What's new

Oka - this is harder than it looks

I recently acquired the following. Yet to get a comfortable edge... relevant questions follow

Atoma Diamond Plate 400
Shapton Pro 1.5k - 5k - 8k - 10k progression
Norton 4/8
tiny Cnat
Long narrow Coti

1) I don't have a slurry stone for my Coti. Can I use the atoma to build a slurry or would that slurry be contaminated with 400 grit diamond particles? Can I use it to slurry any of my stones for that matter?

2a) Is jumping from Shapton 1.5k-5k too much? If not, would it make sense to start with slurry on the 5k to speed up that step and help make up for the jump from 1.5k? And if so, would it help to do some work with just water on the 5k before moving on from the slurried 5k? Or is 5k still essentially 5k whether it's slurried or not?

2b) Alternatively, could I go from Shapton 1.5k to the Norton 4k to help bridge the gap? (It's my understanding that a 4k Norton is equal to or less than a 2-3k on the Japanese scale Shapton uses) if so which grit would you recommend I follow the 4k with?

3) If I want to finish on the Coti, should I go all the way to the Shapton 10, or would jumping from an 8 yield similar results?

4) If you were me, would you even incorporate the Cnat into the progression? If so, where?

5) should I be able to treetop after bevel set on the 1.5? Because I haven't been able to. In fact i'm barely able to shave arm hair after the 1.5k despite being pretty certain my bevel is set.

Razors: Torrey, french Argus, a couple vintage Solingens and a GD p81.

Saved for months to get all this stuff so any advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks, fellas.
 
The shapton progression should give you a good edge. Shave-able. Make sure they are flat and just use some water on top. I would start with that progression; forget the naturals for now IMHO.
Make sure the 1.5k step is done before moving on. There are a bunch of tests out there to see if the "bevel is set". None of them are quantitative and each requires some experience to interpret. I have the same 1.5 k stone and after that stone it should easily: shave hair off your arm, dig into a thumb nail, cut into a tomato with the lightest of pressure.

Jumping to the 5k is probably fine. You should be able to see the change in the scratch pattern from 1.5 to 5k. The 8 and 10k should not take that many laps. I would guess a ~mirror polish or close after the 10k.

It should shave after each of those shaptons, and get progressively better. Once you get that 10k to give a nice shave you can see what the coticule will do to the edge. It may or may not make it better.
 
Work the 1.5 Shapton and lather your cheeks. If the bevel is set you will be able to cut hair easily at the skin level. If it skips or doesn't cut then keep on the 1.5 until it does. The Norton 4/8 was the standard 10 years ago. That's what most guys used. Not the best most comfortable shave but enough to take the beard off for sure. Stropping can damage an edge if not done correctly. So be sure of that. Try the cheek test without stropping and again after to see if there's any difference. Good stropping does not dull an edge. Incorrect stropping can definitely roll or.ruin an edge. And many have that issue. There's a lot of things going on at the learning stage. But everyone deals with the same thing. Keep plugging. You be fine.
 
When I started I used a bevel setter, Norton 4/8, cnat, then sometimes crox. Gave a pretty good edge. If I had your setup I’d probably substitute the cnat for the coti.

You can raise slurry with the Atoma safely, but if you are just using the coticule as a finisher you won’t need to.

I usually can’t tree top after setting a bevel, but it should be able to shave arm hair at skin level all down the blade.
 
I'm very new to razor honing, so take this with a pinch of salt, but...

If you are also - finishing on a coti is throwing yourself in at the deep end. Glorious stones, that give the most beautiful edges on Hitatchi paper steels, and they clearly can be used to good effect for razors, but by better people than me. IMO coticules are far better for knives than they are as SR finishers, and I doubt I'll change my mind on that even as I get better at razor honing.

They also have hugely varying particle sizes / grit levels from one stone to another, I have at least one that would be absolutely nowhere near a razor finisher whatever fancy slurry dilution tricks I had up my sleeve.

---

Atoma 400 is very good for raising mud on almost any stone, excluding perhaps very hard jnats.

---

Also - forgive my ignorance, but what's a Cnat?
 
I'm very new to razor honing, so take this with a pinch of salt, but...

If you are also - finishing on a coti is throwing yourself in at the deep end. Glorious stones, that give the most beautiful edges on Hitatchi paper steels, and they clearly can be used to good effect for razors, but by better people than me. IMO coticules are far better for knives than they are as SR finishers, and I doubt I'll change my mind on that even as I get better at razor honing.

They also have hugely varying particle sizes / grit levels from one stone to another, I have at least one that would be absolutely nowhere near a razor finisher whatever fancy slurry dilution tricks I had up my sleeve.

