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Thread: If you were going to make a production razor...

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    Senior Member MattCB's Avatar
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    Default If you were going to make a production razor...

    I have wanted to see someone create a USA based (or UK, Australia.. not China, Pakistan made) straight razor aimed at the beginning straight shaver. This would require a fairly low price point of around $100 - 120 dollars. How would you go about setting something like this up? I don't have the knowledge base to figure it out completely, but this is the rough idea I came up with. This would be a process that was made to be as quick and repeatable as possible. It is not the same as a custom razor. A custom, IMO, is more art and skill than a manufacturing process. I thought I would throw this out there and see if any interesting ideas came up. Maybe it will give someone else a kick in the but to do it themselves. Just to get it out of the way, I am not looking to start making razors or polling people for marketing purposes, or any of that. I have seen quite a few "Artisan" safety razors doing well lately and it makes me hope for something along those lines for straights.


    1) Basic razor: 5/8" round point, shoulderless design, O1 tool steel (no plunge cuts = faster/easier grinding?, O1 easy to get, holds nice edge, heat treat no surprises)
    2) Razor blank CAD designed and water cut in bulk
    3) Hogging grind done on a double wheel hollow grinder (quicker, more consistency on every razor)
    4) Softening/rounding of edges on belt grinder
    5) Heat treat - ?
    6) Final grind - think a double grinder is more efficient? No idea if would work.
    7) Scales/Wedge - Bulk orders of CNC cut plastic, maybe injection molding?
    8) Pins/Washers - I would look at the types that Dovo/TI use that have the "nail" that stick through, pop a washer on, trim and peen.
    9) Honing - This would be a huge bottle neck. Maybe a lapidary hone to set bevel?

    Anyway, curious to see if anyone has thought about something like this or event thinks it achievable.

    Matt
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    Moderator Razorfeld's Avatar
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    Matt, I would imagine that the Portland Razor Co is the closest to what you are describing. Perhaps you should start a conversation with them and see what develops. They do have a solid reputation for such a young company and I'm sure would listen with an open mind.
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    Senior Member MattCB's Avatar
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    That's actually part of what got me to thinking about it to be honest. They have been using the water jet cutting of the blanks on thier standard lines and have a bunch of thier scales laser cut as well. I think it's a great idea, just curious if anyone had thought of things.
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    Admin & Forum fixer Bruno's Avatar
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    At the price point you mentioned it is only possible if you use pre made mass produced blanks like dovo or ralf aust. Not even water jetting will save you the time needed for hollow grinding. Stamping out hollow blanks like dovo is the way to go.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    I wonder if you could get mass production stamped blades made in China, with specific steel, touch them up and heat treat in not China and then finish grind them. I think the biggest problem with the Chinese razors is that they are not consistently heat treated or finish ground. I am taking that from their reputation and not personal experience. Stamping blanks I am guessing would require an insane and unattainable volume, to do so with new machines.
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    Fatty Boom Boom WW243's Avatar
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    "Stamping out hollow blanks" sounds like bad juju to me.
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    Senior Member MattCB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
    At the price point you mentioned it is only possible if you use pre made mass produced blanks like dovo or ralf aust. Not even water jetting will save you the time needed for hollow grinding. Stamping out hollow blanks like dovo is the way to go.
    Do you think that a razor aimed at the "starter" crowd could demand a better price and still sell well? I don't own any new straight razors and usually get price shy at about $60 to $70 (but I'm cheap )
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    Senior Member MattCB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RezDog View Post
    I wonder if you could get mass production stamped blades made in China, with specific steel, touch them up and heat treat in not China and then finish grind them. I think the biggest problem with the Chinese razors is that they are not consistently heat treated or finish ground. I am taking that from their reputation and not personal experience. Stamping blanks I am guessing would require an insane and unattainable volume, to do so with new machines.
    I think it's possible. China can turn out quality merchandise... you just have to be willing to pay for it. I think the hardest part (And what makes all of the Gold Dollars and others such a crap shoot) is the quality control in the heat treatment and grinding.

    I saw a video of the Dovo factory that showed how they stamp thier blanks. I assume that the initial up front cost of such a machine would make it unattainable for most people/companies.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    Well I think marketing is a big part also. There are tons of inexpensive vintage razors out there all cleaned up and shave ready.
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    Senior Member dinnermint's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this a few weeks ago. Really, I would like to something for 40-50 bucks. I would have and probably still would buy something in that price range without even thinking.

    Grinding would have to be kept a minimum, any grinding is typically the most expensive operation. Grinding time can be reduced with some dedicated fixturing to simplify manual grinding and/or CNC grinding. Products my company makes are ground +/- 0.01mm over 500mm, so accurate machine grinding is feasible but all those parts are flat surfaces.

    Water-jet is not always the cheapest solution, usually used for accuracy and good finishes or companies that want to be fancy with buzzwords for the sale/marketing department. Initial material removal for grinding operation may also be possible. One would have to do cost analysis of laser/plasma cutting and the time required to clean the blank versus water-jet. It would probably be smart to look at making a 2.5" edge for cost savings instead of the more common ~3". This will be even more important in economies of scale, since we're talking a mass produced razor. I'm emphasizing cost in this argument, not time. You could easily purchase thousands a day from a company that does this operations full-time and even though this is hypothetically for mass production, time would only truly be a factor if we were to have the actual machine and running at full capacity. Even if that was the case, honing would still be the greatest bottleneck IMO.

    Heat treatment could be batch done, best to do in house for consistency and control.

    CAD design would be exorbitantly easy, would take me a couple days with revisions and aesthetic changes.

    I think the nail/pin idea for the scales is a good idea as well as plastic injection molding for scales. The mold is the most expensive part by far. If a company is found to already have a mold, prices would be dramatically lowered. CNC or 3d printed scales would be more expensive.

    Honing is something that I am not sure about. It could be possible to create a fixture for a machine that does flat grinding to get the bevel set or close enough to make manual honing faster. I feel like improvements to this process would be a make/or break area.

    Sorry for engineering out on you boys
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