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Bevel width


Well-Known Member
I have noticed Bart develops a good size bevel on his DA's. I have an new one I got a guy. I had to rehone it and my bevel seems much thinner. Bart, do you develop a certain size bevel or is it just due to quite a few honings. Reason I ask is I tried to keep the bevel on a wedge I recently honed, as thin as possible because it looks nicer. I found that by taking tape off and the bevel becoming slightly larger, the shave was much smoother. Thats why I'm asking. ? I also noticed your DA's are smooth. My DA passes HHT piece of cake but still could be smoother. Of the two I bought from you, one was honed and one wasn't. Again your bevel was much bigger but i think this gives a smoother shave due to angle of bevel. I redulled your razor and get a good result every time. If you could explain if that is what you aim for or not.

Hi Gary,

Actually bevel width is something that can't be controlled, unless you make the spine thicker with tape. But I only do that with wedges (following the results of the angle calculator) or with some TI's, that seem to have brittle steel when honed untaped.
Other than that, the bevel just takes a shape and width, defined by the grind of the razor. The thinner (more hollow) a grind, the smaller the bevel planes (that's why wedges develop such wide bevels, when honed untaped).
When the bevel on a razor is ready at the end of the slurry stage, the bevel shape is what it is. The Double Arrows of the "Operation True Blue" experiment were "breadknifed" by me to make the edge straight, long time ago. At that time, I wasn't as confident with honing smiling edges, hence to rule out variations, I removed the smiles. As a result, the edge now lives in a slightly thicker part of the blade (almost all razors have a slightly thicker ridge, a few mm from the edge.)
I don't think the actual bevel width has anything to do with how smooth an edge can be. Yet is is a fact that, at identical angle, wider bevels are a bit stiffer, which can be perceived by people with sensitive skin as "smoother", because that part of the blade flexes less upon impact with the beard hairs. A blade that flexes on the stubble during ATG, has more tendency to scrape the skin.
On the other hand, smaller bevels respond much better to the hone. That's why Unicot works so well, because the layer of tape isolates a small portion of the edge and sharpens it with ease. Although with Unicot, the flexing tendency does not increase because there's still a bevel behind the secondary one. But because smaller bevels are easier to to sharpen, a lot of people think they are better shavers. Dubl'Duck is a very good example of that. While a wider bevel can be a bit more challenging to get the desired keenness, they can shave equally well, but with less flex, when honed properly. Of course, there always remains that unquantifiable difference between razors of different makes, that allow some of them to shave that final bit nicer than others.
On razors such as the Double Arrows the bevel on a new razor is quite thin, because it is sloping relatively rapidly past the ridge. Same goes for most DOVO razors. But after a few honings the bevel will automatically become wider. There's nothing you can do to prevent it (unless using lots of tape, which introduced trouble of its own, as you found out with that wedge you sharpened recently).

We should actually post this conversation in the Cafeteria, because I think it's interesting stuff. (which we did now:) )

Kind regards,