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Hey everyone, I've been lurking here for a couple weeks and decided I should finally make a post and ask a few questions I haven't found answers for after a couple weeks of Google searches.
So the straight razor bug bit me a few weeks ago, I kind of got a little crazy buying stones even though I know I didn't need to I wanted to build a collection anyways. I am also the kind of guy that has a hard time choosing so why not try all of them right? Lol
Currently I have an Atoma 140, a cheap Chinese 300/1000 diamond plate, Naniwa 400 (I found it used for like $30 I couldn't pass it up), Naniwa Chosera 1k, Shapton Pro 1.5k, some Chinese natural "2k" (ill get back to that) Rika 5k, Naniwa SS 8k, Cnat "12k", I have a Naniwa 12k on the way along with a few chunks of coticule to try. I had a couple of these before but as I said I went overboard but hey at least resale value is decent or thats what I keep telling myself lol

Now the questions, has anyone ever tried the Chinese natural "2k"? I know natural grit rating are complete BS and to me, this stone just further proves that point. My Cnat finisher is real hard but itll work up a little slurry although its nowhere near muddy. This cnat "2k" for whatever reason seems exponentially harder than the finisher like I can take an atoma 140 to it and barely get a slurry / abrade the stone. Does anyone else have experience with it? Is it good for anything or basically a door stop at this point?
My other question is about the Naniwa Gouken Kagayaki stones. From my understanding they're the same as the superstone line? I bought the 12k version as a finisher because I'm not getting results with my cnat and from what people say around here buy a synth as its guaranteed, it'll always preform the same. This morning I stumbled across a 5k in the Gouken Kagayaki line that's brand new, 20mm thick for $35 on Amazon (I have no idea why it's so cheap I either got lucky or I got scammed lol) but I wanted to check with you guys before it's to late to see if its even a decent line of stones in the first place. I've heard people say the rika isn't quite a true 5k and under a microscope it seems the Rika 5k to Superstone 8k is too big of a jump so I was hoping the Gouken 5k to 8k would give me better results/help me stay consistent between grit ratings. Thoughts?

By the way, thanks for helping me blow a hole in my pocket with all your fine wisdom and encouragement ;)
 
Welcome to the honing hole. You sound very similar to me a while back. First off you have plenty of really good stones to use and probably should try and get the best you can out of them with your improvements to technique. I don't know about a Chinese 2k but since you have shapton 1.5k and chosera 1k I would put that c2k away for a long time. I also would put the c12k away too, I have one too and it caused me horrible problems for years.

If you are purely focused on razor honing I would probally do a progression of Chosera 1k or shapton 1.5k to the rika 5k to the SS 8k. You should be able to shave very well off that. If you cant then it is likely the hand and not the stones causing the issues. When you get the 12k Kagayaki you can add that in too. I have many Kagayaki and they are basically the same as the SS, they will start to warp however and need flattening. The rika 5k and Kagayaki 5k will feel different but will acomplish the same task for you, prefinisher. Use that atoma to keep the stones flat and chamfered, after the atoma if the stones are very scratched try smoothing them with as close grit stone as you can or sharpen a knife to smooth them out.

I recommend once you can do the synthetic progession well then play with the Coticules. Then once you can do the coticule if you really want to, try out the Chinese stones.

Post some photos of your razor bevels and the experts around here might be able to point out some issues. The main issue I had at the beginning and still to this day was correctly setting the bevel on the 1kish stone. If you don't get that bevel, higher grit stones are pointless. After your 1kish stone you should be able to shave arm hair pretty easy.

Good luck!
 
Welcome to the honing hole. You sound very similar to me a while back. First off you have plenty of really good stones to use and probably should try and get the best you can out of them with your improvements to technique. I don't know about a Chinese 2k but since you have shapton 1.5k and chosera 1k I would put that c2k away for a long time. I also would put the c12k away too, I have one too and it caused me horrible problems for years.

If you are purely focused on razor honing I would probally do a progression of Chosera 1k or shapton 1.5k to the rika 5k to the SS 8k. You should be able to shave very well off that. If you cant then it is likely the hand and not the stones causing the issues. When you get the 12k Kagayaki you can add that in too. I have many Kagayaki and they are basically the same as the SS, they will start to warp however and need flattening. The rika 5k and Kagayaki 5k will feel different but will acomplish the same task for you, prefinisher. Use that atoma to keep the stones flat and chamfered, after the atoma if the stones are very scratched try smoothing them with as close grit stone as you can or sharpen a knife to smooth them out.

