Sharing my learn to hone experience
G'day all. I've been quietly beavering away trying to teach myself how to hone, aided greatly by all the information available around the place. A particular thanks to all the gentlemen here who have posted a LOT of information that helps! Time to pay it back, I reckon.
So, for what it's worth, here is a summary of my experience so far.
I started with a shave ready TI from the Invisible Edge in the UK, and a Filly strop from Ruprazor. Got RAD badly and bought a Dovo Prima Klang, a few more shave ready from the BST and then a TI and another Dovo that I honed up myself from Planete Rasoir in Paris. I trawled Ebay and picked up a dozen junkers to fix up and learn on.
Having the shave ready edges to learn how to use a straight was absolutely essential- both for technique, and for knowing what a shave ready edge feels like as a benchmark for later. Absolutely essential, I reckon.
I'm far from a honemeister, but I have just fixed up and shaved with the last of my junkers, so I think I have my honing to a sufficient standard to give me a comfortable shave from both brand new and ebay razors.
1. Hones etc- I have a 250/1000 King waterstone, a BBW, a coticule bout and an Aloxite barber hone. Bought a 30x loupe from Amazon plus an old VCR box I'm using to get the hones up to a comfortable height at my desk.
2. Strops- I have a Filly, a Paladin and a two sided paddle strop with Chromium Oxide (again, from Planete Rasoir)
3. Bevel Setting- I have found that approximately 30 laps on the 1k is fine to set a bevel on a store bought razor. For ebay junkers, after a small number of laps on the 250 grit with the spine taped (if there is any chipping) I use a combination of the coticule slurry method that Bart uses for the unicot method, and further laps on the 1K until the razor looks and feels good. Advice from Bart, Leighton, Ambrose and Rayman elsewhere on the forum was absolutely spot on- as soon as I adopted their methods and made sure the bevel could pop hairs on my arm, my final edges improved incredibly.
4. Initial Polishing- Rinsing the razor and using the BBW with a medium slurry and light pressure for around 50 laps provides a good initial polish.
5. Intermediate Polishing- Refreshing the slurry on the BBW, and doing another 50 or so laps, diluting with a few drops of water every 10 laps using extremely light pressure has the edge popping the light hairs on the inside of my arm. I keep going with the laps until the slurry is diluted- generally around 50-60 laps.
6. Final Polishing- Rinsing the razor again, and using the coticule with just water for 100 laps and extremely light pressure provides an edge which is practically shave ready from the stone. I do the laps in groups of 25, refreshing the water after each group. On completion, I dry the coticule and do another 25 laps dry with just the faintest touch of the razor on the stone.
7. Finishing- 10-15 laps on the crox strop, 25 on the linen and 50 on the Paladin provides an edge which provides a very sharp and comfortable shave.
I wanted to share what I've learned, as I've found that using this method provides a very consistent edge that I have been able to repeat on half a dozen razors now, all in different conditions. Thanks again to everyone who has posted information here and elsewhere. I hate to think how long it would have taken to figure this out by myself.....if I ever would have.
I'm completely stoked to be able to find, fix, hone and shave with almost any straight after only a few months, but the exciting thing is that I'm sure I have barely scratched the surface here, and that I've got so much more to learn!
Please let me know if you have any comments, questions or want to point out any obvious idiocies!
"Mediocrity sh%ts me"
Mark Loane (former Wallaby captain)