I'm loving this new technique that I'm using. But it's getting close to the time to start looking at mid level stones again and I'm really considering getting either a Naniwa Chosera/Professional 3K stone and/or a full size version of the Norton 4K stone which would be about double of the amount compared to this stone when it's brand new. I love this hobby and trust me when I say that it's addictive. Norton makes a good stone that's easy to use, but they do wear out faster:
Like I said in another blog post, the 4K side of the combo stone wears out rather quickly while the 8K side has held up pretty well. This is definitely great stone that I enjoy using so I'll probably just get a full size version of the 4K which is the same size as this stone is brand new but only one grit. However I'm also looking at other stones as well to add to my collection:
As usual with the Norton water stones, flattening is required before each honing session. For those that are using the Norton Flattening stone, draw a grid on it like you see below and flatten before you soak the stone. It'll go much faster for you and not wear you out as much:
And yes I do the same thing on both sides of the stone. The 8K side takes just a shade bit longer because it's a slightly harder stone compared to the 4K side:
Next I soak it in ordinary tap water for 10 minutes. For those whom are worried about soaking these Norton water stones for too long, there no need to worry because this stone seems to work better when you soak it for a longer time than normal. The 8K side does NOT require soaking but since this is a combo stone, you might as well soak the whole thing instead of just half of it:
Next I performed 100 round trips followed up by half circles on each side for 40 seconds on each side followed by 20 seconds, then 10, then 5 more seconds after that on each side then I performed 20 more round trips to clean up the edge and I did this on both sides of my stone:
After finishing the routine I mentioned above, I went back to the 4K side and did 10 more round trips then I went back to the 8K side again after that and did 20 more round trips. The edge looks like a brand new mirror that someone just finished polishing at the factory where it was made. Then I followed that up with my usual stropping routine:
My stropping routine made the edge look perfect under the loupe. I do 5 round trips on the scrub leather followed by 15 round trips on the smooth leather after honing. I'll probably do 15 more round trips on the smooth leather before shaving because I tend to forget and to make sure that I get a good shave, I usually end up stropping my razor again just to make sure.