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Thread: Advice regarding a beginners hone

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    Senior Member spinsheet's Avatar
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    Default Advice regarding a beginners hone

    I have been looking at hone reviews here, on Amazon, and other places and am totally confused. I see some hones that lubricate with oil, some with water (wetstones, slurry), some that need shaping, 250 grit, and I believe 4000 grit. My head is spinning

    What would you guys recommend for a beginner's first hone? I have a few antique store razors that I am playing with and I have one that my barber put into shape for me and I need to keep it that way.

    I actually bought an antique hone at a dealer, it's about 2" wide and about 5 - 6" long. It 'seems' smooth with no irregularities (at least to the untrained novice). Would something like this be sufficient? I have no clue what grit it is. Would I use oil on it, and if so, what kind?

    I'm on a bit of a budget (like everyone) and really have no idea what I should expect price wise. I've seen some hones at over $100 and some as low as $20. Is there really a decent $20 hone out there?

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

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    BF4 gamer commiecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinsheet View Post
    I have been looking at hone reviews here, on Amazon, and other places and am totally confused. I see some hones that lubricate with oil, some with water (wetstones, slurry), some that need shaping, 250 grit, and I believe 4000 grit. My head is spinning

    What would you guys recommend for a beginner's first hone? I have a few antique store razors that I am playing with and I have one that my barber put into shape for me and I need to keep it that way.

    I actually bought an antique hone at a dealer, it's about 2" wide and about 5 - 6" long. It 'seems' smooth with no irregularities (at least to the untrained novice). Would something like this be sufficient? I have no clue what grit it is. Would I use oil on it, and if so, what kind?

    I'm on a bit of a budget (like everyone) and really have no idea what I should expect price wise. I've seen some hones at over $100 and some as low as $20. Is there really a decent $20 hone out there?

    Any suggestions are appreciated.
    Read the wiki extensively. Here are two articles to read in particular:
    Beginner's Guide to Honing - Straight Razor Place Wiki
    What hone(s) do I need? - Straight Razor Place Wiki

    Really it comes down to what you want to do right now. Do you have a razor that you can shave with and just want to refresh it should it start pulling? Then you can probably get away with one hone (say a barber's hone) or pasted fabric.

    If you're looking to take a dull razor to shave-ready then you'll need either a set of stones, or a few very versatile natural stones.

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    Senior Member spinsheet's Avatar
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    I see that there are four grit ranges that are advised: 1k; 4k; 8k; and 10k. Is there a recommended starter set that includes those four ranges? What kind of price would I be looking to pay for those? Is the 10k a 'must have'? It seemed as if that one was optional.

    I looked on Amazon and there were some starter kits (Norton) but they seemed more suited toward woodworking tools.

    I also saw this, Norton 24336 Japanese-Style Combination Waterstone 4000/8000 Grit. but that only had the two grits, would that suffice for a bit?

    I see that I have quite a bit of research to do here...

    Thanks

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    The Norton kit with the 220/1000, 4000/8000 and flattening stone is a good buy. At one time that was the go to razor hone for newbies and honemeisters alike. Post a photo of the antique hone you have and maybe someone can tell you what it is.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    I'm fairly new to the world of straight razors so I don't want to sound like I know a lot and all I can offer you is what I have learned or am in the process of learning

    Ideally, the Norton kit JimmyHAD mentioned is what you need and will last you a lifetime but is pricey. Again, I'm fairly new to honing razors but have had great success with the Norton set. To answer you're question about slurry, I've bought quite a few vintage razors that were dull as all get out and I haven't used any. However, I did buy a tube of diamond paste and put it on the back side of the linen strop and it seems to have helped a lot for giving me that little extra OOMPH on the edge.

    Since you are on a tight budget, there are several options I can suggest. To start with, a well honed razor that is properly maintained, should last you a good several months without honing. I honed the razor I'm using right now at least a month ago, used the diamond paste right after honing and it is still shaving perfect (I only used the diamond paste the one time). I'm still experimenting with the diamond paste but I hear you can keep and edge for a much longer time with it by stropping with it about once every month or so. It seems I've read where about every 3 months you may need to hone but I'm not sure if this is with or without using the diamond paste. I have yet to use a razor long enought to find out. When I said using the diamond paste on the back side of the linen, I think most strops you can usually take the strop apart at the top and flip over the linen. For honing just to replentish the edge, the 4/8K should work and costs somewhere around $70.00. If you should need more than that and since you said your barber did it for you, would he/she be willing to do that for you every so often if needed? When I bought my set of Norton's, I was debating weather to get just the 4/8k or the set because I didn't want to spend that much. Needless to say, I got the set and since I've been picking up other razors I have had to use the 220/1000 stone. Another option is, you can send your razor in to SRD (Lynn, the founder of SRP) and he can hone it for $20.00 whenever you need it done.