I recommend once you can do the synthetic progession well then play with the Coticules. Then once you can do the coticule if you really want to, try out the Chinese stones.

Post some photos of your razor bevels and the experts around here might be able to point out some issues. The main issue I had at the beginning and still to this day was correctly setting the bevel on the 1kish stone. If you don't get that bevel, higher grit stones are pointless. After your 1kish stone you should be able to shave arm hair pretty easy.

Good luck!
Thanks a ton for the reply!
Is there anything I can do to stop the Gouken stones from warping? or any best practices to slow it down as much as possible?

I will say I have honed literally every single night since I got my first razor in the mail and I am finally getting somewhere in the last few days but im mainly doing this because i just love to sharpen and razor honing gives me an excuse to get the stones out every day to play with lol. I ended up purchasing the 12k Naniwa and the Coticules because the Cnat was making me bang my head against the wall. If I finish up on the Superstone 8k and strop on some leather I can get a pretty decent shave without tugging or anything like that but if i then move to the CNAT my edge jumps off a bridge. I know you guys recommend sending a razor off to get professionally honed so I have a reference but I haven't dropped the coin on an expensive razor yet, i just have a pile of gold dollars and some vintage razors so it feels like a waste. I did make sure when purchasing the vintage razors they didnt have a bunch of hone wear or rust / pitting. Ive been able to get edges on all the vintage razors and a couple gold dollars, i know one GD i have has a decent twist in it that ill have to learn how to fix.
With the CNAT "2k" i really just purchased it because it was cheap and i figured what the hell? Its another natural to play with with my knives and maybe razors so i was more or less just hoping to see if anyone else has any experiences with it. I dont really use it because it just doesn't seem to do much of anything.

I think the biggest thing i struggle with is the hole pressure vs no pressure thing. Ive read some replies on this forum along with others as well as watching videos where people say to torque the blade when setting the bevel or pressure is a good thing but then i watch other videos that say "OMG NO PRESSURE *** WHY WOULD YOU USE PRESSURE" so its been a hit or miss area for me and coming from knives i know i have a tendency to use to much pressure as it is. Ive kind of stuck to using a little tiny bit of torque and heavier pressure at the very start of the 1k then lighten up as i go until im using nearly no pressure then i move onto the 5k. Does that sound like a good practice or no? I wish I knew a honemeister or anyone else that hones but I live in a fairly small town in Montana so i doubt ill find anyone anytime soon.


sorry for the essays lmao
 
I would be happy to hone one of your vintage razors to give you a reference edge, no charge just the shipping and I'm in Washington St. I've been honing since 2014 and have a large stone collection so you could pic your finished edge.
If interested shoot me a PM
Frank
 
Is there anything I can do to stop the Gouken stones from warping?
First see if you have a problem. Here is what I did with my Naniwa SS ;
 
Thanks a ton for the reply!
Is there anything I can do to stop the Gouken stones from warping? or any best practices to slow it down as much as possible?

I will say I have honed literally every single night since I got my first razor in the mail and I am finally getting somewhere in the last few days but im mainly doing this because i just love to sharpen and razor honing gives me an excuse to get the stones out every day to play with lol. I ended up purchasing the 12k Naniwa and the Coticules because the Cnat was making me bang my head against the wall. If I finish up on the Superstone 8k and strop on some leather I can get a pretty decent shave without tugging or anything like that but if i then move to the CNAT my edge jumps off a bridge. I know you guys recommend sending a razor off to get professionally honed so I have a reference but I haven't dropped the coin on an expensive razor yet, i just have a pile of gold dollars and some vintage razors so it feels like a waste. I did make sure when purchasing the vintage razors they didnt have a bunch of hone wear or rust / pitting. Ive been able to get edges on all the vintage razors and a couple gold dollars, i know one GD i have has a decent twist in it that ill have to learn how to fix.
With the CNAT "2k" i really just purchased it because it was cheap and i figured what the hell? Its another natural to play with with my knives and maybe razors so i was more or less just hoping to see if anyone else has any experiences with it. I dont really use it because it just doesn't seem to do much of anything.

