What's new

Starting to hone my own

It has been a while :).

I have been shaving with shavette and safety razors for a while. I decided to start the project of learning how to hone my own straight razors, so I bought an vintage straight razor in town. Then, I bought lapping films, and even though they were cheap, I didn't enjoy them too much. After trying for a while and following youtube videos, I was able to get the straight razor shiny in the bevel, but it didn't shave at all. I heard in some comments that most likely the problem was that the bevel wasn't set yet jet.

Finally, I bought a Norton Flattening Stone, 1000, 4000 and 8000. Today, I flattened the stones following the pencil grid method. Then, I honed the razor with 1000 first for a little bit hoping to set a bevel. Then, I did the 4000 for a while, and finally the 8000. You can see my results attached.

I tried to shave it it today and it did shave! Some success! However, it was doing too much tugging and pulling, so I had to finish with a shavette.

Next weekend, I'm hopping to spend some time going again through 4000 for a longer time and then 8000. My Illinois strop arrives tomorrow :).


  • IMG_3333.JPG
    4.4 MB · Views: 25
  • IMG_3334.JPG
    4.9 MB · Views: 26
Good! What I would do is learn how to identify the bevel is set. Thumbnail test, cherry tomatoe test, etc. The initial sharpness is done at this stage. There are YouTube videos on this. The overwhelming majority of the problems at this stage are bevel problems. Yours might be set. There are some things that may happen in the learning stage. You may lift the edge off the stone and kill parts of the edge and other pitfalls. These are all part of the game. Keep plugging! Get a few cheap gold dollars to beat up on is what I would do. I bought vintages at first. Then bought 10 gold dollars for cheap. They're great learning tools. Jmo. Good luck.
Trying to decide whether you've formed a good apex by guessing and looking at polish and trying to shave sounds painful. You need some way to decide properly whether it's time to move on to the next stone.

Waiting to form a burr on the opposite side is a good method. Not absolutely perfect, but darned good. It's pretty much what I do. On each stone/film, hone until you feel a burr on the opposite side, then flip (don't do too many strokes on one side before flipping if you're on coarser stones, say 1000 and below). Once you've done that for both sides, gently remove the burr with light edge-leading strokes before moving on to the next stone.

At some point in the progression, toward the end, I move to all edge-leading strokes, to avoid burrs, but by then I know I have an apex.

This is a coarse outline, but it sounds like an improvement on what you've been doing.

Edit: feeling a burr is easy on coarse stones, and gets progressively harder as you move up in grit. Try different fingertips, backs of fingers, etc, until you find the part of you that is best at feeling subtle burrs.
Thank you for the tips :). I definitely need to test before moving to the next stone. Looking forward to trying again next weekend.
I had totally forgot about the gold dollar ones. I should probably get some.


Ask me about shaving naked!
Your edge should pass HHT at 4k after 15-20 strokes on a strop. If it doesn’t cut pretty easily, your bevel isn’t set. If your bevel isn’t set, use less pressure and more strokes. Anything close to knife pressure is about 100x too much.

Good luck!
If you still have the films, finish on a 1 micron after your 8k. It's slightly higher than a 12k.

I have been honing for about three years and yes I know it's possible to shave with a 8k edge, but I would not shave with anything less than 12k.

Even 12k is a push for me, I always hone to 12k, then start the diamond pasted balsa progression to .1 micron.
If you are still having trouble with your bevel, you might have a look at this post:

Somehow I had never looked at this post. I thought, well, I was already honing to get a burr on each side, so what can be in there that would be good for me?

Turns out whoever wrote that is a kindred spirit, a fellow obsessive about the elusive flat bevel, with the same utter unwillingness to settle for anything less, even if that something less would shave OK. It's always a pleasure to find that one is not alone with one's obsessions. You can hone a razor so it will shave well, without insisting on a flat bevel. There are tons of tricks for that. But the flat bevel, however difficult to accomplish, will reward you for all future honings and balsa stroppings. If you have the weird persistence to pursue it, the payoff is large.
Top Bottom