Monthly Archives: August 2014

“When Patina Reaches Perfection”

Sometimes you come across a Razor that has lived a long life, been held by many hands and has earned every nick, ding, chip and bit of rust. The question when you find it is not always simple to answer…

“Should I restore this Razor or just get it functional?”

I recently received a Razor that had me scratching my head with just that question.

Patina 2

This is a ‘Henckels #12’ with Wood Handles… The Blade was in okay shape and had a nice little Smile going for it… The Scales were very warped but the Hardware appeared to be quite old and the overall “look” of the Razor showed a lot of promise.

Patina 1

The main issue was that someone had re-scaled with material that was too short and so the tip of the razor was hitting the lead wedge and the only way it would close completely was nesting between the wedge and the scale and would jeopardize any new edge put on it.

Patina 3I have had some success using just a simple Humidifier to steam scales and then get them straight so I gave that a shot and it worked… It did not straighten them all the way but it was enough to allow the blade to be centered properly.

Patina 4The last hurdle was the toughest… The lead wedge was just too big and to replace it meant I’d have to take the entire razor apart and putting shiny hardware on a razor like this would be a crime. So, that left only a full-restoration or figure out the issue with the wedge.

I played around with adjusting the pivot and had the scales as straight as possible but the tip was still solidly hitting the wedge. Then, it struck me, lead is pretty soft so why not try filing it down. Using a Jeweler’s Micro-File I was able to do just that. I created enough space for the razor to close properly!

The pictures above are what it looked like after the initial work was done and I had the Bevel set. The only thing I did aside from the above is soak the scales heavily in Castor Oil to hydrate them and the razor turned out beautiful and was completely functional!

“Sometimes ‘Bright-N-Shiny’ is just not the way to go!”

… as these ‘after’ Pics of the finished razor show!

Henckels 1

Henckels 3

Henckels 2

“When It All Just Seems To Go Wrong”

“Sometimes things happen… No matter how careful you are, stuff just occasionally happens. :-(“

Boker Chip

The pic above is a Brand New Boker ‘King Cutter’ that lost a brief but fierce battle with a faucet. Not a huge chip and there was no crack to go along with it… But, still not what you want to have happen in your first handful of shaves. Sometimes, though, it happens.

What to do? First, don’t freak out and make it worse. Hurling a razor across the room after an incident like this will not get you what you want. So, take a deep breath then take a couple more. Second, if you have some experience with Honing/Repair ‘now’ is not the time to make the assessment when emotions are at their highest. Finish your routine, clean and dry the razor as you would normally then come back to it later when you can be more calm and objective. Then, take a closer look and plan your fix or research your resources needed for this kind of repair.

If you just started wet shaving and do not Hone/Repair then now is the time to seek out some resources. There are numerous Sites, Pages and Groups out there that have just tons of information as well as links or recommendations to people that Hone/Repair or any other type support you may need. If you are not already involved in this way then do some research and try some out… Each place has their own unique attitude and flavor so don’t hesitate or lurk very long… Your best bet is to dive right in and get involved, Post or Start Threads. Once you’ve got a feel for the place you can better determine if it is the right ‘fit’ and you can certainly be active in as many Groups as you’d like and in as many formats as you can imagine. You could even start your own!

Now that the emotions have died down and you have the information you need it is time to select the person you are going to use for this support. Personal Recommendations are great ways to start… Browsing a Page or Website also helps… Ultimately, you have to take a leap of faith and contact someone directly. Just use the same type of intuition you did when first seeking out a Group and you’ll likely be fine. “Shave Ready” means something different to each person so there is not much way around that type of subjectivity… While one person may be fine scraping a crusty shell across their face to shave, someone else may have particular needs or preferences related to skin condition or sensitivity and it all boils down to personal comfort levels and experience. Those who choose to Hone Professionally should be well-versed in Wet Shaving, be helpful and polite as well as be open to questions and details… So, when you contact them just be open and up front so you can get the best read possible prior to making your decision. Ask about Price, Warranty/Guarantee (if any), Procedures/Specifics, Time Needed For Repair… Pay particular attention to Pricing as that is where you can possibly sweeten your deal. My Extended Coverage Honing is a good example of this where you can save 33% on your Re-Hone when you buy it up front.

Boker Repair

The above picture is the same Boker ‘King Cutter’ after repair. I used an alternating progression of BKT on the side of my Norton 1k along with Bevel Setting on the 1K without slurry to remove the chip and then went through my current Progression- Norton 1k, Norton 4/8, MST Thuri, Naniwa 12k, Llyn Idwal. Stropping Progression- SRD Premium Felt pasted with CrOx x 20, SRD Premium Felt x 40, SRD Premium I x 60 then finished on an SRD Roo x 40 (20 Regular/20 Light). I avoided the Slurry on the 1K on the outside chance I could create a crack and so wanted the smoothest surface possible. The BKT were also an invaluable tool as, simply by the feedback, I could tell when the chip was gone which I then confirmed with magnification.

Boker CMon

Happily, the Boker Repaired and Honed perfectly… The Test Shave was very nice and comfortable and there were no other issues to address. Working New Razors definitely has some advantages over Restorations. The Boker is paired in this picture with a C-Mon Blackie that was a Restoration I did and happened to Hone at the same time as the Boker. Both came out beautifully!

So, what do you do when you get your razor back? Gently wipe the oil away and Shave! You should not need to worry about Stropping so just make sure to set aside enough shaving time to really assess your blade and see how it goes. If all is well, tell other people about the Resource you found… If something is off, contact the person you hired to do the Repair/Honing and discuss your issue. So many of the Groups out there related to Wet Shaving are bringing back things in addition to Wet Shaving… Like Gentlemanly/Womanly Courtesy and Respect as well as Honest and Open Communication. If there is something wrong or something you do not understand then simply contact that person and address the issue directly. I have always been overwhelmingly pleased at how courteous, supportive and honest people are out there and I’m sure you’ll find the same thing!

“What? No BIG advice?!”, you say… Well, Wet Shaving is so individually specific it is tough to come up with those One-Size-Fits-All pieces of advice… But, for Chips like the one in this blade, my best advice is to, “.. always keep your eye on the blade..” when it is in your hand! Many people choose to only wipe their razors on a towel draped over a shoulder, arm or folded on the edge of the vanity… And, that often works but it doesn’t really get down to the issue which is that many times we are trying to do two things at once while shaving ie, feeling the closeness of the shave with one hand or looking into the mirror as we are dipping the razor into the water for a rinse… That is the ‘moment’ when things can all go wrong! If you simply keep your eyes always on the blade when it is in your hand then I think that is the simplest and most effective advice to give!