Posts Tagged ‘Razor honing’

Martinez Monster Straight Razor Reveal and Test Shave

February 25, 2018

I was quite happy to receive my Mike Martinez Custom 3/4 Hollow Ground 8/8 Straight Razor yesterday from Martinez Blades. It’s 52-100 Steel with stabilized curly box elder burl scales harvested in Cushing, TX, and a clear G10 Liner. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I fist opened it. WOW. Even after seeing it several times, my reaction on the unveiling below is still genuine!

As stated, Mike makes some big razors, which I personally love. The beautiful thing about them is that they aren’t bulky or heavy to wield, and they zip around your face just like a 4/8 or 5/8 full hollow sports car. And they really do come shave ready – a claim straight razor guys like me are usually very skeptical of. But in this case, it really was 100% shave ready. Below is the first test shave straight out of the box.

The shave was a huge success- WTG and ATG were flawless and the blade sang joyously throughout the whole thing. If you’re looking for some next level straight razors, look no further than Mike Martinez.


Jende Nanocloth Ultra Strops – Color Coded for Your Pleasure!

September 9, 2016

We are happy introduce Jende Nanocloth Ultra, our newest innovation in stropping mediums!


Jende Nanocloth Ultra Rainbow

  • The Jende Nanocloth Ultra is a synthetic stropping material that has no weave, so feedback is the same in all directions. Other weaved strops tend to have noticeable resistance change feedback variations, like a rug when vacuuming, which can make you second guess your stropping stroke.
  • The Honeycomb structure is very consistent. The shape allows the emulsions to fill up the honeycombs, keeping more abrasive on the strop and off your knife. The shape also fills up and beads on the surface, giving a snow-shoe effect with even scratches when stropping.

Jende Nanocloth Ultra – 400x

  • The depth of the honeycomb has little compression – less than leather in general.
  •  Because of the depth of abrasive in the honeycomb tubes, differential pressure can be used to give the strop more or less aggression by adding pressure for more aggression, and super light strokes to just tickle the edge for finish stropping.
  • The color-coded Acrylic base allows you to instantly recognize the grit strop you desire to use, saving time and confusion.
  • Laser etched to ensure long-lasting and clear identification marks.
  • Works equally well with our Jende Poly Diamond Sprays, Jende Poly Diamond Emulsions, and our Jende CBN Emulsions.

We are offing a huge variety of sizes on color coded acrylic, including 210x70mm and 2×6″ Bench strops on 3/4″ thick acrylic blocks, and for a full array of guided sharpening systems, including the Edge Pro (EP), Hapstone Sharpener, KME Sharpener, and Wicked Edge (WEPS).  Stropping will never be the same again!

Microscope Porn: How To Post It Correctly

August 1, 2015

With all the microscope porn on many of the sharpening and honing social media and forums lately, there needs to be a more standardized way to document the magnification. There are many available microscopes on the market, and the stated magnification levels are all over the map – from 3x to 1200x. Ironically, having the magnifications in these settings is irrelevant because we can enlarge and magnify pictures for various viewing needs, which often contradicts the stated magnification. It is therefore more important to know and state the actual area or size of the picture.

This tutorial will help to solve some of the uncertainties about knowing what the actual size of your pictures are rather than the so-called magnification. Please keep in mind that this is not in any way a comment on the quality of any of the scopes mentioned here. They are all very good, and extremely useful learning tools.

So, the easiest way to know your picture’s dimensions at a given magnification is to simply take a picture of a ruler under your scope, and state the dimensions when posting pics. This could be a USB scope, a scope attached to your cell phone, an optical scope, etc..

Below is a Veho at  20x. The pictured area is 6mm wide by 8mm high.

1 Ruler 20x ~6mm high

Ruler 20x ~6mm high

5 Ruler 20x ~8mm wide

Ruler 20x ~8mm wide

However, the Veho at 40x is 10mm high by 13mm wide! According to the magnification, the image sizes should be smaller (in theory, 3mm high x 4mm wide), but clearly the USB scopes don’t magnify the same as the scientific ones do. Hence, the issues with stating magnifications vs. stating the actual size of the pictured area.

2 Ruler 40x ~10mm high

Ruler 40x ~10mm high

6 Ruler 40x ~13mm wide

Ruler 40x ~13mm wide

To take it a little further, here is the Veho at 200x, which is 1mm high by 1.5mm wide. This is hardly a 10 times or even 5 times magnification of the 20x or 40x above.

