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Would this be a reasonable Kamisori or should I look for something on Jauce?
https://japaneseknifedirect.com/col...20-blue-steel-no-2-japanese-traditional-razor
It looks great. I’m not sure about the blue steel but it should be good. I haven’t come across any other vintage razors that reveal their steel choice except tamahagane. The wrapping looks great, but if not careful and you get it wet it can lead to rusting as it traps water/moisture. If you are careful, that shouldn’t be a problem as I never get water on the scales of a traditional razor anyways. The grind and finish looks awful like the Iwasaki ones…
 
Would this be a reasonable Kamisori or should I look for something on Jauce?
https://japaneseknifedirect.com/col...20-blue-steel-no-2-japanese-traditional-razor
Blue steel strikes me as an idiosyncratic choice for a razor. One of the nice things about blue steel for kitchen knives is that it seems to add a bit of extra bite, which is the last thing you want in a razor.

Most Japanese razors I've seen use Swedish Steel (whatever that is), tamahagane, or Yazuki steel, which I understand to be an attempt to make synthetic steel with tamahagane-like characteristics. I've shaved with all three, and they can all produce nice keen comfortable edges that are a joy to shave with, right at the very top for my preferences.

Blue steel is something I've seen only once, on a vintage Iwasaki collaboration that I could not resist grabbing. I wanted to answer the question: why isn't blue steel used in razors? It seems like an obvious choice.

I knew going in that I would be more likely to get an answer to the question than a razor I'd love shaving with, and I did. I have not yet been able to get a comfortable shaving edge on the thing, just aggressive angry edges. Haven't tried with a coticule, though; that's next.

Of course it is entirely possible that this maker knows what he is doing, and has found ways to overcome the difficulties that have made blue steel razors uncommon. But I'd not want to take the risk, myself, without clear reviews.
 
Blue steel strikes me as an idiosyncratic choice for a razor. One of the nice things about blue steel for kitchen knives is that it seems to add a bit of extra bite, which is the last thing you want in a razor.

Most Japanese razors I've seen use Swedish Steel (whatever that is), tamahagane, or Yazuki steel, which I understand to be an attempt to make synthetic steel with tamahagane-like characteristics. I've shaved with all three, and they can all produce nice keen comfortable edges that are a joy to shave with, right at the very top for my preferences.

Blue steel is something I've seen only once, on a vintage Iwasaki collaboration that I could not resist grabbing. I wanted to answer the question: why isn't blue steel used in razors? It seems like an obvious choice.

I knew going in that I would be more likely to get an answer to the question than a razor I'd love shaving with, and I did. I have not yet been able to get a comfortable shaving edge on the thing, just aggressive angry edges. Haven't tried with a coticule, though; that's next.

Of course it is entirely possible that this maker knows what he is doing, and has found ways to overcome the difficulties that have made blue steel razors uncommon. But I'd not want to take the risk, myself, without clear reviews.

It also gets confusing because Yasuki steel is also split into 3 categories white, blue, and yellow and grades #1 and #2 just like the normal "paper" steels. So when the vendor says Blue #2 they might be saying aogami 2 or they might be saying Yasuki blue 2. Hard to say. But Yasuki and Tamahagane are the only ones I have personally seen labeled as well. Although for folders, I don't buy kamisori.
 
It also gets confusing because Yasuki steel is also split into 3 categories white, blue, and yellow and grades #1 and #2 just like the normal "paper" steels. So when the vendor says Blue #2 they might be saying aogami 2 or they might be saying Yasuki blue 2. Hard to say. But Yasuki and Tamahagane are the only ones I have personally seen labeled as well. Although for folders, I don't buy kamisori.
That is very interesting, and I did not know it. If I were making a razor out of Yasuki Blue No 2, though, I'd go to great pains to make that completely clear to experienced buyers, including stamping it on the blade, as others have done.
 
That is very interesting, and I did not know it. If I were making a razor out of Yasuki Blue No 2, though, I'd go to great pains to make that completely clear to experienced buyers, including stamping it on the blade, as others have done.
Actually, it looks like they are the same thing. Yasuki is the city where Hitachi makes paper steels. They just seen to call them Yasuki for razors and Hitachi for knives.
 
