Sharpening a Japanese Razor ( Kamisori) on a Coticule?

Mr.Mr

Active Member
:confused: I've read with great interest JimR's thread on sharpening razors on Japanese waterstones. Watched his and other YouTube videos to the same effect and learned a great deal. What I have not seen is anyone sharpening one of these tradional razors on a coticule. Given the difference of the razor ( bevels, flat and not flat sides ) is there any advice someone can impart to me to get the same result I would on a regular straight. By the way I have two Japanese razors that arrived shave ready and decided to tune one up a little on my coticule. It finished up passing the HHT but did not seem as smooth as the one done on traditional Jstones. I'm not sure the Unicot method will work given the design of the Japanese razor (ie adding tape).
Any suggestions other than than the obvious buying of a Japanese waterstone(s) would be appreciated.

Cheers Mike.:)
 

james

Member
There is not any reason why you should need a Japanese stone (or any other particular stone) to hone a Kamisori. You should be able to get equally good results from any other (good) stone out there.
You may need to adapt your technique anyways.
I'm no expert in Kamisori honing, others in this forum are and they may chime in, but I have honed a few with good results, and always on a Coticule at least for the bevel setting.
In a kamisori, the wedge side is more important and you should concentrate your efforts on that side. So a regular x-stroke is not the best, you may better use halfstrokes, doing more on the wedge side: eg. 30 wedge side, 10 hollow side.
Also the bevel and spine wear on the wedge side usually are fairly large relative to the size of the blade, particularly on vintage razors, and this, together with the particular geometry of the razor, makes that it's harder to maintain a perfect contact and a consistent stroke while honing the wedge side; circular strokes may come in handy. Check the bevel and spine wear and if it seems that some areas are not in perfect contact with the stone concentrate more on those using circular strokes.

I think Unicot should work well on a Kamisori, just make sure that the tape covers the spine wear on the wedge side.
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
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. There is a second part too!

I imagine that the technique is not much different, but of course the fine gentleman on this site will chime in and point out the fine tuning for this method to work on a coticule.

Cheers!
Alex
 

Mr.Mr

Active Member
:) Thanks James! I've tried the dilucot and it worked somewhat OK, I was able to pass a HHT but the shave itself was not up to snuff. I did use circular strokes and not an X pattern. These blades are small in comparison to a regular straight razor. I hoping JimR. or others will pipe in and let me know if they have had any experience in this matter. Thanks very much for the advice, especially on using the Unicot method and how to tape the blade. Cheers MikeR.:thumbup:
 

Mr.Mr

Active Member
Thanks Alex! I saw this video. I've probably seen most of them, as I did an exhaustive search on YouTube and watched all I could find. I must ask JimR if sitting on the floor is of help.LOL!:D
 

james

Member
Mr.Mr said:
I've tried the dilucot and it worked somewhat OK, I was able to pass a HHT
This looks very promising! If you got the razor to pass HHT then the hardest part is done.
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
There shouldn't be any difference honing that type of razor on a Coticule.
You may want to utilize the other tests while honing such as the TNT and the TPT, at the very least those tests will tell you if the edge is evenly sharp and not just just a few spots that the HHT will tell you. In My Opinion, the Thumb Nail test is one of the more important ones in determining the condition of the entire edge.

Maybe you have read the article at the link below, but I post it just in case.
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Also, if the steel is very hard the resulting shave may leave you with some burn or discomfort no matter how well it is sharpened.

You didn't say the condition of the razor you are sharpening... The technique you use (and the help we can give you) will to some extent depend on the condition of that razor... just a touch-up or a complete bevel reset.

Please keep us updated my friend.
 

Mr.Mr

Active Member
Hi Smythe,

Thanks for the response! This razor is in very good condition but it would not pass the HHT so I predulled it on a glass and proceeded to the Dilucot method of sharpening :confused: (being unsure if a Unicot would work and if so how to tape this type of blade).
After honing it would pass the HHT but did not seem to give a good shave. I appreciate any and all tips or advice given!
:) Thanks MikeR.
 

wdwrx

Well-Known Member
Smythe said:
Also, if the steel is very hard the resulting shave may leave you with some burn or discomfort no matter how well it is sharpened.
Well i'll be.... Ya learn something everyday.
Why do you think that is Cedrick? Is it only on the kamisori style razors? Or does that apply to western style straights too? I've noticed that I've got a few that seem to take more work to sharpen, I've assumed that they are harder steel.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
This is an interesting thread. I can't offer any advice, since I've not even been near a Kamisori, let alone sharpening one.

From what little I understand, they have an asymmetric bevel, not unlike that of a chisel. If that is correct, I would be very careful with tape. If you fold tape around the spine, you would make a small micro bevel at both sides, hence also at the side that's supposed to remain dead flat. (unless I am understanding the design of a Kamisori all wrong).
I would be very weary about loosing that flatness, because it is a lot of work to make a bevel plane, that extends the full width of th blade, flat again.

