Second honing attempt

mikromicke

Active Member
I decided to retry the dilucot yesterday and increased the amount water added to each dilution slightly. After 10 dilutions the razor was still a HHT 0. After 40 x-strokes on water, still a zero and after stropping it barely managed to cut halfway through a hair an the heel and toe. I taped the razor and did another 40 x-strokes on just water and tested the razor again. Still 0. After stropping I managed to get a 4 on most part of the razor except for the dead center.

I'll probably check the flatness of my stone tonight just to make sure that it isn't slightly dished.

I'm a bit surprised that I'm getting a HHT 0 after honing but can come up to a 4 after stropping. That's a big jump. Shouldn't it be possible to get a better edge after honing. I'm well aware of the fact that I can't exactly expect fantastic results after the second honing attempt, but I can ask questions at least :rolleyes:
 

mikromicke

Active Member
That I can ... tonight at least. It's a extra full hollow Western Bros. Yankee shaver and the blade seems pretty straight as far as I can see. Nowhere near the smile I've seen on W&B at least.
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
I'll mention it again. Right off the stone there will be honing debris and a possible micro burr that hides the true keeness of the edge. Make sure you clean and then strop the edge just a few times before performing a sharpness test. The difference before and after just five strokes can be four hht points. Sincerely, Denny
 

BlueDun

Well-Known Member
It is nothing uncommon to find such a significant increase after the strop. I learned that first hand during the coticule weekend. Somebody honed a razor that I would not have considered ready for stropping. With "my" HHT testhair it would not even pass HHT 0. Bart stropped it anyway and it turned into a fine shaver.
Don't aim for a maximum keenness off the hone. There are too man variables in that: The stone, the steel, your stroke... Just make sure that you can at least play violin and then use your fabric strop properly. Of course it gives you a good feeling if you can do a HHT 3 off the hone. However, the shave will be comparable as if you would have started with a HHT 1. In fact, it is the strop that does the step from keen to shave-ready. So don't underestimate the importance of the strop!

Cheers
BlueDun
 

mikromicke

Active Member
DJKELLY said:
I'll mention it again. Right off the stone there will be honing debris and a possible micro burr that hides the true keeness of the edge. Make sure you clean and then strop the edge just a few times before performing a sharpness test. The difference before and after just five strokes can be four hht points. Sincerely, Denny
Thanks, I remember reading that somewhere :blush: I actually did a quick canvas strop before testing it after the dilucote but I didn't do that after the taped stage.

It's really good how this puts focus on how important the stropping is!
 

RicTic

Well-Known Member
BlueDun said:
Just make sure that you can at least play violin and then use your fabric strop properly.
When we talk about using the fabric strop properly, is it a reference to pressure?
I'm having problems getting a decent hht off linen. I usually use light strokes.
Following a conversation with a member here, I was advised to strop on linen with some pressure.
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
The pressure you have to be concerned with while stropping is not just vertical pressure on the blade into the strop, but rather pressure on the edge. I think of it as torque of the edge into the strop around the spine of the razor exerted by the fingers on the tang. You can create tons of pressure on the spine, but no pressure on the edge and get little result. In the same manner, you can crush the edge into the strop with little pressure on the spine. Bottom line is the edge. Feel the same light torque of the edge into the strop with the thumb going away from you and the index finger coming back and experiment to find your optimum. Once achieved, it will become a subconscious skill.

Truly, Denny
 

RicTic

Well-Known Member
Thanks Denny.
It could be just an issue with my linen, but also down to not using the right kind of pressure.
I was about to buy a new fabric strop until I spoke with Gary.
Next time I come off the hone I'll be trying that technique.
Could even save me some money. :thumbup:

Cheers,

David.
 

Woodash

Well-Known Member
DJKELLY said:
I'll mention it again. Right off the stone there will be honing debris and a possible micro burr that hides the true keeness of the edge. Make sure you clean and then strop the edge just a few times before performing a sharpness test. The difference before and after just five strokes can be four hht points. Sincerely, Denny
Pardon me, but...:confused:. Why not just hit it ~50-60 good licks like you were going to shave with it? Denny, are you saying I can't strop to save my life?


(don't answer that...)
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Not sure how to bring this...

