Lessons in Bevel Setting......

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Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby JHBBlade » Sun May 14, 2017 12:19 am

There's a very important lesson in Coffee Making...... Which is spend most of your time, money and attention on getting a good grind. What's a good grind? Well that's a long story. Once you have your grind right for the day, the coffee making almost takes care of itself.

Now in straight razor honing I've decided the equivalent important lesson, or key lesson, is SET THE BEVEL PROPERLY!

Here's a story of a Tuckmar razor that has driven me dippy! So it's a beautiful razor, immaculate condition, virtually NOS. Shavehaven sharpened it for me, but despite looking to be the best of the three Tuckmars I have it has always had the most mediocre edge. I've honed it at least four times, always on the 8k and 12k...... the result? Mediocre shave.

So tonight I spent over 3 hours working through this puzzle.

What I found under my Carson microscope is that the edge had many areas of pitting on the bevel, one area in the hard working portion of the blade with a tiny corrosion crater, and by and large a relatively ragged edge to the bevel.

I went back to a 1k naniwa and honed until I'd removed the corrosion crater, then I used light strokes on the 1k to finish, moved to 3k. Edge much straighter and less pitting on the bevel. Moved to 5k but then noticed that I'd opened up another corrosion crater on the bevel. So I've left it there.

I'll need to go back to the 1k and take off more of the edge...... what I'm realising is that this particular razor has one or two or all of the following problems.
1. The edge chips easily... This may mean that it is too hard, or poorly tempered.
2. The quality of steel at the edge of the bevel may just be poor. It may never be clean enough to form a good edge. We'll see this one way or the other when I take off more metal.
3. Corrosion of the bevel at an almost invisible level is a problem. Despite the razor looking so new. The bevel at a micro level is full of pitting or other corrosion related problems.

If point 2 above is true I may never be able to 'fix' the razor.

If point 1 is true, I may win through the use of the lightest force during honing.

Point 3 must be fixable even if another 0.5mm must be removed.

I'll update next week on whether I succeed in setting a clean bevel on this razor.

What has made this razor so tricky, is that on the face of it, the bevel was adequately set, it looked 90% right. The 10 % of problems seems though to be pointing towards deeper problems which means that the 90% might only be 50%.

What is now very clear to me is this. If you can get a very clean defect free bevel from one end of the blade to the other, then 99.9% of the job of honing is done. The rest almost takes care of itself.



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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Sun May 14, 2017 12:07 pm

Wow thanks for the info JHBBlade. What's the best way (in your experience) to know when the bevel is set right?
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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby Thug » Sun May 14, 2017 1:29 pm

You are 100% correct.

Setting the bevel is the single most important step in honing. The progression thereafter is case of polishing the edge and getting the striations off the bevel.

The Puma I have was firmly placed in the poorly tempered category. It's now an ornament.
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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby JHBBlade » Sun May 14, 2017 4:35 pm

RiverValleyTrading wrote:Wow thanks for the info JHBBlade. What's the best way (in your experience) to know when the bevel is set right?

Good Question River!
And I don't have a perfect answer I'm afraid.

This particular Tuckmar passed most of the simple tests, but because it had some "vrot" areas along the edge it was not actually set.

Running the blade along a wet thumbnail is the most basic test and this blade passed that easily. No discernable problem because for example the vrot divot in the edge was so small.

Cutting into the skin of a baby tomato is quite an easy test. It allows you to test the edge all along the length of the blade by taking cuts with different portions of the edge. It's proven to me once that the heel of a blade that was fine on the thumbnail test but looked unfinished under the microscope was actually unfinished.

There is a school of thought that you should be able to shave off of a 1k. I reckon this is probably the ultimate test of whether the bevel is set. You can do this by working on a 1k with more water and lighter and lighter pressure. I was trying for this last night without success. I could see under the Carson microscope that the bevel was polishing nicely with using lighter pressure, but at the same time I could see the edge of the bevel was not cleaning up. If and when I succeed in getting this right I will report back!

This morning I had a quick look at the edge of a feather DE blade after its first use. It is visibly perfect and there is zero, and I mean absolutely zero, light reflecting from the very edge of the bevel. I have a suspicion that this will sometimes be another test of a perfectly set bevel. My thinking being that light reflecting from the very edge of the bevel indicates that there is metal at a different angle to the angle of the bevel. I use the word "sometimes" because pasted stropping or, I think, some honing methods will cause a microbevel which will reflect light but does not necessarily mean that the bevel is not yet set.

If I'm using lots of water, ie zero slurry, on a Naniwa stone I think it is reasonable to assume I can create an edge with zero microbevel and zero reflected light from the very edge of the bevel. Certainly I'm finding that my better edges have smaller or minimal instances of light reflecting from the very edge of the bevel. (this is as viewed from the Carson microscope)

Sometime soon I hope to have a USB microscope and I can show what I mean with pictures.

I'll also report back on my next round with the troublesome Tuckmar.




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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby JHBBlade » Sun May 14, 2017 4:40 pm

An interesting thought that I had last night, is that if one can shave off a 1k, by using lighter pressure and more water towards the end, then I'd imagine one may need less stones in a progression. The polish I was seeing last night on a 1k looked more or less like a 5k finish. Practically one could then maybe only need a 1k, 8k and a 12k.
Time and practice will tell!

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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Sun May 14, 2017 8:26 pm

Thanks for the detailed response JhbBlade. I see you are putting a lot of effort and effort time into this.

