Not so mirrored

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
With this weekend approaching I will be spending some time with one of the advocates of mirror polishing blades for a restore. I have done this and own one done by him, but I feel like when one grinds off the wear and abuse of a blade they remove the character or soul of the razor. these things lived through up to two hundred years of use and abuse. They earned those battle scars and in most cases I feel that they should be allowed to wear them proudly, showing the world that there was once a time when everything wasn't disposable and we do not have the right to dispose of them yet.
I am not saying that they shouldn't be allowed some shine, but when you remove the scars down to where the definition lines are smoothed it is almost like a lobotomized person. Sure they are there, but they are not the same.
So when I restore a razor I like to remove any active rust because we don't need them to scar any further. And I'll remove some staining, but I leave the deeper pits. I like to see the sharp lines on the shoulders and the lines defining grind transitions.
I rant because a person questioned a blade that I restored saying how nice my scales looked, but that the blade looked terrible. I don't sell my razors. The few that I have parted with are still in my family. Yes, I did cut the toe off of one razor for my wife's Pit Blade, but I saved a razor that was heading for the dump.
My question to the powers that be is, what is your opinion on these over polished blades? I'm not talking about ones where the wash have come off or some staining has been removed, but why do I have to remove the vertical grind lines and why would I want to see my ugly mug in my razor?

(sorry for the rant)
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
I hereby grant you permission to not care about the opinions of others whenever they criticize your work or disagree with your tactics. I agree with you on the character of old razors and I've had a few that to me looked incredible but would have been frowned upon by others. So what. Who's approval do you need? ;)
 

Gunner777

Well-Known Member
Hum well I might as well get my two cents worth in:) Some razors look better with a good high polish like those full hollow blades from the 1940's and newer. However the older razors that were made in the 1800's and may be a heavy wedge or not but anyway they tend to look better with a little character left on them. The biggest reason I don't shine my very old large razors is I refuse to remove the etching on the blade just to get a shine and the same goes for black lettering or whatever the color may be I try to preserve that even if it means leaving some stains or light patina on the blade. Just my opinion on what I like :D

That being said this is one I have on the way-----

100_6408.jpg
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys. Gunner that is a real beaut. I guess that guy just rubbed me the wrong way. And no it isn't a forum member anywhere.
Paul, you are right I don't need anybody's approval, but it is nice to hear of others who appreciate battle scars. I have one razor that I just threw in some scales that I hope to have shaving after this weekend, but I put it in with a microfastener just in case it is truly shot. It is pitted bad, but I want to put some ugly among the SOTD posts.
 

Gunner777

Well-Known Member
Oh I know what you mean I hate dealing with anyone who does restorations or whatever and think the way they do it is the only way.That can be very aggravating:)
 
G

Guest

I think you need to keep in mind that there is a (rapidly, when compared to 2000) number of people out there who are interested in cut-throat shaving. Naturally, they are in demand of equipment. For reasons beyond my grasp, "vintage is better" has become a mantra on the major forums. This has led to a demand in vintage blades that is on the verge of exceeding the supply of vintage razors. Therefore, prices have been rising. If you can, consult a Buy/Sell/Trade forum from ten and five years ago, and compare it to the current price structure. You will find that some brands have become astoundingly expensive. Funnily enough, those happen to be the ones advocated the most by professional restorers: Dubl Duck and Filarmonica.

Now, if you own a Dubl Duck or a Filarmonica, and if you are happy with it, that is fantastic. If you paid USD 100 or less for it, you even got a realistic value for money. But in reality, these brands now go for USD 250 upwards in what is called "excellent condition". "Excellent" typically meaning "old, but buffed to a high shine to mime NOS razors. As a consequence, every razor that looks as though it might fetch money is forced to "hit the buffers", and then some custom scales are plonked onto it. I really like the analogy with a lobotomy, but would like to add that more often than not, the victim ends up as a member of a Christopher Street Day parade. I have nothing but the deepest respect for this particular restorer, because he has come up with some genuinely new designs, materials, and methods, but when I saw
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(commissioned work, mind you), I felt violently sick. (In his defence, I would like to stress that he also turned
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into
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, giving a prime example of what a true restorer can be capable of - I happen to own this razor (Bart, I want my Hans back! :)), and it really is as pretty as it looks in the pictures, if not more. But many hours of work went into it to keep its character while removing life threatening defects (like Dubl Duck, this is a Bresnick family razor, so the scales are horrible, and the blade is too thin).)

