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…]

A Kamisori Primer

Iwasaki Kamisori

Even within the rather select group of wetshavers who follow the straight-and-narrow (har de har) path of straight shaving, I am a member of an even more eccentric cadre: I’m a Kamisori user.

What, I hear the voices raised in unison, is a kamisori?

Well, to be honest, Kamisori (which is pronounced Ka (a Bostonian saying Car) Me (a name I call myself) So (a needle pulling thread) Re (ally not that difficult.) just means “razor” in Japanese. So 12 bladed vibrating lighted moisturizing face-mowers are also Kamisori. However, for purposes of simplicity, when I talk about Kamisori I am talking about the Japanese straight razor, also known as Wakamisori or Nihonkamisori. [Read more…]