Personally, I test the razor straight off the hone. No stropping on anything. I know that if I can manage to pop a clean, fairly thick, hanging hair, held by its tip, at about 10mm (a bit less than 1/2") of the holding point, the blade is ready to be stropped and test shaved. I have settled for wishful thinking dozens of times, not once did I have a shave that met my standards.
On the other hand, I have never went back to the hones, after achieving a good HHT straight off a Coticule. In that respect, I could actually confidently send out razors without test-shaving. But I don't. Call it a matter of courtesy.
Bottom line: I always aim for that HHT-3 before I'm prepared to strop.

Rico spoke about the honing class during the Coticule weekend. My HHT hair source was nowhere to be found at that moment, but the night before I sharpened Stijn's razor, and those present will testify that it did pass the HHT, before I went stropping. Also Rico's razor popped his hairs, but only closer to the holding point and with more fumbling. If I don't take a thick hair of my little box, it won't work for me either after a Dilucot. So you have to find some hair source that works for you.

Now. There is other advice given in this thread, and I am the last one to say that it is the wrong advice. There are many ways to probe if a razor is ready to go to the strop, and if someone uses other markers than I, that doesn't mean his edges aren't good. It only means that I can't offer further advice, because I haven't got a clue where the edge is, if I have to judge it by standards that I don't know.

But I'll tell you all a secret (only discovered it for the purpose of this typing this post): Take a razor that you know passes the HHT well. Confirm it. Put what's left of the hair aside for a while. Take a glass. Run the razor once, edge down with its own weight over the surface of the glass. Confirm that you no longer can shave arm hair with it. Confirm that the hair no longer shows any response. Strop the razor 60 linen/60 leather. Take your HHT hair and test again. Watch that dropping jaw. :rolleyes:

What I'm hoping to illustrate here is threefold:
1. people who say their razors can't pass the HHT after stropping, need to learn how to strop. I know that sounds like a harsh judgment, but I really mean this in the friendliest of ways and with the best possible intent.
2. the HHT post-stropping just serves to find out if you stropped well and to humor yourself. :D
3. if you hope to get the smoothest possible, effortless shave off a Coticule, make sure that you get the blade as keen off the hone as possible. Find a way to measure that keenness (The HHT straight off the hone works well for me) and never settle for anything less than the best you ever got.



mikromicke said:
After 40 x-strokes on water, still a zero and after stropping it barely managed to cut halfway through a hair an the heel and toe. I taped the razor and did another 40 x-strokes on just water and tested the razor again. Still 0.
The part I underlined is what sounds not normal to me. I assume that you've read the
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and that your hair meets the standards of being freshly washed and anything but very thin. If so, then it should have easily popped after you did those 40 laps with a taped spine. A Unicot edge is very good at popping hanging hairs, and not all that critical towards the hair. Hence something is not quite right here, but what?

It could be the bevel. Yes, even if the razor popped hairs after stropping. As long as the bevel is not flattened out, the very edge is not touching the hone, and in a way you are stropping the previous edge you had on that razor. The one that is floating above the surface of the hone while the rest of the bevel still rests on his convex belly.
Of course, if you pre-dulled the razor, and worked on slurry till you could shave arm hair again, (without stropping!) then we know for sure that the bevel faces are straightened out. Without meeting that condition, there's just no way your edge could have gained the keenness to pass the arm hair test.

If you know the bevel is not to blame, then we really must look at your honing stroke, and I strongly recommend to first get Unicot to work. If you can't get Unicot to work, standing on one leg with a stack of Coticules balancing on your head (just a joke to say that it must be a piece of cake), there is no way you'll ever going to get perfect Dilucot results.

Coticule honing is really not that difficult, once a stable honing stroke has been learned. There is nothing particularly difficult in diluting, or in all the other aspects.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

mikromicke

Active Member
Thanks for a great reply, Bart. I did test the bevel after slurry and it cut arm hairs without any problem. I'll test the unicot from start as well and see how it goes.
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Bart, I was going to mention the same thing with the glass dulling stroke and stropping. It is remarkable to reclaim the edge and seems to prove that micro burrs are present.

I have found that the very light stropping I recommend right off the hone is hone specific. Some hones will give a great hht without stropping and others will not. I have long had a problem with Arkansas super fine hones used with knife sharpening in particular. I find that the translucent stones have a lot of draw and I felt like the edge was being pulled underneath or something. I tried every trick I could think of from strokes to pressure and could not get the blade even sharp enough to shave arm hair, though one lap on a ceramic rod would produde decent results. I finally tried a web belt "strop" with just a few strokes only to be amazed at the sharpness. It would pass a hht3 and this is a paring knife.

