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Not getting an ideal finish on my edge?

Hi all,

I'm pretty new to the world of razor honing, having previously shaved with shavettes. Since swapping to a straight, I've been having okay-at-best shaves and I feel like I'm lacking a bit of polish/sharpness to get a really smooth 'glide' like some of the videos I've seen.

Currently I am using a few shapton glass hones (1k, 3k and 8k) and a small 'the celebrated water hone' Thuringian that I snagged off the bay a while back. I am getting a good clean apex on the 1k and 3k (I check under a loupe and with sharpie) but I don't seem to get a fully even scratch pattern when going from my 8k onto the Thuringian. I am using an almost new Dovo razor and am not taping the spine. Does it make sense to put an intermediary stone between the 8k and Thuri, or is my surface finish (~600grit matte finish) on the Thuringian inadequate?

Cheers!
 
Hi all,

I'm pretty new to the world of razor honing, having previously shaved with shavettes. Since swapping to a straight, I've been having okay-at-best shaves and I feel like I'm lacking a bit of polish/sharpness to get a really smooth 'glide' like some of the videos I've seen.

Currently I am using a few shapton glass hones (1k, 3k and 8k) and a small 'the celebrated water hone' Thuringian that I snagged off the bay a while back. I am getting a good clean apex on the 1k and 3k (I check under a loupe and with sharpie) but I don't seem to get a fully even scratch pattern when going from my 8k onto the Thuringian. I am using an almost new Dovo razor and am not taping the spine. Does it make sense to put an intermediary stone between the 8k and Thuri, or is my surface finish (~600grit matte finish) on the Thuringian inadequate?

Cheers!
My Dovo razors all had some geometry issues. Make sure you have good undercut on all your stones. The 8k should give you an expectable edge. The last stone should only need to refine an already good edge.
I needed to hone a little smile into the edge and even out the grind marks on the spine on my dovo's to get good contact. Heel leading x strokes helped to get good coverage along the entire length of the blade on the concave side. Rolling x was used on the curved side.

Load up on the stones also seemes to degrade the edge. It might help to clean the stones if it starts to load up.
There should not be much, if any swarf build up on the 8k (just my opinion).
If you are unsure if the surface of your stone is to rough, burnish it a little with a slurry stone or something.
The shapton stones are designed to be used in a 3x jump, so i am not sure putting something in between will help much. They do cut really fast.
I typically use shapton 3k, 6k to Jnat if the bevel is ok. If your razor is new, the bevel should be quite good, given there is no frowns etc.
 
I would suggest either a 12k Naniwa SuperStone or some 1μ lapping film instead of the Thuringian. Watch your pressure. Pressure is your worst enemy at the finish. Hone in hand, not on a bench. Finish with a half dozen pull stroke laps and then some short x stroke laps. A pull stroke is simply pulling the razor directly across the honing surface to your right, and not up and down the hone. It strips the artifacts from the edge. Then the short x strokes peak the apex back up without creating a burr. Just pretend your hone is only 3" long and do a full x stroke.

When you nail it, the razor should treetop a hair or two every pass, when passed 1/4" above your forearm. If it doesn't, stay on your finisher. Very light pressure requires a lot of laps. You should feel a lot of stiction when you are nearly done on that grit.

When you got it, and not before, if you want to up your game, go to the pasted balsa progression as in the pasted balsa strop thread. Read it from beginning to end first, before you start buying stuff. If you can follow directions, you will never know a so-so edge again.
 
Hi all,

I'm pretty new to the world of razor honing, having previously shaved with shavettes. Since swapping to a straight, I've been having okay-at-best shaves and I feel like I'm lacking a bit of polish/sharpness to get a really smooth 'glide' like some of the videos I've seen.

Currently I am using a few shapton glass hones (1k, 3k and 8k) and a small 'the celebrated water hone' Thuringian that I snagged off the bay a while back. I am getting a good clean apex on the 1k and 3k (I check under a loupe and with sharpie) but I don't seem to get a fully even scratch pattern when going from my 8k onto the Thuringian. I am using an almost new Dovo razor and am not taping the spine. Does it make sense to put an intermediary stone between the 8k and Thuri, or is my surface finish (~600grit matte finish) on the Thuringian inadequate?

Cheers!
What are you checking the scratch pattern with? Thuri's are ~1micron or less particle size. Not much of a scratch pattern unless you go to 100x or more. Generally the naked eye or loupe scratch pattern on a stone as fine as a Thuri are actually remnants of a previous stone scratch pattern that the Thuri's polishing the peaks off of.

