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Honing stones for newbie

Hello everyone,

I’m fairly new to straight razor shaving and have enjoyed the challenge so far. I would like to be able to hone my own razors and have always enjoyed sharpening knives.

I’ve read through the forum on stones but could use further guidance. I will most likely start with synthetic stones for consistency and price but would be curious of pros/cons of both Shapton glass and Naniwa. Also I was think 4000, 8000 and 12000 or16000 for grits.

Thanks in advance
 
I think the Shapton Pro series (not the glass stones) is worth looking into. They get great reviews for use on razors, appear to not load with swarf, stay flat, and are less money than naniwa.
 
Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade

Read the entire thread, and also read the threads linked to that one, from beginning to end, carefully. This is what we call Method Honing. The Method will get you the best possible results the fastest and the cheapest. The catch is you have to follow directions precisely or you will not get Method results. Various aspects of The Method have evolved since it was first put together, so you have to read the individual threads beginning to end.

Your best entry into Method honing or in fact any style of honing is to start with a verified shave ready razor.Shave with it, and when it starts to get a little dull, refresh the edge using only your finisher and post-finish treatment if you have one. You will do this the most, anyway. You might easily nail it on your first attempt if you are only using your finisher. Putting it all together from bevel set to post finish is a lot. It's like building a house. Drawings. Permits. Foundation. Framing. Sub floor. Roofing and siding. Doors, windows, vents. Plumbing. Wiring. Paneling or drywall or plastering. Flooring. Ceiling. Paint and finish. If you are building your first house, that's an awful lot to digest and to get RIGHT the first time. But if you are just gutting and putting up new drywall on an existing house, not so complicated, right? Or a roof repair. Or new siding. Same with honing. Yeah you will want to eventually be able to go through the entire process, but for now if you concentrate on just the finish, and getting it RIGHT, you will be more successful.

A good test for shave ready sharpness is found within the Newbie Honing Compendium. It is this thread: Is My Razor Sharp? The Treetopping Test | Badger & Blade.
 
Being new to honing I was looking for value and a system I could understand and get going on. I opted for the Naniwa 1,3,8,12K Super Stones, that I purchased at reduced cost when bundled. Later added a 5K. Sticking with one manufacturer and a progression I could follow simplified things for me. I know there are lots of different options out there, looking back I feel this was a solid investment.
 
I think the Shapton Pro series (not the glass stones) is worth looking into. They get great reviews for use on razors, appear to not load with swarf, stay flat, and are less money than naniwa.

Seconded. Ive owned Naniwa Superstones and Shapton Glass stones but my favorite are the Shapton pro/kuromaku. Naniwa were plasticy/soft feeling which scared me when starting out. I was concerned to damage them inadvertently. I liked how the shapton kuromaku mostly felt as hard as my oil stones id used on knifes for years and can be had for decent price.
 
Seconded. Ive owned Naniwa Superstones and Shapton Glass stones but my favorite are the Shapton pro/kuromaku. Naniwa were plasticy/soft feeling which scared me when starting out. I was concerned to damage them inadvertently. I liked how the shapton kuromaku mostly felt as hard as my oil stones id used on knifes for years and can be had for decent price.
Recommendations on a flattening stone? Would only starting with a 12000 be a bad idea? My razor was professionally honed when bought.
 
Recommendations on a flattening stone? Would only starting with a 12000 be a bad idea? My razor was professionally honed when bought.
I have the Shapton pro 12k and it can do alot of work for a 12k stone. I dont particularly like shaving directly off it however unless you do alot of stropping or some sort of pastes. I used it and CrOX smeared basswood for many months before switching to natural stone finishers. If your razor is already pretty good just a few passes on it might do the trick but it is hard to know.

For flattening you can get by with a few sheets of high grit 800 to 1500 Wet/dry sand paper and somthing flat like glass or tile. Also other wetstones work if you know they are flat or can alternate between a few to get a average. Atoma diamond plates are also highly recommended but pricey. My Shapton 12k was pretty flat but too bumpy feeling. And the edges were higher and needed more chamfering. After a bit of work it has held up amazingly well.
 
Sandpaper and a proven flat surface is better by far than any flattening stone or any other stone or an entire collection of stones, for lapping your stones.

Simple flatness test. Requires machinist quality straightedge not home depot or harbor freight grade. Lay straightedge on surface to be tested. Cut printer paper into 1/2" wide strips. Place one under the straightedge at one edge of the surface, and another strip at the other edge. Put one strip under the straightedge right in the middle between the first two. Center the straightedge over the center piece. All three pieces should slide back and forth under the straightedge with the same amount of resistance. For more accuracy use feeler guages. Ordinary shim stock gives up a lot of accuracy so get three sets of feeler guage so you will have three of any size you pick.Now move this rig around on your surface. Find the high and low spots. You can even measure them, with your feeler guages, to an accuracy of probably around .0003" if you have a good feel for this. You can also place a bright light behind the straightedge and look for light under the bottom edge of it. However with feeler gauges you can actually measure the flatness error.

Your lapping surface needs to be significantly bigger than the stone you will be lapping.

Lots of guys use any old BS piece of tile or glass, with sandpaper. Lots of guys use an Atoma or other brand diamond plate. Lots of guys use another stone or two other stones round robin style. Most of them are satisfied with their results because everyone knows they can just get a granite surface plate for under a hundred bucks that is accurate to .0001" or better, and if they weren't satisfied, they would go for the ne plus ultra bestest. And that is of course the best option, but you can come close to that accuracy with a little work and patience, using a machinist's straightedge and feeler gauges.

So the real question is how good would you like your results to be? Now I recently bought a granite surface plate so of course I am biased a bit, since my straight razor subconcsious wants to justify my expenditure, but it really is as good as you can get, within the practical. The goal of course is to make the surface flatness error insignificant compared to the inconsistency of thickness in the sandpaper. Which brings up another refinement, which is abrasive powder. If you use your surface plate to check a piece of high grade plate glass, you can use SiC or other abrasive powder on the glass to lap your stone. After a few sessions the glass will need replacing, though.

So you have your stone flat. Don't use it, because then it won't be flat anymore!!!!! Seriously, flatness doesn't last. You need to refresh periodically depending on the stone and your usage.
 
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