I think the biggest thing i struggle with is the hole pressure vs no pressure thing. Ive read some replies on this forum along with others as well as watching videos where people say to torque the blade when setting the bevel or pressure is a good thing but then i watch other videos that say "OMG NO PRESSURE *** WHY WOULD YOU USE PRESSURE" so its been a hit or miss area for me and coming from knives i know i have a tendency to use to much pressure as it is. Ive kind of stuck to using a little tiny bit of torque and heavier pressure at the very start of the 1k then lighten up as i go until im using nearly no pressure then i move onto the 5k. Does that sound like a good practice or no? I wish I knew a honemeister or anyone else that hones but I live in a fairly small town in Montana so i doubt ill find anyone anytime soon.


sorry for the essays lmao


You sound like you're during pretty good to me actually. Just take that c12k out of the picture! When I first started I used a king 1k, a norton 4/8k and different strops. Wanting a better finisher I got a c12k also and wasted hours of time on it. It almost never improved my edges.

I'm planning on gluing my Kagayaki down to something but havent got to it. My 1k 5k did not warp but my 8k and 10k have slight warps. Just try to keep them from staying wet I guess. Since I also got them for cheap I don't mind.

Your use of pressure sounds pretty good to me, need a little bit to start and less to finish. Unlike knives, on a thin ground razor, pressure can bend the razor edge away from the stone. Torque if done right can compensate for this bending away from the stone but it is hard to describe.

I have never had someone hone a razor for me, purely from hard headedness, but it likely would of saved me years of frustration and bloody shaves! Could be helpful to figure out where you are trying to go instead of wandering around like I did.
 
‘Is there anything I can do to stop the Gouken stones from warping? or any best practices to slow it down as much as possible?’
I did not want to deal with warping issues with my SS 8k. I glued mine to a piece of slate.
They do stabilize a little if left to soak a fem minutes, but it is a splash and go stone.
 
You sound like you're during pretty good to me actually. Just take that c12k out of the picture! When I first started I used a king 1k, a norton 4/8k and different strops. Wanting a better finisher I got a c12k also and wasted hours of time on it. It almost never improved my edges.

I'm planning on gluing my Kagayaki down to something but havent got to it. My 1k 5k did not warp but my 8k and 10k have slight warps. Just try to keep them from staying wet I guess. Since I also got them for cheap I don't mind.

Your use of pressure sounds pretty good to me, need a little bit to start and less to finish. Unlike knives, on a thin ground razor, pressure can bend the razor edge away from the stone. Torque if done right can compensate for this bending away from the stone but it is hard to describe.
I've done tons and tons of reading and watched many many hours of videos and its still hard to not be confused because everyone says something different but I guess that's why a lot of people say reading doesn't really help all that much, the only way to get better is to hone so I guess thats what ill keep doing. I'm glad my pressure sounds good, ill have to keep playing with it. I was watching some videos last night on shavelibrary from David Polan and he stressed no pressure but you can use some on 1k stones and he likes to use torque but says people would cringe if they heard that and ofc you get the best edge with no pressure! Well which is it? torque no torque? pressure or no pressure? you just gave me multiple different answers! lol
‘Is there anything I can do to stop the Gouken stones from warping? or any best practices to slow it down as much as possible?’
I did not want to deal with warping issues with my SS 8k. I glued mine to a piece of slate.
They do stabilize a little if left to soak a fem minutes, but it is a splash and go stone.

What type of glue do you guys like using? Like a 5 minute 2 part epoxy? I know i have seen people saying they glue their SS's together or to another hard object to help stabilize them but i always though it was just to help avoid breaking them in half I didnt realize they actually moved around. My 8k is the only 10mm one I have (seems like the 20mm does better), i went and grabbed it from its resting spot next to the sink and sure enough, its bowed. I was wondering why it always seemed like it needed to be lapped way more than anything else, its moving around!
 
I agree with the 1.5k > 5k Rika > 8k Naniwa SS progression as recommended from what you have on hand, perhaps followed by the Cnat finisher used without a slurry, just water. If not that, then one of those coticule "chunks" when they arrive, used with just water, no slurry. The 5k Rika is a traditional soaking stone and a bit softer, but it is a good hone all the same.

