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Honing after every shave. Anyone else doing this?

For a while now I've been honing my coticule razor after every shave.

But honing lite. A hard coticule, under running water, only a dozen laps, very short three inch laps, as light pressure as I can.

Very good results.

The idea came from The Method. I enjoy The Method and I suspect one of the reasons The Method works is that it uses a honing medium that is super light duty. It has almost no effect. Such little effect that you have to do it after every shave.

And that works well.

So how about applying the theory behind The Method to stones? Can a stone be used so lightly that it becomes as gentle as pasted balsa?

So for a coticule that would be as described above. Make it as light as possible, so all it does is undo the damage caused by the previous shave. Like The Method does.

It's easy to do. I do it after the shave, as I have to rinse the razor anyway.

Anyone else doing this? Maybe folk have been doing this for ages.
 
At first I also wondered if it this would create unnecessary wear.

But I am trying to do it in such a way that it doesn't. That all it does us undo the effects of the previous shave and no more.

Previously I'd also go for say sixty shaves and then hone. The honing would be about forty or so laps with light slurry or oil. That would be enough to take me back sixty shaves, to remove enough metal to undo sixty shaves.

What I'm trying to do is make it so light that it only takes me back one shave. So the honing wear on the razor should be the same. Yes, it's daily, but it's so light and done so completely free of particles, so that it's only one sixtieth of the wear. Or that's my hope anyway.

We don't say that The Method is doing too much honing wear, even though diamond particles are cutting out swarf. Because the way it is set up, the removal is only one sixtieth of normal stone honing. Fifty daily laps over sixty shaves is three thousand laps. But it does not cause excessive wear.

I'm trying to do the same thing.

And maybe I am overhoning. I like the results, so maybe I should reduce the laps even more, to six or three.

But there's something about ten laps. On this coticule anyway. At ten laps I can suddenly feel a slight increase in stiction. So I just do another lap and stop.

On the following day after the shave, that stiction is gone. Shaving has roughened up the edge enough such that it can't create vacuum. Or the strop's introduction of a microscopic bit of bevel convexity is the cause. But whatever it is, after this mini honing, it comes back.

Normal honing is of course too much to do every day. Pasted balsa is exactly the right amount. I'd like to copy that, but with the feel of a stone.
 
No matter how hard you try to minimize the impact of the coticule on the razor, you won't be able to reduce to to the level of the .1u balsa. .1u diamond is about 200k grit. The particles are deeply embedded and do not slurry off of the media.

Yes you can use the coti or almost any other stone of reasonable fineness in such a way as to seriously reduce the wear significantly. Honestly I have no idea how long you can touch up daily on a coticule before you notice the wear or in impacts the razor's usefulness, but likely a good long while. Just not as long as daily use of the .1u diamond on balsa.

TBH I have not documented the rate of wear from the balsa. I simply haven't notice any. Of course there is wear, but there is wear and then there is wear.

I don't see any serious issue with trying, as long as your test razor is easily replaced. It would be interesting to take pics and measurements a few times a year, and reviewing the data after a couple of years. Maybe even shaving on alternate days, with a razor maintained daily with coticule an one maintained daily with Method-style balsa strop; that would be interesting, being able to directly compare two preferably identical razors maintained by the two different tool sets. OR maybe three identical razors, one being a control subject, touched up "as needed" on a standard 12k finisher.
 
I understand the logic and have thought of doing the same. Why wait for the performance of an edge to drop significantly before honing. It would be ideal to maintain an edge at its maximum capacity for every shave. I’ve often thought of doing this but my stones are a litle big and it’s too inconvenient for me. With a little stone by the sink it could work well.

I would say the lap count is probably more than required but the only down side is excessive wear. You might get two rather than 20 years out of the razor. With a Gold Dollar who cares?With a out of production vintage you might want to be more selective.

Consider this. A master honer can create an edge (on a quality razor) that can go for 50-100 shaves (under ideal conditions) before it is no longer acceptably sharp. At this point I’m guessing he will apply between 50-100 laps to get the edge back to peak performance. That works out as only 1-2 laps per shave. 12 laps would be total overkill. 2-3 should be more than enough.

Personally I also think that the 50 laps recommended by the method are also overkill. It works but there is probably a fairly large margin of safety and it’s most likely a lot more than what’s really required. A Heljestrand and Filly can hold an edge for a long time and it doesn’t take much to perk them back up again. Diamond of any size cuts steel quick. All of that black colour in a 0.1u balsa strop at the end of the month is metal off of the razor. Again this is no issue on a Gold Dollar but do you really need to do that to a nice vintage? Saying that I did monitor a small microchip for a few months under a loupe while doing 50 daily laps to see how long it took to disappear. It stayed for months and never seemed to get any smaller. After a few stone sessions it was gone completely so there is that.

