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Article: How to Buy and Restore Vintage Straight Razors

RazorEmporium

New Member
Hello everyone! New to the forum here, not new to forums or shaving though! :p Wanted to let you all know that we wrote an article on finding and restoring vintage straight razors over at The Art of Manliness. While we don't go into honing in this article, I hope that it helps to grow the Straight Razor Community, which is a goal we should all have!

Thought I'd share- good to be here and look forward to learning more about this place and you all!

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Bart

Well-Known Member
Hi Matt. Let me be first to welcome you here on Coticule.be.

Matt and I go a couple years back, when we were I was still active on another shaving forum and Matt was making his first steps in the world of straight razor shaving. The link to Matt's RazorEmporium has been add to our recommended websites section since the early days of Coticule.be. I'm glad you finally decided to show your face around here.;)

Enjoy your membership, my friend!

Bart.
 

danjared

Well-Known Member
I briefly looked at the article. I'd love to see a note about overheating not as an "important tip". To be honest, I don't see that as a tip so much as an essential fact, especially when using power tools is suggested so casually in the article. The "tip" is also mentioned several paragraphs after talking about power tools. Personally, I wouldn't even mention the use of power tools. I'd hate to see a bunch of overeager readers go out and unintentionally damage a bunch of razors (or hurt themselves). There's much that can be done by hand, which also teaches several restoring skills in a more conducive learning environment. I personally think that such power tools should be left to the more experienced.
 
G

Guest

Interesting. A few small remarks.

First, Dubl Duck was not a manufacturer (cf http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/index.php/Bresduck_Inc.). Links to the MFG entries in SRP's razor database would have been useful.

Second, replacing original scales or original blade finishes is not restoration but customisation. Very, very few people are capable of restoring a razor (conservation or full restoration), while any trained monkey can customise a razor.

Last, I would not have mentioned power toys like a Dremel without linking to a video that shows a) said powertoys in action and b) the devastating effects they can have on blades.

Regards,
Robin
 

Jim1

Member
Pedantry to follow, you've been warned!

I think that replacing scales with period scales for the same model of razor wouldn't be considered customization, at least not in the sense that it's like adding ninja turtle scales. Perhaps it's not restoration either...something in between?

My point is that I don't personally see the fault in replacing beat-up Wostenholm scales attached to a good blade with well-preserved Allen scales attached to a rusty nail.

Regards,
Jim
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
I`d rather put a fine blade on some unoriginal scales than not use the blade at all...

However restoring razors -thus bringing them back to original - is as Robin said,something quite else. It aint easy,demands respect for it`s origin and quite some knowledge. This is best achieved by "faulty" restorations - thus gaining experience and breaking some blades:cry: - unless you are highly skilled or blessed by the Almighty Razor God...I`m neither. So a few blades got seriously damaged..both by power toys and elbowgrease.. Looking in the back mirror,it should have been done differently. BUT it was a learning process,and something you cant read in a manual.

Just finished my best restore so far: A Bengali wedge with horn scales,standard equipment to the Royal British Forces during WW1 I believe. The scales were broken,the blade completely covered in rust and pitting. Now,I`m rather proud to say it`s back to it`s original (used) state.

Though here are many sound advices in the article,only personal preferences and experiences determines whats right and wrong.

But God I wish I hadnt given that Wostenholm "Pipe" razor a satin finish!!!

Torbs
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Some of these replies suffer from tunnel vision.

The article is written for an audience that is not necessarily knee-deep into straight razor afficionadism. I think the average reader at The Art Of Manliness is a guy who would not consider the act of picking up an abandoned razor at a flea market or other Bays, and subsequently messing with it in an attempt to restore function, as an activity that calls for fear to do injustice! to the Holy Object of our Obsession.
The mere thought that We, Razor Aficionados, should have the prerogative to be judgemental whenever someone might do something to a Razor that We would not consider the best course of action, or simply not the action that we would have chosen ourself, is something that I frown upon. It remembers me to the necessity for our annual forum shutdown in August. Time to get out the cave and see the horizon... Breath my friends, they air is full of wonder.

