What Makes a Good Honemeister (razor sharpener): Steady Hands

Hands like a surgeon’s

I’m going to start out this series by saying how much I hate the term honemeister. However, razor grinder is the only other commonly used term to describe someone who sharpens razors. Razor grinder is associated with gypsies and comes with a negative connotation. In addition, razor sharpener is both longer and doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that honemeister does.  Finally, if we look at the use and meaning of adding the term meister to the end of a word, the term honemeister does fit the bill.

In this series, I’m going to talk about the qualities that you need to possess in order to hone your own or anyone else’s razors. I will go over the small things like towels and a steady water supply to the equipment and experience necessary. I will describe what exactly it is that the post topic imparts to the honing process and why it is vital to obtaining a wicked edge.

To start the series out, we’re going to talk about the most basic of basics: steady hands. Sure, you could buy a honing machine or a belt grinder, but the edge you will end up with will only be as sharp as a sharp knife. A factory sharp knife at that. No one wants to shave with one of those. Well, not when we have expertly honed straight razors available. All well-honed straight razors are sharpened by hand. Sharpened by hand on stones. Sharpened on these stones for hours at a time, using repetetive motions. One mistake and the entire process is set back one step. One bad stroke and you erase twenty or more good strokes that came before.

Not only do you have to be steady and perfectly consistent to achieve the best possible edge, you have to be able to vary the pressure. From barely touching the stone during the final stages, to heavy pressure when re-sculpting the bevel. Finally, dexterity is necessary. While not crucial, dexterity enables the razor sharpener to both save time and avoid damaging the edge when flipping the razor on the stones.

What other qualities do you think make a good honemeister? Let us know below.

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