What's new

Picking a modern SR or two

Some have difficulty honing a blade with a pronounced stabiliser. I think that it just depends on what they are use to.

i started my honing experience, on film, using SR's with pronounced stabilisers. I just took care with my honing. As I developed my honing technique, I soon after didn't even notice a blade's stabiliser affecting my honing.
 
Some have difficulty honing a blade with a pronounced stabiliser. I think that it just depends on what they are use to.

i started my honing experience, on film, using SR's with pronounced stabilisers. I just took care with my honing. As I developed my honing technique, I soon after didn't even notice a blade's stabiliser affecting my honing.


I think i've got the hang of it, but with those Chinese lapping films is as far as I can go. I need better films or perhaps stones to increase the speed and quality.
 
I think i've got the hang of it, but with those Chinese lapping films is as far as I can go. I need better films or perhaps stones to increase the speed and quality.
Honestly, I wouldn't worry about speed at this point in your journey. But yes, quality will eventually hold you back though I suspect at this point your big holdup is freestyling and not following The Method. But here is a good list of suppliers.

You have already started with film. I would not switch to stones at this point, except maybe for a very coarse stone or two, for heavy steel removal. Stones must be lapped, and must be re-lapped often. Wet-dry sandpaper of appropriate grit is less hassle and less expense for the coarse work, if you are not going to be honing a lot of razors. But just to cover the stone option for heavy edge repair, a good repair stone would be a Chosera 600 grit and maybe a Shapton Kuromaku 320 grit. You would also find these useful for knives, along with maybe a Chosera 2k for finishing. Those stones are not cheap but they are very good, fast, consistent stones. Avoid cheap stones. They will disappoint, though for some reason King stones have a fan base. Not sure why, having used them. It's like honing on a sun dried mud brick. Bear Moo, Sharp Pebble, and no-name Chinese knockoffs are disappointing. If you still insist on a full progression of stones, then get the Kuromaku 320 and the Chosera 600 and 2k, and the Naniwa Superstone in 5k, 8k, and 12k grit. I have the 3k but I am not really liking it all that much as it glazes very quickly. The 8k and 12k are very good and the 12k is just slightly coarser than 1μ lapping film. Remember though, you will need a VERY flat surface and a good abrasive for lapping your stones.

Your plate for lapping stones needs to be very big and very flat. A calibrated granite surface plate is ideal. A 12x12x1 piece of acrylic from TAP Plastics isn't bad and maybe, MAYBE a polished stone floor tile or a sink cutout from a polished granite countertop would be flat enough but usually the tiles look flat but aren't really all that flat. Another option which is probably better, that I have not tried yet, is a 6" x 18" x 1" piece of acrylic, and a 6" wide roll of sandpaper. This would avoid end overrun which is actually a bigger problem than most "experts" acknowledge. I have bought the stuff for that, just havent set it up and used it yet. Normally I use a 12" x 12" acrylic plate and regular full size sheets of red resin sandpaper stuck down with 3M spray adhesive.

Nanolap Technologies https://www.nanolaptech.com/aluminum_oxide_lapping_film.php is my current supplier. Has been, for a few years now. The product you want from him is 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of Aluminum Oxide Lapping Film, type 26M, plain back, not PSA. It is practically identical to 261X 3M film. He has every grit you would ever need. I suggest 1μ, 3μ, 9μ, and 15μ films, and optionally 30μ and 60μ though I generally use sandpaper or stones for coarse work. 15μ is pretty much the "standard" bevel setting grit but of course many razors require a heavier hand to get the process started, particularly new Gold Dollars or entry level Dovos. There are no "BUY" buttons on the site. Pick your product and email him for a quote. His prices are very good, but of course shipping and the taxes on your end will add to that. I have ordered in quantities as small as 5 sheets per grit.

Alternately go with genuine 3M film type 261x except in 1μ grit you have to go with 262x and again go with full size sheets, non-PSA. There are multiple sources. Some sellers misrepresent their product. Get genuine 261x film, 8-1/2" x 11" sheets, non-PSA, and not "microfinishing film", "finishing paper", "polishing paper", "polishing film", or any other deceptive names. LAPPING FILM, exactly those words.

Or try Thorlabs, Inc. - Your Source for Fiber Optics, Laser Diodes, Optical Instrumentation and Polarization Measurement & Control - https://www.thorlabs.com/ for their 1μ and 3μ aluminum oxide film and optionally their 5μ silicon dioxide film. Don't bother with .3μ film, you won't like it. They no longer have the big 13" sheets apparently, and no longer have coarser grits. Don't get the diamond film, either.

Their prices are quite good, packs of 10 sheets. That makes 30 pieces, enough for a lot of razors.

I use TAP Plastics for my acrylic. Lately I am only using 1-1/2" thick plates for film, to keep my fingertips out of danger. If you are not honing in hand, I suggest you start doing so right now. Cast Acrylic Sheets : TAP Plastics - https://www.tapplastics.com/product/plastics/cut_to_size_plastic/acrylic_sheets_cast_clear/510 is the right stuff. You want 12" x 3" x 1-1/2" for film and optionally another piece same dimensions for sandpaper. Since you will use spray adhesive with sandpaper this will keep adhesive residue off your film plate. For your three balsa strops 1" thick works fairly well. You will never break these and never wear them out, so don't let the price put you off. You could also lay up a composite plate like @rbscebu does, but I suggest sticking with the simple way and avoiding as many variables as possible. He is in the Phillipines and has difficulty with shipping and customs and theft and so he has to improvise a bit.

