• Beginners' Tips: May 2015

    Everyone that has gotten into straight razor shaving inevitably gets involved with razor honing in one way or another. I see a lot of posts asking which hones are good beginner hones to start with. We have plenty of information on SRP regarding hones suitable for razors, however this information can be difficult to navigate sometimes. Letís review some of the popular choices of hones and avenues that beginners should consider when getting into honing straight razors.
    The majority of new straight razor shavers get their razors from online stores in shave ready condition so at least at the beginning, for a few months, there is no need to worry about edge maintenance other than stropping. Still, there comes a moment when the edge starts to tug a little bit and it needs to be refreshed. Letís talk about what hones will work well in those situations.

    For just maintenance of the edge one can use a single hone, a finishing hone such as the 12k Naniwa Super Stone for example. This synthetic hone works very well with all steels, it is fairly fast for a finisher and only a few passes will bring the edge back to shave ready.

    12k Super Stone

    We know all too well that once we get into the hobby, one razor is just not enough or ten for that matter. Many razors come from antique stores or auction sites, those razors are rarely shave ready, so a new edge has to be put on them. In general for making razors shave-ready one will need a bevel setting hone, two intermediate level hones, a finishing hone, and two strops. There are a variety of options at all those levels, Iíll list the ones that perform the best according to multiple accounts on the forum.

    1. Bevel setting level
    Naniwa Chosera 1k is the king. An alternative would be 1k Super stone or 1k Shapton Glass stone. The 1k Chosera is fast, cuts very uniformly, dishes slowly and is not too thirsty. Those qualities are really what a quality 1k hone should possess.

    Naniwa Chosera 1k

    2. Intermediate level
    Several options are available in this range. Naniwa Super Stone 5k, Shapton Pro 5k, Shapton Glass 4k, Norton 4k. At this level it is really a matter of personal preference which hone to choose. One cannot go wrong with any of them. The 5k Super stone is a very consistent performer, it is fast and easy to use. I alternate that with a Sahpron Pro 5k. The Shapton Pro 5k is similar to the 5k Super Stone in performance; it is fast, very consistent and easy to use.

    3. High intermediate level
    At this level there are again several options all of which will produce very good results and are interchangeable. 8k Norton, 8k Naniwa Super Stone, 8k Shapton Pro, 8k Shapton Glass.

    4. Finishing level
    The Naniwa 12k is touted as the undisputed finishing hone by many. It is a very consistent and fast hone that produces a great edge.

    5. Strops
    After the last hone in the progression, the razor will need a few passes on a pasted strop. The pasted strop can be either a bench strop, or a hanging strop, which kind is a matter of personal preference. After the pasted strop a hanging strop should be used to prepare the edge for the shave. There is a myriad of strops made from all kinds of leather out there. As long as the strop is quality made, the type of leather does not really matter for the edge. The different kinds of leather will feel different during stropping, so which type of leather to choose for oneís strop is another YMMV variable.

    A tutorial how to make a paddle/bench strop can be found here(there are many others posted on the forum):

    The list above is a good reference of what to buy to be able to keep a razor in shave ready condition, or to make a razor shave ready. There are many other hones out there, a lot of them not very expensive and thus attractive for the beginner due to low cost of initial investment. However, if one is serious about honing their own blades, make sure to get a set of proven hones - this will save you money in the long run.

    Finally, there are all kinds of natural hones out there, my advice for those new to honing: Forget about natural hones for the moment. Focus on mastering technique and improving results.
    Jimbo, DoughBoy68, lz6 and 17 others like this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Beginners tips: May 2015 started by mainaman View original post