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My first hone

Gentlemen, I would like to share with you my first experience with honing an SR.

I got a Titan SR honed and "tuned" by a local guy a few weeks ago. I wasn't able to get a decent shave out of it since. I wanted to purchase a set of honing gear for a few years and I was finally able to do so. After I couldn't find anyone to hone my razor properly, I wanted to start honing even more.

I spent an ungodly amount of money for a Naniwa 1k, 3k, 5k, 8k, 12k stones and a 240 grit straightening stone and a stone holder. My first big paycheck came and went. All excited, I just started honing after watching a few videos and a little bit of reading. I lapped the stones and started.

On 1k, I wasn't able to get an arm hair cutting edge for hours. X strokes, circles, light and heavy, nothing worked. The bevel didn't have consistent scratchmarks no matter how hard I tried. It passed the sharpie test but it wasn't good enough. First, I couldn't hit the heel properly, then the tip, then the center of the edge. After I realized that my spine wear is getting really serious (it was quite bad since I recieved the razor) I said to myself I'll just work it up to 12k just for the fun of it. I stopped using pressure at this point.

3k, 5k, 8k - I was able to remove the scratches but the edge didn't want to cut. It looked quite nice under my little magnifying glass. That was about it.

12k and stropping on canvas and clean leather - pretty much mirror finnish with some scratches.

What I observed:
- spine wear is troubling me, is there a point when there's just too much of it to set the bevel correctly?
- on the right edge of the stones was accumulating quite a bit of dark discoloration. It didn't want to go away even with lapping. I also put visible scratches on the stones, mainly on the 3k. I used the same side on all of them so I know which one I might have ruined. 1k is heavily discolored with white spots (stone was blue when I started)
- I had trouble hitting the heel so I ended up honing with a few milimeters of the heel just not being in touch with the stone. I think the stabilizer might need to be grinded down.
- One side was consistent through the whole edge, the other side I just wasn't able to get evenly no matter what I tried
- I need lots of training and possibly a new razor...

Shave test:
It did shave. It even tugged less than it did before I attempted to hone it. Still not smooth or close. I shaved one side of my neck with it and on the other side I used a shavette with a Feather blade. Shavette was closer, shaved more easily and comfortably, but gave me more burn from the alum. Even though the Titan didn't get me nowhere close, it didn't irritate me as much as it did before.

Feel free to let me know what you think. I will try again tommorow, from the 1k, possibly with tape.
 
If you didn't get a close shave with the razor then Alum isn't going to do much. You haven't lowered the whiskers far enough to get alum in the pour. JMO. I found that alum can tell you three things. You didn't shave close enough to remove the whiskers completely, or you shaved just right, or you spent too much time in one area than you should have. There is a difference in how it feels so after some time this will come to you.

Tape is used for two reasons.
I will not get into if tape is needed or not as that is a big can of worms you don't want to mess with.
Tape is used to adjust the spine thickness to get a more proper angle on your bevels. IMO, as close to 17.5 degrees as possible is what I like.
The other reason is to save on hone wear on the spine of your razor. Being that the razor you are trying to learn on is just a china knock-off I'd be willing to bet that the spine thickness is high and will cause a much higher bevel angle than wanted. So it's not going to hurt your honing. If the razor is warped or improperly gound from the making of it, you will be fighting it for a long time. This is why I recommend learning to hone with a few vintage American razors from the early 1900s. The grinds and steel were good so it has fewer issues to overcome.

So tape if you want to but know why you are doing it.
Learn to measure the bevel angles so you understand them and know what you are honing.
Sharpening steel is one thing. Learning to hone and why you are doing it and knowing how you are doing it is Honing.

You have a decent set of stones to start with. Now buy a 400 DMT plate and lap all your stones. Then begin to learn to hone. The leveling stone is not normally flat. They have a bad reputation.
The blackness you may be leaving on your stones is Swarf. Waste from the steel of the razor and needs cleaned off. Honing on Swarf is not good. Honing on Slurry is good. Slurry is what you make with a DMT plate and your hone. The Mud OF the stone.

Enough for now. Start with reading more about honing. It can be fun but to learn and do it right can take many months. And a couple of years for some people.
When you have learned to hone you can pick up any razor and know what it needs in the first 3 or 4 laps of a stone.

Good luck.

Having someone show you in person is the best way to learn. Even just one sitting will help a lot!
 
I'd suggest putting the 3k, 5k, 8k and 12k to the side.
You said off the 1k it wasn't hitting consistently or cutting arm hair. So moving to the next stone won't help. Keep working on the 1k, tape or no tape is up to you.
If you get frustrated, leave it. Come back later or next day or w/e. But don't stop the 1k work until you have an even hit across the whole bevel, and it is set. The cherry tomato test helps most as a tell if your there.
After it is 100% set you can move on with your progression. Going to the next stone when you've removed the scratches from the previous stone, a loupe helps at this point.
 
If you didn't get a close shave with the razor then Alum isn't going to do much. You haven't lowered the whiskers far enough to get alum in the pour. JMO. I found that alum can tell you three things. You didn't shave close enough to remove the whiskers completely, or you shaved just right, or you spent too much time in one area than you should have. There is a difference in how it feels so after some time this will come to you.

