A Short Sake Primer

Sake Barrels in Hiroshima (CC license Dan Smith)
Sake Barrels in Hiroshima (CC license Dan Smith)

When we was talking about article ideas for the site, Mantic mentioned that there was more to being a Sharpologist than just shaving…indeed, a pretty common topic of interest among readers here is the occasional tipple. And me being surrounded by great Sake breweries as I am, I thought I might muse a bit about this quintessential Japanese drink.

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My AD Cure

Three Months In
Within three months of my first wetshave, this is what I had bought.

Perhaps the least attractive aspect of this wetshaving game is the near constant encouragement to get things. Razors, brushes, all of the gear associated with this hobby (if that is what it truly is) all have their own “Acquisition Disorder” (or AD). RAD, SAD, BAD, they all stand for one thing: the measurement of fun in terms of how much stuff you buy.

I myself was a quick study, and became a true sufferer of ADs of all shape and size. Razors both safe and not, soaps, and above all stones all served to feed the “passion” I felt about my newfound hobby.

It’s all over now.

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An Introduction to Japanese Hones, pt. 3

Honing a Razor
Honing a razor on a Japanese hone


And thus I finally come to the end of the series! I apologize for the delay, but I hope that the payoff will be worth it.

Just to recap, in my first article in this series (Part 1) I introduced a bit of history and trivia about natural Japanese whetstones, and in the second (Part 2) we looked at some of the specific characteristics that make these stones so very good for straight razor honing. In this part, then, I thought I’d give some techniques for using them…the good stuff!   [Read more…]

An Introduction to Japanese Hones, pt. 1

Me with a Large Nakayama Stone

I’d like to take a couple of articles to talk about one of my favorite topics, Japanese natural whestones, or Tennen Toishi. The subject is very deep, so I’ll have to skip a lot, but I’d like to talk about the history of these stones, their different qualities and attractions, and hopefully dispel some of the mystery surrounding them. For more information, you can always check out my blog, Eastern Smooth.

Why whetstones on a Shaving Site?
One of the most important things to know for those thinking about taking up straight shaving is, those blades don’t sharpen themselves. Average use (or misuse) leads to the deterioration of your edge over time, to the point that stropping on leather no longer leads to a comfortable shave. The most common way of fixing that is a whetstone. For some, this is a bit of a turnoff as it does require a certain level of skill and practice to produce a good shaving edge, but for others (myself included) that’s part of the allure of straight shaving: the feeling you get when you successfully put a smooth, sharp edge on a razor is amazing. [Read more…]