ShavingUniverse.com

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

We might be wrong but we'll do something

TM280

Well-Known Member
As I have been struggling with reproducible effects with leather for way too long, I have noticed in myself a certain intolerance for hone questions on the various forums. Bear with me, I believe I have a point...

First, I wish to say that I am in no way dismissing the rigorous efforts of all concerned in getting the most out of our rocks. Without this groundwork (in reproducible honing methods:thumbup:) , I would not be the satisfied shaver I am today. Enough said.

I have screwed up more leather than I can afford. All of it has been valuable learning and I do not regret any wild spin of fancy or inspiration or wrong thinking. I have certain goals and all of this gets me closer. (I assume that Chris could feel some brotherhood here...:) ) But there is a difference with the material I choose to obsess over and the stones we all obsess over. Unless one is quite fast and loose with chemicals, I see little possibility of ruining hones.

Should you use coticule slurry on BBW, Japanese slurry on Nortons, backhoning, sidehoning, honing by the light of the moon? These days, the only answer that comes to mind is, "Well, yes, you should". Why ask? For example, I can take a razor and do a solid Unicot on it and get the excellent result that so many have gotten before me. I don't need to do anything else. But if I get a wild hair and wonder if peppermint tea offers the perfect addition to my slurry (a better example than coffee, since we all know now how wonderful coffee is :) ) I dare say that I will try it out. Not ask for advise. Who could tell me the answer?

And what is the risk of trying? Dare I say the satisfaction of having been a self reliant individual?

This is a bit of rant (a word that a little history enlightens,
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
), but not meant as an attack. I catch myself all the time with unfounded hesitations as to a plan of action, and this reflects my own conversations with myself. For any that wind up reading this little addition to a little corner of the special interest internet, pull your finger out and do something. It's always nice to hear about it afterwords...

regards,
Torolf

[sub]Post subject to future deletion if I decide it was too dumb or incoherent[/sub]
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
You may notice that thread starting posts can not be deleted ;)

And yours was certainly worthy of staying right where it is I believe.

Good points and well raised the only comment I would make is, before going off honing naked in moonlight, read read and then read, use the sites search feature often, because you never know, someone just may have tried it before.

Regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

RicTic

Well-Known Member
This place is full of crazy people, doing crazy things.
And I love it and them for it.

Just do it!
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Coffee? Are you frickin' crazy.

I'm not sure I get your complete drift Torbo. I think it is more about going ahead with your whacky idea and then finding out if it is repeatable by other "scientists". Isn't that the whole idea of scientific method.

You're right about hearing the same thing over and over, though. Hell, I can tell you I won't get excited again over a trick without a little research. All I hear is crickets.
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
DJKELLY said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Actually we all just think that you are insane :D

I ask as much as possible, reason being is (exactly as said) it might have already been done and I have no google mojo.

I also ask for other reasons, reasons involving minute differences, unfortunately many times the I fail to point out the difference in my post. Take for instance the thread I started on SRP about hats. Torolf understood the difference (thanks), but others did not. I asked about something specific, but I got responses with links to lists of retailers. So sometimes I feel that although there are many repeat posts on many fora about many ideas new and old, there is also the guy like me who despite speaking English most of my life can post incoherently in respect to other posts surrounding on an international forum.

I myself always ask Chris or Denny before trying something goofy on my hone because I am sure that they have already tried it. After seeing Denny's strop I have decided to ask first because I can't always afford to replace things.

Then again I could be delirious after shoveling 9 yards of gravel.
 
G

Guest

I think there are three basic approaches to honing:

  1. [li]Consumers want razors that shave. The most they will likely need is an efficient, consistent way of maintaining their razors. There are choices galore, ranging from US$ 10 barber hones to US$ 4,000 vintage (as in "mined 1/100,000,000,000 moments of their halflife earlier than current hones from the same mines") so called Thurry's. A bit of research will quickly point those immune to the incoherent ramblings of the HAD self help group to an affordable solution. Mind you, basic recommendations have not changed for many years...[/li]
    [li]Vendors want to offer their victims a unique selling proposition. Enter a) unwarranted self importance, b) attention whoring, and c) hone progressions. You know the rest of the story, otherwise you would not be here but somewhere in the intellectual waste that is honemeister land.[/li]
    [li]Inquisitive minds want to know if and how stuff works. Which is what this forum is all about. I have yet to come across someone here going, "yeah, yeah, it may work for you, but I have honed 20,131,234 gazillions of razors, and my latest experiment (read: basement dweller tries something that has long been well documented elsewhere, but discards it because it was Not Invented Here) has shown that my method is totally übergreat. And Thurry's give da best edges!!!!!" Instead, people are given room to experiment, and get support where there are alternative approaches to their solutions that might work just that little bit better.[/li]
I very much enjoy the way the associates here have managed to create in atmosphere in which even the silliest looking idea ("bathicot", anyone?) does not get discarded, but either
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
or simply accepted as yet another approach that will - if it is actually useful - get well documented.
 

pinklather

Well-Known Member
Great post, Torolf.

I especially liked BeBerlin's back to earth trajectory.

As one endowed with most weaknesses, I've been a sitting duck for any hot buzz on the latest fashion in stones or other gear. Other interests teach me that no piece of gear will yield better results than more time doing, practicing, etc. During the time I wasn't getting the basic principles w/ the coti, the most difficult input was 'maybe you just like the jnat better'. It was an easy out. 'A way out of the discomfort of the hard part of the learning. I have read a number of posts on other boards where users couldn't make their coti (could happen w/ other gear) work, or their jnat or .... For me, two things work equally well in getting beyond shortcomings in skills or natural talent: persistence and stupidity. Anyone too dumb to know when to quite - continues like the person with dogged persistence.

I do like experimentation. The hardest part is that with this obscure area of focus, the published info is not well gathered or organized, not described consistently. 'Makes strong search mojo very helpful.

Thx for posting, Gents.
 
G

Guest

Well, there was a time when I owned two razors (Wacker regrinds, the good stuff), a hanging strop and a pasted strop. Realistically, I could still be shaving comfortably with those two razors today. But I am not. Instead, own 25 razors, less than half of which I use on a regular basis. The only reason I have not sold the rest is that they are pretty, and will end up in a cabinet. Like our art deco espresso cups. But German vintage razors finding a good home in a German vintage villa is all right, I think. At least I am not subjecting them to costume scales or otherwise destroying their character.

Coming back to honing, I find it strange how, looking back, I could be so gullible. I have never been a fanboy, or a gear fetishist. I like things that work. Nothing more, nothing less. My
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
is a good example: German craftsmanship at its best, simple, elegant style, and it lets me know what time it is. I am not a pilot, or a racing driver, or a deep sea diver - I just need a watch. Then why did I go for a full Norton setup (including stone pond, Nagura rubbing stone...). Because some guy said it was the easiest way to get consistent results. Bollocks. Even if I were to mass hone razors, I would still go bonkers over the permanent need to keep those bloody things in working condition. Not to mention the almost dislocated shoulder from lapping the bloody things.

I just went through the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
in SRP's Wiki. There is a remarkably idiotic sentence in there (which, incidentally, I put there myself): "Theoretically, you can survive using the 'one stone' approach, but each razor does have an optimum stone set - and more importantly, a technique for using the required hones." Well, maybe each razor does indeed have an optimum stone set. But I am not going to buy hundreds of hones, and do a permutation to find the optimum set for each razor. Realistically, I doubt that the honeloser who came up with this nonsense would risk his juicy profit margin by doing that, either.

So, back to square one: One man - one hone. Having shaved with razors who obviously underwent intensive treatment with optimum stone sets and godlike technique, I must admit that I still fail to see how they shaved any better before Bart re-honed them with the suboptimal Coticule. But then again, as I said, I like things that work. Just, you know, work.
 

TM280

Well-Known Member
Yes, I think it was a general malaise I was trying to get at in my original post. It has to do with the messages we absorb. Now, I am a firm believer in expert opinion, opposing the concept of expertise is more than bordering on the dangerously irrational. At the same time, it is never the case that there is only one way to accomplish a task.

There has always been much made of the American "can do" spirit, one of the qualities I admire most about the US. But I am afraid that in a specialized, increasingly complicated world, it is much too easy to loose touch with this attitude. And I do believe that there are strong barriers to embodying this spirit in our environment: overt and covert, conscious and unconscious messages which say keep your head down, don't trust your own experience, you can't possibly know what you are talking about. I guess what was irritating me was that this hinders robust ways of negotiating our lives. And, of course, I find myself subject to the same doubts.