Tape is used for two reasons.
I will not get into if tape is needed or not as that is a big can of worms you don't want to mess with.
Tape is used to adjust the spine thickness to get a more proper angle on your bevels. IMO, as close to 17.5 degrees as possible is what I like.
The other reason is to save on hone wear on the spine of your razor. Being that the razor you are trying to learn on is just a china knock-off I'd be willing to bet that the spine thickness is high and will cause a much higher bevel angle than wanted. So it's not going to hurt your honing. If the razor is warped or improperly gound from the making of it, you will be fighting it for a long time. This is why I recommend learning to hone with a few vintage American razors from the early 1900s. The grinds and steel were good so it has fewer issues to overcome.

So tape if you want to but know why you are doing it.
Learn to measure the bevel angles so you understand them and know what you are honing.
Sharpening steel is one thing. Learning to hone and why you are doing it and knowing how you are doing it is Honing.

You have a decent set of stones to start with. Now buy a 400 DMT plate and lap all your stones. Then begin to learn to hone. The leveling stone is not normally flat. They have a bad reputation.
The blackness you may be leaving on your stones is Swarf. Waste from the steel of the razor and needs cleaned off. Honing on Swarf is not good. Honing on Slurry is good. Slurry is what you make with a DMT plate and your hone. The Mud OF the stone.

Enough for now. Start with reading more about honing. It can be fun but to learn and do it right can take many months. And a couple of years for some people.
When you have learned to hone you can pick up any razor and know what it needs in the first 3 or 4 laps of a stone.

Good luck.

Having someone show you in person is the best way to learn. Even just one sitting will help a lot!
Thanks for the input! I do like to know what I'm doing, but that won't come after my first try. I'll keep digging deeper and learn as much as possible, also work on razors as much as possible. I'm outside the US, I have no comfortable access to vintage straights. That's why I started with a chinese cheap razor. Sadly I don't even have a properly honed razor to try and match.
I'd suggest putting the 3k, 5k, 8k and 12k to the side.
You said off the 1k it wasn't hitting consistently or cutting arm hair. So moving to the next stone won't help. Keep working on the 1k, tape or no tape is up to you.
If you get frustrated, leave it. Come back later or next day or w/e. But don't stop the 1k work until you have an even hit across the whole bevel, and it is set. The cherry tomato test helps most as a tell if your there.
After it is 100% set you can move on with your progression. Going to the next stone when you've removed the scratches from the previous stone, a loupe helps at this point.
To be honest I just wanted to play with all my toys today, that's why I went through all the stones. The edge did cut the tomato skin with ease at low angle and very light Pressure, just slicing motion. I'll pick Up a 40x magnifyier tommorow and give the 1k another round. How exactly should the edge behave after 1k? Slicing the tomato, check. Arm hair no luck, thumb test...no idea how to perform one.

What exactly did the local guy do to “tune” the razor? Got pics?
Replaced the pins, centered the razor in the scales and a few other little things. Pics from the day I recieved it below:
 

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Thanks for the input! I do like to know what I'm doing, but that won't come after my first try. I'll keep digging deeper and learn as much as possible, also work on razors as much as possible. I'm outside the US, I have no comfortable access to vintage straights. That's why I started with a chinese cheap razor. Sadly I don't even have a properly honed razor to try and match.

To be honest I just wanted to play with all my toys today, that's why I went through all the stones. The edge did cut the tomato skin with ease at low angle and very light Pressure, just slicing motion. I'll pick Up a 40x magnifyier tommorow and give the 1k another round. How exactly should the edge behave after 1k? Slicing the tomato, check. Arm hair no luck, thumb test...no idea how to perform one.


Replaced the pins, centered the razor in the scales and a few other little things. Pics from the day I recieved it below:
Should be cutting arm hair.
Are you using pressure the whole time on the 1k or easing up towards finishing?
Keith V Johnson has a few youtube videos on bevel setting, you should check them out. I think he even shaves with his 1k edge in one of them.
 
Should be cutting arm hair.
Are you using pressure the whole time on the 1k or easing up towards finishing?
Keith V Johnson has a few youtube videos on bevel setting, you should check them out. I think he even shaves with his 1k edge in one of them.
I used pressure for 40 circles and 25 x strokes, finnished with 25 very light strokes. Tried that about 4 or five times.
 
I wouldn't be concerned with stroke count. I've seen Chinese razors need so much work it was ridiculous.
Your stones are lapped yes?
Does the razor lay flat on the stones?
 
I wouldn't be concerned with stroke count. I've seen Chinese razors need so much work it was ridiculous.
Your stones are lapped yes?
Does the razor lay flat on the stones?
I used a 240 straightening stone, the one with cutouts that run diagonally through it. I do not have a Diamond lapping plate, but I will be looking for a better lapping tool. The razor sits flat and pushes/undercuts the water evenly. I have trouble Near the heel. I can't seem to hit it properly without leaving a bit of the edge hanging outside the stone. When I put the whole edge on the stone, the heel is not touching the stone. On the right edge od the stone, where the heel is, there's a LOT of dark marking going on. I will upload some pictures tommorow.
 