Some guys like a calibrated granite surface plate. I have a cheap one and it cost just under $50 but I don't use it for honing because it weighs about 50lb so not practical for honing in hand. However, it is very useful for lapping my balsa strops and my stones. Shipping to Europe from the U.S. would probably be prohibitive but you might find a European source. Mostly these are used by machinists as an absolute flatness reference, or by some woodworkers as a plate for sharpening chisels or other tools, and a woodworker supply company will probably be the cheaper source. Accuracy of greater than .0001" is not needed and you will not notice the difference. Mine was made by Grizzly and is 9" x 12" x 3" with flat base.
Looks like the price has gone up a little.

For your diamond paste, Diamond Polishing Compounds Archives - https://techdiamondtools.com/product-category/diamond-polishing-paste/ and get the 50k, 100k, and 200k grits, medium concentration, which is equivalent to .5μ, .25μ, and .1μ grits. A 5 gram syringe of each will last you a long time though you will go through the .1μ past a bit faster so you might get a bigger package of that grit. I used to use Ted Pella because of his reputation but I notice no difference between his pastes and techdiamondtools. However you can go with him if you want the last word in lab quality abrasives. www.tedpella.com I believe.

Many of the above suppliers or products can be found on ebay or amazon, if you prefer dealing through them.

As I said, I believe your problems are with technique at this point, and you have not yet reached the limitations posed by your materiel choices. However, you will reach that point and compromises in your equipment and supplies will compromise your results. So the question is, do you want the best results possible, or are you one of the bleating masses willing to accept lower quality results? Going first class is still cheaper than jumping into this flatfooted because you will try this and try that and this and that and end up with cheap synthetics, high grade synthetics, Arkies, Jnats, Coticules, exotic slates, vintage stones, and take years to finally master one progression. Meanwhile you will have spend many hundreds of dollars, even thousands, on stones and silly honing accessories like sink bridges and "stone holders". (I have a built-in stone holder. It is called a "left hand".)

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing WRONG with honing on high grade naturals. It is fascinating, challenging, and quite enjoyable, and there is a certain pride of ownership in having a few prized stones and a wide selection of nagura or slurry stones. You will find that the reduced sharpness of the stone honed edge can be compensated with good shave technique, and that shave comfort can be equal or even greater than a Method edge. But it takes a while to learn to use these stones, or even to select your favorites from all the ones you will end up buying. Ideally you would select the perfect bevel setting stone and finishing stone and 3 or 4 perfect nagura, stones all of good size, and pay less than $1k and be finished spending money forever. But it probably won't work out that way. Synthetics will probably be the cheaper option, but you will still end up buying stuff that gets shelved, and spend a lot of time learning to get inferior results.

Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade is your best option, but only if you are willing to follow all directions precisely and trust The Method completely. Once you are getting amazing edges, then feel free to try other stuff. There are more ways to hone, many more actually, and all have their fans. Plenty of guys will say just rub razor on a rock until sharp. Others will say don't get stuck in some religious dogma. None will be getting the sort of edge you can get if you just follow The Method and follow it exactly in every detail. To be fair, a Method edge is not needed in order to get a decent shave. But if you want to shave like THIS, a single pass, no cuts, no irritation, no prisoners and no compromises or excuses, then you want a Method edge, especially if you are messing with Gold Dollars.
 
Honestly, I wouldn't worry about speed at this point in your journey. But yes, quality will eventually hold you back though I suspect at this point your big holdup is freestyling and not following The Method. But here is a good list of suppliers.

You have already started with film. I would not switch to stones at this point, except maybe for a very coarse stone or two, for heavy steel removal. Stones must be lapped, and must be re-lapped often. Wet-dry sandpaper of appropriate grit is less hassle and less expense for the coarse work, if you are not going to be honing a lot of razors. But just to cover the stone option for heavy edge repair, a good repair stone would be a Chosera 600 grit and maybe a Shapton Kuromaku 320 grit. You would also find these useful for knives, along with maybe a Chosera 2k for finishing. Those stones are not cheap but they are very good, fast, consistent stones. Avoid cheap stones. They will disappoint, though for some reason King stones have a fan base. Not sure why, having used them. It's like honing on a sun dried mud brick. Bear Moo, Sharp Pebble, and no-name Chinese knockoffs are disappointing. If you still insist on a full progression of stones, then get the Kuromaku 320 and the Chosera 600 and 2k, and the Naniwa Superstone in 5k, 8k, and 12k grit. I have the 3k but I am not really liking it all that much as it glazes very quickly. The 8k and 12k are very good and the 12k is just slightly coarser than 1μ lapping film. Remember though, you will need a VERY flat surface and a good abrasive for lapping your stones.

Your plate for lapping stones needs to be very big and very flat. A calibrated granite surface plate is ideal. A 12x12x1 piece of acrylic from TAP Plastics isn't bad and maybe, MAYBE a polished stone floor tile or a sink cutout from a polished granite countertop would be flat enough but usually the tiles look flat but aren't really all that flat. Another option which is probably better, that I have not tried yet, is a 6" x 18" x 1" piece of acrylic, and a 6" wide roll of sandpaper. This would avoid end overrun which is actually a bigger problem than most "experts" acknowledge. I have bought the stuff for that, just havent set it up and used it yet. Normally I use a 12" x 12" acrylic plate and regular full size sheets of red resin sandpaper stuck down with 3M spray adhesive.

Nanolap Technologies Aluminum Oxide Lapping Film - Nanolap Technologies - https://www.nanolaptech.com/aluminum_oxide_lapping_film.php is my current supplier. Has been, for a few years now. The product you want from him is 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of Aluminum Oxide Lapping Film, type 26M, plain back, not PSA. It is practically identical to 261X 3M film. He has every grit you would ever need. I suggest 1μ, 3μ, 9μ, and 15μ films, and optionally 30μ and 60μ though I generally use sandpaper or stones for coarse work. 15μ is pretty much the "standard" bevel setting grit but of course many razors require a heavier hand to get the process started, particularly new Gold Dollars or entry level Dovos. There are no "BUY" buttons on the site. Pick your product and email him for a quote. His prices are very good, but of course shipping and the taxes on your end will add to that. I have ordered in quantities as small as 5 sheets per grit.

