A Different type of Slice!

No, it’s not slicing as with chisels. Sorry.

It’s a hobby of mine. Getting antique straight razors and restoring them. Some I keep, some I sell along with the custom shaving brushes that I make as well. Believe it or not, there is quite a market for these items. I collect these, antique shaving brushes that I restore as well, double edge razors of all styles with the most popular being Gillette.

This particular razor I took on a trade. As you can see it was in rather sad shape but it’s a popular brand and an excellent shaver once restored and honed to shaving standards. Yeah,, I like sharp tools of all types. And really, did you expect a carver who makes a living with a mallet and chisel to shave with an electric razor? No, I was born in the wrong century making a living the way I do, so my razor had to be from the same period as well. Using one of these will teach you how to control an edge very quickly.

As far as sharpness goes, do you think your chisels are sharp?  You might think so if you can shave hair from your arm with one. That’s sharp. But here is a test for a razor. Pluck a hair and hold it with your thumb and index finger. Now, about a half inch away from your  fingers, try and cut the hair as it hangs free. It’s called  a hanging hair test. This razor will start over half an inch away and you can slice that hair like a baloney right along it’s length . I can pass it along my arm, keeping it a half inch away from my skin and it will shear off hair like it isn’t even a thought.  That’s about as sharp as you can get.

So as to the restoration I broke the razor apart as it needed so much attention. The scales ( handles) were originally bone, but they too were cracked and in bad shape. I cleaned up the razor, straightened out the edge and generally polished it up. I left the hollow grind of the blade itself in a brushed finish.

The scales are something I made out of resin as I make pretty much all my own stock. Sometimes I’ll use exotic woods on the razors, but here I wanted something more dramatic. In the field of collecting and selling this is becoming the norm. The pins that hold the handles together I made as well and those washers under the pins are about 1/8th inch.

The brush you  see I made as well . Here I made the “Ivory” , the wood is Rosewood, and the brush is actual Silver tip Badger .

Not carving , but something I enjoy.

 

 

In these first three shots the amount of rust damage and pitting as well as unevenness of the blade is obvious.

The remaining photos are of the completed razor. Pretty much self explanatory. One interesting detail I added when I made the stock for the handles was to have the inside section clear. No particular reason for it to be that way. It does add a bit to the translucence of the scales and makes them a bit brighter. It’s difficult to see in the photos where it’s closed, but in person , you can just make out the razor blade behind the scales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another brush

This may seem silly as woodworking goes, but it has become a nice sideline as a hobby for me. The response in certain circles has been very good. I’ve been commissioned to make quite a few brushes of various designs for clients. This is an unusual design as shaving brushes go but I found it interesting to make. The design which reminds some of the horn on a saddle, fits your hand like a glove.  You’re not so much aware of holding a brush as it becomes an extension of your hand.

The wood I used for this brush is Padauk. The color and grain is just wonderful for the curves of the handle. The “ivory” section I also made. I can match any color in acrylic resins to recreate any number of colors. Once I make the stock I spin it on my lathe to create any number of shapes. This color is not applied to the surface but goes through and through the stock.

I’ve included a few “in the process” photos to show how the piece goes together. The Knot,, or bristles,, is made from Badger hair and is 24mm in diameter at the base.  After turning the “ivory” piece, I made a matching hole in the wood to secure it well.

The overall length is 105mm, approx. 6 inches. The amount of loft, or amount of bristles extending from the brush will greatly affect its performance depending on the types of soaps or creams used for shaving. Here I made some rough band saw cuts to begin shaping the handle.

In these photos you can see how the brush fits my hand as well as its size prior to applying the finish.

And the completed brush. You can see how the CA finish really makes the grain and color just pop! This type of finish also insures durability and that the brush is waterproof. This is the natural color of the wood as no stain was used.

Hope you enjoyed this straying into another area of woodworking.

Mark

When I’m not Carving….

We all have some sort of hobby I’m sure. I do as well. But usually my hobby IS carving along with it being my job. But when you have a shop full of tools, and I love to play with them, well, something is bound to “turn” up. I collect vintage razors both straight razors as well as DE’s. And naturally  as collections expand there are other accessories you end up collecting. Antique shaving mugs, brushes, bowls , hones, stones, blades,,well the list goes on. If it’s razor related I’m game.

Now I have restored several brushes as both Boar and Badger knots ( the brush part)  are available. But since I get a kick out of making things I had to make my own brushes ( the handles) as well as a variety of brush stands, bowls , razor stands etc. Now some are in wood but  I’ve found other sources of stock that mimic Ivory, Horn, Bone and others. But in this niche market is a demand for what is called Butterscotch. It’s a particular color that develops in early plastics or celluloids that were once nearly white, or another creamy shade but due to light and other factors it develops , well, a butterscotch color to it which is highly prized by collectors.

So not to be outdone or try to find these particular pieces I decided to make my own Butterscotch as well. Now I not only make the handles, but I can make any shade or color , including a wide variety of butterscotch hues ( there is not one particular shade, it varies) to then turn my own handles.

Some as I have said I made out of wood. Others are bits and pieces left over that I combined into one brush.

This is only a start as I have more ideas for a variety of products to make. Now my hobby has turned into another job. Great,, now I have to find another hobby.

My first razor stand/bowl. The wood is Cherry . The bowl holds a puck of shaving soap. I didn’t make this brush as this was my first week or so with this type of shaving. Also shown is a Marble as well as a Porcelain lathering bowl. Whip up some lather and it stays nice and warm in these.

My second bowl/stand and razor. This too is cherry. I turned it then carved the design then built the rest of the stand. The brush is suspended by hidden magnets buried in the handle as well as the support.

See,comes off easily to use.

A vintage to be restored including the knot.

Restoration complete. Didn’t photograph well but the paint is Pearlescent, both the white and the blue. The knot is Pure Badger hair.

Another Cherry brush and stand. Here too I used the magnet trick. Turned then hand carved.

Ivory.

From here on I’ll just show the photo’s with a brief note of the material.The list is extensive of what I’ve made so this is only a sample of the brushes.

Butterscotch ( commercial stock)

Ivory stand with Ivory /horn handle.

A sample of the butterscotch stock I made.

Wood and my stock.

My stock with natural Padauk wood tops.

Faux Horn and a Black and orange swirl.

Coco-Bolo.

More of the butterscotch I made.

Cherry with inlays.

Cherry, Walnut, Maple.

A before shot,,,,,,,

and after I restored both the blade and the handles.

another before,,,,

,,,and after I restored it.

Another resto with handles as well as pins I made for it. The  handles are Rosewood.

and yet another restoration before,,,

And of course,, after.

You get it I’m sure,, I love doing these pieces because, well, they’re just fun and it’s a challenge to figure it out. It’s an interesting hobby with many facets. I like the history of many of the pieces I collect, researching them, finding ones that were made the year I was born and what was “new” at the time. How the economy affected the razors , steel etc. during that time.

Besides the fact that I have my Grandfathers 1908 razor,,that he gave to my father,,  and my father then  gave to me and I use it to this day. You can’t beat 102 yr. history and all the stories that razor could tell. And my face is as smooth as the proverbial Baby’s behind!

Thanks for bearing with me and taking the time to look .

Mark