I’ve chosen to just listen to the razor these days. I’ll do a light touch up of between 10-20 laps on stone as soon as I notice any perceivable drop off in razor sharpness. Normally between 3-7 shaves. If you can’t tell the difference then there’s no issue to fix. Again this works out to about three laps per shave. I’ve pretty much accepted that 50 method laps is ok but sometimes I play around with less. Every razor and user will have different maintenance requirements.
 
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I understand the logic and have thought of doing the same. Why wait for the performance of an edge to drop significantly before honing. It would be ideal to maintain an edge at its maximum capacity for every shave. I’ve often thought of doing this but my stones are a litle big and it’s too inconvenient for me. With a little stone by the sink it could work well.

I would say the lap count is probably more than required but the only down side is excessive wear. You might get two rather than 20 years out of the razor. With a Gold Dollar who cares?With a out of production vintage you might want to be more selective.

Consider this. A master honer can create an edge (on a quality razor) that can go for 50-100 shaves (under ideal conditions) before it is no longer acceptably sharp. At this point I’m guessing he will apply between 50-100 laps to get the edge back to peak performance. That works out as only 1-2 laps per shave. 12 laps would be total overkill. 2-3 should be more than enough.

Personally I also think that the 50 laps recommended by the method are also overkill. It works but there is probably a fairly large margin of safety and it’s most likely a lot more than what’s really required. A Heljestrand and Filly can hold an edge for a long time and it doesn’t take much to perk them back up again. Diamond of any size cuts steel quick. All of that black colour in a 0.1u balsa strop at the end of the month is metal off of the razor. Again this is no issue on a Gold Dollar but do you really need to do that to a nice vintage? Saying that I did monitor a small microchip for a few months under a loupe while doing 50 daily laps to see how long it took to disappear. It stayed for months and never seemed to get any smaller. After a few stone sessions it was gone completely so there is that.

I’ve chosen to just listen to the razor these days. I’ll do a light touch up of between 10-20 laps on stone as soon as I notice any perceivable drop off in razor sharpness. Normally between 3-7 shaves. If you can’t tell the difference then there’s no issue to fix. Again this works out to about three laps per shave. I’ve pretty much accepted that 50 method laps is ok but sometimes I play around with less. Every razor and user will have different maintenance requirements.
Nope. At least not for me. I tried `10 laps. I tried 20 laps. I tried 30 laps. The edge eventually falls off. Didn't try 40. Went straight to 50. 50 holds the line. Remember, .1u is about 200,000 grit. And the diamond is actually deeply buried in the balsa so let's call the balsa strop 300.000 grit. Not talking sub micron. Talking sub-SUB micron. Trust me, 50 laps isn't overkill. It is a whole nother para dime from a stone. There is no stone graded that fine. If you can hold the line indefinitely with only 20 laps on the balsa, you are using way too much pressure for the optimal Method edge, or else too much paste ON the balsa. SPOILER: the paste goes IN the balsa, not ON it.

LIke I said, I didn't try 40 laps. Or 39 or 38. The difference is approximately zero at the grit and exposure we are talking about. If you want to try 40 laps for a year or two and see if it keeps a Method edge going indefinitely, my hat is definitely off to you and your dedication to the hone-atorial arts. But 30 wasn't really enough. and 50 was, or has been so far, for me.

Waiting for the razor to get dull is a perfectly valid way to do things. I prefer not to wait for that, because then I am shaving with a dull razor. At least for one stroke, anyway. I like it when I never am given cause to remember what a dull or dullish or dulling or pre-dull or almost sort of hinting at becoming dull edge even feels like. Just my way. Doesn't have to be everybody's way.
 
Nope. At least not for me. I tried `10 laps. I tried 20 laps. I tried 30 laps. The edge eventually falls off. Didn't try 40. Went straight to 50. 50 holds the line. Remember, .1u is about 200,000 grit. And the diamond is actually deeply buried in the balsa so let's call the balsa strop 300.000 grit. Not talking sub micron. Talking sub-SUB micron. Trust me, 50 laps isn't overkill. It is a whole nother para dime from a stone. There is no stone graded that fine. If you can hold the line indefinitely with only 20 laps on the balsa, you are using way too much pressure for the optimal Method edge, or else too much paste ON the balsa. SPOILER: the paste goes IN the balsa, not ON it.

