopping them up tests for the bevel. My kitchen knives, blunt as they are, will do that!

Ahh the Burr Method - tried that also. Couldn't get the razor to raise a burr, no matter what I did. I think the Method probably does work, but you have to know what you are doing and have a bit of experience. It's not for beginners, despite what it says. I know I will get people arguing with me about this, but isn't that what forums are for?

I have a couple of Gold Dollars that I have been mucking about with and they are both pretty much the same, just don't respond to anything that I do. In the end I just lose interest as it's like flogging a dead horse. A lot of pain but no gain. I stick them away for a few months and then get them out again and have another go. We are still in total lockdown here in Sydney, so it's a good time on the weekends to experiment. Maybe I have stuffed them and need to throw them out and buy a couple more. But as I said, they are flat and straight. It should be possible to set the bevel.

I have 7 razors in my rotation, 4 were professionally honed in the UK (thanks Joseph!) and I can pretty much keep them going by touch ups on the 12k. The others were ebay acquisitions, and I managed to get them shaving ok. But setting the bevel... maybe you have to go down to the crossroads at midnight with your 1k Shapton and sell your soul. That's pretty much what it feels like. .

cheers
 
I picked up a couple of Chinese razors from a local truck stop and found that the bevels on both were slightly convex like a bushcraft knife. I wound up having to use heavy pressure and raise some slurry on the stone to get the bevels flat to the stone.
But there’s no way that I can be sure that your blades have the same issue…
 
The point of the tomato test is to see if the blade slices into the skin cleanly with next to no pressure. You check the whole length of the blade this way. It's pretty obvious if part of the blade, like the last inch towards the toe, needs more work because it won't cut smoothly. Or maybe not at all. Once you're slicing into the skin consistently, toss the tomato and move on. Grapes probably would work too.

I've found arm hair to be a lousy test. It doesn't cut consistently and you have to shave a lot of it to really check the whole blade.

You said you are cutting some arm hair. Maybe you're closer than you think.

Burr method works fine. It's not the only way, but it's a way. Knowing what you're feeling for is important though. Sometimes the burr you raise is very fine. This may depend on the steel, how much pressure you're using, etc. Sometimes it's obvious. Sometimes less so.

Which brings up another question you had. Pressure. At this stage you can use a fair amount. The weight of your forearm at least. It helps to torque the blade a little so the pressure is biased toward the edge, not the spine. Circle strokes work well for me too. Speeds up the process.
 
If you are wiping out sharpie then you are at or close to the edge. You have a nuisance and artifact on the edge. It is a wire-edge, foil-edge, burr, whatever you want to call it.

What I said above still stands. Try some stropping followed by light honing. Near sideways strokes. Short laps.

Regarding pressure and online comments, they may all be correct depending on the circumstances…………but………fact is that for most razor work you want to float the blade across the stone in a smooth feeling motion at what many call “weight of the blade”. This means simply don’t push down. One of the gentlemen mentioned torquing toward the edge and this is normal….but this doesn’t imply adding pressure (he can disagree as I don’t mean to speak for him). It means to make sure the edge is riding and to make the force toward the edge and not all riding one the spine (totally agree). So to the disparities you read on pressure - if you are grinding down a nasty chipped blade then yes apply pressure and grind steel. As you get a good straight edge going, it is time to lighten up pressure and clean the bevel. You will be able to see this if you look especially with some magnification. Too much pressure flexes the blade and flexes the ultra thin edge and causes poor honing and results. Just slide the razor back and forth without pushing. Once you are past that stage and getting good bevel then you don’t need pressure. You need to hold the blade to the stone and you need to make sure the torque is toward the edge, but don’t be pushing down with pressure if you want a good razor edge.

So again, my opinion, you have reached the edge and have an edge artifact. Good stropping, side strokes, short strokes, and light pressure will get rid of this. You need more light strokes than more pressure strokes. I’ll also add you might want to experiment with going up to 2.5-3-5K range and see if that helps clean it up. Sometimes I go up to 3k and come back to 1k again. Just helps clean the edge and get a good one.

