Sunday, December 09, 2012

South African Zulu Grey Hone

This hone, carved out of a guy's backyard in South Africa is all the rage in straight razor shaving circles right now, with people saying it's as good as the fame Escher Thuringian stone as a finisher. Since Escher's can run $400- $1000 and this is just $100 I got one.

It took 2 weeks longer than expected to get here while all the while I had to read of all the great edges it was producing for others. I have had 4 blades honed on this stone of late by Stefan of SRP and they are as keen and smooth as any edge I've shaved with.Even as I get my act together with my Escher as well.

It came so well packaged I almost didn't want to open it. :)) But of course there was no choice

It is a seriously dense, heavy stone that was lapped perfectly flat and smooth. It felt glassy to the touch. Michael, the owner really took his time with this.

He also realizes this is perhaps a new classic finishing stone and took the time to provide extra labels to adhere to the bottom of the stone. Just like they did in the old days.
I put my 5/8 tonsorial gem that I've been playing progressive honing with the last 3 days going from  a coticule water edge to a ch12 k to the Welsh Thuringian to see which stone did what. The order I  honed them in was the correct order of keeness. The C12k was sharper ( but not smoother) than the coticule and the WT was sharper still.

Then I got this baby and made some slurry and did 20 X strokes then started to dilute with single finger drops every 5 laps until I hit 40. Then dipped the blade in a cup of water every 5 for another 20 X strokes.

Then rinsed all and did another 30 laps. The stone gives great and immediate feedback; you can feel the stone the entire stroke and it seems like the blade likes the stone. That's the one consistent thing I've heard about this stone from all the honers, this stone seems to not discriminate against different types of steels and is easy to use.

It sure feels that way and it's a pleasure to use. Slide and glide on all the differing types of slurry consistency, even pure water.
After 20 reps or so the blade started to get sucked into the stone, a sign it had had enough and was ready.
This  stone definitely increased the sharpness AND smoothness of the WT stone and this was the best shave I've had off this vintage blade yet. Very keen. I only did one pass this morning and that was plenty :)) A rarity indeed for me.

Put the 6/8 Gotta and Revisor on the stone with the same protocol. Both these edges were shave ready, I want to see if this advances the edge and, if so,, by how much:

All the hair tests were awesome and I did 20 on linen and 30 on leather, 20 on my palm. Will re strop tomorrow for the shave.

But I still wanted to play with it some more so I put my White Steel Santoku Japanese kitchen knife on it. It too was already sharp off my Cretan hone and BBW. A few sets of half strokes on slurry and it was obvious this thing was WAY sharper! I need a razor as easy to hone as my Santoku! Perhaps a real Kamisori will do the trick. But it was SUPER SHARP.

 So I dulled a 1958 5/8" russian blade to see how fast it would bring back the edge whether it was more than just a finisher.

I built a medium thick slurry and did 5 sets of 15 circles. Again, the contact, feel and feedback from this hone is awesome,you just WANT to hone on it. It pulls you in and it's easy to feel what your are doing. Shaving leg hair no problem.

Then push strokes in sets of five for a total of thirty with slight dilute. Edge was keener still. Then X strokes with a finger drop dilute every 5 then 3 laps for another 20 or so. Then dipping the edge every five strokes for another 15 laps. Then 25 on pure water.
Again, the stone started to create suction on the blade so I stopped. Test are great on this as well. This I'll find out Tuesday.

All in all very happy with this stone already and certainly worth the small amount I paid for it!


Started with the Gotta, 20 laps on linen, 35 laps on leather. Perfect shave! JUST the edge I like, SILKY smooth and sharp without being aggressive at all. Closer to a great coticule than the Escher I think, So light in the shaving, just the barest of touch takes the hair off! Love it.

Did the second pass with the Revisor but really didn't need it, Barely took any hair off at all!! SO  cool. Can't wait to try the Russian tomorrow and play with this stone on other blades as well


ren said...

Where can you purchase a ZULU stone?

ren said...
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