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Questioning Everything | One Superior Edge | One Superior Shave

Excerpt from the OP:

‘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.’

Lol, I am under the impression that I did answer this question.
Refer to his comments regarding the vendor’s edge performance.
 
If you don’t get the basics right the stone’s fineness won’t help. If you do get the basics right, the stones fineness doesn’t matter that much above 8k.
+1! Muscle memory etc improve. I don't think anyone gets worse with time. Unless time goes by without putting time in on the stones or whatever your using. There is no formula though. Every method requires practice. Your 10th razor with x method will be better than your first. And the 50th should be better than your 10th. I don't think honing is as difficult as some people think. But you need to put some time in. Pick one method and stay there until you feel you maxed it out. Then try anything and everything and see where you end up.
 
I think knowing how to hone is the key as much as film vs natural vs synth. I honed my first 2 or 3 razors on film and thought they were good. Sent another razor to @NPV because I couldn’t get a good edge and he offered to help. Turns out it was just bad honing technique on my part and not spending enough time at each level. He sent me a few pictures of my edge under magnification vs his and it was very apparent as to what was going on.

Buying a loupe and looking at the edge during honing was the ‘ah ha’ moment in understanding what was going on at the edge. Practice with your honing medium of choice while taking time to understand why things are good or not good.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Contributor
Ambassador
Go back to the OP. Here’s a friend of ours whose been listening and learning. He’s got 250 plus SR shaves. He’s got a great collection of stones. He’s not new to shaving or honing.

Then, he had an experience with a razor he got from a vendor finished on CBN and diamond. His experience was significant.
It certainly seemed significant to me. I have a couple of more razors in transit from the same vendor and will have more opportunities to experience his edges. I'm also enjoying shaving with razors I've honed, and, as you know, have been for a pretty long time (that time frame being relative as I have only about 250 SR shaves under my belt). None of that means I can't improve nor negates the fact that the vendor's edges are really really good (good enough to blow my mind).

I'm not entirely sure why (although I have some ideas about it) but my edges are significantly sharper recently. This includes the Herder mentioned in my first post of this thread, and also mentioned here, and several razors honed within the last few days.

WhiteTanijuji.Off-DCA.480.7-10-19.JPG

The Herder mentioned in my OP was my worst result in a long time, but it's plenty sharp now. It's possible the razor I honed today, a new from eBay vintage Tanifuji, pictured above has the best edge I've created so far, which if very gratifying to me. I'm not sure the edge looks wonderful with magnification, but its shave is excellent.

My most recent edges are quite close to the vendor's. I am very grateful to him for sending me such stellar edges to compare mine with. Numerous so called shave ready razors I've purchased have been far from that.

I'm enjoying and benefiting from the conversation, suggestions, and ideas and points of view being discussed.

Unless I'm forgetting something (which happens) I've posted some photos of USB edges, but these were examples of edges which I knew had problems. I am interested in using magnification to aid in honing, but I realize the real test of an edge isn't how it looks to me or anyone else, but how it shaves.

Thanks, gentlemen, and happy shaves,

Jim
 
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It certainly seemed significant to me. I have a couple of more razors in transit from the same vendor and will have more opportunities to experience his edges. I'm also enjoying shaving with razors I've honed, and, as you know, have been for a pretty long time (that time frame being relative as I have only about 250 SR shaves under my belt). None of that means I can't improve nor negates the fact that the vendor's edges are really really good (good enough to blow my mind).
Yes, brother, you've been at it for nearly a year, as I have. We've both gotten into the weeds even if we took differing paths. Our technique is evolving, but we are not novices or "noobs" as was levied at myself.

I read these posts and posts on other forums to see what folks are doing, as you do I am sure. Take stones out of the equation, the process members employee for stropping would make your vendor look like he's sending out incomplete edges. So, the idea that people shave off 8k is laughable and we shouldn't be thinking we should follow that advice. Fact is, some consider 8k as a beginning point for what is termed a finishing stone. Other forum conversations admit that no one is recommending using an 8k edge to shave.

Your vendor is putting his name on the line with his hone process. He's betting his customers will find the razor shave ready. I admit that your post of your vendor's progression and the razor I received as a gift, is the reason I returned to films and diamond. I've refinished most of my razors to 200k. I am now getting the quality of shaves I got last year when I started.
 
Yes, brother, you've been at it for nearly a year, as I have. We've both gotten into the weeds even if we took differing paths. Our technique is evolving, but we are not novices or "noobs" as was levied at myself.

I read these posts and posts on other forums to see what folks are doing, as you do I am sure. Take stones out of the equation, the process members employee for stropping would make your vendor look like he's sending out incomplete edges. So, the idea that people shave off 8k is laughable and we shouldn't be thinking we should follow that advice. Fact is, some consider 8k as a beginning point for what is termed a finishing stone. Other forum conversations admit that no one is recommending using an 8k edge to shave.