Sounds like my initial experience. A few ideas:
  1. Take a break after an hour or two.
  2. Pay attention to how much pressure you are apply to the spine and to the edge. I get better results when I apply more pressure to the edge than the spine. I use the term torque to describe this. I normally try to apply enough pressure for the entire edge to make contact but no more.
  3. It's OK to put a layer of tape over the spine until your skills improve. 3M Scotch Super 88 gets a lot of love.
  4. Don't worry too much about the last few mm of the toe and heel. You can work on this after your skills improve.
  5. Have fun. There is a learning curve. I am confident that your 100th edge will be better than your first.
 
Beast,

looking at the second photo, the razor appears to having a “smiling” edge, which just means a curved edge rather than a straight edge. To sharpen the toe and heel requires a “rolling” stroke. Check youtube. Stropping a smiling edge also will require a rolling stroke.
 
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rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
You bevel is probably not yet set. Look down the edge under a strong light (sunlight is great for this). Move the blade around a little and try very hard to see if you can get any light reflecting just of the edge - even just a spot or two. If you see any light reflecting off the edge, your bevel is not set.

If any light is reflected, go back to the 1k and work on it. Have you read this thread:


Don't worry about spine wear, that is only aesthetic. Pretty doesn't shave. The Titan you have has a relatively thick spine that can take a lot of wear.

For bevel angle, you are looking for about 18.5° or a bit less. This is more forgiving for a n00bie to SR shaving than a more acute bevel angle of less than 18°.

Have you read the instructions?
 
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Try this method of bevel setting it really helped me, it’s very quick, very simple, very effective.
The guy in the video uses a jnat after the bevel set but you could just use your stone progression.
 
You bevel is probably not yet set. Look down the edge under a strong light (sunlight is great for this). Move the blade around a little and try very hard to see if you can get any light reflecting just of the edge - even just a spot or two. If you see any light reflecting off the edge, your bevel is not set.

If any light is reflected, go back to the 1k and work on it. Have you read this thread:


Don't worry about spine wear, that is only aesthetic. Pretty doesn't shave. The Titan you have has a relatively thick spine that can take a lot of wear.

For bevel angle, you are looking for about 18.5° or a bit less. This is more forgiving for a n00bie to SR shaving than a more acute bevel angle of less than 18°.

Have you read the instructions?
Thank you. I have been following the instructions since you started writing.

I spent some time looking at the edge under sunlight / LED light and magnifier. At a certain angle, it always reflects light. What I observed was if it has a consistent scratch pattern, which it mostly had.
Beast,

looking at the second photo, the razor appears to having a “smiling” edge, which just means a curved edge rather than a straight edge. To sharpen the toe and heel requires a “rolling” stroke. Check youtube. Stropping a smiling edge also will require a rolling stroke.
It's subtle but certainly does look as a smiling edge. Thanks for bringing it up, that's useful.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
....
I spent some time looking at the edge under sunlight / LED light and magnifier. At a certain angle, it always reflects light. What I observed was if it has a consistent scratch pattern, which it mostly had.

It's subtle but certainly does look as a smiling edge. Thanks for bringing it up, that's useful.
If light is reflected, the bevel is not properly set. You must have a properly set bevel before your can expect any further improvement on finer honing medium. As a n00bie to honing, I strongly recommend that you read and follow the instructions in:


From the photo, your blade appears to only have a slight smile (about 1mm or less). This is quite common on a lot of SR's. If you are honing in-hand (and as a honing n00bie you should be), you should just hone normally (no need to do anything different because of the smile). By honing in-hand, the hone will move enough to properly cover the whole bevel length.
 
First off, props on really digging in to learn how to hone! I’m certainly not one to give advice on what to do so I’ll let the more experienced chime in, but if I can do it, you can too. It just takes time and practice. Like anything, always apply what you’ve learned from your mistakes. And I’ve made all of them haha. Sometimes it’s helped putting the stones down for the next day to stab at it with a rested brain.
 
Here's a pic of the 8k Stone. Notice the scratches and the Dark edge. This is after 50-70 laps without Pressure and 20s lapping under running water.
It's bothering me since it's a Brand new expensive Stone. I'm afraid I might damage it.


All the stones look like it except the 1k.
 

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rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
Here's a pic of the 8k Stone. Notice the scratches and the Dark edge. This is after 50-70 laps without Pressure and 20s lapping under running water.
It's bothering me since it's a Brand new expensive Stone. I'm afraid I might damage it.


All the stones look like it except the 1k.
It is coursed by either burrs on the blade or foreign matter getting on the whetstone. If it is affecting the honing result, the scratches can be removed by re-lapping the surface flat.

For re-lapping flat, I prefer to use wet & dry sandpaper in a plat ceramic tile.

Work on one problem at a time. First properly set the bevel. Then and only then worry about refining the edge further and the condition of your whetstones.
 
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