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 Post subject: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:16 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 267
Sometimes straight shaving can be infuriating. Honing a razor once you have success should be easy. The angle is built in. The stones are the same. I'm equally aware of pressure. Yet sometimes a razor is perfect off the stones and other times awful.

My 6/8 Geneva has been among my best shavers since I started. Even when I was struggling with others, I always seemed to be able to be damn near perfect with this one. Suddenly I can't get a good shaving edge on it to save my life. Same stones (flattened), same technique yet a razor that now can't get remotely close without many passes.

Looks great under magnification, passes all the tests it should, except the shave. I've tried three times now with equally bad results.

Incredibly frustrating knowing the potential for perfect shaves it has always exhibited. I have no where near this variance sharpening knives, and yet these have the angle held for you. I guess I just need to set it aside for now. Have others (recently honed- same technique) that are great. Damn it.


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:13 pm
Posts: 2988
Location: CT
I am still working on honing many of my SR's. I usually don't SR shave unless I have 2 days off from work, so I get to shave with a SR once every week for 4 weeks and then not again for another 3 weeks due to the work schedule. I got a few good shaves with a G. Wostenholm Pipe but when I saw the edge under magnification, the bevel wasn't fully set. Got the bevel fully set, but it shaves worse? It does get frustrating very quickly!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 267
I haven't shaved with anything but a straight in a year and a half. Have honed dozens of razors. Have had great success with almost all, including a few in very bad shape. What kills me is when I suddenly can't get a close shave with one of my oldest and best. This is the third razor I ever bought, and until a couple weeks ago one of the three best shavers I have encountered.


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:37 pm
Posts: 73
I've had that issue a time or two.... not sure what your process of honing/stropping is or magnification source and don't want to presume anything. When I've checked the problem razor under my scope it appears that the edge metal has fatigued - that's the best description I can muster - almost looks like it could crumble. Sometimes adding one or more layers of tape has helped and changed the geometry sufficiently to solve the problem. If that doesn't work my extreme solution is to do a VERY LIGHT bread knifing stroke (i think some call it joining the edge) on my finest grit stone. I mean like less than the weight of the blade kind of thing. Depending on the issues it might have to be repeated once again - then re-honed. For some reason, that seems to work - gets down to "better" metal. I'm saying that if normal honing isn't working and nothing else is different then that approach has worked for me in the past when nothing else seems to. Obviously only to used with extreme caution. I have a 6/8 Richard Herder that was a fabulous shaver. Then like you've described, it wasn't anymore - very disconcerting. I ended up doing what i've described after trying many other solutions without success and it is back to it's old terrific self. I've also seen a video where someone took the blade to 45 degrees on the stone and very lightly did the same thing - I've never tried that approach. I think the layers of tape thing approaches that sort of a solution although to a lesser obtuse angle. I'm not sure why it works and why normal honing doesn't work in those cases - some metallurgist could probably explain it - maybe there's been some kind of "invisible" damage to the metal near the edge or something.

But maybe you've tried all of that already and I certainly don't want to presume you haven't thought of everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 267
I have not tried that. Do you find this to be a result of over stropping? Maybe that's it, I'm not going below a 1500 grit stone for bevel setting. That may well not remove enough fatigued steel. I've been against taping the spine as I feel it screws with the built in geometry, but that's really not based on much. There's many many razor honers who do it, and I'm certainly no more in the know.

I use a progression of Shapton pro 1500, superstone 3k, arashiyama 6k, imanishi 10k, yaginoshima asagi, and nakayama asagi. I strop on a 30 inch English bridle hanging strop. I refresh on a leather paddle with cromox. I magnify with a 50x loupe and a digital usb 250x when I feel necessary.

I use a modified Lynn Abrams circles followed by x strokes method. I don't do circles after the 6k.

It's yielded very good results. Maybe you're on to something though with being stuck in fatigued steel. Like I said its one of my oldest. Maybe I've just been lingering in the same steel for too long. It looks great but just can't get close. Maybe the steel is giving way. It doesn't look like it after, but it does feel like it.

I may have to try it out. Do you think dropping to a 320 stone might accomplish the same thing? Or lower even?


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:27 pm 

Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:21 pm
Posts: 546
I feel for you. I have the same issues with to razors. One month it will be my best shaver the next it pulls at every whisker. Blame it on the rain or humidity and move on, pick it up in a few weeks and you will be set.

How often are yoi bevel setting? Once its set I dont drop below my 8k for a long time. Maybe too much coarse work?


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Posts: 267
I only set the bevel when touching up at high grits doesnt bring it back. Before a few weeks ago it had probably 60 shaves or more since a bevel set.


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:08 am 

Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:21 pm
Posts: 546
Yea, that is probably what I am hitting before dropping grits too.

I dont ever think I would drop below a 1k for a razor...320 seems overkill. But take that with a grain of salt, I am definitely not a pro.


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:05 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:37 pm
Posts: 73
LB I think you're doing all the right stuff and you have terrific stones - I have some of the very same. I personally doubt it's from over stropping - I assume you're only using CRoX when you feel you need it and on a paddle strop if it doesn't have a lot of give to it, I think it's perfect. I do basically the same honing method and I think that's also fine. I also assume you're lightening your honing pressure as you move up in grit. I do not think it's necessary to go to 320 and in fact if you try the light joining method you may find that you don't need to go very far down in grit. My process with that is: If I just see in the scope what looks like some fatiguing I very lightly run the edge once on the 16k SG then maybe to a 2k or 4k to bring the V back into shape. I recheck and if it seems like I've met the edge of the edge and the bevel looks "refreshed" I simply finish normally. If I don't get that look i'll do one more light joining pass on the 16k then go to the 1k for a full bevel set. In the scope I want to see by the time i'm at 8K or so a very sharply defined edge. If I'm being fanatical right before i go to whatever finisher i'm choosing to use, I'll do one very light joining pass again on the 16k, then on to the finisher. I guess what i'm trying to say is that you might not have to tackle it as aggressively as you think.

My experience with bevel setting lasting varies a lot. I don't really feel the need to keep track of it but i generally find that a good bevel set and a good finish lasts a long time. One thing i've noticed is that if I don't have a starting consistent scratch pattern that is fairly well gone by the time i'm at 8K, some of the bevel setting scratches can develop into micro chipping - but i don't think that's at all what you're describing. If stropping had somehow fatigued the edge or turned it into more of a U shape, your bevel setting etc. would bring it back.

If you're up to it, post a digital micrograph photo or two from your usb scope before you get started and that might help us see something else.

Based on all of what you wrote and your successes, I don't think you're going to find this too big of a deal to get through. If you'd never been able to get a decent edge that would be a different thing but clearly that's not the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Inconsistency
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:11 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:37 pm
Posts: 73
Sorry, I meant to add something about taping. You can do some experimenting with it and discover for yourself whether you like it or not. For wedges and near wedges, it's an indispensable choice in many cases. One thing you might try on one razor is to tape for the 1k bevel set - then remove the tape for your next stone - 2k 4k whatever. I think you'll find even at a higher grit, the bevel set with tape is gone a lot faster than you might think. I actually horsed around with that if I didn't want to overly scratch the spine on a heavier grit - then took the tape off on my finer stones. I've also tried adding tape on the finishing stone for a kind of micro bevel - actually pretty effective. But this is another subject and probably not relevant to what you're trying to accomplish.


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