As far as bevel setting is concerned, I have noticed a distinct improvement of the finsihed edge when I set the bevel with your (Bart) technique of using a DMT-E series 1200 grit plate. I have a lot more on that on the back burner.

I also think it is a function of the steel. I believe harder steel will react better off the hone than softer ones, since I think softer ones will have a micro burr more often.

Bart, I am pretty thick skinned when it comes to learning more about honing and certainly am not invested in being right about techniques. I value your opinion, always, and know you have nothing but scientific results in mind. Sincerely, your friend, Denny
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
I don't know... I think Denny's onto something. I find that even two light laps on canvas, or a few down my fore-arm will generally improve my HHT results, like from a 0 to a 1 or 2... sometimes. I can't believe that such a small amount of stropping would have much effect beyond a bit of cleaning of the edge. I've attributed it to debris on the edge. But I'll keep an open mind.

I'll have to try the stropping only after the down-stroke. In the one and only "incident" I've had stropping, I seriously rolled the edge on a blade towards the heel, and yet more (much more careful) stropping brought it right back. I was quite amazed at just how much I was able to bring it back.

kind regards,
-Chris
 

mikromicke

Active Member
In tonight's test I followed the unicot description. I managed to get the razor to 3-4 on the HHT but only at the heel and toe. The center was still a 0 and even after stropping it appears dull. Since the heel and toe sees the least of the hone during the x-strokes, could this mean that I'm using to many passes, my stone is too fast or what? The blade is not warped and the stone is flat.
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
If you have access to magnification, take a look at the problem area under about 25X.You could have a chip or piece of corrosion that is extremely small but enough to hold that part of the edge off the hone. If that is ok, I would check again for warp. You also might use a narrow hone anyway to prove to yourself it is not warp. YT, Denny
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Wonderful thread with some very interesting points, what I do before the HHT off the stone is first wipe the blade dry, then perform just a few light "strops" on my jean leg, I want to make sure the very edge of the blade is dry, and I also never move to the strop until I get a HHT 3 at the least.

mikromicke said:
In tonight's test I followed the unicot description. I managed to get the razor to 3-4 on the HHT but only at the heel and toe. The center was still a 0 and even after stropping it appears dull. Since the heel and toe sees the least of the hone during the x-strokes, could this mean that I'm using to many passes, my stone is too fast or what? The blade is not warped and the stone is flat.
By the sounds of it I am thinking that you stroke may be a little off, if you followed the Unicot instructions precisely, and got good results toe and heel, there are not many variables left, too many passes would have effected the entire edge, and I have never found a stone to be soo fast that it could spoil the results, either way it would affect the entire edge.

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
tat2Ralfy said:
Wonderful thread with some very interesting points, what I do before the HHT off the stone is first wipe the blade dry, then perform just a few light "strops" on my jean leg, I want to make sure the very edge of the blade is dry, and I also never move to the strop until I get a HHT 3 at the least.

mikromicke said:
In tonight's test I followed the unicot description. I managed to get the razor to 3-4 on the HHT but only at the heel and toe. The center was still a 0 and even after stropping it appears dull. Since the heel and toe sees the least of the hone during the x-strokes, could this mean that I'm using to many passes, my stone is too fast or what? The blade is not warped and the stone is flat.
By the sounds of it I am thinking that you stroke may be a little off, if you followed the Unicot instructions precisely, and got good results toe and heel, there are not many variables left, too many passes would have effected the entire edge, and I have never found a stone to be soo fast that it could spoil the results, either way it would affect the entire edge.

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
Dammit, Ralfson, you futt buckin' sod, you will do it my way!! Oh shit,....never mind,....wrong forum.

I am not saying that I can hit any blade a few strokes on my jeans and come away with a perfect edge. What I am saying is that I can observe the edge refinement with HHTs at different points in the process. I test after the last dilution, after the just rinsed on water phase, after the stone cleaned and rubbed phase, and after the laps on water phase. I am not suggesting this method to anyone else, but for me at my present level, it is still fascinating to see the improvement in the HHT as I continue the dilucot procedure. After X strokes, I can frequently get a decent test right off the stone and I completely agree, I would not normally move to the strop without a HHT3 from the stone. YYF, Dr., Denny
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Dennis,
Please let me reassure you that, whether someone's razor sharpening customs correspond with mine or not, has not the slightest influence on how I value a person. I consider any other attitude rather silly, and I would hate to find out if someone ever decided not to share his viewpoints because they happened to be different.


