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kayman67

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Another way I get edges is like this. Did one today.

Took a coticule and killed the edge (on the side of the stone passing once or twice, I did it twice). Made some medium thick slurry and did some back and forth half strokes until it got fairly darker. If it's fast, this doesn't take more than a minute. If not, well, it might take a while. And finished with alternative strokes edge trailing. Again, based on speed these may vary from just a few. After, paddle stropped on chromium oxide for 20 times (mine is quite fast, others might be slower) and iron oxide for polishing more about 40 times. Hand stropped a few times. That's all it took.
And I have this strange edge I can't cut myself with, but I don't feel any pulling or dragging either and it's really comfortable.

I was thinking about different ways of getting an edge and one thing that is almost always necessary and essential, seems to be stropping.
Stropping in itself is as demanding as sharpening or honing. I've been reading many times that it takes about a year or so to understand and master stropping, on a daily basis routine. That's some claim. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but the emphasis it puts on proper technique is real. At this level, poor stropping can undo anything good in a single pass. That's all it takes to ruin the edge. And stropping more, won't put the edge back. I've tried with a huge variety of strops. Never worked. It's always back to stone honing.
Hanging strops have the tendency to be more forgiving in some cases, while paddles in others. In my experience, if the paddle has even the slightest give, people are getting proficient with it faster. All it takes is to adjust the pressure not to flex the razor. With hanging strops is a bit more problematic keeping tension, pressure and rolling just right at the same time. But getting that much needed convexity is more natural with a hanging strop.
 

Desert Rat

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eBay seller. They have a bunch of cool jasper stuff. Now that I know I like the little one I'll probably get one a little bigger. Not full size bench. But 6x2 or so. They have Owyhee jasper which is what the razor forums covet. And the prices are very competitive if you're looking for a finisher on a budget.

https://ebay.com/usr/custommadesharpenersandkinves

Hopefully their rocks are better than their spelling
Not sure about the science behind it and I'm not a geologist but I never could get much benefit from jasper. Feels kind of like a hard Arkansas stone that has been burnished like a mirror only much slower.
 

stringer

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Not sure about the science behind it and I'm not a geologist but I never could get much benefit from jasper. Feels kind of like a hard Arkansas stone that has been burnished like a mirror only much slower.
I'm not sure what to think of it. It is too slow to use without something else as a pre-finisher. I don't think you'd get very far very fast if you started with a 4k edge and then tried to go to the jasper for instance. However, I've tried it now as a finisher following several different pre-finishers (12k synthetic, translucent Ark and a fine coticule). In all cases the jasper increased keenness, and reduced smoothness. Lots of weepers and contact slices, like the first time I tried to shave with a Japanese wedge. Irritation that can probably be avoided with less pressure.
 

kayman67

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Yeah, I've been writing this several times already. Not uncommon for me and sometimes I give up altogether as I just don't have the time to write everything in one go and by the time I read what I've written already, I must go again...

Anyway, it's a lovely afternoon here, I have a good feeling.

Today I'm rewriting about an unusual barber hone. I was actually surprised so few people knew about it.

S.R. Droescher was smart enough to establish a name for good quality shaving products that he never made (except maybe razors, but that's debatable). A true businessman.
SRD did this from 1891 until 1924, selling stuff from very reputable sources, under his own brands.

One of these products, is the Ambicut SRD. As far as I was able to find, it's one of a kind approach. Ambicut started as a synthetic part glued to a natural layer. And looked like it was made for a higher class. It had a nice wood box and a slurry stone (divided mind you), while most b-hones were cramped in much thinner cardboard boxes.

First about the synthetic part, as it seems it was common to all Ambicut hones. You might read about it as being the coarse side, but I am just not sure it ever was. My experience with this side was exactly the opposite. It polished very well. Nothing to call remotely coarse.

The natural side was a thuringian layer. SRD did sell stones directly from Escher, but not only and this makes impossible to know the exact manufacturer (well, manufacturer might not be the right word anyway). Because thuringian in general doesn't play nice with anything except water, I couldn't try the other side with something else.

