Top quality shaving equipment

Nakayama stoneI recently bought two shaving related objects which I am very happy with. These objects represent the pinnacle of quality in two areas. The first is a brand new straight razor from J.A. Hellberg, and the other is a Japanese natural waterstone.

The knife is bought from the Cutler Janne Hammar in Eskilstuna, Sweden. It is he who now own what is left of the firm J. A. Hellberg. Hellberg was one of the old Eskilstuna companies that produced extremely good razors. Janne operates one of the forges in “Radermachersmedjorna” in Eskilstuna. He uses the company name “Knivsmedjan Eskilstuna.”

When Janne took over the company from his father (who had bought the Hellberg Firm), he discovered a box of unused straight razors in the warehouse. He now grinds a really good edge on them, and puts handles on them, as well as laser marking the blades with his logo: “Knivsmedjan Eskilstuna”.  This is without doubt one of the best straight razor I’ve tried.

The Japanese natural stone, I was very excited a bout. It is from the same area as the legendary Nakayama stones. These normally costs a lot of money, but I got this pretty cheap on ebay. It does not have a square shape, and there were some imperfections in the form of pits / eyes in stone that I had to get away (as you can see in the pictures), but as soon as I had honed down past these pits (I used my lapping stone from Norton), the surface of the stone became superfine. I had to lap it and remove the text from the top of the stone anyway, so it was not much extra work. It is a fairly hard stone. I guess it’s harder than my Coticules, but not the hardest stone out there. My chinese finishing stone is harder.

The seller writes: “They are known as the oldest mine in the central Kyoto Honyama which was discovered +800 years old ago. Nakayama sub mine called Mizumafu. They are made with uncut stone from before WW2.” So i guess it is not a “real” Nakayama, but from the same area.

I have now tried it on several straight razors, and it is one of the best stones I have tried! This is both an excellent “finnishing stone” and a stone for the complete honing process. I got very good results by combining a Ardennes Coticule, Welsh Dragons Tounge, and this new “Nakayama” (all are natural stones).

I have also tryed using only the Nakayama with different slurry thicknesses, after first setting the bevel on a 1000-grit King stone. This also worked fine. I used first a syntethic Nagura (slurry stone) to speed up the honing, and then a natural Nagura (wich are softer) to help with the polishing after the bevelsetting and sharpening. It seems like the Coticule has gotten some serious competition 🙂

Nakayama stone

These holes and imperfections where removed in the lapping process.

Japanese whaterstone

Before lapping.

Brand New Hellberg straight razor

The Hellberg straight razor from Janne Hammar.

Knivsmedjan Eskilstuna

This is Janne Hammar’s forge/shop at the “Radermachersmedjorna” in Eskilstuna

 

2 Thoughts on “Top quality shaving equipment

  1. How long did the lapping process take you? I’m going to be trying this myself on a stone I also picked up from ebay.

    • Hi
      It did not take long. I first drew a checkerboard pattern on the stone with an ordinary pencil. Then I used my Norton lapping plate/stone (same as in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blutw9FI-Vc).

      I use running water on the stones during the process (as in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gp-DJCON84). It took a little longer than usual to lap the Nakayama, because I had to grind away some holes in the surface, but I do not think it took more than 15 minutes.

      How long it takes varies also with the type of lapping plate/stone you use. I see many consider a DMT lapping plate is better than Norton, but the Norton works for me 🙂

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