Your vendor is putting his name on the line with his hone process. He's betting his customers will find the razor shave ready. I admit that your post of your vendor's progression and the razor I received as a gift, is the reason I returned to films and diamond. I've refinished most of my razors to 200k. I am now getting the quality of shaves I got last year when I started.
I know it's been a few days, so maybe you should re-read the posts responding to your incorrect assertion that no one may shave off a 12k hone (e.g., Naniwa 12 SS) without receiving skin irritation, especially ATG.

Several members here responded to more of your falsehoods and related that back in the day, an 8k hone worked just fine to create a shave ready edge -- this was 7 years ago in my case -- and that what you lack is the proper honing skills and enough practice to achieve shave ready results off an 8k and/or 12k hone. This 12k malfunction appears isolated to you alone as far as we can tell and that's merely what was pointed out, yet you cannot seem to get through your skull.

Please continue in your excellent ability to not comprehend and take expert advice; you are a noob with but 1 year of experience and cannot take plenty of expert honing advice to save your life.

Maybe if you had spent more of the last 15 months honing instead of posting here over 9,200 times, you might actually know how to hone a razor to shave ready off a 12k hone...maybe even using that relic, the Norton 4/8k.

I'll get off your lawn now...
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Contributor
Ambassador
I'm not even a little bit interested in anything other than learning things, talking about this journey or hobby or whatever it is, and having interesting and perhaps helpful conversation. I'm pretty sure that's the deal for most of us, but of course I am often wrong and might be now.

I know it's been a few days, so maybe you should re-read the posts responding to your incorrect assertion that no one may shave off a 12k hone (e.g., Naniwa 12 SS) without receiving skin irritation, especially ATG.
Not being one to necessarily pay a huge amount of attention to who said what I'm sure some guys can get a lousy shave with a great edge off whatever stone or finishing tool and others a great shave with a razor badly honed on an 8K. Skin, whiskers, subjective stuff, technique, preparation, and YMMV.

Several members here responded to more of your falsehoods and related that back in the day, an 8k hone worked just fine to create a shave ready edge -- this was 7 years ago in my case -- and that what you lack is the proper honing skills and enough practice to achieve shave ready results off an 8k and/or 12k hone. This 12k malfunction appears isolated to you alone as far as we can tell and that's merely what was pointed out, yet you cannot seem to get through your skull.
I have no point of view about this business of what stone it takes to do what for someone other than me. For me it's a who cares sort of thing. I care about what it takes for me to get an edge than works for me, and about improving as a honer and a shaver until I notice over time that I've max'd out. Then, I would assume there might be another quantum jump in my skills somewhere down the road or maybe there won't.

I hope to enjoy that journey and I hope others do as well.

Seems to me I've read many posts made by a good many gentlemen asserting their opinion concerning 8K or 12K or whatever K stones being either sufficient or insufficient as finishing stones. It's fine with me for everyone to have an opinion, but do those points of view help me? Sometimes they have confused me for sure or even led me astray but so what?

Are my whiskers tougher than yours? Is my technique better than yours? Is my honing worse than Chuck's? Do I know how to better build a lather than Joel? Who cares? Not me. Who can answer those questions? Sometimes we can, but aren't we making assumptions and guessing a good bit? Maybe I'm wrong? Who cares?

Please continue in your excellent ability to not comprehend and take expert advice; you are a noob with but 1 year of experience and cannot take plenty of expert honing advice to save your life.
In some endeavors a person with a year's experience is an old hand. In others, ten years experience and you're still at the beginner level. I suspect most of us understand that much depends on the propensity of a person to study the matter at hand, pay attention to what's being done, learn, practice, learn more, study more, pay more attention, practice more, learn more, study more, pay even more attention, practice more, etc. Is this endless? Probably not, but thinking of it as endless might be a good idea if one can do it. Beginner's mind and all that.

I know Chuck has had instruction and has paid attention to his mentor. That said, I have no way to evaluate his edges, but I'll take his word they're sharp. I also know he's had his edges checked by his mentor and got a very good report back on his bevels and edges. Are his edges as good as mine or yours? How could I know? Hopefully, we'll all be better at it in a few years, but a progression is not automatic.

white belt photo.jpeg

Personally I'm proud to have a Shaving White Belt. I don't plan to surrender it.

Maybe if you had spent more of the last 15 months honing instead of posting here over 9,200 times, you might actually know how to hone a razor to shave ready off a 12k hone...maybe even using that relic, the Norton 4/8k.
Oh, come on, Mark. Play nice. Chuck's a good guy. I'm sure you are, too.

I'll get off your lawn now...
Hey, just pull up a chair. We're fixing to grill some stuff and have plenty. Let me get you a cold drink.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Esox

Ambassador
I rarely get involved in the straight razor arena but this has also been on my mind in reading various posts and threads.

If you don’t get the basics right the stone’s fineness won’t help.
I very much agree with that statement. I've never worked a straight razor but I've been sharpening knives for over 40 years. Theres a vast difference between my sharpening now compared to even 25 years ago. What use to take me hours I can accomplish in minutes if I really want too. Perfection takes time and patience.