Two types of layers were used, a light green one and a dark blue - black one. The first was as expected. I already had several light green and yellow green Eschers that covered anything I would expect. But those dark blue - black ones can be real gems. I read about them several times before I managed to find one (a really outstanding Escher in fact and never saw another since). When I found the Ambicut, I didn't think twice. I've read that barbers didn't care much about this layer as it was too fine and too slow for them. And so it was.

First time I used it, I killed the edge and tried to get it back. Took a lot of slurry plus another ~150 full x-strokes (just testing thuri side). That's slow, really slow. I got this beautiful fine delicate sharp edge. This might be the edge most people want from a thuringian. The finish looked more like from a very fine jnat.
Another way I used it, was with an edge from a 2k, just being there (I don't know if you guys do this thing when the edge just starts to cut arm hair, do usually 3-8 more light passes and move to the next stone so you get a buffer) and went to slurry and so on and so forth, finishing this time on the synthetic side, 60 times dry and 20 under running water. That's a lot of passes. I've checked the edge after every 20. The very edge got really polished.
Except these two times, I used it as pure finisher, after 8-12k, with water.

At some point, Ambicut changed the natural layer to a hard black arkansas. I'd say unusual for the period and for how the synthetic part performed. There's very little info about this, no one knows what slurry or dressing stone was used (looks like none survived). I would have liked to know what the surface was like when new and what the dressing stone was supposed to do.

I imagine that using a hard black ark wasn't the best idea (I would love one now though) and the hone was changed to both sides synthetic, also having a synthetic dressing stone. Again, I never used one, so I can't comment more about the performance.

The nice part is that the Ambicut is pretty much obscure. You might be able to find it for very reasonable prices. I have no doubt that only very good thuringian layers were used.
 

Desert Rat

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Not sure how many of you lurk or participate on any straight razor forums but to me anyway they seem to perpetuate the myth that razor honing takes some kind of special talent or skill, like honing is some kind of black magic shrouded in mystery. There is a learning curve and I have had some problem razors and some challenges learning how to use new to me hones but had I paid attention to what was being said on straight razor forums I would have been really intimidated.

So I would like to know how the learning curve has been for you guys? Is it harder than sharpening knifes? Did you just get a dull razor hone it up and start shaving with a decent edge right away or did you need new equipment and have to learn how to use it ect?
 

Matus

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I had a nice little Nakayma kamisori from Watanabe, really exciting stones and some synthetics and I got a strop from a small maker in Norway. But I got 2 lightly used and ready to shave from an experienced user (all these guys seem to have dozens of razors :p, don’t they, @Slipstenar). Still - with all the help and explanations I got I found the learning curve pretty steep. The main reason for that being, that you need to learn 3 things at the same time: shaving, honing and stropping. Failing one of them yields a poor shave. Plus having a relatively thick facial hair does not make it any easier. I am still experiencing with the setup I have and finding my way. I got better in all 3 categories, but still have a room for improvement. P. S. I do not use any compounds for the stripping, although they would probably make it easier to get a better edge, but I am trying to stay with just natural stones and cloth/leather strop.
 

stringer

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I participate in B&B. I agree that the old timers make it seem like it's very difficult and don't try and learn to shave and hone at the same time and yada yada. I shaved with the first edge I sharpened. It went fine. Since then I've had trouble with a few where the shave was a little rough or harsh or the heel needed more work or whatever. So I gave those another round and they are fine. I thought maybe I just wasn't buying difficult enough razors. So I added some Japanese and Swedish and Pre-Civil War wedges because the old timers say they are harder to sharpen. They also get sharp really easily with whichever stone I hone them on. Granted I've been sharpening knives a couple times a week for for 15 years. But I think I could teach anyone to do it in about an hour. But...YMMV. As they like to say.


I was going to just do a 7 day set for myself. But things have got a little out of control. Luckily my wife is very understanding.

Here's the current daily rotation
IMG_20200113_192136.jpg

On the workbench

IMG_20200113_192143.jpg

And just a few others in the project pile.