And no, a Naniwa 8k is plenty fine to follow with a Thuri. Heck the 3k is fine too. As mentioned, maybe you're wobbling on the Thuri... Try maxxing out on the 8k then only doing 10-15 really careful passes on the Thuri. Strop and shave and then immediately touch up with another 10-15 passes on the Thuri before your next shave and see what results you get.
 
Another thing to look into is your stropping game. I recommend having someone hone your razor first and shaving with that (maybe even a escher finish). Should be easier to touch up the razor after as well
 
Thanks for all the advice fellas. I’ve been using a 20x handheld loupe, so clearly that’s not going to help me much further than seeing an apex. Maybe I’ll take a look under a compound microscope sometime.

As I’m much more used to sharpening much bigger bits of steel on much bigger stones, I think my technique might be a bit heavy handed and wobbly on the smaller razor hones as has been suggested by a few people. I’ve got an el cheapo razor on the way that I’ll be less worried about wearing down so I can hone away to my heart’s content and dial in my hand a bit.

I’ll take my razor back to the stones and try SliceOfLife’s advice tomorrow, cheers all.
 
Start at the beginning. Most sharpness is developed early on. Many new guys chase finishing stones/techniques when they really should be looking at their bevel-set process 1st. If you can manage a shave off your 1k, you might be there. When you can enhance that edge with a 3k, then move to 8k. And so on. When you get to the 8k, you shouldn't really need much work there. If you start off on the 8k with heavy swarf streaking, you probably need more work on the 3k. The edge will need minimal work on the Thuri. Scratch patterns do not tell all, learning to feel edge progress can help.
 
Going from a synthetic edge to a natural can be challenging, because we know the grit of the synthetic, we do not know the grit or grit composition of the natural, there was no quality control when it was created at the bottom of a riverbed, thousands/ millions of years ago.

First ensure you are honing all the way to the edge with your full synthetic progression and that you still have a fully set bevel at 8k, look straight down on it with magnification, any shiny reflections are where the bevels are not meeting fully.

Then make sure your natural is finer than 8k, few are. You may be better off stropping on Chromium Oxide, (20-30K) to polish the edge and make it less harsh.

Compare that edge to the slate edge.

Also, after honing on the natural make sure the bevels are still meeting fully. It is very easy to muff an edge, just one errant stroke can roll an edge. Also as said the razor may have issues, not uncommon with new Dovo’s, heel and stabilizer issues. Post a pic or the razor, both sides.

Below is what you should see on a fully set 8k edge, the first pic is almost set, (note shinny reflections). The second pic is a fully set 8k edge, no reflection, just a dull grey line.

Photo are reversed, an unable to correct. First pic is a fully set bevel, second is a partially set bevel.

2 full set .jpg
2 full set .jpg




1 almost set .jpg
 
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I will repeat what others have said.

The purpose of the 1k stone is to create/shape/set the bevel. The purpose of the remaining stones is to remove the scratches from the previous stone, not to create/shape/set the bevel.

Do not move on to your 3k until you pass the cherry tomato test and forearm hair test. The edges ability to tree top your forearm hair will improve as you progress through the progression.

Each stone requires some pressure and some torque. But as you complete/finish using each stone, you want to reduce the pressure to minimize the scratch pattern / get as much "money" as possible from the current stone. This is why some people use half strokes and short strokes when finishing up on the current stone.

And you need to strop the razor on leather after completing the progression to get the most out of the edge. Don't underestimate the value of 50 laps on leather.
 
Start at the beginning. Most sharpness is developed early on. Many new guys chase finishing stones/techniques when they really should be looking at their bevel-set process 1st. If you can manage a shave off your 1k, you might be there. When you can enhance that edge with a 3k, then move to 8k. And so on. When you get to the 8k, you shouldn't really need much work there. If you start off on the 8k with heavy swarf streaking, you probably need more work on the 3k. The edge will need minimal work on the Thuri. Scratch patterns do not tell all, learning to feel edge progress can help.

I think you might be on the money. I certainly don’t have a shaving edge off of 1k and as H Brad Boonshaft suggests, that’s probably because my apex isn’t as clean as it should be. I do have some visible unevenness in the grind towards the stabilisers but as the entire blade is furnishing me with a similar feeling shave so I think it is more my fault than Dovo’s. I’ll upload some photos of the razor later today.

To be clear, I am still getting okay daily shaves without irritation but they really aren’t as smooth as they should be. I am stropping on leather a few dozen times as well. I didn’t feel like linen was doing me much good so I tend to leave it out.

I’ll have another bash at it today starting at 1k and update you all. Thanks again for all the advice. This is a very welcoming community.
 
