You likely did not know this [b/c the exact opposite is confidently & heavy-handedly espoused on every str8rzr-centric internet forum], but str8rzrs’ bevels are supposed to be concave for best performance and longevity. Don’t believe it? [email protected]@k at the pictures here taken from the 1934 book from the world’s largest abrasives manufacturer who supplied the best vintage razor factories their sharpening wheels… Could it be possible the world’s largest abrasives manufacturer and supplier of the tools used by the vintage Victorian Era razor factories might know something the self-appointed and self-taught shaving forum experts do not? Read the gobs of screenshots of customers’ praise all from here in 2021 when I began seriously shaping the shop’s stones to be smaller wheels upon the honing SKU and decide for yourself if it makes any sense that so many people would go out of their way to contact us (all unsolicited, we never contact you unless you contact us first!) versus the assuredly-small volume we move of product. The percentage who took the time to write boggles my mind.
The surface without the vintage Pike label of this ~2x5x1″ whetstone has been formed to be a ~25’x6.5′ convex ellipse. Put your razor’s spine 90° to this surface’s ~5″ length as you hone upon it and you’ll be affecting its furthest point from the spine (it could be possible in some cases that physical obstructions of metal in the bevel will be polished away prior to this depending upon the incumbent geometry upon your razor’s bevel and whether it was used with – heaven forbid – tape on its spine), and as you angle your spine away from 90° you’re effectively be changing the effective diameter of the imaginary wheel you’re presenting to the razor, which is useful for deliberately bending the razor’s edge by challenging it with an abrasive field specifically chosen in shape as to intersect with the razor behind the edge termination and in the very narrow field where the razor will [if properly ground and tempered] flex to the abrasive (in a good way). This surface is also excellent as a tight backing for a hanging leather strop.
While the use of a Hard Arkansas stone for the home user will take thousands of sessions to measure a variance, as with any hone wear and flattening is inevitable. So if you’re really anal, get yourself a small Arkansas stone, and before using your new fancy Hard Arkansas stone, wrap some sandpaper tightly around the surface of this hone and use that shape to rub against your ~1x3x0.5″ type of handheld Arkansas stone. It will quickly orient itself to the inverse form of this hone’s convex surface, and then you can use that with a bit of diluted Ballistol to rub upon the hone before each session, intending on your end to impart some abrasive action to the periphery of your ~2×5″ honing pitch.
Acquired on the open resale market as are all of these stones sold since 2016 or so, this cost $136.71 to put in hand (these old Norton/Pike/etc. just keep going up and up and up), so what you’re paying for is the labor and abrasives required to form that surface and then show it to you in words and pictures…which is MUCH harder to do than you think (the labor part, not the marketing part)! Even with this modest large diameter wheel and 2×5″ size, it cost nearly two completely dedicated hours at a miserable task and over $3 worth of abrasives. Foolishly, there are people who find these vintage labels to add value to the stone more than having a second surface made dead flat or perhaps as an even smaller wheel…because of those concerns, the label side has been left untouched, and all the other five facets were originally dark grey soiled from use with oil. We recommend to you to use the stone with Ballistol diluted with water, to your preference.