Actually, it looks like they are the same thing. Yasuki is the city where Hitachi makes paper steels. They just seen to call them Yasuki for razors and Hitachi for knives.
Now I'm just confused. I have definitely seen, multiple places, tales of Yazuki steel being the mass production version of tamahagane, or as close as they can come to it, and the shave experience makes that plausible. I guess I need to poke around and see whether I can come up with a clear narrative that makes sense of all this.
 
Now I'm just confused. I have definitely seen, multiple places, tales of Yazuki steel being the mass production version of tamahagane, or as close as they can come to it, and the shave experience makes that plausible. I guess I need to poke around and see whether I can come up with a clear narrative that makes sense of all this.

Just marketing. Hitachi and Yasuki are the same thing. I have given away/sold a few of mine that are marked with kanji. I still have at least one. I'll try and dig it up.
 
Ah, there seems to be a difference between the historical version and the current version. So only the name has lived on, maybe.

Originally Yasugi (Yasuki) steel was made from the steel produced from sand iron at a plant in Yasugi City in Shimane perfecture. Tartara steel is also made there. The plant is now owned by Hitachi which produces a wide range of steels.
 
Ok, so here's what I found in my horde.

I have three Capes that are all labeled Swedish Steel.

PXL_20231207_131632378.jpg


I have one Star Reito that is labeled "Special Steel" in English on one side. The other side has Japanese characters that I think someone translated for me as "Yasuki Steel" at one point.

PXL_20231207_131642868.jpg

PXL_20231207_131653219.jpg
 
I have seen that before but couldn't remember where. Thanks.

They got all the Iwasaki and Tanifuji info.
No problem. The site is a wealth of info on mines, stones naguras, razors. Tıkıra has done an excellent job.

Blue steel strikes me as an idiosyncratic choice for a razor. One of the nice things about blue steel for kitchen knives is that it seems to add a bit of extra bite, which is the last thing you want in a razor.

Most Japanese razors I've seen use Swedish Steel (whatever that is), tamahagane, or Yazuki steel, which I understand to be an attempt to make synthetic steel with tamahagane-like characteristics. I've shaved with all three, and they can all produce nice keen comfortable edges that are a joy to shave with, right at the very top for my preferences.

Blue steel is something I've seen only once, on a vintage Iwasaki collaboration that I could not resist grabbing. I wanted to answer the question: why isn't blue steel used in razors? It seems like an obvious choice.

I knew going in that I would be more likely to get an answer to the question than a razor I'd love shaving with, and I did. I have not yet been able to get a comfortable shaving edge on the thing, just aggressive angry edges. Haven't tried with a coticule, though; that's next.

Of course it is entirely possible that this maker knows what he is doing, and has found ways to overcome the difficulties that have made blue steel razors uncommon. But I'd not want to take the risk, myself, without clear reviews.
Personally I wouldn’t go with a coticule for blue steel that has a bitey edge, unless you have a super hard and fine one that polishes great like a La Verte. I’d probably choose a German slate that refines and polishes the edge. I don’t see why you shouldn’t get a comfortable edge if the heat treating is good and you have a hard steel…
Swedish stew used to be imported because it was very pure not unlike white steel that Hitachi makes…
 
IMG_2222.jpeg
IMG_2223.jpeg
IMG_2224.jpeg
Here is one of mine with Yasuki steel. The back has an “S3” I think.. Not sure about the 3 but perhaps “shirogami”?
Makes no difference as it shaves as smooth as butter. It is a kamisori grind with western handle. I have other Japanese blades with heavier grind but not as smooth… I believe this to be an R. Saito razor.
 
Ok, so here's what I found in my horde.

I have three Capes that are all labeled Swedish Steel.

View attachment 286606

I have one Star Reito that is labeled "Special Steel" in English on one side. The other side has Japanese characters that I think someone translated for me as "Yasuki Steel" at one point.

