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The Reappearing Frown.


Well-Known Member
I've been working on the razors destined for Ralphy and Gary to test shave for me, and as I discovered, there was a little tiny frown on each of 'em.
I tried working one of them out, not by bread-knifing (SP?:confused: ) but by elevating the razor to about 40 or 45 deg, a bit of pressure and lots of circles and half stokes and managed to get a nice smooth profile, with just the tiniest smile. Just as the bevel was starting to come back around, I noticed that the frown is back. Very, very faintly, but definitely there, in exactly the same place as before; about 1/3 forward of the heel. If I carry on the same way, I'll soon end up with another one of those 3/8" wedges.

Guys, help me turn this frown upside down!:D (Ya, OK, I know: cheesy:p )

It seems that the razor has no obvious warps, it sits flat on the hone (better than most I've seen so far), though the spine shows a belly in the wear near the center, and the bevel geometry at the heel seems a little weird, much wider on one side than the other. The stabilizer (or shoulder?) may need a quick visit to the dremel but doesn't seem to be affecting the area showing the frown. Or would it?
Any tips, or advice?
(Give me a bit and I'll try to get some close-up photos uploaded)

Your most humble servant,
Your doing circles on a hone? May I ask how wide is the hone? It should be wider that the length of the blade.
If not then the center of the blade is on the hone more than the heel or toe of the blade.

Just my $.02,
Allrighty then! Some mighty big photos! Even though it seems as if there is no bevel at the toe on one side, it's there. There is also a strange dark line just above the bevel on the front side I thought was some kind of artifact, but is actually a dark line above the bevel:confused:
If there are any questions I'll do my best to answer them.


Randy, the hones used to this point are a DMT EF "type" 6x2" and my Spyderco Med 7"x2". Every hone I own is narrower than the width of every straight I own. This was the very first time I've ever NOT BK'd an edge with a frown. Trying new things.:) I'm not sure what you mean. I didn't seem to have any issues focusing the abrasion at the areas required. Especially at the 45[sup]o[/sup] angle. Would you mind elaborating?

Thanks for your help guys.

EDIT: I see that the photos have been cropped a bit by ..... something. Feel free to browse my Photobucket page:
Hello again,.....
My concern was that when performing the "circles" you may have been allowing the toe or heel to come off the hone. This would have led to more wear in the center 2/3 of the blade and developed a "frown" shaped edge.
But since you are using a 45 heel leading position that should keep the entire edge on the hone at all times.

So that leaves pressure control?
Hi Randy.
I didn't mean that I was doing a 45[sup]0[/sup] heal leading stroke, I had elevated the spine to about 45[sup]0[/sup] instead of bread-knifing the edge to remove the original frown using circles and half-strokes. I haven't experienced this frown growth with my usual honing stroke on any of my other razors; it seems to be a function of this particular blade.

My usual honing stroke is the typical x-stroke, usually slightly rolling as most all my blades have a slight smile, coupled with half stokes during the early stages. I made a conscious effort to vary the region of the blade getting the attention as per the advanced honing techniques as described in the Barber's Manual of SRP fame to accentuate the smile. I have yet to use the circle honing stroke as part of my repertoire, except as mentioned earlier to remove that stubborn frown. Maybe I should focus more on the toe and heel? And lots more of those "area focused" strokes?

My pressure control has improved tremendously since you gave me that little pointer about loading the edge instead of the spine.:)

Kind regards,
Hmmm! Are you sure that blade does not have a warp?

Try this: make sure the hone is flat, lay the blade on the hone (as of you are about to make a stroke on that side of the blade), tilt the blade at a “heel leading” 45 degree angle (note the blade must be flat on the surface of the hone but you slant the blade at the 45 degree angle to get the entire edge contacting the surface of the hone… because your blade is longer than the width of the stone) check if the point, middle and heel contact the hone at the same time. Then flip the blade as if you are about to make another strokes on the other side and slant the blade as above, then again check if the point, middle and heel contact the hone at the same time.

