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Quick honing before every shave

Hey guys! To update you guys on my setup I have a cheap gold dollar straight razor and I finally managed to get a good edge on it that feels better than a shavette de razor.

I get 2-3 good shaves with it before it loses its keenness, it shaves but not the same. I strop before every shave, I 10 laps on the rough side and 20 on the smooth side but still 2-3 good shaves.

I imagine this could be because of the cheap steel used on these gold dollars, I’ve read that the better straight razors hold their edge better. I also read that some people use diamond compound paste on their strop and they use this to keep their straight razor sharp indefinitely.

I’m wondering if I use my naniwa gouken 12k finisher 5-10 laps before every shave if this will do something similar like the strop with compound and keep it keen indefinitely.
 
Assuming that you're stropping correctly, and that the rough side of your strop isn't setting the edge back, the first thing I would do is more laps on the smooth side. Like 50-60.
 
Edge retention for razors is complicated.

First, @Darth Scandalous is correct that 50-60 smooth-side strokes is kind of the norm for most shavers' stropping.

Second, steel matters, yes, and Gold Dollar is not the fast track to elite steel status.

But the other factor is shaving technique. It took me well over a year to really keep my angle low through all the difficult parts. My microscope tells me that when I don't do that, I make microchips in the blade edge. Enough of those, and comfort drops drastically. It's just as you report -- the blade shaves, but it does not feel good.
 
Edge retention for razors is complicated.

First, @Darth Scandalous is correct that 50-60 smooth-side strokes is kind of the norm for most shavers' stropping.

Second, steel matters, yes, and Gold Dollar is not the fast track to elite steel status.

But the other factor is shaving technique. It took me well over a year to really keep my angle low through all the difficult parts. My microscope tells me that when I don't do that, I make microchips in the blade edge. Enough of those, and comfort drops drastically. It's just as you report -- the blade shaves, but it does not feel good.
This is spot on, i see microchips with a microscope but not with the naked eye.
 
As one newbie to another here is my take. There are all sorts of things you could do which would make your edges last more than 2-3 shaves. Some of those sound extremely tempting, if I do this I never need do any other maintenance again. But the bestest approach in my view is to just work on shaving and stropping as in the long run your edge will just last and last. (I am not there yet, but getting much closer after 3 months). The thing is, doing the quick magic bullet fixes will just obscure any progress or lack thereof on the basic skills. Basically with this approach you just have to suck it up that it will be a bit rubbish for a while and commit to experimenting for yourself to see what effect minute alterations of technique have on longevity.

This same reasoning led me not to attempt any ATG passes with an SR for a long time, so that my WTG/XTG technique would get better. Now I am at the point where I'm still not adding an ATG pass, but only because it barely seems worth the bother, as the shave is already so close.
 
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I have a Gold Dollar 208 bought "shave-ready" all the way from Canada in June 2021. It has been one of my best cheap razors. All I did to upgrade and maintain the edge was use the full diamond balsa progression. Now, I tend to refresh this GD208 on the 0.1um diamond balsa maybe after 3 shaves...the edge is super keen and very smooth.

Some of my razors are refreshed using the diamond balsa while some are on the hard black Arkansas...mostly after 3-5 shaves.
Some of my razors are still with the original seller's edge (jnat) (between 6-20 shaves and still very good).

To summarize my experience...I refresh often using the diamond balsa compared to the HBA...
 
Hey guys! To update you guys on my setup I have a cheap gold dollar straight razor and I finally managed to get a good edge on it that feels better than a shavette de razor.

I get 2-3 good shaves with it before it loses its keenness, it shaves but not the same. I strop before every shave, I 10 laps on the rough side and 20 on the smooth side but still 2-3 good shaves.

I imagine this could be because of the cheap steel used on these gold dollars, I’ve read that the better straight razors hold their edge better. I also read that some people use diamond compound paste on their strop and they use this to keep their straight razor sharp indefinitely.

I’m wondering if I use my naniwa gouken 12k finisher 5-10 laps before every shave if this will do something similar like the strop with compound and keep it keen indefinitely.
Cheaper blade are most likely simple carbon steel, which will rust if not kept dry or oiled but when regularly touched up can give amazing shave with very little maintenance. Quick 5-10 depending on the finishing stone will, in my opinion, develop over time into the absolute best edge that stone can deliver over time. If you want to destroy your hands you can set a bevel on a pike translucent....I wouldn't recommend it though(but you can) l. But sticking it out on touch up jobs doesn't discourage new honers it seems and you get to see how an edge develops from touch and feedback instead of relying solely on glass, but it is important sometimes. I don't like losing stones and haven't started until recently. I've got lots but I've yet to find a worthless one. I sharpen lots of different types of blades, daily, and I've yet to get a stone that didn't have a place.
 