Alternately go with genuine 3M film type 261x except in 1μ grit you have to go with 262x and again go with full size sheets, non-PSA. There are multiple sources. Some sellers misrepresent their product. Get genuine 261x film, 8-1/2" x 11" sheets, non-PSA, and not "microfinishing film", "finishing paper", "polishing paper", "polishing film", or any other deceptive names. LAPPING FILM, exactly those words.

Or try Thorlabs, Inc. - Your Source for Fiber Optics, Laser Diodes, Optical Instrumentation and Polarization Measurement & Control - https://www.thorlabs.com/ for their 1μ and 3μ aluminum oxide film and optionally their 5μ silicon dioxide film. Don't bother with .3μ film, you won't like it. They no longer have the big 13" sheets apparently, and no longer have coarser grits. Don't get the diamond film, either.

Their prices are quite good, packs of 10 sheets. That makes 30 pieces, enough for a lot of razors.

I use TAP Plastics for my acrylic. Lately I am only using 1-1/2" thick plates for film, to keep my fingertips out of danger. If you are not honing in hand, I suggest you start doing so right now. Cast Acrylic Sheets : TAP Plastics - https://www.tapplastics.com/product/plastics/cut_to_size_plastic/acrylic_sheets_cast_clear/510 is the right stuff. You want 12" x 3" x 1-1/2" for film and optionally another piece same dimensions for sandpaper. Since you will use spray adhesive with sandpaper this will keep adhesive residue off your film plate. For your three balsa strops 1" thick works fairly well. You will never break these and never wear them out, so don't let the price put you off. You could also lay up a composite plate like @rbscebu does, but I suggest sticking with the simple way and avoiding as many variables as possible. He is in the Phillipines and has difficulty with shipping and customs and theft and so he has to improvise a bit.

Some guys like a calibrated granite surface plate. I have a cheap one and it cost just under $50 but I don't use it for honing because it weighs about 50lb so not practical for honing in hand. However, it is very useful for lapping my balsa strops and my stones. Shipping to Europe from the U.S. would probably be prohibitive but you might find a European source. Mostly these are used by machinists as an absolute flatness reference, or by some woodworkers as a plate for sharpening chisels or other tools, and a woodworker supply company will probably be the cheaper source. Accuracy of greater than .0001" is not needed and you will not notice the difference. Mine was made by Grizzly and is 9" x 12" x 3" with flat base.
Looks like the price has gone up a little.

For your diamond paste, Diamond Polishing Compounds Archives - https://techdiamondtools.com/product-category/diamond-polishing-paste/ and get the 50k, 100k, and 200k grits, medium concentration, which is equivalent to .5μ, .25μ, and .1μ grits. A 5 gram syringe of each will last you a long time though you will go through the .1μ past a bit faster so you might get a bigger package of that grit. I used to use Ted Pella because of his reputation but I notice no difference between his pastes and techdiamondtools. However you can go with him if you want the last word in lab quality abrasives. www.tedpella.com I believe.

Many of the above suppliers or products can be found on ebay or amazon, if you prefer dealing through them.

As I said, I believe your problems are with technique at this point, and you have not yet reached the limitations posed by your materiel choices. However, you will reach that point and compromises in your equipment and supplies will compromise your results. So the question is, do you want the best results possible, or are you one of the bleating masses willing to accept lower quality results? Going first class is still cheaper than jumping into this flatfooted because you will try this and try that and this and that and end up with cheap synthetics, high grade synthetics, Arkies, Jnats, Coticules, exotic slates, vintage stones, and take years to finally master one progression. Meanwhile you will have spend many hundreds of dollars, even thousands, on stones and silly honing accessories like sink bridges and "stone holders". (I have a built-in stone holder. It is called a "left hand".)

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing WRONG with honing on high grade naturals. It is fascinating, challenging, and quite enjoyable, and there is a certain pride of ownership in having a few prized stones and a wide selection of nagura or slurry stones. You will find that the reduced sharpness of the stone honed edge can be compensated with good shave technique, and that shave comfort can be equal or even greater than a Method edge. But it takes a while to learn to use these stones, or even to select your favorites from all the ones you will end up buying. Ideally you would select the perfect bevel setting stone and finishing stone and 3 or 4 perfect nagura, stones all of good size, and pay less than $1k and be finished spending money forever. But it probably won't work out that way. Synthetics will probably be the cheaper option, but you will still end up buying stuff that gets shelved, and spend a lot of time learning to get inferior results.

Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade is your best option, but only if you are willing to follow all directions precisely and trust The Method completely. Once you are getting amazing edges, then feel free to try other stuff. There are more ways to hone, many more actually, and all have their fans. Plenty of guys will say just rub razor on a rock until sharp. Others will say don't get stuck in some religious dogma. None will be getting the sort of edge you can get if you just follow The Method and follow it exactly in every detail. To be fair, a Method edge is not needed in order to get a decent shave. But if you want to shave like THIS, a single pass, no cuts, no irritation, no prisoners and no compromises or excuses, then you want a Method edge, especially if you are messing with Gold Dollars.

It could very well be from my undeveloped skill, but I do around 100 laps on the 1500, 4000, 6000 and then on the gnat and the razors still don't feel as sharp as I would imagine. The other thing that i've noticed is that I almost don't see any steel leftovers when I finish on the jnat even after 100 laps on both sides. It's like it doesn't do anything. I think a good 1k stone would help me a lot, since the 1500 gets lots of dark spots pretty fast compared to the other films. My problem right now is that I don't know how many laps to do and if 100 are not enough, then should I do more?

