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Setting the Bevel with the Burr Method

I've never felt the burr, but I set the bevel on my first two razors. The 5/8 is my sharpest razor and provides an effective shave. I struggle with my 4/8, but it shaves and could be just be being new to an SR.

I simply followed the method as I went through a packet of lapping films. This was followed by a fire hose linen and horse hide strop. I've use CrO2 on a rough out paddle strop and now .1 diamond paste on balsa.

I prefer historic/vintage razors. There is a pre 1892 coming today and I am interested in the experience. I suppose I will start with the hone and finish with the paste.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
I'll second ... um ... third that. I was really struggling with my first several, attempts (i.e., 6 months) at honing. This thread made it click and my last attempt on the practice razor actually resulted in a great edge. Tonight I killed it, reset the bevel, and brought it up to tree topping @ 1/4" (Norton 1k, 4k, 8k, Naniwa 12k, .5u, .25u, .1u diamond pasted balsa).

That gave me the confidence to try my first "non-practice" razor. Still an eBay cheapie (Johan Engstrom Frameback), but one that I wanted to try to see if I wanted in my rotation. Went from flat dull to tree topping! Tomorrow (well, later this morning) will be the shave test (as well as a test of my skill with such a narrow tang).

So again, many, many thanks to all the knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful folks on this forum.
I'm not where you are, but your post is inspiring.

Congratulations!

Now that you know how to set a bevel, you might want a coarser hone for razors that need a lot of steel stripped off in order to achieve the all important end to end bevel. Oh no, gotta spend more money!!!!! Not. if you have a spare acrylic or stone or glass block, take a piece of 320 grit sandpaper (try 1/3 sheet, creased and torn or cut lengthwise) and stick it to the plate with spray adhesive. If you are very careful to roll it down onto the plate perfectly flat with no bubbles or debris under it, you will have a VERY flat hone, with customized grit. Want coarser? Finer? Do it like you feel it. You will save yourself a lot of time, and a lot of wear on your bevel setter.

The trick to using very coarse media for honing is to stop BEFORE you have a completely set bevel, and move on to the 1k. As the 1k is honing out the deep scratch pattern left by the 320 or 200 or 400 or whatever, it is also bringing the bevel home. So you will not have removed excessive steel, only that which needed to come off anyway. The only difference is the first bit was removed quickly instead of slowly.

A diamond plate is also good for this. Even a cheapie can be useful as long as you don't stay on it too long. What is nice about sandpaper though, is you can change the paper (use acetone to remove glue residue) and have a fresh surface, and it is always flat.

Sounds like you are getting it. Congratulations!

At least I'm making progress. Getting it? Well, I'm at least moving towards that goal. It as very satisfying getting the mess put in the GD 1996 all honed out. Took forever, but satisfying to accomplish.

Thanks for all the helpful tips, Slash. There should be some way your very best posts could be edited and compiled so people could find them, and so you could just point to them and not have to type it all out again.

I've read several times about how to do what you've just written about, but I think this version might be the most clear.

I am going to get some acrylic pretty soon for this purpose and others.

You're right. Several pieces of acrylic + a stash of lapping film costs about what another stone would run me.

Thanks and happy shaves,

Jim
 
I'm not where you are, but your post is inspiring.

Congratulations!




At least I'm making progress. Getting it? Well, I'm at least moving towards that goal. It as very satisfying getting the mess put in the GD 1996 all honed out. Took forever, but satisfying to accomplish.

Thanks for all the helpful tips, Slash. There should be some way your very best posts could be edited and compiled so people could find them, and so you could just point to them and not have to type it all out again.

I've read several times about how to do what you've just written about, but I think this version might be the most clear.

I am going to get some acrylic pretty soon for this purpose and others.

You're right. Several pieces of acrylic + a stash of lapping film costs about what another stone would run me.

Thanks and happy shaves,

Jim
My way is not the only game in town. There is a lot of subjectivity in the subject. Some opinion, some conclusions from limited data sets, and some plain old YMMV. B&B is not the platform for a "Honing by Slash McCoy" book. I did put together under one roof the main elements of "The Method" in the Newbie Honing Compendium | Badger & Blade thread, which is actually tips and tricks from a variety of sources and not my own creation. That's as far as I am willing to take it here. It is rewarding to see new guys coming into the straight razor world and achieving edges that our great grandfathers would find amazing, and however they get those edges is alright by me. I just do the best I can to help.
 
