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Thread: Strop and paste vs. hone

  1. #11
    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    There is so often a trade off. The higher the grit you hone to, the more fragile your edge becomes, and does not last as long. I went quite some time with a Norton 8K edge. Also not all of the hones feel the same on my skin. I have a 13K Sigma II that is so uncomfortable that I never use it. I try to stay 12K or less and work more at getting each grit perfectly refined before moving up. We all however are looking for our own experience. As far as paste experience goes, I got a lovely shave from pure cerium oxide. Chromium oxide, CBN spays, lapping film not so much.
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  3. #12
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    I have experimented for about 5 years. Here’s what I have found.

    I had mentor Euclid440 show me how to hone about 5 years ago. Thanks, dude! I think I’m pretty good at honing. I can pretty much shave right off the 8k stone. Stropping helps a lot. Can I shave off the 8k? Yes, pretty much. About 95% of my face takes it just fine. But…it’s the small 5% of my neck that rebels with razor burn.

    This is my neck, so I can pretty much shave up or down. I can also go up or down with slight angles. But I cannot shave sideways because…it’s my neck. I have experimented with pressure, angle, pre-shave oils and gels, different shaving creams. Post shave, I use a moist alum block and George Trumper’s skin food. The result is, that 5% always has slight red razor burn. It’s not terrible, but even that slight bothers me a little. I’d like to eliminate it if I can.

    After about 2 years of this, I invested in a Naniwa 12k as a finishing stone. This was 3 years ago. Does that make a difference? YES! It’s a smoother shave. 95% of my face doesn't care either way. I do notice subtle differences that I can’t really put into words. But that 5% of my neck really notices the difference between 8k or 12k. Did the razor burn go away? No, not completely. But it is much reduced. Stropping more certainly helps.

    I have determined that 5% of my neck is like a bell weather alarm. If the red razor burn is worse, it’s time for a 12k touch up with some stropping. The rest of my face is fine, but if that 5% flares up, do a 12k touch up. I am wondering if paste stropping may improve that, maybe completely take away the burn on the small 5% as well.

    I have determined after 5 years that my shaving technique, the pre-shave ritual, is all OK. The variable I have not played with is honing/stropping higher than 12k. Which most guys don’t need, but many desire. For many different reasons.

    I have some white TI paste (anyone know the micron/grit on that?) I got from AOS with my only new SR purchase, with an AOS strop. I hate that AOS strop, it is so narrow. I use the paste I have on that, but the paste is clumpy. After a 12k touch up, I can tell a difference if I do a naked strop or a pasted strop followed by a naked strop. It is subtle, but I can tell the difference. I have a SRD 3” wide leather strop that I love and that will always be paste free naked.

    My options to go above 12k are a Shapton 30k glass ($$$$) or playing with paste ($). Other guys seem to suggest that those two things are similar, which was the point of my post. With the affordable option of paste, the biggest variable seems to be how pure the paste is, and the media you use for the paste. Since you can’t really remove the paste from a leather strop, some guys use more than one paste with more than one leather strop, keeping one bare for regular stropping, naked no paste. With paste, you can also use balsa wood, newspaper, or fabric strops.

    So, I’ll play with paste on balsa, and maybe newspaper. I may skip the AOS pasted strop and play with other variables only. If it makes no difference, I may wait longer and try the 30k glass. But if it makes a difference, then I’ll play around with media.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever gotten to the too sharp discomfort. I believe the minor razor burn, only on the 5% of my neck, is the not sharp enough discomfort. So, I’ll try paste, and media other than that crappy little AOS strop.

    Or, as hinted, it may be less of a sharpness, but more of a keenness or smoothness subtlety. OK, whatever. I’m willing to experiment a bit.

    Again, most of my face is fine. It’s that 5% that gets the razor burn. I believe that 5% is the most sensitive part that I shave, so I’m trying to satisfy the ‟elite” part of my face, while all the rest is OK. I’ve played with all the variables, and the sharper the blade the better. Now it’s time to go beyond that Naniwa 12k and see if paste makes it better with a slightly smoother shave, and take that minor razor burn away.

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    Before I got here I shaved off an 8K stone and a pasted paddle strop. Every 5 or 10 shaves that 5% neck would protest and I would do a few laps on the pasted strop and that was it. Probably got 50 shaves or so on that razor before I went crazy and joined yall here.
    If you're wondering I'm probably being sarcastic.

  5. #14
    Senior Member TristanLudlow's Avatar
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    What you're describing is pretty much what synthetics just seem to do to my face.
    They cannot, in any way, replace a natural finishing stone.

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    Senior Member Skorpio58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TristanLudlow View Post
    But what matters most is skin feel for me and only one natural does it for me and that's a Blue Belgian whetstone, but it's not for everyone. My Escher and Coticules don't do what a BBW does for me, a 20K synthetic is a really fantastic finisher in all honesty as well. But a BBW gives something extra the others don't of keenness and skin friendliness (not even the Coticules do it for me). But now we are splitting hairs and are in a highly subjective and personal territory.
    Not the first one who talks in such a way about BBW... and this thing intrigues me.

