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Limited Edition Spyderco Hone-Strop

Limited to one, that is, for the time being. The idea was to arrive at something like hone-strops sold in the early 20th century. These were marketed to the straight-razor user in an isolated area away from barbers, the original recommendation being to hone for 3 to 5 laps and strop twice as much before each shave to keep the edge going. The hones were used dry.

Following an old post on the forum, by member chuckd who said he used a Spyderco UF dry as a barber hone with razors, it occurred to me that such a hone might work well for this. And it just so happened that I had a used 8" x 2" piece that was otherwise collecting dust.

What I ended up with is sort of a hybrid inspired by two historical examples of strop-hones and a contemporary Solingen felt-lined paddle strop. After practicing with some different scraps of leather placed directly on the hone, followed by placing different scraps of felt between the leather and the hone, I settled for the rough-out horse butt lined with 1/8" thick hard felt as shown. Here I went mostly by what felt best to me, although the leather placed directly on the hone seemed better for auditory feedback.

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Anyway, it’s easy to arrive such a combo, should one be inclined to make one. Apart from the Spyderco UF, I’d be interested to know of any suggestions for other hones and natural stones that could be used dry for finishing and maintaining an edge, if anybody has them.

I’m eager to see what happens. The consensus today seems to be that the result from the old hone-strops pales in comparison to what is generally available today by other means. But as I’ve been on a simplicity kick of late, such a reduced scenario holds an appeal.

Having arrived at the present example, I'd like to give a big "thank you" to B&B member, vendor, and strop maker par excellence @Tony Miller for his advice and help while I was thinking about how to approach this project prior to execution and for kindly selling me some scraps he had leftover. Thanks Tony!
 
The only issue I can see with this is that those hones need to be frequently scrubbed down with barkeepers friend, or similar, to clean the swarf off. They load up really quickly, since they are used dry.

It would be pretty difficult to do that without getting the leather and felt wet.
 
Wow. And they say there is nothing new under the sun.

Is the Spyderco UF fine enough to shave with? I have one, but it never occurred to me to put a razor on it.
 
The only issue I can see with this is that those hones need to be frequently scrubbed down with barkeepers friend, or similar, to clean the swarf off. They load up really quickly, since they are used dry.

It would be pretty difficult to do that without getting the leather and felt wet.

I have been thinking about this as well. Perhaps if I tightly wrap the sides of the hone with 2"-wide packing tape while cleaning, that might keep water away from the leather and felt (the felt being slightly recessed). Barkeeper's Friend, or a similar cleanser could be applied with a cotton ball or a small piece of Scotchbrite to try to keep things on the honing surface, followed by removing it with a sponge lightly moistened with water a few times. Or maybe a plastic bag held in place on the sides with a rubber band.

As to a day-to-day maintenance routine, I'm thinking that the lap count will be far less than for a dedicated honing session, leading to a slower build-up of swarf.
 
You can use oil, glycerin or water on ceramic stones with no problem, I think they promote them as a dry hone as a convenience factor more than anything. Here's a post from a knife forum of someone using glycerine with good results and it leaves the stone clean and free of swarf:


Wow. And they say there is nothing new under the sun.

Is the Spyderco UF fine enough to shave with? I have one, but it never occurred to me to put a razor on it.

The UF leaves an incredible polished edge, could be one of the finest synths out there imo especially since it is a hard, sintered abrasive.
 
Very nice! My spyderco fine I polished on one side like many people experimented with, it is nice and finer than any old synthetic barber hones But the polished side slow. I spent weeks working the polished side this way and that way(too fine for a while) and It functions very similar to a burnished hard arkansas stone regarding straight razors now. Even adds a similar hair splitting sharpness I associate with a good arkansas stone HHT.
 
The UF leaves an incredible polished edge, could be one of the finest synths out there imo especially since it is a hard, sintered abrasive.
It is that. I wonder whether that makes it more like an ark, where surface prep is everything. I know two of the three stones in the Spyderco line are identical when first made, but one is prepared differently on the surface.

That raises the question: is the default prep of the Spyderco UF sufficient for razors? Or should we be doing something to it first?
 
Also, dunno about yours, but my Spyderco ceramics are warped, and I gather that my case is not unique, to say the least. Might not matter for razors, because the warp is not along the long axis, but it could make polishing the surface challenging.
 
Wow. And they say there is nothing new under the sun.

Is the Spyderco UF fine enough to shave with? I have one, but it never occurred to me to put a razor on it.

Wow. And they say there is nothing new under the sun

Is the Spyderco UF fine enough to shave with? I have one, but it never occurred to me to put a razor on it.

Around 10-11 years ago, when I first joined B&B, there were a few members here recommending a Spyderco UF as a finisher.
 
