Strokes

Aquanin

Well-Known Member
I have sharpened about a dozen or so blades on my newest coticule now, some multiple times. I try to hone almost every day. Since I got into coticules I haven't touched my synthetics much. The only razors I have done (Dilucot) so far from dull to finish are hollow grounds. I am still setting the bevel and only finishing on a coti with the wedges and smilers. My reason is because I find it difficult to do half strokes and the rolling x (or rolling half strokes) at the same time. I am very proficient at the rolling x in a regular x fashion but not with the finger pressure and back and forth as in Dilucot.

Anyone just done rolling X throughout the full Dilucot process without half strokes? Semms like it would take quite a long time, but I haven't tried yet. Experiences?
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
i do it all the time. a narrow long coticule would be ideal. i keep my index finger down on the heal, so that part is flat to the hone at starting point. slowly guide your razor throught the stroke watch the bead of slurry in front of the edge.once you get the feel of the roll. then you just keep that motion going back and forth. If its a wider hone just imagine its much thinner and hone on that part only . So infact your honing on the width of say 1 and half inch ,40mm aprox.As you get to the toe rotate up gradualy to the toe, this ensure you hit the whole edge.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
The "old" Dilocut method was all regular X strokes, it took A LOT of experience to learn just when to add a drop or 2 of water, Gary was extremely good at it too. :thumbup:

It still works of course but you absolutely cannot stick to a number of strokes and add water like you can with the half stroke version.

Best wishes
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Aquanin

Well-Known Member
OK, time to practice the Rolling Half Strokes then...i like the idea of putting the finger on the heel of the blade, that makes sense. Thanks for the tips.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Here's my secret for doing rolling halfstrokes: The rolling motion has to come from the upper arm. Right now, while you're sitting in front of your view screen, allow me the illustrate that. Lift your right arm (if you hone right handed) and raise your fore arm in front of you, parallel with and above the spacebar of your keyboard. Mimic holding a razor. Lift your elbow while lowering the wrist, and alternate that motion, lowering the elbow while raising the wrist. Tell your wife to mind her own business.
The motion you now did is the basic motion that is added to a half- or a full X-stroke to get a rolling stroke. The amount of roll can be very precisely controlled by how much the elbow is raised and lowered. Note that this motion is automatically diminished at the razor, because the elbow sits on the long end of the cantilever that has your pols as a fulcrum.
I hope this makes sense somehow. A lot of people perform the roll by moving with their fingers. That works well for the X-stroke, but not for halfstrokes because the finger on the blade interferes with that technique. Put the roll in your entire fore arm, and not only you will be able to use the same rolling technique for X-strokes and halfstrokes, but you will be in better control as well.

Observing myself, I have to admit that I always have some amount of roll in my strokes. On most razors, it's not so much a real roll, but rather a gradual shift in pressure: first on the heel, over the middle to end on the tip. And reverse while pulling the razor back.

Before staring halfstrokes, I will always seek the right motion for that razor, by performing a few slow X-strokes while I closely monitor how the fluid behaves in front of the edge. Basically, it has to first run up the heel, evolve to running up the middle halfway the stroke and run up the tip near the end of the stroke. It takes me 3 or 4 careful X-strokes to find the right motion and lock it into muscle memory. Next I start the halfstrokes with the same curve. I sometimes stop to check the edge with a TPT. At that point I re-calibrate the stroke in the same way as described above.

Another important aspect of my personal honing style, is that while correcting the bevel, I don't worry much about a constant repetition of identical strokes. If a TPT reveals that part of the blade stayed behind, I will put a finger above that part and even might make partial strokes that only work the affected portion of the edge. It is key to regularly check the shape of the bevel, how easily the slurry runs up the bevel, if the edge sits more of less in the middle. A bevel always tells a story with the the shape it takes. It might tell you there's some warp in the razor, if might reveal uneven spots in the grind (often found in razors that were heavily sanded during a restoration process). It might tell you that the spine is thinner near one end. It might tell you that a frown is developing, or an exaggerated smile. It might reveal a slight loss of bevel symmetry. At first, it can be difficult to decipher the language of the bevel, but with experience if becomes second nature and in most cases possible to tell what's going on with a quick inspection.
As always the case with abrasive action, we have to work at the high spots and omit working at the low spots. If that calls for working only the tip or heel half of a blade, or favoring one side of the blade more, that we must not hesitate to do so. By the time we call the bevel good, it must be good. It defines how easily the edge can be turned and kept into perfect shaving condition for years to come. We must stay at the helm, while sharpening a razor and continuously steer the process till we arrive exactly where we want to be.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
I have to say that last paragraph sums it up extremely well for me :thumbup:

very very well written Sir Bart, thank you

Ralfson (Dr)
 

mrmaroon

Well-Known Member
bart, you bring up an interesting point with the bevel shape. When I first started honing I never paid detailed attention to the bevel shape. After a while though, I started to notice some inconsistancy with a lot of my razors. It seems almost every razor I have about 8/10 have some form of warpedness to them. I own 6 robesons and every single one of them is warped. When I say this I don't mean that I have to use rolling strokes and very thin hones to hone them. Maybe 4 out of 40 that I own are like that. What I mean is that there are incosistancies in a lot of my razors. I just chalked it up to old age, or maybe they just didn't have great QC back then?

