Synthetic Whetstones

Some Thoughts on Synths

Synthetic stones are excellent options for honing straight razors, especially when needing to remove chips and/or reworking poorly done bevel-geometry. Additionally, high-grit synthetics can be good finishers, but that will be another section.  

Synthetic stones impart a certain type of sterility to an edge – they also have a tendency to cut deep and narrow scratches into the steel. I don’t know if this has any effect on edge longevity, or whatever – but I do sense that edges done start-finish on Japanese natural stones are smoother and often keener. While I realize that statement can only be completely subjective, in an objective sense – it’s what I know as my truth. 

Synthetic stones are fast and they save time. The 1k-ish stones I use are usually very consistent, so removing their scratch pattern is fairly simple most of the time. The process I go through may seem ludicrous and unnecessary to many people, but it works for me.

I use the 1k-ish stone to rework the blade’s geometry and to get the bevel ‘set’. Occasionally I will use 3k and 5k synthetics after that. Whatever the case - I always follow the synths with an extended Nagura session.   

 I’ll close with these 3 thoughts; 

There is no right or wrong, whatever works - works.

There are only preferences, proficiency, techniques and skill-sets.  

There are many ways to the top of the mountain.

© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2018