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Thread: Rolls Razor
08-15-2009, 09:05 AM #1
I'm contemplating getting a rolls razor and just wanted to see if there were some people here that use one and how good are they. I tend to use my DE a lot but really prefer the closeness that my straight provides, but don't usually take the time for a straight shave. I read a little that the rolls razor is the closest thing to a straight that isn't one, anyone have some experience with them? What models should I look at when considering one? Things to look for?
Also was curious if anyone has tried replacing the strop material in the cases that comes with them or if the hones that comes with them (I'm assuming just for touching up) works well. Thanks for any input
08-15-2009, 09:24 AM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
- Monmouth, OR - USA
- Thanked 316 Times in 239 Posts
I have considered one myself, but have yet to get one.
As far as I know, there is only one Rolls Razor. They are all the same. Just look for one that appears to be free from rust, and has all the parts included. A cover on both sides, one with leather and one with a hone. A blade that is free from rust or chips, and the little handle. I've seen a lot that were in superb condition, but missing the little shaving handle making them useless.
I know that not only have many people replaced the strop and hone that come with it, but there's a member here who usually has home made replacements up in the classifieds for a very reasonable price. However, if you can find one that at least has the stone side still in tact, I think you'd be doing yourself a favor.
They're not hard to find on ebay and I've seen at leas 3 or 4 at antique shops, but usually they are WAY over priced at shops.
08-16-2009, 10:07 PM #3
I have a few, some in good shape, and some for parts. There are different models, but they are all similar. For more information have a look at this page
Rolls Safety Razor Page
You can't get factory replacement hones, but the blades can be honed (by hand) on regular stones. I'm just starting to experiment with using 1/8 inch thick hobby plywood and diamond pastes in various grits for doing honing and stropping using the Rolls mechanism. I'll post more when I have completed my work.
When tuned up, they give a great shave, and are such a high quality item that they are a pleasure to handle. I always feel like I'm supposed to be packing a steamer trunk for a trip on an ocean liner when I pull mine out. Heavy, nickel plated, and a joy to hold in the hand. Ebay is your best bet for a good price.
08-16-2009, 10:27 PM #4
I have a Rolls Razor, and they do shave great once they're sharpened and ready to use. If you do end up getting one, just be advised that if you use both the hone and strop provided that you'll want to slow down and ease up on the handle once the blade is ready to flip, otherwise you'll end up slamming the blade into either the hone or the strop depending on which one you're using. Ideally, you want to hear two clicks when you're using your Rolls Razor setup whenever the blade flips over. The first click will be the safety bar setting down while the second is the actual blade clicking into place for proper honing or stropping.
08-17-2009, 03:50 AM #5
Thanks for the responses, I'm actually looking at some now on ebay that I may get.
I've been wondering if it might be possible to make a handle for it to hold the blade so I could strop it like a straight razor on my regular strops. Guess once I get one and see what the blades are like I may try to make something so I don't have to always use the small strop in the case as I have some pasted strops (.5 micron chrome ox and 1x linen with dovo white paste) that I will probably want to use.
I thought maybe replacing the leather component and hone inside with different stropping materials. Say one that could come out and flip over (like I saw in the classifieds) one with good stropping material like latigo, one horsehide pasted and something like having them both backed with cotton weave, perhaps one with white paste and one without.
I have shaptons that I was planning on using to hone it, so the little hone in the case wouldn't really be needed.
Anyone removed the guards on their blades?
Last edited by bevansmw; 08-17-2009 at 06:26 AM. Reason: Addition
08-17-2009, 08:57 AM #6
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- Gloucestershire, UK
- Thanked 52 Times in 33 Posts
I have three Rolls sets, two of the steel cased ones and one aluminium. I love them.
My father had one many years ago which he never used in my memory and I remember as a nipper playing with it, rattling the blade up and down the hone and strop! Elf'n'Safety would have a fit these days.
All three of mine give a good shave but it takes quite a bit of honing in the box to get them sharp enough.
They handle like a DE but to me, the actual shave is not as smooth, but the final result is far better than a DE, Not sure how that works! Of course, it is a straight razor really which probably accounts for the fine finish.
There are many on the UK ebay. Main thing is to get one with an unbroken hone as they are often cracked from misuse.
I was at a car boot sale at Cheltenham race course a few months ago and actually found a brand new replacement hone and strop which I bought for £1 the pair! Well chuffed there.
08-17-2009, 02:42 PM #7
I can replace the strop. Thats easy. The stone. I thought about that. decided that the cut was too thin to make without it cracking.
They are the best "wedge" type razors out there. I love mine and use it very often.
I have tips on sharpening a rolls razor too. I may have to get with slarti to do a wiki article.
08-17-2009, 08:28 PM #8
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
- Scottish Borders
- Thanked 10 Times in 10 Posts
I have a good condition RR Imperial No 2 model but have never got anywhere with it because of inability to hone and strop to sharp enough edge (conventional hones not owned). Lots of info on DE sites about getting them sharp but would be interested in hearing words of wisdom from SRP owners.
08-17-2009, 08:32 PM #9
How to hone a Rolls Razor
- Open both lids of the razor
- Remove the blades and handle
- Look at the mechanism that the blade is mounted on, see that spike?
- That spike is mounted on a thin piece of sheet metal
- Remove it carefully, it should just pop off.
- Grab yourself a chopstick or pencil
- Mount the spike and metal onto the pencil or chopstick, chopsticks work great.
- Mount the razor onto the spike and hone as normal.
- Reverse to reassemble.
08-18-2009, 12:03 PM #10
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Thanked 138 Times in 102 Posts
I've got a couple of the Rolls Razors, never thought about using them though. Can you get replacement blades? The Rolls might be a good alternative to a straight when traveling.