When I first started straight shaving, I received my grear-great-great grandfathers razor. He was the one in my family that came here from germany. Weirdly though it was a king "tough beard" razor from Pennsylvania. I took it with me to class and on the way home stopped by a barber shop. I pulled it out of my coat and gave it to the barber. He got a weird look on his face and couldn't believe I had it out in the cold. It was only about 50 degrees F out. He said that "any cold weather will wreak havok on the steel". He tried to hone it but said it was to warped to hone with his hones. I finally got it to where I wanted with my old rock like smythes. I doubt the weather had anything to do with it warping!

As far as honing strokes go aquanin, i've never had any problems with regular straight blades. If a blade has a smile, I have notices that on the 6 I own that are smiling I wear down a spot on one side of the bevel just a tad more. On my away stroke I give it a little more pressure without thinking. I bought a mint W&B Barbers use hollow ground and on it I only use X strokes to avoid the problem. It seems that I can always get a nicer result if I just use X strokes and go slow. I tend to hone super fast when doing half strokes. I might do 20 strokes in 7-8 seconds. Keep it slower!

Sorry for the rambling... I got mixed up and came back twice!
MrMaroon
 

garyhaywood

Well-Known Member
i find most razors need a slight tilt to hit the toe end or the very heal. i find you can feel when the razors edge is making good contact . In the way of feel and sound that the razor makes while honing. Its all in the elbow just as bart says .
 

urmas

Well-Known Member
Thank you Bart, for sharing wisdom.
This information came at the exactly right time for me and it was very much needed!!

Regards,
Urmas
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
urmas said:
This information came at the exactly right time for me and it was very much needed!!
This is usually the case, it gets you right when you're ready :)

Bart, suberb write up, thank you for that. Definitely would find its place in "Advanced honing topics" found cough cough you know where :)

best regards,
Matt
 

Woodash

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
Here's my secret for doing rolling halfstrokes: The rolling motion has to come from the upper arm. Right now, while you're sitting in front of your view screen, allow me the illustrate that. Lift your right arm (if you hone right handed) and raise your fore arm in front of you, parallel with and above the spacebar of your keyboard. Mimic holding a razor. Lift your elbow while lowering the wrist, and alternate that motion, lowering the elbow while raising the wrist. Tell your wife to mind her own business.
Actually, this first paragraph made a lot of sense to me (esp. the last part...:p ). I've been honing a lot of smiling razors lately, and this lifting of the elbow seems like a good way to go. Will have to check that out....
 

Aquanin

Well-Known Member
Wow, great information guys. The elbow thing makes perfect sense. Great posts. Thanks!! Maybe this info should be added to the Strokes page in the academy.
 

Dovofan

Well-Known Member
That is undoubtly very very good advice!
I used the rolling X stroke with just a little shift in the pressure applied on the heal, middle and toe of the blade, and the results were great.

Thank you so much for this very useful information!
Best regards,
Alex
 

urmas

Well-Known Member
Sometimes the simple and obvious things very hard to catch up. There is one very important thing that happens always before and after the strokes. This is about the way how you put the razor on the hone, and how you take it up from there.
This was one of my mistakes - I raised the razor up the hone with bevel and spine at once. At my own mind, at least I did all right... Actually, I ruined my edge continuously with this. You certainly need to lift a edge before the spine, when taking a razor off the hone and vice versa when you put the razor to hone!
Knowing this isn't clearly enough, this needs to be done consciously every time. My results have improved significantly after learning this. I hope it is helpful for somebody.

Regards,
Urmas
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
urmas said:
Sometimes the simple and obvious things very hard to catch up. There is one very important thing that happens always before and after the strokes. This is about the way how you put the razor on the hone, and how you take it up from there.
This was one of my mistakes - I raised the razor up the hone with bevel and spine at once. At my own mind, at least I did all right... Actually, I ruined my edge continuously with this. You certainly need to lift a edge before the spine, when taking a razor off the hone and vice versa when you put the razor to hone!
Knowing this isn't clearly enough, this needs to be done consciously every time. My results have improved significantly after learning this. I hope it is helpful for somebody.

Regards,
Urmas
That is a very valuable remark, Urmas.
Almost every time I've sees someone honing that couldn't make it work, the problem happened during the onset of the stroke and/or the turning point. If a razor moves as much as 1mm with the spine NOT contacting the hone, that will compromise the keenness.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 
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