Slash
I think you could have a really successful call-in radio program. I would have it tuned in every day.

with a wink and good cheer,
Alx
 
I think you are going to put a lot of spine wear using the above method using the 600. I've never had to use anything other than a 1k to set the bevel. The only time I've gone lower was just to start the removal process for a pit which I finished up with on the 1k.

Maybe sure the should on the GB isn't keeping your edge from actually having contact with the stone.

I've gotten a GB just as sharp as any other blade but for a newer person it might be easier to start with a decent but inexpensive vintage razor. Something not too narrower and not a wedge.

I don't try to raise a burr however.
This guy puts a great edge on a razor. There is no heavy spine wear. I know. I've shaved more than afew from him. Hes a good pal. The 600 is noisy but leaves a nice mellow scratch pattern that is easily wiped by the 1k chosera.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Big, recangular, high quality Jnats CAN be extremely expensive, sure. Some of the value is due to the particular mine it came from, or even the swirls of color in the stone, believe it or not. $300 will get you a great big Jnat that will hone as well as any Jnat you can get. You don't have to spend 4 figure prices to get the best Jnat edge possible. I have a fairly large stone that does fairly well and I think I paid $100 for it. Not my idea of the perfect rock, but if I was into Jnats I could make it work for me okayish. I have shaved off it, and an acknowledged Jnat expert has used it and pronounced it fit to use as a finisher. Expensive, not. Usable, even desireable, yup.

You can actually pay more for a handful of nice naguras (slurry stones) than for the base stone. The dirty little secret is you can use a pocket size DMT card to raise a base stone slurry and totally eliminate the need for all but a few of them. See, some slurry is raised from the base stone. Some is a product of the slurry stone. Sometimes it is a combination of the two. Sometimes the slurry is initially raised, but working the same slurry will break it down into a finer slurry. Jnat honing can be very complex that way. Or simple, however you want to look at it. To me, it is just an eternal struggle to equal a .1u diamond balsa edge. To others, it is nirvana and the eternal pursuit of it.
Good and helpful information, Slash. Thanks.

Everything I know about buying natural stones could fit in a thimble and leave room for a battleship. Good to hear they don't have to cost a fortune, but I've not run across any that don't except eBay mystery stones and Welsh slate.

Not that I've looked much at all or know anything.

I'm enjoying this article on buying jnats (by Keith @Gamma), linked.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

RumpleBearskin

Contributor
That gave me the confidence to try my first "non-practice" razor. Still an eBay cheapie (Johan Engstrom Frameback), but one that I wanted to try to see if I wanted in my rotation. Went from flat dull to tree topping! Tomorrow (well, later this morning) will be the shave test (as well as a test of my skill with such a narrow tang).
Follow-up: Missed my shave yesterday but was able to shave test this razor this morning. Blissful shave! I think I may actually be getting the hang of this honing stuff...
 
Okay yeah sounds like you got your burr. So the problem is geting it honed off. Best way to regulate your pressure is to always hone in hand. If you rest your stone on a fixed surface you will likely have problems with that, especially if you try to hold the razor with both hands, a common newbie mistake.

Is your stone flat? Really flat? If you have never lapped it, then it is not, and you definitely need to lap it.

So, if your stone is lapped, and you have a handle on the pressure thing, and you are not riding the stone with the shoulder of the razor or "bending" the blade over the edge of the stone when x stroking, you should be able to get that bevel tuned up nicely. This is not a 10 or 12 lap endeavor. It's not done until it is done.

I suggest that you hit the bevel (edge and spine) with a sharpie, and hone 2 or 3 laps and see if you are making good contact with the entire edge, and spine. The sharpie test might reveal something that isn't right or isnt getting done right.

Hang in there. You're GONNA get this.
This post saved me a ton of grief! Thanks!
 
I am not using lapping film which i thought was necessary to feel the burr. I use the shapton progression starting at 1500, and after 11 razors the only one i've felt a burr on was my red imp that i spent WAY too much time on taking out a chip. Not sure if it's the difference in metal quality, or the inordinate amount of time spent on that razor that allowed me to feel it, but it seemed obviously a burr. But it's the only one I've felt after 11 razors.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
When you finally get “there”, you will feel a burr. If you don’t feel a burr you ain’t “there” yet. Maybe you aren’t feeling it. Just lightly run a finger tip across the bevel on one side then do the same to the other and you will feel the difference. It doesn’t have dramatic but you will feel it. Finger tips are very sensitive. The burr may and often does not go the entire length of the edge so you have to keep at it until it does. At that point, flip the blade and repeat the process. The more bevels you set, the easier it becomes. When you use the burr method, you have certainty the bevel is set.
 