Hey guys! To update you guys on my setup I have a cheap gold dollar straight razor and I finally managed to get a good edge on it that feels better than a shavette de razor.

I get 2-3 good shaves with it before it loses its keenness, it shaves but not the same. I strop before every shave, I 10 laps on the rough side and 20 on the smooth side but still 2-3 good shaves.

I imagine this could be because of the cheap steel used on these gold dollars, I’ve read that the better straight razors hold their edge better. I also read that some people use diamond compound paste on their strop and they use this to keep their straight razor sharp indefinitely.

I’m wondering if I use my naniwa gouken 12k finisher 5-10 laps before every shave if this will do something similar like the strop with compound and keep it keen indefinitely.
I think this thread summarise my opinion.

Just try it and see for your self. This is the Internet, so stranger things then this seems to be working well for some people.

Edge longevity depends on allot of different factors. The way the razor was honed makes a big difference, especially with lower quality steel. How you shave and strop is also really important.
 
I think this thread summarise my opinion.

Just try it and see for your self. This is the Internet, so stranger things then this seems to be working well for some people.

Edge longevity depends on allot of different factors. The way the razor was honed makes a big difference, especially with lower quality steel. How you shave and strop is also really important.
Thank you JPO, i'll be reading this thread.
 
Actually, the steel on Gold Dollars is not that bad, their fault is in design, grinding and occasionally the heat treat.

Yours is a common new straight razor honer/shave issue. Usually, it is a stropping issue. It only takes a single stroke to damage an edge, too much pressure or improper stroke can weaken the edge. Remember that the cutting edge is so small and thin, we cannot see it without SEM magnification and super easily damaged.

Your skin and beard are not chipping the edge, it is either stropping or improper honing, using too much pressure with aggressive low grit stones and not removing all the deep stria or damage they cause. Stropping flexes the weak edge and it fails.

Even if you hone prior to each shave, you will need strop prior to shaving.

With Super Stones, you do need to final hone on a clean freshly lapped stone. Swarf build up can damage/weaken the edge. A 12k bevel should be near mirror, with super straight edge.

Your 12k bevel and edge, should look like this.



12k finish.jpg


12k
 
I’m wondering if I use my naniwa gouken 12k finisher 5-10 laps before every shave if this will do something similar like the strop with compound and keep it keen indefinitely.
To answer your question - maybe, maybe not. I'm not a believer in infinite edge life though. I mean, I can keep things sharp maybe forever with abrasives on a strop but I assure you that I won't want to shave off that edge forever.
Anyway...

GDs lack of edge retention isn't new to me. Some do better than others. Been that way since the days of the Double Arrow and Gold Monkey brands. Esp when the bevel angle is brought down to where I want it.
I kept one that does ok but after maybe 7-8 low intensity shaves in I need to put it back on the stones.

I think losing the edge at 2 shaves is severe though.

New users have been known to kill edges early.
Lotsa possible reasons why. I have not seen that stropping damage is a main cause.

Stropping on the coarse side of leather al the time isn't typical though.
I'd stick to using the top/smooth side. That's what works well for most of us most of the time.

If someone said that using the coarse side of leather is like using linen - it could be but it probably won't be.
Just get a linen.

Prep, shave angles, and technique play in to edge life too. The better we get with the skills, the longer the edges last. Usually.

One likely suspect though, a very probable reason for an edge saying sayonara after two spins in the shave den...
A half baked bevel.
A marginally done bevel will allow the blade to take an edge but it will fall off sooner rather than later.
No one wants to hear their bevels need work though...so it's a hard discussion. Fact is, a solid bevel is the foundation and if you want a house to last you need a good foundation.

BUT

In the opening sentence of the first post....
...I finally managed to get a good edge on it that feels better than a shavette de razor.

Makes me think it's possible you're shaving on a burr or wee foil edge. They get sharp, sometimes very sharp. And yes they can shave but then they start to fail fast.

I can't tell from here exactly what you're dealing with though. But i'd guess my guesses are very close.

Dollars to donuts your problem isn't related to stropping; you wouldn't get through two shaves if your stropping was damaging edges. Even the stropping on the back of the strop - probably not factoring in here unless that surface feels like gravel and sand.

Anyone new to honing that is having issues with their edges is most likely having issues with those edges because their honing skills aren't fully developed.
 
