How to Buy and Restore Vintage Straight Razors

by A Manly Guest Contributor on April 22, 2011 · 43 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Shaving

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Matt Pisarcik and Sebastian Sandersius.

When you think of the manliest way of shaving, your mind undoubtedly goes to your great-grandpa’s tool of choice: the straight-edge razor. You may have thought about owning one, but immediately dismissed the idea for a host of reasons. They can be expensive, delicate, mastering their use is a real art, and so on.

And while this article won’t go into how to shave with one (Brett’s got a great write-up here on how to shave with a straight razor for beginners), we will certainly address the other concerns that may have stopped you from getting back to the roots of shaving with the luxurious and thrilling experience of using a straight razor. Today we’re going to give you a primer on how you can pick up a top-quality used straight razor on the cheap and then restore it yourself to its former glory. Soon you’ll be reminding yourself that you’re alive each morning, by placing a razor-sharp blade next to your neck!

The Ropes

Before you set out trying to find, learn about, restore, and eventually shave with a straight razor, it’s a good idea to learn “the ropes” of this new hobby.

First, you need to get acquainted with the parts of a straight razor:

There are also two major “grinds” of straight razors—the Hollow Ground and the Wedge (and a few in-between):

Wedge style blades are generally larger and require more time/effort to hone or sharpen whereas the hollow-ground blades trade mass for convenience in regards to upkeep. Both perform terrifically, and it is generally recommended that people new to straight razor shaving start with a hollow ground, mainly because of the ability to sharpen it with ease. Luckily, most of the straights you’ll find are some type of a hollow-ground!

Where to Get ‘Em

While newly made blades are available from companies like Dovo and Muhle, finding a vintage straight razor is not only more economical, but can often prove to pack more punch for the time and money you invest into it. Like anything made in the 19th and early 20th centuries, vintage straight razors can be found in very high grades of steel from classic old world cutlery empires such as England, Sweden, and Germany. However, you may be asking yourself, where do you find such a razor?

The first place to look could be closer than you think. Check with the older members of your family to see if an uncle or grandfather had a straight razor that’s been kept throughout the years. Chances are you may either find a straight razor or another cool keepsake such as a shaving mug or brush. If you don’t turn up anything here, worry not because a day of antique shopping around your city could just as easily result in making your first razor score. Oftentimes you’ll find straight razors in display cases along with other manly items like watches, cufflinks, eye-glasses, pens, coins, wallets, pipes or flasks. It may also be a good idea to let the shopkeeper know what you’re looking for because often small items like this can be hard to spot.

If you’re fortunate enough to find a vintage straight razor, remember that not all razors are made equally, and likewise not everything you find is worth purchasing. This brings us to the next important topic to consider.

What to Look For

Back in the heyday of straight razor manufacturing, there were literally hundreds of cutlery companies across the world making razor blades for sale. However, in the straight razor community of today, there are several common manufacturers that have a proven track record and are generally agreed upon as having a long lasting quality, grade of steel, and ability to hold an edge while delivering a comfortable shave. On a larger level, it is also known that some of the best straight razors came out of a select few parts of the world known for metallurgy.

Solingen, Germany – often referred to as “The City of Blades,” this German town (pronounced ZO-ling-en) is responsible for some of the best known blades in the world, past and present. Great manufacturers from this city include:

  • Bartmann
  • Dorko
  • Dovo
  • Dubl Duck
  • H. Böker & Company
  • J.A. Henkels
  • PAX
  • Puma

Sheffield, England – Considered by some as the world’s cutlery empire in Europe throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Popular manufacturers from this city include:

  • Fredrick Reynolds
  • George Wostenholm
  • Joseph Allen & Sons
  • Joseph Elliot
  • Joseph Rodgers & Sons
  • Wade & Butcher

United States of America – Many parts of the country such as New York, Louisiana, and Massachusetts were cutlery centers around the turn of the century and put out fine straight razors of several makes:

  • Case / “Red Imp”
  • Clauss
  • Genco Cutlery Company
  • Geneva Cutlery Company
  • J.R. Torrey
  • Ontario Cutlery Company
  • Shumate Razor Co.