I have been seeing a lot of these Princess Lillifee designs lately, more often than not done by enthusiastic (read, incompetent) amateurs. And it makes me sad. Removing the etching on a razor to "make it look like new" is like peddling drugs to children to "make them look happy": it works, but in an unexpected way, and it leaves damage that cannot be undone. But it can pay your rent if you keep yourself sufficiently busy. Certain scales have been rumoured to cost USD 250 or more, but can be made within less than two hours. I presume most women of negotiable affection in Vegas can only dream of such hourly rates...
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Gerritt-(sorry if I spelled it wrong, too lazy to go back to check)-I agree with you 100%. I am no expert in razor restoration, but with any antique, especially furniture and guns (my specialty) you can really destroy the value by refinishing. I have several very old W&Bs that have a great patina I would not consider removing. Of course, I don't sell much, so what anyone wants for their own is fair enough.
 

Gunner777

Well-Known Member
Very true Dennis if you do a refinish on an antique gun you just lost a lot of money and with some razors this applies also. If you look at any razor collecting books they show razors that are part of a collection from some big names and you'll see most have not been refurbished except to remove rust and that's about all.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Robin, my wife has just bought me a hans for christmas :thumbup: paid less than £100 for it shipped from the states, it is in need of a bit of spit and polish mind you, and I will enjoy the work, it is the only razor that I have found myself longing for, so my needs are met and the search is off :thumbup:

Back on topic, I think its purely subjective, the main objective for me at least, is to bring the razor back to life, after that its down to personal taste (or lack of it..lol JK)
I like my blades to be clean, and usually achieve what I consider to be a reasonable level of polish, I do not strive to achieve a mirror finish, I just do the amount of work needed to remove any marks, and afterwards I finish the blade accordingly, sometimes the result is a mirror:

Photo1512.jpg

Often it is not:

12-03-10a-1.jpg

Either way is fine by me, I have run through my "usual" clean up and finish routine and the finish is what it is.
You know some of these old girls weren't exactly made last week, and I dont mind them showing a few "age spots" here and there.

What I can not stand is when a razor shows a lot of hone wear, and the "restorer" polishes all visible trace away, then hones the blade using tape, in a deliberate attempt to present a nice clean hone wear free blade, the new owner being totally unaware of the mileage that its done on the stones, until that is they hone it up without tape, and the tell tale flat spot on the spines side gets wider and wider and wider....grrrr. :sneaky:

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
Thanks everyone, and I don't care how people spell or say my name.
A little change of the original topic, but I have found that when I do "artistic scales" I use microfasteners because I don't feel like I want them to be permanent. Since I don't do them for sale I find that if I were to sell that razor off I would rather be able to remove the scales easily.
I really admire those who do mirror finish on every razor, but I am just at a point where I don't care for that.
Also I have to say that I only own vintage razors. This is not for any preference. I am sure I will get some new ones soon, but my reasoning for this is the fact that I can generally get these razors cheaper than new. Add on the fact that I like a patina and I will purchase a razor that others never will.
 

decraew

Well-Known Member
Of course I remove all rust and as much of the black sticky stuff as possible (that is, before my patience runs out) but I don't mind pitting, scratches. I do try to remove scratches where it is obvious they were caused by some i***t being too liberal with low-grit sandpaper.
 

Tcensor

Well-Known Member
I have never been too worried or bothered by patina. The only argument in favor of mirror polishing is the fact that mirror polished surfaces where, in past times, considered easier to sterilize. Other than that it's all about personal taste and concepts of beauty. Personally, I LIKE a coat of patina on my blades.
 

DJKELLY

Well-Known Member
Dang, Ralphy. Are you a professional shutter bug besides being an inkmiester? Nice touch with the dictionary (is that speeled rihgt) page.
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Would you believe all my photographs are taken with my cell phone? :thumbup:
Thanks for the kind words, I am pleased at how most turn out.

