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Lapping Film Troubles

Hi all,

I’m new to honing so have gone with the cheap option, film. I’m also new to SR shaving also having only started in January. I bought my razor from whipped dog, it was a new razor, a Dovo and it came shave ready, as in really shave ready. During my first few shaves I could really appreciate blade feel and sharpness as I was so focussed on technique/not killing myself. Over time I know the edge has faded and I’ve maintained it with my poor mans strop kit (leather strop and balsa.) I’m not sure not I’ve re honed the edge is back to where it was.

Eventually I have noticed the blade was no longer sharp and the blade was tugging causing me to apply more pressure and therefore poor shaves. So I bought the film. I’ve eliminated the tugging and I think the blade feels ok when I’m shaving but any hanging hair test is an epic failure to the point (or lack of....) that I am bending the hairs backwards with the blade. I’m not getting any burn and my technique is fair.

When I’ve honed my razor on the film I’ve gone through the progression from 30-1 micron, using 60 laps on each film.

One thing I’ve picked up on is that the shoulder of the blade is causing me occasionally to fail keeping the whole blade on the film, the toe is maintaining contact but the heel is lifting. The edge does look smooth through my loupe tho.

Can anyone help me or offer advice where I’m going wrong please?
 
Hi all,

I’m new to honing so have gone with the cheap option, film. I’m also new to SR shaving also having only started in January. I bought my razor from whipped dog, it was a new razor, a Dovo and it came shave ready, as in really shave ready. During my first few shaves I could really appreciate blade feel and sharpness as I was so focussed on technique/not killing myself. Over time I know the edge has faded and I’ve maintained it with my poor mans strop kit (leather strop and balsa.) I’m not sure not I’ve re honed the edge is back to where it was.

Eventually I have noticed the blade was no longer sharp and the blade was tugging causing me to apply more pressure and therefore poor shaves. So I bought the film. I’ve eliminated the tugging and I think the blade feels ok when I’m shaving but any hanging hair test is an epic failure to the point (or lack of....) that I am bending the hairs backwards with the blade. I’m not getting any burn and my technique is fair.

When I’ve honed my razor on the film I’ve gone through the progression from 30-1 micron, using 60 laps on each film.

One thing I’ve picked up on is that the shoulder of the blade is causing me occasionally to fail keeping the whole blade on the film, the toe is maintaining contact but the heel is lifting. The edge does look smooth through my loupe tho.

Can anyone help me or offer advice where I’m going wrong please?

That’s a problem I’ve had to caution against also. I place 3 fingers on the blade with no pressure while holding the scales /shoulder in the other. I move slowly.

I also allow a bit of the film sheet to extend a smidgeon over the edge of the marble tile.

Slow and intentional is the key. Also, keep the films wet.
 
The shoulder thing is annoying to everyone at first. With practice you'll automatically keep the shoulder off the hone. Heel leading helps.

And having a shoudlerless razor, like a Bismarck, is wonderful.
 
What he said. Lead with the heel a bit.

Are you honing in hand, or on a bench? Especially for a beginner, honing in hand is far superior. It is much easier to balance and regulate honing pressure.

You should not have needed to go the full progression on a formerly shave ready razor. All you really needed was 1u film. Okay, nobody would have faulted you for dropping back to 3u. But the entire progression was wasted effort, and more chance to hose up the bevel.

Sharpness tests are handy, useful, and important, but keep your eye on the ball. The GOAL is an edge that shaves well. Could be your hair sample or your testing technique are to blame for a poor showing.

Balsa with red and green paste is far from optimal. However, you can do a lot with it. More than most users think. Most guys use about 1/10 as many laps as they should, 3x the pressure that they should, 100x the amount of paste that they should, and they are trying to strop on a bench instead of in hand. Take an old tshirt and rub the red side really really good. Then another one. Get all the goop off the surface. You want particles of abrasive deeply embedded in the balsa, not rolling around on top. Then do the green side. Always do finer first, so there is less risk of contaminating the finer with coarser grit. Then go about 500 laps on the green, with the balsa held vertically, in hand, starting with light pressure and ending with faint pressure. Then WIPE THE BLADE THOROUGHLY and go 500 or 600 laps on the red side, same way. At the end, do a dozen pull strokes. Pull the razor a short distance, like 1/2" or so, sideways, toward the side of the balsa. Be careful not to slice into the balsa. A slight bias in the spine leading direction will help in that regard. These dozen pull strokes will help to strip any fin edge from the apex. You can also do this at the end of the green side stropping. Okay, now after the pull strokes, go 6 to 10 regular laps, very light pressure, to peak the apex back up. Strop on leather. Try treetopping. Try HHT. Try shaving.