With the old razors, microchips and detritus often need to be removed at the low end of honing. What are you using to determine that the bevel is set? Apart from viewing with an 10x achromatic triplet loupe, I use the thumbnail test between 500 and 2k, seeking that the edge grabs my thumbnail (note: this becomes less apparent as the edge is refined and should not be applied after 2k). A few half-laps (back-and-forth, spine- and edge-leading passes on each side of the blade) in starting out with each hone at the low to medium stages also can help to knock off any burr that may have formed.

It also may be helpful to mark the edge with a Sharpie at the beginning of the honing process, to see if you are making contact with the edge. Taping the spine can also help to prevent excessive spine wear, which can plague beginners, as well as help to bring the edge in contact with the hone.
 
You only need enough pressure to enable the stone to cut, and make contact with the stone. If you torque a flexible ground razor to much you may end up with an uneven bevel, because the blade is stiffer at the stabilizer relative to the tow.
1C7357C7-A04A-426B-B19C-2B2B92E8581C.jpeg
 
I would be happy to hone one of your vintage razors to give you a reference edge, no charge just the shipping and I'm in Washington St. I've been honing since 2014 and have a large stone collection so you could pic your finished edge.
If interested shoot me a PM
Frank

I would love to give that a go! I think I might be to new to these forums to send a message, I cannot find the option anywhere for the life of me (i looked on the forum wiki and the options it says just aren't present for me) If you could send me a message that would be awesome or if that wont work my username is my gmail address as well so you could shoot me an email.
With the old razors, microchips and detritus often need to be removed at the low end of honing. What are you using to determine that the bevel is set? Apart from viewing with an 10x achromatic triplet loupe, I use the thumbnail test between 500 and 2k, seeking that the edge grabs my thumbnail (note: this becomes less apparent as the edge is refined and should not be applied after 2k). A few half-laps (back-and-forth, spine- and edge-leading passes on each side of the blade) in starting out with each hone at the low to medium stages also can help to knock off any burr that may have formed.

It also may be helpful to mark the edge with a Sharpie at the beginning of the honing process, to see if you are making contact with the edge. Taping the spine can also help to prevent excessive spine wear, which can plague beginners, as well as help to bring the edge in contact with the hone.

This is something im still playing with. I will use the thumbnail test, check to see if it'll shave or use the cherry tomato test. I just haven't figured out which one I prefer so as i try different pressure / different strokes I will try this test or that test just to see what sticks with me going forward if that makes sense.

I did bring the sharpie trick over from my past years of knife sharpening which has helped tremendously. At what point should I start applying tape? I have been calculating bevel angle on my razor to see if im starting from a good spot and it seems like the gold dollars are pretty bad at 20+ degrees from the factory but the rest seem to be sitting in the 16-18 range and i figured if i tape those I really wont be changing the angle much at all but i will be unevenly adding wear to the edge while adding no wear to the spine making the angle of the razor increase over time. Am i thinking of that incorrectly? Should I still be taping? I would like to avoid the hone wear on the spine
You only need enough pressure to enable the stone to cut, and make contact with the stone. If you torque a flexible ground razor to much you may end up with an uneven bevel, because the blade is stiffer at the stabilizer relative to the tow.
Hmmm looks like that may be an adhesive only in the euro / UK market but im sure I can find something similar here! Thanks a ton for the useful knowledge. Im itching to get the stones out now with all this honing talk lol
 
I noticed my Naniwa warped a bit once and I let it soak for a few minutes which evened it out. Mine usually stays pretty flat though. If yours warps a little bit don’t lap it to death-try a short soak first.
 
I would love to give that a go! I think I might be to new to these forums to send a message, I cannot find the option anywhere for the life of me (i looked on the forum wiki and the options it says just aren't present for me) If you could send me a message that would be awesome or if that wont work my username is my gmail address as well so you could shoot me an email.


This is something im still playing with. I will use the thumbnail test, check to see if it'll shave or use the cherry tomato test. I just haven't figured out which one I prefer so as i try different pressure / different strokes I will try this test or that test just to see what sticks with me going forward if that makes sense.