Other Notable Brands

  • C.V. Heljestrand of Eskilstuna, Sweden
  • Thiers Issard & Le Grelot of France
  • Filarmonica from Spain

What to Avoid

Undoubtedly when you’re out hunting for straight razors, you’re going to come across some blades that should be passed over. Here’s a brief list of things to avoid:

  • Razor blades with chips in them, especially near the cutting edge.
  • Razor blades with burn marks or notable discoloration as this can represent heat-damage.
  • Razor blades with substantial rust or deep pitting, especially near the cutting edge.
  • Razors that have a flattened spine and/or lots of scratch marks at the spine. This represents large amounts of honing, reducing the life of the blade.
  • Razors made in Pakistan.

If you find a razor from one of the cities or makers recommended above, chances are you are holding a great piece of tempered steel that should be able to take a keen cutting edge capable of providing a terrific shave. Good razors can be found anywhere from $5-$50, which is a steal when you consider that it should provide you a lifetime of shaving.

Whatever you get, it is likely to be very dirty, rusted, or covered in soap scum so now you need to know how to clean it up.

Restoring Your Vintage Straight Razor

So when you find an old straight razor at an antique store or via the web, it will likely be in some state of disrepair. It’s not uncommon to find a straight razor looking like this:

To restore a straight razor, there are two major areas to cover: 1) Cosmetics and 2) Cutting Edge. We’re only going to cover the cosmetic restoration topic, because a terrific article on sharpening the cutting edge can be found here.

Cosmetics

The blade of most vintage straights will at least have some kind of patina or natural darkening of the metal due to age. Others may have various stages of rust on them from improper storage over time. Even the handles or “scales” may need some cleaning up in order to look good again. Products that you’ll need for this work can be found at your local hardware store. Here’s how to start the revival:

1) Using sandpaper or a power tool such as a Dremel, re-surface the blade to remove rust and get it evenly smooth. You’ll likely have to progress through stages of sanding wheels with several different grits. If your blade has heavy rust or pits, you’ll want to start with the lower grits like 320. Finish up with grits beyond 10,000 and you’ll start to see a mirror finish. Long and even strokes lengthwise across the blade work best, and remember to take your time and exhibit patience with this process.

2) Switch to miniature buffing wheels for your power tool and use a metal polishing compound such as jeweler’s rouge or MAAS to get the blade looking shiny. This process works well in removing surface patina or light scratches and other cosmetic flaws.

3) Next, clean up the scales and pins using the buffing wheels and a polishing or buffing compound such as MAAS or even Turtle Wax. Most vintage scales are made from animal horn, bone, celluloid or plastic and should do well with these and similar products. Toothpicks and cotton-swabs are your best friend for getting into the hard-to-reach places in this process.

4) Carefully clean off any residue from the buffing process with a fresh cotton cloth, and disinfect using a rubbing alcohol or even barbicide, which can be found at local beauty supply stores.

5) You can tighten the pins that hold together the razor scales using a ball-peen hammer. The original pins are formed by “peening” or mushrooming out the ends of a piece of metal. If the razor becomes loose in the handles, just tap the pins evenly on both sides lightly until it has tightened up again. Take your time with this–hitting too hard can damage or even crack older and delicate scales.

IMPORTANT TIPS

  • Follow any and all manufacturer instructions when using a power tool and make sure to wear protective eye, hand, and face garments.
  • It’s important to note that when using a power tool with your straight razor blade that you don’t damage the temper or hardness of the metal by getting it too hot. Use a glass of cold water to dunk your blade in during the process—it should never get too hot to touch with your bare hands.
  • Avoid sanding/buffing of the razor’s bevel/cutting edge.
  • Always remember you’re working with a sharpened piece of steel and treat it with the same respect you would a very sharp kitchen knife.

