How to Use CrOx, Red Paste, and Black Paste to Maintain Your Edge?

Discussion in 'Strops/Stropping' started by Chan Eil Whiskers, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    I'm not sure how anyone knows a whole lot about their edges as compared to the edges other guys get. Plus, who cares? To me the only thing that matters is my shaves.

    Having said that, it was an eye opener for me, after a number of straight razor shaves, to shave again with a Feather SS loaded with a Proline. The Proline wasn't new at all, and it was vastly sharper than the edges I'd been getting (and the shave ready razors I'd purchased, too). The Proline also felt smoother and more comfortable. I used what the Proline showed me as a springboard to buy some more stones, learn the burr method of bevel setting, and jump a bit further into the Arkansas as a finisher.

    It's hard enough to figure any of the SR world out without people bragging on edges while concealing how the edges were achieved. What's the point of that? Seems more useful and also more fun just to be transparent about everything.

    Happy shaves,

  2. It's tricky to compare a straight with a manufactured blade. Firstly the steel and grind are different, if you compare a hollow groubd carbon blade with an AC blade the performance will be different. The hardness of stainless steel gives a more stable edge. I notice a difference between Dovo Inox and Böker stainless. Not sure if it is grind or materials.

    Secondly, the manufactured blades are generally coated with PTFE or similar. As cutting is a combination of sharpness and smoothness the feel will again be different. The lubricated blade will seem sharper.

    If I sharpen my böker stainless on synthetics and diamond pasted balsa then I get an edge that is very similar to an AC blade. If I sharpen a modern carbon steel blade on a naturals finishing on Charnley Forest it passes the same sharpness tests but feels completely different.

    I am currently using a Dovo stainless blade sharpened on a single fast coticule for Frugal February. It doesn't put the keenest edge of my coticules - I think because it's so fast- but generally I am getting as close an irritation free shave as with my Feather SS. The Feather is waaaaay sharper.
  3. [QUOTE="Chan Eil Whiskers]

    It's hard enough to figure any of the SR world out without people bragging on edges while concealing how the edges were achieved. What's the point of that? Seems more useful and also more fun just to be transparent about everything.

    Happy shaves,


    I think what is considered shave ready is a huge debate in itself. I know a lot of guys complain that Revisor and Dovo razors are not shave ready. I have not had an issue with either after a good stropping on leather.

    I find they produce very comfortable edges. They might not be vorpal, mirror polished, push cutting lasers but they never produce irritation. The first pass may not be as clean as my own edges but the second pass will usually take care of that.

    I think modern straight users have higher expectations of what an edge should do. The end results is USB microscope edge porn. Not knocking it I check out the threads too ;)

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. This is an excellent thread and I shall be watching it to learn from others.

    Regarding the "pastes as cheating" sentiment. I think it can be traced all the way back to the Arthur Boon articles when the forums were just starting up (think of the old Yahoo forum).

    Arthur Boon was regarded as an authority those long days ago and in his treatise he says pastes are not to be used as they were a poor substitute for honing and often produced variable results.

    In those early days there was not much information anywhere about straight shaving and his articles seemed like a revelation for many of us. I myself often quoted from him in those days. I think a lot of what he said became received wisdom and has just been repeated through the decades. Nowadays we have more practical experience to rely on. I, for one, no longer regard what he wrote as authoritative.

    I use pastes to help maintain my edge and have rejected the idea that they are not good enough to use or provide variable results. I've maintained razors for months on end through pastes using them daily until I feel a return to the stones is necessary.

    I agree with the sentiments that stropping is king to provide a lasting edge and pastes can definitely be a part of that.

  5. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Chris, I'd be interested in hearing more about your daily use of the pastes. Which pastes? Used exactly how? Etc.

    I think you're the first person I've run across using pastes daily.

    I'd also be interested in perhaps looking at the articles mentioned. Are they available?

    Thanks and happy shaves,

  6. Pastes often get callled an "Old world technique" with a hint of derision.
    I don't know why.
    I've honed razors from bevel set entirely on pastes with good results.
  7. They are posted here RazorCentral - Home of the straight razor
  8. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    From bevel set with pastes! Could you talk about how to do that, etc. Amazing. I had no idea such was possible.

    Thanks. I'll check out the articles.

    Happy shaves,

  9. Keith Johnson AKA @Gamma has a good video on that on his youtube channel.
  10. I addition to what others have said Thiers Isasard used to sell a complete sharpening system based on diamond pastes and their 4 sided strop. It was called "Bio-Diamond". I don't know if they still produce it after changing strop makers but you may find reference to it on some forums
  11. dundak, thank you for posting the old Arthur Boon articles. Haven't seen them in years and you saved me the time to find them.

    Jim, for myself, I have a simple routine. When, after weeks or months, I feel an edge needs refreshing I use a Dovo paddle strop (a picture of which is posted above) that has Dovo red paste on the balsa side. I strop on the balsa then clean the blade then strop on an old horsehide strop loaded with the Livi crox crayon. Then I clean the blade and strop on linen then leather. It works a treat to keep a razor going for months on end.

    I used to just use the crox strop but that, for some reason, didn't keep an edge comfortable for as long.

    I suspect that going to the red first on balsa reduces the rounding which then must be put back by the crox and regular stropping. Slightly rounded edges seem to last longer, IMHO.

    If I find, after many months or years that this routine doesn't produce a comfortable edge then I rehone. I suspect that after a while the edge gets too many divots taken out of it due to corrosion and, perhaps, less than perfect stropping technique.

    Hope that helps.

  12. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Very interesting, Chris. Sounds like there might be more than one way of successfully accomplishing the task. Red before CrOx for you.

    Do you have any information on the micro sizes or such with the pastes you're using? I would think the red would be a finer grit than the CrOx from what I've read, but I also know there's much more to a good edge than merely going from coarser to finer and finer grits.

    For me, all information and experiences with the pastes are helpful. I'm trying to learn what can be learned from the experiences of others and improve my methods.

    One think that I've seen done and have tried once (perhaps with success) is to interrupt the progression for plain leather stropping and then return to the progression (instead of doing the entire progression before any stropping). Of course, more leather stropping is also done at the end.

    Happy shaves,

  13. I guess that I could add a data point.

    A friend brought over his diamond charged micro fiber 'strops' from his Edge Pro.
    I put a shave ready razor to the .25 and .1 while hand holding the 'strops' then followed with leather. The razor shaved and did not irritate, but it was no longer shave ready to my standards. I suspect that the deflection in the micro fiber cloth was the problem.
  14. I#ll get back to you on that soon.
  15. Are they anything like felt ? Have never had any luck with that stuff. Some love it but find it abhorrent for stropping with anything, even by itself. Stuff is a natural magnet for anything laying around. Sorry have strong feelings about
  16. These were a thin fine weave fabric bonded to, I think, glass, so not near as much cushion as I would expect from felt.
  17. I haven't read this stuff in years, but man, there are so many false ideas presented as facts in there.

    I especially love the recommendation to use olive oil on the strop or "The natural stones quarried in the 18th century were superior to any natural stone produced after 1900".
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 9:43 AM
  18. +1
  19. In France, I've seen modern-day folks using olive oil on their strops. And in making a double-sided pasted hanging strop, I've used olive oil as a carrier for red ferric oxide and black ferric oxide pigments following their example. Works quite well. Place a teaspoon of olive oil on a saucer, add some pigment and blend it, and paste away.
  20. It might work, but I wouldn't want to use it in a leather strop in the same way I don't use it for my cutting boards, it will go rancid.

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