    Do you have a vintage or an actual one? How do you use it as a finisher? Thanks!
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    Yes, that seems to throw a new variable into the mix. BBW or a coticule is a possibility as well.

    But, as previously stated, the only way to know is to try all variables.

    Hm.

    Paste is still definitely cheaper than a new stone, whether that is a 30k glass or a natural. I'll try that first.

    But must admit the elusive Escher or a BBW is a curiosity...

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  9. #17
    Senior Member TristanLudlow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skorpio58 View Post
    Not the first one who talks in such a way about BBW... and this thing intrigues me.

    Do you have a vintage or an actual one? How do you use it as a finisher? Thanks!
    I have many, vintage, new, they all do the same job for me with small nuances. They all deliver.

    I mostly use natural combos and I use them dry. I've tried everything from slurry to water to oil and lather. [The edge are different with these different methods, dry just delivers the best edges for me, otherwise they're just not as keen.]
    It's all personal preference, but dry honing, as was rarely suggested at the time, works wonders for my edge, ymmv.
    After you use them dry for a while, they only become better. The skin feel for me is unrivaled. Not everyone likes 'em and I'm not saying they're gonna work for you; but for me it ended my search for stones. (I have a La Veinette, a La Grise, La Nouvelle Veine, La Petite Blanche, etc. they all work, no need to chase an expensive vein, all my vintage ones work just as well)

    I'm not telling you to try a BBW, but going to naturals might be an interesting idea.
    Especially if after years of honing and shaving you still feel you're missing out on something.
    Some friends might try finishing some razors on different naturals for you, might be a cost efficient way to see what you like and dislike.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    Paste is still definitely cheaper than a new stone
    That is indeed a good idea, natural stones is a slippery slope. It can take a lot of time and many stones before you find what really suits you well.
    Last edited by TristanLudlow; 02-23-2021 at 08:12 PM.
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  11. #18
    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    The 30k Shapton is a waste on many razors as they can't hold that edge, I rarely use it unless I am honing a NY made usually Little Valley brand
    A very select few Solingen razors usually made during the Golden Era can take and hold a Shapton 30k

    The Gokyu 20k is a much more forgiving hone at about the same price the actual micron difference is insignificant

    No, a strop and a hone are two different approaches, just because they might be the same Grit size or close, doesn't mean they produce the same edge
    There are also extreme differences between quality with pastes too, all .50~ CrOx is NOT made the same let alone when you go off into other types

    Want more comfort, then look at using slurry on a natural, or at least try it on your 12k Naniwa there is serious "Magic in the Mud" for gaining comfort

    JMO and I am sticking to it
    Last edited by gssixgun; 02-23-2021 at 10:08 PM.
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  13. #19
    Senior Member Skorpio58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TristanLudlow View Post

    I'm not telling you to try a BBW, but going to naturals might be an interesting idea.
    Especially if after years of honing and shaving you still feel you're missing out on something.
    Some friends might try finishing some razors on different naturals for you, might be a cost efficient way to see what you like and dislike.

    That is indeed a good idea, natural stones is a slippery slope. It can take a lot of time and many stones before you find what really suits you well.
    Thanks for the answer (and for a new input: "dry Honing"... wht's that? ) I'll have to check it with a modern (not expensive) BBW .

    I'm already on naturals, maybe because here in Italy, we're not much used to finish on Synth and/or paste. So I followed the mainstream and approached honing using mostly naturals.

    Actually I'm on Jnats and experimenting with Naguras & Tomos just for the joy of learning and see if I can do better... but I'm already quite satisfied with the results of "simple" stones finishing...

    Just published in another thread a microscope image of a blade I honed six months ago (my 3rd or 4th honed razor) with an unknown italian stone... And it shaved well...
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  14. #20
    Senior Member blabbermouth PaulFLUS's Avatar
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    For what it's worth. I have a trouble spot, also as I think many if not most do. It is just under my jawbone near my chin. I got a scar there from a cycling accident and it is very hard to get shaved clean without a cut or rash...with a straight. I can get it with a DE much easier. I don't know if you've tried it with a DE or SE but if you can get it close without rash that way then maybe the problem is just ergonomic. One big challenge shaving yourself with a straight I suspect we all face to some extent is those areas where your hand just won't quite turn that way. It did seem to help me if the edge was better or better put, a marginal edge made it worse. For my spot though I finally found that if I hold the blade upside-down, toe pointing toward my feet and shave toward my chin I can get it with a blade that is even at the near touch up time point.
    Maybe this doesn't apply in your case but I shaved with a straight for years and years before I was able to do that comfortably without cutting the crap out of myself.
    As has been said stones are a hole in the internet that you throw your money into or can be. They are definitely not the same but I think I might chase pastes first if there is uncertainty. For me the magic combination is arks...so far. I am not quite ready to dive down the jnat rabbit hole, or at least my wallet is not. Not that I have ventured down every trail but I have a trans slip stone that makes edges at the end of an ark progression so smooth and comfortable that I feel no need to look further...this week at least.
    Last edited by PaulFLUS; 02-24-2021 at 12:24 AM.
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