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Splendid razor, honing nightmare

So I got this custom razor in France over the Christmas break.
It is massive and beautifully crafted in Damascus steel wrapped in Ebony scales.
IMG_0222.JPG
First disappointment came when I tried to shave with it. It was supposed to be shave-ready (just strop it).
I stropped it, a lot and it did not shave at all.
I tried to strop it a lot more and it still was not even close to shaving.
Actually, it did not even pass the test I make when I set a bevel.

Back at home, I finally got around to hone it.
It took a while.

The main problem was that the geometry did not allow for a proper bevel: the spine is not wide enough.
I tried first with one layer of electric tape, then two and kept going.
I did not want to go over 3 but after hours trying to reach a bevel, I saw it would not work.
Same with 4.
So in the end 5 did it.
Once the bevel was set on a DMT, the rest was a breeze. King 1k, Norton 4K, Norton 8K, King 6K. Shapton 12K, Shapton 15K and finished on Gokumyo 20K.
IMG_0428.JPG
That thing turned out as hard to hone as a Sweeney Todd.

One the plus side, the shave was excellent.
 
That really looks like a razor shaped object.

Glad you got it to shave eventually, but 5 layers IMO is unacceptable, any maker worth anything would not make a razor that needs it.

Either the spine needs to be thicker or the blade smaller.
 
That really looks like a razor shaped object.

Glad you got it to shave eventually, but 5 layers IMO is unacceptable, any maker worth anything would not make a razor that needs it.

Either the spine needs to be thicker or the blade smaller.
+1
 
That really looks like a razor shaped object.

Glad you got it to shave eventually, but 5 layers IMO is unacceptable, any maker worth anything would not make a razor that needs it.

Either the spine needs to be thicker or the blade smaller.
Yes, 5 is 2 past acceptable.
And actually, I have only done 3 on an old wedge.
 
If the spine should be wider and the old wedge grinds need three layers of tape max, etc., this would seem to imply an ideal (i.e., non-physical) thickness of the spine and its relationship with the edge, independent of the dedicated spine-edge relationship with hollow-ground razors that people like to cite when discouraging the use of tape. If so, then the current razor under consideration and the old wedge grinds would be more akin to sharpening knives, not razors, and should be honed as such, letting the shave be the final arbiter.
 
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I was thinking like Alfredo, RSO.
Indeed, however it does shave fine now that it is honed. Also I’ve bought similar RSO Damascus thing from Pakistan and a lot of things were wrong With them. Scales were big, made like knifes.
this razor however is well balanced.
 
That really looks like a razor shaped object.

Glad you got it to shave eventually, but 5 layers IMO is unacceptable, any maker worth anything would not make a razor that needs it.

Either the spine needs to be thicker or the blade smaller.
Absolutely right. This has become very common in the last 10 years, guys trying to make a gigantic razor out of skinny bar stock. And some will without a trace of shame tell you that they are meant to be that way and designed to be honed with tape. I say make it RIGHT, don't make it wrong and expect the owner to adapt to it.

IMHO if you want to make an 8/8 razor, you better have 1/4" thick stock for stock removal method. 1/8" stock is only going to make a 4/8 razor. 3/16" thick steel is only going to give you a 6/8 razor. More or less. If you wanna make big razors, get big steel. Shouldn't be so hard to understand. And it only adds a couple of bucks to the cost of material.
 
So I got this custom razor in France over the Christmas break.
It is massive and beautifully crafted in Damascus steel wrapped in Ebony scales.
View attachment 1059365
First disappointment came when I tried to shave with it. It was supposed to be shave-ready (just strop it).
I stropped it, a lot and it did not shave at all.
I tried to strop it a lot more and it still was not even close to shaving.
Actually, it did not even pass the test I make when I set a bevel.

Back at home, I finally got around to hone it.
It took a while.