If you want to adapt Unicot for it, I thing it might be best to apply the tape only to the hollow side of the blade, perhaps even 2 layers, because on a normal razor the bevel angles also grows by 2 times the thickness of the tape, because it sits at both sides of the bevel.

But again, I don't know the first thing about them.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

danjared

Well-Known Member
One issue with kamisori is that they are often made out of separate alloys, one for the blade and another softer alloy for the spine and handle. Thus, you must be careful if you need to do heavy work such as removing a chip. You also don't want to lose the slight concavity on the "wedge" side (ura), as you'll end up with a razor that will stick to your hone and probably your face when shaving (since the razor is basically flat against your face. JimR had such an issue with a couple of razors he bought that weren't hollowed at all on the ura side.
 

Mr.Mr

Active Member
:) Thanks Bart. I'm being cautious until I hear from someone who has tried the Unicot on one and been successful. The razor ( Kamisori ) indeed, is very much like a chisel , being flat on one side and concave on the other. Dilucot seems to be the way to go , and then maybe a little touch on my Chinese stone or Chromium Oxide on the BBW as you show in your video. I plan to try this and see how it goes. I really like these little razors and they have a learning curve all their own. JimR's video on shaving with one is very good and gave me an insight on how to wield this little devil!:thumbup:
Cheers MikeR.
 

Mr.Mr

Active Member
Thanks Jared!

I understand that these are traditionally smithed much like Japanese swords or knives, with as you say the steel folded or combined in such a way as to give a hard edge and softer (flexible spine). Mine are not damaged and I believe only one needs a little work to bring it to a great edge, I just haven't figured out exactly how yet. BUT I WILL!!! Patience is a virtue when it comes to sharpening razors.:) I will be careful, I have a lot of respect for the craftsmanship that went into these razors, and they are not easy (nor cheap) to come by.

Cheers MikeR.
 

james

Member
Mr.Mr said:
I'm being cautious until I hear from someone who has tried the Unicot on one and been successful..
Bart makes a good point about loosing the flatness if you tape the spine; I must admit that I had never thought about that...
In fact I have taped the spine once on a Kamisori. It was badly worn and the spine wear and bevel on the flat side were almost in contact. It just wouldn't take an edge, the very tip of the bevel wouldn't touch the stone.
Now I understand that I should have worked much more on the 'ura' side with a coarse stone to make it dead flat again... but back then, from my total inexperience and naivety, I just put two or three layers of tape and went on to create a microbevel... it just worked...
But you may better listen to Bart and avoid changing the geometry
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
JimR would be the best person to answer any questions for sharpening a Japanese style razor, but I hope this will help.

I believe the concept of sharpening these razors is this… you hone the flat side with several back-and-forth strokes, then flip the blade and do one or two strokes (to remove possible burrs or wire), and then return to the flat side for several more strokes… repeat until the edge is sharp. You want to keep the bevels on the concave side as small as possible, but since the flat side is one big bevel you can go to town when honing and hone for as long as it takes to get that side as flat as possible. The concave side needs only a few strokes because the bevel is small (or smaller) to begin with.
Your sharpening stone should be as flat as possible, but it’s probably best to use a diagonal strokes to efficiently use the surface of the hone (half “X” stroke?)... I suppose you could use circular strokes as well.

It is said the abrasive in Japanese natural hone brakes down as you hone (so the slurry cuts finer and finer), but Garnets in Coticules do not brake down in the same way, so your honing technique should be adjusted slightly. I would suggest you do the dilucot and/or refresh the slurry depending on the progress of the edge until it is sharp, then finish on water alone until the edge is refined, and bear in mind the ratio of strokes on each side of the blade.

As mentioned earlier don’t put any tape on the spine of the flat side because, while this will get the edge sharp, it will also change the geometry of that edge and may introduce unwanted variables… the least which, should you decide to get the flat-side, flat again… it’s just too much work.

Here is a u-tube link:
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And here is a discussion on Shave Ready forum:
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Please keep us up to date.
 

Mr.Mr

Active Member
:) Thanks Smythe,

I appreciate the good advice and I plan to stick to the Dilucot and try and get it right with this razor. Unicot seems a little dicey and I would like to hear what JimR. has to say about using this method. I'm on the road this week but will keep checking the site for info. Cheers MikeR.
 

Aquanin

Well-Known Member
As soon as I get my Tosuke back from my buddy, I will try a dilucot on it as well and post the results.
 

Aquanin

Well-Known Member
OK I finally got a chance to try this with my Tosuke. I did a full dilucot on my Les Latneuses creamy side and finished on the Hybrid side. It is wicked sharp now. These razors have pretty soft steel so I started with lighter slurry than normal and diluted like normal. It was drawing really well on the hybrid side when I was getting close to finishing, like suction on the hone. I did 7 back and forth strokes to 1 back and forth on the non-cutting side.

I think if I were to do it again I would only use the hybrid side and do a full dilucot on that side because the stone is so much harder on that side. Regardless, it put a fantastic edge on the blade. Shave test forthcoming.
 
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