how to fix a frown :(

Discussion in 'Restoration & Razor Making How-To's.....' started by aussie, Sep 7, 2019.

    I have a rather nice that has been sitting in storage for a few years. It has (I think) ivory scales and ivory on the tang. The only problems with it are a slight frown and slight but slightly uneven hone wear.

    I am not new to shaving with straights, but I haven't yet honed or restored. This will be a project for down the road. How do you suggest I fix this issue? Would x-strokes do the job?
  1. I don’t see any photos - but I fix a frown by bread-knifing it (Running the edge flat on the stone until every part of the length is square).

    Good luck!
  2. I used to breadknife. I don't anymore. I HONE until the frown is GONE, starting on very coarse media to get the grunt work done, and then when I nearly have a bevel in what was the deepest part of the frown, I begin progressing up through the grits. I often start with 100 grit wet/dry glued to 3" x 12" x 3/4" acrylic. The reason for not breadknifing is simple. When you breadknife you are removing steel from the edge, but not from the spine. BAD. The thickness must be allowed to wear at the same rate as the width. Everybody cries about "hone wear" so they prevent "hone wear" by taping the spine or breadknifing and rebeveling, but they don't prevent "hone wear" to the edge!

    Let's see pics of your "uneven hone wear". The spine does NOT have to be perfect in appearance. This is totally not an issue with the performance of the razor. What IS important is maintaining a bevel angle in or near the sweet spot, and of course achieving a true bevel along the length of the blade, with the possible exception that is allowable, at the last bit of the heel or toe. And thenceforth, progressing the finish of the bevel without leaving a fin edge, or actual burr. A burr is perfectly okay during the bevel setting process, and in fact is an excellent diagnostic tool to tell a beginner when enough steel has been removed.

    Now you say you are new to honing. Okay, well and good. We all have to have a beginning. Make your beginning on a razor that was previously honed by a skilled honer, and has simply gone dull through normal use. Don't punish yourself your first time at bat. Leave the problem razor for after you have honed at least 3 or 4 razors. It will come out much better.

    The Method. This will get you off on the right foot, quickly and cheaply.
  3. Thanks Slash and Earcutter for your advice. Here are two photos of the razor mentioned. As you can see the frown is very slight, but more than enough to cause a lot of bother for an inexperienced honer such as myself. It makes me wonder how the frown ever came to be. I suppose maybe from stones that were not flat? L1050215.JPG L1050216.JPG
  4. I just checked it against a straight edge and the frown is about one inch long and a millimitre or less in height.
  5. Most people have little quirks in their honing technique, and when a razor is honed by the same man for 40 years or more, they can leave their very personal imprint on the state of the blade. Probably he often dragged the razor off the edge, or used a very narrow hone. Looks like it also could have had a warped spine though now honing wear has made it largely disappear. Who knows? I would say that this is too much damage to be caused by a stone that is out of flat. The important thing to take with you is that this razor needs a lot of steel removed and is best left until you have honed other razors.

    See The Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade, also known as "The Method".
  6. That blade has more issues than just a frown.
    It does look to be warped, There is a small "spike" along the edge at the heel that should be removed before it ever sees a strop.
    There is virtually no bevel in spots and large bevels at others.
    Its never going to be a pretty razor and as Slash says, much steel has to be removed.

    You may get further ahead to round out the heel to a point where the bump is solving the edge and spike problem at once, minimizing the steel that needs to be removed at the back of the spine.
  7. Yes I see that spike now that I have zoomed in on the image. Thanks for spotting that. The spine certainly appears to be straighter than those on my GDs.

  8. When you say spike. Are you referring to the sharp angle at the heel? The spot that makes like a top point of a triangle? Wondering since I'm trying to hone a razor and it has that sharp angle change at the heel as well. If that is what you are talking about what is the best way to remove it? Do you just run just the point across the stone untill it doesn't have the sharp point?
  9. Yes, when there is a sharp transition like that I remove it with w/d paper manually prior to honing generally.
    If it is right at the back you can round the end off so it is not an issue for a very long time. The "spike" is pronounced on this one but usually there is just a sharp transition after years of honing so rounding will help keep your strop from getting scratched up.
  10. I only breadknife blades with serious frowns. I would hone the frown out of that one.
    You may want to keep the spine off the hone initially (or tape the spine) to prevent unnecessary wear on the spine. Depends on your preference.
    Frown are more likely the result of the technique used than the hones used.