3 Ruler 200x ~1mm high

Ruler 200x ~1mm high

7 Ruler 200x ~1.5mm wide

Ruler 200x ~1.5mm wide

And lastly, the Veho at 400x, just to drive the point home. 🙂 the picture is 0.75mm high by 1mm wide. Again, not the same ratio of magnification to the real size of the picture.

4 Ruler 400x 0.75mm high

Ruler 400x 0.75mm high

8 Ruler 400x ~1mm wide

Ruler 400x ~1mm wide

OK, so we get that part now. 🙂 On scopes with software packages, you can measure out the dimensions, and even set a “bar,” which represents a specified length, much like a map has a scale in KM or miles. In the example below, famed razor honer Dr. Matt has set his Dino Lite scope’s bar to 50.0 microns, which can be seen in the lower left hand corner of the picture. That means the entire area of the picture, no matter how large or small on your screen, will be approximately 300 microns wide by 250 microns high, or 0.3 mm wide by 0.25 mm high. Dr. Matt’s microscope is quite nice, you’ll notice there is also more information on the top tabs of the picture, including the “magnification” and screen resolution in pixels.

Dr. Matt’s bar is 50 microns

While Dr. Matt’s image as-is is self explanatory, if he didn’t have the bar or tabs and was citing this picture for others, he would say something like “This picture was taken with a Dino Lite 900, and the picture dimensions are 0.3 mm wide by 0.25 mm high.” This way we all know for sure just how close we are to getting our eyes sliced opened. 😀 BTW – stating the actual size of this picture makes Matt’s work even more impressive!

In conclusion, taking just a little time and a couple of pictures before hand to measure the actual size of your pictures will prove to be a more valuable asset to understanding what these pictures represent, and therefore make learning from them easier for the user, and for the rest of us in the peanut gallery. Thanks!

Diamond Bars by Ken Schwartz – For Buffers

November 17, 2014

We’re happy to announce that we now have Diamond Bars from Ken Schwartz! These specially formulated diamond bars are packed full of diamond abrasive, making them very fast, and very consistent. They also come in a wide range of grits – from 80 micron down to 0.10 micron! So if you’re removing rust from a blade, repairing chips, profiling or reprofiling, sharpening, or polishing the blade, these bars are essential.

Razor Honing with Jende Diamond Films

November 14, 2014

The new Jende Diamond Films are great for honing razors. I personally use the 1″x6″ size with PSA for all my razors, but you can use larger sizes, with or without PSA backing just as well! Here I go through the 45, 30, 15, 9, 6, 3, 1, and 0.5 micron films. For most razor applications, I recommend the Polishing Set from our website, which is the 15, 9, 6, 3, 1, 0.5 micron films (1K through 30K).

Jende Diamond Films – Using PSA and Non PSA

November 12, 2014

Our new diamond films come with the option of being PSA backed or non-PSA backed, and this video gives a quick how-to about securing your non-PSA film to a surface, and how to change the PSA backed film. This is on the 1″x6″ Edge Pro size films, but the methods will work on all sizes.

Diamond Films by Jende Industries

November 10, 2014

Abrasion resistant steels and ceramic knives are now an established part of the knife and tool world, and this requires diamonds in order sharpen them effectively. That’s why we are proud to introduce Diamond Sharpening Films by Jende Industries! We have 10 grits available, ranging from 80 microns to 0.5 microns (180 grit to 30,000 grit), and come in Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) size, Edge Pro size (1″x6″), 2″x6″, 3″x8″ and 3″x11″. They are also available with PSA and non-PSA backing.

2x6 jende standard set web

2″x6″ Diamond Films by Jende Industries

With a grit range that rivals that of some of the best sharpening stone series out there, our diamond films can handle profiling and repairs while bringing your edges to amazing heights of sharpness. Our films are also great for slip stone applications – they can be wrapped around dowels for sharpening serrated edges or the inside curvatures of turning tools, or used to polish the blade of old razors.

We’ve put together a few diamond film sets to choose from in order to get you started:

The Polishing Set includes one piece each of 15, 9, 6, 3, 1, and 0.5 micron films (1K to 30K grit), and is a comprehensive set that is geared toward general edge maintenance and regular repair work. Straight Razor honers will benefit greatly from this set, and those looking for shave ready knife edges will definitely impress!

The Standard Set includes one piece each of 45, 30, 15, 9, 6, and 3 micron films (320 to 6K grit), and is an “all around” set that can handle profiling and reasonable repairs. The 3 micron finish produces a mirror finish, and is “good enough” for most knife and tool applications.

