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Thread: Let's make a razor!

  1. #1
    Senior Member mikew's Avatar
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    Default Let's make a razor!

    When I first set up my workshop I always planned on making razors but decided to 'get my eye in' by making a few knives. Several years later and I'm basically a professional knife maker and have never even attempted to make a razor! Time to stop messing about.


    This slightly odd looking item is to be my prototype.





    The rational being that the grinding and heat treating are the big challenges for me here and this design will allow me to practise both without spending time drilling pivot holes, tapering tangs etc only to destroy the thing in the oven.


    It will be 22mm wide with the sharp bit measuring around 70mm and the overall length being around 150mm. The grind will be something like a half hollow as I only have an eight inch contact wheel and I'll be using carbon steel for ease of heat treating and cost. I do have a rather large piece of RWL34 ready to go but it's expensive stuff so I going to hold onto it for now.


    I'll update this thread as I go and hopefully we'll all learn something along the way. Even if it's that I should stick to knives


    Any/all input is most welcome
    Last edited by mikew; 03-07-2014 at 10:19 AM.

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    I don't have any advice for you, but I am in for the read. Good luck.

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    Obsessive compulsive EisenFaust's Avatar
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    Looking forward to the updates!

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    See post #46 on the "Making my own razor" post in the Forge Forum - ie bending the handle. Maybe thin the handle down a bit. Your will probably want to wrap it with cord before you shave with it. Otherwise, your razor looks good. Keep us informed.
    Last edited by skipnord; 03-07-2014 at 04:18 PM.
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    Senior Member mikew's Avatar
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    Thanks all. skipnord, thanks for the tip about the tang angle, I'll definitely be doing that

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    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    You want to taper the handle as well. Under no circumstances should you have a tang /handle that is exactly as wide as the spine.
    Once you start honing, the spine will get thinner. Not by a lot, but still. When this happens, you still want the blade to be perfectly flat on the hone. For this to happen, the tang / handle should never touch the hone, or you will get a sloping transition where the spine (and thus the edge) will always 'wobble'.

    With knives you often see a small notch between the edge and the bolsters. this is for the same reasons: to make sure that the beginning of the edge will always touch the stone properly.

    Also the following things:

    - you don't want the handle to end in perfectly sharp corners, because you will scratch up a lot of things in the bathroom. the only sharp thing should be the edge
    - please get used to measuring things in empirical units. As much as I live in a metric country anduse the metric system for everything, the razor world operates in units of 1/16 inch for measuring the width and thickness of a razor. For lengths it's inches. Everything will go a lot smoother if you measure width in 1/8 or 1/16.
    - carbon steel is perfectly fine for a razor. No need to consider it 'making do'. A razor is not subject to stress, fatigue, etc. The only thing that matters is the ability to take an edge and be relatively easy to hone. high carbon tool steel is a perfect steel for a razor. If anything, the challenge is to achieve the same level of edge quality with stainless, not the other way around.
    - for the thickness you want to aim between 1/4 to 1/3 for the thickness vs width ratio. do not go smaller because your razors will be difficult to hold and lose its edge relatively quickly. In your case for 22 mm of width (~7/8") you want a stock thickness of close to 1/4"
    - Leave the edge 1/16 before heat treatment, and grind away the rest of the hollow after quench and tempering.
    - You need to grind the hollow so close that during honing, the bevels are uniform, and very thin. Ideally, the bevels should be a very thin, almost invisible line. A wide and uneven bevel is the sign of sloppy workmanship, and often indicates that only minimal post HT ginding was done.
    Happiness is a field, littered with the mangled corpses of your enemies. - Vlad III of Wallachia

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    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    - please get used to measuring things in empirical units. As much as I live in a metric country anduse the metric system for everything, the razor world operates in units of 1/16 inch for measuring the width and thickness of a razor. For lengths it's inches. Everything will go a lot smoother if you measure width in 1/8 or 1/16.
    Further about this topic: even the Germans in Solingen, notorious for using SI for standardizing everything under the sun, useeights and sixteenths of an inch for measuring the width of their razors. There have been a couple halfhearted attempts in the past to start using SI but honestly, just like the navy will forever measure speed in knots and depth in fathoms, we will use sixteenths for measuring razor blades.
    Adam G., WW243 and dexter90723 like this.
    Happiness is a field, littered with the mangled corpses of your enemies. - Vlad III of Wallachia

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    Nice. I'll follow the topic.
    Are you stressed???!!! Get out and go fishing!!!

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    Senior Member mikew's Avatar
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    Thanks for the encouragement and words of advice. Much appreciated

    Things are moving slowly as I've be rebuilding my workshop but I'm hoping to get the grinder set up again tomorrow so what this space....

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    Senior Member mikew's Avatar
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    I wasn't planning on being in the workshop today but somehow ended up in there with a conveniently sized piece of scrap so this is what happened...



    It's a slightly odd looking thing but it's my first go at grinding on a wheel so a big step forward.

    It's 8/8ths wide and about 1 3/4 inches long. That bit was for bruno
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