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Iwasaki stroke finishing on a JNAT

Been honing for about a year and owned two JNATs for about 6 months. I struggled getting good JNAT edges. Like a lot of people I have read the Iwasaki PDF and was puzzled by his final step in finishing a razor. I guess done to remove the final burr.

After seeing a yt vid by a guy who referenced another vid from aframestokyo, I tried to emulate aframetokyo's version of Iwasaki's final step: essentially vibrating/wiggling the razor with no pressure in a side to side motion spine leading. The direction of the motion is parallel to the edge NOT perpendicular (and of course this is not breadboarding; the spine is flat on the hone).

So I went back and refinished some blades at the tomo nagura stage and diluted the slurry until it was trace. Then I rinsed everything and slowly did the Iwasaki finish on plain water (and running water too) using a Shobudani Asagi or an Ozuuko Asagi. Two slow strokes along the length of the hone and the results were very very encouraging: dramatic improvement in the quality of the shave. Dramatic. I am very pleased.

I figured my lack of success with JNATs was perhaps due to the formation of a burr that was not being removed??? Clearly this is user error since others get great JNAT edges with their existing methods. Don't know what I am doing wrong but I was convinced bevels were properly set and they seem to be ok and not the problem. In contrast to JNATs, my coticule has given me fine edges. Maybe the old adage: you can't over-hone on a coticule???

Just wondering what other's opinions/experience are with regard to this method and spine leading strokes in general. After all, doing circles on a hone is spine leading and edge leading. I will try this method on a coticule and a thuringian for the fun of it an see what happens.
 
Iwasaki's method of honing created a wire edge; massive pressure early on was, most likely, the main culprit. His 'burr' removal was Crox on wool. He felt this left a curved profile to the bevel, which he did not want.

So, he created the sideways stroke for the purpose of removing that curvature in the bevel. It was a relatively long process that took place in one location on the stone - very short strokes, centralized in one place.

I don't run into many wire edges that don't get removed way before the finish, and none of them get removed by paste on a soft substrate - so I'm not dealing with either issue Iwasaki was trying to eliminate. I would venture to guess that most people aren't running into that exact scenario either.

Hard to say what other's run into without seeing the blades in question. But - I'd say that unless a burr or wire was super super minor and ultra minuscule, then two passes on a finisheing stone would, probably, have zero impact on it. Iwasaki chose to use Crox on wool for burr removal because that combo cuts fast and the compression of the substrate helps it to eradicate the artifact on the edge's apex. That activity doesn't happen on a hard finishing stone.

A sideways stroke can, sometimes, seem to add a bit of smoothness to the edge. It's hard to be objective there, but occasionally i do have a 'feeling' in the feedback that is relieved by 1-2 sideways strokes.
But - I have to point out that just going sideways is not a 'modified Iwasaki stroke'; he was doing something else that was completely/entirely different for a totally different purpose.
 
What is happing in the video is a sideways stroke that is claimed to be removing a burr you cannot see. Ok, maybe he gets burrs and needs to remove them. After looking at hundreds of edges under a scope I don't see burrs that need to be removed and I don't see finishing stones being aggressive enough to remove one that might exist. At least, not without using too much pressure that has no business being used in finishing a razor's edge.

At the end of the day though, the technique shown in the video has nothing to do with what Iwasaki was speaking about, not at all. Iwasaki removed his burrs with Crox and his sidesways stroke was to remove the curvature in the bevel created by the Crox on felt strop. It's not just about going sideways, it's about why one goes sideways. Studying how a Kanna blade is honed, you'll find sideways action there too - but for a totally different reason.

This video shows a theoretical burr removal on the stone. Everyone has their own take on things, and there are no rules, so anything is fair game and if it makes ya feel good to do it then that's all that matters. But what Iwasaki was talking about should not be confused with whatever is going on in that video.
 
Interesting, cause for the life of me I cant figure out how to do that on a smiling blade. I guess just a bit of the blade at a time??
Some day I'll have to do a video of this. I've tried verbal descriptions and had people come up with all kinds of interpretations that are nothing like what I do.
 
All I meant was the sideways isasaki inspired or iwasaki like etc. Clearly I was not following his protocol. You would agree that his final step was the sideways stroke though right? And aframetokyos was too? Should I change the title to aframestokyo finishing stroke?
 
From what I’m understanding this is not a “finishing” stroke but rather a final corrective stroke. By using the “raxa” hone to remove the burr, the bevel is being microscopically convexed. By adding this sideways stroke you are correcting this microscopic convexing. At this microscopic level can we really see what is or what isn’t actually happening, it seems to me that it’s just theoretical.

I have tried this and I find the edge, when done with this “corrective” technique, produces and edge that is subpar compared to an edge that is finished on either trace slurry or water with razor weight only.
 
