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Proposal for a finisher ranking/scoring thread like my Barbers Synth thread.

So my supply of synth Barbers hones is winding down considerably.. as I'm emptying out my collection more than buying lots of hones and for the most part barber's synths are one of the first things to go... and my willingness to pay $20+ just to test a hone that is unlikely to be good has definitely faded.

I think the next logical step is a shave grading/ranking system across my collection of finishers.

Lessons learned and things I'll probably incorporate:

Two-tier grading seems to work. I'd like to keep it that way. Comfort and Closeness (or some metric which reflects this) seem to be the ideal two. Scoring out of 50 will hopefully be unnecessary, as the lower half or better of that scale was purposeless, so it seems like contracting that to 0-20 rankings and assigning known qualities to those rankings (say DMT 220 grit shave = 0 and my best ever shave = 20), with the potential to extend above and below (negative scores for particularly bad shaves and over 20 if any new bests arise)

In my first Barbers Hone reviews I went by hours of shave, which though mostly objective, required a great deal of time to pass after each shave before scoring AND myself to check regularly to note when my beard returned. On the other hand, it can take ~1 hr after a shave for my skin to fully settle and the final degree of smoothness from the shave to be apparent. Checking immediately after the shave, five minutes after, and then an hour after seems to be able to give a solid representation of how close the shave is; and after all three checks, a closeness grade, also numerical and likely in the realm of a 0-20 range (again representing a notably scruffy result but not completely failed shave at the low end and an extremely close shave at the high end and with the ability to move beyond each).

To facilitate this and give these results meaning and readability... I'm thinking of plotting them on an excel scatterplot.

This allows me to address a complaint I personally have had with my reviews... the mundanity of having to use identical razors each time. Changing this will allow me test and score with multiple razors and group them according to finisher. While razors definitely have an impact on the shave; with good razors and good hones, the finish will tend to be the more significant of the two, and the variance from the razors can be significant and meaningful. Do some hones work much better with harder or softer steels? That's information that could be important and isn't possible to be demonstrated without changing razors.

As I've been shaving for over a decade now and settled onto soaps and brushes I like, those will have minimal if any impact. With the goal that the data can be expanded nearly infinitely (I'll try to sort finishes in a logical way... probably alphabetical, so adding new results will be as simple as inserting a new row within that finishes grouping), the idea is that charts will be generated where particular finishers form their own group of scores, and we can see each finisher as capable of a range within regular use by a honer and shaver familiar with them... then compare these ranges against each other for a much more meaningful idea of what a hone offers when used regularly and not simple to produce a single finish by which it will be judged.

What won't be present in here are anything but a small selection of the very best Barber's hones, which I've kept and might actually use on a regular basis. So there won't be much if any cross-over from my previous reviews which were more looking for what's usable in a realm of mostly junk. This will be ranking results from a selection of proven and capable hones.

The big challenge I foresee are mystery hones. I have more than a few unidentified hones that I use quite regularly. My proposed idea for the start is to simply photograph any hone used for its first use, label it and provide key details if available. This will mean for instance, Coticules, where two or more very distinct examples may be used would not both contribute to a single Coticule score but rather one might be
Coticule 1 and be described as an unbacked stone affixed with white cement in a mahogany box, with a picture and the next Coticule 2 and be described as a nat combo brown hybrid and yellow stone in a rosewood box with inlays, hybrid side used with a picture. Then a Mystery hone might say the cut, any identifying features, where it was sourced (ebay.fr, ebay.uk, etc) and a picture.


How to structure and present the information becomes the question. A simple thread would likely get too cluttered to make accessing the information easily. Obviously the charts/data can be presented as an excel file. I'm thinking possibly a .ppt or some converted file format from a .ppt with each hone on a slide as a cataloging of the hones used, and then provide links to where these two things can be accessed in the first post, then simply update and reupload as necessary; keeping all the relevant information available in the initial post.


Then the final thing I need to sort out is what all information (columns) I want in the excel.
Obviously the finisher, the comfort, the closeness
Then I'm thinking razor grind
Razor make & Model
Steel region
Manufacture region


This is going to take awhile to get going and will be pieced together in my free time... but I expect to be able to work on it a bit this summer, and hopefully get at least a seedling of both the excel and hone listing with a dozen or so entries ready for viewing in the coming month or two.

If anyone has any ideas for improvements on what I've proposed, additional information they'd like to see included in the spreadsheet, etc. post them here.
 
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Please consider adding:

1. Grow back feel (I find a metric 6-12 hours after the shave to be important)
2. Steel of razor
3. Preceeding progression or whether this is a finish or a refresh.

How many stones are we talking here? In addition to the picture's and key details, would it be possible to provide a mini "biography" of each, where you got them, what you think they might be, any key identification features, how you use them please? Why I ask this is because pictures dont necessarily help identify similar stones. For the rest of us, if you identify a finisher that we like the sound of, it would be super helpful to have enough information to start looking for one in the wild. It would also make reading the gradings more enjoyable.

I love this idea of yours. I hope it proves to be enjoyable for you to do.
 
Presently, finishers? 50-100 of maybe 20-30 different types.

Grow back feel would be difficult to incorporate into the plotting, but could be added to the chart in a way similar to my original closeness ratings (number of hrs before growth is evident). It'll likely be incomplete, but I can add it when possible.


Steel type is a good one, I will add when it is known. Probably combine it with steel region... a'la "Sheffield Best Silver Steel" and "German Friodor Stainless Steel"

Good call. I was planning to go back to 1.2k before each finish as I pretty much always hone in the same progression... but that may not be practical if I'm putting a significant number of my shaves into this, silly to go back that far after almost every shave... so I'll have a binary Full hone vs Refinish (1.2k, 8k DMT then finish vs coming off another finisher) I wonder if it would be best to isolate hones as "Refinish - Hone" and "Fresh - Hone" for plotting, or if I can just add a column and have that information referenced for each shave in the spreadsheet.
 