By the way 1:
Robin said:
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Links to SRP are never useful. What they accomplish is that they reinforce a forum where a few guys monopolize the truth in function of their own petty agendas (read: business interests). As useful (a fraction of) the information found there may be, it preys upon too many former members who've been silently banned when it so suited those that hold power buttons over there. And that information is mixed with nonsense that serves to lure newly arriving straight razor users into a grotesque kind of consumerism, that I consider far more blasphemous to the nature and tradition of these old-fashioned tools, than the replacement of scales by new ones with unhistorical colors.

By the way 2:
I have brought my share of razors back to functional duty. I think I tried the use of elbow power for 2 minutes, before I reached for something that had an electrical cord attached. Can't say I ever looked back. But I would never patronize a fellow who chooses to do it all by hand.

By the way 3:
Matt shared a link to the article he posted on the Art Of Manliness, because I invited him to do so. Thought I'd mention this, before anyone got the idea he came here only to shamelessly plug this link and business.

By the way 4: in case not everyone noticed it yet. We're in the habit of speaking frankly, over here.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 

danjared

Well-Known Member
Bart said:
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I promise I'm not crying "injustice". I'd just like to see the warnings more emphatically placed. I certainly wouldn't stop someone from doing what they wish (so long it doesn't harm someone). I'm sorry to see that this has devolved into a "holy war".
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
:scared: Hehe..Thanks Sir Bart...you just whooped some ass.

However I fully agree with you. It`s still razors we`re talking about,not more vitale things like :rocket science,females,space science and women,splitting atoms,good looking dames and fine broads,getting closer to God (she is a good looking female) etc.

It`s razors...a piece of steel. If you do not appreciate the history behind the steel,it`s no more than so. A piece of steel..However some people tend to collect theese pieces of steel,some for history,some for their value and for gaining profit and a very very few for their usage.

I might have some doubts about people reselling restored razors,but then again I never bought one.
If you do not appreciate the tradition behind straight razor shaving etc. the steel`s completely worthless...and no more than a piece of steel attached to some type of handle.

My dime
Torbs
 
G

Guest

Bart said:
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I beg to differ.
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is probably the single most useful section of all shaving forums. It contains information about manufacturers (not enough, but quite a few) and razors in their original states. And yes, we put a lot of time and effort into it (and into keeping it free from customised razors).

By the way, I daresay that you could replace SRP with B&B or any other forum name, and would find a more or less large group of people who would wholeheartedly agree. So apart from coming across as petty, the argument is very much pointless. Especially since the razor information sits in the srpwiki, and therefore is rather immune to the social and economical idiosyncrasies found elsewhere on SRP.
Bart said:
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Nothing wrong with power tools per se. But I know from first hand experience that they can wreak havoc on razors, and eyes.

We are, after all, talking about The Art of Manliness, one of my favourite websites. And one which excels in quality and accuracy when it comes to bringing the past to the present. Therefore, I think the comment about restoration vs customisation is in fact warranted. :)

Best regards,
Robin
 

torbenbp

Well-Known Member
This conversation`s one of the reasons I`ve stayed away for some time: Whats gold to one person is ..fertilizer.. to the other. Ther`s no right and wrong in this hobby..some are afficionados,some are mere shavers. Personaly I believe the later gets the most pleasure.

T
 

bbr6704

Well-Known Member
Fun!? or Scrying topic?!?

First, happy to meet Razor Emporium here, I like the website, the store, the guys, their advices...

And what I don't manage to determin if it's fun or not, is the debate going here and there about razor restauration vs. customisation, and about the "whole collection of stuff required for trying to pretend using a straight"

We've got quite the same in the CCC...

I find it fun, or maybie weird should be the word, to see people both saying "I use a straight because of tradition, using skills and objects from the pas, in an ecological way, and against consumerism, commercial policies of today's cartridge razor manufacturer", and that's why "I need, and you'll have to need, at least 10/20/50/100 differrent razors, brushes, soaps, strop, pastes, stones, after shaves... or you'll be a sad shaver, you wont be able to learn what is whet shaving..."

Consumerism, consumerism, consumerism,

Isn't this you were runing away from?