---

Atoma 400 is very good for raising mud on almost any stone, excluding perhaps very hard jnats.

---

Also - forgive my ignorance, but what's a Cnat?
C12k - Chinese Natural stone
 
Last edited:
I'm very new to razor honing, so take this with a pinch of salt, but...

If you are also - finishing on a coti is throwing yourself in at the deep end. Glorious stones, that give the most beautiful edges on Hitatchi paper steels, and they clearly can be used to good effect for razors, but by better people than me. IMO coticules are far better for knives than they are as SR finishers, and I doubt I'll change my mind on that even as I get better at razor honing.

They also have hugely varying particle sizes / grit levels from one stone to another, I have at least one that would be absolutely nowhere near a razor finisher whatever fancy slurry dilution tricks I had up my sleeve.

---

Atoma 400 is very good for raising mud on almost any stone, excluding perhaps very hard jnats.

---

Also - forgive my ignorance, but what's a Cnat?
Also referred to as "The Peoples Hone" or "PHIG", Peoples hone of indeterminate grit, which is a response to the term Chinese 12k.

It's a fairly inexpensive slate quarried in Guangxi. Quite slow to use, opinions of it vary widely.
 
Some of the stones as listed seem redundant. Is there a 10k Shapton Pro? If it were me, I'd probably go 1.5k > 5k > 8k Shapton Pro, followed by the tiny Cnat. Or 1.5k > 5k Shapton Pro followed by the narrow coticule and then a pasted strop. Good luck. You seem to have all you need in the short run.
 
Just use the Shapton stones for now. Work with tape on the spine for now and don't use any other stone until you can shave arm hair or cut a cherry tomato skin effortlessly. Learn the bevel stage, and do it again and again.

You will never be successful until you have learned to set a proper bevel.
 
“should I be able to treetop after bevel set on the 1.5? Because I haven't been able to. In fact i'm barely able to shave arm hair after the 1.5k despite being pretty certain my bevel is set.”

No. the edge might grab a hair but hair test are not accurate until the honer has calibrated the test, learn what a fully set bevel and edge feel like with your arm hair.

First learn to hone on a pure synthetic progression, either the Shapton 1.5,5.8 and finish on the 10k, or 1.5, Norton 4 and 8k finish on 10k.

Once you can consistently get great shaving edges with synthetic hones, then introduce natural stones as finishers.

First learn to hone, then learn to hone on naturals. To hone on naturals you must learn each natural stone. Tape the spines, no benefit in trashing your razors needlessly.

The Gold Dollar is a whole other story, first it will need to be repaired, then honed.
 
I'm very new to razor honing, so take this with a pinch of salt, but...

If you are also - finishing on a coti is throwing yourself in at the deep end. Glorious stones, that give the most beautiful edges on Hitatchi paper steels, and they clearly can be used to good effect for razors, but by better people than me. IMO coticules are far better for knives than they are as SR finishers, and I doubt I'll change my mind on that even as I get better at razor honing.

They also have hugely varying particle sizes / grit levels from one stone to another, I have at least one that would be absolutely nowhere near a razor finisher whatever fancy slurry dilution tricks I had up my sleeve.

---

Atoma 400 is very good for raising mud on almost any stone, excluding perhaps very hard jnats.

---

Also - forgive my ignorance, but what's a Cnat?
If he went the whole Shapton progression to get it super sharp(eventually with practice) a few strokes on a coticule with mineral oil it will take the bite out of the edge and be so smooth. I've found lately I like to get a razor really sharp on a black ark then hit a natural of a "lower grit"(coticule, bbw, llyn idwal, welsh slate, la lune) for about 5 stroke to change the shape of the edge and mellow it out a little. Every stone does something different and all of them amazing. I feel like this is the best way I've found to actually see the "personality"of the stone, because starting from an extremely consistent baseline make those subtle changes more noticeable. I've really enjoyed it and I suggest everyone try it out.
 