It is said that money and hobbies don't mix. I tend to not believe this since I see other types of behaviors on forums dedicated to other types of hobbies. Knives, for example, or leather generally, are topics of forums in which a good majority of members are actually selling their work. I haven't given much thought to why these dynamics are different to those in the razor corner of the electronic world (and I doubt I will give it too much thought...) but I agree with Robin about the benefits of potential silliness, much is silly at one time or another until it finds it's place...

Always a big fan of persistence, and stupidity, as noted, is not always a liability...:rolleyes:

I remember someone talking about fly fishing (Rico?), I wonder if people with that interest experience what you describe, Robin? The "right" gear does release one from the whole problem of self doubt/self reliance.

regards,
Torolf
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
Torolf, let me give you one example from fly fishing. there is a reel (actually many) that is made for light fly rods which costs approximately $600. It is said to help you cast further because of its light weight. in all reality a reel on that light of a rod is nothing more than a line holder and most people bring the fish in using their hands. on my 0-3 weight rods I make my own reel using a very simple rod of titanium. it is actually lighter and no I cannot cast further with it. which doesn't really matter since most of the situations where i would use this weight rod the fish are within 3 meters from where i stand.
 
G

Guest

One major problem is that - unlike knives or leather goods - razors went out fashion completely until not too long ago. So most of us are stuck with second or third hand knowledge, almost exclusively derived from online media. The internet can be a fantastic source of information if the right people use the right tools, and find enough motivated and talented co-workers. Wikipedia is probably the best example for this. It is free, and unless you are Jimmy Wales himself, chances are slim you will even get a pat on the back for your work. Which is fine for people who do not have an ego problem, or otherwise need to promote themselves.

Forums are, by and large, the exact opposite. They are, by their very nature, short lived, unfocused, and prone to abuse. Prior to its launch, Bart and I had a few lengthy discussions about this site. I encouraged him to pull all stops, and install a powerful CMS on steroids - all bells and whistles: blogs, galleries, you know the drill. Bart and the other associates did the right thing. The site is very basic, but well usable. And it is a site, not a forum with a token documentation section. Everything you need to actually know is in the document sections - but the forum is still a breeding ground for new ideas. But it is not the core of the site, nor is it an end unto itself. If you compare the average length of a post here with those of the big (and self proclaimed leading) forums, you will find that the articles here are longer, and usually much better written. Because no-one needs ten "+1 !!!!!!!!!!!!" posts, unless you have no life.

As for vendors, my position is well known, and - I believe - well thought through. If you take this site, it is about Coticules, and their vendors are readily available from the "recommended sites" menu. I would consider the promotion of any other goods borderline. I appreciate that small vendors in particular need to get their products known in the market. As long as their sales efforts are out in the open, I see nothing wrong with that. But that is an exception. Soapmongers are notorious for pushing their warez by means of viral marketing. Costume scale makers flood forums with photographs of their latest crimes against razors. Not to mention shilling - if you do not know what that is,
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. Nothing personal, mind you. Some vendors are great fun, but in the end, it is all very unsavoury overall. I personally think the easiest way to avoid such unpleasantness is to simply forbid promotion of goods by vendors. Proper reviews, independently written about items purchased by the reviewer, are the way to go. And yes, that is wishful thinking, I know.
 

TM280

Well-Known Member
I am constantly astounded at your breadth of experience, Gerritt! That is exactly like examples I was thinking of, I believe markets are poor substitutes for ingenuity.

BeBerlin said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

This is a good point. Generally, these other endeavors are based in a common skill set with shared tools and techniques. The differences lie in how well someone can execute these techniques. Information flows freely, it can be assumed, since the imprint an individual craftsman puts on their work cannot be usurped. As a deciding factor (or goal), the element of personal craftsmanship doesn't lend itself easily to small capitalist power gaming.