    You mention that this a project for down the road and that is probably best. Some more experience will make it less frustrating experience. Looks like you may have to reshape the heel as well. Get some more razors shave ready before working on that one.

    Tang appears to be 'French ivory' (celluloid plastic). Scales appear to be the same material.
  11. The more steel that you take from the edge, the more steel you MUST remove from the spine. The spine is MEANT to wear, in concert with the edge. No, do not "protect" the spine. Respect the geometry of the blade. The more serious the frown, the more important it is to thin the spine in proportion to the width removed from the blade. So HONE it. Just hone it. Pretty don't shave. A good edge built and refined on a solid bevel shaves. If the razor is a showpiece, that's different. But if it is a showpiece, why use it in the first place?

    It is either a tool, or jewelry. Take your pick.
  12. If you want to use tape on the spine, I would measure first the spine and where the edge will end up and see what your angle is. If the angle is reasonable then tape, if it ends up being too large, then you will need to thin the spine.
  13. I think of a heel spike a bit differently. Suhrim, see how the bevel reveal is wider where it is on the stabilizer. Because there is more metal to be removed there, as the blade is sharpened it wears more slowly than the rest of the edge and the 'spike' starts sitting proud of the rest of the edge. So it is more than just a sharp transition by my definition. The fix is the same as what stone and strop described. Just use a stone, diamond plate, W/D paper, or other to remove enough of the stabilizer so that this doesn't happen.
  14. I know you are stuck on wearing the spine, but that is not the only way it is done. It's just tape. Plenty of razors out there honed with tape, without issue. Get over it.

    That is a good suggestion.
  15. Unfortunately, you are right about that.

    Get over what? Simple arithmetic? Facts? I give up. Tape your spine. I don't care. I can present the logic, but I can't force you to see reality. This crazy idea that the spine must not become worn, even though the edge gets worn away, is absurd but somehow, very difficult to eradicate.
  16. Fix the stabilizer as said. I remove a frown with high angle honing until the edge is flat. Meaning to not remove any more than needed in the middle. Then spend a little time on the front thied. Then back third until the edge is the same shape/smile as the spine. Then hone with a rolling x to pull it all together. I use tape! Tape is used for two reasons. The main reason is To replace where someone has heavy handedly honed and took too much from the spine. So i can get to a proper bevel angle. Or use capton tape, that is very thin to preserve the spine from hone wear.
    I dont think anyone who knows how to measure a bevel angle would use tape to make the bevel too much. Tape is good when used properly.
  17. To tape or not to tape, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the unsightly flatness of an unevenly worn spine...

    Hey this thread has really taken on a life of its own. I guess the law of unintended consequences has kicked in. Excellent but contradictory points made by all, especially by @Slash McCoy and @Doc226. Thanks for all your input, the which I am certain will help me to return this razor to shave readiness. :)

    Just as an aside, is there a generally preferred tape for spines?
  18. Please allow me to use some 'simple arithmetic' in order to bring to light some 'facts'.

    Joe Tapper owns a NOS razor that was manufactured with an active width of .7" and a spine thickness of .195" resulting in a hair over a 16 degree bevel angle, if honed without tape. Joe wants to use the razor, but wants to keep the razor as close to NOS as possible, so he hones it with .007" electrical tape resulting in a bevel angle of 17.2 degrees (This instantaneous 1.2 degree increase in the bevel angle is my biggest issue with taping, so if it were mine I might use Kapton. At .002" the Kapton tape would only increase the bevel angle to 16.3 which would be more to my liking). The first honing has caused an insignificant amount of edge wear, so if Joe died and willed it to his cousin twice removed Slash, who he had heard was into straights, Slash would be getting a very close to NOS razor and the geometry would be essentially the same as it was before the razor received it's first and only honing.

    If Joe was in good health and used the razor weekly for the rest of his natural life the active width might be reduced to .65" by the time of his death. At this point Slash might inherit the razor and notice that it had obviously been honed with tape because of the complete absence of hone wear and measure the razor to see how much damage had been done. He would find that the razor could be honed without tape and still get a bevel angle of 17.25 degrees. Whew, it was not too late!

    My point is that the main changes to the bevel angle occur at the the time of the tape use, but do not significantly change the geometry of the razor until the razor has been honed many many times with tape.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019

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