Good luck. You are close
 
LOOK at your bevel and at your edge. What do you see? A pocket or USB microscope is one way to examine the edge, but the best way is with a VERY bright single point of light (for a good reflection) and a 10x Belomo Triplex loupe. This is a superior loupe for our purposes because the focal length is long enough to stand off from the edge a bit and pose less risk of dinging the edge, and the field of view is useful. Greater magnification would be good but then the loupe would have to be twice as big and cost 3x as much. Get the 10x Belomo. It really is a game changer. Anyway look at the bevel and edge apex under that bright, bright light and study the reflections. You want zero reflection from the apex with the edge turned straight at your eye and the toe of the razor pointing directly at your light. You want an absolutely flat surface on your bevel face that goes all the way out to the apex. You want no extra line of reflection at the edge, which could signify a burr on the presumably finished bevel.

Counting laps is not the way to set the bevel. It is set when it is set. Perhaps you are having difficulty recognizing the burr. You may not feel it exactly, but you might feel a subtle difference between the side that was on the hone and the side that was off the hone, when you run your finger from spine to edge and off the edge. The bad news is it is a GD66, and the factory edge can be more like an axe than a razor so considerable steel removal is necessary. The good news is it is a GD66 and so if you hose it up, you are only out $4 or $5 at most.

I would re-lap your bevel setter at this time. Get that wild card out of the equation.

Setting the bevel of a GD66 on a 1k rock is a labor of love. I usually hit a 100 grit stone or sandpaper a couple dozen back n forth laps each side just pro forma, then raise a burr on at least a portion of the blade at 325 grit, bring it on home at 600, and polish it up at 1k or 2k. This, when using stones or sandpaper. You kinda have to be a bully when setting up a GD66 if you don't want to take all week. Shock and awe. Fire and fury. Take no prisoners. March or die.

In my burr method thread (and on my website to which I cannot post the link) there are pics of bevels, complete, incomplete, and burred.

So the question remains whether you actually achieved a burr or not. If you want to be sure, go 100 back and forth strokes with the weight of your arm on one side of the razor, only. Absolutely if you are there, you should be able to detect the burr. That is a lot of honing action, overkill for most razors. Feel one side, then the other. The burr should be sticking up on the side away from the hone. It will always be deflected upward. Got it? Okay, flip the razor and do 100 more on the other side, which should switch the bevel from one side to the other. Now you must hone that burr away.

So now, switch to regular laps with gradually diminishing pressure. Or use diminishing sets. For diminishing sets, do 10 strokes on one side, 10 on the other, with the weight of your hand only. Then do 8 on each side with the weight of your hand. Then 6 with the weight of the razor and a finger, Then 5 with the weight of the razor and a finger. Then 4 with the weight of the razor. 3, 2, 1, and a dozen laps in the normal manner with ultra-light pressure. Finish up with a half dozen pull strokes. Visit that link if you don't know what that is. Finally, a couple dozen very short x strokes, the lightest possible pressure. Pretend your stone is only 4" long and you will nail it. Every 5 short x strokes, add a pair of pull strokes. You should have a very clean bevel and yes, you will have "wasted" a lot of steel, but you will have your first GD66 bevel set. Test it on your wet thumbnail. With the weight of the blade bearing down on the thumbnail, it should grab nicely as you draw the blade across the nail. Cherry tomato is another good test, and the thumb pad test if you are careful. It should shave arm hair as good or better than your pocketknife. It won't shave your face, unless you simply love pain.

Once you are better at recognizing the burr and have more confidence, you can apply the burr method to better razors. You can even use a hybrid burr method. Hone one-sided until you have raised a burr on only part of the blade, flip and do the other side, and then use ordinary alternating laps to continue. You will have ONLY removed steel that would have been removed anyway by regular laps. Zero "wasted" steel. The heavy lifting will have been done, and the entire bevel will quickly be achieved. The burr will be honed away and shortly thereafter your bevel will be set from end to end.

Since significant pressure is used in setting the bevel, it is important to hone away all artifacts such as fin or wire edge (essentially the same). This is done with either a medium slurry, the enemy of burr and fin, or very light pressure with the "trick" strokes, meaning pull strokes and very short X strokes.

