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Just started honing-what's the worst that could happen?

B&B

I have just started honing using a couticle. Now three days in and following the bevel setting recommendations from coticule.be but I cannot get the razor to shave arm hair. The razor is not expensive but is in pretty good shape.

If I keep going what's the worst that could happen? Could I do irrepairable damage to the razor? Or can I keep going indefinitely until I get the hang of this thing?

Thanks in advance
Paul
 
Welllll.......


I guess you could add significant hone wear to the razor. I know when I was learning (not on coticules) I always spent too long on the hones and put a lot of unnecessary spine wear on the blades.

If the razor is not expensive and has no significant sentimental attachment I would keep going. What's the worst that can happen, you wear the razor down to a stub. Call it the price of experience. Don't do it with a fancy razor, though.

It might be worth hitting ebay for some cheap practice fodder.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
I would say as long as you aren't applying loads of pressure to the razor, and you are keeping the spine flat on the rock the whole time, the only harm would be hone wear. Applying too much pressure can cause uneven bevels and hone wear, and lifting the spine will cause more dulling of the edge.
If you go for too long, you will end up with an ice pick, so, no, you can't go on forever. When setting a bevel you need thick slurry and moderate pressure. My guess is you aren't keeping the spine flat, so one bad stroke can set you all the way back to square one. What is the size of your razor and stone?
 
The worst thing would be if the edges of the stone aren't rounded, and the blade catches a crack and a chip gets snapped off. But that's unlikely.
Was the blade blunt to start with? Or do you think you are making it worse? (I know I have at times!) Once the movement starts to feel natural things will improve.
Try stropping the blade even if it won't shave arm hair. You might be surprised at the result.
 
After three days you need to start evaluating and figure out what you are doing wrong.
Watch honing videos, I recommend gssixgun's videos on Youtube
 
My first thought is you are not applying enough pressure.Use about as much as you would use on a pencil eraser for starters. As far as wearing the razor to a nub I have an old Solingen razor that was 6/8 when I started and after a year of almost daily coticule honing it is still over 5/8.(11/16) It is a slow process to bring an edge that was butter knife dull to shaving sharp. If it is a nice razor you may send it to me and I'll get it in shaving condition for you and then you merely need to touch it up as it falls out of favor. Just pay shipping please.
 
Guys, thanks for all of the replies and advice. Some specific comments/responses below.

My first thought is you are not applying enough pressure.Use about as much as you would use on a pencil eraser for starters. As far as wearing the razor to a nub I have an old Solingen razor that was 6/8 when I started and after a year of almost daily coticule honing it is still over 5/8.(11/16) It is a slow process to bring an edge that was butter knife dull to shaving sharp. If it is a nice razor you may send it to me and I'll get it in shaving condition for you and then you merely need to touch it up as it falls out of favor. Just pay shipping please.

Scott, thanks for the kind offer. I have a few shave ready razors that I can use while I learn to hone. I am keen to take a razor from dull to shave ready but thanks again. I think part of my problem is that I am not applying enough pressure as I have been nervous about damaging the blade.

The worst thing would be if the edges of the stone aren't rounded, and the blade catches a crack and a chip gets snapped off. But that's unlikely.
Was the blade blunt to start with? Or do you think you are making it worse? (I know I have at times!) Once the movement starts to feel natural things will improve.
Try stropping the blade even if it won't shave arm hair. You might be surprised at the result.

The blade was blunt to start with and I don't think I am making it worse but I am definitely not making it better. Tried stropping but still won't shave anything. The edges of the stone have been rounded so they shouldn't damage the blade.

I would say as long as you aren't applying loads of pressure to the razor, and you are keeping the spine flat on the rock the whole time, the only harm would be hone wear. Applying too much pressure can cause uneven bevels and hone wear, and lifting the spine will cause more dulling of the edge.
If you go for too long, you will end up with an ice pick, so, no, you can't go on forever. When setting a bevel you need thick slurry and moderate pressure. My guess is you aren't keeping the spine flat, so one bad stroke can set you all the way back to square one. What is the size of your razor and stone?

In addition to not applying enough pressure my slurry may not be thick enough. What's a good measure of the right slurry thickness? The razor is a Bengall 5/8 that is in pretty good condition, no damage to the edge of the blade. The stone is this one here:

http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/243553-10-Coti-combo-w-slurry-stone

Welllll.......


I guess you could add significant hone wear to the razor. I know when I was learning (not on coticules) I always spent too long on the hones and put a lot of unnecessary spine wear on the blades.

If the razor is not expensive and has no significant sentimental attachment I would keep going. What's the worst that can happen, you wear the razor down to a stub. Call it the price of experience. Don't do it with a fancy razor, though.

It might be worth hitting ebay for some cheap practice fodder.

The razor is in good shape but I have an identical one in better shape so, while I would like to get it shave ready, it will not be the end of the world it I don't.
 
