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Wont Shave, both the Straight razors..

Hello, i am new and have nog posted yet. So lets introduce. My name is Jeroen and am 56 years old and live in the Netherlands.
i was bored with Gilette trough away razors so bought myself finally an Shavette. Within two week to others and the latter was a Dovo. Bought brushes tried several soaps and creams. That was in november 2022. In december i bought a Gilette KC in Germany and later-on a Merkur 37c. But i wanted a real straight razor besides a daily DE. So in January this year i bought a Dovo Best Quality. And it shaved far better and with less cuts and niks than de Dovo Shavette. Maybe because of the more flexible blade of the Dovo BQ vs hard Shavette insert blade. I loved it but it was nog shave ready and needed not 3 or 4 passes but more like 6 and some additional passes. So i thought lets get into honing. Watched all the Movies of Jarrod, Dr Matt ant others. And bought a set of stones besides the once i had for my knives. So i do have a 1000, 3000 from Skerper. and Naniwa Super stones in 5000, 8000, 10000 and 12000 grid. And tried honing with tape and after a chat with Jarrod on Youtube without. Becaus although it cuts a tomato like in Dr Matts movies, it makes the sound of shaving, it only takes of dead skin and the soap but the whiskers are there to stay. I thought let buy a better Dovo so i bought an Dovo Envogue No 105 Inox. Being Stainless steel it would take more passes but like the Dovo BQ it does not shave. The edge was not straight a well So i send the Inox Dovo back to Dovo last week. But i started back on the Dovo BQ. start:

Taking of the egde
Straighten the edge on a tile so it is not able to see light cumming underneath
Start on the 1000
Check if it cuts the nail and a tomato
Follow up on the 3000, 5000, 8000, 10000 and the 12000 stones
Go on a leather strop with green paste
Go on a canvas strop with red paste
Go on the strop which is clean and do 100 passes

and then: no hanging hair test possible and all the other tests fail and shaving as well. The procedure tried 3 times. not an improvement. It cuts paper like a Japanese Katana, and i have Japanese kitchen knives and know how to sharpen them at 17 degrees. Have a Lansky set for pocket knives. A set of Arkansas stones for knives on holiday because i hate dull knives in a kitchen and even take a Languiole knive to restaurants. But wihthout the tape these 3 full stropping and honing does not do anything.

The angle cant be wrong as a straight razor has its angle 'build' in. The stones are not professional but as a customer but not professional sharpener a do not need pro stones. i think i have thought of my steps rather good and take time. But both the straight razors do not shave.

After a chat with Dr Matt and Jarrod, via youtube, i think i will buy a carbon steel instead of stainless steel. A Thiers Issard instead of Dovo and a 6/8 instead of 5/8.

My thoughts are that the carbon steel will sharpen easier, the 6/8 is longer therefore lower angle therefore marginal sharper, and i hear less enthusiasm on Dovo on this Forum.

Are my thoughts ok? Are there other things i can change in the honing process? Do i overlook anything or is there something else :)

In the meantime I shave with my Merkur 37C slant razor with Astra blades, E+S Rassage soap or Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream and a Simpson Synthetic brush. But would love to use a good straight razor. Which does not mean that i am willing to pai like 200 euros or more. There must be a solution in either the steps, stones, methods and good razors under 200 euros/dollars.

I hope i have told you enough to help me answering my problem. If not let me know what information you still need. Thanks in Advance

Kind regards



Girls call me Makaluod
Welcome the the gentlemanly art of straight razor shaving.

My initial thoughts.

Straight razors normally do not come truly shave-ready direct from the factory. They need to be honed first to be shave-ready. The best way to do this is to send the razor to a professional honemeister (not a knife sharpener). This list may be of limited use.

@TheBeast my be able to help you. I don't think he is up to honemeister level yet but he does have some good experience.

Forget most of what you know about knife sharpening. They are both rubbing steel on rock but that's about the only thing they both have in common. You will first need to set the blade's bevel. This can be done on a properly prepared 1000 or 3000 grit whetstone. With a properly set bevel, the edge should shave, not comfortably but it should shave. For setting a blade's bevel, here are the instructions.

From there it is a matter of refining the edge to increase it's keenness and comfort for shaving. This is done in stages using finer and finer whetstones up to at least 12000 grit. Some go up to 200000 grit (0.1μm diamond pasted on balsa strops). Using diamond pasted balsa strops is covered here.

Where most knife sharpeners go wrong with straight razor honing is that they use to much pressure on the blade when honing.

Instructions for beginners to shave with a straight razor can be found here.
You already have a razor. Keep learning how to set the bevel on it. Rbscebu gave you some good links.
I never found a huge difference between setting a bevel on a Friodur, stainless, and carbon. No need to be spending money. Use what you already have.
Tape or not tape. In your case I would use tape since you are new.
When you hold the tang, torque the razor so you are twisting it and making the razor edge hit the stone. I was watching a new guy honing on YT and he was just feathering the blade on the stone. It's honing, bevel setting, steel needs to be removed.
Hello, Jeroen. Welcome!

Straighten the edge on a tile so it is not able to see light cumming underneath
I am not sure that's necessary or even recommended. I have definitely never done this. I even think there is some risk to damage the blade.