Further Straight Razor Restoration

Even when using the methods above, you may encounter a straight razor that needs a further step of restoration. Perhaps it is a great blade that just has severe pitting, or maybe a classic razor with a set of broken scales. The use of greaseless buffing compounds, high power buffing machines and even custom made replacement scales need to be employed at times when doing heavy and ongoing restoration.

These more specialized methods of restoration can be done by professionals. With these restoration methods, you should be able to make that nasty looking razor shown above clean up like this:

Final Thoughts

This article is by no means a complete or comprehensive guide to restoring a vintage straight razor. It is intended to be a starting point for those interested yet unfamiliar with where to begin. There are hundreds of shaving-forum threads and countless Wikipedia entries that cover every possible aspect of restoration and honing that you can spend hours if not days poring over. However, all of the information out there can often make the practice look too daunting to even want to attempt or make you feel as if there are some pre-requisite skills you need to have in order to attempt or learn any of this.

That’s why we created this article to really cover the highlights and the “down and dirty” information that you need for your first attempt at cleaning up a straight razor and getting it to look great again. Part of the appeal to the traditional wet shaving approach is accessibility and a spirit of “do-it-yourself.” Don’t be afraid to purchase a razor and try these methods out—if you ruin or damage the blade or make a mistake, it’s okay! However, I’m a firm believer that restoring a vintage razor isn’t rocket science and can be carried out by even a novice if done in a methodical, careful, and thoughtful manner.

We hope that by reading this article you feel inspired to shop, purchase and restore a vintage straight razor. Straight razor shaving and restoration are terrific hobbies that can provide tremendous pleasure and a great feeling of accomplishment.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Matt Pisarcik and Sebastian Sandersius are the vintage razor experts at RazorEmporium.com. These guys sell vintage razors that they meticulously restore to their old luster and also offer razor restoration, where you can send in your old razor to be refurbished. I can personally vouch for their awesome services; they made my great-grandpa’s 19th century straight razor look brand new. I couldn’t believe how shiny and handsome they made it. It was pretty amazing.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 drano April 22, 2011 at 4:15 am

pretty good article! I’m gonna start my hunt for one of these!
One note though: If using any power tools to resurface the blade, make sure to monitor the temperature of the blade. As it can be quite easy to screw up the temper of the steel near the thin cutting edge. Carbon steel tempering is done at at least 300F, but Best to keep the temperature as low as possible. I stick to the rule that if its too hot to comfortably handle with a bare hand, I give it a quick dunk in ice water. (dry it off before you start working on it again, as the heat may accelerate patina in some carbon steels if its still wet)

2 Sohail April 22, 2011 at 6:08 am

Great post! I switched to shaving with a safety razor about two months ago, and I am loving it. I hope I’ll now be able to switch to the straight razor too.

As a Pakistani though, I am curious: why do you have a low opinion about razors made in Pakistan? As far as I know, cutlery made in Wazirabad is famous for its fine quality, and is even exported internationally. Perhaps, that quality is limited just to kitchenware and the likes?

3 Brian April 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

Ah when I saw this in my inbox this morning I got a big grin on my face.

I have been using a straight for years and I restored my straight myself. I have a 1910 Erich Ern. Thing is fantastic.

4 Nathan April 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

I have been shaving with a straight for a while now…It’s far more enjoyable than anything else…though a quality DE is a close second.

Restoring old blades (and brushes) is very cool.

5 Jesse H April 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

Excellent article! I’ve been meaning to start a hunt for one of these, but was at a loss for where to start – now I not only know what to look for, but how to treat what I’ll find. Thank you!

6 Allen P April 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

I saw several at an antique store here in Vegas. He was asking between $80-$100. Is that unusual?

