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Thread: Rail Car Spring Project - Straight Razor, Pocket Knife, & Kitchen Knife by Joe Edson

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    Default Rail Car Spring Project - Straight Razor, Pocket Knife, & Kitchen Knife by Joe Edson

    Hi y'all!

    This has been a long term project done for me by the wonderful Joe Edson and I really want to show off his gorgeous work. Joe fashioned a Sheffield style straight razor, a liner lock pocket knife, and a Japanese style kitchen knife all from steel from a railroad car spring.

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    Imgur album of the whole process, all photos courtesy of Joe.

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    All three pieces home together.

    My father was (now retired) a welder by trade, working mostly in the railroad industry, specifically for Illinois Central Railroad and then Canadian National which bought out ICRR. My dad retired a few years ago but up until last year he was still doing some part-time work for an old buddy who had a small business doing contract work for the railroads. I asked my dad to procure me some steel because I had the idea to get it made into a straight razor, something to tie my dad's lifetime of work in with my wetshaving hobby. My dad brought me a broken-off piece of spring from a railroad car truck assembly (the contraption under each end of a railroad car that has the wheels and stuff). This spring was about 3/8-inch in diameter and was the inner-most spring in a three spring assembly where the outer-most spring would be a whole inch in diameter.

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    I sent the spring to Joe Edson who cut it into sections, straightened them out, and forged them into one solid billet. He informed me that it would be more than enough steel for one straight razor, probably enough for two. Instead of a second straight razor I opted for one of Joe's liner lock pocket knives to give to my dad. Even after that, Joe still had a small piece of steel left and was able to forge it into a small-ish kitchen knife.

    I wanted the straight razor (and then the other pieces) to be railroad themed, with designs styled around that idea. I found an ICRR historical website which had an image with all the logos used by ICRR through its history and I asked Joe about getting the 1883-1896 logo (since that would have been around the era this style of Sheffield razor would have been made and the earlier solid black diamond logo was obviously too plain) etched onto the pieces and he was able to find a local engraver who could laser etch the logo onto the steel. I also asked for an inlay shaped like a railroad spike and again Joe was able to find someone to fashion the inlays and he was able to carve out the handles and set the inlays.

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    The straight razor I asked to be done in a very classic late 1800s style, around 15/16 inch in width with around a quarter hollow grind. Joe sent me a few sketches and we went through some discussion about small details like having a heel notch, size/placement of the barbers notch, number of shoulders (single), jimping (none), etc. The blade is made from the spring steel as is the wedge. The scales are black cows horn and the pins and washers are nickel. The blade turned out to be about 8/8 at the toe, tapering slightly to about 15/16 at the heel. There is a slight smile on the edge and a bit of a swayback along the spine which is just classic Sheffield imo. Joe says he might have to add this design as one of his regular offerings to go along with his Swedish-inspired Odin's Edge and French-inspired Barbelin. I am thinking he needs to call it "Corvallis Works" as he is based in Corvallis, OR and many of the old Sheffield makers used "____ Works" as the name of their factory such as "Washington Works" for Wostenholm and "Sheafworks" for W. Greaves.

    The pocket knife's blade is made from the spring steel as is the back piece between the liners and scales. The scales on the handle are African blackwood and the liners and thumb knob are titanium which has been anodized to a lovely blue color. The bolster between the blade and handle is mokume-gane, Joe will have to tell you what it is because I don't really know, but it has an amazing rippled pattern which I love.

    The kitchen knife blade was made from the last of the spring steel and still shows some of the forge marks as Joe really had to stretch the remaining steel and couldn't grind it all away. He said he started with a piece about the size of a Zippo lighter (!) but I actually really like the look. The handle is the same African blackwood as the pocket knife. I have been using the kitchen knife for a couple of weeks now and it is extremely sharp and a good size for most chopping, only had trouble with one extra large onion. I have been hand-washing the knife of course and it is already starting to form some patina on the blade which Joe said it would and that it should help protect the steel against any rust or corrosion.

    This has been about a year long project with the pocket knife originally going to be a Christmas gift, then birthday gift, then belated Father's Day present. My dad was really surprised to receive the knife; I had mentioned having a straight razor made from the spring steel but said nothing about a pocket knife (honestly didn't have that idea until Joe said he had enough steel for multiple blades). I have shaved with the straight razor a couple of times and it is a good shaver but of course it will be more of a collector's piece like my "Goldragon" razor, also by Joe. I doubt my dad will put the pocket knife in his "every day carry" but I am happy he has a memento from his time with the railroad.

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    " Atta Boy!!" sharptonn's Avatar
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    Now THAT is cool! Very nice!
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    Senior Member xiaotuzi's Avatar
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    Truly awesome! A well conceived, meaningful project. He did very fine work on all three
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    "Go easy"

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    Thank You for sharing! Fantastic!
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    The Big Guy ~ A Savage Gentleman
    Dovo Bergischer Lowe ~ Union Razor Cutlery Co. ~ Wade & Butcher ~ Schmactenberg Brothers Anchor ~ Stiz ~ Cattaraugus Cutlery Co. Green Lizard ~ Shavette ~ Wahl 4000

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    Most excellent! All three are wonderful. I have a Joe Edson western kamisori and it too is, beautiful!


    Mike
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    Joe is a cool guy, and a terrific razor/knife maker. Congratulations on some terrific pieces.
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    Richard

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    aka shooter74743 ScottGoodman's Avatar
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    As a locomotive engineer, i truly can appreciate the work that went into those.
    Northeastern Texas & Southeastern Oklahoma Mentor/Helper...PM me if I can assist you.
    God Bless,
    Scott

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    Senior Member Gasman's Avatar
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    Very cool. And they look great!
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    Jerry...

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Dieseld's Avatar
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    How awesome! Joe really did that spring steel justice.
    Joe Edson likes this.
    Look sharp and smell nice for the ladies.~~~Benz
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    Senior Member Porl's Avatar
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    Fantastic!

    Stunning work on all three.
    Joe Edson likes this.
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