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New Honer Progression, it’s not what you think. Honing is easy.

So, there is a progression, a guy learns to strop a razor and is amazed that he can keep an edge going on a $10 razor. There is blood, it burns, but we’ll just pretend we didn’t see that, it is manly.

Then he gets a synthetic finish stone, 8k -12k and a 20x loupe, learns what a bevel set edge looks like and that he can refresh an edge, life is good. Combined with found stropping skills, he can shave without blood, well, much blood.

A guy finds vintage hollow ground razors, film, and a sharp edge, a little harsh but, OMG sharp and the bevels look so uniform and cool under the USB scope.

Paste, the grit from Zeus’ tears, holy mole and HHT, cutting every hair he can find, well maybe not the first time. Shaves like a laser, still a little harsh on the skin but, “I’m shaving with a freaking Laser, man. Stand Clear!”

Then a guy figures, I been reading about natural stones for years, and “they” were right about everything else, so a dip into natural stones on the cheap, small coticules, Sham Wow Slates, hard eBay mystery stones and slurry, silky, muddy, sweet slurry. Thinks, I cut a fat hog in the Asterisk, don’t need to spend a hundred dollars on a Natural finisher… or do I?

Fights it, night sweats, restless nights. Buys a small hard Ark, Kopa Jnat, or both. Wrestles the stone, mano a mano. But one day the planets align and the Laser edge with no burn is born, like shaving with a letter opener. Shazam!

Read more, what the Fauci, is this Nagura Bolshevik slurry?

Whaaaat? Levels of nagura edges, tailor an edge to a smoking laser? Lightning in a mason jar.

Burnish an Ark, real weight of the blade strokes. Head is going to implode.

Then, what have I done? Endless progressions, more stones, large stones, pretty stones, fast stones, hard stones, large Arks, New Arks, Vintage Arks, Translucent and real, hard Blacks, nagura, tomo, more tomo, and slurry, glorious slurry, thick, thin, fast and smooth, honey butter on a hot biscuit.

I got to pare down, where is the end, where is this 2%, did I blow right past it? Simplify, eliminate the variables. How little can I get by with and still get the laser butterknife? Only needs a bevel setter, a good Jnat a nagura or two or a slick as snot hard vintage Ark.

What he does not realize is his hands have learned a ship-load of technique.

See, honing is easy…



Then, one day an epiphany, “Maybe if I buy better razors, much better razors…”
 
So, there is a progression, a guy learns to strop a razor and is amazed that he can keep an edge going on a $10 razor. There is blood, it burns, but we’ll just pretend we didn’t see that, it is manly.

Then he gets a synthetic finish stone, 8k -12k and a 20x loupe, learns what a bevel set edge looks like and that he can refresh an edge, life is good. Combined with found stropping skills, he can shave without blood, well, much blood.

A guy finds vintage hollow ground razors, film, and a sharp edge, a little harsh but, OMG sharp and the bevels look so uniform and cool under the USB scope.

Paste, the grit from Zeus’ tears, holy mole and HHT, cutting every hair he can find, well maybe not the first time. Shaves like a laser, still a little harsh on the skin but, “I’m shaving with a freaking Laser, man. Stand Clear!”

Then a guy figures, I been reading about natural stones for years, and “they” were right about everything else, so a dip into natural stones on the cheap, small coticules, Sham Wow Slates, hard eBay mystery stones and slurry, silky, muddy, sweet slurry. Thinks, I cut a fat hog in the Asterisk, don’t need to spend a hundred dollars on a Natural finisher… or do I?

Fights it, night sweats, restless nights. Buys a small hard Ark, Kopa Jnat, or both. Wrestles the stone, mano a mano. But one day the planets align and the Laser edge with no burn is born, like shaving with a letter opener. Shazam!

Read more, what the Fauci, is this Nagura Bolshevik slurry?

Whaaaat? Levels of nagura edges, tailor an edge to a smoking laser? Lightning in a mason jar.