7 Matt April 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

$80-$100 is the price you should pay for an entry level to middle-grade RESTORED straight razor. If it hasn’t been restored yet, that seems a bit high to me. Keep in mind that a restored straight razor should also be honed, or sharpened, which is another factor to consider. Hope that help!

8 Matthew Poertner April 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

A brass wire brush is a good tool for removing rust and other buildup on an old blade or anything really. Jewelers supply places will sell a fine brass wire brush – Those work best for cleaning without scratching the surface.

9 John T April 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I think that Engels blades from Solingen are also spectacular. I have my great-great-grandfather’s, and it works spectacularly.

10 Dan M April 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I’ve found that as a beginner, even after doing research and even with an excellent guide like the one in this article, I honestly didn’t know enough to determine what a good quality blade was, or how much a razor was worth given it’s condition.

I had very good results buying a cheap, functional razor from someone like Whipped Dog Straights (who does functional but not cosmetic restorations) and using that to learn on. Once I feel comfortable with the proper use, care, and maintenance of straight razors, I may try my own hand at doing full restorations.

I feel that this is a good compromise that will prevent me buying an overpriced junk razor from a less-than-honest eBay seller or antiques dealer before I know what I’m doing.

11 Tyler S. April 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I have been shaving with a st8razor for some time now (over a year). If you want to restore a blade, I would purchase a $80 blade from online. There are several good websites out there that have basic blades. Get it professionally honed! This way you know how sharp it has to be. Keep in mind: there is a learning curve in ALL aspects of the shave. You will have to learn how to strop and shave (you will cut yourself, all part of the curve), and eventually hone. Getting the blade professionally honed lets you know how sharp it is supposed to be. So when you get your vintage and try to hone it, you know how sharp to get it. DO NOT hone the prehoned blade (you won’t have to for about 4-5 months). Honing is an art and you can really screw up the blade so do your research.

Last thoughts: It is a great way to shave and takes your mind off everything else for that twenty minutes to half hour it takes to shave (strop, beard prep, 1st pass, 2nd pass, cleanup, coldwater/aftershave, drying razor!) Best of luck to you who try it and be patient because the learning curve is steep.

12 Tyler S. April 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

@ Sohail: Razors from Pakistan tend to be avoided by straight razor users because they do not hold a cutting edge well. The reason lies in the variety of steel that is used. It tends to be softer than other areas of the world and companies. Softer edge means that it dulls faster. It may shave the first time, but the second time it most likely will not pass the HHT (hanging hair test).

13 Scott Wolfertz April 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I do the difficult areas in the shower with a mach 3, but the cheeks and throat with a vintage “WOLFERTZ”. Ausgezeitnet, as smooth as a baby’s butt. My wife likes it too, no more bristle burn.

14 tudza April 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

“At last, my arm is complete again!”

15 Lee Crook April 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Great advice! I have been wondering where to look. I ordered a stainless razor holder that uses replaceable blades. I use Derby blades. If you are not sure straight-edge is for you, I recommend starting with this. You can get the blade holder(looks just like a straight-edge), brush, soap, mug and 300 derby blades for under $50 on amazon. Now that I am comfortable with a straight-edge, I am positive that I want to invest in something nicer. And now that I have the shaving part down I can focus on honing and stropping correctly.

All I have to say is if you hate having your beard clog up in your plastic-cartridge razor and having to bang that cartridge on the sink repeatedly to unclog it, get a straight-edge! Thanks guys!

16 pal April 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I only collect and use vintage straights because I believe the steel was so much better long ago. I now have about 12 straights but I only use three of them. It is a major investment, sharpening stones, strops, pasted strops and then learning how to use them. But, I must say that there is nothing that will get the testosterone going like a shave great shave with a straight razor. I think every man show give it a try.

