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How often do razors need honing

Bought a 1920s Flic razor last November and a set of hones. Got the razor shave ready and started using it first week in December. Started tugging 8th Jan so had to hone again. I was surprised it didn’t last long (6 weeks). Any thoughts? My first thought was I was not holding the strip tight enough or pushing too hard, would this produce the outcome?


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If well maintained, I find SRs need honing very infrequently. A good diamond pasted strop and leather strop will do wonders for keeping an edge.

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I do not know your SR shaving experience. There are a few things that can effect edge life. In no particular order:
  • Shaving angle. Too high an angle will quickly reduce edge life.
  • Stropping. Incorrect stropping can excessively convex the bevel at the edge. A sharpie pen test may reveal this.
  • The steel quality and/or heat treatment. Not all vintage SR's are of good steel.
  • A too acute bevel angle.
In answer to your question "My first thought was I was not holding the strop tight enough or pushing too hard, would this produce the outcome?", yes.

An SR shaver with good overall technique should expect about 50 to 150 shaves off an edge before a refresh is needed. (If the edge is maintained on a 0.1um pasted balsa strop, a refresh should never be needed.)
 
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Often, issues like this are not based in 'one thing', more often than not, several factors are at play.

But yes, improper use of the strop can cause the edge to fail.
So can improper shaving technique, a marginally set bevel, a marginally finished edge, an edge honed to a burr/foil, micropitting, etc.
Once in a while, tugging is just a case of the lather being too thick. Or bad prep. Maybe both.

I don't know how much honing experience you have, but the first post suggests the possibility of being new to the game.
That might be something to look into; bevel setting is key, and it is not unusual for new users to need a few spins around the block to get it down pat.
 
For me one of the biggest factors is the coarsness of my beard and the sensitivity of my face. I have to hone an edge super sharp, yet super smooth. That makes the edge extremely thin and brittle. Thus, I only get about 6 shaves before I have to take it back to the finishing hone. I do use pasted strops between shaves (0.5 micron, 0.25 micron, and o.1 micron CBN) but I still cannot get more than 6 shaves. However, for those with less coarse beards and less sensitive skin, an edge can last far longer. A straight razor still lasts me longer than a DE blade. I can only get 3-4 shaves at most with one of them.
 
On average I would say 35-50 shaves is normal with stropping only on leather with an average razor.
Very few razors will give 100+ shaves with just leather IMO.
Type of hair, prep technique....everything mentioned will have affects also.
 
I like to do little touch ups often to keep my edges in tip top condition. I do a few strokes on a finisher every 3-4 shaves. Probably long before I actually need to. When sharpening a new razor I will shave and touch up daily until the edge maxes out.
 
As stated above, many different reasons edges go dull, most of them come down to technique. I can typically get upwards of 100 shaves before a razor NEEDS to be re-honed, but I really like that fresh off the stone feel. I enjoy honing and trying new stones and progressions, so its rare that any edge of mine sees more than 10 shaves before it hits a finishing stone once again.
 

CollegeGroomer

Contributor
I’m honing quite often myself, similar to what @JohnEzra said. But it’s to try out different edges and processes, like going to my black ark after 20k or 30k, or trying one of my JNAT’s after the Snow White 8k or 12k. Depending on how often you’re using the razor, it’ll last several weeks or months, though YMMV. And this is coming from a guy with fairly tough stubble.:)
 
First, congrats on your razor! There is no simple answer to your question as razors and peoples' beards vary.

When I started (almost five months ago), I wanted to finish/touch up my razor after a handful of shaves, I struggled to put a sharp edge on my razors, and I did not really understand the importance of stropping on leather. My advice is to get yourself an inexpensive shave-read vintage razor or a Gold Dollar and just practice, consider using diamond paste on balsa at this stage in your development, get a high-quality inexpensive leather strop (like one of Tony Miller's beginner strops) that you don't mind cutting up, and watch lots of videos.
 
How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop | Badger & Blade
That's everything you need to know to make your edge last pretty much forever. Technically, using the pasted balsa strop is honing, since it does remove a tiny bit of steel, but the amount is so small and the motion is always spine-leading and so we usually don't call it honing. So unless you use the strictly literal meaning of honing, then once I have honed a razor once, I never have to hone it again. 50 laps after every shave on the balsa and my edge stays sharp. VERY sharp.

I can't stand shaving with a dull razor. If it is a little bit dull then to me it is dull. It is either as sharp as when I honed it, or it is dull. And so, without the post-shave maintenance on the balsa after every shave, I would be doing a touchup at least every 12 to 15 shaves, unless I lowered my standards a bit. I CAN get 50 or more shaves from a razor with no daily edge maintenance but I would rather not.

Yes, all of the things mentioned above can affect the longevity of an edge. As your shaving and stropping and honing improve, you will probably find your edges lasting longer. If you set up and use a set of balsa strops exactly as per the link above, and make no substitutes or omissions or changes, your stones will just gather dust until you get a new razor.
 
Given the responses posted here (and they are all good) I think you will learn what I have learned here. And that is this: the guidance is fantastic, but it takes doing to really get there. I'm not all the way there yet, but making progress. Eventually you will find the razor(s) that works best for you; learn to compare and select the hones and strops that give you the result you want; learn to hone, strop, store and maintain that edge; learn how to best prep for the shave; and most importntly learn how to use the razor. So this all takes time and doing. And the members here are with you all along the way.
 
Bought a 1920s Flic razor last November and a set of hones. Got the razor shave ready and started using it first week in December. Started tugging 8th Jan so had to hone again. I was surprised it didn’t last long (6 weeks). Any thoughts? My first thought was I was not holding the strip tight enough or pushing too hard, would this produce the outcome?


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depends if you mean rehone from bevel set up.......or touch up on a finisher.

working towards a year and still haven't had to do a complete "rehone".......but then again I have different finish options that I'm always tweaking or experimenting with.

at a minimum my Jnat finisher sees a lot of light duty work. sometimes with slurry......but lately water only.

we are a neurotic bunch who like stones (or balsa refinement cycles) id gather.

maybe I should just be speaking for myself here but I think not.

camo
 
depends if you mean rehone from bevel set up.......or touch up on a finisher.
...

we are a neurotic bunch who like stones (or balsa refinement cycles) id gather.

maybe I should just be speaking for myself here but I think not.

camo
Perhaps not all of us, but a lot of us. :) I have been wondering how long my balsa refined edges would last if I just leather stropped. On the other hand it has been over 2 months since I shaved with an SR and thought “this needs to go back to the stones!” Since I am a relative newbie still working on my shaving technique and lathering technique, it’s probably better that I have taken at least one variable out of the equation.

I am beginning to think that my RAD problem is at least partly driven by the desire to practice my honing skills! :)
 
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