1) I don't have a slurry stone for my Coti. Can I use the atoma to build a slurry or would that slurry be contaminated with 400 grit diamond particles? Can I use it to slurry any of my stones for that matter?
There is always a possibility of a loose diamond getting into the slurry, and it isn't fun. Just get a slurry stone, they're available aand not expensive.
2a) Is jumping from Shapton 1.5k-5k too much?
No

If not, would it make sense to start with slurry on the 5k to speed up that step and help make up for the jump from 1.5k?
using slurry on synths over 1-2k can retard the refinement process. They aren't made to be slurried. You don't need to consider it here, that 1.5k - 5k progression works fine.
And if so, would it help to do some work with just water on the 5k before moving on from the slurried 5k? Or is 5k still essentially 5k whether it's slurried or not?
stop complicating things. Just hone. Don't slurry synths.
2b) Alternatively, could I go from Shapton 1.5k to the Norton 4k to help bridge the gap? (It's my understanding that a 4k Norton is equal to or less than a 2-3k on the Japanese scale Shapton uses) if so which grit would you recommend I follow the 4k with?
Waste of time. Use the Norton as a door stop, hone on the Shaptons.
3) If I want to finish on the Coti, should I go all the way to the Shapton 10, or would jumping from an 8 yield similar results?
If you can get a good shaving edge on the GS 10k, you can add the Coti afterwards - but without experience on the Coti you may wind up setting the edge back. Where you jump from will depend on YOUR skills, not a color-by-numbers recipe. The 10k GS is pretty amazing - you might not want to use anything after it.
4) If you were me, would you even incorporate the Cnat into the progression?
No
If so, where?
Trash can

5) should I be able to treetop after bevel set on the 1.5? Because I haven't been able to. In fact i'm barely able to shave arm hair after the 1.5k despite being pretty certain my bevel is set.
Learn to set the bevel so well that you can get a shave off the 1.5k. Then progress.
Razors: Torrey, french Argus, a couple vintage Solingens and a GD p81.

Saved for months to get all this stuff so any advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks, fellas.
Watch a ton of honing videos, focus on bevel setting, keep it simple, go slow, prepare to fail often and don't progress past bevel set until the bevel is set.
It's set when it's set. Until it's set it is not set. You can't wish it to be set, pray for it to be set, and thinking it 'might' be set is a waste of time. Set is set, nothing else is set. A non set bevel is not a bevel, it's a turd waiting to be polished for Instagram pix.

And hone - a lot. Hone until it hurts and then hone some more. And do that over and over and over again until you hate honing and keep honing until you like honing again. Hone until your heart aches and your wife threatens to leave you. Hone like your life depends on it.
Take notes.
Pay attention to everything. If you are watching movies while honing stop that and focus on what the stone and steel are trying to tell you.
Pick one razor. Hone that one razor. Leave other razors alone until you can hone that one well.
Then buy a crap ton of razors and hone the hell out of all of them.
Honing isn't hard. it just has to be learned. No one is born knowing this stuff.
Learning involves practice. Getting better at it means practicing more.
I think anyone can 'get it' although I don't know that everyone does....
I think those that really put in the effort do get it, the rest - I dunno..
 
There is always a possibility of a loose diamond getting into the slurry, and it isn't fun. Just get a slurry stone, they're available aand not expensive.

No


using slurry on synths over 1-2k can retard the refinement process. They aren't made to be slurried. You don't need to consider it here, that 1.5k - 5k progression works fine.

stop complicating things. Just hone. Don't slurry synths.

Waste of time. Use the Norton as a door stop, hone on the Shaptons.

If you can get a good shaving edge on the GS 10k, you can add the Coti afterwards - but without experience on the Coti you may wind up setting the edge back. Where you jump from will depend on YOUR skills, not a color-by-numbers recipe. The 10k GS is pretty amazing - you might not want to use anything after it.

No

Trash can


Learn to set the bevel so well that you can get a shave off the 1.5k. Then progress.

Watch a ton of honing videos, focus on bevel setting, keep it simple, go slow, prepare to fail often and don't progress past bevel set until the bevel is set.
It's set when it's set. Until it's set it is not set. You can't wish it to be set, pray for it to be set, and thinking it 'might' be set is a waste of time. Set is set, nothing else is set. A non set bevel is not a bevel, it's a turd waiting to be polished for Instagram pix.

And hone - a lot. Hone until it hurts and then hone some more. And do that over and over and over again until you hate honing and keep honing until you like honing again. Hone until your heart aches and your wife threatens to leave you. Hone like your life depends on it.
Take notes.
Pay attention to everything. If you are watching movies while honing stop that and focus on what the stone and steel are trying to tell you.
Pick one razor. Hone that one razor. Leave other razors alone until you can hone that one well.
Then buy a crap ton of razors and hone the hell out of all of them.
Honing isn't hard. it just has to be learned. No one is born knowing this stuff.
Learning involves practice. Getting better at it means practicing more.
I think anyone can 'get it' although I don't know that everyone does....
I think those that really put in the effort do get it, the rest - I dunno..
Thank you for directly addressing every point.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Honing is just practice and muscle memory. Like riding a bicycle or playing a piano. Keep at it, you will get good when you’ve kept at it long enough.
 
Top Bottom