17 Smerf April 23, 2011 at 12:17 am

Outstanding timing! I just received my first straight razor off ebay this Monday! It’s a Shumate Ben Hur, in surprisingly good condition. The scales are beat up non-originals, and there’s a little rust on the tang near the pivot, but very little pitting at all. I’m looking forward to cleaning it up and learning with it.

Nothing like holding a piece of sharpened steel to your throat to remind you that you’re a live.

18 Vaarok April 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm

One thing that helps immensely in restoring steel is naval jelly. It’s nasty stuff, but it cleans steel very aggressively. Another would be electrolytic rust removal- hook your steel to the negative end of a battery (or even a cellphone charger cord with the end cut off), attach a piece of sacrificial steel to the positive wire, and hang both in a bath of hot water and baking soda solution. The chemical process will literally un-rust the steel, and after brushing off the scale, you should have a nearly new looking blade. Though, it will be chemically clean, and need to be oiled, or else it’ll corrode quickly again.

19 Drew April 24, 2011 at 1:10 am

**NOTE**

This process is completely doable by HAND. Yes, it takes elbow grease. A lot. However, if you find a decent blade on eBay or in an antique shop you can restore the luster with 400-2000 grit sand paper, then working into “Micromesh” (google search it), and a few passes with Mother’s Polish or White Diamond (both found in auto shops).

There are a few great forums online that walk you through this process. Yes, it takes a little longer. Yes, you can sit on your couch and watch TV without having to worry if the drill/ grinding wheel is going to catch your blade and fling it into your stomach.

http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/9527/photo1im.jpg (Crappy iPhone photo doesn’t do the blades justice. All 3 are Bokers. The two on top were in the same condition as the bottom when bought.

-Drew

20 Joe S April 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

Your best bet for a good restoration is Max. I just got a razor redone by him, website is Madaspen Home.

No, I am not Max, he just does really good work and thought I’d throw it out there.

21 Jo April 26, 2011 at 4:03 am

Thank you for the great advice. Does anyone know of a UK based site like the Razor Emporium?

22 JDP April 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm

@Drew
A LOT of elbow grease… Great looking razors though. Good luck with the scales!

@Joe S.
The entire article is titled How to Buy and Restore Vintage Straight Razors. Buying one from some other website completely defeats the point.

@Jo
Search through some of the straight edge forums online. I’m sure if you introduce yourself and say that you’re looking for someone in your area, they will have solutions. You’re also very close to Solingen (well, compared to us Americans…), so you might have more of a selection/option from shaving stores in the UK. I got into SE shaving from my barber, who had a few on display. Maybe find a local barber too? Many eBay auctions sell internationally. IMHO, your best bet is to go to SE forum, they’ll set you straight. (no pun intended.)

23 Steve from St Louis April 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Ok. I would like to try to get some people to slow down befor running out buying a razor and “cleaning it up”. Old straight razors can be worth alot of money. The second you “clean it up”, the value will be gone. If you get an old straight razor from friends or family, or purchase it from someone that does not know it’s value; please have a knife collector look at it and tell you it’s value prior to it’s cleaning. I would hate to hear of a $100-300 dollar dirty rusty blade getting prettied up to a $10 value. Also. the original boxes are also worth some money.

24 drano April 27, 2011 at 4:22 am

@pal
The basic carbon tool steels milled today are just as good as they were in the last century.
Generally speaking, metallurgy has leaped great strides in the last couple decades. Albeit mostly in the stainless steels. These have yielded several “super steels” from companies like Crucible and Hitachi, that rival the carbon steels in both edge-retention and grain size. unfortunately these are mostly prohibitively expensive and are only used on high-end designer knives.

