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I just blew $80 on an 8k whetstone. Do I really need a 12k whetstone for SR honing?

I've honed precisely ONE razor, so I can't say yay or nay to the 8K argument. If I tried to, I would soon be exposed as a numpty by the fine members of this forum with 1000-5000 posts. Some of them would even be polite.
Please don't read post count as expertise. Look at content and body of work before you paint with a broad brush.
Forgive me if I've offended - in this hobby, interaction is almost exclusively via internet forums, and what we can read/learn through our own experiences, what we read, and youtube, etc. I sometimes get a bit frustrated when people give advice to new hobbyists that may hinder the dissemination of accurate knowledge and that may not further the higher goal of even being here - spreading the word of the wet shaving lifestyle and showing others what enjoyment can be had from it.

Online, when learning how to hone, shave, strop, etc. and get the best shave possible from the tools we have to work with, we rely on the knowledge and experience of those who have more experience and knowledge than us to educate us. When I first started this hobby, I had difficulty trying to understand and digest the information that I was reading on these forums. Everybody had something different to say, what worked for one didn't work for others, etc. How was I to know what to do and how to do it?

Well, one of the issues with an easier learning curve is so much misinformation unintentionally spread by people who read much, but have little actual experience. Everybody here has their own body of knowledge to draw from, and everybody enjoys being included in threads and conversations. I and everyone here welcomes everybody's experiences and opinions, though occasionally, because of the very reasons that you quoted me on, some information will be given that might not be in the best interest of a new straight razor user/honer, and in this instance, it is the use of an 8k hone for finishing.

I'd like to reiterate that an 8k hone used correctly will absolutely give anyone a perfectly smooth and satisfying shave, and nobody needs anything higher grit than that. I would suggest buying an 8k naniwa. Does that mean that you can comfortably shave against the grain with an 8k every time? No. Does it mean that every brand of synthetic 8k hone will deliver what I just asserted? No. Does it mean that every honer will be capable of obtaining a shave-ready edge off an 8k hone? No. Does it mean that you can have a close, smooth shave straight off the rock every time, without extensive stropping? No. Does it mean that it is always as smooth and sharp as a 12-15k hone? No - but sometimes, yes. I'm just saying that it means that a stone with a true, actual rating of 8,000 grit can, in the right hands, with most razors, produce an edge that is satisfactory for providing a smooth, close shave. Again, I am not taking into consideration off-brand, natural, or unknown/untested 8k hones. I'm talking Nortons and Naniwas and kitayamas. I'm sure Shapton falls into there and some others.

And, because the OP was asking if, after spending $80 on an 8k hone, he NEEDED anything higher - I emphatically say NO - you do not NEED anything more to get a good shave. Others may disagree, but IMO, those who do are limited by their tools, knowledge, or ability. I would bet my life that if I sat down with any person who claimed to not be able to get a comfortable shave off an 8k edge razor, I could sit down and hone a razor with them, and produce an edge that even the most adamant dissenter would have to agree is a perfectly acceptable shaving edge.
 
is there any way to tell the grit of a stone that is not labeled? I have a slab of a stone but no idea what the grit is. It is pretty smooth the the best I got is "high grit"... just wondering aloud.
 
Just use it - that's the best way to tell what its all about.
Hopefully, it'll be finer than 8k.
 
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Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
IMO it will be very difficult for a new honer to get a satisfying edge off an 8k without further refinement of the edge. At the very least get some crox to keen up the edge. I take mild offense that using sprays are "cheating" :biggrin:
 
is there any way to tell the grit of a stone that is not labeled? I have a slab of a stone but no idea what the grit is. It is pretty smooth the the best I got is "high grit"... just wondering aloud.
Open another thread in the honing forum with a title like "identify this stone" and a first post that shows clear surface and side view shots of the stone in question. Chances are, some folks may be able to identify it for you.
 
IMO it will be very difficult for a new honer to get a satisfying edge off an 8k without further refinement of the edge. At the very least get some crox to keen up the edge. I take mild offense that using sprays are "cheating" :biggrin:
Yes sir! I agree with you. The end result is a keen comfortable edge. How one achieves this is their business. I have read that Europeans use a pretty broad range of hanging strops with paste. As long as its sharp, who cares how you get there. And most of us are hobbyists not honemeisters. And "cheating" is a better option than an uncomfortable edge.
 
Yes sir! I agree with you. The end result is a keen comfortable edge. How one achieves this is their business. I have read that Europeans use a pretty broad range of hanging strops with paste. As long as its sharp, who cares how you get there. And most of us are hobbyists not honemeisters. And "cheating" is a better option than an uncomfortable edge.
Exactly! I "cheat" every which way I can... I finish with film and CroX on balsa and I use a 60x loupe to assess my progress. It's all good!
Hopefully, the OP hasn't been scared away!
 
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To the OP, you don't need a 12k stone, you will need several.

There are very, very few folks who hone their own razor who don't have some form of HAD.