IMG_20200113_193839.jpg
 
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Jville

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Not sure how many of you lurk or participate on any straight razor forums but to me anyway they seem to perpetuate the myth that razor honing takes some kind of special talent or skill, like honing is some kind of black magic shrouded in mystery. There is a learning curve and I have had some problem razors and some challenges learning how to use new to me hones but had I paid attention to what was being said on straight razor forums I would have been really intimidated.

So I would like to know how the learning curve has been for you guys? Is it harder than sharpening knifes? Did you just get a dull razor hone it up and start shaving with a decent edge right away or did you need new equipment and have to learn how to use it ect?
I'll be honest, I was having a hard time getting the to pass the hht test until I started using cbn sprays on my strops. It really helped me. I've only sharpened once or twice. I'm still a little intimated by setting a bevel and doing the whole shabang, but I'm really comfortable with honing now. And as long as I hone I don't really have to sharpen much anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't have to sharpen for a year or so.
 

musicman980

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I'm also at B&B.

I started honing shortly after I started straight shaving, and luckily I had a razor with good geometry and a la grise coticule that was relatively straight forward to figure out. For me, nothing complicates learning to hone more than a razor with bad geometry. If the razor sits flat on the stones, most of the time you just hone it until it's done. If it has wonky geometry, then some parts don't touch the stone, some parts only touch the stone briefly as they pass over the side of the stone, pressure becomes uneven... It's just a hassle.

Currently I'm into localized pressure stropping on my coticule. It's working incredibly, and works very well for my razors with less than ideal geometry. All part of the journey.
 

stringer

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As far as equipment. Here's what I've bought:
Tiny Surgical Black Ark - I use this as a swarf eraser
Tiny Translucent Ark - Travel Kit
4x2 Translucent Ark - I love this stone probably my favorite edge, with just a few swipes on CBN leather then clean leather
Tiny Jasper - sharper and harsher than the Ark, but similar
2 Tiny Coticules - I like them, don't love them. There is a little bit of voodoo with coticules and Jnats, I'm much more comfortable getting consistent edges with arks or synthetics
Shapton Pro 12k - easy peasy breezy. Kind of boring with all the other cool crap out there you can get, but affordable
Chinese 12k - I actually used it to deburr culinary edges sometimes, not much else.

I want to buy a serious awasedo finisher. But I mean a real serious collector grade one. I keep putting it off because life. I think the Jnats and coticules are a much trickier way to go personally. So much variability. And with the coticule, the stones' max potential just might not be good enough. Whereas a good ark or a good high grit synthetic is easier and will definitely be "sharp enough". Now what your skin and beard need...Who knows.
 

Desert Rat

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I'm also at B&B.

I started honing shortly after I started straight shaving, and luckily I had a razor with good geometry and a la grise coticule that was relatively straight forward to figure out. For me, nothing complicates learning to hone more than a razor with bad geometry. If the razor sits flat on the stones, most of the time you just hone it until it's done. If it has wonky geometry, then some parts don't touch the stone, some parts only touch the stone briefly as they pass over the side of the stone, pressure becomes uneven... It's just a hassle.

Currently I'm into localized pressure stropping on my coticule. It's working incredibly, and works very well for my razors with less than ideal geometry. All part of the journey.
That was the main thing I learned and probably the hard way, razors are not perfect. I have a couple of long western straights that gave me fits. Nothing is perfect and them longer straight bladed razors seem to be more prone to a bow or twist that give me problems. Had I started on one of those my frustration might have got the best of me.
Would you share with us how you deal with it through "localized pressure stropping" ?
 

musicman980

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That was the main thing I learned and probably the hard way, razors are not perfect. I have a couple of long western straights that gave me fits. Nothing is perfect and them longer straight bladed razors seem to be more prone to a bow or twist that give me problems. Had I started on one of those my frustration might have got the best of me.
Would you share with us how you deal with it through "localized pressure stropping" ?
That's funny you mention the length as being an issue with honing. I've heard many times that kamisori get sharper than western straights, or that you have to be extra careful with a kamisori or it will cut you (as if it's sharper). I think it's just the shorter length that leads to way better geometry. No wobble/no problem.

