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TOPIC: Straight razor

Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14607

  • Bobg
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A guy saw me sharpening knives last Saturday and asked if I could do a straight razor. Sure I said with all the confidence I could fake at the moment. I never honed a straight razor and might never hone one again. He's supposed to show up with this antique razor on Saturday.

He wants to use this razor to shave body parts to get them ready to tattoo. He says he's also a prep cook and could I also do his collection of knives.

The knives are no problem, but I'd like some direction in doing this razor. I've watched hours of video's and almost decided to pass on it. It doesn't make sense to invest 100's of dollars to do one razor. What I do have is my WE pro II with it's 1000 grit, & both of the ceramic paddles. Can I use them on a straight razor or not? He said he paid over 400.00 for this razor and I'd sure like to not screw it up. I do have an old razor here I could practice on, but I'd like to practice using the right tools.

I also watched a video that showed using fiber optic polishing film with water in it's final honing. Any thoughts on that process?
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14608

  • HaakonAaseHeie
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You should be able to do it with the equipment you have, though it is not ideal. I have tried it on some of my razors. If you want to clamp your razor in the WE you should check out Clay's video on how to set it up first. You can also use your stones flat on the table. The razor spine is your angle guide. Depending on the condition of the razor I have sometimes started with the ceramics and sometimes with the 1000# diamond (something that will make the purists cringe:-) It's important to be light handed,especially with hollow grinds. Razors are thin and flexible. After setting the bevel I used the fine and micro fine ceramics and went through the 5, 3.5, 1 and 0.5. I used 100 strokes each side with every strop. I mostly use edge trailing strokes when sharpening razors. It is controversial in the straight razor community, but it works for me.

When shaving after this process the razors are usually just as sharp as you get them with other stones, but a bit hard and harsh on the face. I fixed this by stropping them on leather with Tiers Issard razor paste 20-30 strokes each side.

So that is my experience. If you get to be doing an amount of razors with the WEPS,you should probably consider getting the choseras 800# and up, or maybe the shaptons.
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14610

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Thank You,
I have seen Clay's video and that is why I decided to take on this job.
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14611

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Hi Bob, I also do my straight razors on the Wicked Edge. I don't do anything to clamp the razor in a special way and the WEPS is perfectly capable to sharpen straight razors in this way.

However, you need to be aware that straight razors need a very fine finish in order to not to feel too harsh on the skin. In the straight razor world an 8K finish is generally considered to be the minimum. My 10K Chosera and 15K Shaptons are very good for this :cheer: .

Just the ceramics will give you too coarse a finish. You can further improve the edge by stropping with fine compounds. If so, I'd advise you to use a hard strop, like balsa, and no leather, otherwise you risk rounding the edge.

Success!
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14613

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mark76 wrote:
Hi Bob, I also do my straight razors on the Wicked Edge. I don't do anything to clamp the razor in a special way and the WEPS is perfectly capable to sharpen straight razors in this way.

However, you need to be aware that straight razors need a very fine finish in order to not to feel too harsh on the skin. In the straight razor world an 8K finish is generally considered to be the minimum. My 10K Chosera and 15K Shaptons are very good for this :cheer: .

Just the ceramics will give you too coarse a finish. You can further improve the edge by stropping with fine compounds. If so, I'd advise you to use a hard strop, like balsa, and no leather, otherwise you risk rounding the edge.

Success!

+1

But balsa will still convex your edge slightly... It is very soft (in my experience) and will compress where you are stropping and end up "dishing" the balsa in the middle.

I sharpen straight razors as well on the weps, but it is a much higher learning curve than a knife. The method clay uses in his video only works with the upgraded arms too (fyi), the old arms turned forward will actually change angle partway through the stroke.

I use choseras to do my razors... And then finish on 1um and .125 cbn strops. The 10k choseras are rated at around 2um,so I would think if you have the micro fine ceramics then you should be fine. My finishes produce a nice smooth edge and a close shave.

That being said I wouldn't want to learn on a $400 straight razor! It will need to pass the HHT 3 (minimum) for a decent shave. I've never gotten to HHT 5.

www.coticule.be/hanging-hair-test.html
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14614

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I'll definitely be using this old razor I found in the house when I moved in to practice my light touch.

After some research I found out this old razor I plan to practice on was made by Challenge Razor Works, Bridgeport Conn. and has a Hamburg Ring logo stamped into the scales. When I get the light to reflect off the edge, it is so bad that it looks like I see teeth in the blade. This razor is in serious need of sharpening.

If I can get an edge on this razor, I might attempt to take on this job. I'm very careful about learning just enough to get myself in trouble.

Thanks guys for all your input.
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14615

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#Josh

Still there is something with the ceramics that make the shave somewhat harsher than waterstones from my experience, and that is something that puzzles me. I have managed to get smooth shaves directly from a Norton 8000#, and they are only rated at about 3um. Our WEPS microfines should be way better from looking at the grit chart. The 15k Shaptons are "only" rated at 0.98um...

However, as I said to Bob, The ceramics work fine from my point of view, as long as the razor is sufficiently stropped afterwards.

#Mark

Personally I have never had any problems with convexing from stropping. One of my friends is and old school barber, and he claims that a razor lasts for ages if stropped his way. His recommendation is contrary to what is accepted truth in the S.R. community though. He's stropping hard, applying about 2kg of pressure on the razor against a felt strop. I have tried this method on my daily shaver, an old Eicker&Söhne wedge, and it has actually held up now for 3-4 years without touching a stone. I don't know how it will work over time on a flexible hollow ground though, since I only occasionally use them.
Last Edit: 8 months 4 weeks ago by HaakonAaseHeie.
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14616

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#Bob

Good luck.

I am sure you'll do fine:-)

Let us know about your results..
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14623

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Here's the final results of what I've done so far on my practice razor.

I set up my WE like Clay showed in his video, but for some reason, I had to mount the razor by the curved end, not the tang right behind the razor, but the very end. It worked out.

As I said in an earlier post, this razor's edge looked to have teeth like a hack saw. I wasn't sure how course of a stone I'd need to get the edge dressed to the point of sharpening.

I started with the ceramics just to see what they would take off. that wasn't working well at all. After working my way down to my 400/600 paddles and resetting the arms so I could just see daylight between the stones and the spine, I started to work.

I kept looking at the edge with a light and magnifying glass to watch my progress, and worked my way back up to the ceramics. I could see the teeth had disappeared and a fine polished line from heel to toe had taken their place.

Feeling pretty good about what I did so far, I took the razor out for a better inspection and found a nick still in the edge near the toe and black spots in the edge near the heel. So back in the vice it went for another go round.
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Straight razor 8 months 4 weeks ago #14624

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This is the old razor with no more nicks in the blade and in need of a stropping. I think I'll still hone some more when I get that fiber optic polishing film. It's used with water and finish this off nicely.

It'll take hairs off my arm with little effort, but that's just not good enough.
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