Burnish an Ark, real weight of the blade strokes. Head is going to implode.

Then, what have I done? Endless progressions, more stones, large stones, pretty stones, fast stones, hard stones, large Arks, New Arks, Vintage Arks, Translucent and real, hard Blacks, nagura, tomo, more tomo, and slurry, glorious slurry, thick, thin, fast and smooth, honey butter on a hot biscuit.

I got to pare down, where is the end, where is this 2%, did I blow right past it? Simplify, eliminate the variables. How little can I get by with and still get the laser butterknife? Only needs a bevel setter, a good Jnat a nagura or two or a slick as snot hard vintage Ark.

What he does not realize is his hands have learned a ship-load of technique.

See, honing is easy…



Then, one day an epiphany, “Maybe if I buy better razors, much better razors…”
@FarmerTan ... Vintage washita, dans black ark, spit on it or use mineral oil. That'll fix any blade you got friend.
 
I was a slow learner on razors. Sharpened everything else but the perfect edge eluded me for a long time. Long time.

I shaved with what ever I created daily. Had a couple razors laying around the house, got after them. Took a year or more to shave my whole face. I did everything " WRONG" you can think of. No mentor, never shaved with a professionally sharpened razor, used a progression of Arks with oil and oiled my Coticule to finish up on to get me to my Arks, rushed my progression over and over and over, and most importantly, " I didn't spend nearly enough time paying attention to and refining the bevel"!

I've since reformed. I now use a progression of Shapton Pro water stones leading to my Black/Trans Arks and shaving nirvana. I used to look back at the edges I was getting 6 months earlier and see that they were laughable at best. This went on for years. Now to give myself a challenge, I try to repeat my best edge on other stones from the same family. If I can get this edge on this Trans/Black, I should be able to get it on my other ones also. I have an old Norton Trans/Black that I don't use much. It produces the edge that the others need to meet. I view using it as cheating when I use it. If my other stones can't do the samr edge they may have to go. The others should work as well as the Master stone.. Each has it's own quirks. I should be able to reach that perfect edge on all my Trans/Blacks but not all natural stones are perfectly the same. Getting there, getting there.

I think one of my most Eureka moments on this forum was when someone asked "What comes after 12k", I think it was Gamma that replied " Learn to set and refine the bevel". No truer words. When I grasped that concept, my edges sky rocketed and it all got real easy.

We all should be bragging about our bevel setters!

IMHO, I run my Black/Trans family at 600 grit W/D. YMMV. My thing is to burnish my strops, not my Arks. Beware. Be very wary of HAD, SAD, and RAD!!!! Yes Honey, it's a necessary grooming practice not a hobby....
 
So, there is a progression, a guy learns to strop a razor and is amazed that he can keep an edge going on a $10 razor. There is blood, it burns, but we’ll just pretend we didn’t see that, it is manly.

Then he gets a synthetic finish stone, 8k -12k and a 20x loupe, learns what a bevel set edge looks like and that he can refresh an edge, life is good. Combined with found stropping skills, he can shave without blood, well, much blood.

A guy finds vintage hollow ground razors, film, and a sharp edge, a little harsh but, OMG sharp and the bevels look so uniform and cool under the USB scope.

Paste, the grit from Zeus’ tears, holy mole and HHT, cutting every hair he can find, well maybe not the first time. Shaves like a laser, still a little harsh on the skin but, “I’m shaving with a freaking Laser, man. Stand Clear!”

Then a guy figures, I been reading about natural stones for years, and “they” were right about everything else, so a dip into natural stones on the cheap, small coticules, Sham Wow Slates, hard eBay mystery stones and slurry, silky, muddy, sweet slurry. Thinks, I cut a fat hog in the Asterisk, don’t need to spend a hundred dollars on a Natural finisher… or do I?

Fights it, night sweats, restless nights. Buys a small hard Ark, Kopa Jnat, or both. Wrestles the stone, mano a mano. But one day the planets align and the Laser edge with no burn is born, like shaving with a letter opener. Shazam!

