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Success! (Mostly...)

So... I'm new to SR shaving, haven't hit my 30 yet, and so far have been using a shavette mostly.

I've been trying to learn razor honing on a $10 ebay razor with the limited tools at my disposal (1000 grit Japanese stone, Arkansas hone, old leather belt for a strop) and it has been a challenge.

First attempt took my whiskers off, but pulled like crazy. Felt dull.

Tonight I went back to the stones and tried again...I can't get it to pass HHT, but the result was chalk and cheese!

Almost zero pulling, about as much pull as you would get from a cartridge that has done 3 or 4 shaves.
Felt soooo smooth, controlled, and I completed a full shave without a single nick...something I have not managed once with the shavette or my brief foray into DE...

2 pass, not quite BBS, I can feel something against the grain...but closer than most cartridge shaves I have had and the least skin irritation I have had from any shave ever!

And I know that this razor isn't truly shave ready yet...

I'm pumped, I know I've made the right choice going down this path, and although I can't afford a full progression of Shaptons or Naniwas or JNATs or Coticles...I can't wait for my selection of lapping films to arrive along with the balsa strop material and diamond pastes... THIS IS FUN!!!
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
Sounds like it's too late to save you. Your addicted.

I suggest that you first master the lapping films and diamond pasted balsa strops before you venture into expensive whetstones.
 
Sounds like it's too late to save you. Your addicted.

I suggest that you first master the lapping films and diamond pasted balsa strops before you venture into expensive whetstones.
Yes...much as I do love assembling a new variety of tools for a new skill, spending a thousand dollars or more on a progression of stones is out of the question for now.

50 bucks in lapping films and a piece of half inch glass, 15 bucks in balsa and 30 bucks in diamond pastes is literally pocket money...

That said...I really want one of Natural Whetstones ancient ocean jasper bench stones...I WILL have one someday!!!

And a translucent Arkansas would be nice...

And maybe a coticule...

And a Jnat would be cool...

And I've got a problem...
 
Yes...much as I do love assembling a new variety of tools for a new skill, spending a thousand dollars or more on a progression of stones is out of the question for now.

50 bucks in lapping films and a piece of half inch glass, 15 bucks in balsa and 30 bucks in diamond pastes is literally pocket money...

That said...I really want one of Natural Whetstones ancient ocean jasper bench stones...I WILL have one someday!!!

And a translucent Arkansas would be nice...

And maybe a coticule...

And a Jnat would be cool...

And I've got a problem...

Nothing wrong with whatever you decide. But you should know that several people here also part with various stones from time to time on the Marketplace. Not every Natural stone is going to set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars. My first JNAT was sold right here years ago for a pittance. The Gentleman parted with it as a way to help me get started on my personal path.

Take your time and learn this your way and don't be swayed to sit in any one pew of anyone else's "honing church" here and that includes the one I attend. Try different ways as they present themselves to you and to your budget.

In the end, you are honing for yourself and for your face. Let that thought sink in and permeate as you begin your journey here.

Good luck.
 
Congrats @Derwent! As your edges get better your shaves will get better along with them. Same goes for your technique: even with a good edge my first SR shave was on the tuggy side. That was all user and nothing to do with the tools.

Someone here said that after 100 SR shaves you’ll feel like an expert, and after 200 you’ll know how little you knew at 100. Enjoy the journey.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
I think that the main enjoyments in SR shaving are that you will always be improving; honing, stropping and shaving. As I approach my 1,000th SR shave, I am still improving and enjoying every part of this adventure.
 
Congratulations on your first edge, it usually takes a few tries to make it work, takes a bit more experience to do it efficiently and consistently.

I started with a 3k/8k combo King stone that I had for sharpening kitchen knives, and a DIY leather paddle strop pasted with CrOx. Got my edges to state that I could comfortably shave with them.

I later upgraded to a 12k Naniwa, and got into the diamond pasted balsa from there on. Never spent big money on stones, kept the money for the razors.

From what you describe, you have a bevel setter and a finisher, and are setting up your balsa strops. Maybe consider a cheap 3k/8k stone for the intermediate work, you can find them on Amazon for around £20. They are not great, but they will get you there.
 
Congratulations on your first edge, it usually takes a few tries to make it work, takes a bit more experience to do it efficiently and consistently.

I started with a 3k/8k combo King stone that I had for sharpening kitchen knives, and a DIY leather paddle strop pasted with CrOx. Got my edges to state that I could comfortably shave with them.

I later upgraded to a 12k Naniwa, and got into the diamond pasted balsa from there on. Never spent big money on stones, kept the money for the razors.

From what you describe, you have a bevel setter and a finisher, and are setting up your balsa strops. Maybe consider a cheap 3k/8k stone for the intermediate work, you can find them on Amazon for around £20. They are not great, but they will get you there.
The finisher is the only stone I ever saw my father use on his razor.
Sadly before I inherited it, the cedar box was lost and the end of the stone broken off...it is effectively a 2" x 4" stone now.

I will definitely need an intermediate... there are several more cheap vintage straights on their way to me that will need new edges...

