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My First Natural Finish

Yesterday I received a new Gold Dollar W59. After bread-knifing the excessive (for me) smile out of the blade ....
I'm not sure why you do this but it's of coarse a personal preference.
Some of my best shavers are smiling blades like the AUBRIL 139 below.
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With a smiling razor there's a smaller contact patch which I find makes tricky parts like, for me around the chin, much easier to navigate. There's also the slight scything action due to the blade shape but I suppose that's debatable.
No-brand Chinese. I bought some Chinese synthetics; 400, 1k, 3k, 8k and 10k. These were used for bevel-set and early refinement, still finishing on film and balsa.

My main reason for trying the Cnat is to see if I can eliminate the need for films and go straight from the Cnat to balsa. To do this, I first need to see if I can get a good shaving edge off the Cnat.
I have one of the 3k/8k Chinese hones that I've used about twice as I don't trust the grit ratings. Might be ok for knives but I won't let it near a razor.

Since your Cnat is rectangular would you consider lapping one side to say 320 W/D and the other to 1000? This will make it more useful in that you can grit jump on the same hone (sort of) I did this with one of my Jnats where one side is matt and the other shiny.
I don't have a nagura.
While naguras are nice and all they're very pricey and hard to get (reliably)
Don't be afraid of using some much cheaper slip stones in their place. I'll DM you some info.

Without getting into the weeds of particle size and grit scales, this kind of makes me wonder how coarse your 8k really is, relatively speaking (relative to your films, anyway). Have you tried going from the 3um film to the Cnat?
I'd agree that when trying to learn a new stone you want to remove as many variables as possible to narrow down what the Cnat is capable of and the biggest variable here is if you can trust the 8k.

If I was doing it I might approach it from the other side altogether. @rbscebu you know what a good edge looks and feels like so use a 0.01 balsa edge and "downgrade it" to the Cnat. Film edges are great but the speckled edge you can get from a natural means it doesn't want to stick to your skin like the perfectly shiny film edge might. IMO that's what makes naturals more comfortable.

For those arguing about Cnat Vs Jnat I think Japan has the edge in that it sits on a subduction zone where the oceanic (heavier) plate slips under the land plate providing the ideal pressure/heat to form the perfect hones but what they make up for in quality hones they suffer in regular earthquakes.
It's Working!
Looks like I am starting to master this Cnat stone.
Good stuff. Remember some people don't like to finish on pure water so the tiniest hint of slurry can make a difference. As you have a load of identical blades one with water and one with the lightest slurry should be easy to do.

Just as a matter of interest does the Cnat auto-slurry at all? Just trying to get a feel for how hard it is. A finisher shouldn't auto-slrry at all IMO.
 
It's Working!

After yesterday's shave, I put the W59 through a single Cnat progression and the T.H.70 through three Cnat progressions due to its much harder steel. This morning's shave was an eye-opener.

The W59 was very comfortable. Not quite as close as a pasted balsa edge but about as comfortable as I would get from my other W59 off balsa. The T.H.70 shaved better than yesterday but still not as good as I expect.

For now, I will put the W59 through another Cnat progression, Ren wax it and put it away for future reference. The T.H.70 will get 3 progressions and remain in daily use until it stops improving.

Looks like I am starting to master this Cnat stone.

A few drops of liquid dish soap towards the end of your session can take you a little further.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
@Bevel and @SilverGeezer, you have provided many good suggestions and I thank you.

At present I am taking things slowly. Each suggestion will take a few days to try out. First I am trying to get the best with what I have got. That may happen soon.

I am happy with my Chinese synthetics. They may not have the most uniform of grits but that has been overcome by the use of films after the 8k. The Cnat does not appear to self-slurry and easily develops a gloss finish. As suggested by @Tomo, after my cup of tea and this morning's shave, I will lap the underside of my Cnat to use as a non-glossy pre-finisher.

The current edge on the T.H-70 is looking like my best that I often get off pasted balsa. It is also tree-topping like my best. The shave test this morning will tell me how I am going. If it shaves as well as I hope it will, tomorrow I will compare against one of my T.H-70s with a pasted balsa edge. That to me will be the acid test.

I will report back here on my slow progress.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
This morning's shave was only just noticeably better than yesterday's. I judge this when doing the fool's pass. The edge will now get just a single Cnat progression before tomorrow's shave.

