Honing

Honing.

Razors require honing to produce an edge that is not only razor-sharp but silky smooth too. A smooth edged razor makes for a pleasant shave without skin irritation and rashes.

The internet is full of self-proclaimed honing experts. Anyone can buy a set of synthetic hones and proceed to hone a razor, there's no skill in that.  It's all about the edge, you'll hear.  However, honing a razor well is a skilful task that requires experience and practice.  There's no substitute for experience and an affinity with steel.

I have been honing steel for over 35 years.

I prefer to hone a razor, as nature (and the manufacturer) intended, without tape. A fashion has developed in recent years to place electrician's tape on the spine of a razor.  This is an unnecessary practice. It's like trying to tune your car engine without starting the engine up.  That said, if you want your razor honed with tape, let me know. Your razor, your face your rules! 

 

I hone with a wide range of hones, synthetic and natural.  My personal preference is an Ardennes Coticule, which suits vintage blades.

After honing, I strop the razor on natural linen followed by leather. For more information about strops and stropping, see here.

Here's a Wade & Butcher mid-hone on a Coticule.  The same razor features in the video clip below.  I test the razor's edge with a human hair by tapping the hair on the edge.