For most of my knife work I use a Tormek wet stone grinder with knife jig and finish on the leather wheel with Veritas CrOx stick...but I also have the previous mentioned stones and a couple of the cheap combo SiC stones.
I can generally get a nice edge on most things quite easily.
 

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The finisher is the only stone I ever saw my father use on his razor.
Yeah, once you get your edge to the stage when you can comfortably shave with it, it just needs a refresh on a finisher every once in a while. Many shavers do it that way.

I only use stones once, after that it's just the diamond pasted balsa strops, usually only the.1 micron for 50 laps after each shave. You can maintain your edge indefinitely doing it that way.
 
Maybe consider a cheap 3k/8k stone for the intermediate work, you can find them on Amazon for around £20.
I'd caution against that. I got one early on and revisited it recently. The 3k side is actually not bad but the scratches look a lot closer to 1k to me. The 8k side is almost useless. Kicks up a lot of mud and occasionally lets loose a random coarser particle that will destroy an edge. Now, maybe they're not all like that but you get what you pay for.
 
I'd caution against that. I got one early on and revisited it recently. The 3k side is actually not bad but the scratches look a lot closer to 1k to me. The 8k side is almost useless. Kicks up a lot of mud and occasionally lets loose a random coarser particle that will destroy an edge. Now, maybe they're not all like that but you get what you pay for.
What you describe is also my experience, a 3k side that feels coarser than a Naniwa 3k and a 8k side that is quite soft and requires constant rinsing, but it cuts. Its the first time I heard about random particles, and I take your word for it, but I used one for a long time without issues.

The stone snobs don't even want to talk about these stones, and I agree the performance don't match a stone five times it's price, but that doesn't mean they are useless. If you are on a budget, it's better to have something that requires more work, rather than to go without it. I tried film, I didn't like it, but each to his own.
 
Its the first time I heard about random particles, and I take your word for it, but I used one for a long time without
Mine put some ugly scratches up past the bevel. I had chalked this up to inexperience because I really had no idea what I was doing at the time. But as I said, I pulled it out recently to give it a fair shake and it happened again, felt like gravel under the blade and scarred up the bevel. I decided to end the experiment at that point. Could just be my stone but it's something to watch out for.

The "3k" side gets used on knives sometimes, though.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
I'm a 3k > 8k synthetic bloke also. Never had a problem with random course particles in my Chinese synthetics. Must be just luck of the draw.

I hone a lot of SRs so my normal progression is:

400 grit if needed for heavy lifting​
1k whetstone for rough bevel set​
3k whetstone for final bevel set​
8k whetstone for refining​
5μm film if needed (rarely)​
3μm film​
1μm film​
0.5μm balsa​
0.25μm balsa​
0.1μm balsa​
0.1μm balsa hanging​
Total setup cost was about USD 100.

I have just today received a monster Cnat (my first) stone rated at about 12k and am going to see what that is like to shave off.
 
@Derwent I have previously posted that in my opinion, it is better to stick with one honing method, be that films, synthetic or natural stones until you can consistently achieve good edges using that medium. Only then experiment with other methods.

My reason for this is if you can get good edges, and your new honing system doesn't work, or you're unhappy with the edge, you can return to a tried and true system.

Keep at it, you'll get there.
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
@Derwent I have previously posted that in my opinion, it is better to stick with one honing method, be that films, synthetic or natural stones until you can consistently achieve good edges using that medium. Only then experiment with other methods.

My reason for this is if you can get good edges, and your new honing system doesn't work, or you're unhappy with the edge, you can return to a tried and true system.

Keep at it, you'll get there.
You are right. I started with films (the cheapest method) then added pasted balsa strops. To save films, I then started to use Chinese synthetics for bevel setting and initial refining.

Only now after 2½ years and almost 100 SRs honed up, am I venturing into naturals. With my previous experience, it only took me a couple of weeks with two very different SRs to start getting really good shave-ready edges off my natural.
 
I now have a set of films and some diamond pastes (0.5 and 0.25... haven't got 0.1 yet) and after a lot of running around I now have some balsa...

Just need the flat plate to put the film on and glue the balsa to.
Got quoted 30 bucks each for pieces of 20mm arcrylic...think I'll be going with glass instead.

With the stones I have, I've managed to get another razor shaving...it came with a good bevel already, so some work on the finisher got it treetopping very nicely and I got a nice shave off it.

I've also picked up a proper strop so I'm not using an old belt any more...
 

rbscebu

Girls call me Makaluod
I now have a set of films and some diamond pastes (0.5 and 0.25... haven't got 0.1 yet) and after a lot of running around I now have some balsa...

Just need the flat plate to put the film on and glue the balsa to.
Got quoted 30 bucks each for pieces of 20mm arcrylic...think I'll be going with glass instead.

With the stones I have, I've managed to get another razor shaving...it came with a good bevel already, so some work on the finisher got it treetopping very nicely and I got a nice shave off it.

I've also picked up a proper strop so I'm not using an old belt any more...
The substrate for the balsa doesn't have to be too flat, just stiff. I use floor tile cut to size and balsa or PVC foam under the tile to make up the thickness.

For the films, I again used tile with balsa under and glued some 6mm thick acrylic from eBay onto the upper surface. It's all in Annex II & III of the instructions, even where to source the 0.1μm in AU.
 
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