Hi all,

I have found my problem. The grind of the Dovo is uneven or the blade is slightly warped in a U shape at the edge. Perhaps a combination of the two. I have lapped and rechecked my stones and tried various grits and continue to get this pattern. When I first tried the sharpie trick I don’t believe I gave the ink time to dry and was simply washing it off.

I think that I shall be purchasing another razor and putting this one aside for the time being. It is unfortunate to have to spend another sum of money only a few months after purchasing a new razor but it is what it is. I will probably send this guy off to a professional honer. I have already received a very kind offer of help from someone on this forum but as I am based in Australia I’ll have to find someone local. If anyone would like a bit of an annoying job, here’s one! I imagine the solution will be to hone a smile into the blade but again this is something for someone more experienced to decide.

It would be very easy to throw my hands up at the whole ordeal and go back to disposable blade shaving, but thanks to the kindness and help I have experienced on this forum I have decided to stick with this whole straight razor thing.

Thanks again for all the advice.

IMG_1280.jpg

IMG_1281.jpg
 
This looks like a typical dovo blade. In the last photo it seems like you are honing in to the stabilizer. You will then hone in a warp in the blade. Heel leading rolling x strokes will fix that. In the first photo it seems like there is a u shape in the blade, like all my dovo‘s have had. One solution is to hone to a slight smile, but this can also result in to much material being removed from the razor. A narrow stone might be one solution.
You can also mark a one inch line along the length of your stone. Try to shift the pressure and hone the concave side of your blade in that area, or just image this as you hone. Round off the edge of your stone to avoid damage.
If you practice using a higher grit stone it might give you some helpful muscle memory before you use your bevel setter.
Remember this blade was honed on a spinning disk and finished on a convex stone. There i usually a high spot on the spine going into the tang, and there is usually some issues on the heel.
 
Yeah, slight warp. Happens.
My usual heavy handed solution is to put the blade on a diamond hone and wale on it until flat and true. It might result in some ugly hone wear, but at least it will shave. Id rather an ugly razor that works than a pretty one that’s broken.

Honestly, that razor is not nearly as bad as some I’ve seen.
 
If you want to get it working, forget all your hones except the 1k. Put some pressure on it and hone until the bevel is properly set. Keep checking with the sharpie and loupe. Once you think you have it, test in the usual ways. If it passes along the blade length, progress through the other stones and you should be good.
 
It is not a warp, you are honing on the stabilizer, because the heel needs correction. No need to grind the spine, and it will not help correct the razor.

Note the red arrows where you are honing on the stabilizer and tang. The stabilizer is keeping the heel half of the edge off the stone completely.

Mark the heel with a sharpie and a coin or large washer, then grind the heel to the radius of the sharpie mark. The heel is thin and grinds quickly. Note where the Blue circle will move the corner well in front of the stabilizer, to the blue arrow.

A 5-minute reshaping on a diamond plate or low grit stone will correct/reshape the heel and move the heel corner forward of the stabilizer so the blade will lay flat on the stone.

IMG_1281 b.jpg
 
It is not a warp, you are honing on the stabilizer, because the heel needs correction. No need to grind the spine, and it will not help correct the razor.

Note the red arrows where you are honing on the stabilizer and tang. The stabilizer is keeping the heel half of the edge off the stone completely.

Mark the heel with a sharpie and a coin or large washer, then grind the heel to the radius of the sharpie mark. The heel is thin and grinds quickly. Note where the Blue circle will move the corner well in front of the stabilizer, to the blue arrow.

A 5-minute reshaping on a diamond plate or low grit stone will correct/reshape the heel and move the heel corner forward of the stabilizer so the blade will lay flat on the stone.

View attachment 1338441

Aye, that does make sense. The wear far back on the shoulder was already there when I bought the razor (open box) and is in some part due to rubbing on the handle scales. The wear further down the stabiliser towards the edge is flaking gold plate rather than contact with the stone. The top of the stabiliser was entirely me. My technique is still pretty rough and as you mention it isn’t really possible to try get at the heel without riding the stabiliser. In terms of warping, sighting carefully down the cutting edge certainly does reveal a very slight U grind on the labeled side of the blade.

I do think the blade probably needs reasonably aggressive grinding. One of the reasons I am inclined to send it out is that I am currently separated from the great bulk of my stones (I am in COVID lockdown in Victoria, Aus) which are stored at my workplace. Without any rough diamond plates I’m not particularly enthused about removing a fair amount of hardened steel.

Besides, I’d rather learn to play surgeon with something a bit cheaper than this fella. I’ll let a real doctor take care of this one.
 
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