Read more, what the Fauci, is this Nagura Bolshevik slurry?

Whaaaat? Levels of nagura edges, tailor an edge to a smoking laser? Lightning in a mason jar.

Burnish an Ark, real weight of the blade strokes. Head is going to implode.

Then, what have I done? Endless progressions, more stones, large stones, pretty stones, fast stones, hard stones, large Arks, New Arks, Vintage Arks, Translucent and real, hard Blacks, nagura, tomo, more tomo, and slurry, glorious slurry, thick, thin, fast and smooth, honey butter on a hot biscuit.

I got to pare down, where is the end, where is this 2%, did I blow right past it? Simplify, eliminate the variables. How little can I get by with and still get the laser butterknife? Only needs a bevel setter, a good Jnat a nagura or two or a slick as snot hard vintage Ark.

What he does not realize is his hands have learned a ship-load of technique.

See, honing is easy…



Then, one day an epiphany, “Maybe if I buy better razors, much better razors…”
I feel like @H Brad Boonshaft has been reading my journal
 
“I think one of my most Eureka moments on this forum was when someone asked "What comes after 12k", I think it was Gamma that replied " Learn to set and refine the bevel". No truer words. When I grasped that concept, my edges sky rocketed and it all got real easy.”



Used to teach advanced pistol craft at a remote facility in the middle of a desert, mostly, police, military and those that would pay, all experienced shooters.

We taught, sight picture and trigger squeeze, they just got a little faster as the days wore on.
 
I haven't managed a DE shave without a bunch of cuts...I can get a shave off a straight with almost none, just the occasional small one.
Yeah those DE razors can peel your face like a potato. It's why I love straight razors because with the right stone I can get an edge so sharp it'll cut any hair that looks at it but when steel meets face I can actually use pressure and never feel like I'm going to cut myself. It's awesome and the shave are unrivaled when done right.
 
I think one of my most Eureka moments on this forum was when someone asked "What comes after 12k", I think it was Gamma that replied " Learn to set and refine the bevel". No truer words. When I grasped that concept, my edges sky rocketed and it all got real easy.

We all should be bragging about our bevel setters!
Same for me. Once I grasped the need to apply all that patience I had been using to apply 500 strokes on some prefinishing stone, to the bevel setter, and to not settle for anything but perfect until I moved on, everything fell into place.

FWIW, my bevel setter is the Shapton Glass 1000. I still don't know whether it's a superior bevel setter, or just a superior bevel setter for me, because I know the stone so very well, and because it fits my preference for a very dense stone.
 
Only needs a bevel setter, a good Jnat a nagura or two or a slick as snot hard vintage Ark.
I have come to the same conclusion.

The only thing I would add to the mix is a block of diamond pasted balsa for when I have a razor that’s being difficult. The diamond is my get out of jail card when things get difficult. Other stones work pretty well but I always know that I can improve on them with a Jnat, Ark or diamond.
 
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Topnotch post, an instant classic.

I only own one Ark, a Dan's black whose edges make me happy, so I do want to ask: what's special about vintage hard Arks?
Dan’s surgical black is top class. I own several vintage Pike and Norton arks and my Dan’s Surgical Black hangs with the best of them. Once you get to this level, surface prep and technique become the dominant factors. You can’t blame the rock anymore.

The vintage Pike and Norton, trans/trans-black, hard arks are just pretty much guaranteed to be great stones. Top class arks are still being pulled out of the ground today. Dan is sitting on a particularly good deposit.
 
Used to teach advanced pistol craft at a remote facility in the middle of a desert, mostly, police, military
I read this several times and got goose bumps each time. I'm in awe of folks with these kind of skills. I remain a foot shooting waiting for a place to happen.

I only own one Ark, a Dan's black whose edges make me happy, so I do want to ask: what's special about vintage hard Arks?
I'd say nothing it particular. I got a nice HM8 Norton Trans of the bay cheaper than I could have gotten it from Dan's. I have a stunning vintage Norton 6" Trans, very gem like stone. You can see a long way into it. It has inclusions...a couple are on the surface. If they are a nuisance, I drill them out with a small tungsten carbide drill.

