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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
Gentlemen,

The venerable Jim Rion distilled a comprehensive article about razor sharpening on Japanese natural hones, out of the thread he started a few months ago.
Although this article obviously does not directly relate to Belgian hones, Jim's approach, that he learned from his barber who has over 40 years of experience, is thoroughly embedded into ancient art and tradition of sharpening. Something that -as we all know-is not taken lightly in Japanese tradition. The approach takes some practice, but does not require a 16 year apprenticeship with an old master. (Not that it would hurt either:) )
Jim's thread is with well over 5000 views the most visited (technical) thread on our Cafeteria. On a website about Coticule hones, that is an achievement of its own. The information certainly deserves to be saved from slowly dissolving into the swamps of old forum threads, hence I asked Jim to turn its essence in an article for our "sharpening academy". A request he kindly complied with. Thank you, Jim.

I've just finished adding the text and pictures to the sharpening academy. Jim still needs to review the article, and I need to improve the layout some more, so there will be some minor changes, in the course of the next few days. Should anyone be interested in making a 9 minute Youtube video, that shows the various techniques discussed in the article, that should be absolutely awesome.

Comments and suggestions for the article are more than welcome, here or in Jim's original thread.
Here's a direct link to the article: http://www.coticule.be/japanese-hones-a-traditional-approach.html

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-06-19 01:08
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danjared
From: United States
Posts: 1000
iconBart:
Gentlemen,

The venerable Jim Rion distilled a comprehensive article about razor sharpening on Japanese natural hones, out of the thread he started a few months ago.
Although this article obviously does not directly relate to Belgian hones, Jim's approach, that he learned from his barber who has over 40 years of experience, is thoroughly embedded into ancient art and tradition of sharpening. Something that -as we all know-is not taken lightly in Japanese tradition. The approach takes some practice, but does not require a 16 year apprenticeship with an old master. (Not that it would hurt either:) )
Jim's thread is with well over 5000 views the most visited (technical) thread on our Cafeteria. On a website about Coticule hones, that is an achievement of its own. The information certainly deserves to be saved from slowly dissolving into the swamps of old forum threads, hence I asked Jim to turn its essence in an article for our "sharpening academy". A request he kindly complied with. Thank you, Jim.

I've just finished adding the text and pictures to the sharpening academy. Jim still needs to review the article, and I need to improve the layout some more, so there will be some minor changes, in the course of the next few days. Should anyone be interested in making a 9 minute Youtube video, that shows the various techniques discussed in the article, that should be absolutely awesome.

Comments and suggestions for the article are more than welcome, here or in Jim's original thread.
Here's a direct link to the article: http://www.coticule.be/japanese-hones-a-traditional-approach.html

Kind regards,
Bart.


What an excellent addition to the site. Thank you to both Bart and Jim.

I would love to make such a video, but I don't think my technique is quite there yet. :( I don't want people learning my bad technique!
2010-06-19 02:52
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JimR
Posts: 146
I'm happy to share what meager knowledge I have, gentlemen. Thank you, Bart, for allowing me to contribute to your fantastic site.
2010-06-19 04:22
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Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
Excellent, Jim :thumbup:
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2010-06-19 04:39
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Robin
Posts:
What an interesting read. Two things: One typo (Naguar), and the formatting of the first paragraphs is off (line breaks).

Regards,
Robin
2010-06-19 07:44
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Dr Ralfson Bwhahaha (tat2Ralfy)
Associate
Posts: 3610
A wonderful addition indeed, good work chaps and well done :thumbup:

My kindest regards
Ralfson (Dr)
We Are All Pioneers In Our Own Right.
The Infamous Coticule Crew
Pip Pip Old Bean
2010-06-19 07:55
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconBeBerlin:
What an interesting read. Two things: One typo (Naguar), and the formatting of the first paragraphs is off (line breaks).

