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The Toe!


Well-Known Member
So I was honing a razor yesterday on my La Grise which is 50x175. I use the dilucot method by using X strokes no half-strokes yet. Everything turned out great and after stropping was a HHT 2-3 and the shave was good. I'll probably hit it with the hone again with a light slurry to raise the HHT/Keenness a bit more.

Here's my problem, while honing I have trouble keeping the toe on the hone when I get down to each end of the stone. I can keep the toe in good contact with the hone until the last 2 to 3 cm of the stone. Then it starts to lift up on me. Does anyone else have trouble keeping the toe in contact? What are some options to correct this issue? I used my other hand to guide the razor to keep the toe in full contact. Is that a no no? Does honing with half-strokes help with this problem?



Well-Known Member
Ideally, you want to keep the edge near the Point (toe), in good contact with the hone at the end of the stroke. This is because the edge near the point does 90% of the cutting when shaving, so you want to be sure that part gets it's fair share of sharpening.

Couple of questions...
Do you use pressure during the stroke, or just the weight of the blade?
Do you hold the stone in hand, or do you rest it on a the bench?

I ask because it is sometimes recommended to have the elbow bent at a comfortable 90 degrees and the forearm parallel to the surface of the hone (of course, these are all proximate as we are all different).

Is the blade a smiling edge or straight?
... the shape (or profile) of the edge affects it contact the surface of the hone.


Well-Known Member
the best thing to do is watch heavy dutys honing videos . they are on utube or srp in video section. he performs the rolling motion that you need. If you watch him carefully. You will see even with a non smiler he starts with the heal down, then finishes with the toe tip on the hone. I carn't explain to well. yes you can guide with your other hand. It is in my opinion easier if you rest your hone in the palm of your hand . then hone with your one hand that holds the razor. keep your elbow up. Bring your hone to a height that is comfortable. your hone is great width for this type of stroke . start heal down and gradualy raize towards the toe at the point wher you finish . Watch the fluid in front of the edge .watch the video you will see much better.


may be some one can find the link


Well-Known Member
Smythe said:
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Thank you for the replies.

To answer your questions:
1. I do use pressure in the beginning stages of the dilucot, just because I feel my hone is pretty slow. Is this a no no?
2. I rest the hone on a bench.
3. The edge is straight.


Well-Known Member
You might also check for warp by placing your blade on a dry flat hone to see if it rocks or you can see light under the edge on either side. If it is warped, even a rolling stroke might not get the toe to contact completely on the concave side. It depends on the amount of warp and if the very tip of the toe is contacting and not the area an inch behind the toe. If it is the convex side that is not contacting, or there is no warp, I would suspect your stroke needs more roll. As Gary says, even on unwarped, straight edges, it is best to do a rolling X just to induce a slight smile. I would use magic marker on both the spine and the edge and make a couple strokes on each side to verify which side might be concave or convex. I have even seen both on the same blade. The marker can give you great insight to what is going on.

If you do find a warped edge, you might need to use a narrow hone to get good contact inside the concave area of the blade.

If you need to develop a better rolling X stroke, I would hold the hone in the hand. Not only can you manipulate the razor, but it is also easy, after you get the knack, to manipulate the hone with the left hand. This takes a little finesse, but with practice, you can deftly rock the stone from side to side and produce the same effect as moving the razor handle much further.
Yours truly, Denny


Well-Known Member
I always had the same problem when I had the hone on the bench. The only thing that seemed to help was to be very careful not to drop the elbow. I needed to keep my right elbow (I am right handed) very high in order to make contact all the way to the toe at the end of the X stroke. I also used my left hand to guide the razor.

Since I started using my Coticule, I have held the stone in my hand and have gotten much better reulst all around. Specifically the toe is just as sharp as the rest of the blade.

Good Luck.