View attachment 286607
View attachment 286608
BTW, rumour has it that these Cape razors are Tanifuji made razors. Some argue that unless a razor has his name stamped, it is not a Tanifuji, but I disagree as I have one and have seen several that have Tanifuji on the boxes and not on the razors…
Awesome collection…
 
BTW, rumour has it that these Cape razors are Tanifuji made razors. Some argue that unless a razor has his name stamped, it is not a Tanifuji, but I disagree as I have one and have seen several that have Tanifuji on the boxes and not on the razors…
Awesome collection…

Thanks. I am aware that they are most likely Tanifuji designs. They are quite special to me. One of the yellow capes is in a dead tie for my favorite razor with my filarmonica especial 14. My two daily drivers lately. I really think the mid Century Japanese folders are the pinnacle of straight razor design. No offense to any kamisori aficionados.
 
I hate cheap plastic razors and have an electric one.
Japanese Razors by Iwasaki look very nice and I'm
probably going to get one early in 2024.

But that means I have to get 5/5 Razor stone to add to my JNat collection. 😹
 
I hate cheap plastic razors and have an electric one.
Japanese Razors by Iwasaki look very nice and I'm
probably going to get one early in 2024.

But that means I have to get 5/5 Razor stone to add to my JNat collection. 😹

Before you start down the natural path I would get a Super Stone 12k. Easiest, most affordable razor finisher you can find. After you get decent edges on that you will have something to compare your natural finishers to. And it is a great setup stone for any natural finisher.
 
Personally I wouldn’t go with a coticule for blue steel that has a bitey edge, unless you have a super hard and fine one that polishes great like a La Verte. I’d probably choose a German slate that refines and polishes the edge. I don’t see why you shouldn’t get a comfortable edge if the heat treating is good and you have a hard steel…
Swedish stew used to be imported because it was very pure not unlike white steel that Hitachi makes…
I think I owe you a beer, if our paths ever cross. You were indeed correct. I've used coticules to make a comfortable edge from uncomfortably hard steel razors, notably the freakish Titan at 70 hardness, but it did not work for this blue steel razor. A ragged, uncomfortable edge is what I got instead.

So I broke out the Escher. I try to hide it from my thoughts, partly because it has not yet nearly justified its expense by earning a place around here, and partly because it is annoyingly narrow. Clearly its time had arrived.

After plenty of strokes on the posh Thuringen, , the edge feels more like a normal clean sharp razor edge. I have not shaved with it yet, that's for tomorrow, but I am in the (bad?) habit of testing edges with whatever digit doesn't have current cuts on it. One advantage is that you get the feel of the edge, comfortable or nasty or ragged or clean or harsh or whatever, and this edge finally feels as though it will deliver a non-irritating shave.

I'll update tomorrow, after the shave, but if that goes the way I now expect it to go: how did you know that the slate would do this? I had no prior lore that would have guided me in this direction.
 
I think I owe you a beer, if our paths ever cross. You were indeed correct. I've used coticules to make a comfortable edge from uncomfortably hard steel razors, notably the freakish Titan at 70 hardness, but it did not work for this blue steel razor. A ragged, uncomfortable edge is what I got instead.

So I broke out the Escher. I try to hide it from my thoughts, partly because it has not yet nearly justified its expense by earning a place around here, and partly because it is annoyingly narrow. Clearly its time had arrived.

After plenty of strokes on the posh Thuringen, , the edge feels more like a normal clean sharp razor edge. I have not shaved with it yet, that's for tomorrow, but I am in the (bad?) habit of testing edges with whatever digit doesn't have current cuts on it. One advantage is that you get the feel of the edge, comfortable or nasty or ragged or clean or harsh or whatever, and this edge finally feels as though it will deliver a non-irritating shave.