This is the bit I'm more interested in understanding.

If you do get the basics right, the stones fineness doesn’t matter that much above 8k.
Assuming one is proficient in honing, the edge quality wont matter above 8k as compared to 12k or 16k. I dont understand why the finer stones wouldnt give a superior edge. Could you break that down and help me understand the reasoning behind it?

Tough love didnt work on me lol. :tongue_sm
 
Jim, I got two of the NOS Herder 49s in bone scales and they were not easy to hone. The ones I had were finished spine off the wheel and reminded me of a not-so-great Gold Dollar. It took me 4 hours to hone both, though admittedly I was going slow as they’re new and you can’t put metal back on. The toes and heels were particularly bad. They both smile a little now. In the end though, they shave really well.

If yours are like mine and you got them shaving, you’re doing well.
 
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Assuming one is proficient in honing, the edge quality wont matter above 8k as compared to 12k or 16k. I dont understand why the finer stones wouldnt give a superior edge. Could you break that down and help me understand the reasoning behind it?

Tough love didnt work on me lol. :tongue_sm
I think that beyond a well-tuned 8-10k edge, most folks (and hair) can’t tell the difference in beard-cutting. Some can of course, not all beards are the same. But once the bevels meet in a straight, even and uniform edge, the razor is technically as sharp as it can get - the basic bevel set is binary, you have it or you don’t. And a lot of times you don’t, usually at the toe or heel, even if you think that you do, that’s why a test is important.

IMO, that smoothness that was noted is coming from a properly developed bevel along the entire edge. If the bevel is wonky at the toe or heel, your overall impression of the edge while shaving is likely to be unfavorable. As far as the finisher goes, I can tell the difference between the smoothness of a synth and a natural edge, but the difference is pretty subtle. The difference is nowhere near the difference that the OP was describing, so it has to be some aspect of honing technique or bevel set.

8k is the lower smoothness threshold as far as fineness goes for me, I like a little finer finisher though the shave is good at 8k. The 8k Shapton Glass HC (the grey one) is an exception. But for me using the 10k Naniwa and finer, I really have trouble telling much difference in smoothness based on fineness, it becomes difficult to feel the difference. There is a difference, it’s just nowhere near as large as the difference described between the OP’s edges and the vendor’s edge.

Jim, I’d be glad to help you out with an edge if you like, or shave off yours, that can tell you a lot sometimes.
 
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Yes
I'm not even a little bit interested in anything other than learning things, talking about this journey or hobby or whatever it is, and having interesting and perhaps helpful conversation. I'm pretty sure that's the deal for most of us, but of course I am often wrong and might be now.



Not being one to necessarily pay a huge amount of attention to who said what I'm sure some guys can get a lousy shave with a great edge off whatever stone or finishing tool and others a great shave with a razor badly honed on an 8K. Skin, whiskers, subjective stuff, technique, preparation, and YMMV.



I have no point of view about this business of what stone it takes to do what for someone other than me. For me it's a who cares sort of thing. I care about what it takes for me to get an edge than works for me, and about improving as a honer and a shaver until I notice over time that I've max'd out. Then, I would assume there might be another quantum jump in my skills somewhere down the road or maybe there won't.

I hope to enjoy that journey and I hope others do as well.

Seems to me I've read many posts made by a good many gentlemen asserting their opinion concerning 8K or 12K or whatever K stones being either sufficient or insufficient as finishing stones. It's fine with me for everyone to have an opinion, but do those points of view help me? Sometimes they have confused me for sure or even led me astray but so what?

Are my whiskers tougher than yours? Is my technique better than yours? Is my honing worse than Chuck's? Do I know how to better build a lather than Joel? Who cares? Not me. Who can answer those questions? Sometimes we can, but aren't we making assumptions and guessing a good bit? Maybe I'm wrong? Who cares?



In some endeavors a person with a year's experience is an old hand. In others, ten years experience and you're still at the beginner level. I suspect most of us understand that much depends on the propensity of a person to study the matter at hand, pay attention to what's being done, learn, practice, learn more, study more, pay more attention, practice more, learn more, study more, pay even more attention, practice more, etc. Is this endless? Probably not, but thinking of it as endless might be a good idea if one can do it. Beginner's mind and all that.

I know Chuck has had instruction and has paid attention to his mentor. That said, I have no way to evaluate his edges, but I'll take his word they're sharp. I also know he's had his edges checked by his mentor and got a very good report back on his bevels and edges. Are his edges as good as mine or yours? How could I know? Hopefully, we'll all be better at it in a few years, but a progression is not automatic.

View attachment 998266

Personally I'm proud to have a Shaving White Belt. I don't plan to surrender it.



Oh, come on, Mark. Play nice. Chuck's a good guy. I'm sure you are, too.



Hey, just pull up a chair. We're fixing to grill some stuff and have plenty. Let me get you a cold drink.

Happy shaves,

Jim

You’ve summed up my sentiments exactly, Jim.
 
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