To answer your question - maybe, maybe not. I'm not a believer in infinite edge life though. I mean, I can keep things sharp maybe forever with abrasives on a strop but I assure you that I won't want to shave off that edge forever.
Anyway...

GDs lack of edge retention isn't new to me. Some do better than others. Been that way since the days of the Double Arrow and Gold Monkey brands. Esp when the bevel angle is brought down to where I want it.
I kept one that does ok but after maybe 7-8 low intensity shaves in I need to put it back on the stones.

I think losing the edge at 2 shaves is severe though.

New users have been known to kill edges early.
Lotsa possible reasons why. I have not seen that stropping damage is a main cause.

Stropping on the coarse side of leather al the time isn't typical though.
I'd stick to using the top/smooth side. That's what works well for most of us most of the time.

If someone said that using the coarse side of leather is like using linen - it could be but it probably won't be.
Just get a linen.

Prep, shave angles, and technique play in to edge life too. The better we get with the skills, the longer the edges last. Usually.

One likely suspect though, a very probable reason for an edge saying sayonara after two spins in the shave den...
A half baked bevel.
A marginally done bevel will allow the blade to take an edge but it will fall off sooner rather than later.
No one wants to hear their bevels need work though...so it's a hard discussion. Fact is, a solid bevel is the foundation and if you want a house to last you need a good foundation.

BUT

In the opening sentence of the first post....
...I finally managed to get a good edge on it that feels better than a shavette de razor.

Makes me think it's possible you're shaving on a burr or wee foil edge. They get sharp, sometimes very sharp. And yes they can shave but then they start to fail fast.

I can't tell from here exactly what you're dealing with though. But i'd guess my guesses are very close.

Dollars to donuts your problem isn't related to stropping; you wouldn't get through two shaves if your stropping was damaging edges. Even the stropping on the back of the strop - probably not factoring in here unless that surface feels like gravel and sand.

Anyone new to honing that is having issues with their edges is most likely having issues with those edges because their honing skills aren't fully developed.
I’m not sure if this is of any help because I can’t zoom in a lot on my iPhone but here is a picture of my razor with a light source above it to help distinguish the edge and the bevel… for reference I started by getting any geometry issues and making sure the razor was flat and then I started the sharpening process by killing the factory edge and starting with a 400 grit shapton then 1500, 5k, 8k and finished with the gouken 12k
 

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Can't really see too much, there is a lack of sharpness and some glare.
Photos aren't a good way to judge a bevel anyway....
What matters is the apex, not the shiny flat area on the side. When we talk about setting the bevel, we are referring to where the sides of the bevel meet to create the edge. We are not talking about the sides themselves. People love talking about 'mirror polish' on bevels but it doesn't mean anything. I can take a bevel and image it so it looks like glass and if I tilt it just right it'll look like a road map. A mirror polished bevel can terminate in a terrible apex... I've seen it a million times.

So far as 'killing the edge' goes, I leave that drama for content creators... putting a blade on a 1k or whatever will annihilate the existing edge just fine.
The grit numbers are sort of irrelevant but - Shapton doesn't make a 400x stone. There is a 320x Glass and a 320x Pro, then a 500x Glass; so maybe you have the 500x glass stone.

Honing is partially about what the progression was, but it's more about how the progression was used and happened at the edge. Doing a lot of work on a low grit stone, using 1/2 strokes, not managing pressure correctly - all this and more can lead to difficulties to overcome. I was honing a Sheffield over the weekend and pulled up a burr on the 1500x Pro, had to remove it and rework the bevel so I could progress to the next stone without carrying grief into the next stages.

I'd guess your razor's edge should last more than two shaves when honed correctly.

Your explanation/description of the situation reads to me like bevel set work needs to be ironed out and you may have created a burr at some point in your process. It's very typical and just part of the honing process for a lot of us. It happened to me a bunch of times early on. Once in a while I still get a burr when honing the snot out of a problem blade.

I would bet a dollar that if you hone that GD to finish after a 110% bevel set you'll get more than 2 shaves out of it.
Start at the beginning. Set the bevel so you can get a shave out of it. Start there. Then progress. If you don't know your bevel is absolutely on-point then everything that follows is just guess work.
 
While the photos are not great, if you load into a photo editor you can see a lot more.

Yup, bevel was not fully set. Looks like a half inch from the heel and toe are not touching the stone.

You are creating more problems with the low grit stone, rarely do you need to drop below 1k. A rolling X and sharpie ink on the bevel with a 1k will get the bevel set.

This is a common new honer issue and also why Gold Dollars are not the best razor to learn to hone on. You can buy a quality vintage for a few dollars more without all the issues and end up with a quality shaver.