So I just made up the term localized pressure stropping, can't think of anything else to call it. Most of my honing was typically pulling a razor across a stone one handed, or two handed with both hands at either end of the razor. This often works out, but for razors with any degree of warp, often times parts of the edge don't contact the stone until they hit the very side edge of the stone. If you localize the pressure at the edge 3/4" of the stone and work your blade in sections, you can be sure you are contacting every bit of the edge. Just don't focus the pressure right on the edge of the stone! That might damage the edge. I am now trying this method on all of my razors and my edges have never been better.

Edge leading works fine, but I'm finding edge trailing to work wonders on my hard coticule. Something about edge leading on hard coticules taking a bit more effort to get good results, while stropping on it damages the edge apex less. Just a theory.

Here's a video I just took. First I do straight lines, then I blend them. I do this until I can treetop my hair at 3/8" above the skin.
 

kayman67

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It's easy until it's not. Many variables at play that can change the outcome.

Let's consider one possible thing from the last example with spine leading passes on a coticule. Somewhere above I said something about doing this before starting stropping for the final edge. By pure chance was also on a coticule.
Why this method works better sometimes is due to the fact that edge leading strokes, with some razors and stones, will generate micro chipping. This can occur even at a much later stage, but it can start very early and have no clue.
And we read about stones or razors people struggle with, but they never try something as unintuitively (is this adverb a word?) different as spine leading. Now, if you ever looked at honing sessions on YouTube, for instance, was this even mentioned somewhere, have you seen it?

PS. That's a nice coticule. I know people buying coticules for years and never been able to get a decent edge out of them.
 

Desert Rat

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That's thinking outside the box. Thanks @musicman980 !

I learned to take a few spine trailing strokes as a way of finishing on Arks. Not sure how much merit it has but I still do it if I want all that I can get off that stone. If it works on Arks I would think it would be even better on softer stones. It's not common to see it used on razors but I know some do it.
 

stringer

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Here are my questions @musicman980 or anybody else that's into restoration.

1. How can I drill straight pin holes with no drill press? Both on scales that I'm making and old ones that need new pin holes. Like for converting shorties. Mine are always crooked.

2. What do you use for finish on hardwood scales? And how do you set them up

3. Do you use internal washers when you rescale vintage razors?

I finally figured out a good method that works for me for getting scales off of razors after mutilating several. I bought a tiny little pair of end nippers from Amazon. They didn't cut flush enough to get under the pin. So I just smashed them against the belt sander a couple of times to give each side of the pliers a flush chisel grind. Now it pops those suckers right off. If I want to save the washers I drill it out. But that's a much bigger pain.

IMG_20200114_160728.jpg

IMG_20200114_160740.jpg
 

stringer

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Here's a pic of the Swedish frameback with no back. Next to it I put one with the proper spine cladding so you can see what's missing. On the other one it appears to be a piece of brass plated steel that's clamped/forged down onto the spine

Edit* part of my message got lost. Can I fix this somehow? I have limited tools but a lot of willpower.


IMG_20200114_163434.jpg
 
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Matus

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1) get a ‘machinist’s cube’ or how is that piece of steel full of holes of different sizes called

2) sand up to 1000 or even 2000 grit and finish with 0000 steel wool. Than mix some TruOil with , say, some Epifanes boat lacquer and thinner. Apply and once the whole scale is coated immediately wipe all the excess and polish a bit with a cloth or polishing paper towel. Repeat 5+ times.
 

VICTOR J CREAZZI

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2) I like Tru oil. A lot of people use CA. I think that some people use Ren wax.

3) I would use internal washers. I didn't use to, but then you will sometimes get scratching on the tang.
 

musicman980

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It's easy until it's not. Many variables at play that can change the outcome.
...

And we read about stones or razors people struggle with, but they never try something as unintuitively (is this adverb a word?) different as spine leading. Now, if you ever looked at honing sessions on YouTube, for instance, was this even mentioned somewhere, have you seen it?

