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Thread: Help me adjust my setup

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    Default Help me adjust my setup

    I have a pretty minimalist setup at the moment: Norton 4k/8k combo and a hard green Arkansas. It gets me to a nice shaving sharp, sometimes to that "hair popping sharp" where I can pop hairs without running it along my skin but I find that there's a lot of gap between the 8k and the hard Arkansas. Just wondering if anyone has any input as to what to add/replace.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth outback's Avatar
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    Add a Naniwa 12k. Then you can move to the Ark, if you choose to.
    Mike

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    Alright I'll order that then, thanks.

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    FrankC
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    I would also rec. replacing the 4>8 combo w/ stand-alone 4K & 8K stones, there are many very good stones to choose from & some are very reasonably priced.

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    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FranfC View Post
    I would also rec. replacing the 4>8 combo w/ stand-alone 4K & 8K stones, there are many very good stones to choose from & some are very reasonably priced.
    Disagreed. I've been making razors for the last 10 years. I still have my original 4K / 8K. It's still almost as thick as when I bought it and they are absolutely great stones. I really don't see the point of buying 2 new stones to replace the 1 stone he already has which does the exact same thing and which works fabulously. Different stones aren't going to make him a better honer.

    If you REALLY want to get good results, I'd sooner advise to pay attention to the 1K bevel you're setting. If that is good you'll breeze through the 4K 8K steps. My 4K8K is almost as thick as when I bought it, but my 1K norton is down to its last 1/8" of material.
    Til shade is gone, til water is gone, Into the shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath.
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    Home of the Mysterious Symbol CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    A Naniwa 12k or maybe 10k will be the most commonly supplied answer. Those are very easy stones to use, and very consistent. You do have to lap them now and then, of course.

    If you want a cheaper solution, you could get a 1" or 1-1/2" thick, 3" wide, 12" long piece of acrylic from TAP Plastics, and lapping film. You would want two grades, 3µ and 1µ. The 3µ is sort of optional as it is only a little finer than your Norton 8k. OTOH you could also get 9µ film and dispense with the Norton combo. The one that is essential in view of what you are looking for is the 1µ film, which is slightly finer than a Naniwa 12k Superstone. You do need to get the right stuff, though. The thick acrylic is thick enough to hold in hand and not have your fingertips in the path of the razor, but still light enough to hold in hand. If you are a bench honer, 1-1/2" will get the honing surface high enough that you don't need a holder. It is very very flat, and virtually unbreakable, doesn't absorb water, doesn't swell or shrink, and doesn't warp unless you put it in your lit oven or something. It lasts forever, doesn't wear because the razor actually never touches it, so don't let sticker shock turn you away. I think it is like $26 or so for the 1-1/2" thick piece.

    Most lapping film noobs get the wrong film. First, you do not want PSA, or sticky back, film. You want plain back. It is held to the very highly polished acrylic by water tension. With plain back you can move the film. You will probably wear the right hand edge more than the rest so after honing several razors you can cut a 1/4" strip of worn film away. PSA leaves residue and you have one chance only, to place it exactly and get all air bubbles etc out from under. Plain back is definitely to be preferred. A lot of stuff out there that is not actual lapping film and is not equal to 3M 261 series, the industry standard. If it says polishing paper, polishing film, lapping paper, finishing film, anything other than LAPPING FILM, it is definitely not what you want. I use the 26M grade film from NanoLapTech. He is a seller and not just a manufacturer. His film is very similar to 3M and it may be just 3M film bought in bulk and resold. He will be happy to sell orders as small as 10 sheets, which is how I buy it. No "BUY" buttons on his site. You have to email him. Still, it is easier than shopping for an honest vendor selling 3M film in small quantities.

    A standard sheet is 8-1/2" x 11" and I cut it into thirds, longwise. Each 1/3 sheet will do between 12 and 20 razors. When I ship to others, I cut a 2-3/4" strip across the top, then cut the rest into thirds lengthwise, so four pieces that will fit into a regular business letter envelope. Honestly, I prefer the full length 1/3 sheet myself.

