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Another razor question


Well-Known Member
Welcome, gentlemen

I've just found this specimen - I'd go for it without any doubt if it was not for this strange marking on the tang. Looks like electro - etched, or something. Not too common, eh? :blink: What do you think?

kind regards,



Looks like a decent blade… Yes indeed, it is etched as opposed to stamped… but there may be nothing wrong with that.
Believe it or not, many excellent blades were etched on the tang, including the famous W&B Special, and the “For Barbers Use” full hollow ground 8/8 models. Most Wostenholm IXL. J.R Torrey (shoulder-less models with the lance through the U.S., and many more.

Even today I believe most modern razors are not “stamped” on the tang but etched.
The reason is simple; it costs the razor maker many times more to stamp a razor than to etch the mark on the tang.
To make the stamp (or die), the manufacturer has to contract a type cutter (or die cutter). This was a time consuming job for a specialist skilled in the art of cutting the text out of steel using hand tools (literally, carving the characters out of the steel) and all this had to be done in reverse. Then the finished die was hardened before put to use.
The die is struck on the red hot razor blank to create the impression, and though the dies were of hardened steel they didn’t last long. Indeed the financial resources were better spent on improving the final product.

Though I do have one complaint about that razor…. There seems to be no branding (unless it’s on the other side of the tang), however it does say Sheffield and looks to have not been honed much (if any at all)… good size at 11/16th or 6/8th … ¼ hollow… slight smile. Also for some reason it appears “German”… but I believe it should be a great looker and shaver if restored with care.
Ha, thank you, Smythe. I was hoping you'll give some useful remarks and I haven't been disappointed. :D

Upon closer inspection I noticed a crack in the point end of the scale - you may notice a trace of whitish line close to the edge, further processing with Photoshop confirmed it. But that's a minor issue IMO. I've asked the seller for additional pictures.

kind regards,
The seller shot additional pictures of the chopper.

What got me really wondering now is the shape of the blade - as you see it is slightly ground from one side, but on the back side there's hardly any grind. Is this blade asymmetrical or it's just shaped this way that grinding it from one side was all that was needed to finish it? In other words, can you tell from the pictures if I will get the same bevel width on both sides? Smythe? :)

kind regards,





It's called a microtome knife, and was (is) actually used for cutting extremely thin slices of scientific samples. So thin, that light can shine true for inspection with transmitted light microscopy.

Originally these are sharpened from one side only, like a chisel. The flat side needs to be highly polished,otherwise it wont take a fine edge, because the scratches at the unhoned side would cause edge imperfections.
The problem for shaving is dual:
1. the bevel angle is only half of a typical bevel angle on a razor. That allows for extreme sharpness, at the cost of edge durability. Certainly for shaving beard hairs at an angled angle. Shaving does not equal cutting tissue samples.
2. It would need to be used with a different shaving angle at either side of the blade: twice as high when the flat side touches the skin.

People have succeeded in shaving with them. I know JimmyHAD, who's a member that occasionally posts here, but resides mostly on, has successfully honed and shaved with one (or more?).

Best regards,
Aha! That explains the lack of a manufacturers mark… that is indeed a microtome... marketed to laboratories, so no need for fancy “glyph-like” text announcing the maker, just a “hi-tech” tool for the business of slicing biological sections.

It should shave similar to a Japanese razor, as I believe it is ground similarly. Also bear in mind the bevel angle will be smaller so the apparent sharpness of the edge is higher. I have never shaved with one, but you never know… It may give you a great shave… or not.

But you know, I find it saddening (also pisses me off)... the seller post a photo of the "hollowed" side, but failed to post a photo of the “other” side, and then “forget” to mention it in the text, so you would never know if you didn't ask for the photos (why should you have to ask?).

And too often they hide behind "…I am no expert…" or some such drivel. And hope the buyer is in-experienced in these items, or maybe won’t bother to return the item as it may not be worth the time… And then they have the “balls” to complain a buyer leaves bad feedback without contacting them first… Calm down Cedrick!!!….

End of rant!