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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby Thug » Sun May 14, 2017 8:32 pm

RiverValleyTrading wrote:Wow thanks for the info JHBBlade. What's the best way (in your experience) to know when the bevel is set right?


Generally this
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JHBBlade wrote:
There is a school of thought that you should be able to shave off of a 1k.

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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Sun May 14, 2017 8:33 pm

Thug wrote:
RiverValleyTrading wrote:Wow thanks for the info JHBBlade. What's the best way (in your experience) to know when the bevel is set right?


Generally this
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|
|
V
JHBBlade wrote:
There is a school of thought that you should be able to shave off of a 1k.

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Thanks Thug. :thumbup: ShaveHaven does good job with this. His edges are a;ways very keen.
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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby JHBBlade » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:23 pm

Thought I'd update my experience on this thread since I last posted.

A few bits of hardware I've acquired have moved my edges to the next level.

One is a #400 Atoma Plate. It is Excellent for dressing the Naniwa stones. #1200 is too fine and it suctions onto the Naniwa but the #1200 is good for reshaping a bevel on a damaged razor or bevel shaping a kitchen knife.

Second is a fairly old compound microscope. I'm using its 100x setting. 10X objective and 10X eyepiece. I'll do a seperate thread on the microscope and the magnetic attachment I've made to hold the blade.

Third is I made myself a nappa leather strop and sprayed it with 0.25 micron diamond. Also made a denim strop onto which Flitz metal polish is applied.

Fourth is that I discovered that packing tape om a spine works better for me than insulation tape. As a rule I don'tike using tape, but when a lot of material has to be removed from the bevel it makes life a little easier to avoid having to avoid worry about the spine too much. Once the bevel is set on a difficult razor I return to tape less honing.

Five is that I polished the Pein on a ball Pein hammer and I polished a 3 inch length of railway track to a mirror finish. This allows the peening of loose pins on my razors to keep a shiny surface and to tighten my loose blades far better. The nett result being a razor that handles well.

Now, as an ardent fan of the work that is illustrated on the science of sharp blog I've tried his simple strop method about four or five times, and whilst some of the results were okay they were never great. The reason is, I think, that I was not setting the bevel very well, or that I was not creating a sufficient burr.

In any case I've thrown everything into getting a fantastic edge and have developed what one might call the not so simple honing method which starts with a stone progression finishing on a 12k Naniwa, and finishes with the method and philosophy of the science of sharp method. I've no doubt that in time I'll shorten this method, but for me now, and where my skills are at this is what I'm doing and it works incredibly well.
Shaving two days of stubble with a razor sharpened on this method I've enjoyed, in the last week, two of the very best shaves of my life.

So here is my current method.
FIRST: Set the bevel. So you want the two sides of the bevel to meet each other......sounds easy peasy. Well this is the bit I struggle with the most especially with a slightly corroded or chipped vintage razor. In some respects it would be a lot easier if I did not try and remove as little metal as possible, or try to avoid damage to the spine through overzealous honing.

My objective in bevel setting is to achieve an edge with:
1. No chips
2. No corrosion pitting on the bevel
3. A visible burr along the edge
4. All of the above along the entire length of the blade.

1. No chips as seen under the 100x microscope. My theory is that chips cause a harsh shave, as I've had beautifully sharp blades that shaved very well but seemed harsh. After I discovered they had a tiny chip or two and removed the chips the same blades shaved without harshness.
2. No corrosion as seen under the microscope in the bevel area. What I've experienced is that areas that are pitted will at some point form a chip or tooth in the bevel edge. So better to get to clean metal along the entire edge and remove this variable.
3. The visible burr is a brand new discovery for me. So how do you know that the two faces of the bevel have met? Ie set the bevel? Well if you do edge trailing strokes and the bevel is set then a burr must form. If a bevel is not set it is not possible to form a burr.
4. Whole length of the blade seems obvious, but you'll be surprised what you see if you check the entire length. It is a bit painstaking, but for me the pleasure of the entire edge being smooth and keen is worth the time taken to scan the entire edge.

Now sometimes I can set the bevel first time right om the 1k naniwa and then move straight through the progression of 3k,5k, 8k, to 12k without much incident. However most times I find that once I get to say 8k and have a check under the microscope I find that there is an area where the bevel is not set. Or that without the rough scratches of the 1k you see corrosion or tiny chips that require going back to the 1k or the 3k to rectify.

On each stone of the progression I do most of the work with plain cross strokes edge leading, and then switch to finish with 10 strokes edge trailing to create a small burr for the next stone to remove.

When I've finished on the 12k I can see a clean defect free straight edge (100x microscope) along the whole blade with a tiny burr along the entire length.

THEN............

I move onto the science of sharp simple hone method. I do 5 laps om Flitz loaded denim to remove the burr, then 5 laps (10 strokes) on 0.25 micron leather to refine the edge. This is less strokes than typically used in the simple hone method, but remember that I'm starting with a 12k edge not 4k or 8k.

The bulk of the work is all in the first part, setting the bevel on the stones. To give you an idea i'm currently honing a NOS William Ragg razor and as im terrified of causing any damage to this mint 100 plus year old razor the bevel setting is taking some time. 2 hours so far.

Hoping someone finds this useful. As the end result is an edge that is absolutely sublime and worth every bit of the effort.

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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby RiverValleyTrading » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:10 pm

Thanks for allthe great info JHBblade! :clap:
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Re: Lessons in Bevel Setting......

Postby deepsouth » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:54 am

Impressive, very impressive! Good job!

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