At some point I will get it better and the Gold Dollar will eventually become more and more shave ready or I might just completely overhone the spine and eventually have to buy another one or maybe more.
 
It could very well be from my undeveloped skill, but I do around 100 laps on the 1500, 4000, 6000 and then on the gnat and the razors still don't feel as sharp as I would imagine. The other thing that i've noticed is that I almost don't see any steel leftovers when I finish on the jnat even after 100 laps on both sides. It's like it doesn't do anything. I think a good 1k stone would help me a lot, since the 1500 gets lots of dark spots pretty fast compared to the other films. My problem right now is that I don't know how many laps to do and if 100 are not enough, then should I do more?

At some point I will get it better and the Gold Dollar will eventually become more and more shave ready or I might just completely overhone the spine and eventually have to buy another one or maybe more.
You can't overhone the spine. Trust me. It is already too thick. Every micron of steel removed from the spine of a GD66 is an improvement, within reason. Also lap count is irrelevant. It's not done until it is done, beginning with the bevel. Do you know for a fact that your bevel is set? Or are you assuming that it is, because you feel like you have been honing on it forever? You can easily go a couple thousand laps on your 1.5k and not be there yet. OR you might get it in only a few hundred. Or you might use carefully regulated very heavy to light diminishing pressure and gradually diluted slurry in a regimen learned by long experience and indeed get a bevel in only 100 laps, though this is unlikely with that razor, even though they are much better ground than they were a few years ago.

A GD66 is cheap and expendable. You don't have to worry about messing it up. Go nuts. Buy a dozen and do your worst. Set a preliminary bevel on a coarse synthetic or on 220 grit sandpaper glued to a verified flat plate. Hone one side until you feel a burr on the up side. Flip the razor and do the other side. You don't need a burr the full length of the razor at this point. Now move up to 400 or 600 grit and repeat. The burr will be present on a greater portion of the blade but your main objective is getting rid of the coarse 220 grit scratches, as verified by your loupe or microscope. I highly recommend the 10k Belomo Triplet, the most popular loupe in our community. You also need a very bright work light so you can read the reflections from the razor. After the 600 grit, move up to 1000 grit and go for a full length burr on both sides, then hone the burr off with regular laps, and polish it up good with your 1500 grit stone (if you have lapped it properly) not forgetting the pull strokes and short x strokes as per The Method. Without a proven good quality bevel with a nice tight apex, you are only wasting your time on a finer rock. Totally wasting your time. You are polishing an edge that is not even there. It will get you nowhere. Set your bevel. Set your bevel. Set your bevel. KNOW that it is set, no guessing or assumptions. Get that out of the way first. Don't freestyle this or you will be weeks, months, even years in pursuit of your Jnat edge. BTW, what sort of naguras are you trying to use with it? There are some guys here who are very knowledgeable on Jnats and they can help you sort that out, but you are absolutely not ready even for your 1500 grit synthetic until you have a bevel set.

Work on that Gold Dollar, and forget about the other razors for the moment. Follow The Method. Set that bevel, no excuses, no freestyling, no guessing. Developing skill is irrelevant and unnecessary at this point. Follow directions and get immediate results first, so you will see what is possible, and THEN Experiment, learn, and grow as a honer. As it is, I am afraid you are blindly groping in the dark. Don't feel alone. Most honers start out that way. But you don't have to.
 
Here's my take, as a fellow newbie. I started honing about 3 months ago. First on a crappy Sharp Pebble combo stone and an ILR finisher, then on film.

If you're using the burr method to set the bevel, once you've raised the burr on both sides, and removed it from the second side, you're done. However long that takes. But you need an objective way to know you're there, right? I like the cherry tomato test because you can feel how every part of the blade is cutting. Another, probably better way, is to use a loupe and a bright light and look at the bevel straight on. It should be a black line. Any reflections indicate places where the bevels aren't making a clean apex. You don't have to use the burr method, there are certainly other ways, but the end result has to be the same. A clean bevel from one end to the other.

After that, if you're using film, you go up to the next finer film in your progression and do a few laps. Maybe 20, 30, whatever. I start with a bunch of circle strokes on each side, seems to go a lot faster. After you've honed a few, you can tell by the sound and the feel that it's getting smoother. You can see the blade starting to undercut the water. Use your loupe again and look at both sides of the bevel to see if you've eliminated the coarser scratches you put there on the prior grit. In fact, you should do this early on, maybe after 15 or 20 laps, so that you can see the difference. Chances are, you will have an area, maybe the heel, or the toe, or both, that still needs more work. So focus on that area. Once you get used to the different feedback, you pretty well know when you're ready to move on and the loupe is less critical. But early on, get used to the idea of looking at the bevel until you know it's consistently polished for its entire length. Then you move on to the next finer grit in your progression, and do the same thing. I use a 10x loupe for about everything but once you get past 8k or so it gets harder to see the scratches, so more magnification can help (as long as you don't hit the blade with the loupe trying to get it in focus!)

The mistake I used to make, and I think a lot of newbies make, is just continuing to do a million laps thinking that must surely get the blade sharp, right? Well, no, if your technique isn't up to snuff or the razor is wonky, no it won't. You have to figure out a way to get good contact on all the parts of the blade (rolling x-stroke, circles, whatever it needs). Sharpie, loupe, etc. all will give you the information you need. Once I really started paying attention to the feedback (and understood how it correlated to what I was seeing under magnification) honing got a lot faster and more consistent.
 
