Hand Tools Archive

earwax stone pic *PIC*

David Weaver

Problem with telling shaving people about stones is they will buy and trade stones around, so they don't care that much about spending a lot of money as long as they can get most of it back if they change their mind.

That results in people buying 10 stones of the same type. if someone buys a stone and they love it (shavers), they'll buy 10 more. If they buy a stone and it's OK but they hear someone else loves them, they'll buy 10 more to find one they like.

I gave the shaving forums a method to use with washitas as most of the old published discussions came up a little short (coarse edge). It was more or less to use the washita to set the edge of the razor, strop it (to remove any foil) then lightly use the washita, then linen and strop again, then very lightly use the washita, and then linen and strop again - shave. Then linen and strop separately and a couple of light strokes on a washita.

This may not look familiar, but it's basically using the stone to set the geometry, and then conditioning the very edge of the razor with linen and strop. In the old days, that's how most razor hones advised - get the edge set and then never remove it. It takes some skill, but not much, and some perception. Two or three people report a great shave and its off to the races.

I see only one video on youtube talking about a washita stone that's older than
mine and perhaps 75 that are newer. The only video older than mine is a russian guy opening a stone that he got from the US along with other arkansas stones.

They work so well on razors because they're just fine enough to give a rough shave, but linen and leather can refine the edge without thickening it and the washita can keep the bevel thinner....AND ...razors are about the simplest steel you'll find as even a little bit of alloying like O1 makes for a crappy razor. Hard really plain steel always works well in terms of edge treatment. I'm guessing that medium and medium hard temper razors are in the 61/62 hardness range, about where chisels also have super behavior.

Lots of little things to manipulate. Best to find out what works with experimentation and then find out specs later so that you find out what's good, and not what sounds good and then convince yourself that's what you like.

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