25 John April 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Great article!

I got lucky. I’ve always been interested in the traditional ways of doing things. Back in my early twenties I attended an estate auction and purchased a box of “old junk” in order to get an old tractor owners manual. In the bottom of the box was a bunch of shaving stuff. several razors both used and brand new, two strops, and a pile of stones. If my memory is right I paid four bucks plus tax for that box. Turns out the estate sale was for a guy who had been a hotel barber in Rochester, NY in the late 30′s. I can still remember the look of disbelief on my grandfathers face when I asked him to show me the ropes and the look of pride when I managed to actually shave with only one minor nick. I gave grandpa one of the new ones and kept another for myself. Unfortunately when grandpa passed away, my parents tossed out all “that old junk”. I did manage to get all grandpa’s stuff from WWII including his shaving kit he carried during the war. There was an old Gillette Tech razor in there. I don’t shave often with my straight razor. But, when I get to missing grandpa, I dig either it out or the old wartime Tech and give myself a nice shave.

BTW, my daily use razor is a Gillette “fatboy” adjustable made in 1963, the same year I was born.

John

26 Todd April 30, 2011 at 3:07 am

I bought a dovo new when I got started. I used it to slice up my face, neck and fingers, destroy a nice strop, let the blade get rusted from not drying it, also soap stained from not washing the shaving soap off it and finally chipping the blade by dropping it. Consequently, the straight shaving went on hold for 12 months. I then bought an old safety razor one weekend at the markets and after a trip to the shaving shop to get blades, I saw the straight razors in the display cabinet and the passion was re-ignited. I have paid some dues and now have several straight razors all in shave ready condition and rarely use anything but straight razors. It is a hell of a learning curve, but I enjoy getting up early to spend the time shaving “old school”. Taking the extra time to do something that requires a learnt skill and patience has become almost meditative. I found the learning curve hard and expensive, but I am so pleased I took the journey to get where I am with wet shaving with a straight razor.

27 A Sharper Razor April 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm

@ Drew & JDP
A lot of elbow grease is right! It can take up to hours to get a really good shine. A dremel speeds the process up, but presents a risk of overheating or catching the edge and causing severe damage. I like MAAS or turtlewax rubbing compound. I also recommend watching tv while hand polishing.

@ Allen P,
Matt’s right. The price is highly dependent upon the quality of the razor itself. Factors that go into the price point include, but are not limited to: overall condition, scales, shave ready-ness, and manufacturer. Straight Razor collectors value the razor’s scales more than they do the blades in many cases. They especially love art noveau or extremely rare scales. People will pay a premium for rare material such as ivory, tortoise shell, or horn in pristine condition. The same goes for the maker. Some makers carry a higher premium because of brand name recognition even after a hundred years! Now that’s how to keep your customers happy.

@ Todd,
Great story, love to hear SR success stories.

28 Michael Lunsford April 30, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Hey, I live in Louisiana and had no idea there was a straight razor manufacturer here. I did some googling but couldn’t find any names. What are some names from Louisiana?

29 Michael Hallman May 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

My blade is actually newer, from Thiers-Issard, but I brought it to our beach house one weekend and it developed rust spots in just a few days, from the salt air. Thanks so much for the article, I’m confident now that I’ll be able to restore it to near-new.

30 Nic May 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

@Steve in St Louis

Okay I’ll heed your warning. I just purchased a 5/8 Boker King Cutter with the original box and the original paper sleeve that the razor was placed in inside the box. It has some coroding/rust and a darker pateena. The cutting edge is in perfect condition and the scales are also in great shape. I think they are plastic but the seller said they may be bakalite or celluloid(?). I purchased this razor because my grand father used a king cutter. I was hoping to restore it and put it into service but if I can sell it and purchase a new shave ready Boker I would be happy to do that instead.

The problem is I don’t know where to start as far as it goes for an appraisal and sale. Do you have any pointers?

31 John May 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm

This is a timely article. I have a Masonic straight razor blade without scales. Now, I can proceed to correct this problem, possibly with some acacia (Myrtle) wood.