PS. That's a nice coticule. I know people buying coticules for years and never been able to get a decent edge out of them.
I remember reading a thread or two on spine leading strokes several years ago, but never focused on the technique. One of a million techniques people throw out there. You’re absolutely right, every new technique we try is always the best thing ever, until it stops working and we search for a new technique. That’s the journey! And thank you, it’s a looker and a fast, hard, and fine coticule.

Here are my questions @musicman980 or anybody else that's into restoration.

1. How can I drill straight pin holes with no drill press? Both on scales that I'm making and old ones that need new pin holes. Like for converting shorties. Mine are always crooked.

2. What do you use for finish on hardwood scales? And how do you set them up

3. Do you use internal washers when you rescale vintage razors?
1. I used to use a pin vise to drill and have had my fair share of failures with crooked holes. What I settled on was drilling the pivot hole prior to final shaping and thinning, and then sticking the full length (maybe 6”) 1/16” wire through the hole and commence the shaping and thinning. The long wire will help you see more clearly when the hole is straight in every which way, and you can sand down certain parts of the scales to correct for the inevitable wonky hole.

2. I don’t ;) I use ebony, goncalo alves, pink ivory, and other hard oily woods that don’t necessarily need it. At least the scales I’ve made don’t seem to need it yet. I like the matte look so if I ever use my walnut, birdseye maple, or redbud I might apply a wax.

3. If I can avoid them I do, because the friction between the wood/horn/ivory is best IMO. However if the blade doesn’t center properly I will use them accordingly.

I love those DIY flush cutters btw. And sorry I don’t know how you would apply a new backing for that frame back...
 

Desert Rat

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I finally got around to testing the synthetic coticule, black and white hone or whatever name it goes by. I took a proven razor and bread knifed the edge off of it brought it back and shave tested it. I use the broken corn off that stone to raise a slurry. It speeds it up some (still really slow). The stone has kind of a chalk like texture turning to a buttery smooth feel honing on it with water. The shave wasn't bad at all and I was able to go against the grain on my upper lip which is kind of my litmus test for an edge. A little more burn than I am accustomed to after I applied after shave but still not bad. I don't have a clue what that hone is made out of or how but I think it's capable enough hone has a finisher. I don't have the patience for it and it brings nothing to the table my other stones don't do better, my curiosity has been fully satisfied.
 

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I got a Shapton Pro 1500 and a new baby coticule. Now I have 3 little vintage Coticule/bbw combos. I've been messing with the jasper and Arks for a few weeks. Time for a little coticule shootout. I'll do pictures as I go along. I just spent the last couple of hours honing so it's not going to happen tonight. I'm just going to set the mood while my thoughts are fresh. I'll test one razor per day and let you know what I think.

All razors are in good shape. They came from my "No Major Issues" box. Which means they can just be cleaned and honed and used. Some have wonky bevels/chips/minor pitting or blemishes. But nothing that will affect shaving that can't be fixed on the stones. I did three razors on each coticule. Each razor has had the bevel fixed and set with the Shapton Pro 1500. After that each got the exact same progression, just with different coticules.

Dilucot
3 rounds
1. Medium slurry generated by the other coticules - 50 laps
2. Dilute by 1/2 - 50 laps
3. Flood with fresh water, drop of propylene glycol - 50 laps
4. Plain linen strop - 50 laps
5. Horsehide Shell Strop - 50 laps



Coticule #1 - 6 X 1 3/8 - Natural combo. Fast and hard. Visible grain. Creamy color with lateral streaks of BBW visible on the sides. One line that actually appears to be BBW material. Doesn't catch a fingernail or impact sharpening. The sound is higher pitched than the other 2. The edge feels like there is some bite to this stone. But it feels smooth and cold to the touch of your finger.

