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Smiling problem

Matt

Well-Known Member
Yesterday I was trying to sharpen this razor, some may have already seen it in "sensitive skins" thread - it now has most of the rust removed but I decided to test it before I spend whole lotta time on it only to see it's just for display.

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I introduced a slight smile to it when I was setting a bevel. I redulled and started working on milky slurry on my La Grosse Blanche (keeping an eye not to make the slurry too thick, to avoid dulling), but I just couldn't make it shave arm hair either at the heel, or at the point. I spent too much work on it, no result at all, so - a little desperately - I thought I would try unicotting the thing. Again, HHT in the middle of the blade was 3-4, nada at the ends.

I got a little pissed, redulled everything again and switched to my narrow (3 cm) vintage find coticule. Worked on milky slurry again, I was also doing circles paying really extra attention to the heel and the point. Despite the additional work, both ends of the blade were hardly able to shave arm hair (just starting to do so) while the middle was shaving nicely. What the hell?

It's not the first smiling blade I was honing, but the first with an induced smile by myself. I haven't had any such problems with the other two smilers I have. Can it be something with angle, blade temper, or again I just plain suck? :)

best regards,
Matt
 

life2short1971

Well-Known Member
I see the blue lines at the edge of the blade which tells me you resorted to power tools and ruined the temper. If I am wrong please correct me. The smile is caused by applying pressure on an are while honing and not maintaining an evenly pressured stroke across the entire blade continuously from start to finish. If you used pressure from a finger or thumb on one part of the blade you need to follow through and use that same pressure across the blade to keep it even. It will take some work if you wish to get the edge straight again but it won't affect the shave. In fact most people prefer a smile of some sort in there blade but never a frown.
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
life2short1971 said:
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You are wrong, I didn't use any power tools with this blade, and the photo is taken before I did anything to it. After sanding the steel looks uniform but that doesn't necessarily mean it's OK, I actually don't know if the steel that lost its temper looks different in any way.

regards,
Matt
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
I dont believe you lost any temper Matt, what I think is happening is that you are either, not setting the bevel properly on the ends, or are not working the ends enough as you go through the process, or maybe even both

Have you tried marking the edge with black marker pen, to ensure your stroke is hitting it all? and of course you need to make sure the entire blade is passing the SAH test before you start dilutions

It is worth noting that edges that have been re-shaped can often take a bit more work first time around

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
No, I haven't tried marker, I forgot about that trick. I'll check it, thanks for the hint! :thumbup:
 

life2short1971

Well-Known Member
I do apologize as I said i may be wrong.That is what it commonly looks like when edge has been heated and the temper altered.
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
Also, I'd like to add that introducing a smile to a razor's edge is perfectly fine, and I've even read in barber text books where it has been recommended. I just didn't want anyone to read this thread and get the idea that introducing a smile is a problem.

Ralfy's point about making sure the razor passes SAH all across the edge before moving on is one that I'd like to echo. Once you get that part down, the finishing should be like normal
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
How exactly did you "introduce" that slight smile, Matt?

Everything (the failed Unicot, etc) point in the direction of a not properly developed bevel (I agree with the doctor and Paul). But please tell us how you produced the smile, and if possible a picture of the current state?

Kind regards,
Bart
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
The smile was formed during initial bevel setting on grit 400 sanding paper. I will be able to provide some results and / or pictures no sooner than on Saturday. :|

thanks for all input,
Matt
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
In that case (the other case would have been that you created the curve grinding the razor edge-down), I think that you are not rocking evenly through your rolling X-(half)strokes. I would like to advice that you divide the edge in three different areas: tip, middle and heel, for setting the bevel on your Coticule. Pre-dul before you start. Next make rolling halfstrokes, but only roll on the heel third of the blade. Don't bother with the tip at all. Watch the slurry and make sure the point of focus shifts evenly throughout your stroke. Once the heel shaves arm hair, proceed with the middle part. This will probably go faster, because you heel job inevitable worked the middle a bit ad well. Once that checks out too, it's time to deal with the tip. By the time you're done, you should have a much better feel for the exact rocking motion. Dilutions must be made for the full length of the edge. Possibly the tip and heel will still stay behind a bit during dilutions, but as long as it's not too much, you can deal with that by making an extra effort on water.
Finish your regular routine on water. Should there be parts of the edge that aren't quite there yet, continue with localized halfstrokes and X-strokes, till the entire edge performs equally.

Kind regards,
Bart
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
Also Mat ,you have to check the spine if it is symmetrical throughout the length.I believe that shows different thicknesses from place to place. Even honed taped usually heterogeneous copied to the edge. Please let me know.
Best regards
Emmanuel
 

dnullify

Well-Known Member
I actually finished a german "comfort" razor that had a slight smile towards the toe. However, i didn't put it there, but i'm fairly certain that it wasn't there to begin with - meaning that in the last 35 or so years the previous owner did.
I found that bevel work was the most important in this area (in addition to technique). My hypothesis is that because it wasn't originally smiling, the grind can somewhat interfere with the bevel. The lowest point of the smile would be every so slightly thinner than the highest part of the edge, so the highest part would take slightly more work to even the bevel.

Just my observational hypothesis.
I'm not entirely sure how, but it's now the keenest and most comfortable shaver i've got (solid HHT4, even after 5 shaves). I employed the zone technique that Bart suggested for halfstrokes.
Finishing the edge was rather tricky because i haven't quite mastered the rolling-x. I tried many things, but i think it's the lather that did it. What i did was lubricate the surface of the stone with a watery lather once i had a HHT2-3, and then did very light and careful x-strokes. For some reason it made the rolling x-strokes easier, more forgiving. i'm not sure why

I duno. it might have been dumb luck, and i'm not keen on rehoning that razor any time soon now that it's got such a good edge.
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
Gents, thanks again for all your help.

I couldn't resist and I took it for further torturing this evening. Ralfy, I marked the edge and did 1,5 X-stroke and had a clean edge all along, which hopefully leaves that variable out of the question.

Now there comes something I neglected to mention, but it might be significant. When I was honing this razor for the first time, I noticed a slight trace of burr very near to the point. It even cracked and left a very, very small debris on my finger when I was inspecting it. Now, today I worked on milky slurry, (I didn't predull, though) and did two sets of halfstrokes on each end. The point still wasn't making it, I might have tried the heel or not, can't remember. When I looked under strong light at the edge, I noticed the burr again, this time at the heel - the reflection was giving it away, and it was clearly visible as a bent piece of "foil" under 10x loupe. I put it aside and decided not to touch it to shoot some pics when all the batteries in my DSLR recharge.

Food for thought, eh?

regards,
Matt
 

dnullify

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a wire edge, or over honing that shouldnt be there, had that section of the edge been making contact with the hone.

I'm not 100% certain, but i believe that the purpose of dulling is to knock the debris off the edge from bevel setting.
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
...so going back to the main story :D

I got myself a cheapo Lidl diamond sharpening setup (tried, tested and recommended as a cheap alternative to the 'real' ones on one of Polish knife forums). I did again some basic bevel work on this blade on 400 grit, took it to coticule after redulling and bang here it almost is. Around 2.5 HHT off the hone, no problems on either ends this time. Although I can see a problem with one place closer to the middle this time, probably the edge was somewhat uneven from the beginning. Heck, I think I'll test shave with it anyway. :) Probably it will need some more profiling on diamond hone when I'm done with the rest of restoring.

The obvious moral is (and repeated many times) - do your job setting the bevel, you can hardly fail after successfully doing this. :thumbup:

cheers,
Matt
 
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