Questioning Everything | One Superior Edge | One Superior Shave

Discussion in 'Hones/Honing' started by Chan Eil Whiskers, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Ever have a paradigm shift?


    Yesterday I shaved with a razor purchased off eBay and honed by the vendor. All I did was strop the razor and shave, but that shave was superior. After very little work (mostly one pass) I had a great shave.


    Today I shaved with a NOS Herder I purchased on eBay and honed myself on my Double Convex Ark. The shave was great. The razor passed all my little tests for sharpness, etc. However the shave was not as close or smooth as yesterday's shave. Not by a long shot.

    Yesterday's shave report. Today's shave report.

    My razor yesterday was a vintage Japanese honed by the vendor. He reports having honed and finished the razor's edge this way - 1k, 2k, uchi, 5k, jnat prefinisher, jnat finish, .25 micron diamond, .125 micron cbn, then clean linen and leather strop.

    Maybe it wasn't his honing...
    • Maybe it was a great day for my technique.
    • Maybe Japanese steel and grinds are vastly superior.
    Maybe, but I doubt it.


    It's not that I'm down on my other razors or my stones or my honing, but I'd really like to be consistently using edges in the league with what I used yesterday. I should also mention that I have razors, razors I've honed, which are sharper than today's Herder, but that doesn't negate how much shaper I think the Japanese razor was. Plus, the Japanese razor was very comfortable and smart so it lost nothing by being sharper.

    I do not believe any straight razor I've honed or used measures up to the Japanese razor used yesterday, in sharpness and in the shave it gave me.

    I also don't want to have to resort to diamonds and CBN unless I just have to, nor do I plan to go down the jnat rabbit hole unless I just have to. Do I have to do either or both?

    Thanks to one shave my mind is blown (meme).jpg

    Thanks for any help you can give me here.

    Happy shaves,

  2. Live and learn, brother.
  3. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Ain't that the truth!
  4. Just keep honing. Stick to one routine. Pick a mentor. Emulate what someone else is doing and do what he does. His way. Until you nail it 10 out of 10 times. Then try anything and everything. I believe that an accurate stroke, 1000 strokes without a mishap is where you want to be. And that takes a little time to develop. The minutae (there's loads of it) isn't as important as an accurate stroke. Keep plugging. Hone and shave a fresh edge as possible.
  5. My thought is that you ARE talking about two different blades... And it would be impossible to draw any conclusions until you either re-hone the Japanese blade yourself (to see how your edge compares), or else persuade that seller to put an edge on your NOS Herder and try shaving with it again. Otherwise, you can't do anything but speculate.

    Some of the finer Japanese blade steels (like tamahagane) are borderline works of art that take 7 days just to smelt. You might find that you can easily reproduce this edge in your Japanese razor just because of certain qualities in the blade. And, if it turns out that you can't... then you'll know for sure that the difference is in the sharpening techniques/stones.
  6. Leave that edge alone, Jim :a29:
  7. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    I might consider asking the vendor (who does sharpening for hire in his local area) to hone one of my Herder razors.


    There's no way I'm going to touch the edge on the Japanese razor until I have to.

    The Herder edge was the worst honing job I've done in a very long time. Almost always my edges are either so good I don't want to do anything to them, or almost that good so that I kinda sorta think I can maybe improve them (and usually I can) with a bit more work.

    Not this Japanese razor. It absolutely does not need anything except stropping. Hopefully, the other razor I bought from the same vendor at the same time will be its equal.

    Happy shaves,

  8. I may be very wrong, but so far it seems to be true that some razors are just better than others.
  9. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    I agree. Some razors are better than others in my ever growing experience. Some are likely to be much harder to hone, too, without that detracting from their quality. Actually, we both now have enough experience I believe to be 100% sure that both of these statements are true.