The Coarse Set includes one piece each of 80, 60, 45, 30, 15, and 9 micron films (180 to 1,500 grit). This coarse set is meant for some more serious work, be it cleaning up scratches from belts or diamond plates, or for removing chips or reprofiling. The 9 micron film leaves a great “working sharp” edge that will hold up to abuse, and still do some serious cutting.

1″x6″ Chosera Stone Straight Razor Microscope Progression

March 29, 2014

When it comes to honing razors, my go to stones are the 1″x6″ size. This is because many of the vintage razors out there have some sort of warping, smile, frown, or years of uneven hone wear that makes it very difficult for the full size stones to fix without either removing a lot of steel from the blade and/or causing a lot of unnecessary hone wear. Not to mention, the time and frustration it can cause, especially to newer honers. Simply put, the 1″ wide stone can do a better job in many of these cases, not to mention saving money, space, and having much greater portability.

With more people using the 1×6 stone size, I put together a micrograph progression of what an ideal bevel/edge looks like at each of the Chosera grits. The razor used was a Geneva Cutlery (NY) 1/4 hollow ground that was already in shaving condition. In the case of this razor, the average stroke count was approx. 150 alternating askew X-strokes. All pictures are taken on a Veho-400 USB microscope and the actual picture size is 0.75 mm tall by 1 mm wide.

1. Chosera 400

1. Chosera 400

With the 400 and 600 Choseras, the edge is pretty even, but rugged. More importantly, if you look at the top ridge, it is actually pretty “thick”. So while it is even, it is still too thick to cut into arm hair with ease.

2. Chosera 600

2. Chosera 600

The 400 and 600 Choseras are probably best for cleaning up deeper scratches from diamond plates and for repairs.


3. Chosera 800

3. Chosera 800

The 800 Chosera is a bevel setting stone, as well as a transitional and repairing stone. Notice the bevel has a matte finish, and the ridge, while slightly wavy, is noticeably thinner – but still too thick for cutting hair. This edge will cut arm hairs with some pressure.

4. Chosera 1K

4. Chosera 1K

The 1K Chosera is a bevel setter, and can handle minor repair/touching up. The bevel is beginning to get smoother and brighter, and the edge of the edge is beginning to become more uniform. It is very important that the 800 and 1K stones are done as perfectly as possible to prevent more work at later stages. This edge will cut arm hairs with a little pressure.

5. Chosera 2K

5. Chosera 2K

The 2K Chosera begins to polish the bevel and refine the edge of the edge. The ridge line is still slightly rounded, but is much more uniform. More importantly at this stone, the bevel is not revealing any hidden deep scratches that will cause micro chipping later. This edge should cut arm airs with little to no pressure.

6. Chosera 3K

6. Chosera 3K

The 3K Chosera adds more polish to the edge, and brings out the bevel’s surface even more. The ridge line of the razor may look frayed some, but you are almost looking “into the edge” at this angle. This is the micro chipping effect, which is inevitable, but it is of the 1K and 2K scratch level, which will clean up. It may be worth adding more strokes to this level, or jumping down a level or 2  if there is too much fraying. This edge should cut arm hairs with little to no pressure.

7. Chosera 5K

7. Chosera 5K

The 5K cleans things up. there will always be an element of a frayed edge, but the line is very even and the depth of the frays terminate very quickly. You cannot do too many strokes at the 5K level. This edge should cut arm hair effortlessly, and it should feel like it shaves (I don’t recommend it, though!)

8. Chosera 10K

8. Chosera 10K

The 10K Chosera really brings a polish to the bevel and the edge is very consistent. Like the 5K, you really can’t do too many strokes on the 10K, but if you are getting frayed edges, you need to step to the 5K or back as far as the 1K, 2K, or 3K to clean them up. This edge should slide through arm hair effortlessly.

After this, you can strop and shave, or continue with further refinement.


Setting a Straight Razor Bevel on a 1K Chosera EP Stone (Video)

March 14, 2014

I was asked to show the best way to set a bevel on a 1K stone, in particular on a Chosera 1″x6″ Edge Pro sized stone. FWIW, I do the majority of my razor honing on 1×6 stones because the 1″ width can easily accommodate most warping, frowning, and smiling blades better than a full sized 3″ width stone can. It’s a personal thing for me, as I have all the corresponding full sized stones as well, but for others, it is also a space and money thing.

Anyway, there are 3 basic strokes demonstrated in the video: Circles, Knife Strokes, and X-Strokes. There is a synopsis below the video. Enjoy!