If there is a difference, then you may have a warped blade… some blades are not warped at the exact center of the cutting edge… but the “apex of the bend” is near the point. In that case a frown would start near the point. Some blades are only slightly warped and it’s difficult to see, in such a case you may notice a different “feel” when honing one side or the other (or you may notice the "drag" is different of either side).

Lastly… hollow and full hollow ground blades do strange things when under pressure, and even though may not be warped may develop a frown near the heel under heavy pressure when setting the bevel, this is because the edge at the heel is thicker (stronger) than the edge just a little further away from the heel (notice the hone marks on the 2nd stabilizing piece). When doing the X stroke… as the thicker heel falls of the hone, the edge near the heel (but close to the middle) gets the brunt of the abrasion. The edge near the point, being further away from the hand applying the pressure, is not abraded as fast, and so the blade eventually develops a frown near the heel. Of course this is more likely to happen with a fast cutting hone.

When setting the bevel of a hollow ground blade, you may want to use a very course hone but very light pressure. And if the blade is prone to frowns, then you may want to concentrate on heel and point strokes.

Please keep us posted.
Ah ha! I see that the pixel fairies were here:w00t:

Thanks for fixing my picture size.

OK, an update. I think I've got it.
I've fixed the heel /shoulder issue. 2 minutes with a dremel cleaned that little issue right up.

I put a spot of felt marker at the deepest part of the frown. Then i went back to the DMT but this time I worked the edge by placing a finger 1/2 on the edge and 1/2 on the hone in the areas needing to be ground away for a little extra directed pressure. I worked the smaller heel side off the edge of the hone until I had the profile I was looking for, Then I overshot it just a teensy weensy little bit.

Bevel set and good to go!
Thank you Smythe. I see that we're typing at the same time. (Well, I'm sure I started before you, and finished some time after;) )

I've just now taken a moment to double-check for warp as you've suggested, and what I found was that the heel lifts on one side, and the toe lifts on the other. It must have a slight twist? It's really quite mild though.

I do have to admit I was using a fair bit of pressure. Obviously more than was appropriate for the DMT.

Thanks once again. Score one more for the Coticule Crew!

Kindest regards,
Very good!:thumbup: Your persistence has paid off.

I must be having a very bad day to miss the 45 degree raising of the spine. Duh!

FWIW, I use a heel leading rolling X stroke almost exclusively now. It seems to work with almost any blade shape/size.

Using the appropriate amount of pressure takes a bit of practice. It does not happen overnite for any of us. You seem to be well on the way to mastering this. If the shoulder extended to far down into the edge that could be part of the problem and if there is a slight twist that would have complicated things a lot. No wonder you had problems!:)
i never realy under stood a frown? is it where the cutting edge becomes slightly concaved? and the heal formes a hook as such. from what i read most fokes just bread nife the cutting edge on dmt c to straighten the edge and form a nice ciurve at heal and toe. then just rebuild the bevel? thats my guess. if some one could explain and may be show pictures of a frown. i've a;lso seen blades that have been sharpen and the toe at the bevel dips down and at the heal . i should imagine a slight roll when honing would of pravented this happening in the first place. as randy mentioned i start heal down first with most razor it seems to gaurantee a good sharp heal and a nice shape.i also feel its easier to get my stroke flowing.
Thank you for your most sage advice kind Sirs,

garyhaywood said:
i never realy under stood a frown? is it where the cutting edge becomes slightly concaved? and the heal formes a hook as such. from what i read most fokes just bread nife the cutting edge on dmt c to straighten the edge and form a nice ciurve at heal and toe. then just rebuild the bevel? thats my guess....

Exactamundo! Smythe has posted a few photos in this thread.

I didn't BK this time (I have in the past) because there are two schools of thought in regards to it. Some consider it "no big deal", and others think of it as "the Nuclear option: to be avoided at all costs". I mostly wanted to try something different, as I've found that re-establishing the bevel in BK'd edge takes a lot of work to do. Not that the "elevated spine" method doesn't take some work too. It does seem to be a more gentle approach, and certainly worth a try.

Your most humble servant,