Playing with straight razors

Discussion in 'H.I. Cantina' started by Sylvrfalcn, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Idle hands are the devil's workshop. :D I've got a Spanish made Filarmonica razor that I bought new, great big old square ended 8/8 for you razor guys who know what I'm talking about. The blade is of exquisite quality, wonderful shaver. So what's the problem? I'm a guy who absolutely loathes plastic, and the durn thing has a cheezy, silver colored, plastic handle on it. Great blade, lousy handle.
    I also have a nifty bone handled razor that I bought from one of the outfits that carries stuff for historical reenactors. Problem with it is a lesser quality steel/temper, so that the blade requires fastidious stropping to shave well. Good handle, bad blade.

    Y'all see where this is headed don't you? It's my project for this evening while I'm sipping beer and watching American Experience (love that show, every episode a winner) on PBS. If I get done early, I'll just whittle. ;) :D

    Sarge
     
  2. Kevin the grey

    Kevin the grey

    Aug 26, 2005
    Whittle me up a budweiser while you are at it . That must be one bum razor if you are willing to sacrifice it . Wouldn,t a nice antler handle do just as well ?
     
  3. Svashtar

    Svashtar

    Dec 28, 2003
    That is going to look great Sarge. Just don't let your hand slip...

    Where did you find the "good" razor? I don't know how to scout out quality stuff like that.

    Norm
     
  4. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you just call it a draw. That big Spanish blade was a poor fit in that bone handle. I could have made it fit, but it wouldn't have been "right" and that ain't the way I do stuff. Not a problem, got a stout old razor that was made by Atkinson Brothers of Sheffield, England. Just happens that it's original handle was badly cracked and chipped. It's a semi-hollow ground 6/8 square point, just enough smaller than that big Spaniard that it snuggled into that bone handle like a match made in heaven. Mama's right, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. :D

    Sarge
     
  5. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Norm, you can bet the "good razor fairy" never made it to my house. Just like anything else, research, study, research some more, study some more, try to get your hands on stuff, experiment with it, then research and study some more.

    Sarge
     
  6. Svashtar

    Svashtar

    Dec 28, 2003
    Thanks Sarge, doing that now. I'm determined to get one good one anyway. I don't want to get one that is necessarily collectible, but one I can use daily. I had a chance to buy one marked Sheffield from the mid 1800's, but the handle looked very delicate. The blade was "1/4 hollow ground" I believe.

    Thanks,

    Norm
     
  7. Krull

    Krull

    867
    Aug 18, 2005
    The gun/pawn shop I bought the Henckels had a (I think) english or another German razor,I passed it up 'cos it had a cracked handel...if anyone is interested I could ID it...and if you want it I might pick it up for a trade.:p

    If they still have it,just say the word and I'll go look next time I'm up there which will be on-oh July 3rd or so.
     
  8. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    I don't always wind up where I start out for, but I generally get where I'm supposed to be. That old Sheffield straight razor blade mounted in a white bone handle turned out to be one sweet piece (shaves nice too). I'll get back to that Spanish razor later. ;)

    [​IMG]

    Sarge
     
  9. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    Jul 30, 2004
    The straight razor HAS to be a cure for acne - among other things. :eek:


    Mike
     
  10. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    Just got back from Ottawa and am catching up. Just saw this thread. Good stuff, Sarge.

    Speaking of 8/8, take a look at these.

    http://www.shavingshop.com/index.php?category=44

    I got one of the "sale" models and it's sweet.

    I got something else I'll post about in a few days, after I get a little caught up with everything that has been sliding when I was gone. I thought they might be genuine celluloid, but they failed the hot needle test. Can't say I'm too disapointed though.
     
  11. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Good link Howard, and definitely good razors, thanks. Henckels, as far as I know, have ceased producing straight razors, so I might have to pick up one of those. Filarmonica has also announced that it will continue to produce personal grooming products, but will no longer be making straight razors, which led me to buy the one I did (it's the only Spanish razor I've got). I wonder as maker after maker drop off the list, will remaining makers like Dovo, etc., jack up their prices to reflect their growing market share? That would be aggravating, but at least there's still plenty old razors lying around that can be had cheaply, and pressed back into service easy enough.

    Sarge
     
  12. Svashtar

    Svashtar

    Dec 28, 2003
    Really nice work Sarge. Did you make the leather sheath at the bottom there for it? Very neat.