It is that. I wonder whether that makes it more like an ark, where surface prep is everything. I know two of the three stones in the Spyderco line are identical when first made, but one is prepared differently on the surface.

That raises the question: is the default prep of the Spyderco UF sufficient for razors? Or should we be doing something to it first?

Also, dunno about yours, but my Spyderco ceramics are warped, and I gather that my case is not unique, to say the least. Might not matter for razors, because the warp is not along the long axis, but it could make polishing the surface challenging.


There is a rumor that the Fine and Ultra Fine are the exact same stone but they are finished differently. These stones are ground with a diamond cup wheel on a surface grinder after they have been fired. They can show swirl marks from this machining operation but I think it has no effect on the edge. The earlier stones did have more swirl marks and warping problems than later manufacture.

If you want to lap one, be prepared to put in a lot of time, it really isn't something for the faint of heart. Best bet is to buy loose lapidary diamond, SIC will work although much slower than one would be used to.
 
If you want to lap one, be prepared to put in a lot of time, it really isn't something for the faint of heart. Best bet is to buy loose lapidary diamond, SIC will work although much slower than one would be used to.
Loose diamond? As in 50 bucks for 10 grams loose diamond (quick Google search)? Or is this something obtainable at more reasonable prices?
 
Loose diamond? As in 50 bucks for 10 grams loose diamond (quick Google search)? Or is this something obtainable at more reasonable prices?

Sintered alumina ceramic is a 9 on the Mohs scale, SIC is also a 9 or only very slightly harder. Lapidary diamond is more expensive but will make the job quicker. Check out Kingsley North for both SIC powder and lapidary diamond powder.

SIC will work but it will just take much longer than with diamond. Diamond lapping film might be a good alternative also.
 
Sintered alumina ceramic is a 9 on the Mohs scale, SIC is also a 9 or only very slightly harder. Lapidary diamond is more expensive but will make the job quicker. Check out Kingsley North for both SIC powder and lapidary diamond powder.

SIC will work but it will just take much longer than with diamond. Diamond lapping film might be a good alternative also.
OK, that looks like an excellent source for diamond powder. And I discover that my 8x3 Spyderco UF is not warped. So, what grit(s) would make a good preparation for razor honing?
 
OK, that looks like an excellent source for diamond powder. And I discover that my 8x3 Spyderco UF is not warped. So, what grit(s) would make a good preparation for razor honing?

I’d lap it like an ark to start with, on a hard ark I take them to about 600 grit. See what kind of bevel refinement you get under magnification and if you need to go finer step up to 800/1000. Once the stone is flat it won’t take long to move up and down lapping grits to change the surface.
 
The only issue I can see with this is that those hones need to be frequently scrubbed down with barkeepers friend, or similar, to clean the swarf off. They load up really quickly, since they are used dry.

It would be pretty difficult to do that without getting the leather and felt wet.

I gave the combo a trial test as to cleaning. First, I wrapped a piece of 2-inch wide packing tape around the sides of the stone so that the tape covered the sides of the leather as well. Problem there was that in removing the tape, the adhesive left the 1/8-inch sides of the leather a bit rough. Nothing that couldn't be brought back into the fold by a brief pass with a burnisher for scrapers, although I wouldn't want to have to do that every time. Then, I folded another piece of packing tape upon itself, leaving around 3/8-inch of adhesive exposed along the length from the edge. This allowed me to wrap the tape around the sides of the hone very tightly, covering the sides of the leather without the adhesive making contact with them. Then, with a plastic workbrush (formed like a toothbrush) I wet it, dipped it in some Barkeeper's, Friend and spent a few minutes going over the surface of the hone to remove an eraser mark and some glazing from prior use. This was followed by wiping the surface a few times with a sponge moistened with water. Finally, the surface was blotted off with a paper towel. Upon carefully removing the tape, the leather was untouched.

Not the most elegant way to clean a hone, but with care, I think it can be done. And again, this is modeled after a couple of historical examples in which the barber's hones, as attached to the leather "strop side," probably had to be cleaned on occasion as well.
 
Well, it looks like this was a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. I did three laps on the Spyderco side followed by nine laps on the leather strop side. The edge as viewed with a 10x triplet loupe, showed some edge deterioration at the heel and toe. Today I shaved with it, and what was a nice shaving edge previously was then feeling raw. Rewrote things with a honing progression ending with a leather hanging strop this time. Edge is back to where it was before.

Lesson learned. I like how the strop side works and feels and learned a lot in gluing it in place. If anything, I have a very heavy base for it. As the leather was glued with contact cement, I will try to heat it delicately (with a desk lamp for starters) to see if I can pry it off the hone without damaging it. Then I will try to smooth the Spyderco surface, testing with it in the hopes that it passes before gluing the leather back on. Lesson learned, and @Herrenberg was right to doubt that it would work.
 
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