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Thread: Finishing Pastes..0.5, 0.25 or Chromium?

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    Senior Member Tony Miller's Avatar
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    Default Finishing Pastes..0.5, 0.25 or Chromium?

    I get asked this question almost daily...."what pastes should I chose on a 4 side or 2 side paddle". I give my suggestions but am curious as to whether my suggestions hold up in practice for others or if you guys have certian tried and true suggestions that stand out above the others.

    My basic advice on grit size alone (not which material) is:

    3.0 micron:
    A substitute for the 8K side of a Norton. Useful in place of the stone for those who have not been able to master the Norton or choosing not to buy one. Also great if realy refreshing single razor and not wanting to soak the Norton, make the mess etc... Yes, a stone sets a more exact bevel but I am talking substitute here, not equal. An optional size if using pastes.

    1.0 micron:
    Used quite often, again by non-stone users in the normal refreshing process. Great for guys who have a high tolerance for dulling edges and who tend to let an edge slip a bit before refreshing and when the 0.5 just won't bring it back quickly. A must have size if using pastes.

    0.5 micron:
    The "go to" grit. A finishing paste for most. A few swipes every week, a few more if used ever two to three weeks will deliver the final, pre-hanging strop edge. Another must have size if using pastes.

    0.25 micron:
    The "love it or hate it" paste for all who have tried it. For many it provides that needed extra to the edge or else the edge is not sharp enough (they love it). Or, it leaves a harsh face irritating edge for many or a nice shave but it needs refreshing far more often. I suspect people over "hone" with this leaving a slight wire edge that both irritates delicate skin and breaks down quickly requiring frequent trips back to the paddle. An optional size for one using pastes.

    Diamond:
    (In any grit size) This is a fast cutting medium with sharp edged crystals. It will cut any razor steel quickly but for some leaves a slightly harsh edge even at the 0.5 micron level.

    Chromium:
    A bit slower, maybe not quite as long lived cutting ability but with its rounded crystal shape leaves a very face friendly edge for most. Typically not available in any but 0.5 micron and as messy as fireplace soot but really a nice paste for finishing.

    Others:
    As for the old time pastes, well I have not used any enough to comment. Dovo, Jemico, etc... all have traditional pastes that worked for our fathers and grand fathers for years. Red, Black, green ,etc... slow, maybe a bit coarse but they did the job.

    Now many will say hones give the ultimate edge and I do agree.... for those who can use them well. Not everyone masters stones, not everyone wants to. For many (even me) choose to use pastes 90% of the time and either hone occasionally or send our razor out. Many use both. The initial bevel is set with stones and pastes are used to keep that edge going for 6 months or a year before a hone is used again.

    So, as this is typically a question asked by beginners, I didn't really want to get into the realm of high priced finishing hones. This is for guys starting out or who have shaves under their belt and are looking for the next step in keeping their razor going with pastes or with pastes and hones.

    I am curious to know what pastes you use..... do you use them exclusively or do you use them along with a hone and which ones work for you and which do not.

    Thanks,
    Tony
    Last edited by Tony Miller; 10-18-2008 at 04:24 PM.
    JBHoren and timebomb like this.
    The Heirloom Razor Strop Company / The Well Shaved Gentleman

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    Default Thanks

    Tony,

    Thanks for the help you have given many of us and your great products!!!!!

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    Senior Member Ditch Doc's Avatar
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    I use the green stuff on balsa exclusively. Anything more and it goes to the hone.

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    JAS eTea, LLC netsurfr's Avatar
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    When I first started using diamond paste, I had a tendency to overhone creating a slight wire edge. I compensated by doing a final polish with CrO. Since those early days, I have learned to use my diamond pastes down to 0.25 micron more effectively. However, I often do a final polish on newspaper after using 0.25 to get a really superb edge. Newspaper tends to be the equivalent of about 0.1 micron in terms of a finishing medium.

    Having said all of that, I have a strop that has CrO on it and I find it much more convenient that pulling out my pasted paddles. So, for general maintenance, a razor usually gets refreshed on the CrO strop until it needs to go back to the yellow coticule stone for a more intense refresh than can be accomplished on a CrO strop. Granted this stone is still a polishing medium but I find I can use it for a very long time before having to go back to a more coarse hone.
    Last edited by netsurfr; 10-18-2008 at 07:30 PM.

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    Junior Member Yoda's Avatar
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    I have one of your four sided paddle strops with diamond pastes. Is it OK to replace the .5 diamond paste with chromium oxide? Or should I stick with the diamond paste?

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    Smile Welcome, Yoda

    Good to see you could finally make it , Master.

    I'd just go ahead and change pastes after cleaning the leather. What's best to clean the leather? Rubbing alcohol would probably work, but I'd condition a little after that with mink oil. I don't mean to speak on Tony's behalf, I'll bet he's got some excellent advice, but I wanted to say hi.

    X

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    Senior Member Tony Miller's Avatar
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    To clean the surface I would just scrub it good with a clean rag until no more paste or color comes off on the rag. Apply the chromium and all will be fine.

    I would avoid alcohol on any paddle strops. I use an industrial contact cement on mine but know that alcohol can soften it if applied to heavily. This is exactly why I did not release my diamond sprays. if applied lightly and left to dry a few hours between each application all is fine. I worried most guys would not check the instructions, lay it on wet and wonder why the leather is lifting at the edges <g>. They say there is nothing worse than an idea when it is the only one you have. Luckily I let me in house product tester (my wife) try it and she suggested what is the worst thing a customer could do to a paddle with this spray. We tried the 'worst" 9not reading instructions) and decided this is a road we prefer not to go down. Paste will be just fine, not sprays.

    Tony
    The Heirloom Razor Strop Company / The Well Shaved Gentleman

    https://heirloomrazorstrop.com/

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    Just one more lap... FloorPizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Miller View Post
    To clean the surface I would just scrub it good with a clean rag until no more paste or color comes off on the rag. Apply the chromium and all will be fine.

    I would avoid alcohol on any paddle strops. I use an industrial contact cement on mine but know that alcohol can soften it if applied to heavily. This is exactly why I did not release my diamond sprays. if applied lightly and left to dry a few hours between each application all is fine. I worried most guys would not check the instructions, lay it on wet and wonder why the leather is lifting at the edges <g>. They say there is nothing worse than an idea when it is the only one you have. Luckily I let me in house product tester (my wife) try it and she suggested what is the worst thing a customer could do to a paddle with this spray. We tried the 'worst" 9not reading instructions) and decided this is a road we prefer not to go down. Paste will be just fine, not sprays.

    Tony
    Am I the only one that *really* wants a spray now??

    Great information, Tony, thank you very much. You'll be selling me an apprentice strop and a four sided paddle strop with pastes as soon as SWMBO releases the funds.

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    yeehaw. Ben325e's Avatar
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    check japaneseknifesharpening.com for diamond sprays, and liquid chromium oxide.


    BTW, the spray is .25 diamond.

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    A_S
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    Excellent and informative guide, has given me a new incentive to try .25 diamond paste again.
    BTW you can get a 1 micron chrome oxide from here Polishing Suspensions - Extec®
    Kind regards,
    Alex

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