Google (Second Try at Honing), this was the second razor this guy had honed. Make your bevels look like his at each stone in the progression and you will get the same results.

It is a long, step by step post. Note that it took 51 posts to fully set the bevel.
 
Can't really see too much, there is a lack of sharpness and some glare.
Photos aren't a good way to judge a bevel anyway....
What matters is the apex, not the shiny flat area on the side. When we talk about setting the bevel, we are referring to where the sides of the bevel meet to create the edge. We are not talking about the sides themselves. People love talking about 'mirror polish' on bevels but it doesn't mean anything. I can take a bevel and image it so it looks like glass and if I tilt it just right it'll look like a road map. A mirror polished bevel can terminate in a terrible apex... I've seen it a million times.

So far as 'killing the edge' goes, I leave that drama for content creators... putting a blade on a 1k or whatever will annihilate the existing edge just fine.
The grit numbers are sort of irrelevant but - Shapton doesn't make a 400x stone. There is a 320x Glass and a 320x Pro, then a 500x Glass; so maybe you have the 500x glass stone.

Honing is partially about what the progression was, but it's more about how the progression was used and happened at the edge. Doing a lot of work on a low grit stone, using 1/2 strokes, not managing pressure correctly - all this and more can lead to difficulties to overcome. I was honing a Sheffield over the weekend and pulled up a burr on the 1500x Pro, had to remove it and rework the bevel so I could progress to the next stone without carrying grief into the next stages.

I'd guess your razor's edge should last more than two shaves when honed correctly.

Your explanation/description of the situation reads to me like bevel set work needs to be ironed out and you may have created a burr at some point in your process. It's very typical and just part of the honing process for a lot of us. It happened to me a bunch of times early on. Once in a while I still get a burr when honing the snot out of a problem blade.

I would bet a dollar that if you hone that GD to finish after a 110% bevel set you'll get more than 2 shaves out of it.
Start at the beginning. Set the bevel so you can get a shave out of it. Start there. Then progress. If you don't know your bevel is absolutely on-point then everything that follows is just guess work.
So I shaved today and it was okay but I said hey let me give this another try and do as gamma said. So I passed my razor on the side of the stone to erase the old bevel/sharpeness it had. This way I know what i'm doing is 100% new. I used to sharpen the way drmatt357 does in his video but I found Anthony esposito aka the stallion and he has a bevel set video so I followed his method to the T. Started with my 320 shapton which youre correct, did 20 laps each side then 10 then 5 then cleaned it up 5 times each side less pressure. I did this exact method of 20/10/5 and clean up on my shapton 1.5k my 5k, 8k, and 12k naniwa gouken then stropped on the rough side 25 times and on the smooth side 50 times... Between each step I used my loup and it looked really nice and when passing the razor near the forearm without touching the skin I can hear it plucking out hairs and saw the hairs on the razor so I know its sharp now its just a matter of how long it will last this way... but I wanted to write this to also thank you for all the time you have given to me in this thread, I really enjoy this hobby and you guys that comment and help us newbies out are god sent... thank you again!
 
While the photos are not great, if you load into a photo editor you can see a lot more.

Yup, bevel was not fully set. Looks like a half inch from the heel and toe are not touching the stone.

You are creating more problems with the low grit stone, rarely do you need to drop below 1k. A rolling X and sharpie ink on the bevel with a 1k will get the bevel set.

This is a common new honer issue and also why Gold Dollars are not the best razor to learn to hone on. You can buy a quality vintage for a few dollars more without all the issues and end up with a quality shaver.

Google (Second Try at Honing), this was the second razor this guy had honed. Make your bevels look like his at each stone in the progression and you will get the same results.

It is a long, step by step post. Note that it took 51 posts to fully set the bevel.
So I bricked my razor and started setting the bevel again the way anthony esposito aka the stallion does it, I will see how many shaves it last but in the meantime I will look at the thread you suggested to see if I can keep improving and learning more things. If this way of setting the bevel and honing doesnt work then hopefully with the forum you suggested I can finally get it to work... Thank you for commenting and helping me on this journey.
 
Please consider watching this video repeatedly, do some bevel setting attempts and review it again if possible.

Try and get this portion of your honing efforts well understood as soon as you can.


Pay particular attention to how the quality of the bevel is ultimately evaluated.
 
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Please consider watching this video repeatedly, do some bevel setting attempts and review it again if possible.

Try and get this portion of your honing efforts well understood as soon as you can.


Pay particular attention to how the quality of the bevel is ultimately evaluated.
Thank you for sending me this video, a lot to absorb from it.
 
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