You don’t use tape because, just like a lot of bevels are not perfectly even (which is why people use a sharpie to see), neither are spines. You set the bevel without tape so you can wear everything flat, so the whole razor sits flush on the stone.Yes first SR and first effort at honing.
Interesting to see the varying input - "tape is fine", "tape is stupid!", etc. - lol. I understand everyone is giving what they believe to be valid advice to be helpful - it's just interesting how certain dynamics seem to manifest in virtually every pursuit whether it's audio recording, auto mechanics, etc.
Why do I use tape? Because I've seen others use it and get perfectly good results and the notion of grinding away part of a razor that I'm not shaving with (unless necessary to fix a flatness problem as I've seen in videos) bothers me.
By a sharpie test I assume you mean going over the bevel with a Sharpie and seeing where it gets worn away and where it gets left when applied to a stone. It won't happen today but I'll give it a go and post pics. I'm sure I can find videos on YouTube of the procedure.
Thanks and happy new year to all!
Touching up a razor on a finishing hone does almost nothing to wear away a spine. But you need to make sure it is all true and even in the beginning. Once that is done very little hone wear will happen for years, unless you have to repair damage.