On with the discussion.
Micro burrs. I think we should address terminology. I adhere the hypothesis that a edge that comes off a hone tends to have an amount of what John D. Vehoeven calls "debris deposits" stuck to it. Such debris deposits play are certainly a contributing factor in burr formation, but not the only one. The growth of a burr also relies on a plastic displacement of steel. Hence we might be talking about the same thing. In the stropping article I have addressed the notion that the first stropping session on linen serves to remove these debris deposits. That brings us to:
Testing with the HHT.If you do your HHT after stropping on linen, then your test is performed at a different moment in the sharpening process than mine. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. It just renders our HHT-results completely incomparable. As such, I don't mind, even though this can become confusing if we both start referring to our HHT results in the same thread.
On a side note: the HTT has to be completely reevaluated for use with other types of hones. An example with the DMT-E, because it has come up in this thread. I can easily get the HHT to pop hairs coming off a DMT-E, but it just does not mean the same as popping hairs straight off a Coticule. In fact, when I was still using my DMT-E for bevel correction, passing the HHT was my marker for knowing when the edge had maxed out on the DMT. On that hone, aiming for a positive HHT reading has the same function as dulling on glass and aiming to shave armhair when using a Coticule with slurry. The idea is just that the edge first does not pass a certain mark, and one keeps working till it does. Passing the mark irrefutably proves that the very edge started responding to the hone, and that its keenness has maxed out. On the DMT-E, that happens with HHT-ability, because that stone produces an agressive, teeth-bearing edge. On a Coticule with slurry, the absence of teerh doesn't allow more than a shave arm hair test. That all doesn't matter: the Coticule produced bevel needs further keening, but so does the DMT-E produced bevel. We are nothing with its keenness at the spikes of the sawtooth pattern. Those teeth will have to go anyway, and it is the keenness in the recesses of the sawtooth pattern that defines our true starting point for further refinement of the DMT-E produced bevel.

Back on topic:
Mikromicke,
I think you're doing quite well. You got the popping HHT, except on the middle part of the blade. That's good. It proves that your razor can sustain it, your Coticule can do it (they all can), and that you can make it work! There are a couple of possible reasons why the middle part stayed behind. Most of them are honing stroke related.

1. Exaggerated roll.
A bit of roll in your stroke is a good thing. But I've seen guys jumping from the heel to rapidly to the tip, almost neglectling the middle part. It is always a good idea to watch the bead of fluid in front of the edge. The focus should only gradually shift, for the heel, over the middle to the tip of the blade.

2. Lowering the blade into the rim of the hone.
Even if the long edges of a hone are properly chamfered, there is still a danger of cutting a bit into it, when the part of the razor that exteds of the side is accidentally lowered. It usually happens with the middle part of the blade. When the edge catches the rim of the hone, it can usually be noticed at a sudden and short change of the feedback. Once can be enough to set back the edge significantly, and the later in the honing process, the more chance it will compromise the end result. The taped stages of Unicot are very sensitive for this kind of havoc, because the razor rests on an extremely narrow secondary bevel, and you depend completely on that bevel for the shaving quality of your end result. Once the tape is on: go light, work with utmost concentration, watch the bead of water during each stroke, take your time (it doesn't take long anyway).

My advice is to start over. Dull on glass. If your bevel was good, it'll take you 1 or 2 sets of halfstrokes to arrive at shaving armhair stage again. Once there, I recommend to do an oldstyle Dilucot. This means, do only X-strokes (no halfstrokes) and dilute with a drop every 15-20 laps. At the end, clean the hone, and finish with 50 laps on clear water. This is all great practice for your X-stroke. Try the HHT. If it doesn't pass, add a layer of tape and take it through the final steps of Unicot. I have followed that exact same regime more than I can remember. The more you do it, the less you'll end up using the tape. Once the X-stroke has become second nature, you can change to the imroved Dilucot, using halfstrokes for the dilution phase. It is quicker and easier, but your X-stroke, which is the cornerstone of razor sharpening, sees little practice. I am convinced that the ability to perform good halfstrokes benefits from learning a good X-stroke first.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 
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