I'm personnaly definitely for the old way, even if I've allready got way too much razors... I wan't to try restauration : cleaning (not "erasing") the blades, ceaning the scales, only replacing the ones that needs replacement. But is that necessary for shaving? I'm sure no!

And that's why I only got one brush, one soap and a "travel cream tube", one paddle, and one after-shave.

I don't say that's the only truth, I mean, it's enought to get good shave, isn't that we're all looking after?

And I find customisation is vanity, and over all, a lack of respect to razors history (G10 scales, etc, on blades over 200 years... flashy colors on wades...)

I won't go further on this, every one os free to do what he wants to, until it doesn't concern my blades..

That is just my point of view, wanted to share it, hope I'm not too messy in my post...
 

RazorEmporium

New Member
Bart said:
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I think this is one of the most concise and rational explanation of what most "shaving forums" really are- wolves in sheep's clothing. I love when forum mods claim "We're protecting our members from DANGEROUS vendors by banning them!!" when really they are protecting their own interests and those of their fellow cartel friends.
 

RazorEmporium

New Member
bbr6704 said:
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I 100% agree with this statement- it was the major inspiration for the article. I find myself to be a minimalist at heart. While I have had literally THOUSANDS of razors pass through my hands, I use 2 safety razors, 1 straight razor, 1 brush and I own 3 sharpening stones.
 

justalex

Well-Known Member
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I'm not a big restorer/customizer but, I agree and disagree with the above. To learn what works for you, you need to experiment - to an extent - not to the extent that you would ever need more than two razors, but I have 3 hones, 20 razors - all ebay fixeruppa's (don't know if that counts as consumerism) - 7 that I shave with, 3 soaps (had more gave them away to friends who were just starting), 3 strops(one I made myself) and two brushes.

I can confidently say that I won't buy much of anything straight shaver related for the next ten years say, and that if anyone I know wants to get into straight shaving, I'll be happy to hand over one of my razors for them to get a start. I've already given 2 razors to my friends so they can get started.

What I'm saying is... straight razor shaving has a long way to catch up to the level of consumerism for cartridge razors that last a fraction of straights, cans of goop that last a fraction of puck soap and perform at a fraction of a straight razor as well. Could you imagine handing over 1 cartridge razor to your friend for nothing to get started? They cost the amount of 2 or 3 of my ebay razors, thats crazy! but the straight razor is worth alot more in my opinion, so for everything I buy - can't talk for everyone else - it'll get used... eventually, maybe a friend, relative or my future children hopefully. You can guarantee Nothing'll get wasted, unlike the disposable nature of cartridge shaving and its products.

my two cents... with change

kind regards, Alex

Oh and welcome to the forum Matt, your article is an interesting read :thumbup:
 

bbr6704

Well-Known Member
Well of course, you ain't totally wrong in what you say, as I am certainly not totally right...

I also have something like 30 razors, as I've been touched by the "love of hunting" starghts in antiques stores and garage sales...

So I can't deny there's a kind of pleasure in go and hope to find a new nice razor... and to restaure it.

But, what I find unpleasant in this way is that there is a lot of unecessary stuff : I only own one brush, it suits me good, and I don't feel no need for another one untill the one I have is too used.

Idem for soap and cream, I've got a soap that works, a cheap palmolive cream for travelling, and that's allright.

3 AS as I could try them, and I found one in particular that I love (a home made bay rum by a member of Coupe chou Club, the franch straight razor forum).

But, for the razors : Of course, they are differences between some razor (for exemple, between a wedge and an singin...)

But I am also convinced that every razor is a good razor, in the way that it will shave you, and will do it fine.

Of course, some may suit you better than other, but, every one will be able to shave you fine, if honed a prepared correctly.

And what I dislike is the way some speak, meaning you need a lot of stuff to be fine, or you won't...

That the way I feel, especially for beginners : one good razor, easy to catch (I'd say a 5 or 6/8, hollowed, as they are easy to fine, to use and strop).

But as you can see on some forum, they are some "stuff of the month" posts : here is, to my point, the absolute nonsense of the thing : I bought this, I bought taht, "oh lucky you, I need this too...".

Well, not so important, but I don't like this business way of promoting straight or wet shaving...
 
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