You can't overhone the spine. Trust me. It is already too thick. Every micron of steel removed from the spine of a GD66 is an improvement, within reason. Also lap count is irrelevant. It's not done until it is done, beginning with the bevel. Do you know for a fact that your bevel is set? Or are you assuming that it is, because you feel like you have been honing on it forever? You can easily go a couple thousand laps on your 1.5k and not be there yet. OR you might get it in only a few hundred. Or you might use carefully regulated very heavy to light diminishing pressure and gradually diluted slurry in a regimen learned by long experience and indeed get a bevel in only 100 laps, though this is unlikely with that razor, even though they are much better ground than they were a few years ago.

A GD66 is cheap and expendable. You don't have to worry about messing it up. Go nuts. Buy a dozen and do your worst. Set a preliminary bevel on a coarse synthetic or on 220 grit sandpaper glued to a verified flat plate. Hone one side until you feel a burr on the up side. Flip the razor and do the other side. You don't need a burr the full length of the razor at this point. Now move up to 400 or 600 grit and repeat. The burr will be present on a greater portion of the blade but your main objective is getting rid of the coarse 220 grit scratches, as verified by your loupe or microscope. I highly recommend the 10k Belomo Triplet, the most popular loupe in our community. You also need a very bright work light so you can read the reflections from the razor. After the 600 grit, move up to 1000 grit and go for a full length burr on both sides, then hone the burr off with regular laps, and polish it up good with your 1500 grit stone (if you have lapped it properly) not forgetting the pull strokes and short x strokes as per The Method. Without a proven good quality bevel with a nice tight apex, you are only wasting your time on a finer rock. Totally wasting your time. You are polishing an edge that is not even there. It will get you nowhere. Set your bevel. Set your bevel. Set your bevel. KNOW that it is set, no guessing or assumptions. Get that out of the way first. Don't freestyle this or you will be weeks, months, even years in pursuit of your Jnat edge. BTW, what sort of naguras are you trying to use with it? There are some guys here who are very knowledgeable on Jnats and they can help you sort that out, but you are absolutely not ready even for your 1500 grit synthetic until you have a bevel set.

Work on that Gold Dollar, and forget about the other razors for the moment. Follow The Method. Set that bevel, no excuses, no freestyling, no guessing. Developing skill is irrelevant and unnecessary at this point. Follow directions and get immediate results first, so you will see what is possible, and THEN Experiment, learn, and grow as a honer. As it is, I am afraid you are blindly groping in the dark. Don't feel alone. Most honers start out that way. But you don't have to.


Ok I will focus with the 1500 grit film, since it's the lowest grit I have available and follow more closely some of the method ways to see if I can properly set the bevel and then I will move on the rest of films. The jnat that I have was bought from a reputable a while ago from Japan along with a Japanese razor and it was advertised as a super finisher. I can only guess it's grid, but the seller said that it's better than a regular jnat.

I still have to wait a few more days to see what i've done today and if there's any improvement at all. I think i've managed to sharpen the Gold Dollar much better this time, since it cuts the hair from my arms much effortlessly, but we will see.

My other problem is that my beard is very tough and I might have to sharpen my razors more than some people do in order to get a good shave. Even with the razors that Steve sharpened for me, in some spots it was a bit challenging to cut around my chin and moustache area, but they were still miles better than what i'm capable of doing at the moment.
 
Btw, I forgot to mention that when I was honing my Gold Dollar today, it was making a weird whistling/singing sound. Is that common/uncommon when honing a straight razor and is it a good or a bad sign? Or maybe it's because of the uneven geometry of the Gold Dollar.
 
Btw, I forgot to mention that when I was honing my Gold Dollar today, it was making a weird whistling/singing sound. Is that common/uncommon when honing a straight razor and is it a good or a bad sign? Or maybe it's because of the uneven geometry of the Gold Dollar.

I haven't decided that one yet myself. Sometimes I get it on a nearly-perfect razor, sometimes on one that still needs plenty of work. But I figure any oscillation is potentially bad, so I tend to back off, or go with a more X-stroke kind of motion, to avoid it.
 
The razors arrived yesterday and i've decided to shave with the Revisor today, but the shave was quite disappointing. The Revisor was just slightly sharp than the two razors that I was honing and a tiny bit less sharp than the razors I have from Steve. The shaving experience isn't as good as i've imagined it to be and it almost feels like that my whiskers are made out of steel and cutting them isn't very pleasant. The best I could do with any of the razors that I have is a one pass shave without shaving the moustache area and most of the chin, since the blade almost bounces off from those areas and I feel like i'm going to cut myself if I press on.

I need something sharp, like lightsaber sharp or otherwise I don't see how I can do a 2+ pass shave with any of the razors that I currently have.
 
Possible tough beard mitigations:

Improve your prep. I do the cold-water version of Kyle's Prep, or at least the part where you wet your face, lather up, wrap a wet towel over the lathered area, and wait 3 minutes, then re-lather and shave. Gives the softeners in the soap, and the hot water, if you're using it, a chance to soften.

Razor size/shape: Some with tough beards prefer larger, heavier razors, or near-wedge shapes, like using a more formidable axe for a larger or tougher log.

Edge: Of course it's likely that you are early enough in the honing journey that your edges have a long way to go for improvement. But at the ultimate limits, I find that some razors can take and hold extra-scary edges: Iwasaki Swedish Steel or Tamahagane, and Swedish razors from Heljestrand and Berg. And, contra my wedge point above, extra-hollow razors seem to behave as though their edges are sharper than they actually are.
 
The razors arrived yesterday and i've decided to shave with the Revisor today, but the shave was quite disappointing. The Revisor was just slightly sharp than the two razors that I was honing and a tiny bit less sharp than the razors I have from Steve. The shaving experience isn't as good as i've imagined it to be and it almost feels like that my whiskers are made out of steel and cutting them isn't very pleasant. The best I could do with any of the razors that I have is a one pass shave without shaving the moustache area and most of the chin, since the blade almost bounces off from those areas and I feel like i'm going to cut myself if I press on.

