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  1. #1
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    Default Will barber hone sharpen?

    I am a newbie and have a 1/2" Henry Sears Queen, Germany, 1865. I got it in an antique shop. It is sharp but won't cut a hanging hair, thus, I can't shave with it. I finally figured out why I can't use to use a straight razor; the darned thing is too dull!

    I have a fine Arkansas white stone. It is a barber's hone and small. Question: Can the straight be sharpened with only a barber's hone? (That and the strop is all I have.) Thanks...

  2. #2
    zib
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    Unfortunately, No. Barber's hones are normally used for keeping an already "Shave Ready" blade keen. Arkansas hones in general aren't really razor hones. They're more for knives. I was a distributor for a time. If you have no experience honing razors, I'd recommend sending it off to one of our Honemeisters. You'll find them listed here:
    Member Services - Straight Razor Place Classifieds
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by zib View Post
    Unfortunately, No. Barber's hones are normally used for keeping an already "Shave Ready" blade keen. Arkansas hones in general aren't really razor hones. They're more for knives. I was a distributor for a time. If you have no experience honing razors, I'd recommend sending it off to one of our Honemeisters. You'll find them listed here:
    Member Services - Straight Razor Place Classifieds
    +1. As zib said, get your razor pro honed and then you will be able to get along for a long time with your barber hone and strop. Just make sure that the hone has been lapped flat before using it.

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    illegitimum non carborundum Utopian's Avatar
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    First, let's work through the semantics...

    Though some Arkansas Stones were used by barbers, I would not consider it to be a barber's hone, in the same manner as I would not call a coticule a barber's hone. Personally, I consider a barber's hone to be a synthetic hone specifically designed to be a fast yet fine cutter.

    You can set a bevel and sharpen a razor with just a barber's hone. I know this because I did it with a Swaty. It will take a long time, and it's good for establishing honing muscle memory, but I really wouldn't recommend doing it because it can take several hours.

    That said, failing the hanging hair test is not necessarily an indication that a razor is not sharp enough to shave.

  5. #5
    Hones & Honing randydance062449's Avatar
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    Just to clarify things a bit....are you referring to the fine white Arkansas stone as a barbers hone? I hope not, they are different animals. A barbers hone is man made and usually 2 x 4 x 1/2 or 2 x 5 x 1/2.

    The fine white arkansas stone, if it is a translucent, may work to maintain an edge that was previously established but I would not like to try creating a bevel with one. My wrist would most likely fall off first.


    Hope this helps,
    Randolph Tuttle, a SRP Mentor for residents of Minnesota & western Wisconsin

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    Senior Member blabbermouth niftyshaving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbtusa View Post
    I am a newbie and have a 1/2" Henry Sears Queen, Germany, 1865. I got it in an antique shop. It is sharp but won't cut a hanging hair, thus, I can't shave with it. I finally figured out why I can't use to use a straight razor; the darned thing is too dull!

    I have a fine Arkansas white stone. It is a barber's hone and small. Question: Can the straight be sharpened with only a barber's hone? (That and the strop is all I have.) Thanks...

    There are a couple of things here that need to be pondered.....

    Hanging hair test is not a shave test, shaving is the only test
    that matters. For example if you oil a blade and put it
    up for tomorrow it will not pass the HHT because of the oil.
    The HHT is a pain in the behind, hair is different if you hold
    a hair one way the HHT may work but hold the other end
    and it will almost never work. To this end if you send your
    razor out the honemaster will surely oil it before shipping.
    This means that it will not pass the HHT.

    In general we also do not strop a professionally honed
    razor for the first and sometimes second shave. The reason
    is that a novice stropping can often dull a well honed and
    stropped blade.

    Barber hones can be difficult. Too many strokes and a
    burr tends to form. When a hone pushes up a burr the
    razor tends to nick and cut and will often fail the HHT.
    Stropping may seem to dull the edge...

    There are some tricks.... The foolproof trick is to
    have a pro hone the razor.

    Another trick is to darken the bevel edge with a black
    magic marker. Let dry for 10 min then audition
    the hone and the razor with two honing strokes and
    examine the edge to see that the hone hones all
    the way to the edge on the entire edge.

    Barber hones vary, honing with lather can calm
    a barber hone making it act as if it was finer.
    Stropping on canvas is the first stop after honing
    on a barber hone.

    If a barber hone is the only hone it is hard to
    set a bevel. With a good bevel maintaining an
    edge for years with simple six stroke honing
    sessions is possible. A good Arkie stone
    can be coaxed to do good things for some
    razors.

    Use light strokes.

    Summary:
    A professional honing solves almost all the unknowns
    and is recommended.

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