    Happy shaves,

  10. My #49 Herder required more laps on each film. I failed the first try and succeeded the second. For some reason I thought Herders were stainless and that’s why more is required.
  11. MO1


    I almost always do pre finish and finishing work on jnats with slurry progression, sometimes I take that same edge to my black ark for maybe 5 laps? Before I start to get really strong suction, results are a very sharp and forgiving edge. Sometimes i max it out on my jnat but the edge is abit more unforgiving, maybe abit more fast cutting? Could be my honing technique, "unsuitable" tomo slurry stone or just maybe another base stone would leave an even more desirable edge. (The jnat rabbit hole)

    Taking that jnat finished edge to the ark leaves a very desirable edge, but for a max amount of 5-8 laps, ark edge or jnat-ish edge?
    Sometimes I get an edge from my jnats that feels like nothing is left to be desired. So probably user error from me.
  12. Jim,
    i sometimes despise those AHA! It can fill you with doubt. Even self loathing in a honing perspective.
    Luckily I find myself occasionally having those moments with my honing and strive for more.

    The one thing I’m sure about honing and shaving is Is “the practice”

    In a zen practice sense

    I have not yet mastered the stones I own
    As much as I fascinated by the JNats, I am committed to mastering and learning and practicing what I currently have.
    I am enjoying the ride/journey.
  13. I would reach out to the vendor for sure. If he’s the guy that puts a ruler along side the razor in his listings I know who you’re talking about. I’ve bought a couple of blades from him and his edges are a good bench mark. He may even use film or something. You never know...
  14. Over the past several months since getting the Coticule and MMTT Thuringian I have been trying to use a stone edge. It was only after getting the little Salamander Our Wedge did I have the opportunity to experiment with jumping to both stones from films and back to .5 and .3 films to diamond. Now I want to see if this will make any Corticule/Thuringian edge better. Essentially all I need to do is take my razors through the very low grit films followed by diamond. I plan to see if Hobby Lobby has some balsa suitable for diamond today.

    Your recent purchase and posting regarding the vendors method progression caused quite a stir for me. His progression is not just a straight forward stone use but a combination of several mediums.
  15. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    Different guy. No ruler.

    I think he uses what he says he uses (which I mentioned in my OP). Why would he not?

    I have read several times of gentlemen on B&B, mostly guys you'd probably consider as experienced and/or skilled by their reputations, as saying they jump around some, that the "progression" is not necessarily linear. They might, for instance go from a 3k, to a 5k, to an 8K, to a 5K, to a coticule, to a 12K, to an Ark. Or whatever.

    Do they know what they're doing? I doubt it. Does it work? I suspect so.

    To me, the only thing that matters is the edge and how I like it. I'm not a purist. I am however somewhat of a scientist at least enough so that I understand it I'm too much all over the place I can't readily learn anything.

    Problem is, there's sorta kinda nothing to learn. Most honing other than "The Method" just isn't going to be all that methodical because there are so many factors at play, factors like the various steels, the various wonky edges somebody else created for us, etc.

    I'm sure there are gentlemen who hone every razor with the exact same synthetic or natural progression, but do most people? I don't think so, at least not the people who post around these parts.

    Happy shaves,

  16. One aspect of all this that is never questioned or verified is what quality of shave are those with reputations obtaining or what type of beard/facial hair do they have. I can look unkempt after 18 hours of growth. Others can go three days and look like me. Some have no hair on their upper cheeks to speak of. Some have a mustache. Some have a goatee. If I had facial hair on my upper lip and chin I could use anything. Seems to me the method or progression should fit the need.
  17. Every blade is different in the type of steel, the grind, the heat treatment, etc. There are lot of ways to hone blades that can give acceptable edges, but to get the very best edge from a specific razor may require some experimentation.

    I find that the way a razor is stropped after honing can make a big difference to the final edge. I use pasted/sprayed strops with 0.5 micron CrOx, and 0.5, 0.25, and 0.1 micron CBN followed by stropping on several fabric and leather strops to get sharp yet smooth edges. Sometimes the edges will be too dull and I need do more work to add sharpness; sometimes the edges are plenty sharp, but a little too harsh; sometimes I get a Goldilock's edge...just right.
  18. Ok I saw his Honing process in the OP. Missed it the 1st read. Sorry.
  19. I have a razor from that same vendor and I can confirm that his stuff is truly shave ready. Btw mine is a Japanese steel razor, which I think are the best, imho.
  20. Are you talking about Aprilthe7th? That’s who I was referring to. He sent me a message claiming that he went from bevel set to Atoma slurry & that’s it. Keep in mind that not everyone uses a 1k to set bevels. I’ve had good luck with my Naniwa 3k with a hint of slurry. Much shallower striations & easier to get out than 1k...

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