I did bring the sharpie trick over from my past years of knife sharpening which has helped tremendously. At what point should I start applying tape? I have been calculating bevel angle on my razor to see if im starting from a good spot and it seems like the gold dollars are pretty bad at 20+ degrees from the factory but the rest seem to be sitting in the 16-18 range and i figured if i tape those I really wont be changing the angle much at all but i will be unevenly adding wear to the edge while adding no wear to the spine making the angle of the razor increase over time. Am i thinking of that incorrectly? Should I still be taping? I would like to avoid the hone wear on the spine

Hmmm looks like that may be an adhesive only in the euro / UK market but im sure I can find something similar here! Thanks a ton for the useful knowledge. Im itching to get the stones out now with all this honing talk lol
It is a flexible glue that allows a little expansion/contraction. PL 400 is quite similar.
These stones are thin new, but with allot of use i can imagine the warping issue will get worse. You would need to do allot of honing before is is an issue though🤓
 
I left a Naniwa 12K in a bucket of water overnight.
I know I wasn't supposed to do that.
It warped and I let it dry as much as it would, and I put it away for a few years.
I just looked at it recently and it is completely flat.
 
I did bring the sharpie trick over from my past years of knife sharpening which has helped tremendously. At what point should I start applying tape? I have been calculating bevel angle on my razor to see if im starting from a good spot and it seems like the gold dollars are pretty bad at 20+ degrees from the factory but the rest seem to be sitting in the 16-18 range and i figured if i tape those I really wont be changing the angle much at all but i will be unevenly adding wear to the edge while adding no wear to the spine making the angle of the razor increase over time. Am i thinking of that incorrectly? Should I still be taping? I would like to avoid the hone wear on the spine
Sounds like you are on a good path. Different ways to tape. The one I meant was to tape from the start and continue until the end, but there are other ways like taping at the start and removing midway into the process or taping towards the end to create a secondary bevel. But most honers with experience do not use tape for the reason you mention, that it creates a different spine-to-edge relationship. In my post I was only recommending it to you as a beginner, knowing that beginners tend to introduce a lot of spine wear and also to bring the edge a little bit closer to the stone if it wasn't making contact due to how the shank is being gripped during the pass. If you have experience honing knives and have been using the sharpie to observe wear to the bevel and edge, you may not need to resort to it as you should already know if your edge is meeting the hone or not.
 
I often tell beginners to use tape until they can hone without rapidly wearing through it. Not wearing through it proves that they are controlling the spine pressure on the stone and they will be able to hone without creating excessive spine wear when honing without the tape. Once at that point they can decide whether to tape based on other factors.
 
Just to answer a few things you've asked:

Kagayakis are SS. Likely also the Naniwa 400 you've got (if it's green). The 400 is a really good stone.

2-part 5 min epoxy is ideal for glue-ing one stone to another, or to something else.

The Rika is generally considered a little below 5k. Naniwa SS tend to be a little higher than their JIS rating ime.
 
I often tell beginners to use tape until they can hone without rapidly wearing through it.
That is an excellent way to put it and I've definitely went through the tape when I first started trying to hone lmao
Just to answer a few things you've asked:

Kagayakis are SS. Likely also the Naniwa 400 you've got (if it's green). The 400 is a really good stone.

2-part 5 min epoxy is ideal for glue-ing one stone to another, or to something else.

The Rika is generally considered a little below 5k. Naniwa SS tend to be a little higher than their JIS rating ime.
That's what I thought. It's so hard to get a straight answer on the Gouken stones. Between the Kagayaki line, fuji line and Arata it seems everyone says something different but id be far more inclined to trust what people say around here vs what they say on eBay/Amazon listing.
I will say the 400 I got is definitely the Chosera / pro line. I got it cheap because it was an Amazon warehouse item, someone returned it so Amazon was selling it cheap AF. It's still one of the older ones as it's attached to the base and came with the big brown nagura.
Thanks a ton for your answers!
Naniwa 12k Glass Stone ….
That looks wonderful. Where did you get your glass from? My home depot is only selling super thin 3/32" glass which is better than nothing but feels flimsy.


Side note: I know I don't need it lol but the price is extremely hard to pass on even if I decide to resell it, does $65 for this Coti sound right? A hair under 7" long and a hair over 1.5" wide with a slurry stone
 

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I can't speak to the Gouken Kagayaki but I recently picked up a Hayabusa (4k) and Fuji (8k) off amazon for what I think were very reasonable prices. It's possible that they were seconds or returns, the 4k has a small divot out of the back side, and the 8k has a weird discoloration at one end, kind of like a water stain on a wood coffee table. The stamping on the side and the packaging is legit, though.

You can definitely shave off the 8k, it gives a near mirror polish. I use it prior to my trans ark.
 
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