The best explanation I have for the short X strokes is that a burr is raised by significant honing action on one side of the razor. A fin or wire edge is formed when the burr is shifted to the other side, and the actual edge of the edge is elevated from the hone, but the more solid steel just behind the burr is not deflected, but is instead honed thinner. Flip and repeat, and you get more of the same. The absolute edge does not get honed, not worn, not made thinner, not worn away, but instead just hangs out there, switching sides to which to be deflected. The area just behind this wishy washy burr keeps getting thinner and more flexible, and joins the already flippy floppy burr, making it wider. Then more steel behind that gets thinned down. Eventually the fin edge becomes non self supporting and begins breaking away in chunks, creating a broken up apex and lots of "edge boogers" as I call them, or artifacts. This is fixable but if you don't know, then it is a bad way to start a honing progression. So it is the prolonged or repeated strokes on one side, coupled with clean honing water and heavy pressure, that form these artifacts. By reducing pressure and stroke length, this is easily corrected without slurry. And so the result is a nice clean and cleared edge. What I do know for certain is that this WORKS, and works very well.

Perhaps the first thing to try, if you have no way of examining your bevel, is to clean up what you have using pull strokes and short X strokes, then perform your bevel tests. But the sure way is to raise a burr, and take it from there. And no matter what you do, it will be easier when you can see your edge and think about what the reflections are telling you.

Once you nail it, try another GD66, and see if you can gitter done with less trauma to blade and stones. Then try an ebay rescue or two. Once you graduate to the hybrid burr method you will be competent to hone "decent" razors from respected makers.
 
With the Sharpie test the ink should come off the edge of the bevel in one lap. If not, the bevels are not flat.

The goal of setting a bevel is, 1. Get the bevels flat, 2. Get the bevels flat in the correct plane, (bevel angle). 3. Get the bevels to meet in a straight line, the edge from heel to toe.

When all three are achieved the bevel is fully set. Hair tests are subjective and can be use once calibrated, the edge cuts your test hair, (the first time) with the same amount of effort. Look at videos of guys doing arm hair test, it does not cut, so they try again until it cuts and claim the bevel set.

A 1k hair test is not the same as a 20k or Jnat finished edge.

Tomato test works but test the whole edge.

Just look at the edge with magnification and light, if you see shiny reflections, that is where the bevels are not meeting. A fully set bevel will look like a dull grey line. A 1k bevel set will still have some tiny reflection because of the burrs. As the bevel and edge are refined the shiny spots disappear.



Here is an old, excellent video on how to check for a full bevel set.

 
With the Sharpie test the ink should come off the edge of the bevel in one lap. If not, the bevels are not flat.

The goal of setting a bevel is, 1. Get the bevels flat, 2. Get the bevels flat in the correct plane, (bevel angle). 3. Get the bevels to meet in a straight line, the edge from heel to toe.

When all three are achieved the bevel is fully set. Hair tests are subjective and can be use once calibrated, the edge cuts your test hair, (the first time) with the same amount of effort. Look at videos of guys doing arm hair test, it does not cut, so they try again until it cuts and claim the bevel set.

A 1k hair test is not the same as a 20k or Jnat finished edge.

Tomato test works but test the whole edge.

Just look at the edge with magnification and light, if you see shiny reflections, that is where the bevels are not meeting. A fully set bevel will look like a dull grey line. A 1k bevel set will still have some tiny reflection because of the burrs. As the bevel and edge are refined the shiny spots disappear.



Here is an old, excellent video on how to check for a full bevel set.

Interesting vid. I have never seen the pin test before, and I will have to experiment with that a bit. It might just find a place in The Method if it is easier to use than the fingertip drag. Myself, I can see a burr pretty good under my work lights without magnification but recognizing a burr vs a clean edge is a big hanging point for many newbies.
 
Here also are some good micrographs of an edge, the first is an almost set bevel, the second is a fully set bevel. Note no reflections on the second photo.

Here is also an excellent post, with excellent micro graphs of a razor and edge from a new honer. The post takes the honer from bevel set to a finished edge with great micrographs at each stage of the honing progression and most important, what the edge looks like, or should look like at each stone in the progression.

It is a bit long, but post 42, Page 5,Photos 4 & 5 (upper right hand corner) show and edge that is close, (not fully set). Post 51, first photo, shows a fully set bevel.

This was the second razor the honer had honed. The micrographs are great for comparing your edges to in a synthetic progression.

Second Try At Honing


1 almost set .jpg2 full set .jpg
 
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