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Razors were bought honed with tape - I want to touchup the edge, need to reset bevel?


Hi all

I am planning to get my first sharpening stone (for touchups - but lets see how it goes) in a couple of weeks , a coticule of course!

Of my 4 razors, 2 are vintage razors and both were sharpened using electrical tape. I understand this is probably because they couldn't get a good edge without the extra angle of the tape?

I'd rather not use tape myself.. will I need to therefore reset the bevel? Or can I just do a touchup without tape?

One of the razors isn't that great to shave with (its a nice piece of history though) - however the other (Crown and Sword 6/8") is possibly my favourite one of the 4.. hence my question!



my not wanting to use tape might not be rational - I like the idea of sharpening the steel with a natural stone.. and a layer of sticky plastic in between just doesn't fit that concept :)


Well-Known Member
A question with more than one answer.

The optimal angle for a shaving edge lies between 15 and 20 degrees. If the edge is honed very keenly you might be able to get 21-22 degrees without much decrease of shaving comfort. Below 15 degrees, the edge will easily crumble from stresses during the shave. On brittle steel that might happen even sooner.

Most modern (post 1930's) razors are produced with the angle centering around 17 degrees (on average). A layer of common electrical insulation tape adds about 1 degree to that angle. There an easy method for Coticules, called
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, that relies on the addition of a layer of tape, to create a narrow secondary bevel, to promote easy of sharpening. The resulting increase in angle has no noticeable influence on shaving comfort, nor has it any other intention than the creation of that narrow bevel.

If you don't like to use tape, than you won't be able to do Unicot. There are several
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to get an edge that's just as good. Only, they'll require more expertise and take a bit longer.

On pre 1930's razors (especially wedge-style razors) the angle might be in a much wider range, often below 17 degrees. Wedge, due to their lack of hollowness, have very wide bevel faces. That makes them difficult to sharpen. Many guys think it's just a matter of more patience. But spending extra time on the hone, isn't always a solution. Wide bevel faces tend to meet a lot of suction on a hone's surface, which interferes with the development of ample keenness. You can remedy that with a pasted strop, or with the use of tape because this significantly reduces bevel width on a wedge-style razor.

MarkAU said:
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You must match the bevel angle when performing a touch-up. Upon rehoning, you can reset the bevel angle without tape. It doesn't take much time on a Coticule (when used with slurry).

Kind regards,


Well-Known Member
Nod and agree with everything bart says:thumbup: But also remember that you will be taking material off the spine. This affects the ascthetics of the razor and can, eventually lead to an uneven spine if you aren't great at honing.


Well-Known Member
If it’s a Crown & Sword I am thinking of, it’s a hollow ground (well… somewhat near full hollow) some have 4 digit numbers like the 1166.

If you prefer to have that one honed without tape it should not be too difficult with a Coticule, I would suggest you pre-dull the edge so it won’t shave arm hair, then hone on the Coticule with slurry until it starts cutting arm hair again, then start polishing the edge while diluting the slurry (Dilucot).

If you prefer to protect the spine, then you may at first tape the spine after pre-dulling, then hone on slurry to reset the bevel, and keep replacing the worn out tape until the edge starts to cut arm hair, then continue honing until the hone cuts through the tape for the last time, at that point the bevel is in line with the spine (no double bevel), then remove the remnants of the tape, then without tape, polish the edge by slowly diluting slurry and finish on water… (Dilucot with a twist of tape).


thanks for the replies! some great new information, and also some that fills gaps in my knowledge.

I should probably reconsider my objection to tape.. :blush: I see it has a few benefits.

Yep the Crown & Sword is 6/8" 'extra hollow ground' (ERN 1166). Dulling it and honing it again with no tape would be a good challenge, I think I will try that, although I'll be anxious! thanks for the idea.