I'll update tomorrow, after the shave, but if that goes the way I now expect it to go: how did you know that the slate would do this? I had no prior lore that would have guided me in this direction.
I hope you get a spectacular shave from it.
The Thuringians polish exceptionally well and leave practically mirror polish, meaning they will get rid of the micro serrations at the very edge that give the biteyness on knives. There are very few Coticules that would do mirror polish and usually leave deeper sctraches on the bevel. These micro scratches extend to the edge and leave micro serration which can lead to a bit of a rough shave with higher hardness steels. The softer steels can be smoothed out with a strop, especially linen that polished gently, but on a hard steel razor things are different. The linen doesn’t have much of an affect. Now if you have a super hard and super fine coticule, you can emulate the Thuringian finish to a higher degree, but there are few of those around… Anyway, this is my explanation. If someone sees any errors in my rankings, please feel free to correct me. I have tested this a little with my stones. I have couple of Thuringians of which one is a light green Escher and few mixed bag Coticules. Surprisingly, all my Coticules give off great edges but the technique to achieve a nice edge is different with each of them… I’d strongly recommend you try your coticule with a glycerine (easier cleaning than oil) rather than water. Do about 50-60 passes on it with a feather light pressure. It is not a porous stone so it won’t soak up oil/glycerine so you can use water later if you choose to do so. Just wash it with dish washing liquid…
I hope this helps…
Oh, one more thing. If you have a rubbing stone for the Escher rub it on it couple of times for a Misty slurry. The edges are more forgiving this way. If you aren’t careful they can make the edge too sharp and somewhat uncomfortable..
 
Forgot to update: the Escher/blue steel shave was much improved. Still not what I'd call comfortable, but not harsh. This definitely worked. I'll try more slurry next time. Also, slower strokes at the end, which someone here taught me was a great way to tame very hard steel razors like this one.
 
Forgot to update: the Escher/blue steel shave was much improved. Still not what I'd call comfortable, but not harsh. This definitely worked. I'll try more slurry next time. Also, slower strokes at the end, which someone here taught me was a great way to tame very hard steel razors like this one.
Glad to hear that mate. I always go slow. I also alternate every time regardless of grit, even for bevel setting. All that is done with super light pressure on all grits. Takes longer but it is worth it.
I would also highly recommend couple of other things.
One is to try your coticule with glycerine for finishing. Super light pressure. If it is a big one and fast, you won’t need more than 40 strokes per side.
Second thing, keep in mind I’m a purist and I resisted this for many years, black here old strop compound on denim strop. 15 per side and you get much more comfortable shaves with all stones including JNATs, Coticules and eschers. It was recommended to me by a dear friend with much more experience than me who has used hundreds of stones of all kinds. He has now settled on a German slate and 12k Naniwa SS and the stropping compound. He has sold all his other stones although he regrets letting some go as he won’t be able to replace them easily…
Let me know how you get on…
 
Glad to hear that mate. I always go slow. I also alternate every time regardless of grit, even for bevel setting. All that is done with super light pressure on all grits. Takes longer but it is worth it.
I would also highly recommend couple of other things.
One is to try your coticule with glycerine for finishing. Super light pressure. If it is a big one and fast, you won’t need more than 40 strokes per side.
Second thing, keep in mind I’m a purist and I resisted this for many years, black here old strop compound on denim strop. 15 per side and you get much more comfortable shaves with all stones including JNATs, Coticules and eschers. It was recommended to me by a dear friend with much more experience than me who has used hundreds of stones of all kinds. He has now settled on a German slate and 12k Naniwa SS and the stropping compound. He has sold all his other stones although he regrets letting some go as he won’t be able to replace them easily…
Let me know how you get on…
Thank you. I will try the glycerine. Alas, I'm going to be stubborn about the compound. But I will happily try my equivalent post-finishing ritual, doing a final finish on a Translucent Ark. That has worked so well on a ready-to-shave edge that it almost threatens to make differences among my finishers irrelevant.
 
This steel talk has me wondering about these guys. They seem to be more modern but I don't really know. They are larger than most and one (maybe both) of them wanted nothing at all to do with novaculite. I was under the impression that an ark finisher was removing the softer steel at a much higher rate than it could finish the edge but I don't know that for a fact.

 
This steel talk has me wondering about these guys. They seem to be more modern but I don't really know. They are larger than most and one (maybe both) of them wanted nothing at all to do with novaculite. I was under the impression that an ark finisher was removing the softer steel at a much higher rate than it could finish the edge but I don't know that for a fact.

My understanding about arka is that they only polish the edge and do t remove much of any steel. Sorta like the migaki-bo burnishing needle. I might be completely off the mark as well… They might be tempered very hard. How do they feel on other stones? Glassy?
 

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