Your edge must be a good 1u edge before the balsa will do you any real good. It won't make a dull edge sharp. It will make a sharp edge slightly sharper, though. And if you go 300 or 400 laps on the red after every shave, (don't use the green unless the red is not keeping up. Then, use it once to catch up, and increase your daily lap count on the red, and drop the green until needed again.) you will be surprised at how long you can keep an edge going. Diamond is better in every respect. You got CrOx and FeOx. Get diamond and more balsa and a proper backing for it, or go with what you got and be satisfied. Whatevah.

Check out the sticky entitled "Newbie Honing Compendium", AKA "The Method". Within there are links to several threads, one of which is all about the pasted balsa strop. Strongly suggested reading.

As for the film, lap count is not the thing. Watch for the tells. Especially at the 3u and 1u level. You should feel stiction as the edge peaks up. When you do, lighten the pressure a bunch, and go another 20 very light laps and finish with a half dozen pull strokes and then a few more regular peaking laps. Nobody cares that you went 60. Maybe you only needed 30. Maybe you needed 120.
 
Thank you for the replies. Slash, I have read those threads, I have also searched you throughout the forum to seek your insightful tips, I even found you on YouTube. I find your advice very informative thank you. I’d love for you to hone my razor but unfortunately I’m in the UK.
 
Quick update, I went 3 then 1u on the film again just to be satisfied that the edge was good enough for the balsa. I then did 600 laps on green then red followed by 100 on leather. I have to admit the edge is now superb, this evenings shave has been effortless. I feel able to maintain the edge on the balsa now and stropping in hand was much easier than on my bench, I’d never thought of doing it in hand but would have presumed it was easier on a flat surface, how wrong was I?

Thank you all very much.
 
Yeah, it got me back to where the edge was. It improved my stropping technique also. Slash’s advice is based on his years of knowledge so worth following imo
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Hi all,

I’m new to honing so have gone with the cheap option, film. I’m also new to SR shaving also having only started in January. I bought my razor from whipped dog, it was a new razor, a Dovo and it came shave ready, as in really shave ready. During my first few shaves I could really appreciate blade feel and sharpness as I was so focussed on technique/not killing myself. Over time I know the edge has faded and I’ve maintained it with my poor mans strop kit (leather strop and balsa.) I’m not sure not I’ve re honed the edge is back to where it was.

Eventually I have noticed the blade was no longer sharp and the blade was tugging causing me to apply more pressure and therefore poor shaves. So I bought the film. I’ve eliminated the tugging and I think the blade feels ok when I’m shaving but any hanging hair test is an epic failure to the point (or lack of....) that I am bending the hairs backwards with the blade. I’m not getting any burn and my technique is fair.

When I’ve honed my razor on the film I’ve gone through the progression from 30-1 micron, using 60 laps on each film.

One thing I’ve picked up on is that the shoulder of the blade is causing me occasionally to fail keeping the whole blade on the film, the toe is maintaining contact but the heel is lifting. The edge does look smooth through my loupe tho.

Can anyone help me or offer advice where I’m going wrong please?
If you hold the hone in your hand rather than on a table it is easier to keep the whole blade in contact with the film as well as maintaining a light touch.
 
Cheers Steve, after finding my balsa strop much easier in hand I will definitely be hand honing from now on.
 
If you hold the hone in your hand rather than on a table it is easier to keep the whole blade in contact with the film as well as maintaining a light touch.
You’ve lost your mind. It’s much easier to put the floor tile on the bar where the Sam Adams is readily available.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
You’ve lost your mind. It’s much easier to put the floor tile on the bar where the Sam Adams is readily available.
I only drink wine now. I’ve become a gentleman since I began straight shaving. Anyway, it’s Lord Bengall to you. I’m the 9th grandson to Lady Elizabeth Bengall of London remember your place.
 
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