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Introduction and slight dilemma

Greetings All,

My name is Victor, and I have been shaving with a straight razor for a few months now. It all started when a man by the name of Bart (You might know him.) generously sent me a razor for free in the mail. To be honest, when I started, I wasn't sure if I would like shaving with a straight, but after using that buttery smooth edge perfected by Bart, I was instantly hooked for life. However, after using this razor for awhile, it began to lose its luster, although at a much slower rate than I had expected. Nevertheless, in order to reproduce these results, I knew that I had only one choice, and it wasn't to bug and pester Bart forever.

After reading everything I could find on B&B and SRP, I decided to buy what I thought was the cheapest, most practical honing rig out there: DMT 1200, DMT 8000, and Chinese 12000. Early on in my search, I had ruled out the Coticule as an expensive finisher stone. If I had only discovered this site sooner...

I now realize that if I had gotten the Coticule, I could have had a single stone to do the job of my three stones. The simplicity would have been overwhelmingly elegant. But instead I'm stuck with this honing progression that I am admittedly having problems on.

Currently, I am contemplating selling my stones to get a coticule, but I would definitely want to do it through this site, so I have a better idea about the properties of the stone before I buy it. While I wait for a good, cheap stone to show up in the vault, I want to continue trying to achieve success on my current progression. Last night, I did laps on the 1200 until it shaved leg hair, 60 laps on the 8000, and then 150 laps on the 12000 with a taped spine. I managed to shave with the resulting edge. (My first shave ever with an edge that I honed myself!) But there was definitely a lot of pull and a bit of irritation. I also couldn't get as close as I normally do.

The problem is probably my technique, but I'm also going to experiment more with my progression to see what I can get out of it. I'm going to try to move up to 100 laps on the 8000 tonight and see what happens. If any of you can offer any suggestions, I'd sure appreciate it.
 

rayman

Well-Known Member
Victor,
Welcome to Coticule.be. You were most fortunate to have your very first razor honed by Master Bart.

The first thing you need to know about the DMT's is to put 1 drop of dish washing soap on them while you are honing. That will help break the surface tension of the water and smooth out the feel of the honing. Also watch how much pressure you use. Those diamonds can cut very easily and reduce the size of the blade quickly. Don't worry about counting before you move on to the 12k chinese stone. You want the edge to cut arm hair easily before you put your final edge on with the 12k. Don't go there until it does. Take your time and be patient. If you need help, let us know, we are here to help.

Ray
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Hi Victor, the man who owns the Talmalin. (I didn't forget:) )
I own a DMT-1200. Used to own a DMT-8K (but hated it) and have never owned a Chinese 12K.

But if I would have to hone with that setup, my first attempt would be resemble what you tried a lot. (tapes spine to do the finishing work. Good thinking.:thumbup:
What you can easily try is to raise the tape to 2 layers and refinish once again. This gives you a whole new shot at additional keenness, if the 12K has still some of that to spare.

I've heard that the 12K is very slow, so maybe you could tickle it a bit by rubbing back and forth once with the DMT1200, or with the slurry stone, if you have one. Use your lightest laps for finishing and make sure that the edges of the Chinese stone are very well rounded.

Keep us posted?

Welcome to Coticule.be,

Bart.
 

Disburden

Well-Known Member
Welcome Victor! I would try doing a lot of laps on the 12K, that stone is slow slow slow. I used to own one a while back and it was super hard but very slow so I only used it for final polishing. Taping the spine seems like a very good idea, if it works on a coticule, why not?
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Welcome Victor, I know sod all about the hones you own, but I do know that the guys here will be more than willing to help you if they can.

Best wishes
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
Since the edge was previously shave ready, it probably only needed a touch-up. Unless the edge degraded so much after those months.

But good advise so far.

Please let us know how this works out.
 

yohannrjm

Well-Known Member
Hello Victor, and welcome to coticule.be.

I have actually used that precise setup (DMT D6E, D8EE and C12K) to hone razors, and have had good results with it.

As has already been stated, the DMT's cut quickly, so you really should use a very light touch when honing. The good thing about them is that they are so fast, and they save a lot of time. Razors honed using the DMT's will pass the HHT easily, because of the toothing of the edge - but that doesn't mean they'll shave comfortably. It can be hard to get rid of the scratch pattern they leave behind.

What I found is that once the bevel is set using the 1200, it helped if I did a few circular strokes with almost no pressure - just to wear down the teeth a bit. It will seem to get duller, but this is only because the teeth are being lost.

Then do only a few strokes on the 8000 (as few as possible), as this leaves very deep scratch marks.

The C12K is a really nice, cheap hone, but it is slow. The speed can be improved if you build a slurry (using a DMT card, for example). Many, many strokes are necessary. You can also get a smaller one (the $20 one) to use as a slurry stone. If you can cut it up, and sell the pieces, you'll wind up breaking even on that purchase.