Circles – are the most aggressive action, and are best for repairing chips or creating an initial bevel on a razor that is in need of serious restoration. I generally do sets of 20-25 circles per side with pressure. It may take many sets to do what needs to be done, but this is the stroke to get that work done. Once a bevel is established using circles, it will need to be refined with knife strokes on the same stone before moving to a finer stone.

Knife Strokes – are single sided back and forth strokes made without turning the blade over. It is “half an X stroke”. This stroke is best for light repair, or a quick refresh of a tired edge that has been maintained for a while. It uses less pressure than the circle stroke, and cleans up the messy edge the circles make. I generally do sets of 20-25 strokes per side. You shouldn’t need too many sets to accomplish your goal here if you’ve used circles, but if you start here, it may take several sets.

X-Strokes – are the usual method of alternating, single side honing strokes, and uses no pressure. This is the least invasive method, and the one that prepares the bevel/edge for the next grit level. I recommend at least 50-100 strokes to firmly establish the depth and consistency of the 1K stone. This will help prevent micro chipping at higher levels.

When to use each stroke?

If your razor is an Ebay special, or has serious restoration issues, then you will want to start with circles, clean up with knife strokes and then finish with the X-strokes – all on the 1K stone.

If you are maintaining a tired shaving edge with maintenance wear, I would begin with the X-Strokes, and if more aggression is needed, move to the Knife Stroke, and if it is really bad, resort to the Circles (and then work you way back up).

I hope this helps!

Norton Stone Micrograph Progression on a Straight Razor

December 31, 2013

After my Coticule micrograph progression, it seemed only natural to continue documenting the different stones that are available for sharpening and honing. This series of posts is not about proving which stone or stones are better for a specified purpose, but about creating a sort of microscopic benchmark that others may compare a progression or particular stone’s progress against. Of course I will offer my observations and views in the discussion, but the pictures don’t lie.

Norton water stones are probably the amongst the most “standard” stones out there, especially in the US. Norton’s history dates back to 1885, and until the influx of Japanese synthetic water stones in the late 1990’s, if your grandfather or father had a sharpening stone, it was most likely a Norton. These particular Norton water stones come in 4 grits – #220, 1K, 4K, and 8K.

There are other useful micrographs out there, such as Tim Zowada’s razor bevel comparisons, but the difference with my progressions is that there is a full documentation of a stone series from start to finish with known quantities behind each picture, such as in this case of documenting at 50 stroke intervals. I also attempt to show the limits of a given stone by going “past” the best results, just to make sure that the capabilities of the stone has been maxed out, as we will see below.

The razor used is a Wade & Butcher (W&B) Wedge razor with 2 layers of vinyl tape. Pictures are taken with a Veho 400, and the actual size is .75 mm tall by 1 mm wide. I used as little pressure as possible, and I did 50 strokes between pictures, changing the top layer of tape  between X and askew X strokes. While the position of the edge is not exactly the same in each picture, it is roughly in the same spot within a few millimeters of itself.

The “before” picture is the W&B with a dry coticule finish, after 5 shaves.

1. W&B Coticule Edge – 5 shaves

In order to “get rid” of the coticule finish, I did a series of 75 circles with pressure on the Norton #220 stone.

2. W&B #220 Norton 75 Circles

The #220 Norton is a “gritty” stone – it sheds abrasive readily, which makes it aggressive, but it also dishes readily. The #220 is also porous, so I needed to spritz water every 10-15 strokes to stop the loose abrasive from becoming a paste, which would reduce its cutting action. I proceeded to do 50 X strokes on the #220.

3. W&B #220 Norton 50 X Strokes

With only 50 strokes, the scratches become more clear, although there is still work to be done. I continued with another 50 X strokes, bringing the total to 100 strokes.

4. W&B #220 Norton 100 X Strokes

There is more improvement, and I should’ve switched to the askew X strokes, but my #220 is noticeably dished enough that I wanted to get off the stone quickly, even if it meant more work for the 1K. So with a tape change, I proceeded to do 50 X strokes on the 1K Norton.

5. W&B 1K Norton 50 X Strokes

It is clear that the #220 scratches form the circles are still present, and with such light pressure on the 1K, it did take some doing to remove them. With the progression of the 100 and 150 X strokes below, it looks like I was barely hitting this area of the edge with the X stroke. Sometimes we need to know when things aren’t working, but this is also a testament to making sure that you do the work at the bottom of the progression.

6. W&B 1K Norton 100 X Strokes

7. W&B 1K 150 X Strokes

The 1K is definitely slower than I’d like at this point, but the edge of the edge is slightly improving and is removing the #220 scratches. With a tape change, I switched to 50 askew X strokes on the 1K.