    Biggest advantage of film is you never have to lap a stone. The acrylic base sets your flatness. The film wears, the acrylic does not. The film is easily replaced. No stone to drop and break. Cheap entry price. Ongoing economics for 1µ grit film are about even with the 12k Naniwa if you don't hone many razors. If you hone a lot, in the long run stones will be cheaper if you don't break them or wear them faster than normal. Film is very precise and consistent. You can up your game by finishing with lather or dish soap solution instead of plain water. You can also go for a softer, gentler edge by applying damp printer paper under the film for the last 6 laps or so. Even more so than with stones, you want to gradually reduce pressure until you finish with the razor barely in contact with the film.

    As for quality of the Nortons, first of all I really do not like combo stones even though they are a cheap way to go. If one swells and shrinks at a different rate than the other side, you can have problems with the stones not maintaining flatness, or splitting apart. This is more noticeable with "mud" stones like the King 1k/6k combo though. Also Norton quality took a nosedive when production moved to Mexico but I recently tried a NEW Norton 1k and found it very good, a fast cutting but slow wearing stone, although the 1k is actually more equal in grit to say a Chosera 600. I have not tried a new 4k or 8k but last time I tried their 4k I was underwhelmed. There were a lot of manufacturing inclusions and the grit density/distribution was not very consistent. The older ones are fine, I understand, and the latest ones are probably also as good. It is too bad they don't make a 12k, actually. Or on the ANSI scale, I should say 14k or 16k stone. I don't know. I kind of like the Naniwa 12k, in that range, but a Norton would no doubt be 2/3 the price and stay flat longer. YMMV.

    Anyway I would say that this is a good time to give lapping film a try. A 1µ film edge is an excellent base to build a natural edge on, even of you don't like shaving off synthetic edges. Me, I like to post finish on a lapped and pasted balsa progression, but that is another topic.

  7. #7
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    Disagreed. I've been making razors for the last 10 years. I still have my original 4K / 8K. It's still almost as thick as when I bought it and they are absolutely great stones. I really don't see the point of buying 2 new stones to replace the 1 stone he already has which does the exact same thing and which works fabulously. Different stones aren't going to make him a better honer.

    If you REALLY want to get good results, I'd sooner advise to pay attention to the 1K bevel you're setting. If that is good you'll breeze through the 4K 8K steps. My 4K8K is almost as thick as when I bought it, but my 1K norton is down to its last 1/8" of material.
    I agree. My Norton 4k/8k combo has done me well for several years. I don’t do as much honing as the pros on this forum, but it’s a good, reliable stone. I added a Shapton Kuromaku 1500 to set bevels, a BBW/coticule or two and a couple of finishing stones (10K +) to play around with and I am well set. I use a DMT plate to lap the stones when needed.

    Honestly, I could get by very nicely with the Shapton 1500, the 4k/8k and the BBW/coticule, but where’s the fun in that?
    STF likes this.
    David
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    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DZEC View Post
    Honestly, I could get by very nicely with the Shapton 1500, the 4k/8k and the BBW/coticule, but where’s the fun in that?
    Idk. I'm still looking for fun when it comes to honing but I find it about as interesting as handsanding, which is to say I do it because I have to but I want to get it over as quickly as possible. My 1K 4K 8K norton setup is fast, dependable, and reproducable.
    Til shade is gone, til water is gone, Into the shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath.
    To spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the Last Day

  9. #9
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    I tend to agree with you Bruno. I don't find it fun either, but I do find it a challenge and my collection has grown since my first stones - the Nortons.

    I use Naniwa SuperStones instead of my Nortons for synths, mostly because I'm not a fan of soaking and I use a 1k Chosera as my bevel setter.

    Using my stones may not be great fun, but collecting them is
    - - Steve

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