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Newbie Honing Compendium

Read this thread last night and got inspired. Had a micro ding in a razor and started with bevel set then up through film and diamond pasted balsa. Spent more time on each level this go around than the first time and was well rewarded. I usually don't use arm hair because mine is very fine and weak but today it tree topped like a combine going through a wheat field. I had never seen anything like it. I got excited and took another already very sharp razor and put it through about two hundred laps on each of the three balsa strops and got the same result - light saber. RTFM it works.
 
Read this thread last night and got inspired. Had a micro ding in a razor and started with bevel set then up through film and diamond pasted balsa. Spent more time on each level this go around than the first time and was well rewarded. I usually don't use arm hair because mine is very fine and weak but today it tree topped like a combine going through a wheat field. I had never seen anything like it. I got excited and took another already very sharp razor and put it through about two hundred laps on each of the three balsa strops and got the same result - light saber. RTFM it works.
Very inspiring report, Steve. Glad it is working so well for you.
 
I would recommend adding this thread in one of the existing stickies. Or maybe some expert/historian of this forum could tidy things up and only have just a single honing sticky. One that captures various honing approaches (tools and techniques) used over the past decade or so and highlights current best practices. I realize there is no one size fits all, but 7-10 years ago I found many differing opinions on which hones were better and best. Whether to go natural or man-made, soak or no-soak, narrow vs wide, when/how to lap, spend $$ or $$$$, one system or a hodgepodge of stones. I wanted to purchase the best setup that I could afford but gave up because it was all too confusing when observing from the outside.

So while lapping film may or may not be the end all, I started liking what I was recently reading and started taking notes on which links to read through, after hearing vague mention of them in other places. Good to see them collected in one place. I think these may have been referenced within some of the other links, but here a couple that I had recently taken note of:
Seraphim's Synthetic Progression
(@PMH) Acquiring a new straight - For some concrete ideas of where to buy and nice picture of a glass base, though the benefits of a lightweight acrylic base are noted.
 
There was a time when this whole honing thing was made out to be something unattainable. Well attainable but not for years. It is not. Just do it! Use a GD or other cheap blade to get your feet wet. This way you don't trash a fancy expensive blade learning. Once you nail several gds in a row your ready to handle something else. Nice and easy it isn't rocket science. Uneducated masses years ago did just this. (Not knocking them now). There are many many ways to do this. Pick one and do it. Lapping film is cheap and the method is cheaper than any other just starting out. Just do it! Lol
 
... I realize there is no one size fits all, but 7-10 years ago I found many differing opinions on which hones were better and best. Whether to go natural or man-made, soak or no-soak, narrow vs wide, when/how to lap, spend $$ or $$$$, one system or a hodgepodge of stones. I wanted to purchase the best setup that I could afford but gave up because it was all too confusing when observing from the outside.
+1
This was EXACTLY how I felt when I tried to understand how to begin honing my own razor. It was "information overload" and totally overwhelming for me. So I didn't do anything. I just figured it was some crazy-complex thing that I could never grasp.

Then I read about lapping film and balsa stropping.

It sounded almost too easy to be true, and I didn't have to invest a lot of money to do it. So I jumped in and gave it a try, and was amazed by how easy it was. This was the #1 best info I have found on this forum to date for me personally as a newbie. I can now maintain my own straight razors without having to be a rocket scientist. Easy peazy, even for a newbie like me :)
 
What kind of lapping films should I buy? I once read that 3M lapping films weren't suitable for honing because of adhesives.
Do you recommend specific products?
 
Use the 3M film that does NOT have adhesive, if you want to use 3M film, which BTW is a pretty good product. My last order came from nanolaptech.com and I have also used ThorLabs.
 
Okay, time to update this a little. In addition to the original trilogy of threads, which comprise what we call "The Method",

Lapping film, try it.

Setting the Bevel with the Burr Method

How To Use a Pasted Balsa Strop

I am adding

Clearing a false edge

Is My Razor Sharp? The Treetopping Test

and the alternative to treetopping:

Hanging Hair Test - home of the famous Belgian Coticule Whetstone

And also:

The Key

Honing 101
Really great work curating this stuff. Hat's off to you.
 
Use the 3M film that does NOT have adhesive, if you want to use 3M film, which BTW is a pretty good product. My last order came from nanolaptech.com and I have also used ThorLabs.
I prefer 3M film because it is widely available from various local vendors on the internet. It is easy to find and buy without international shipping fees.
 
Good evening,
I'm pretty new to honing and am enjoying reading everything in this forum on my quest to learn.

I came across this on YouTube and it shows a honing from start to finish. I thought I would add this in, it's a Joe Carlton video

 
Quick note on the Lynn Abrams video. I own a Dovo "Best quality" that got screwed up because I let a hack work with it, because I didn't know how to hone. I've never honed, ever. I just followed Lynn's directions and have honed my Dovo back to shave ready!!

His video is a MUST SEE for honing newbies (like me!). :)



Yet another good video demonstrating honing with a Norton 4k/8k with Lynn Abrams:

 
I might add here for the benefit of beginners, that it is inadvisable to bench hone. Honing in hand is way easier and faster to master. Read the threads. Hone in hand while learning, and move to bench honing later, if you must. Many common newbie errors are magnified by resting the hone on a fixed surface where it cannot move under pressure, and even worse, using both hands to "control" the razor.

Not sure what the above three posts are all about, since this is a thread about a particular method that does not use rocks and does not use bench honing.
 
I might add here for the benefit of beginners, that it is inadvisable to bench hone. Honing in hand is way easier and faster to master. Read the threads. Hone in hand while learning, and move to bench honing later, if you must. Many common newbie errors are magnified by resting the hone on a fixed surface where it cannot move under pressure, and even worse, using both hands to "control" the razor.

Not sure what the above three posts are all about, since this is a thread about a particular method that does not use rocks and does not use bench honing.
Balancing a hone in the non-dominant hand while attempting to master this skill of honing cannot easier than setting the same stone on a solid, steady surface such as a table. Hand honing may be worked in later if one finds themselves in danger of developing the bad habits you mention.

I myself did not graduate to honing in hand until I had accumulated a few year's honing experience.
 
Indeed it is easier, for learning, especially. With the hone and razor sort of floating out there in front of you, pressure is dead easy to regulate and balance. Hone and razor find their own perfect alignment. When the hone is unable to yield to pressure, newb mistakes are made in abundance. Honing in hand is largely self correcting. Bench honing relies on skill and experience that a beginner does not yet have.
 
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