    And I have looked up the terminology, but the width of the razor would determine whether it is a 7/8 or 8/8, correct? I believe that basically an 8/8 would be about 15/16ths? Is one shape better for certain uses? The only advantage that I can see to an 8/8 vs. a 5/8 or 6/8 is that you have more blade to last you longer. Other than that, I don't see why one be better than the other, although weight would be a factor.

    I have found many sites that seem to indicate that 5/8 is the most favored all around size. I believe that is what I had that rusted so badly. (A mehaz it was called.)

    Norm
     
  13. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Yup, simple little case, wet formed onto a wooden last that I whittled. The front was molded to the last, then when it was mostly dry, sewn to a flat back with a foldover flap.
    The razor case and the scabbard for my new 6" blade cherry handled "sticker" are both brand new. I just like to fiddle around with dyes and finishes to make stuff look "lived in". Can't stand bright, "new", impossibly neat looking, "professional", leatherwork. Somehow doesn't look real to me. ;)

    Sarge

    edited to address the rest of your post, did I miss something, or did you pull a fast one on me? Anyhow 4/8, 5/8, 6/8, etc., describe the width of the blade. Relatively narrow bladed 4/8s and even 3/8s are mostly used by hair stylists, 5/8s seem to be common for shavers. Wider bladed 6 thru 8/8s are often touted as being better for heavy beards. I like the wider blades myself, simply because they seem to work better for me. That, and a big old square ended 8/8 "cut throat" razor, looks plumb horrifying to guys who shave with multiple bladed plastic contraptions.
     
  14. Svashtar

    Svashtar

    Dec 28, 2003
    I like the look of the "aged" leather myself. Looks very functional and beautiful.. The decorations on that are very tastefully done. You really have a gift for that kind of work.

    Thanks very much for the razor dimension info Sarge, makes sense. I was editing while you were so probably screwed you up. (-: Those square ended models are mean looking for sure.

    BTW, I thought the strop I had from 15 years ago was a cheapie, but found it listed as a decent quality item on another site. I had just ordered it and not paid much attention to it at the time, and after my first razor melted figured the guy had just sold me junk. At least that worked out.

    Norm
     
  15. Vampire Hunter D

    Vampire Hunter D

    404
    Nov 26, 1999
    Sarge or anyone else really,

    What is the average thickness of the steel on a straight razor?

    I've got a piece of ... something laying around and I was thinking of heat treating it and grinding it into a straight razor. But the steel is only about 1/8" thick. Might be too thin.

    Thanks,

    - D
     
  16. kamagong

    kamagong

    Jan 13, 2001
    Thickness will depend on the razor size. A 8/8 will be much thicker than a 4/8.
     
  17. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Have you made any straight razors before? Have you ever taken an old beat up straight razor, reground the edge, sharpened it up and shaved with it? If not, I highly recommend it. Razors are a skosh different from knives. Spend some time around 'em, get a feel for what makes 'em tick, and I'm sure you'll be able to make a fine razor.

    Sarge
     
  18. Vampire Hunter D

    Vampire Hunter D

    404
    Nov 26, 1999
    No. I haven't actually ever used one. I've wanted to but I cant find anything I can afford.

    Even if it last 60 years I just can't spend $100 in one shot on something to shave with. Right now I'm using disposeables that I got on sale for $0.81 a bag.

    I have, however, been cruising antique malls and yard sales looking for a few old ones to take apart and clean up.

    I once had a chance to buy a small box full of them, maybe 60-70 razors, for about $10. I'd say this was 7 years ago?? At the time many of them had rust and I just didn't see the point in getting them then.

    Yes if any of you ever meet me you may kick me in the ass.

    - D
     
  19. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    The going price for a wonderful antique razor from the 1890's on Ebay is about $10. There seems to be a large supply. At least there are more sellers than buyers. I'm not sure why other antiques are so expensive and these are so cheap. They are more expensive than your disposables at what, 8.1 cents a peice. But then again, you don't have to keep buying it over and over.

    The shave is nicer too. If I don't want to shave my neck close and get ingrown hairs I don't have to.

    It's also lots more fun than shaving with a disposable. If you spend the $10 on a movie it's just a couple hours of fun. If you buy an antique straight then you can have fun with it every morning.
     
  20. TomFetter

    TomFetter

    Dec 6, 2004
    What Howard said. I also spent $5 on an antique ceramic hone (with a chip off a corner), and $10 on a no-name strop. The ones made from "Genuine Horse Shell" are supposed to be better, but I dunno.

    My splurge was a new badger hair brush, but you don't need to do that. To be honest, with soft enough water and real shaving soap, you can probably work up enough lather just with wet hands on your face, though a cheap brush would be better.
     

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