Regards,
Robin

Thank you Robin, I corrected the typos (found some more) and fixed the line-breaks.
I will address some layout-issues later.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-06-19 19:52
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Smythe
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 990
Valuable addition to straight shaving knowledge base... I was reluctant to even try a Japanese stone because of all the confusion (and there are folks who take advantage of that). This Article answered quite a few questions.:thumbup:
2010-06-20 00:31
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sparq
From: United States
Posts: 35
It would be very nice if someone could add some info about wear and lapping of JNATs (what to expect - typical wear and frequency of lapping needed for razors, how did the Japanese masters did it, effects of Naguras on dishing, etc.). Thank you in advance! :)
2010-06-24 18:49
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
I don't know that information, because I own only one Nakayama. It's a hard stone, but still pretty lenient on raising a slurry.
I have lapped it once, completely unnecessary , but I didn't knew that at the time. I don't use it much, but I must have honed approximately 20-30 razors on it, rubbing slurry with a very small piece of another Nakayama I have for that purpose. And about double that amount for finishing with water only. That small slurry stone is very hard, so I think the slurry is mainly from the main stone. No noticeable dishing yet, but the effects of a bit of dishing are negligible, certainly when you do the entire honing job on that one stone.
Lapping has probably more purpose to de-glaze a hone, but my Nakayama doesn't glaze over at all, so there's no necessity. (The same is true for Coticules, by the way).

On the topic of stone wear, I think it's equally impossible to make general statements. My Nakayama is 32mm thick. I don't think I will wear trough it in this lifetime, even if I started using it much more. But at any rate, for me a hone is like a dog. You learn to love it, and when it's gone you grieve over it, and then you buy another. The main thing is to enjoy the hone while it lasts. If you're going to put it behind glass only to look at it, you won't enjoy it as much as when using it to its full potential.

If you don't want to wear a very expensive hone for doing bevel work, then use a cheaper hone for that purpose and save the precious one for refining and finishing. Personally I don't worry much about such things. If haven't bought my whetstones for my children, and they seem to be OK with that. ;)

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-06-24 23:03
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sparq
From: United States
Posts: 35
I still think that nagura slurry with its coarser particles must wear a hone off much faster than "own" slurry. If that happens with your final hone in progression it is not a big deal as you say, but if you dish a mid range stone you may have troubles with polishing. I am only speculating here and I agree that generalizations are likely impossible to make, but the old Japanese masters must have dealt with those things somehow, no?
2010-06-25 21:42
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Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
As I said, slight dishing is no problem with a one hone setup. On a multiple hone setup, that might be different, but isn't the very purpose of working with different nagura stones to sharpen with aid of just one stone?

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2010-06-25 22:54
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JimR
Posts: 146
iconsparq:
I still think that nagura slurry with its coarser particles must wear a hone off much faster than "own" slurry. If that happens with your final hone in progression it is not a big deal as you say, but if you dish a mid range stone you may have troubles with polishing. I am only speculating here and I agree that generalizations are likely impossible to make, but the old Japanese masters must have dealt with those things somehow, no?


I have no idea how old an "old master" has to be, but in the Iwasaki barbering manual, he recommends checking your hone with a straight edge once a month, and if you notice any uneven spots, spread some emery powder on a glass plate and use it to lap.

He also recommends careful use of the nagura (i.e. even use of the surface to prevent dishing) as a kind of in-use lapping.

My barber told me to use sandpaper on wet glass.

So there you go. From the mouths of old Japanese men.

Also, for razors I've seen no mention of any stones other than the nagura and the honzan. I have used an aoto for repair work, and they are ridiculously soft and dish with every use...but careful use can also solve that problem.
2010-06-27 13:25
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kairen
Posts: 6
Sorry in advance for the stupid question, but do you know where to find the emery powder?

Regards
Luca
2010-06-27 23:03
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Smythe
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 990
Emory powder is commonly used to make pincushions (I guess the abrasive sharpens the pins when you stick the point in), there is a ready supply on ebay... available in sizes from 60 to 220 mesh from one seller.

Emory powder is mostly Aluminum Oxide... some, Dermatologist use Aluminum Oxide powder for "Microdermabrasi​on"... literally, abrading old dead skin to expose new fresh skin.. (kind of like sandblasting)... those are available in 120 grit... also available on ebay... just do a search for "Aluminum Oxide"... it's plenty cheap.

However if you plan to use it as a metal polish or apply to a strop to sharpen razors you may want the fine grits. I am not sure if Emory powder is available in fine sizes (1000 grit and up) but you could go for the more readily available Aluminum Oxide (commonly called Linde A and Linde b) at .3 micron (or30k grit... that extremely fine powder... you can get that on ebay too... but not so cheap.

check these links:
http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1313&_nkw=emery+powder&_sacat=See-All-Categories
http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=aluminum+oxide+&_cqr=true&_nkwusc=amyminum+oxide&_rdc=1
2010-06-28 03:57