Anyone ever seen an inclusion on one of Dan's?
 
I haven't managed a DE shave without a bunch of cuts...I can get a shave off a straight with almost none, just the occasional small one.
Definitely, a sharper blade equals less cuts. I'm discovering that a Feather in a shavette out performs a Feather in my DE razors, with less nicks and cuts, whereby you are in control of the cutting angle.
 
Definitely, a sharper blade equals less cuts. I'm discovering that a Feather in a shavette out performs a Feather in my DE razors, with less nicks and cuts, whereby you are in control of the cutting angle.
I still manage to cut myself to pieces with a feather in a shavette... I'm finding a proper straight to be soooooo much easier to control.
 
So, there is a progression, a guy learns to strop a razor and is amazed that he can keep an edge going on a $10 razor. There is blood, it burns, but we’ll just pretend we didn’t see that, it is manly.

Then he gets a synthetic finish stone, 8k -12k and a 20x loupe, learns what a bevel set edge looks like and that he can refresh an edge, life is good. Combined with found stropping skills, he can shave without blood, well, much blood.

A guy finds vintage hollow ground razors, film, and a sharp edge, a little harsh but, OMG sharp and the bevels look so uniform and cool under the USB scope.

Paste, the grit from Zeus’ tears, holy mole and HHT, cutting every hair he can find, well maybe not the first time. Shaves like a laser, still a little harsh on the skin but, “I’m shaving with a freaking Laser, man. Stand Clear!”

Then a guy figures, I been reading about natural stones for years, and “they” were right about everything else, so a dip into natural stones on the cheap, small coticules, Sham Wow Slates, hard eBay mystery stones and slurry, silky, muddy, sweet slurry. Thinks, I cut a fat hog in the Asterisk, don’t need to spend a hundred dollars on a Natural finisher… or do I?

Fights it, night sweats, restless nights. Buys a small hard Ark, Kopa Jnat, or both. Wrestles the stone, mano a mano. But one day the planets align and the Laser edge with no burn is born, like shaving with a letter opener. Shazam!

Read more, what the Fauci, is this Nagura Bolshevik slurry?

Whaaaat? Levels of nagura edges, tailor an edge to a smoking laser? Lightning in a mason jar.

Burnish an Ark, real weight of the blade strokes. Head is going to implode.

Then, what have I done? Endless progressions, more stones, large stones, pretty stones, fast stones, hard stones, large Arks, New Arks, Vintage Arks, Translucent and real, hard Blacks, nagura, tomo, more tomo, and slurry, glorious slurry, thick, thin, fast and smooth, honey butter on a hot biscuit.

I got to pare down, where is the end, where is this 2%, did I blow right past it? Simplify, eliminate the variables. How little can I get by with and still get the laser butterknife? Only needs a bevel setter, a good Jnat a nagura or two or a slick as snot hard vintage Ark.

What he does not realize is his hands have learned a ship-load of technique.

See, honing is easy…



Then, one day an epiphany, “Maybe if I buy better razors, much better razors…”

This is brilliant stuff, Mr. Boonshaft! Well done! You have created the only piece of honing poetry in human history as far as I know.

Thank you for taking the time to write it.
 
Dan’s surgical black is top class. I own several vintage Pike and Norton arks and my Dan’s Surgical Black hangs with the best of them. Once you get to this level, surface prep and technique become the dominant factors. You can’t blame the rock anymore.

The vintage Pike and Norton, trans/trans-black, hard arks are just pretty much guaranteed to be great stones. Top class arks are still being pulled out of the ground today. Dan is sitting on a particularly good deposit.
Dan's are about the only ones I've found that are close to as tight a grain as those old pike and norton ones. Those old pike/norton ones are different and are my favorite but I've got a couple of fans blacks and they are without question top rate, heirloom quality stones.
 
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