I have been trying to master the art of honing for a while, and though I've come up with a nice edge (some tug, irritation during shave, but 10 minutes after it's comfortable and close), I still haven't gotten a really great, smooth, truly sharp blade yet (with no tug and little to no irritation during the shave). I am equipped with a Dovo Ebenholtz 5/8 stainless steel blade, Norton 4/8k and a Chinese 12k. A combination I'm sure you're all used to seeing among those new to straight razor sharpening.
The specific issue at the moment is this:
It's odd, I seem to get better results from the 8k than I do from the 12k. It's almost as though the 12k is dulling the blade rather than refining it. I feel this in the shave. I don't even bother with finger pad/finger nail, arm hair tests... I'm not familiar enough with those sensations to know the difference. So when I try a new variable in my sharpening, I then shave to see if it has worked. If it hasn't, I try something different before the next shave. Progress is a little slow, I suppose. But at least I know what I'm dealing with.
Now, I am aware that some people simply prefer the edge they get off of an 8k stone rather than a 12k, but I don't think I'm one of those people. Here's why. When I shave off the 8k, it doesn't tug and pull as much as when I shave off the 12k, but I can still feel irritation caused by it just not being sharp enough. Whereas when I shave off the 12k, there is a fair bit of tugging and pulling along with it also, of course, not being sharp enough.
This is what leads me to believe there is something wrong with the 12k hone and not necessarily my technique and not me having a preference for an 8k edge.
The only thing I can think of that I have done differently with the Chinese stone versus the Norton is when I flattened it (on wet/dry sandpaper on oven door glass, which I heard is nice and flat/true due to being tempered), I used 320 grit for the bulk of the job, then 1000 grit to finish it. On the 8k I never used the 1000 grit, only 320. And my oven is only about a year old so there's very little likelihood it's warped, right? The stone was really suctioning onto it so that's a good sign.
Can you give me any suggestions as to what might be going on here?
Does your technique differ from the 8k stone to the 12k stone? I tend to be even lighter on the 12k, but any other significant difference?
Should I at least try flattening the 12k on 320 grit just to eliminate that variable? I do have some left.
Thanks very much for any input.