At the end of the hone, flip the blade over the back as if you roll a pencil between your index finger and thumb without moving the wrist. Start the second stroke, again edge leading, in your direction. Never turn over the edge, this will round off the edge. Keep in mind the scheme with the angles. Repeat this process 5-10 times, or more when the razor is rather dull. As the razor becomes sharp, gradually lighten the pressure and test frequently. This prevents overhoning. An overhoned edge is as bad as a dull one.
How to test a honed edge
When the razor is taking an edge, there will seem to be a suction to the hone. After that, you will start to test whether you honed enough. This is how. Pass the edge over the moistened thumb nail from heel to point. This gives one of the following results.
- The edge passes smoothly and freely without any sensation. This is a blunt edge.
- The edge tends to dig in, but smooth in sensation. This is a keen edge.
- The edge drags quite a bit, and digs in more with a slight grating sensation. This is a coarse edge.
- The edge tends to stick on passing, and gives a harsh, disagreeable, gritty sensation, like a file. This is an overhoned edge. The edge, which is too thin and weak, breaks off on the nail, exposing a rough, dull surface. This can be repaired by passing the edge over a wooden match a few times, or by honing edge-trailing a few times, followed by back-trailing strokes to create the new edge. In general, waterhones prevent overhoning, although modern waterstones cut faster than older ones.
- The edge passes with irregular sensation along the edge. This is an irregular edge. The cause is in irregular honing pressure or angles. Slow down speed and study the process carefully.
When the edge is ready, it is not ready for use. The edge should
get a final polish on the strop which gives the razor its specific
sharpness. You may need to hone once in 2-12 months depending on