Honing a damaged blade

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Keep in mind before reading, that this is not the only way to skin this cat, but it is the most consistent way I have found…. This is called the "Progressive Honing Method". The Norton Pyramid Honing method also works well, after the initial bevel is formed

Tools needed[edit | edit source]

Main article: What hone(s) do I need?
  • Stones needed: ANY BRANDS…..
    • A bevel setter approximately 1k
    • A sharpening stone approximately 4k
    • A polishing stone approximately 8k
  • Stones that make life easier or better:
    • A low grit stone 220-600 grit
    • A high grit finisher above 10k

Step by step guide to honing a damaged blade[edit | edit source]

Step 1: Breadknifing the blade to make it flat and straight[edit | edit source]

So let us take on a straight edge razor, with damage, a frown, or uneven wear. First the edge needs to be straight. There are a few ways to accomplish this, but one very fast and accurate way we have found is what is often referred to as breadknifing. option

The bread knife method:

  1. Take the razor, place it on the lowest grit stone you have, edge straight down on the stone, and try to cut the stone like you would a loaf of bread (I hold the blade itself, dead center) this totally dulls the edge and squares it up taking out nicks, chips, frowns and sometimes heel and toe wear..
  2. What you end up with is a nice flat straight edge that is absolutely dull…

If the razor has a chip in the edge either at the toe end or the heel end of the blade and is too large to repair using light strokes with the above method, then you may want to breadknife into the side or unused part of the hone so that the hone's usefulness is not impaired. Breadknifing can also be performed on sandpaper.

Step 2: Re-setting the bevel[edit | edit source]

Now comes the re-set. This is what we have used with the most consistent success.

  • Use 3 layers of electrical tape on the spine. This concentrates the honing to the edge.
  • Use a low grit stone, e.g. a 220 Norton. You are re-cutting the edges of that square bevel off, and it needs to take a lot of metal off fast (any fast cutter would work.)
  • Do angled laps heel first - no X stroke here - across the hone. You might as well get a nice even bevel started right off.
  • A proven system is to 10 lap sets on all honing. After 10 laps, rinse the stone and spin it so you are using the other edge now and repeat until the edge starts getting sharp.

As soon as you can feel an edge, switch up to make sure of an even bevel. Do 3 of the heel forward straight laps down the hone, then 2 actual X strokes still heel forward, then 3 straight then 2 X stroke laps continuing with the 10 lap sets until I have a sharp edge. It will feel like a very sharp kitchen knife at this point.

Now comes decision time. Remove the 3 layers on tape at this point. You may want to use 1 layer of tape until you finish on the stones but that is your decision.

Step 3: Establishing a true bevel[edit | edit source]

Move to your 1k stone and establish a true bevel. This will go much faster and be way more even since you started the work on the low grit cutter. Again, use a 10 lap set with the 3 straight and 2 X strokes mix then spin the stone and repeat until that edge is nice, even, and sharp. At this point the edge is passing the TNT the TPT, and it will pop arm hairs at the base of the hair with just a touch.

For stubborn spots that just do not want to come into line, using circular or Japanese style honing methods will normally do that for you. Just remember to follow that with a 10 lap smoothing set…

Step 4: Finishing the edge[edit | edit source]

Again, where you go from here is your choice as you now have an established bevel. One way is to go to a 2k Shapton to finish the bevel setup and to align the edge to the Shapton stones. It does not take many 10 lap sets now to refine the edge, and all laps are done using a smoothing X pattern. Taking this refined bevel, you may want to head to a 4k Shapton and sharpen the edge, again using 10 lap sets with the X pattern. At this time the edge will pop arm hairs above the skin level with out a problem…

Then move to the 8k Shapton and polish the edge into shaving sharp levels. From here where you go is only personal preference, but if you take it to the 16k Shapton, it will get really smooth. You will not need to touch the edge at all above the 4k level except on arm hair and then very little. There should be no need for it. You should now have a shaving sharp edge that you would take to the “user appropriate” strops - again, a personal preference here.

Like said in the beginning, there are other ways to get there, but this method has been proven to deliver very consistent results.

For smilies this needs modification on the bread knife method and the type of stroke used on the hones.

Don't Despair[edit | edit source]

We'd also like to remind the those of you just starting to play with eBay razors that patience is critical. It can take a surprising amount of time to bring one of these back to shaving sharp - it really makes you appreciate just how hard this steel is and how terribly slow these hones really are. One of the advantages that experience gives you is appreciation of this fact so you don't get frustrated when you run into problems. It also builds your confidence so you know that you can actually do it with enough time and careful attention. Then it becomes less of a problem and more of a puzzle, and puzzles are a lot more fun to solve.[1]

Illustrated guide to fixing a damaged blade[edit | edit source]

Acknowledgements[edit | edit source]

  • Original article by gssixgun[2]. There are many useful comments in this thread, so make sure to read it, too.
  • "Illustrated guide to fixing a damaged blade" was originally posted by mkevenson[3]

References[edit | edit source]