The Cnat edge is now giving me the same finished result that I would normally get from a pasted balsa stropped edge. They are both about as comfortable to shave with but the Cnat edge requires a bit more force to cut the whiskers.

Tomorrow I will compare the T.H-70 Cnat edge against a T.H-70 pasted balsa edge. If they are close, I will start to vary the Cnat usage.
 
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rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
The Cnat/balsa edge shave-off has been completed and reported here:

 
“There's also the slight scything action due to the blade shape but I suppose that's debatable.”



No, that’s it in a nutshell.

A Smiling razor, no matter how little the smile, cuts with a Scything cut automatically. Straight edge razor cut with a Push Cut.

Try push cutting a ripe tomato or fresh loaf of soft bread. Now cut it with a slicing/Scything cut, just a little slicing. You can cut a tomato easily, with a dull knife. There is a video of a guy slicing tomatoes with a wooden knife and a slicing cut.

You can shave a straight edge with a scything cut, Double Edge shavers do it all the time, But I too, do not see the logic in converting a smiling razor to a perfectly straight edge.

Every razor I hone, is honed towards a smile, even ever so slightly.
 
I love smiling blades. But a straight blade cutting at a tilt can do the same thing. I shave this way always. Gillette slide but with a straight razor.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
.... But I too, do not see the logic in converting a smiling razor to a perfectly straight edge.

Every razor I hone, is honed towards a smile, even ever so slightly.
I bread-knife the smile out to a close to perfectly straight edge with my GD W59 SRs. They come with a smile of about 3mm or more. Then, when I set the bevel and hone the SR, the edge develops a new smile in line with my honing technique. This smile is often about 1mm or so.

I also like a slightly happy SR. What I don't like is one laughing at me. It hurts my feelings.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
I love smiling blades. But a straight blade cutting at a tilt can do the same thing. I shave this way always. Gillette slide but with a straight razor.
Even with my slightly happy SRs, I still use them with a Gillette slide motion where required. This is mainly on my neck where the grain is horizontal.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
To differentiate between my Cnat edges and my balsa edges, I have decided to paint the Cnat edge tails black with nail polish.

IMG_20220612_105428.jpg
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
That's going to get super-complicated when you buy more stones.

I am enjoying your chronicles.
No, I'll just use different colours. I keep a full manicure set at home. My girlfriends like to do their nails when they visit.

I don't think I'll be buying any more stones for a short while.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
Another Cnat/balsa shave-off has been completed. This time with two Gold Dollar W59 SRs. The results are reported here.

IMG_20220614_081941.jpg
In a nutshell, a Cnat edge can match a diamond pasted balsa strop edge.
 
So what natural stone will you be trying next? Your cnat might be the bomb (no idea, never tried that type), but after trying so many natural stones I’ve lost count, the fun is always trying to top the last “best” one. Or finding a epic stone that you have not read about before.
 
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rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
So what natural stone will you be trying next? Your cnat might be the bomb (no idea, never tried that type), but after trying so many natural stones I’ve lost count, the fun is always trying to top the last “best” one. Or finding a epic stone that you have not read about before.
Budget is my limiting factor. This Cnat was purchased with the proceeds of the sale of a spare Titan ACRO T.H-70 I had lying around.

There is no rush so I'll just see what pops up on the radar as time goes on. I have plenty to keep me busy with what I have now.
 
Budget is my limiting factor. This Cnat was purchased with the proceeds of the sale of a spare Titan ACRO T.H-70 I had lying around.

There is no rush so I'll just see what pops up on the radar as time goes on. I have plenty to keep me busy with what I have now.

I think getting a nice arkansas stone would fit your style and I bet be one of your favorite edges. One of the cheaper and consistent naturals.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
I think getting a nice arkansas stone would fit your style and I bet be one of your favorite edges. One of the cheaper and consistent naturals.
I was thinking the same but first I need to to save up a couple of hundred dollars to cover the cost and shipping. I've got a George Butler "Shakespeare" in ivory that I might sell to help me in that regard.
 
Come visit the great state of Arkansas @rbscebu - you can take back all that you want if you don’t mind some light cutting and lapping work ….

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It's everywhere here in north Texas and I've found many stones that could be turned into great small hard Arks but I think I'll continue to pay Dan and have Kim pick for me. Flattening my lvl4.5 jnats last night was a huge pain. Id hate to fully produce a bench stone of it with hand tools. I don't think my hands could handle it.
 
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