The only problem I see is NOT using the same razors.
While it may be boring to always use the same ones it is imperative that the test razors be of a very specific quality and can be honed on nearly any good finisher with great results.
If random razors are used the results are pointless IMO.
It may be more useful to have something like SRP used to have and probably still does - that is a basic description of said stone with approx. grit and a place in the ranking of finishers.
Another thing is that testing an edge is very subjective with regards to feel and sharpness. Its something that has not faired well with me. Its an opinion, not necessarily any that could be agreed upon.
 
The purpose is not to contrast stones performance relative to a single razor, but relative to a variety of razors. The idea is that two stones compared against each other using a single razor is less insightful than two stones compared against each other using twenty razors.

Uniformity through a tiny sample size can degrade the quality of results far more than an excess of random variety. Increasing sample size improves results, it doesn't degrade them.

The whole idea of recording results in a spreadsheet that allows scatterplotting is to allow the use of "family envelopes" like you see in materials software; where a stones results can be bubbled to give a range of performance across a variety of razors, and that range compared against another stones range. This will give a more accurate representation of the performance of the stones.
 
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The purpose is not to contrast stones performance relative to a single razor, but relative to a variety of razors. The idea is that two stones compared against each other using a single razor is less insightful than two stones compared against each other using twenty razors.

Uniformity through a tiny sample size can degrade the quality of results far more than an excess of random variety. Increasing sample size improves results, it doesn't degrade them.

The whole idea of recording results in a spreadsheet that allows scatterplotting is to allow the use of "family envelopes" like you see in materials software; where a stones results can be bubbled to give a range of performance across a variety of razors, and that range compared against another stones range. This will give a more accurate representation of the performance of the stones.


I completely disagree with this thinking.
The sole purpose of using the kind of razor I mention is to guarantee the quality of the stone regardless of razor.
It will give a true representation of what the stone is capable of. Some razors will just not like it and take a mediocre edge from it.
When testing a stones ability it becomes even more paramount. The abilities of the stone cannot be stumped by a razor that just doesn't like it. Its not the stone its the razor!
I have a Le Grelot that simply loves my Coticule and almost nothing else. Such a razor is useless for testing purposes, but its a great razor.
Why would you test 20 razors and shave with same instead of one known quality razor. It takes the variation of steel out of the equation.

I see no other way to give a true representation of what a stone is capable of. You have to use the best possible baseline to quantify another item. Something consistent and of the highest quality.
 
The purpose is not to contrast stones performance relative to a single razor, but relative to a variety of razors. The idea is that two stones compared against each other using a single razor is less insightful than two stones compared against each other using twenty razors.

Uniformity through a tiny sample size can degrade the quality of results far more than an excess of random variety. Increasing sample size improves results, it doesn't degrade them.

The whole idea of recording results in a spreadsheet that allows scatterplotting is to allow the use of "family envelopes" like you see in materials software; where a stones results can be bubbled to give a range of performance across a variety of razors, and that range compared against another stones range. This will give a more accurate representation of the performance of the stones.
I completely disagree with this thinking.
The sole purpose of using the kind of razor I mention is to guarantee the quality of the stone regardless of razor.
It will give a true representation of what the stone is capable of. Some razors will just not like it and take a mediocre edge from it.
When testing a stones ability it becomes even more paramount. The abilities of the stone cannot be stumped by a razor that just doesn't like it. Its not the stone its the razor!
I have a Le Grelot that simply loves my Coticule and almost nothing else. Such a razor is useless for testing purposes, but its a great razor.
Why would you test 20 razors and shave with same instead of one known quality razor. It takes the variation of steel out of the equation.

I see no other way to give a true representation of what a stone is capable of. You have to use the best possible baseline to quantify another item. Something consistent and of the highest quality.
I can understand where sliceoflife is coming from. For the most part, this test is subjective to the user anyway.

Using different razors (wedges, quarter, half, full hollow) from a variety of brands can show a second set of information.

Instead of seeing how one razor hones, we are introduced to different metals, producers, grinds, sizes, etc. A gold dollar razor is obviously a lesser SR compared to DOVO, but how about Böker to DOVO? Or a 5/8 HC steel blade vs. silvered steel or tungenstein blade?
More samples makes for more precise data even if it means adding a separate variable in the mix IMO

That being said, I do believe keeping a high quality SR and a gold dollar in the testing would be great info. Almost like a high-end/low-end evaluation
 
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Although I like and support the idea Slash, there's so many variables it sounds like real a hair puller to quantify all the info.
I really liked the barber hone tests you've done even though I don't use the few I have. I'll read anything you post and having a finisher shootout would be a hoot.

In the natural families there's even more variables. There will be controversy on lapping, lubes, slurry, no slurry. I'd like to see your methods and results. I'd like to see results on the synth hones also. It would be cool to see how they all stack up against each other and natural vs synthetic.

I think it might be beneficial to have 2 control razors, a higher end and a say a...gold dollar as controls. You can use other razors with different grinds and steels in the group tested on one hone. but each group always has the same 2 control razors.

There's only, maybe a handful of folks here that have access to that many finishing hones and I applaud you for wanting to share your results. Anything you can come up with is better than the "nothing like this" I've found so far. Struggled through Henk's work but it didn't cover a lot of the hones I'm likely to come across except Coti's.

I worry a test like this may aggravate my HAD that is currently in remission.....
 
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