The only ones that come to mind are the Saran Wrap users
 
IMO it will be very difficult for a new honer to get a satisfying edge off an 8k without further refinement of the edge. At the very least get some crox to keen up the edge. I take mild offense that using sprays are "cheating" :biggrin:
+1 here, it definitely can be very difficult, no doubt, for anyone, not just a new honer - especially with an imperfect blade, or a wedge or a 3/8 or something. I "cheat" sometimes by using a couple swipes on diamond spray imbedded canvas, because I'm just too lazy to go back to the stones and refine the edge that way. It still feels like I'm cheating myself though. Alas, though it can be difficult - it is attainable! :thumbup:
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor

1. An average beard hair is the same strength and hardness as copper wire of the same diameter.
2. The higher the grit, the thinner the steel. Hone your steel too thin (over honing) and that super-sharp edge won't last long, if you consider assertion #1.
3. There are many members on this forum with 1,000-5,000+ posts or more who speak as if they have actual experience honing and shaving with many different stones and razors, when in fact they may not have ever shaved with a straight razor, shaved with only one, or they might only own a 4/8k norton, etc. Yet, extensive reading on the subject and a little bit of experience can give the impression of extensive experience - easily done when typing on an internet forum. I have seen this more than once.
4. Your Dodge Neon vs. Ferrari comparison tells me that you assume that a higher grit edge, which is also a sharper edge, HAS to be a better, smoother shaver. "
(which demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of honing that I can only believe is willful ignorance on the part of people who otherwise MUST know better)."

I had responded more thoroughly, but the forum ate it, so here's a quick rundown of responses.

1. Rolled metal and a cell structure cut very differently. If you honestly believe that the claims you made have any bearing whatsoever on which material will cut more easily or damage a razors edge more readily, then I can only suggest you get some fine copper filament, some hair, cut them both and compare the results yourself. Really, there's no nice way to phrase that your argument, even if it were true which I highly doubt, is completely meaningless.

2. Again, not necessarily true. While it can be true, a more accurate (though obviously still imperfect) way to look at higher grit honing is a reduction of the standard deviation of the X and Y axes of the edge. While the edge certainly CAN be thinned during this process, it's not anywhere near as cut and dry as you seem to think.

3. I'm not even sure what this has to do with anything.

4. You misunderstand, or else are extrapolating something you ought not to. Because a Ferrari Leferrari (950 hp) can be reliably expected to outperform a Neon (132hp) doesn't mean that the Laferrari will always outperform a Mclaren P1 (903hp).

No matter the bevel angle, the more metal you remove on each side of the bevel, the thinner that cutting edge gets.
If the angle of the edge is maintained, how do you think this is true? Draw yourself a picture of a triangle, this is a cross-section of your bevel. Pick a corner to represent the cutting edge. Measure any distance back from that cutting edge and then measure the distance between the two sides making your bevel at that point. Now remove a slice from these two sides evenly, this represents the material removed by honing. Now measure back the same distance from the corner and measure the distance between the two sides at this new point. It will be exactly the same.

This is not a real representation of honing, but it's a representation of how you are thinking of honing and it demonstrates that you are making a false assumption because you aren't realizing that honing at the bevel angle also recedes the edge, which is why the angle is maintained. Were this not the case, as you imply, then any honing (high grit or low grit) would cause the bevel angle to approach zero (the "foil edge" someone mentioned). Fortunately, this is the case, so while up to a certain point which depends on the steel and abrasive's properties, the maximum and mean depth of the blade at the edge will reduce, this is not really an element of higher grit honing because the limit of how thin you can make the edge exists. Refinement beyond that point is about creating a more consistent edge at or near that limit. You will never (with proper honing), reduce an edge to the extent that it will not hold up to shaving. If you are doing this, then it is the result of improper honing technique, not excessively high grit honing.

Even a Norton 8K will probably contain particles smaller than 3 micron, which is the upper limit of that hone's partical size.
Are you sure about that? Norton uses a micron graded standard for their whetstones, which I don't believe is published beyond the average (not max) particle size (3micron for 8k). Assuming the spread is similar to the FEPA standard they use for oilstones, that'd mean a max somewhere around 4-6microns.
 
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I heard that can create a foil edge...
You can create a foil edge on just about any surface; rock, film or, pasted strop.
I would imagine that, improper stropping could also aid in the creation of a foil edge, especially if the edge was already maxed out.

I'm guessing that the foil edge (in the link) was created by purposefully over honing for the point of the demonstration.
I'm also guessing that FuzzyChops just happened to use diamond paste to do it. (Did I guess correctly FuzzyChops? :eek:)

Diamond paste, CrOX, 1um & .3um film and Iron Oxide, when used properly, refine and make a nice edge... over honing creates a foil edge.
 
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Originally Posted by Brooksie967
Even a Norton 8K will probably contain particles smaller than 3 micron, which is the upper limit of that hone's partical size.




