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Thread: Some thoughts on how wedges were honed in the day...

  1. #61
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I have a thought on the second steeper bevel that a cutler or razor maker would've put on the razor, in terms of how it was classically done. Holzapffel III describes in honing a razor (at which time there were probably a lot of wedges and near wedges, to avoid ruining the temper of razors and to reduce warpage in hardening and tempering) that a cutler or a barber or anyone else skilled would use a hone like a charnley by using it to "strike" the edge left by more coarse abrasives. Presumably, this would be lifting the edge slightly on a very fine cutting stone like a charnley, and striking off any wire edge or particles that may be there, instead of polishing the entire bevel.

    That would've be a great method for a newbie to use, because they wouldn't have the skill to strike that second bevel consistently and would gradually chase the angle higher and higher, but a skilled barber or maker would be able to do it pretty easily, and it would mitigate the need to do a lot of metal removal.

    An edge struck lightly by a charnley would hardly be much removal of metal, either, so it would not be too hard to refresh the entire edge with a coarser stone later and restrike the edge without having to run through polishing all kinds of parts on the razor that never are introduced to the cut, anyway..

    (I believe that edition of the book was around 1850, as various techniques for grinding a razor more hollow are discussed in it, as is the conondrum of making those thin grinds and troubling the temper of a razor. If it was later, there'd be no discussion about ruining a razor's temper because manufacturers had gotten closer to perfecting the kind of grind we see on modern razors).

  2. #62
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Hopefully this works. The text I'm referring to is on page 1153, they mention 40 to 60 degrees and this striking being done in one single pass (i.e., it would barely produce wear on the edge) and they even mention what we're obsessed with now, which is using this method to strike off the wire edge so as to preserve the appearance of the razor.

    I have this text on paper (not for razors, but that was a bonus), it's a really great book in general about abrasives and use of them.

    Turning and mechanical manipulation, by C. Holtzapffel - Charles Holtzapffel, John Jacob Holtzapffel - Google Books

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  4. #63
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveW View Post
    I have a thought on the second steeper bevel that a cutler or razor maker would've put on the razor, in terms of how it was classically done. Holzapffel III describes in honing a razor (at which time there were probably a lot of wedges and near wedges, to avoid ruining the temper of razors and to reduce warpage in hardening and tempering) that a cutler or a barber or anyone else skilled would use a hone like a charnley by using it to "strike" the edge left by more coarse abrasives. Presumably, this would be lifting the edge slightly on a very fine cutting stone like a charnley, and striking off any wire edge or particles that may be there, instead of polishing the entire bevel.

    That would've be a great method for a newbie to use, because they wouldn't have the skill to strike that second bevel consistently and would gradually chase the angle higher and higher, but a skilled barber or maker would be able to do it pretty easily, and it would mitigate the need to do a lot of metal removal.

    An edge struck lightly by a charnley would hardly be much removal of metal, either, so it would not be too hard to refresh the entire edge with a coarser stone later and restrike the edge without having to run through polishing all kinds of parts on the razor that never are introduced to the cut, anyway..

    (I believe that edition of the book was around 1850, as various techniques for grinding a razor more hollow are discussed in it, as is the conondrum of making those thin grinds and troubling the temper of a razor. If it was later, there'd be no discussion about ruining a razor's temper because manufacturers had gotten closer to perfecting the kind of grind we see on modern razors).
    Raising the razor slightly for the final strokes (ie - secondary or micro-bevel, as we now call it) was practised by many before Holzapffels time. Benjamin Kingsbury, the Court Barber, wrote about it in 1797, James Stodart routinely did it and described how it was done (he died in 1823) which makes the practice pre-date Charles Holzapffel considerably. BTW, your edition of Holzapffels book may be dated 1850, but in fact the first edition (3 vols) is dated 1843. It was intended to be a five volume set, but Holzapffel died 1847 after the first three volumes were published, his son Jacob completing the series.

    I don't think 'striking' the edge means what you think it does in this instance, either. 'Striking' is exactly that, it is not honing. CFs were used chiefly because of their hardness to routinely 'strike' the edge left by rougher, softer stones - ie the wire edge was 'struck-off' against the CF. In other words they were used to dull the edge prior to refinishing. At one time nearly every cutler in Sheffield would use a very hard stone to perform this operation, because hard stones would not be marked to a significant degree while doing it.

    Regards,
    Neil
    Last edited by Neil Miller; 08-18-2012 at 12:41 AM. Reason: expansion
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  6. #64
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    I have a 6/8 Full Wedge 1840's Greaves & Sons Sheaf Works ..just had a shave with it..great feel..I hone mine on my 6" x 1.5" combo vintage coti...only annoying thing to me..is heel first going x stroke..tip is "like" a spike..but has a slight curve to it...works well under the nose :-)
    Last edited by smalltank; 08-18-2012 at 01:44 AM.

  7. #65
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Miller View Post
    Raising the razor slightly for the final strokes (ie - secondary or micro-bevel, as we now call it) was practised by many before Holzapffels time. Benjamin Kingsbury, the Court Barber, wrote about it in 1797, James Stodart routinely did it and described how it was done (he died in 1823) which makes the practice pre-date Charles Holzapffel considerably. BTW, your edition of Holzapffels book may be dated 1850, but in fact the first edition (3 vols) is dated 1843. It was intended to be a five volume set, but Holzapffel died 1847 after the first three volumes were published, his son Jacob completing the series.

    I don't think 'striking' the edge means what you think it does in this instance, either. 'Striking' is exactly that, it is not honing. CFs were used chiefly because of their hardness to routinely 'strike' the edge left by rougher, softer stones - ie the wire edge was 'struck-off' against the CF. In other words they were used to dull the edge prior to refinishing. At one time nearly every cutler in Sheffield would use a very hard stone to perform this operation, because hard stones would not be marked to a significant degree while doing it.

    Regards,
    Neil
    Right on the holtzapffel, it's not the first edition. I thought the first one was from before 1843, but I don't have the first one in print. I have an edition that is later yet than the 1850 edition, but the straight razor section is relatively similar.

    Thanks for the clarification on the method. I haven't been tempted to try it on the only wedge I have...which I'm not tempted to use that much, either, because I doubt there would be many wedges around if they had perfected grinding earlier.

  8. #66
    Senior Member JimBC's Avatar
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    holtzapffel .... That's some good reading. Thanks daveW for the link.

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