Honing and Care
I am beginning a long overdue rebuild of this page. Please check back for updates.
New – Out of the box
Your razor will arrive with a heavy coat of oil on the blade surface. Wipe off all the oil you can using a paper towel or facial tissue. Be very careful around the edge. The razor is supplied “shave ready” and will cut you if you are not careful. Try not to cut the paper while you are doing this. The cellulose and lignin in the paper are very tough on the edge.
For the first few uses, you may notice a black residue coming off the blade. This is iron oxide left from the etching of the Damascus pattern. The black layers are slightly pitted during the etching. These microscopic pits hold the iron oxide. After several uses the black residue should be completely cleaned out.
Treat your Damascus razor as you would any other carbon steel razor. After shaving, rinse the blade with hot water and gently dry with a towel. Be sure all the water is off the blade. I apply a very thin layer of Ballistol, or mineral oil, to the blade. This assures there will be no oxidation, of the edge, before the next use.
The scales require little, or no care. They are treated with a gun stock oil finish. If you like, you can give them a light coat of a good wax, or oil. I prefer Renaissance Wax or Ballistol.
Stropping the blade before each use improves the edge. Usually 30 – 50 strokes on a leather hanging strop will keep the edge in good shape for several weeks. Some prefer to start with a clean linen or hard wool felt strop, and follow with the leather. Once the strop will no longer keep the edge smoothly shaving, it is time for re-honing.
The honing section on this page was horribly out of date. Things have changed a lot over the last ten years. I will update this page as time allows.
The most important change was my introduction to Japanese natural stones. Secondly, I was re-introduced to the Naniwa 12,000 grit Pro stone. When lapped to 3000 grit, it is a fantastic prelude for a high end finish stone.
The edge on a straight razor is actually quite fragile. It is best to try and keep anything from touching the edge of your razor, other than: your properly prepared face and whiskers, strop and hones. A lot of the "edge testing" that is done can actually damage the edge of a fine razor. The "thumbnail test", hanging hair test", and "thumb pad test" are commonly used. These tests are useful during the initial honing of a razor, but should not be tried on the finished edge. The best test for a razor, is to shave with it, on properly prepared whiskers.
Long Term Storage
For long term storage, coat the blade and scales with a good gun oil or grease. I prefer RIG gun grease, or Ballistol, as it doesn't evaporate, and is safe for the wood. Wrap the razor in a cotton cloth or paper towel. Store in a cool dry place.
Returning the Razor for Service
I am happy to offer honing service for my razors. Normal honing is available for the cost of return postage and insurance. Please understand, this is for normal honing and does not cover chip repair, rust removal, or other repairs.
I am willing to repair razors I've made. If you have damaged your razor, please call or write for a repair estimate.
Thank you again for purchasing one of my razors. I trust it will provide you with a lifetime of shaving enjoyment. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.
The start of the stroke on the hanging strop. Pull the strop tight, don't let is sag.
Pull the blade towards you. Flip the blade over it's back. Push it back to the top.
Little to no down pressure should be used. Do not rock the blade up on it's edge.
The back of the blade should be in contact with the strop at all times.