I need something sharp, like lightsaber sharp or otherwise I don't see how I can do a 2+ pass shave with any of the razors that I currently have.
Have you put together a set of balsa strops as per the balsa strop thread? You should have been able to maintain or improve the edge you got from Steve. Typically, you get further improvement when using the balsa after every shave until you reach the plateau. The balsa won't make your dull or mediocre razor sharp, but it will make a very sharp razor sharper, and keep it that way.

Your new Revisor probably needs to be honed from the ground up, starting with resetting the bevel at the 600 to 2000 grit range. 1k is pretty standard. But I would set it aside for now, until you have more practice with setting the bevel on lesser razors. Too bad you aren't in the US. I'm sure someone would step up to the plate and hone your Revisor for you, or PIF you a Method honed razor. My usual shave is a single pass.
I just usually don't go so long between shaves.
 
Have you put together a set of balsa strops as per the balsa strop thread? You should have been able to maintain or improve the edge you got from Steve. Typically, you get further improvement when using the balsa after every shave until you reach the plateau. The balsa won't make your dull or mediocre razor sharp, but it will make a very sharp razor sharper, and keep it that way.

Your new Revisor probably needs to be honed from the ground up, starting with resetting the bevel at the 600 to 2000 grit range. 1k is pretty standard. But I would set it aside for now, until you have more practice with setting the bevel on lesser razors. Too bad you aren't in the US. I'm sure someone would step up to the plate and hone your Revisor for you, or PIF you a Method honed razor. My usual shave is a single pass.
I just usually don't go so long between shaves.

The thing is that I need a razor regardless even if it's a Gold Dollar that is crazy sharp so I can experience the true meaning of a sharp straight razor. So far all the razors felt sharp enough to cut my whiskers, but most of the time I had to force the razor and the shaving just wasn't very pleasant. When I get to my jaw line and neck I can it feels more like pulling than cutting. My beard is indeed very dense and coarse and sometimes I have problems shaving with DE and SE razors as well, which is why the prep is very important to me and most of the time I have to take a shower and use a shampoo and after that I splash my face with cold water and also use Arko as a second pre-shave before I start shaving.

I'm sure even the razors that i've honed could pass as good or decent for some folks, but I guess i'm from the unlucky ones that require some extra sharpness to achieve a good shave.

There's a local guy who's very praised for his honing skills and lots of folks are sending their razors for sharpening and they seem very happy with the results. I might send him some of my razors and see how it goes. Once I feel the difference, I would know what to look for when I hone even though i'm still new.
 
For how long does a lapping film package lasts though? Isn't it more iconomical just to buy a few stones and be done with it for pretty much the rest of your life instead of keep buying lapping films even though I don't think I would sharpen my razors that often. A while ago I saw some guy ( I believe he died last December) on a Facebook shaving group that was very well regarded as a hone master and newbies wanted his help for sharpening their razors or for an advice and every time someone mentions something about lapping films he was going nuclear and saying that the true edge comes from good stones and that only people who know nothing about a true razor edge will talk about lapping films.

He really had a nice collection of great and expensive natural stones and I don't know why he attacked everyone who ever mentioned lapping films. I guess some people are taking this hobbie like every other hobbie way to serious than I think and that everyone thinks his way of doing something is the best there is.

I would definitely use my lapping films before trying any kind of stone though. I bought mine from Aliexpress a few years ago and I think they would do just fine. I also need to buy some diamond paste and use it on my inexpensive strop, which is also from Aliexpress and keep my Tony clean.

Btw, is there any other more convenient way to keep the strop steady while using it instead of drilling a hole in any of my furniture and instal a hook?
A piece of lapping film for me generally lasts through 12 to 20 razors. Each sheet is cut into three pieces. So, One sheet of each grit all together will enable me to hone between 36 and 60 razors, probably more toward the high end. Ordinary mortals must give their razor a touchup on the finisher every 30 to 100 shaves. A film honer, then, who shaves every day, with a dozen razors, will use a third of a sheet of each grit except for the 1μ finisher. In the wirst case scenario he will do 12 touchups in a year and so a sheet of 1μ film will only last him three to six years. At $1.50 to $2 per sheet, he is paying, then, in worst case scenario, $.50 per year for film, once all of his razors have been fully honed once. A Naniwa 12k costs around $85, I think. If he doesn't drop and break it, it should last his entire lifetime. The break-even point would be 170 years. If you keep honing on film beyond 170 years, You might regret the extra $.50 you will spend every year for lapping film.

But here is the kicker. Once I have honed one of MY razors, I never hone it again. Never. My balsa keeps it MUCH sharper than I can ever get it on stones or film. If I hone a razor on stones, or if I hone a razor on film, either way, I will run the balsa progression and then I will maintain the razor for as long as I own it, on the .1μ diamond on balsa.

I think you will find many testimonials to my edges and to the edges of those I have taught or shown the way to learning how to hone with film OR stone, and balsa and diamond. After the proper application of the balsa progression, there is absolutely no difference between a film edge and a stone edge. Furthermore, even without the balsa, a film edge can be sharper than all but the very, very best stone edges, and can be every bit as comfortable once you know how to finesse the film. Men have been honing on rocks dug out of the ground for probably 5,000 years. Men have been honing on synthetic stones for probably a couple hundred years. Lapping film has only been used to hone razors for about 15 years. It is not yet a mature technology. The material is fine. The user skill is lacking. At least in most or many users of film. In 50 years I would imagine straight shavers will look at Shaptons and Naniwas the same way we today look at 3-line Swaty barber hones. A curious, dead end technology that will give you a crude and barely usable edge as long as you follow up with something else.

