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02-29-2008, 06:20 PM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
An old "Geneva" razor, should I bother?
I found an old straight razor that belong to my grandfather. I'm having one heck of a time trying to get it sharp and I'm not sure if I should bother to keep trying for a few reasons I'll list below. For example, I've put about 3 hours into honing it on a 4000 and 8000 grit stone (got stone from classic shaving), primarily on the 4000 grit stone.
It has "Geneva" stapped on it as though that were the company, but otherwise has no ID markings. The old case it came in is so faded I can't read it any longer. The handle is made of some kind of plastic.
Here are some things that concerns me about the razor:
I don't know how long the razor was used or if it was ever 'abused'. In fact I don't even know if it was ever used at all, but it doesn't look new and didn't come in 'new' packaging.
I don't know how old the razor is, or how many owners it may have had.
I don't know why it was put away in a storage box, or for how long it sat there.
I don't know who made the razor.
There is some 'funk' on the blade that isn't rust, but won't come off either.
Is 3+ hours reasonable to sharpen/hone the blade on a stone?
The bade does say 'steel', but there is some rust around where the blade and the handle connect. (I thought steel didn't rust.)
Because of how much I don't know about this blade, I am inclinded to just buy a new one. But since I'm so new to all of this, I'm not sure what would be considered 'reasonable'.
Thanks for any help.
02-29-2008, 06:40 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Knoxville, TN
OK, I gotta filed this one...
Uh, steel rusts - think the hull of the Titanic. Good steel rusts *real* bad. High carbon razor steel will rusts to dust if not taken care of, and fast. Now I am going to assume for a moment that your razor is from the US and not from the Swiss, as I don't think I have ever heard of Geneva, Suisse being a hotbed of razor manufacture.
Geneva, as in the "Geneva Cutlery Company" of Geneva, New York. Do search on here for Geneva and you will find several posts - an American made razor, and along with Cattaraugus Cutlery Co., in Little Valley, NY, and a slew of other razor manufacturers from Western and Central NY, Geneva razors, are in my opinion, a damn fine blade. I have a Geneva razor with clear (dark yellow/orange) scales in 5/8's that is one of my go to razors...Their symbol is on most razors I have seen, a pyramid stamped into the tang, with the company name. American razors from the early 1900-1930's flourished in NY, and are not as highly touted as the Solingens but I think they are every bit as good (and some are better - a lot better).
There was a Geneva up on the BST thread not too long ago as I recall, good price too. So is it worth working on from a quality stand point, I would say probably - from a family history standpoint, absolutely.
Three hours is a bit much, could be your technique and not the razor - I have spent as much as 3 hours and as little as 10 minutes on different razors - it wasn't the razor as much as it was my changing ability. Don't know how long you have been doing this, but it is an ART - the pyramids be damned, if you don't have the touch (I don't) it can take forever! I have the full compliment of stones that should work, I use them - and I still send blades out to be honed by folks (alot). Keep with it.
PS - Welcome to SRP!
02-29-2008, 08:04 PM #3
I'll second what Kriton said.
Geneva's/Genco's are damn fine razors. Without exception (in my experience) of the dozen or so that I've restored, honed, and sold, these are high quality. They tend to be easy to hone and very smooth shavers.
Given the family history with that blade, you should certainly hang on to it. Although, I would seriously consider learning to hone on another razor so you don't do too much damage or add too much wear to a family heirloom. Many of the honemeisters on the SRP would be happy to hone it for you for a very reasonable fee...much less than a new razor (that may not be shave ready) would cost.
Just another data point,
02-29-2008, 08:55 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
Thank you for the replies, you've made me feel a lot better about the blade I have. Groping in the dark can make things very difficult.
How about the 'funk' on the blade. It looks like some kind of age stains or something, can that be buffed out?
I do have access to power tools.
02-29-2008, 10:16 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
- Sandpoint, Idaho
- Blog Entries
Welcome aboard the straight train BTW
You might want to take a look in the Restoration forum and see what crap turns into beautiful razors when we get done with them...
I just finished an Otto Deutsch restore that I know has some scary before pics that will gladden your heart when it comes to what a little work can do to an old razor
And yes I also agree with the above post Geneva/Genco are very good quality razors.....
"No amount of money spent on a Stone can ever replace the value of the time it takes learning to use it properly"
Very Respectfully - Glen
02-29-2008, 10:25 PM #6
I have a 6'8's plain jane geneva. It can shave as close as my high end TI's and Dovo's. Sounds like you should send yours to one of the resident honemeisters to give it a fair shot. When properly honed you won't want to give it up.
03-02-2008, 12:11 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
- Peoria AZ
referring to the original post. Yes Steel rusts. Stainless steel is designed not to rust, but even it may. Steel by definition is an iron alloy. Meaning Iron mixed with other metals or materials. The other materials (carbon, chrome etc.) are added to obtain certain attributes. Chrome makes it less likely to corrode (rust) carbon makes it harder.
You talked about stains that are not rust. It is very possible that these are still corrosion marks, but corrosion of the other metals that are in that particular steel.