LIke I said, I didn't try 40 laps. Or 39 or 38. The difference is approximately zero at the grit and exposure we are talking about. If you want to try 40 laps for a year or two and see if it keeps a Method edge going indefinitely, my hat is definitely off to you and your dedication to the hone-atorial arts. But 30 wasn't really enough. and 50 was, or has been so far, for me.

Waiting for the razor to get dull is a perfectly valid way to do things. I prefer not to wait for that, because then I am shaving with a dull razor. At least for one stroke, anyway. I like it when I never am given cause to remember what a dull or dullish or dulling or pre-dull or almost sort of hinting at becoming dull edge even feels like. Just my way. Doesn't have to be everybody's way.
50 balsa laps seems to work well in all situations so you won’t hear me challenging the standard blanket advise. The wear from this approach really is minimal as my observation of a tiny micro chip that failed to diminish over many months has demonstrated to me.

If anything I’m guilty of over honing so I’m trying to see how little I can get away with without sacrificing performance. I agree with the logic that an edge should be maintained at peak performance for optimal results whether that is with stone or balsa.

Finding that magic number will ultimately be a game of trial and error. You have done much of that already for the balsa but with stones (which is the original OP’s question) it will be every man, women and child for themselves. Standard advise is impossible due to the natural variability of the materials and human honing factors.

If the daily upkeep is working you have two possible scenarios; you are either doing just enough or too much. You will never know if it’s just a little too much or WAY too much until you test the lower limit. This can be done by starting with a low daily stroke count and increasing to the point where you no longer notice any improvement from a full periodic (weekly, monthly then yearly) refresh. If 100 laps after 50 shaves is the way to maintain an edge at long maintenance intervals. 2 laps for every 1 shave seems like a reasonable starting point for short interval maintenance.
 
No, I just strop the edge about 12 times on the cloth and about 25 times on the leather. Then I put the razor away. I rotate my razors out of the nine razors that I own and I normally don’t have to sharpen them or hone them for at least a year or longer. I may Chromium oxide strop my razor in between that time if the razor starts to tug a little. My razor stay pretty sharp through that duration for the most part.
 
I think at end of day you got to remember these razors were made to hold an edge. The razor will lose that stiction feeling on the stone the second after you strop it. If you want to save as much time as possible, I bet you could do some touch up strokes every other weekend (10 or so strokes) and the shaves be just as good. I like honing but I try to save my unnecessary honing for when I have free time on the weekends instead of after every shave haha.
 
I rotate a bunch of different razors. I have a rough idea of when they were honed, usage etc. Usually do a few at a time. No real method, when it feels like they need a touch up, but many shaves are logged before re honing unless something out of the ordinary. I try and stretch it with stropping and CroOx, I’m satisfied.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
I don't get spendy on razors except collection items (french butterfly razors). So wear from a finisher doesn't concern me (it'd take many hundreds, maybe thousands of shaves to wear down a razor using a good finisher after every shave).

I hone before (almost) every shave because I like honing and testing and comparing edges. The only times I don't are when I am just flat out swamped and can't spare 5 mins to hone but have to shave for some reason.

Honing before every shave for most people would be, I assume, to avoid the boiling frog effect.

I mean how often do the 60, 100, 200 repeat shavers rehone and go "wow that was NO better than my last shave... I wasted my time rehoning?"

I don't know but I doubt it's 100% of the time.

So honing every shave WOULD increase the avg quality of everyone's shave by some amount... no matter how small.
 
I like Tomo's math on this. Do it so the number of daily laps, say two or three, would amount to the same amount of honing, or wear, that is done after fifty shaves.

I think I'll drop the laps to three. It's under running water, so no particles. And it's short laps on a small bout. And it's as light as I can manage. Over fifty shaves, 150 laps like that are probably about the same wear as forty laps on a eight inch long nani12 that is shedding particles, or a jnat with slurry.

So there's no prejudice to the razor. It's the same wear, just distributed.

Is it more work? Yeah, going to my bench would be. But I just keep a coti bout on the sink and after the shave when I am rinsing the razor anyway, I put in a few laps.

I'm only doing this on one razor. Just out of a hobbyist's curiosity. I'm treating my razors differently, on differing stones etc.
 
@kohalajohn I like the point about the wear and tear being similar with different distribution.

I like the idea of keeping edges at optimum performance instead of waiting for one to require maintenance.

I usually hone my razors before they need it. Mostly because I enjoy honing. Also because I could probably benefit from adding more razors to my limited collection.

I do something similar with my pocket knives, usually keeping the edges above average and rubbing them on stones long before they're due ensures a positive experience every time I reach for my tool.
 
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