1. Oxford Germania Solingen 5/8 Hollow
2. Solingen Red Imp Wedge 5/8 Half Hollow
3. Torrey Our Beauty MA 4/8 Hollow

Coticule #2 - 4 3/4 X 1 1/4 - Glued combo. Softer and finer but still fast. No visible grain. Surface is kind of blotchy though. Patches where there is more yellow, blue, or pink. Smoother feedback, not as much feeling of bite. Lower pitch sound, more muffled. Generally I like the edges off this one better but I like the first one for being fast at the middle portion. This is the first time I'm using the third one so we'll see.

4. Union Razor Works NY 5/8 Hollow
5. Unknown Solingen 5/8 Half Hollow
6. New England Razor English Steel 5/8 Hollow

Coticule #3 - 5 X 1 - Glued combo. Very similar to stone #2 except more yellow. No pink and blue splotches. No visible grain. Seems finer and softer than the first one.

7. Genco Pyramid 6/8 Hollow
8. Solingen Red Imp 5/8 Hollow
9. Bowdin's Art MN 5/8 Hollow

To be continued...
 

brooksie967

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Dig deep enough into B&B and straightrazorplace and you'll find me (same username). Used to be heavily into the forums but got out of there (thankfully) and found this place!
 

stringer

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I belong to B&B but KKF is my home.

You never know what's going to set those guys off and there's a lot of weird factions.

Here's some more teaser pics.

IMG_20200204_194039.jpg
IMG_20200204_194123.jpg
IMG_20200204_194353.jpg


And here's a video of a HHT. This is the one in the upper left of that picture. Union Razor Works NY (not to be confused with Union Cutlery Co., Olean, NY or Union Razor Cutlery, Union City, GA, or Union Razor Co., Tidioute, PA)

 

brooksie967

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I finally got around to testing the synthetic coticule, black and white hone or whatever name it goes by. I took a proven razor and bread knifed the edge off of it brought it back and shave tested it. I use the broken corn off that stone to raise a slurry. It speeds it up some (still really slow). The stone has kind of a chalk like texture turning to a buttery smooth feel honing on it with water. The shave wasn't bad at all and I was able to go against the grain on my upper lip which is kind of my litmus test for an edge. A little more burn than I am accustomed to after I applied after shave but still not bad. I don't have a clue what that hone is made out of or how but I think it's capable enough hone has a finisher. I don't have the patience for it and it brings nothing to the table my other stones don't do better, my curiosity has been fully satisfied.
Sounds like you've done your homework about it being a synth! Did you do the acid test?
 

stringer

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Day 1
Oxford German

IMG_20200206_201518.jpg

I deliberately picked my weakest finishing coticule first. I actually use this one the most. It's the larger one from the pic above. It's fantastically fast from bevel set to pre finish and then it never really gets any better. The shave was as I expected. Plenty of sharp enough for my cheeks and mustache. My neck was rough. I usually do one pass South and one pass North. With this coticule I always get a little worried because the south pass it seems to just barely get through. But then you do the other pass and a little tugging, but it's alright. Beats the hell out of contact slices from an ultra lively edge any day.
And then you think, well it's not really that close, it didn't feel that close. But you wash your face and it looks pretty good. And you think well it won't last. But it does. It just works. No thrills but no risks either.

Day 2 - This morning
IMG_20200206_201622_1.jpg


This one is quality. I was impressed. The coticule plus a little heavier grind is a real winning combo for me. The red imp 132 wedge is about a half hollow. It has a sister the 133 that is about 3/4 hollow. They are great razors with terrible scales. I got lucky on this one, the scales are great. So was the shave. The extra weight eliminated the tugging problem I had with the lighter blade yesterday.

Tomorrow I'm using a Torrey "Our Beauty".

Coincidentally, I got a 1890s Torrey 4 Step Paddle Strop/Hone in the mail today and the hone portion is a coticule. So I'll have to pick out 3 more razors to hone and include it in the competition. I made a little video to show it off.

 

brooksie967

Wanna touch my Ashi?
Joined
May 21, 2015
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Location
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
I should have made mention on those scales too. The three pin are by far the most desirable for imps and yours are in great condition as you mentioned!
 
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