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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Honing Success Story

    I would like to tell everybody what a good honing/learning to shave experience I've had. I hope this serves as encouragement to all the new guys out there just learning to hone or thinking of starting. Recently, I decided to start straight razor shaving and honing my own razors. I had done a tremendous amount of prior research on SRP, I had watched the Progressive honing clinic, and watched all of Lynn's DVD. I had the straight razor/honing bug on my mind for a few months and I devoured all the information that I could find.
    I knew that starting out it would be unwise to try to sharpen my first razors. With this in mind I ordered a presharpened Dovo tortoise from Vintage Blades. I also went on the Ebay offensive and came out with about 10 razors in varying condition but all made by well respected brands. During this time, I got in a few shaves with the Dovo. Just to let you guys know my history, I had been DE shaving for a year. On the first attempt I was able to achieve BBS on the cheeks with some irritation. I had a few more shaves with the Dovo until I achieved a pretty comfortable BBS everywhere but the neck, and this was after only three shaves.
    Now to the honing part. After some recommendations from the elders here, I decided to begin my honing journey with the Shapton glass stone lineup. I bought the 2k, 4k, 8k, and 16k as well as a DMT8C for lapping. I was able to lap the stones no problem. Let me just say that I was apprehensive about starting this whole honing process. I expected numerous failure and many attempts until I achieved the desired result. I was especially worried about under/over honing. I had read that most of the time underhoning was more of a problem so I skewed my passes a little high to begin with.
    The first razor I decided to hone was a 7/8 Joseph Rodger that was a little rough around the edges. It is just a hair off of being a full wedge. I knew it would be better to start of with a nice, clean, straight hollow grind, but this razor just called out to me. In retrospect, the fact that it at least had a straight bevel (no smile) probably helped me tremendously. I hit the DMT8C, very easily, for a little while to clean up the chips (maybe 50 strokes). After this I did 100 on the 2K, 40 on the 4k, 40 on the 8k, and 50 on the 16k. The whole time I used absolutely no pressure. After the 16k, the razor felt very sharp so I decided to strop and test shave. I fully expected for this to not end well; I just knew that I had overhoned. To my great delight, I had the closest, most comfortable shave of my life (DE included). It really beat the pants of the professionally honed Dovo. I was stunned.
    I hope some new guys around here read this and gain some confidence. There are alot of things here that flatly state that it you will take hours and hours of practice to get a well honed razor and hundred of tries to get a great shave. I know everyone learns at different rates, and Lord knows that I have only scratched the iceberg, but there is hope. I went from DE shaving to having the shave of my life on an Ebay razor I honed myself in one week, and I believe that with enough prior planning and consideration, others can do this too. I've been tearing through all my new razors to get them sharp. I've now taken three from butter knife to wonderful shavers. I hope this emboldens some of you to take the plunge down a very fulfilling road. I wish you the best of luck.


  2. #2
    Senior Member xChris's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Lt.Arclight's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    New Jerseystan
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    Good Job. It is indeed satisfying. Some find honing a chore,but for me, I find it enjoyable-yet challenging.

    You were fortunate to have started on a razor that didn't present you with any problems. For the most part I've gotten great success with the Shapton Glass hones. There are razors out there, that really frustrate and sooner or later you'll find that there is no "recipe" or standard progression that works with all blades.

    The Shapton's are agressive. The 16K is a great finishing stone for most razors. In my experience, overhoning usually isn't an issue. Had you started with a different razor, such as a Wacker Inox, a Friodur or a Filly- you may have had a different result, since the steel is so hard. That said, I agree that with some planning and consideration honing your own blades is worthwhile.

    Even after all these years though...there are some razors that don't care how much planning you put into the task at hand.These usually leave you frustrated, pulling out your hair, and giving you a good case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

  4. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Thanked: 11042


    Congrats! It is a great feeling when you successfully hone your first one to shave ready. As Lt.Arclight said you will find some tougher to get there then others but you are on the road and the joy is in the journey.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  5. #5
    A Newbie....Forever! zepplin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Nampa, Idaho
    Thanked: 77


    A big congratulations!

    I am glad you started with the Shaptons on glass. This is where most of us eventually end up, me included. So, you've started well!

    A couple of things:

    I wouldn't recommend lapping a razor on the DMT 325, though. This is too coarse a stone for razors, it's not needed. I would use that for lapping my stones exclusively, but only use on very rare blades that are in bad shape. I would get the DMT 1200 for creating bevels. I suspect the razor you started with did not have any issues with the bevel, therefore, you were successful.

    Good luck,


    Last edited by zepplin; 10-11-2008 at 06:11 PM. Reason: Spelling

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