As you can see, sharpening your razor on a brick is not going to make it shave ready. Joking…. And so is the guy who made the video above. Click it for the link. This list comprises the top six sharpening mistakes. While not comprehensive, the aspiring straight razor sharpener needs to watch out for these mistakes while honing.
1. The Bevel Is not Set – The bevel is the most important part of the honing process. It is the foundation of the veritable honing pyramid. Just like the food pyramid, you have to start at the bottom, setting the bevel, then work your way to the very top when you finish the razor on your chosen finishing method. Without a proper bevel, no matter how many hours or days you spend on that 30,000 grit Shapton, your razor will never be shave ready.
2. Under Honing – Under honing is related to bevel setting, but not quite. In order to progress through the honing process, you have to remove enough metal and scratch marks from the previous stone. You have to actually affect the very edge of the razor with the stone you are using. You cannot move on to the next grit level until you have finished with the one you are currently using. Under honing is the second most popular cause of un-shave-readiness.
3. Over Honing – Over honing your razor means you honed your razor for too many laps on the stone. You’ve developed a wire edge or burr. A wire edge is worse because it looks like a real edge, but will break off the moment you start shaving, possibly into your cheek. A burr is common in knife sharpening, but extremely undesirable in straight razors. A burr means the edge has rolled over to one side or the other. Whatever the reason, the end result is the same: a less than ideal razor.
4. Unsteady Hand – Honing requires a steady hand and a steady surface. One small misstep and you can undo all the work done previously.
5. Uneven Pressure – Not only must your hand be steady, you must apply even and adequate pressure all along the edge. If you apply too much pressure to one side, or not enough pressure on another, the edge will not come out evenly. One side may come out perfectly honed, the other may still require hours more hone work to make up for the lack of pressure.
6. Finishing Method – Bonus reason. Finishing method plays a very small role, but does influence the final edge. Diamond sprays are known to give a harsh edge, while other methods are not as sharp as others. In the end, it comes down to personal preference.
There you have it. Our top five list of why your razor isn’t shave ready. We hope you put this information to good use honing your razor. So, before you go out and purchase a new hone, perhaps you might want to think about practicing honing and maintaining a steady hand while honing.