"Vendor" is a term I am not sure I fully understand, since I tend to equate it to shopkeeping. But one thing is clear, there is no problem understanding personal interest, either in the abstract or when it appears concretely. I agree with you firmly about self promotion, while at the same time this demands (in the grey areas) an ethical approach from the individual at hand: Sometimes I see "look at what I just got" posts, and it it obvious that it's going up for sale in a week. I would say that this is unsavory, if not always dishonest. Only the individual doing the posting can know what their intentions were.

This is similar to "rolling" gear over. If you are doing it, you know you are doing it. There is a difference between this (especially if it also involves gear promotion) and just selling gear, frequently or at a profit or both, or not. But I get the impression that many people see no problem here. Neither did Barnum. I read you as using "promotion" as I would, basically duplicitous promotion. My point being, I see certainty residing only in the intention of the individual. Sometimes we can make valid assumptions about one's intentions, sometimes not so valid. (Not to say that I believe one's own judgments as to their intentions outweighs others' judgments ethically, merely that they have privileged access to them...)

regards,
Torolf
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
BeBerlin said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

+1 !!!!!!!! from me :thumbup:

Hahaha sorry couldnt help myself

I happen to have one of Fido's brushes, and it is very very nice, however it took some getting over the fact that it was made in China, when I felt I had been led to believe it was made in England, added to that was the dual membership that he held. and used to comment on his own bru..........

Oh well I digress

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

vgeorge

Well-Known Member
I enthusiastically share and support the views by Torolf, Robin, and all others here. There is much greater benefit for the community from an honest and open quest for improvements than from a clandestine quest for a buck.

Though much has been achieved with what we have - simple interfaces, simple rules, etc. - I suspect/worry that we are coming up against limitations of communication, language, technologies, and techniques. These would not matter so much for the commercial outfits masquerading as information providers. They would matter more where exchange of technical information is necessary to create progress. (It is possible that it seems like that only to me; I may be a bit dense or fussy.)

Let me give you an example. Denny explained using filed-off binder clips (instead of tapes) for honing. Crystal clear. Then he went onto explain something more complicated, using a binder clip create a smiling edge. Not clear to me! Despite all his painstaking, lion-hearted, detailed explanation. This is just one example.

My point is that improvements around technology needs serious communication, and the tools for our technical communication have much room for improvements. We can free-ride a lot with freely available stuff - like YouTube, etc. There may be other tools that might help. Anything that allows us to illustrate/draw things quickly PLUS interface with the communication channel (threads in the fora) rapidly will be of great help.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
We might set up a few video meetings later this year.
The forum supports linking and uploading of pictures and drawings, even excel and PDF files.

If members care to write up instructional articles about sharpening related topics, we will definitely consider publication in the Sharpening Academy section.

As far as the original topic of this thread is concerned, I 'm not sure I was catching Torolf's drift. I am continously playing with hones and razors. That's what this hobby is all about for me. Most of these experiments never make it to the forum. Yesterday I put a Coticule in a skillet on the stove, and heated it until I could melt some Carnauba wax on it. When hot, Coticules can suck up a small amount of fluids. I wanted to know how it would alter the stone. That was before my wife and I went out with some friends. We came home around 1am. She went to bed, I spent another hour honing.:rolleyes: I always have something crazy going on. If it wasn't for the topic of this thread, I wouldn't annoy the forum with it. It's only play, and not all that relevant for anyone but myself, and perhaps the few people who bring their razors to my home for sharpening. The best comparison I can think of for shaving related Internet fora, is with fora for hobby cuisine chefs. Yes, there are a couple of ways to bake a steak and there are also a couple of ways guaranteed to ruin a steak. But on top of that, there are an infinite amount of small variations to serve that steak, and how they are appreciated is purely a matter of personal taste. One can have a conversation about recipes, but it's futile to turn it into a discussion. But I don't doubt that cuisine forums have their share of heated debates about non-issues as well. :rolleyes:

In an essentially individualistic hobby, alienation is always luring. At the level of the individual who may start to see his way as The Way. And at group level, where the need of the group to affirm itself leads to conservatism and zealotry. Those who aspire to be gurus will have a natural tendency to acquire an elevated status within their group and will eventually depend of politics of power to maintain that status. That is at least as big a problem in the broad community of traditional shavers than the commercial conflicts of interest. I believe both causes are of equal importance for understanding the fracture lines in the traditional shaving world.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

TM280

Well-Known Member
Not surprising, Bart, I am definitely drifting...but I think I am working it out as I go...