Best regards
Ralfson (Dr)
 

tat2Ralfy

Well-Known Member
Gunner777 said:
It's a darn good cell phone!
Of course! lol
only because I am English we call them "Mobile" phones, I currently have the Sony ericsson X10 Experia mini, and before that I used my Samsung Tocco, hold on I will try to find a couple of pictures taken on them......

Sony Ericsson:

23-08-10.jpg

Samsung:

Photo1511.jpg

Not too shabby for a cell phone eh? hahaha

Best wishes
Ralfson (Dr)
 

Smythe

Well-Known Member
deighaingeal said:
With this weekend approaching I will be spending some time with one of the advocates of mirror polishing blades for a restore. I have done this and own one done by him, but I feel like when one grinds off the wear and abuse of a blade they remove the character or soul of the razor. these things lived through up to two hundred years of use and abuse. They earned those battle scars and in most cases I feel that they should be allowed to wear them proudly, showing the world that there was once a time when everything wasn't disposable and we do not have the right to dispose of them yet.
I am not saying that they shouldn't be allowed some shine, but when you remove the scars down to where the definition lines are smoothed it is almost like a lobotomized person. Sure they are there, but they are not the same.
So when I restore a razor I like to remove any active rust because we don't need them to scar any further. And I'll remove some staining, but I leave the deeper pits. I like to see the sharp lines on the shoulders and the lines defining grind transitions.
I rant because a person questioned a blade that I restored saying how nice my scales looked, but that the blade looked terrible. I don't sell my razors. The few that I have parted with are still in my family. Yes, I did cut the toe off of one razor for my wife's Pit Blade, but I saved a razor that was heading for the dump.
My question to the powers that be is, what is your opinion on these over polished blades? I'm not talking about ones where the wash have come off or some staining has been removed, but why do I have to remove the vertical grind lines and why would I want to see my ugly mug in my razor?

(sorry for the rant)
I too like my blades showing some age, and I will violently defend etchings. As for mirror polish, it's best for a very old Sheffield "near wedge" blade, but not a newer hollow grind.

Not many folks believe this but 99% of all full hollow blades were never “mirror” polished on the face, at best they would polish the tang and spine, so when you see a full hollow blade will a “mirror polish” you can be sure that vintage blade was “buffed” up in accordance with popular belief (which is of course, a flawed belief)… not only that but you never know how hot that blade got while under the buffer.

Speaking of a well defined blade, this is why I am against the new restoration method. Greaseless compound (or any abrasive compound) in “soft” wheels mounted on a fast running “buffer” destroys the intricate “form” of the blade, the soft wheel allows the abrasive gets into the etchings and manufacturers marks on the tang and removes the contrasting “oxide” coloring leaving a “washed out” appearance. The so-called restoration (buffing) leaves the blade looking like a cheep plastic copy of the original… a better description would be… imagine someone carves a beautiful work of art in ice, at first it has sharp well defined edges. But soon those well defined edges that makes the work meaningful, begins to soften and deform at the edges, the work now looks… weathered and not so well defined… you get the picture.

Everything looks “rounded”… in fact the blade near the edge is also rounded, that’s one of the reasons you don’t see photos of restored Wedge and Near Wedge ground blades before they are honed…. And the reason why they always hone with a layer or two of tape on the spine, not simply to make honing easier, but because the intersection between the concave and the spine is also rounded, as soon as the blade hits the hones, before the edge is shave ready, a flat spot develops and grows larger than it was before the restore.

Don't get me wrong, polishing has its place... after all, there is not a hell of a lot else we can do... well almost.lol.

But have a look at this
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a blade that didn’t get the polish and still retains the rugged look.
 

Bart

Well-Known Member
Very true what you wrote there, Cedrick.:thumbup: We've all seen the quicksilver look of so-called "historical" restores too often. At first, the mirror-like polish and the knowledge how much patience it takes to achieve, detracts our attention of the sad truth that these blades invariably have lost there definition. I think the only real way to prevent it on heavily corroded blades that require lot of steel removal, is to actually regrind them with a series of increasingly finer solid abrasive wheels and only rely on buffing wheels for the last steps of the actual polish. But that does not only require patience. It also demands the skills of a blade grinder. Plus the equipment and the time to learn.

Kind regards,
Bart.
 
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