Norton 24336 Japanese-Style Combination Waterstone 4000/8000 is one of the best honing stones in the world. It’s versatile and you can use it for multiple tasks. It is amazing for making your straight razor sharp. One of its best advantages is that it has two surfaces with different grit. 4K on one side and 8K on the other. These surfaces are enough if you wish to make the edge of your razor shave ready. In this article we will explain how to hone your razor using Norton 4K/8K stone.
One of the first and the most important question straight razor owners ask is about honing quality. Is it possible to shave right after honing at 8K side? In general yes, you can get rather acceptable shaving. But it’s recommended to use finishing stone or natural stone for final polishing. You will get much better shaving experience in the long run.
When you get a new Norton it comes with a special case. This case can be used as a stone holder. It allows to place the stone on it and use it with comfort. All you need for this is to place it on the closed box and you are done. Special trotters on the bottom make the box stable and it doesn’t move.
A new stone usually feels a little grainy. You can feel it with your hands. This is about both sides. Even 8 000 side feels a little grainy. You need whittle these grains away until it has a very smooth feeling before you use it. We recommend using special Norton Flattening Stone for Waterstones for this purpose. It will help you to remove all the excessive grains and will prepare your hone.
Before you use any Waterstone you need to soak it in water for about 15 minutes. All you need for this is a deep glass with still water. Put the stone in this glass and let it stay there for 15-20 minutes. It will absorb some the water and will be ready.
Many people don’t know how to hold the razor during honing process. They think that there must be special angle between the blade and stone surface. But the secret is that no special angle is required. Just put the razor above the stone and that’s all! This is the best angle. You don’t need to maintain specific angle with your hands. The image below shows this perfect position:
Pay attention: this position must be unchanged during the whole honing process!!! Don’t use your hands for setting the angle.
Place Norton stone on the box and water it with sprayer. This water will make honing process easier. If you don’t have sprayer just pour some water on it and use your fingers to distribute it.
If your razor doesn’t have a bevel you don’t need to buy 1000 stone specially for setting it. Use 4000 side for this purpose. Most of new razors don’t need this! They already have a pretty nice bevel and this step is not required.
If you want to set a bevel you need to perform 40 circular motions for both sides of the blade. Use pressure. There is one thing you should always remember: the blade must lay perfectly flat on the stone! If it’s not perfectly flat you may harm the edge. If you do everything right you will see metal particles after several motions.
After you finish with circular motions make 15-20 simple strokes. Move the blade towards the edge and keep it flat.
You will have to repeat above steps couple of times in order to set perfect bevel. Some razors require only one repeat while others may need two sessions of honing.
Honing routine is very similar to setting bevel. But now you must move from low grit and medium pressure to high grit and no pressure at all. It’s like a pyramid.
These 3 steps will make your blade shave ready. You can go to your bathroom and give it a try. Don’t forget to strop it as usually. Stropping will prepare it for shaving.
Of course these 3 steps can’t give perfect sharpness. If you want to make the edge perfect you need to use finishing stone. Naniwa SP491 12000 Grit Honing Stone is one of the best. Make 10-15 strokes on Naniwa 12K without pressure and your blade will become extremely sharp. If you don’t have finishing stone try to use special strop with thin layer of chromium oxide. We revealed how to make and use it in Straight Razor Refreshing guide.
As you see Norton 24336 4000/8000 honing stone is a very good and versatile choice. All straight razor owners can use it for sharpening their shaving tools. It’s not too expensive and combines 2 surfaces with different grit to provide you with all you need for maintaining your razor. You can use it not only for regular sharpening but also for setting a bevel.
Here is a list of common mistakes people usually make when using this great stone:
Hope this Norton Waterstone 4K/8K honing guide will help you to keep your razor in good shape.