Straight Razor Honing Services – Where to find them?
I live in Asia where straight razor honing services are hard to find. Straight razors are captivating my imagination. That’s why I began a quest to find a straight razor and want to learn to use it.
Like I told you in my previous post, I tried to find a cheap straight razor. I went to eBay and found a lot of cheap and “vintage” straight razors. I bought some of them.
I was fascinated by the old ways of shaving. People were using a cut throat razor like a very common tool. I was afraid of using one. I think it was because I put a lot of respect to knives. A sharp straight razor is like a sword to a samurai. With proper technique, a samurai can cut almost everything.
Where to find straight razor honing services?
I bought a lot of straight razors from eBay. I was so ecstatic. I tried to cut the hair on my arm using all of them to see if they are sharp enough. To my disappointment, none of them can cut smoothly.
At that stage, I was so clueless about straight razor shaving. I took the next logical steps. I asked around the shaving forums.
In there, I met Glen Mercurio from Gem Star Customs. His id in shaving forums is gssixgun. I learned that he is one of the best that provide honing service. Alas, he is located in the United States of America.
Why the sad face, you asked? Like I stated, I live in Asia. For me to send all my razors to Glen, the postage fee will choke me to death. It is way too expensive.
I really wanted to use the service of Glen. But he also said it wouldn’t be economical for me to send all the razors to him. But Glen asked me if I would like to send my razors to Singapore. He has a friend there that can give the honing service. I immediately said that it was the best. As Singapore is just next door.
I was waiting and waiting for Glen’s friend to contact me. Finally, he did. His name is James G. Keegan, Jr. He is actually based in Taiwan. I was a bit disappointed. I thought that I can ask my brother, who is in Singapore, to pool my straight razors. But, hey, Taiwan is just two doors away. Still way closer than USA.
James G. Keegan, Jr
I immediately exchanged information with him through emails. He suggested me to send my straight razors to him. He needed to inspect them through a microscope. YES. A microscope.
I thought all you need to do is just put the straight razor on the whetstone and do some honing. Why was a microscope was needed?
This is why.
Those are some nasty looking pictures, aren’t those?
James was kind enough to let me know that even though all the razors can be honed, he preferred that I shouldn’t do it. The condition of the razors was quite bad. He was willing to return the money that I already sent to him. No service provided so he wouldn’t accept my money.
I ended up buying one of his shave ready razor with the money that I sent him.
Synthetic or Natural Edge Straight Razor
James is a friend of Glen for more than 10 years. Because I was recommended by Glen, James was willing to provide his service for me. He can hone your razors to a synthetic or natural edge. Your preference.
What is a synthetic or natural edge? I was asking the same question. James responded with this answer.
A synthetic edge is an edge created by the use of several synthetic honing stones. A natural edge is an edge created by real stones from stone quarries or mines, mostly from Japan for the good ones. The commonly held belief is that a synthetic edge is sharper. This is not the case if your razor is honed by a competent professional, of which there are few. The true difference is that a synthetic edge generally feels more gentle on your face, often so much so that you don’t realize how good and close the shave is until afterwards. While my reputation is more as a synthetic honer, I can tell you that all of my personal razors are honed with natural stones and I recommend those for you unless the razor itself dictates otherwise.
Straight Razor Honing Stones
Natural Honing Stones are made, well, from natural stones. They are carved from quarries. You may find these names: Coticules, Eschers, Thuringens, Arkansas, or Japanese Naturals.
Synthetic Honing Stones are man made. (Duh!) The benefit of a synthetic honing stone is you get the exact grit that you want. 1,000 grit is 1,000 grit. Some of the names that might be familiar are Norton, Shapton, and Naniwa.
So there are Natural Honing Stones and there are Synthetic Honing Stones. You can choose your own preferences if you want to perform honing a straight razor yourself. Learning can be fun.
But first, you must learn to know what Grit is. Grit is used to measure how fine or coarse a whetstone is. The lower the number, the coarser it gets. The higher the number, the finer it gets.
The low number like 1,000 grit is used to clear all the pits and cuts. Also use to make a bevel.
The high number like 12,000 grit is used to smooth the edge of your straight razor. A finishing touch.
Glen recommended you to have several stones to maintain your straight razor sharp.
Let me give you a really good piece of advice.
To REALLY learn to hone razors…
You start at the Finisher stage with simply maintaining your razors and slowly work backwards down the grit range, after learning the “Honing Gymnastics” on a hone that can do the least damage :p
Now feel free to ignore that advice and buy all the stones and jump in the deep end LOL
I have been recommending the Naniwa SS set
1-3-8-12 for a few years now as the most SR friendly and cost effective way to hone.. You will be hard pressed to beat the edges that these can produce at any price.
Straight Razor Honing Kit
So this is the set that Glen has recommended.(If you can’t see them, please whitelist us in your ad blocker)
If you just want to use a straight razor honing service. You can contact Glen at his website.
Or if you are like me, living on the other side of the earth from USA, you can contact James in Taiwan. You can reach him through his email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find him on Facebook.
Have you ever use a straight razor honing service before? Where? Can you promote it here?
Share your experience down below.