One trick I found that worked well is to use other rubbing stones on the C12K for initial work (after the DMT's). I used a nagura stone on it, for example. That stone creates a slurry with grit about 6K - it removes the scratches from the DMT very quickly ---- of course, you then have to work at sharpening the edge on the C12K with just water. What worked better was to use a small bit of a hard stone (like an Asagi - I guess they're called honzan) as a slurry stone. The slurry from an Asagi fragment should be of the same grit or higher than the C12K, so the sharpening effect is quick. Also, as the slurry breaks down, it seems the effective grit keeps getting higher and higher (anecdotal evidence, see the Nakayama honing thread on this forum), and so you really quickly get a great edge. The problem will be sourcing the hard slurry stone.

People may scream foul at mixing stones like this, but the C12K seems to be relatively impervious to gathering grit from the slurry stones, so you won't be affecting it. Also, it's cheap enough for these sort of experiments.

Most of my experience has been using the 1200, 8000, C12K progression without these last mentioned tweaks. I was able to get very nice edges --- it just took a lot of time on the C12K. I'd do 200 laps with just water, and shave-test. If it wasn't good, I'd go back to the C12K for another 100 laps ------- and so forth. Eventually, the edge would be insanely sharp, and comfy to use.

I've only honed 3 razors with the hybrid slurry (asagi on C12K). The results were quicker, and good. However, more experimentation may be necessary.
 
Thank you all for the warm welcome, suggestions, encouragement, and support. Honing on the Chinese 12k tonight went something like this:

Shhhlll… shhhlll… 56… shhhlll… shhhlll… 57… shhhlll… SCCHHHZZZ!
Oh crap, what was that sound? That sounded really bad. Did I just drag the razor on the edge of the stone? ...Maybe I lifted the edge early and that was the sound of the spine against the hone… Should I start over on the 1200? Nah, it wasn’t that bad…

***A few minutes later***

Shhhlll… shhhlll… 113… shhhlll… shhhlll… 114… SCCHHHZZZ!
Oh my god, there’s that sound again… This time it was pretty bad… Maybe I should start over… But I’m so close to 150! Actually it wasn’t that bad, I should just continue… Ahhh, who am I kidding?


I’m not sure if this Chinese 12k is a gift or a curse. It’s incredibly hard to accomplish 150+ strokes without a tiny slip of the fingers potentially ruining all my hard work. On the plus side, I’m definitely getting a lot of practice doing my x-stroke.

Yohannrjm – I’m actually really glad that I met someone else who uses this exact same setup. You said that one of the tricks to success was to do as few strokes on the 8000 as possible. How many strokes do you think is a good number?

Bart – I also hate the DMT-8000. It’s too big and heavy to comfortably hold in my hand while honing. I also like a hone narrow enough to necessitate x-strokes. I do x-strokes on the 8000, but it just doesn’t feel right…

Smythe – Actually the razor I am trying to hone right now is not the razor that Bart gave me. Bart’s razor will only be touched once I feel comfortable enough to put a good edge on it. And for the sake of consistency, I want to try to keep it on a coticule and not any other hones.
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
Shhhlll… shhhlll… 56… shhhlll… shhhlll… 57… shhhlll… SCCHHHZZZ!
Oh crap, what was that sound? That sounded really bad. Did I just drag the razor on the edge of the stone? ...Maybe I lifted the edge early and that was the sound of the spine against the hone… Should I start over on the 1200? Nah, it wasn’t that bad…

***A few minutes later***

Shhhlll… shhhlll… 113… shhhlll… shhhlll… 114… SCCHHHZZZ!
Oh my god, there’s that sound again… This time it was pretty bad… Maybe I should start over… But I’m so close to 150! Actually it wasn’t that bad, I should just continue… Ahhh, who am I kidding?

That is a very familiar sound...it was excatly the same thing with my chinese 12K. Didnt like it and now it`s tugged away in the back of a drawer. Maybe my honing skills were to poor..now all I use is a coticule and thats a real pleasure.

regards and welcome
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
That indeed sounds like you were lifting the spine. It absolutely depends on how high you lifted it and how long a stroke you made, to know how much you've set yourself back. Could be anything in between 10 extra strokes on the same hone, and the need to start all over.

I reckon that the Chinese 12K feels like honing on glass? If that's the case, you could try taping the spine (if yo haven't done so already). It'll introduce a bit of draw between the spine and hone, which helps keeping better contact. Slowing down a bit, might help too.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
When I was learning to hone, that c12k gave me all sorts of trouble. Now, I am better! But, I think I must have gotten a bum C12k, I can't get it to pop hairs off the hone. The shave off of it is also sub-par. I finish with 15 norton 8k, 25 coticule, 2 norton, 50 coticule. It works great for me so far.
 
Success! Last night I did 30 laps on the 1200, 20 laps on the 8000, and 200 laps on the 12000. The edge wasn't perfect, and it took a little extra time to get a good shave, but in the end, the result was a clean shave. This is the first edge that I would venture to call shave-ready.

Now that I know I can reach this stage, it's time to experiment and try to achieve the next level of edgy goodness. Thanks for all the help so far, guys.
 
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