Why certain razors require more or less honing than others
There are a number of reasons this why some razors require more honing than others:
- The material that your razor is made from will determine how much hand honing is required and how long your edge will remain sharp. Stainless steel sometimes takes a little more work to achieve the same sharpness as carbon steel, but may also stay sharper a little longer.
- The thermal treatment that the razor undergoes during manufacturing.
- Also if a razor has more of a wedge shape (less hollowing) it will generally require more honing to achieve the same sharpness as a razor that has been partially or fully hollowed. This is due to the amount of metal that must be removed to achieve that perfect edge.
- If a razor has a dull edge then it will take a LOT of work just to set a bevel and get the razor to a level of knife sharpness. Razors with chips in the edge and/or corroded steel could take a lot of work before you even reach the good steel that will take a quality edge
The ability of a razor to take and keep good edge is the result of the type of metal used to make the blade and the process used in manufacture. Simple steels with few alloying elements rely solely on the formation of iron carbides for their hardness. Steels with more alloying elements require a more complicated hardening process at different heats for different amounts of time.
The temperatures at which the blade is tempered range from 430 - 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Tempering is a softening process which also makes the metal tougher. Hardened steel that is not tempered is very brittle and not tough at all. Tempering can be done in a toaster oven, a low temperature kiln, or in a forge - be it gas or coal. Tempering can also be done in a lead bath as the temperature of molten lead is 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The end result of all this is a blade that can take an edge and stay sharp due to a variety of factors.
So, in the end it is down to the quality and care taken with the manufacture of the blade.