    By the way, the flattening stone in the set of Norton's is used for flattening the 220/1000 or 4000/8000 stones. I'm not sure if you've ever seen it before but after you use a water stone for quite a while, it will become concave in the middle and needs to be flattened back out.

    Well, now that I've written a short story..LOL!...I hope some of this helps you in whatever decisions you make. Welcome to SRP and happy shaving!
    Last edited by kcarlisle; 02-23-2010 at 05:39 AM.

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    Senior Member dancraig's Avatar
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    For beginner on tight budget consider two sided barber hone like Keen Kutter Kombination. They come up on ebay regularly. Usually go for $20-$35. You are getting two hones, one for sharpening and one for finishing/polishing.
    If you don't mind doing a couple hundred careful laps (takes a few minutes) on the sharpening side, you can tackle most any honing job.

    Please don't get me wrong, having a nice set of hones is very desirable and fine. And not at all expensive. But you can do a good job without all that if you are willing to do the work.
    Last edited by dancraig; 02-23-2010 at 08:35 AM.
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    With hones, i believe its better to get a good hone, rather a cheap hone. The Naniwa waterstones are used by lots of people, and everyone loves them. The Shapton glass stones are also very good (harder than the Naniwa stones) and everyone loves those too, but more expensive. The norton 4k/8k is also an excellent buy!

    You dont need a massive set of hones to start off with, you must first figure out what you want to do. If you are just touching up razors, a 4k and 8k are good, then you will need a finishing hone, a 12k is good. SRD (Straight Razor Designs) sells a set of Naniwa superstones, 5k, 8k and 12k for 174USD, and that will be a very good starting plane. Then down the track you might look at purchasing a japanese natural stone to finish it at a higher grit.

    If you want to restore razors, you will need a 1k and maybe a 200 as well as a progression up to a finishing stone. Then as you get more experience and as you learn, you will find youll need certain grits, and you can buy them, but i wouldnt recomend getting a big set to start off with. You can always buy more, but you cant return ones you dont need.

    I personally just brought myself a set of hones (they should come tomorrow or the next day), i want to restore razors and touch them up. I went for the Shapton glass stones because they are harder, so i dont have to lap them as often, as well as a certain member (a honemeister) recommended them to me and explained why. I got the 4k, 8k, 16k 3 pack of the Shapton glass stones, as well as a 1k (all from SRD). This gives me a good range, then as i get honing, ill buy more as i need them.

    But whatever brand you get (Naniwa, Norton, Shapton) you wont go wrong! I would avoid ebay though, unless a honemeister specifically looked at that exact listing, and told you it was a good buy, but if it is a good buy, you can expect lots of competition for it!

    This is just my two cents, im not an expert, but i was in a similar position about 10 days ago.

    If anyone disagrees with me, feel free to say!!! I wont be offended, as i said im not a master or expert, and learning from others is very important, so im open to it
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    Default Update on using the diamond paste

    After my reply to your thread last night, I decided to hit my razor on the pasted side of my strop to see how it would freshen it up and WOW!. Like I had said earlier, it's been a month or so that I've been shaving with it while only stropping (without diamond paste) and did 20 strokes on the pasted side of the strop this morning. I can't beleive what a difference it made. Where I could really tell the difference is at the back of my jaw, under my ear where my beard starts on my neck. This seems to be the most sensitive area of my face where I can really tell what's going on with the razor. Don't get me wrong, It was shaving good yesterday but this morning was way better.

    At this point in my learning curve, I would strongly recomend a tube of the 6 micron diamond paste to help keep your razor maintained for a longer period of time before needing honing. I'm pretty sure the 6 micron is the one I used because it's the brownish color and you can get it from SRD and is fairly inexpensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    This is the newest version of the Wiki article that Commiecat was so nice to link for you I have added much more info to it I hope it helps out...


    Okay. I've updated the Wiki article accordingly. Because in two days's time, nobody will find this thread again. Then I've consolidated the stand-alone article on pastes into this article. Oh yeah, and I've also removed some of the 1st person narrative, corrected some failed attempts at English grammar, and tidied up duplicate pieces of information.

    Here is the result: What hone(s) do I need? - Straight Razor Place Wiki. Personally, I find it quite useful now.

    Hope that helps.

    Regards,

    Robin
    PA to Glen

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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Default Advice Regarding A Beginner's Hone

    My dear Robin:

    Great job with the updates. Thanks.

    Regards,

    Obie

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