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11-08-2011, 11:22 PM #1
Hi folks, new to the forum, I've never shaved with a straight razor, but I intend to one day soon. I found this razor at an antique store for $80, and I was a bit shocked at how good it looked for the price, especially considering its age. I will be cruising the forums, learning about restoring razors, and I hope to fix this one up. Looks like buffalo horn scales. So here's a question: I have some beautiful Brazilian rosewood burl a luthier friend gave me; do you think I should make some burl scales for it? I still intend to fix up the current scales too, I'm just not sure if I should keep it all original or go all out with the exotic scales. At any rate here are some pictures I took with my phone, I'll take more pictures and upload them once i get into the restoration process. There is very little significant pitting in the blade. I'm not sure what the ring shaped stain on the back side is, I can't feel it with my finger so I'm hoping it will polish out. The only deep pitting I can feel is near the tip on the back of the blade, you can barely see it in the close up. Any tips, suggestions, comments, so on and so forth? Thanks!
11-08-2011, 11:39 PM #2
Nice str8. If it was me i would make sure it was rust free. Polish it up hone it and start to shave. All the stains and scratches gives it character. I have noticed on mine when you clean it after shaving with toilet paper you are also polishing it. They have started to shine more with each use.
11-08-2011, 11:40 PM #3
For the love of god leave it alone! Get it honed and shave with it
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11-09-2011, 12:09 AM #4
I agree, if the scales aren't cracked through the pivot etc. then leave them be. You be surprised how nice the blade and scales will look after an hour or so of polishing by hand. You may even destroy them if you unpin them.
Imo save the burl for a razor that really needs new scales. (trust me you'll end up with plenty if you get this honed professionally and get hooked on the SR)
11-09-2011, 12:52 AM #5
For the love of God man, don't pull the scaled off that razor! Soak them for 24-60 hrs in neetsfoot oil and then wet sand them using neetsfoot oil and wet/dry sand paper from 400-8000/higher if you can get it. Finish with carnuba or ren wax. You won't be sorry!
If you want to polish the blade, I use Mother's brand chrome and aluminum polish. It works well. Lots of guys use Mass or Flitz or similar. You can use them on the pins/washers too.
Of course, you could just send it out to get honed an use it as is. It's your party, do whatever males you happy. Decent straights are neither rare or super expensive. Have fun!
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11-09-2011, 02:27 PM #6
No rust evident on the blade, I agree about the character, I'm not one that wants to take an antique and make it look like it just came from the manufacturer. When I say "restore" in this case, I just want to get it to shaving condition. No cracks in the scales, just a few pits and hollows. After really examining the razor the first day I had it home I've come to agree the scales are in much better shape than I originally thought. I'll be polishing them up following medicevans suggestions. Would lemon oil work as well as neetsfoot? I work on guitars from time to time and we use lemon oil to treat the fretboards. As far as the blade goes, I have a felt wheel and I was thinking of picking up some jewelers rouge, or do you think the wheel would be too aggressive? Maybe start off by hand and then if there are any really stubborn spots take it to the wheel? As far as the deeper pits in the blade on the back side, I was considering starting with a rougher rouge compound on the wheel, and working up to the jewelers rouge. Again, I've never restored anything like this, I don't know if I should just stick to hand polishing, or if a few seconds on the wheel would shine it up perfectly? As far as honing, I know a gentleman that has been honing blades for longer than I've been alive, I think I'll take it to him. I would definitely like to pick up a good hone and start learning the art myself. Again, any suggestions, tips, comments? Thanks for the input! Oh, can anyone from the pictures tell me about how old this blade is? The best I could come up with was a final date of manufacture of the "for barber's use" razors: around 1900, meaning this blade is at least 110 years old! I doubt time treats me as well...
11-09-2011, 02:41 PM #7
First off i'd like to say congrats on such a beautiful razor and I completely agree with keeping things original. When it comes to restoration of the blade, I wouldn't use any power tools at all. Being your first restoration, doing things by hand will give you a better feel for how far to go. My suggestion is to progressively work from #0 to #0000 steel wool using either 3 in 1 oil or a metal polish such as Maas or Turtle Wax polishing compound. For the scales, I'm not sure that lemon oil would work or not. Neetsfoot oil is recommended as it is rendered from the hooves and horns of cows making it pretty much the same as the scales. As far as age, it is pre-1891 as it doesn't include country of origin on the tang, only the Sheffield mark. Enjoy.
11-09-2011, 02:51 PM #8
As has been said, use neetsfoot oil not lemon oil. Neetsfoot oil puts into the horn what it needs. You don't need much, just enough to cover the scales. Open the blade so it can get inside the scales too. Attached are pictures of what neetsfoot oil looks like before and after. I'm not tooting my own horn, it just isn't that hard of a process. The pictures are of y first time using N.O. on scales. Also the blade was hand sanded to 12,000 then Mother's.
You don't need power tools.
Please don't use power tools for your first restore, especially one so beautiful as this. Learn it by hand first. Grab a crappy eBay blade or email Larry at Whippeddog straights and ask to buy some practice blades.
You'd be amazed at how shiny Mas or Mothers can make a blade. Seriously, they work great.
Last edited by medicevans; 11-09-2011 at 02:56 PM.
11-09-2011, 04:02 PM #9
Thanks! I'll see about picking up some good steel wool and polish then. Very cool to think that razor has been around for over 120 years. I haven't been able to track down the gentleman who'se case it was in, but he does have other razors in there, and trust me I'll be going back for more. I think there is one with cracked scales that might give me the occasion to use that burl. As long as I like the blade enough... That piece of wood is special, and I was lucky to get it, there were a lot of guys with their eyes on it.
11-09-2011, 04:07 PM #10
Oh I see, that makes sense. I looked up what neetsfoot was made of. I think I know a local place I can get some. What did you use to sand the blade? Just a fine sand paper? I guess then the polish buffs out the remaining little scratches from the sanding, that razor looks great. I'll refrain from using the shiny new grinder, I trust your "senior member" advice! I'll be looking for that polish too. I'm on the search for the perfect blade in need of some fancy scales now, keep a sharp eye, if you folks see one you think would pair nicely with that brazillian rosewood burl, I'd sure appreciate it if you could point it out to me. I'm cruising the antique stores looking for deals...