I've done over 100 strokes and felt nothing...I ended up getting the bevel set, and passed thumb pad, HHT, and shaving tests, but couldn't ever feel the burr. I believe it said to maintain symmetry don't do more than 100. maybe my shapton 1500 is too weak to burr in this amount of time?
 
I've done over 100 strokes and felt nothing...I ended up getting the bevel set, and passed thumb pad, HHT, and shaving tests, but couldn't ever feel the burr. I believe it said to maintain symmetry don't do more than 100. maybe my shapton 1500 is too weak to burr in this amount of time?
Possibly your pressure is too light to raise a burr. But 100 laps isn't very much. Anyway if you are satisfied with your bevel as verified by other tests, then no real need to raise a burr anyway. Check it under a microscope, maybe. If you WANT to use the burr method, maybe read the thread again.
 
Possibly your pressure is too light to raise a burr. But 100 laps isn't very much. Anyway if you are satisfied with your bevel as verified by other tests, then no real need to raise a burr anyway. Check it under a microscope, maybe. If you WANT to use the burr method, maybe read the thread again.
I've read it a few times, but it's dead week in university. Once this next week is over i'll go through the full thread and choose a razor that is not particularly satisfying and rework it from beginning. I imagine there's still plenty to improve on, and eleven razors didn't somehow make me a honemeister :) HAHAHA. Just a bit short on time at the moment. If I go through again and am unable to get a decent burr to form i'll post here and explain what has happened and see if anyone can help.
Also just to ensure clarity in my last post...I've done several 100 passes, but alternating sides because i thought you said not to go too heavily on one side as it can screw up the symmetry of the bevel. 100 Left side, then switch 100 R side, then back to left side...
 
I've read it a few times, but it's dead week in university. Once this next week is over i'll go through the full thread and choose a razor that is not particularly satisfying and rework it from beginning. I imagine there's still plenty to improve on, and eleven razors didn't somehow make me a honemeister :) HAHAHA. Just a bit short on time at the moment. If I go through again and am unable to get a decent burr to form i'll post here and explain what has happened and see if anyone can help.
Also just to ensure clarity in my last post...I've done several 100 passes, but alternating sides because i thought you said not to go too heavily on one side as it can screw up the symmetry of the bevel. 100 Left side, then switch 100 R side, then back to left side...
Oh yes I see. You are quite correct. 100 strokes should raise a burr if it is nearly there, yes. Try increasing pressure. Use approximately the full weight of your arm, maybe a tiny bit more. Pressure forms burrs, whether you want them, or not. Light pressure removes/prevents them, as a general characteristic.

Possibly the problem is you simply don't detect the burr. Feel both sides. It is the difference between them that you will notice, not the actual burr itself, unless the burr is extremely pronounced, which equates to wasted steel. So for practice, I suggest you go at it with a razor you really don't care much about. Go until you DO feel the burr, staying on one side up to say 500 strokes before flipping. Then go 1000 strokes on the other side. Then 2000 on the first side again. You GOT to get a very obvious burr sooner or later. Now of course this is leading that particular razor down the path to the scrap bin. Maybe. But sooner or later you will have a burr and then you will go, "Ah HAH!!! Eureka!!!"

The reason I think maybe you just don't recognize the burr is because by all other tests, you seem to have a bevel. As soon as your bevel is in, continued honing, especially on one side only, will immediately start deflecting the edge upward, particularly with heavy pressure. Now you don't NEED to raise a burr if the bevel is truly set. I would like you to go to the extreme though, just so you learn to recognize it. So grab a junkbox razor and wail away on it. You will get this. And maybe once you got it, you will feel that you don't really need to do it this way, but at least you will be able to, and will understand it.
 
I am not using lapping film which i thought was necessary to feel the burr. I use the shapton progression starting at 1500, and after 11 razors the only one i've felt a burr on was my red imp that i spent WAY too much time on taking out a chip. Not sure if it's the difference in metal quality, or the inordinate amount of time spent on that razor that allowed me to feel it, but it seemed obviously a burr. But it's the only one I've felt after 11 razors.
I have a shapton kuromaku 1500, and i felt it took too long too. So i got the 1000 and the 2000 in same series. Now i progress from 1000 and up. To me that cut the number of laps way down to perhaps 1/4 or so.
Read somewhere there is a difference as to what kind of abrassive there is in the 1000 and the 1500, which should explain why the 1000 is lots more effective in creating a burr. My own experience then added the need for the 2000 to smooth the edge further using the 2000 after the 1500.
Will try later to find the source.
 
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