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Sharp without the microscope?

Guys, Is it still possible to hone a great blade without a microscope? Seems like a lot of honers now use the microscope to check a long the way so is honing and shave testing out?
 
Guys, Is it still possible to hone a great blade without a microscope? Seems like a lot of honers now use the microscope to check a long the way so is honing and shave testing out?

You can do just fine without it. I do get a lot of use out of a simple 10x loupe/handlens, however. A high quality loupe at low mag will gather more light and be better optically than higher mag of poorer quality. I also have a 230x USB microscope, but that's kind of just for fun and pretty pictures.

You can do just fine without a microscope, but a high quality, low mag can also be a help.
 
I doubt any Barber's from back in the day used a microscope :tongue_sm

In fact, my microscope broke awhile ago and now I just make sure that I can see the bevel on the entire length of the blade and that every part passes the TNT test before moving up from my DMT 600. After the DMT 1200 every part need to shave arm hair and then I just go to my coticule.

Works for me, though it was nice to have the microscope to see any microchips in the edge not visible to the naked eye. I'm sure I'll get another one here shortly....
 
What does using a microscope have to do with sharpening a blade?

It's useful for seeing small imperfections but totally unnecessary otherwise.
 
Guys, Is it still possible to hone a great blade without a microscope? Seems like a lot of honers now use the microscope to check a long the way so is honing and shave testing out?

Microscope serves me more to check metal condition without having to "waste" a shave. It's easy to hone a razor well and have it be very sharp but still give an awful shave because of microchips caused by edge pitting. Microscopes are also very useful if you're curious about what exactly is happening when you hone. They aren't necessary though, but being able to see if there is any pitting on the bevel/edge that isn't visible to the naked eye is a very nice benefit.
 
I have a blade that won't take an edge but looks good and passes TPT. I look at in the USB scope and it has whats called devils spit. Microscopic holes that make impossible to keep a good edge. When I am bored I hone away at it hoping to get past them but haven't yet.
 
I only have a 30 loupe and use it to continue to educate myself about edges when my TPT tells me it is good to go.
 
I never use one but I think I attribute that to being use to my stones and razors and know how they work.

If I was honing multiple blades a day for customers I would likely use one since I may not be familiar with the razor someone may have sent to me.
 
Don't own a microscope, and have never used one. They sound like it might be interesting, but certainly not a requirement. Most gents, when giving me advice when I started to hone my own razors, suggested that feel is the most important consideration for that perfect edge.
 
I don't use one. I tried to incorporate a loupe into my routine but I didn't like referring to it. When I first started honing, it might've been nice to have one but I see it as a crutch.
 
Guys, Is it still possible to hone a great blade without a microscope? Seems like a lot of honers now use the microscope to check a long the way so is honing and shave testing out?
I don't feel that a microscope is all that helpful in producing a sharp razor - there are many other ways of determining that. Where a scope comes in handy is in detecting very small edge imperfections that could produce nicks when shaving. If all I did was hone new razors, I would never use one. Since I work almost exclusively with antiques, I find it very handy.
 
It is possible to hone without a microscope. I hardly use mine anymore and I actually think its more of a novelty than anything. I have found that the handful of hair extensions that I got from the local hairdresser(free of charge too!) come in much more handy than the microscope. I can tell better with a hht than I can with the microscope if the edge is ready or not.
 
It is possible to hone without a microscope. I hardly use mine anymore and I actually think its more of a novelty than anything. I have found that the handful of hair extensions that I got from the local hairdresser(free of charge too!) come in much more handy than the microscope. I can tell better with a hht than I can with the microscope if the edge is ready or not.

Personally, and I know I am swimming against the current on this, I do not find the HHT all that useful - except perhaps to tell when the razor MIGHT be getting close to shave-ready. Believe it or not, I have shaved with many a great razor that would not pass the HHT. The shave-test is the gold standard test for me, so I have had to master the art of shaving with more than one razor per shave. My record is 7 razors in one shave - I definitely required all three passes on that day.:scared: I think the overriding message is, from just about everyone who has answered the original question, that the "tools" you can use to determine sharpness and shave-readiness are the very same tools that were common to the bladesmiths of the 18th and 19th century. :thumbup:
 
I have a loupe i bought off of flea-bay. I find myself looking at things other than my edge. My skin, the cats fur, etc. Damn you ADD!!:cursing:
 
Lightly breadknifing the razor at least once during the 1k honing helps reduce or eliminate microchips, so doing that might get rid of the need for a loupe. If I lost my loupes I'd definitely do this, especially if I was dealing with a ebay beater or something like that.
 
I agree. I have had many a fine shave from a razor that won't pass the hht. All I was saying is I have a better chance of a good shave from a tnt,tpt and hht than I have from what I see in the microscope.
 
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