32 Pauline September 27, 2012 at 4:13 am

Very nice, I love my straight razors, I am the Queen of Cutlery. I work as a barber and collect vintage straight razors which I use on my customers.
They are amazing works of art, the time that went into forging those blades is a thing of the past. I treasure them!
Thank you for the article.
Pauline

33 Abrecan October 9, 2012 at 10:38 am

@Drew

Came here for this, thanks. Found all the stuff on amazon, the mircomesh kit is perfect. I have a magnet slot cut into my workbench, I will mount the rare earth magnet wrapped in cloth and use it to secure the razor while I work on it. Finally put on some Miles Davis and get to work.

34 jason December 24, 2012 at 12:47 am

I have a question. I have a Crucible Steel shaving razor. I got it from my paw paw after he passed away many many years ago. It could be my great grandpaws as far as I know…..Now it also has this stamped.
Lookout B.S.C.O
CHATTANOOGA,TENN
made in Germany
I cant fin a picture of the one I have anywhere. I even have the box it came in. No marking on box….Can anyone help me with this…….Our names of collectors..

35 Danny Beeler June 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

Answer to jason I did some searching on your razor and came up with this!

‘LOOKOUT’ is probably the Lookout Barber Supply Co of Chattanooga

36 Adam November 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Just picked up a vintage German one for $40. Needs a little restoration….Hope it was a good price….

37 Steve February 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Hi
I buy some parts like bullseye washers on eBay but got a razor already restored by someone else that had smaller bullseye washers & wanted to know of anyone else who has parts. The ones I have came from The Imperial Shave & are larger than the ones I got on a razor I bought already restored by someone else & I would like to know if there is someone who has parts. I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you very much.

38 Orlando March 16, 2014 at 12:52 am

Thank You for making a wonderful site with some very good Information regarding straight razors . I am very pleased about you’re site and will be glad to share this information with my clients ( I’m a barber ) in my 30′s that’s just fascinated with the razor world .

39 G.Damon Taylor March 28, 2014 at 11:22 pm

A delight to find this Website. As someone who used straight razors exclusively from 1976 to 1981, I wrecked no cars looking at my hacked-up face in the rearview mirror of my Beamer, or using White-Out to get the bloodstains out of my collar. It was like Dexter, kill shirt and all, until I learned the skill. Now I can shave a pussycat, but don’t, of course. There is an art to shaving one’s own chin, and if you have a dimple deep enough to hide an M&M and wish to shave this soul-patch hole with a straight razor, it is less expensive and much faster than cosmetic surgery, a path you should consider because it involves experts and anesthesia.

A real man would consider this solution somewhat effete. Dueling scars will probably get you killed; but shaving scars will get you laid..

40 Jacen72 April 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I have been restoring blades for a few years now and this is a great article!!

Just 1 thing i would point out is that using a Dremel tools to remove the rust and or polish the blade can be very hazardous!! I would suggest using a buffing wheel.

Cheers and happy hunting !!

41 thom April 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Using vinegar and soak the blade overnight should remove most if not all the rust on the metal. Put a drop or two of lemon juice in the vinegar and it works even better. This might not remove any patina or burn looking marks but it will dissolve all the rust.

42 Patrick April 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm

As the son of a pro knifemaker who himself has made and sold a few dozen blades, please do not get a Dremel tool anywhere near a vintage blade.

In addition to the heat issues mentioned above, one of the keys to a good looking blade is a flat grind, from choil to tip (even on a hollow ground razor). Unless you have the coin to drop on a quality belt grinder and the time to learn to use it, doing the work by hand is your best bet.

Pick up some quality silicone carbide sandpaper, open a beer, and put in some elbow grease. I always like Klingspor abrasives but as long as you don’t get the cheap stuff, it will cut clean. Unless you’re pretty good, you can’t go fast and have it look decent.

43 roger Imhada April 23, 2014 at 11:42 pm

I’ll second the recommendation on Max Schprecher @madaspenhome.com , this guy has restored and maintained my straight razors for the past seven or eight years. His work is flawless. Ain’t nuthin like shaving with a properly honed straight.

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