All I meant was the sideways isasaki inspired or iwasaki like etc. Clearly I was not following his protocol. You would agree that his final step was the sideways stroke though right? And aframetokyos was too? Should I change the title to aframestokyo finishing stroke?
I’m the one that posted the YT video that references the one you posted on this thread and thanks for checking both out. He does finish on CrOx but that’s on another video of his. He follows this with some vibrating 1mm strokes perpendicular to the length of the stone. Very interesting stuff! The compromise of these ideas that I find useful is to pretty much use the zigzag strokes when I’m down to trace slurry and then more on water only. This tends to clear the edge from any micro artifacts at the finishing stage and it’s the removal of such artifacts that may be present late in the process that Iwasaki seemed to be mentioning in his writings in as much as I could understand. However whether or not Iwasaki himself used techniques similar to the ones in said video is unclear to me but there seemed to be some parallels IMO but I’m no scholar on this stuff. Keith & others may have a better grasp on what he was trying to get across though. But in any event the techniques demonstrated in the video you posted have left me with noticeably keener edges vs not incorporating them. But there may just be something off about my regular honing that makes it better for me to use this somewhat unorthodox honing approach. My only internet in relaying this info was to shed light on perhaps a little-known approach that might yield a better edge for a few curious folks & to have fun doing it.
Devan J.
 
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I’m the one that posted the YT video that references the one you posted on this thread and thanks for checking both out. He does finish on CrOx but that’s on another video of his. He follows this with some vibrating 1mm strokes perpendicular to the length of the stone. Very interesting stuff! The compromise of these ideas that I find useful is to pretty much use the zigzag strokes when I’m down to trace slurry and then more on water only. This tends to clear the edge from any micro artifacts at the finishing stage and it’s the removal of such artifacts that may be present late in the process that Iwasaki seemed to be mentioning in his writings in as much as I could understand. However whether or not Iwasaki himself used techniques similar to the ones in said video is unclear to me but there seemed to be some parallels IMO but I’m no scholar on this stuff. Keith & others may have a better grasp on what he was trying to get across though. But in any event the techniques demonstrated in the video you posted have left me with noticeably keener edges vs not incorporating them. But there may just be something off about my regular honing that makes it better for me to use this somewhat unorthodox honing approach. My only internet in relaying this info was to shed light on perhaps a little-known approach that might yield a better edge for a few curious folks & to have fun doing it.
Devan J.


yes Devan it was you
thanks for chiming in
I too am getting noticeably better edges with the sideways, no pressure, small strokes.
Don't know why, but like 10 of 10 show improvement with this. Most importantly the saves have been close and comfortable. No aftershave burn at all.
 
yes Devan it was you
thanks for chiming in
I too am getting noticeably better edges with the sideways, no pressure, small strokes.
Don't know why, but like 10 of 10 show improvement with this. Most importantly the saves have been close and comfortable. No aftershave burn at all.
Good to know! Glad this has been doing someone some good.
 
Guys here’s a link to the Iwasaki PDF.
http://strazors.com/uploads/images/articles/Honing_Razors_and_Nihonkamisori.pdf
Keith seemed to have picked up on a nuanced detail that I seemed to have overlooked. And that seems to be that the reason for the small vibrating strokes does in fact seem to be to flatten the bevel post-CrOx. This can be referenced on PDF page 15. I made the assumption that the techniques demonstrated by aframestokyo were in some ways influenced or inspired by Iwasaki’s guide but that is purely an assumption at best. I can’t compete with the experience of other members on the forum in terms of specific knowledge in this area. I’m just an unknown guy trying to hone in whatever broken way that I know how and found both Iwasaki’s guide and AFT’s video helpful in terms of clearing the edge of unwanted micro teeth that I often find to still remain even after careful honing.
I think part of the draw to honing is finding things that connect here and there. Now whether or not there’s any meaningful correlation between the content that’s been mentioned up to this point is unknown but the possibility that there was a connection did it’s job. And that was that it made me want to pick up a razor and hone...
 
Well I too made that connection but apparently it was a no-no to say what I am doing was an [email protected]#$aki method..
Nevertheless its a valid hypothesis; aframestokyo knows his way around a razor and a jnat and the master's razors.
 
Well I too made that connection but apparently it was a no-no to say what I am doing was an [email protected]#$aki method..
Nevertheless its a valid hypothesis; aframestokyo knows his way around a razor and a jnat and the master's razors.
Well sometimes it can be challenging to find out that I misinterpret things from time to time but if I get called out for implying things that may be out of touch with the facts the so be it I suppose. The mention of Iwasaki can often lead to some strong opinions for various reasons. What further complicates the intentions of his writings is rooted in the translation itself. There’s some debate as to the absolute meaning of his guide especially in terms of bevel setting pressure (16.5 kg really?). Also keep in mind that the link I’ve provided is the ONLY thing I’m familiar with and those that are well versed with a much broader context of Japanese sharpening techniques across a broad spectrum of blades may have a better reference for what he may have been trying to communicate. But I’ve found that the improvement to the edge is worth the effort regardless of whether or not there’s any connection between the aforementioned content.
 
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