Your honemeister might simply not know what he is talking about. Or more likely he simply hates film because it invalidates all of his choices and skills won over decades, and hundreds or more likely thousands spent on rocks. There is a lot of that out there. They can't help it. And the best stone age honers can still create a pretty good edge. You don't need a Method edge to shave. It is nice, though.

I would not be so sure about your aliexpress lapping film, though. It is easy to get the wrong stuff, but think you got the right stuff, and find the results to be underwhelming, and think well, film isn't so great, after all. I suggest you read through the Method threads, and ask each of the (then) newbies who overnight or practically overnight got great edges for chimp change, using film and the balsa. Or you can listen to the guy who says lapping film is a tool of the devil and part of a communist plot to rule the world, melt your ice cream, pee in your cheerios, and drown your cat. You don't have to use The Method. You can up your shave game, and get a decent shave in three passes once your shave technique is up to the task, without a Buck Rogers sharp razor.

The RIGHT film is type 261 3M brand, plain back, full size sheets, or else the Type 26 film from NanoLapTech. Chinese stuff isn't going to be anything more than a cosmetically accurate copy of actual lapping film. Sometimes they don't even call it lapping film. They will call it "lapping papper" or "polishing paper" or "polishing film" or a number of other things so they don't get in trouble for calling it lapping film when it is not proper lapping film at all. You MIGHT have genuine 3M film, but I would say the chances are pretty small. Will it work? Maybe, but first of all you have to follow the instructions in the threads completely and exactly, even if you have good film.

If you decide to use rocks, get good ones. Aliexpress is not your friend. Cheap colored mud bricks from China are not going to give you good results. For synthetics there are basically two camps, Shapton and Naniwa. They are not cheap. Then there is also-ran Norton which took a steep dive in quality I guess 30 years or so ago, maybe longer, whenever they moved production to Mexico. Lately they seem to be much improved and are worth considering, but they do not offer a finishing stone. They only go up to 8k ANSI grit which is abour 6500 or 7000 grit on the JIS scale. If you decide to use naturals, well, good luck with that. If you are unable to hone on film, you will find natural stones much more complicated.

The way has been shown. You can cross over into the other side, or you can try a different path. Up to you, and most of us don't really care all that much what you do. Stones, especially certain naturals, can be fascinating, fun, and challenging. There is validity in the choice to spend your money on rocks. Do it like you feel it, listen to who you want.
 
@Medivh my current most favoured SR is a Revisor 6-0035. When I received that SR is was reasonably shave-ready and would shave but not up to my expected standard. I checked the blade's bevel-set and was satisfied. I then performed a Sharpie test and was happy that all was working well on the films.

To get this 6-0035 up to my shave-ready standard, I gave it about 20 light laps each on (AliExpress) 5μm and 1μm lapping film. I then put the blade through a full diamond pasted balsa strop progression; 0.5μm, 0.25μm and 0.1μm. that brought it up to the standard of most of my other SR's.

Over the next 4 or 5 shaves with the 6-0035, I did a full diamond pasted balsa strop progression after each shave. By then I was noticing no further improvement in the edge quality. It took another 3 or 4 more shaves with post-shave maintenance on just a 0.1μm hanging balsa strop and I had that edge right up there where I wanted it. ATG on the upper lip was almost as smooth as WTG on the cheeks.

Revisor make very good SR's. For me, their SR's just need a little more edge refining to bring them up to the shave-ready standard that I prefer.

All my SR's (currently 27) are maintained after each shave on just a 0.1μm diamond pasted balsa strop. They never need honing again.

BTW, if you are using (or going to use) diamond pasted balsa strops, never use a pasted leather/cloth strop on the SR. Doing so will put convexity on the bevel and prevent the edge from properly contacting the diamonds on the balsa strop(s). If a SR has been stropped on pasted leather/cloth, first reset the bevel before progressing to diamond pasted balsa strops.
 
Last edited:
A piece of lapping film for me generally lasts through 12 to 20 razors. Each sheet is cut into three pieces. So, One sheet of each grit all together will enable me to hone between 36 and 60 razors, probably more toward the high end. Ordinary mortals must give their razor a touchup on the finisher every 30 to 100 shaves. A film honer, then, who shaves every day, with a dozen razors, will use a third of a sheet of each grit except for the 1μ finisher. In the wirst case scenario he will do 12 touchups in a year and so a sheet of 1μ film will only last him three to six years. At $1.50 to $2 per sheet, he is paying, then, in worst case scenario, $.50 per year for film, once all of his razors have been fully honed once. A Naniwa 12k costs around $85, I think. If he doesn't drop and break it, it should last his entire lifetime. The break-even point would be 170 years. If you keep honing on film beyond 170 years, You might regret the extra $.50 you will spend every year for lapping film.

But here is the kicker. Once I have honed one of MY razors, I never hone it again. Never. My balsa keeps it MUCH sharper than I can ever get it on stones or film. If I hone a razor on stones, or if I hone a razor on film, either way, I will run the balsa progression and then I will maintain the razor for as long as I own it, on the .1μ diamond on balsa.

I think you will find many testimonials to my edges and to the edges of those I have taught or shown the way to learning how to hone with film OR stone, and balsa and diamond. After the proper application of the balsa progression, there is absolutely no difference between a film edge and a stone edge. Furthermore, even without the balsa, a film edge can be sharper than all but the very, very best stone edges, and can be every bit as comfortable once you know how to finesse the film. Men have been honing on rocks dug out of the ground for probably 5,000 years. Men have been honing on synthetic stones for probably a couple hundred years. Lapping film has only been used to hone razors for about 15 years. It is not yet a mature technology. The material is fine. The user skill is lacking. At least in most or many users of film. In 50 years I would imagine straight shavers will look at Shaptons and Naniwas the same way we today look at 3-line Swaty barber hones. A curious, dead end technology that will give you a crude and barely usable edge as long as you follow up with something else.