Are you sure about that? Norton uses a micron graded standard for their whetstones, which I don't believe is published beyond the average (not max) particle size (3micron for 8k). Assuming the spread is similar to the FEPA standard they use for oilstones, that'd mean a max somewhere around 4-6microns.
Bart's words, not mine. But I could see how there were smaller particles in the mix.
 
I'm guessing that the foil edge (in the link) was created by purposefully over honing for the point of the demonstration.
I'm also guessing that FuzzyChops just happened to use diamond paste to do it. (Did I guess correctly FuzzyChops? :eek:)
Ajax,

Shapton 8k plus TEN laps on .25 micron diamond SPRAY. Definitely not purposefully over honing.

Todd.
 
I heard that can create a foil edge...
Hey thanks for this link! I found it interesting that it said that prior to the diamond spray stropping, the edge was 200nm thick, and after the foil edge that was formed from (actually excessive) stropping with the diamond pasted strop, the edge was broken away (I'm sure from regular stropping) and resulted in an edge that was 100nm thick. Very cool pictures and explanation of what's happening at that level. I've also noticed that after stropping with diamond particle impregnated strops, you can only refresh your blade a few times that way before the edge starts to feel "harsh," at which point it needs a trip back to the hones.
 
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I had responded more thoroughly, but the forum ate it, so here's a quick rundown of responses.

1. Rolled metal and a cell structure cut very differently. If you honestly believe that the claims you made have any bearing whatsoever on which material will cut more easily or damage a razors edge more readily, then I can only suggest you get some fine copper filament, some hair, cut them both and compare the results yourself. Really, there's no nice way to phrase that your argument, even if it were true which I highly doubt, is completely meaningless.

Here, I saved you a trip to google: http://uk.askmen.com/grooming/appearance/17b_shaving-5-things-you-didnt-know.html
I also see that you missed the point - that too thin of a cutting edge on a razor will deteriorate quickly. Do I need to link you to that info as well? I think Fuzzy Chops already posted some pictures displaying that fact...


2. Again, not necessarily true. While it can be true, a more accurate (though obviously still imperfect) way to look at higher grit honing is a reduction of the standard deviation of the X and Y axes of the edge. While the edge certainly CAN be thinned during this process, it's not anywhere near as cut and dry as you seem to think.
Now you're just splitting hairs...

3. I'm not even sure what this has to do with anything.
I think you can probably relate to this statement in some way...

4. You misunderstand, or else are extrapolating something you ought not to. Because a Ferrari Leferrari (950 hp) can be reliably expected to outperform a Neon (132hp) doesn't mean that the Laferrari will always outperform a Mclaren P1 (903hp).
If I misunderstood, its because I don't speak in similes. Can you articulate what you were trying to say a little clearer?


If the angle of the edge is maintained, how do you think this is true? Draw yourself a picture of a triangle, this is a cross-section of your bevel. Pick a corner to represent the cutting edge. Measure any distance back from that cutting edge and then measure the distance between the two sides making your bevel at that point. Now remove a slice from these two sides evenly, this represents the material removed by honing. Now measure back the same distance from the corner and measure the distance between the two sides at this new point. It will be exactly the same.
...Now zoom in to your triangles tip, and notice that while it LOOKS like it comes to an apex to the eye, under a microscope it has width still...now hone with some higher grit stones and watch that width shrink ;)
This is not a real representation of honing, but it's a representation of how you are thinking of honing and it demonstrates that you are making a false assumption because you aren't realizing that honing at the bevel angle also recedes the edge, which is why the angle is maintained. Were this not the case, as you imply, then any honing (high grit or low grit) would cause the bevel angle to approach zero (the "foil edge" someone mentioned). Fortunately, this is the case, so while up to a certain point which depends on the steel and abrasive's properties, the maximum and mean depth of the blade at the edge will reduce, this is not really an element of higher grit honing because the limit of how thin you can make the edge exists. Refinement beyond that point is about creating a more consistent edge at or near that limit.
Your logic sounds smart, but withers in the face of experience. Hail experience! It gives us knowledge instead of educated speculation :) Here's a riddle for you - what holds its edge better - a razor blade, or bolt cutters? My guess is that the thinner edge has less staying power...

You will never (with proper honing), reduce an edge to the extent that it will not hold up to shaving. You're half right. It will keep that uber-keenness for all of half a shave to a full shave, at which point the edge will then deteriorate to a point of less keenness - but still be perfectly shave ready.
Btw, here's that link again that repeats what I previously asserted - that a beard hair is of similar strength as copper wire of the same diameter - in case you missed it... I'm sure there are many other sources saying the same thing, if some journalist googled it and regurgitated it into this pitch article...
http://uk.askmen.com/grooming/appearance/17b_shaving-5-things-you-didnt-know.html
 
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Copper wire came from a Gillette study and has been parroted ever since.
Copper razors were found in Egyptian tombs.
Draw your own conclusions....
 
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