Start on the 1000
Check if it cuts the nail and a tomato
Follow up on the 3000, 5000, 8000, 10000 and the 12000 stones
If you hone it again, try to do it without putting any pressure on the razor when you are at 3-12k stones. Only its own weight should be enough for now till you understand what was the problem. The stones need to be flattened before using them. After you finished on the 12k stone, do a quick shave test, before you strop on leather. Reason why I am saying this is maybe you rolled the edge during stropping. If it shaves (even if it's not perfect), try to do 10 passes on a clean leather strop. Try to shave again and see if the edge improved or not. Keep increasing stropping strokes and see if you can reach 100 strokes without the edge getting worse. Alternatively, you can use the "tree topping test" to check if the edge is sharp or not, although this test is only an indication and does not 100% mean it will shave well.

Go on a leather strop with green paste
Go on a canvas strop with red paste
Go on the strop which is clean and do 100 passes
A good 12k edge should shave just fine without stropping with paste.

and i hear less enthusiasm on Dovo on this Forum.
Dovo is a good manufacturer, but people complain that their razors are definitely not shave ready from the factory. If you buy a razor from another manufacturer, you might have the same surprise. There is a small chance a razor is shipped with flaws, although this is not limited only to Dovo. I've experienced this with other "bigger" names as well.

Off topic, in which part of the Netherlands are you living?
Welcome @Jeroenvanarkel!

I've been SR shaving and honing for a year, so I've got some experience but not so much that I've forgotten the struggles of learning to hone.

Learn with the razor and stones that you have now, there's no reason to buy anything new. It sounds to me like your bevel is not fully set. This is the most important part of honing and also the hardest to figure out if you've done it or not. I like the thumbnail and tomato test, but be aware that it takes some experience to understand how they should feel. The edge should grip your thumbnail from heel to toe. It should take a good amount of force to pull the razor. For the tomato test, the edge should cut into the tomato at the slightest touch. To me it feels like the edge is "exploding" into the tomato.

Once the bevel is fully set, the rest is easy. You just work your way up through the stones using the same stroke that you used to set the bevel. Progress to the next stone when all the scratches from the previous stone are gone. But if your bevel isn't set, there's no point in moving on. Be honest with yourself about whether your bevel is truly 100% set. If you move on too early you'll just have to come back to your bevel setter at some point and ruin all that work you did. I've done it myself many times.

When you hold the tang, torque the razor so you are twisting it and making the razor edge hit the stone.
This is really important. I was always worried about flexing the blade so I wasn't torquing with enough force. My edges got a lot better when I started honing with more torque. You have to apply the torque (enough but not too much!) while not apply very much pressure to the spine. It can be tricky to find this balance.

I recommend honing with tape since you're starting out.

I would try to find an expert honer in the Netherlands or in Europe to set the bevel and hone your best razor. Then I would buy one or two inexpensive used razors in good condition. In the US, you can buy one on eBay for about 25 USD. And learn to hone on the inexpensive razors.

When I was learning to hone, I put more pressure on the spine than necessary - resulting in unnecessary spine wear. Using one layer of tape helped with this issue.

Pay attention to the fundamentals while shaving. Learn to stretch your skin and use light pressure.

And keep sharing your experience and asking questions!
Some of these Dovo Best Quality razors do have some geometry problems, and can be challenging to hone. The steel is quite easy to hone, and they take a good edge.
Keep learning on the one you have, a TI razor will not be easier.

It might help if you post a picture of the razor.

It is quite easy to compromise the geometry on these razors. The part of the spine before the transition to the tang is usually thicker then the rest of spine. This part have not been on the factory grinding wheel. If this part of the spine sits on the stone you will lift the heel up, and mess up the geometry.
You can avoid this by starting with a heel forward x stroke. This allows the high spot to protrude over the stones edge.

Your blade is also probably warped/bent a little. You need to roll your x strokes differently on each side. On one side you roll upwards, while on the other side (the concave side) you need to roll down, and also work the toe, middle and heel in sections.

Add a layer of tape. If tape is used you can actually introduce a litte torque just by using localized pressure on the spine. This is not good practice with a naked spine.
You don't want to flex the blade.

You have all the equipment you need.
Have tried de method of layers of tape with some pressure on the 1000 and no pressure with 3000, 5000, 8000, 10000 and 12000 looks nice but will see if it actually shaves. Because I can cut armoured steel but not my whiskers😉


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You are honing on the stabilizer, which is keeping the heel half of the razor off the stone.

Razors need heel correction. Both razors have been honed with heavy pressure in an attempt to force the heel on the stone, as a result they both have a tapered toe.

Learn to hone one razor at a time. You have all the stones you need.

Correct the heel, search Heel Correction, and use sharpie ink to ensure the razor is sitting fully on the stone.

Were these razors new?

I want to thank all who have responded. Since my post I have done this. I honed and honed and honed until it finally shave from a 3000 stone and progressed. That is for the DOVO BQ. The DOVO Envogue No105 I have sent back to DOVO in Germany and got it back this morning where they have restored the spine and edge. In the meantime I have bought a DOVO Bismarck Pearle 6/8 because I could not wait🤭 so now I have. 3 SR’s which shave. I have mirror edges on all 3 of them but it took ages on the BQ and am glad DOVO did the INOX steel for me. For now I a happy shaver with 3 DOVO SR’s and a Merkur 37c. I wish you all a great weekend and nice shaves. Tx again

Kind regards Jeroen.
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