8. W&B 1K Norton 50 Askew X Strokes

The askew X stroke is already hitting this area of the edge much better than the straight X strokes. We can clearly see the jagged edge, which is the fallout of the #220 scratches. I continued to do 100 and 150 askew X strokes.

9. W&B 1K Norton 100 Askew X Strokes

10. W&B 1K Norton 150 Askew X Strokes

Here the edge of the edge is coming together. It did take some doing to get to this stage, and sometimes it just takes more strokes. I ended up doing another 100 strokes in all, bringing the total to 250 askew X strokes.

11. W&B 1K Norton 200 Askew X Strokes

12. W&B 1K Norton 250 Askew X Strokes

Switching from the 1K at this point was a judgement call – you can see there are several small “rat bites” in the otherwise pretty even 1K edge. What I was more interested at this stage was the removal of the #220 scratches, of which we can still see two remnants.  With 250 strokes, this is many more than most people would prescribe, and at this point it is time to clean up the edge with the 4K.  So with a tape change, I did 50 X strokes on the 4K.

13. W&B 4K Norton 50 X Strokes

The 4K Norton is an interesting stone. It really cleans things up, leaving a gray/matte finish on steel. It’s slightly aggressive for 4K, and you can see that just after only 50 strokes, it really is very good.

14. W&B 4K Norton 100 X Strokes

15. W&B 4K Norton 150 X strokes

After 150 X strokes, the edge is clearly becoming more consistent. Note the rounding effect beginning at the edge of the edge. I switched tape, and then went to the askew X strokes.

16. W&B 4K Norton 50 Askew X Strokes

17. W&B 4K Norton 100 Askew X Strokes

Picture 17 is definitely a winner 😀 but to be sure I had maxed out the potential of the 4K, I did another 50 strokes to see if there was any measurable improvement.

18. W&B 4K Norton 150 Askew X Strokes

As you can see, there really isn’t much improvement of the bevel, and the edge of the edge seems to be more jagged, but that is probably more because of the swarf on the stone causing turbulence that cuts through the edge. There is also the possibility there there is the bottom of a #220 scratch still bottoming out. But overall, I’d say this stone was finished.

On to a tape change and the 8K with 50 X strokes.

19. W&B 8K Norton 50 X Strokes

“WOW” was my first word when I saw this picture come into focus. You can clearly see that the 8K Norton polishes – and quite quickly. You can see from the residual askew strokes mixed with the X stroke scratches that more strokes are needed, but the edge of the edge itself has made that “critical leap” from sharpening to polishing.

20. W&B 8K Norton 100 X Strokes

21. W&B 8K Norton 150 X Strokes

The X stroke seems to have maxed out, so I switched to the askew X stroke.

22. W&B 8K Norton 50 Askew X Stroke

There is just the slightest “feathering” of the edge caused by the remaining X strokes vs. the askew X strokes.

23. W&B 8K Norton 100 Askew X Strokes

With 50 more askew strokes, the edge of the edge is consistent. I did 50 more just to see if things would improve any further.

24. W&B 8K Norton 150 Askew X Strokes

There is no real improvement over the edge itself, but there seems to be slightly more polish.


I stropped with 10 canvas and 15 leather and shaved. It was a step up in sharpness and smoothness from the coticule edge, but not a huge leap. Needless to say, I was quite impressed. The shave lasted longer as well, a solid 1.75 day shave.

This is a difficult progression to remain objective about in my discussion, but clearly they Nortons work, and they work well. What has kept me away from them in general is the quick dishing and constant need for water, especially the #220 and 1K stones.  The dishing, while it can be seen as advantageous for quickly convexing the edge of the edge, is a negative for me since there is a 4 stone progression to consider. If the #220 is dished, it will take that much more to remove or match the dish on subsequent stones. The overall softness of the 1K doesn’t help the dishing issue.

On the other hand, the 4K/8K 1-2 punch is pretty convincing – but it must be prepped properly, and we saw how much work it can take the 1K stone to get it done properly.


Simply put, I have a new found respect for the Nortons. I’ve never been a big fan of the #220 and 1K stones, but I have used the 4K and 8K stones on my knives in the past with great success, and the micrographs show why.

One thing I can say for sure is that technique is always the biggest factor in these kinds of progressions, and while I opt not to use pressure in most cases, it is difficult to calibrate everyone’s interpretation of “no pressure”. Therefore, it is not as important to compare how many strokes it took to get a certain result, but rather to see which picture your result resembles in order to know where you stand in terms of progress.