I was trying to identify an irritation. There is a big difference between posting the question, "Should I do x?" and posting "I have done x". Increasingly, I find that the first type of posting irritates me. And I think it does since it strikes close to home.

Mainly, an internalized insecurity as to our own competence, creating hesitation where there should be action. What I find interesting is speculation as to where this comes from. The posts in this thread have helped me see the problem better, due to the hardheaded nature of this crowd :thumbup:

Cooking is also a great example. The individual variables in cooking really can't be argued about: I may like chocolate in my enchilada sauce, you may not, not much to say there...

regards,
Torolf
 
G

Guest

"The Treason of the Learned" is an interesting essay from the late 1920s in this respect in which the author, Julien Benda, argues that French and German intellectuals in the 19th and 20th century had often lost the ability to reason dispassionately about political and military matters, instead becoming apologists for crass nationalism, warmongering and racism. I can see a similar pattern emerge in the shaving scene. The Learned here are the honemeisters (whatever that is - it seems to me that what was intended as a joke has by now turned into... a joke), and they have managed to intimidate, bully and silence all dissenters. The NIH principle is killing what little research there ever was. Instead, we have castes of priests (their gods being misspled pieces of natural or synthetic abrasives), and the only way to gain access to one of these castes is through emulation of abnormal behaviour (HAD, anyone??????), and good old fashioned brown nosing.

The bullying aspect is what I find the most disheartening. Just because some guy makes a living honing razors does not make his methods right for me. And I retain the right to say so. I like Coticules like other people like Japanese natural hones or synthetic hones or pasted strops or whatever. I have tried other hones, and I do not like them. Why that should give anyone the right to attack me on the grounds of "propagating an inferior hone as the single solution" (yes, that is a quote), or "boosting Ardennes' sales" (yes, that too) is beyond me. Except, maybe, that it is indicative of the way these people think, ie in terms of proselytising and conquering markets. Which is not why I am here, nor - I think - anyone else.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
BeBerlin said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

Talking about slight irritations...:rolleyes: What drives me bananas in this whole story, is that I know the source of both these quotes and that these allegations are exactly what the source does himself.

In Belgium they made a law a couple of years ago to deal with the increasing cases of Bullying and Harassment at Work. Pretty soon there were cases were harassers filed complaints against their victims for... Bullying and Harassment. Probably a sic attempt to cover their own asses. But of the kind of injustice that makes my blood boil.

By the way:

[note]I officially claim the right to be propagating an inferior hone as A single solution.[/note]
:lol:
But that does not grant me the right to reject people who have multiple solutions of superior hones.

A while a go a test was performed in a reality show on Belgian TV. This show deals with real life testing of claims made in advertising. They wanted to know: "Is Gillette really the best a man can get?"
To find out, 6 or 7 fire fighters were asked to help out (because they were considered "real" man:) ) They all had to shave one cheek with a random brand of cartridge razor (there was a DE as well, if I'm not mistaken) and another cheek with a Gilette Fusion. Then they had to line up and they brought in miss Belgium to feel the cheeks and reveal for each separate guy which cheek was smoothest. The fusion won on all accounts.

What did it prove?
For the average guy with no real idea of beard prep and advanced shaving skills, the Gillette Fusion is clearly the best solution.
But why should someone who bothered to learn the skills to use a straight razor may not proclaim that he can easily match this result and finds it more rewarding, and potentially cheaper as well?

There is a striking parallel in the above story with the story of Naniwa hones + lapping plate versus Coticules. ;)

TM280 said:
Please, Log in or Register to view quote content!

The answer I think, is because people feel intimidated. The atmosphere on some forums is one of constant subtle and not-so-subtle intimidation.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

rayman

Well-Known Member
Now I feel like I have gone full circle. This past week I was called a Shill and now Robin classified me as a vendor whore. Well at least he didn't say vendor crack whore, now that would have pissed me off. Just kidding.... just kidding. But thanks for the intimidation idea, I just realized that intimidation was actually being used as a business plan for some entrepreneurs.

So all I have to say is +1 on the post and thank you torlof, and thank you Ralfy, and thank you Robin, and thank you Bart, Oh crap... you get the idea.

Love you all,

Ray
 
Top