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Hubris, or honemeister madness taken to yet another level

June 12, 2011 — R

I have always been uncomfortable with the meister part of honemeister. The reason for this is a cultural one: a German Meister has little in common with the English use of the term. Yet still, the entry for honemeister in the Straight Razor Place's FAQ makes a lot of sense: "A honemeister is a person who is highly skilled at honing. Honemeister is a title bestowed on a honer by others as an expression of recognition for that person's skill and experience." All required boxes ticked: peer review, the ability to operate at µm precision, and knowing your way around problematic razors (of which there are more than the average user would believe).

But now someone set up a honemeister review blog. And that someone has managed to take the hype to a whole new level. In a very, very bad way.

Let's begin with the blog's most obvious flaw: Who is that guy? Presuming it is a guy. Might be a crossdressing vampyre for all I know. Or care. Yes, it is common practice to use a pseudonym when writing something on the internet. But if you start a blog passing judgements on people who have been in a particular trade for many, many years, you just might consider showing us your bloody credentials. Lest someone might call you Buffy, and insinuate that your ego might be too big for your B cup push-up bra.

Then there is motivation. "With so many razor sharpeners, I will be your guide." Woah, thank you, Buffy, but... no thanks. I don't know who you are, and you won't tell me what you know about honing razors. Remember the peer review element in SRP's FAQ? You're losing out on it, my little blood sucking fella.

Now, the rating system. Well, bly me! If that doesn't read as if it came fresh out of B&B's sycophant section. "Laser Sharp   The razor is freakishly sharp. So sharp that it just mows down whiskers simply by looking at them." Tell you what, I have never got a satisfactory shave out of a razor that had been brought to this level of sharpness. Does that mean these edges don't work for anyone? Absolutely not. They seem to work for quite a few people. But they also seem to not work for many others. Meaning, this rating system is completely bogus. The sharpness of a razor's edge says very little about the quality of the shave this edge will give you.

But wait a minute, there is more nothingness to be had there. "Smooth as Butter   Absolutely no irritation. I cannot even feel the razor cutting the hairs." How that is different from sharpness, only Buffy knows. But Buffy wants to make her readers believe it has something to do with smoothness. Well, sorry for spoiling the fun, but smoothness has as least as much to do with one's preparation and the quality of the products used therein as with the edge of your razor.

See, I have had razors honed by quite a number of people. 23, to be precise. Clearly, I have my personal preferences. But I did a little experiment. I sent a few razors I positively hated, and some I utterly liked, to a couple of friends of mine. And yes, we all agreed that some of the razors shaved better than others. But we could not come up with a rating scheme that would work consistently. There was not a single razor that would not have varied by at least one point on Buffy's so called rating system. Into which, by the way, she seems to have introduced .5 ratings, too. Well, so "4.5-5 (Laser Sharp)" is, well, uhhh, like, you know, like the same as 5 (Laser Sharp), only with more, ummm, digits?

But the real kicker is the USA Honemeister List. Not even in B&B's review section have I seen such a massive amount of misleading sciolism. For example, what am I to make of this little gem? "Owner of Madaspen, Max specialized in straight razor restoration. No words need to be said, just take a look at this page. Absolutely gorgeous scale design. Very nicely polished razors. He also offers straight razor sharpening services." Now, I know Max can hone razors from first hand experience, but what does looking a polished pieces of metal in shiny plastic on the internet have to do with that? Yet the entry I instantly fell in love with is this one: "Not much is known about them as they are a new website, but judging from the free content and about page, A Sharper Razor is a serious entrant into the honemeister market." Especially in conjunction with "Please don't send your razors here. Nothing is known about these people." Soooo, "nothing" is horribly bad, but "not much" is übercool? And just for the record, the free content is severely lacking compared to SRP's Wiki. On closer inspection, some of that content there does look eerily familiar. Let's just hope the guys know what the license for that Wiki actually entails...

I smell a rodent. A big one. Everything about this blog feels wrong. If I were you, I would not base the decision about who is to hone your razors on it. Ever. Consider yourselves warned.

Comments (3)

That was an interesting blip on the radar...

It seems our honemeister guide has pulled all his posts for the time being.  Ah shucks... lol

The strong arm of the law

Rumour has it that people were ready to press charges. Quite understandably, I would like to add, since the whole "test" setup was so obviously geared towards pushing one or two vendors.

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