The main problem was that the geometry did not allow for a proper bevel: the spine is not wide enough.
I tried first with one layer of electric tape, then two and kept going.
I did not want to go over 3 but after hours trying to reach a bevel, I saw it would not work.
Same with 4.
So in the end 5 did it.
Once the bevel was set on a DMT, the rest was a breeze. King 1k, Norton 4K, Norton 8K, King 6K. Shapton 12K, Shapton 15K and finished on Gokumyo 20K.
View attachment 1059366
That thing turned out as hard to hone as a Sweeney Todd.

One the plus side, the shave was excellent.


Firstly, it does look a bit like a RSO.

How did you come to the conclusion that you needed tape at all?

Did you just start to hone and seen that the bevel wasn't being reached? I hope not:)

Wedges are typically taped so that you are not honing the entire width of the blade - it saves time.
That thing looks to have at least some hollow to the grinding so there is really no need for tape.

Can you provide some measurements for us, thickness of spine and width of blade with some degree of accuracy? This might clear some things up.

I mean, even if the numbers are out of whack (too thin for the width) and you don't use any tape, you would be left with an extremely thin bevel unable to support itself but you didn't mention that you did this, so why did you tape?
 
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Firstly, it does look a bit like a RSO.

How did you come to the conclusion that you needed tape at all?

Did you just start to hone and seen that the bevel wasn't being reached? I hope not:)

Wedges are typically taped so that you are not honing the entire width of the blade - it saves time.
That thing looks to have at least some hollow to the grinding so there is really no need for tape.

Can you provide some measurements for us, thickness of spine and width of blade with some degree of accuracy? This might clear some things up.

I mean, even if the numbers are out of whack (too thin for the width) and you don't use any tape, you would be left with an extremely thin bevel unable to support itself but you didn't mention that you did this, so why did you tape?
I started with just one layer. I always do, but considering that the Damascus pattern would go away here if it is not protected, it was a must. I quickly saw that the bevel line was getting very wide, very fast. It was still growing after I added the second.
It stabilised at the 3rd. But then the heel was not hitting the stone.

As for measurement, my electronic calliper is out of battery and I don't think an analog reading would be precise enough. I'll give it a try next time I see the razor.
 
Given the width of the bevel and the fact that your shave was good, I think you balanced it out correctly. A wider bevel would be more of a distraction, very much taking away from the aesthetic. More tape would just compound the issue of using too much tape already. You might be able to cut some G10 spacers to go under a single layer of tape. I'm thinking something around 1mm might fly. I had a cheap Damascus blade that needed dimension at the spine so I sliced open some brass tubing and fashioned it into a frameback of sorts.
 
Given the width of the bevel and the fact that your shave was good, I think you balanced it out correctly. A wider bevel would be more of a distraction, very much taking away from the aesthetic. More tape would just compound the issue of using too much tape already. You might be able to cut some G10 spacers to go under a single layer of tape. I'm thinking something around 1mm might fly. I had a cheap Damascus blade that needed dimension at the spine so I sliced open some brass tubing and fashioned it into a frameback of sorts.
I like the idea of the temporary frame back. Did it stay in place or did you have to hone spine first to keep it in place? Wobbly can be a problem when we are talking microns.
I did something like that using binder clips when I honed a Sweeney Todd, but I was not shooting for a perfect edge in that case, I was just making a point... and I did shave with the Sweeney Todd. Once.
 
in my case the tube stayed on, it was 'semi-permanent' and quite secure. I can't find a photo of it unfortunately. In your case I would shoot for a prosthetic frame-back that can be taped in place for honing and removed for shaving. G10, a piece of u channel, something like that should be findable and tweakable.
 
in my case the tube stayed on, it was 'semi-permanent' and quite secure. I can't find a photo of it unfortunately. In your case I would shoot for a prosthetic frame-back that can be taped in place for honing and removed for shaving. G10, a piece of u channel, something like that should be findable and tweakable.
I was thinking even aluminium foil could do, protected by a layer of tape. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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