Your honemeister might simply not know what he is talking about. Or more likely he simply hates film because it invalidates all of his choices and skills won over decades, and hundreds or more likely thousands spent on rocks. There is a lot of that out there. They can't help it. And the best stone age honers can still create a pretty good edge. You don't need a Method edge to shave. It is nice, though.

I would not be so sure about your aliexpress lapping film, though. It is easy to get the wrong stuff, but think you got the right stuff, and find the results to be underwhelming, and think well, film isn't so great, after all. I suggest you read through the Method threads, and ask each of the (then) newbies who overnight or practically overnight got great edges for chimp change, using film and the balsa. Or you can listen to the guy who says lapping film is a tool of the devil and part of a communist plot to rule the world, melt your ice cream, pee in your cheerios, and drown your cat. You don't have to use The Method. You can up your shave game, and get a decent shave in three passes once your shave technique is up to the task, without a Buck Rogers sharp razor.

The RIGHT film is type 261 3M brand, plain back, full size sheets, or else the Type 26 film from NanoLapTech. Chinese stuff isn't going to be anything more than a cosmetically accurate copy of actual lapping film. Sometimes they don't even call it lapping film. They will call it "lapping papper" or "polishing paper" or "polishing film" or a number of other things so they don't get in trouble for calling it lapping film when it is not proper lapping film at all. You MIGHT have genuine 3M film, but I would say the chances are pretty small. Will it work? Maybe, but first of all you have to follow the instructions in the threads completely and exactly, even if you have good film.

If you decide to use rocks, get good ones. Aliexpress is not your friend. Cheap colored mud bricks from China are not going to give you good results. For synthetics there are basically two camps, Shapton and Naniwa. They are not cheap. Then there is also-ran Norton which took a steep dive in quality I guess 30 years or so ago, maybe longer, whenever they moved production to Mexico. Lately they seem to be much improved and are worth considering, but they do not offer a finishing stone. They only go up to 8k ANSI grit which is abour 6500 or 7000 grit on the JIS scale. If you decide to use naturals, well, good luck with that. If you are unable to hone on film, you will find natural stones much more complicated.

The way has been shown. You can cross over into the other side, or you can try a different path. Up to you, and most of us don't really care all that much what you do. Stones, especially certain naturals, can be fascinating, fun, and challenging. There is validity in the choice to spend your money on rocks. Do it like you feel it, listen to who you want.

Yeah, obviously no one would care what I do and how I hone my razors, i'm just trying to understand how things work and the thing is that almost everyone who's honing razors for a while has it's on preferences and ways of doing it.

Not sure how good my films are, but they are not going anywhere. I will practice on my Gold Dollar using the advices from the forum and hopefully things will improve with time. I've contacted the hone master that everyone was talking about and called him and talked a bit. One of the things that he said is that synthetic stones in general are taking too much material and if a person doesn't know what hes doing and when to stop, he might overhone the razor and he also said that with good natural stones that cannot happen.

If my jnat finishing stones is enough to keep my razors in top shape, I might not need to buy any stones at all and just use it to maintain the current ones that I have. He also said that honing a razor isn't all that difficult and there's still a lot of time for me to learn how to do it. Like I said, for now I will play with the Gold Dollar and hopefully with time things will improve.
 
@Medivh my current most favoured SR is a Revisor 6-0035. When I received that SR is was reasonably shave-ready and would shave but not up to my expected standard. I checked the blade's bevel-set and was satisfied. I then performed a Sharpie test and was happy that all was working well on the films.

To get this 6-0035 up to my shave-ready standard, I gave it about 20 light laps each on (AliExpress) 5μm and 1μm lapping film. I then put the blade through a full diamond pasted balsa strop progression; 0.5μm, 0.25μm and 0.1μm. that brought it up to the standard of most of my other SR's.

Over the next 4 or 5 shaves with the 6-0035, I did a full diamond pasted balsa strop progression after each shave. By then I was noticing no further improvement in the edge quality. It took another 3 or 4 more shaves with post-shave maintenance on just a 0.1μm hanging balsa strop and I had that edge right up there where I wanted it. ATG on the upper lip was almost as smooth as WTG on the cheeks.

Revisor make very good SR's. For me, their SR's just need a little more edge refining to bring them up to the shave-ready standard that I prefer.

All my SR's (currently 27) are maintained after each shave on just a 0.1μm diamond pasted balsa strop. They never need honing again.

BTW, if you are using (or going to use) diamond pasted balsa strops, never use a pasted leather/cloth strop on the SR. Doing so will put convexity on the bevel and prevent the edge from properly contacting the diamonds on the balsa strop(s). If a SR has been stropped on pasted leather/cloth, first reset the bevel before progressing to diamond pasted balsa strops.

I'm still trying to figure out how the lapping films are working and i'm not sure if the diamond pasted balsas are for me, or at least not yet. I will see how things would go when I get my honed razors.
 
I'm still trying to figure out how the lapping films are working and i'm not sure if the diamond pasted balsas are for me, or at least not yet. I will see how things would go when I get my honed razors.
If your whiskers really are like steel, you definitely need diamond pasted balsa strops to get the keenest possible edge. You also should be shaving with something like a Gold Dollar that generally has a more obtuse bevel angle that will hold the edge better under tougher conditions.

Revisor SR's are very good but they have a more acute bevel angle than the Gold Dollars. Probably best to save the Revisor to after you have developed a better SR shaving technique.

BTW, I have never visited Bulgaria but I did sponsor a Bulgarian engineer to Australia who worked with me for many years before branching out into her own successful professional practice.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom