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Shaptons, for the first time

This morning I tried out my new Shapton Glass progression for the first time.

Shapton Glass 1k High Rockwell, 4k High Rockwell, 8k High Carbon

I had a Bismark that I had given a small chip. Touched the edge with the metal edge of my loupe.

I have an atoma 400/1200, for edge repair, but this time I wanted to see if the 1kHR would be enough to remove the chip. I heard that it's a fast cutter.

First, is a photo showing the chip.

It took 80 laps with some pressure on the 1kHR ,but it did it. The next photo shows it. It was a small chip, but still, this 1k does the job. Would make you very certain that your bevel was set. I think I can leave my diamond plates solely for lapping now. This Shapton will do minor chips and bevel setting.

Then I progressed to the 4kHR and then the 8k HC. The High Carbon is said to be not as extremely fast cutting as the HR. The HR is make for modern alloys that are hard. The HC is made for high carbon steel that is less so. I chose the High Carbon for the 8k as I heard it is nicer for razor steel, and we're starting to get into the finishing range.

Photos of the 4k and 8k are next.

Out of curiosity I tried shaving off the 8k. Nope. Not at all. While the bevel looked fine, it felt tuggy, catchy and dull. Not shaveable.

I then went to a coticule under running water. Again, not good enough for shaving. But I often struggle with this coticule.

I then went to a convex black ark on oil. Sixty laps and then, I could shave with it. Not the best edge ever, but not bad. I could shave.

I did a second set of sixty laps on the ark. Shaved again, and much improvement this time. Even when convexed, this ark is slow. But 120 laps did it. It was a good shave.

Out of curiosity, I then gave it fifty laps on .1u balsa. Shaved with that. I think it was a touch sharper.

Anyway, I am very happy with these Shaptons. What a great way to ensure your low and mid range progression is just right.

I think I'll leave this razor as an ark razor. It's shoulderless, so I can really start up high on the big ark and ride that convex hill all way down the X.

I think I'm also understanding the limitations of a microscope. The pictures kept showing me nice, even, pretty looking bevels. But that had nothing to do with whether it shaved or not. Only the shave itself told that.

Maybe you gents can glean helpful information from the photos. Let me know if you do.

the chipped edge is here: This was a coticule edge, so you'll see the random messiness of a coticule surface.


WIN_20210209_08_21_28_Pro.jpg

After the Shapton 1k HR: All nicely cleaned up. You can still see some scratches going in varying directions.

shap.gl.1kHR 80 laps.jpg


After the Shapton 4k HR. The scratches going in varying directions are gone. It's now all lined up evenly. So the 4kHR is still a pretty effective cutter. I think I only did sixty x laps and it really advanced things.

shap.gl.4kHR 40 laps.jpg




After the Shapton 8k HR. Looks nice, but it can't shave yet. Ignore that bright reflection on the left. That's just me struggling to get the razor to rest even under the scope.

shap.gl.8kHC 60 laps.jpg


After the coticule:


coticule.jpg




After giving another sixty laps on the coticule. Still not giving a good shave at all. Maybe it's my imagination, but I think some coti randomness is showing up.


coti, a second 60 laps.jpg



After the Black Ark. This is after 120 laps. Suddenly this razor shaved, and did so very nicely.

black ark.jpg



After 50 laps on 1.u balsa. Hard to tell if there was an improvement. It shaved well, but it shaved well on the previous Ark as well.


balsa .1u.jpg
 
Oops, I may have spoken too soon about removing that chip. It's mostly gone, but there is a tiny, tiny, bit of the chip still there.

The 1kHR can still remove small chips, I think, but it would take more than 80 laps.

But removing most of the chip with just 80 laps on a 1k is still pretty good.

I think for chip removal, perhaps the Atoma 400/1200 is still the way to go.

Then the 1k for bevel, and the 4k and 8k to get it ready for the finishing.
 
That's an interesting look at edge character. I dread the thought of how my straight razor edge looks under a scope.. all I have is an old 1k synthetic for bevel setting and a Welsh slate hone which I think is 10k? I use two cheap leather strops, one covered in jewelers rouge powder for pre shave stropping and one with autosol for when that rouge no longer gets the edge back. Its been a few years since I've shaved with any of my straights and now I'm thinking I might be a little behind in the edge game!

Can decent magnifying gadgets be had on a budget?
 
So I’m only trying to help by saying this and I make no assumptions about your honing skills but in all likelihood the bevel wasn’t set early on. I know this is the last thing that any of us want to hear. So how do we know when it’s truly set? Well, there are many checks and tests but I’ve adopted a slightly different approach after I got some long-overdue coaching myself recently. I want that 1.5K edge to be so good and so “set” that it could be mistaken for a 3K edge. How do I get there? Well I do lots of half strokes with medium pressure and I let the stone do the work. If I need to hone for two hours to get the blade where I want it then so be it. But when the sensation really smooths out and the undercut looks good I spend a significant amount of time doing very low pressure finishing strokes on the 1.5K. I approach this phase of bevel setting as if I’m about to shave with it at this grit. It’s really a mental game. I’m trying to get a “pushed 1.5K edge” as early in the process as possible. And this entire approach gets repeated at all the upcoming stages.
So when setting the bevel I’m mentally trying to raise the bar in terms of what I’m trying to achieve at that first grit. Just getting undercut, just getting it to bite a thumbnail smoothly, or just getting it to cut a tomato isn’t quite enough. I’ve found that I have to invest a good amount of time to get well past some of the familiar checks that we’ve heard of.
So if I’m going to stand on my head and jump through hoops I’m going to do that at the low-end of the progression as opposed to the last stage while finishing.
 
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That's an interesting look at edge character. I dread the thought of how my straight razor edge looks under a scope.. all I have is an old 1k synthetic for bevel setting and a Welsh slate hone which I think is 10k? I use two cheap leather strops, one covered in jewelers rouge powder for pre shave stropping and one with autosol for when that rouge no longer gets the edge back. Its been a few years since I've shaved with any of my straights and now I'm thinking I might be a little behind in the edge game!

Can decent magnifying gadgets be had on a budget?


Yes, it can. You need a loupe to examine the edge during your honing session. And you "need" an amazon fifty dollar usb microscope to examine the bevel and edge when you are done. A nice feature of a usb microscope is that you can take pictures and share your challenges on these forums.

Have a very bright bench lamp.

Folk are helpful when they can see a photo of an edge that you're struggling with.

You can get a usb microscope for thirty bucks, believe it or not. This one is similar to mine:

Bysameyee USB Digital Microscope 40X to 1000X, 8 LED Magnification Endoscope Camera with Carrying Case & Metal Stand, Compatible for Android Windows 7 8 10 Linux Mac: Amazon.ca: Camera & Photo


Or for 170 bucks you can get a really good one. I'm tempted to go for this one some day:

Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro: Amazon.ca: Camera & Photo
 
So I’m only trying to help by saying this and I make no assumptions about your honing skills but in all likelihood the bevel wasn’t set early on. I know this is the last thing that any of us want to hear. So how do we know when it’s truly set? Well, there are many checks and tests but I’ve adopted a slightly different approach after I got some long-overdue coaching myself recently. I want that 1.5K edge to be so good and so “set” that it could be mistaken for a 3K edge. How do I get there? Well I do lots of half strokes with medium pressure and I let the stone do the work. If I need to hone for two hours to get the blade where I want it then so be it. But when the sensation really smooths out and the undercut looks good I spend a significant amount of time doing very low pressure finishing strokes on the 1.5K. I approach this phase of bevel setting as if I’m about to shave with it at this grit. It’s really a mental game. I’m trying to get a “pushed 1.5K edge” as early in the process as possible. And this entire approach gets repeated at all the upcoming stages.
So when setting the bevel I’m mentally trying to raise the bar in terms of what I’m trying to achieve at that first grit. Just getting undercut, just getting it to bite a thumbnail smoothly, or just getting it to cut a tomato isn’t quite enough. I’ve found that I have to invest a good amount of time to get well past some of the familiar checks that we’ve heard of.
So if I’m going to stand on my head and jump through hoops I’m going to do that at the low-end of the progression as opposed to the last stage while finishing.


Yeah, it might be.

They say you only set the level once, but that's not true. You get a chip or pitting and you have to go back and start over.

And you get a new bevel setter, and of course you have to go at your razors with it.

And sometimes I'll look at a razor I bought years ago, when I didn't know anything about honing or bevel setting, so I start again, just to use my new skills and new tools.

About this Bismark, I never set the bevel initially. Just bought it new, assumed it was ok as it shaved fine, and just maintained it with finishers.

Now that I see that I missed a tiny micro chip, I'm going to go back and start with the 1k some time.

It's ok. We enjoy honing.
 
Ok, damnit, that tiny remaining bit of a chip was bugging me.



I dulled the edge against the side of a coticule. Then Atoma 400 to truly murder that chip. Dozens of circles, medium torqueing pressure down on the edge.

It sure did the job. Also really messed up the edge, and roughed up the surface of the bevel, which is painful to see. But had to do it.

Circles on the 400 raised a burr along the edge, easily felt along the whole edge. So now I am certain I have a good bevel.

Then I rapidly blew through the shapton 1k, 4k, 8k. The 1k didn't have much feedback to me, but it quickly got that edge slicing tomatoes again.

On the 8k I was getting solid undercut and a little bit of sticktion by forty laps. I went to sixty. The 1k and 4k don't seem to have much feedback. The 8kHC does, and I'm glad I got the HC, just for that reason.

It's early days, but I suspect the Shapton Glass 8k HC is a good point to jump to a finishing natural. Or even straight to balsa.

I skipped the damn coticule this time and went straight to the black ark.

And then it shaved just great. Really nice. I shaved so much today I'm amazed my face is as comfortable as it is.

Here's how nasty and rough the atoma 400 left things. It killed the chip and beat the bevel into submission, but the edge is just painful to look at.

2 400.jpg

But after the black ark, all is good in whoville again. That went much faster this time.



2 arc.jpg
 
Glad to hear that you’re liking the Shaptons. It sounds like we have nearly identical setups. I’ve never thought to use the Atoma for bevel setting. That might be the way to go the next time I need to set a bevel after bread knifing an edge. I would love to be able to speed that process up.
 
So I found a straight razor at a Loves Truck Stop Friday night branded “Union Razor”. I think it’s a rescaled GD. I took it to the 400 Atoma until I had an even hit along the spine but it really did a number on the bevel. The damage from the diamond plate took a long time to remove even with a 600 waterstone. Two hours later I had a bevel that I continued to polish out on a 1.5K until I had hazy mirror on the bevel. Yes I had hazy mirror on a 1.5K.
I went 3, 5, & 8K and stopped for shave testing.
Your Shapton system will do just fine from what it sounds like.
 
I'm glad someone else tried the atoma 400 for bevel setting.

I thought diamond plates were only for chip repair and lapping. But wow, they sure raise a burr quickly.

I was fortunate to have a fast cutting 1k to recover from the 400.

What I want to do next is see how long it takes the Shap 1kHR to raise a burr. If it's quick enough, then I won't use a diamond plate for bevel setting.
 
I'm glad someone else tried the atoma 400 for bevel setting.

I thought diamond plates were only for chip repair and lapping. But wow, they sure raise a burr quickly.

I was fortunate to have a fast cutting 1k to recover from the 400.

What I want to do next is see how long it takes the Shap 1kHR to raise a burr. If it's quick enough, then I won't use a diamond plate for bevel setting.
The reason I used the diamond plate was to get the spine side to sit flat on the stone. I’m going to tape the blade/edge-side the next time I do this so I don’t rough up the bevel on the 400.
My first few strokes revealed that not all of the spine was contacting the plate. It was missing some areas about 2/3rds towards the toe-end.
 
When you go from what i assume is flat shapton stones to a convex ark, you are not getting contact with the apex. If you convexed your coticule, you would probably get better results.
When you move to the ark you need to reshape the bevel, starting from the shoulder, or the middle of your bevel, depending on the radius of your stone.
Oil on the blade also messes up the microscope images. Get it as clean as possible.
 
Atomas leave an edge looking like it went thru a wood chipper IMO. I have used them however a dmt is much kinder to steel than the atomas. For knives? Sure but I would never use an atoma on a razor for any reason. The good thing about atomas is their matrix of raised areas. Good for lapping as the plates last, bad for steel. Bevel is always the first place to check for sharpness issues as was said. For chips I generally raise the spine a tad and hone until the chip is almost gone and then put the spine back on the stone. It changes the geometry by .000000000000001 microns i know! ANd eventually the razor wont be able to shave in 500 years. But i dont think im going to worry about that. Im sure a Tesla electric solar shaver that has a 500 mile range will be developed way before then. :c1:
 
In each of your pictures, you can see a faint, thin line at the very edge, rather than scratches from the current stone truly going all the way to the bevel, and no line.

These indications, which mean you are not where you should be on a given stone, are the most important information I look for from my microscope, and the signal that makes me most grateful that I have one.
 
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