After three days you need to start evaluating and figure out what you are doing wrong.
Watch honing videos, I recommend gssixgun's videos on Youtube

Thanks Blix, I have watched lots of honing vids but haven't seen these. Will check them out.
 
Thanks Blix, I have watched lots of honing vids but haven't seen these. Will check them out.

I watched all of his videos probably twice before I started, and my very first straight I honed came out great.
There's a lot of great info in his videos, listen to what he says, listen to how he hones(you can literally hear the pressure used), and you should doing good soon.
Not getting something useful after three days, means you are doiong something fundamentally wrong, and you should start from scratch.

For my first straight I actually did the Unicot method from coticule.be , following the video and instructions carefully.
Later on I have gone more by feel, but using a version of dilucot I guess.
 
A Bengall is a good first razor to learn to hone. The quality of the blades is pretty consistently good, so at least you know the razor is capable of getting there.

Your slurry should look like milk, I guess. If it starts to thicken like cream add water. Once it can shave arm hair and passes the thumb nail test keep diluting until it is just water. Then I stand by the sink with the tap running, and every ten laps give the stone and blade a quick rinse. Give it fifty laps like that and a strop. You should be close.
 
The worst that could happen is that you'll wear both your razor down to a nub, and your couticle into powder, and be reduced to tears of despair.

In your sorrow you will be forced to get a Gold Dollar, a DMT1200, and a set of lapping films. As you begin your synthetic progression through a veil of tears you suddenly realize how easy life could have been if you'd just started using them to begin eith...
 
The best thing I ever did was to buy a bevel setter. It makes the job SO much easier when going to the Coti.
 
My first thought is you are not applying enough pressure.Use about as much as you would use on a pencil eraser for starters. As far as wearing the razor to a nub I have an old Solingen razor that was 6/8 when I started and after a year of almost daily coticule honing it is still over 5/8.(11/16) It is a slow process to bring an edge that was butter knife dull to shaving sharp. If it is a nice razor you may send it to me and I'll get it in shaving condition for you and then you merely need to touch it up as it falls out of favor. Just pay shipping please.

Having been where you are at not too long ago maybe my insight as a less experienced honer status has some legitimacy. I spent the longest time trying to hone my razors with the lightest of pressure, and i do see the value of that for limiting the damage that can be done on the other side of the spectrum, but it was not until i finally(in frustration?) decided that if i intended to remove metal, which for me logic implied, i was going to have to get that blade in touch with the stone. I don't know if this has been your issue but it has worked wonders for me. I do still use the lightest of touch but only after i have produced a sharp edge and I am at the end of each stage of my honing progression. But the only thing i am sure of is the more I learn it only highlights how much I don't know. Slowly getting there though. I think the eraser analogy is very close to where i am at now with the pressure thing.

Ian
 
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Having been where you are at not too long ago maybe my insight as a less experienced honer status has some legitimacy. I spent the longest time trying to hone my razors with the lightest of pressure, and i do see the value of that for limiting the damage that can be done on the other side of the spectrum, but it was not until i finally(in frustration?) decided that if i intended to remove metal, which for me logic implied, i was going to have to get that blade in touch with the stone. I don't know if this has been your issue but it has worked wonders for me. I do still use the lightest of touch but only after i have produced a sharp edge and I am at the end of each stage of my honing progression. But the only thing i am sure of is the more I learn it only highlights how much I don't know. Slowly getting there though. I think the eraser analogy is very close to where i am at now with the pressure thing.


Ian

Thanks Ian. Last night tried again but this time applied more pressure and I started to make some progress. I still haven't got a feel for it but that will come in time I guess.
 
One thing that might help, When we say use a bit of pressure, rather than pressing the razor harder into the hone try twisting it slightly. By that I mean torque the razor so the edge has more pressure than the spine. It still needs to be kept flat on the hone, but that way the edge will get the pressure it needs to remove metal, but the spine wont suffer as much wear. This is just to set the bevel and sharpen, of course. In the final water only laps the pressure should be as light as possible.

Practice practice practice.
 
I know there are some great fellows down your way. What if you were to ask one to just set the bevel for ya and then you take it the rest of the way. I almost never set the bevel on the coti.
 
One thing that might help, When we say use a bit of pressure, rather than pressing the razor harder into the hone try twisting it slightly. By that I mean torque the razor so the edge has more pressure than the spine. It still needs to be kept flat on the hone, but that way the edge will get the pressure it needs to remove metal, but the spine wont suffer as much wear. This is just to set the bevel and sharpen, of course. In the final water only laps the pressure should be as light as possible.

Practice practice practice.

This helped me out with a few stuborn bevels. Until I heard the specific word "twist" I could seem to get the right amount of pressure. Since then, my bevels (fingers crossed) have set much, much easier.
 
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