ShavingUniverse.com

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Storage of razors, cases, wedge blades, str8s - Please add your wisdom & advice

pogonaut

Member
Hi. I have been collecting and storing some razors - DE, SE, Str8, other, as long as 20 years now and mostly they are doing good. I have had some struggle with time - with verdigris, with moisture issues, some cases get mild mold/mildew. The odd str8 is not as good as when I picked it up. The odd hoe razor wedge blade has aged more than I would like.

It might be helpful to myself and others dropping in to get some good practices knowledge around the issues of safe long term storage of the hardware and cases of razors. There are some terrific razors I have seen on this Forum - well worth taking care of. If you have thoughts please share.
 
I have had the same concerns, I’ve also noticed when showering the cold metal will sweat in the boxes when I kept them in the bathroom drawer, so I moved them to my bedroom also with some of my old pot metal or whatever they are made of I used olive oil and coated it lightly kind of like oiling a gun and so far so good… but if anyone has any objections I’d be glad to hear…all I’m trying to do is protect my investment and keep them usable and in good shape
 
Do not store your razors, whatever type, in the bathroom, or any other room with high humidity. Razors, shippers, they do not like that.
Straights/SE wedges: always keep them lightly oiled, with an oil with low acidity. Balistol is very suitable. Some people rather use Renaissance Wax, works very well indeed. Do NOT use Camellia Oil. This will harden over time into brown lumps that will take effort to remove. For your daily razor or small rotation, where a razor is used at least once every two weeks it is perfect however.
Edges on straights or SE wedges will deteriorate over time. Depending on time stored, razor, preferences, they will either require insane amounts of stropping, or a touch-up on your finisher before use.
DE/SE: store assembled, in box/shipper when available. NEVER over-tighten. You're not hanging a bookshelf from them. Just screw the handle on lightly and that's it. Goes for shavin with them as well by the way. A bit of petroleum jelly/vaseline on the screw will help prevent corrosion there, and function as lubrication when you use the razor. Some razors have tilting parts, for instance Kabrand, or the tilt adjustable Punktal. A drop of Balistol on the tilting axis will help prevent deterioration there.
I've started putting those razors that I keep in the drawers instead of the displays in ziploc bags with the idea that that will protect razors and shippers a bit more from changes in humidity and stuff.
On some razors, patina will form. Silver will slowly turn black, brass will darken and lose it's shine, stuff like that. Can't be helped. Just make sure when restoring your blackened silver razors to their Ooh! Shiny! glory to not polish them with silver polish, but use the aluminum foil/baking powder trick and a real soft cloth next. Silver polish is an abrasive, so when used too often you'll remove the silver plating. Real soft cloths can be found at car part dealers, the ones used to polish chrome without scratches are real good.
 
Do not store your razors, whatever type, in the bathroom, or any other room with high humidity. Razors, shippers, they do not like that.
Straights/SE wedges: always keep them lightly oiled, with an oil with low acidity. Balistol is very suitable. Some people rather use Renaissance Wax, works very well indeed. Do NOT use Camellia Oil. This will harden over time into brown lumps that will take effort to remove. For your daily razor or small rotation, where a razor is used at least once every two weeks it is perfect however.
Edges on straights or SE wedges will deteriorate over time. Depending on time stored, razor, preferences, they will either require insane amounts of stropping, or a touch-up on your finisher before use.
DE/SE: store assembled, in box/shipper when available. NEVER over-tighten. You're not hanging a bookshelf from them. Just screw the handle on lightly and that's it. Goes for shavin with them as well by the way. A bit of petroleum jelly/vaseline on the screw will help prevent corrosion there, and function as lubrication when you use the razor. Some razors have tilting parts, for instance Kabrand, or the tilt adjustable Punktal. A drop of Balistol on the tilting axis will help prevent deterioration there.
I've started putting those razors that I keep in the drawers instead of the displays in ziploc bags with the idea that that will protect razors and shippers a bit more from changes in humidity and stuff.
On some razors, patina will form. Silver will slowly turn black, brass will darken and lose it's shine, stuff like that. Can't be helped. Just make sure when restoring your blackened silver razors to their Ooh! Shiny! glory to not polish them with silver polish, but use the aluminum foil/baking powder trick and a real soft cloth next. Silver polish is an abrasive, so when used too often you'll remove the silver plating. Real soft cloths can be found at car part dealers, the ones used to polish chrome without scratches are real good.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. There are some interesting pieces in your response.

I have been using food grade Mineral Oil as my oil so far. Ballistol contains Mineral Oil as well as propellants, several alcohols, and other ingredients. The alcohol supports the multipurpose solution as a cleaner as well as a lubricant. Great for a shotgun I suppose. I have shied away from the Ballistol as it seems a more single purpose oil might suit better. Ballistol certainly is widely used on lots of things though. I think I shall finally pick up a can and give it a 'shot'. I looked before but could not find 'liquid' Ballistol at any stores I was at. I believe the propellant sprayed pressure can would be a little messy for me. I don't need oil where it should not be.

I have often wondered whether a product like Renaissance Wax would assist straight razor edges. But unless I want a razor to become an 'archived' item never to see the joy of functioning again, it seems that the process of cleaning the wax off the edge would risk damage/blunting as well leaving the razor still needing honing. So I have yet to use it on any. My razors of concern have been those with gold plating or with complex jimping - and I have a similar concern regarding cleaning the RW off of those areas. Mineral Oil on straights also has 'balled up' and left irregular exposed areas which have experienced corrosion. So, I am mixed on mineral oil on those as well. Further, it can leech onto the case material unless wrapped in wax paper or other suitable. I was close to purchasing and trying Camelia oil - so your comments here will provide me with a cautionary note for consideration. I still struggle with these issues.

I have personally not had a razor handle seize to a frame (excepting one 1930s custom DE with ivory handle that I have yet had enough courage to apply adequate turning pressure to) and this is the first time someone has suggested lubricating the threads. This might be a good idea. But my initial concern would be that Petrolatum has a low melting point - as low as 40c - and should storage conditions become hot for some reason, the Petrolatum may run out of the threads and leach into surrounding materials. Those materials being the case lining and any contained ephemera if it is kept in a case and shipper.

Storing the razor with the case - this is my number one area of uncertainty. Metal corrodes and interacts poorly with moisture - the moisture in leathers and wood, as well as the moisture attracting properties of cardboard and paper found in shippers and razor blade cases and pamphlets. As example, I have some early WW1 military intended razors which come in leather pouch cases and I have had damage storing the items complete. I now have any razors with pouch cases of leather stored separately and that has slowed some of the damage. Some razor cases corrode or form verdigris where metal meets leather - and it pains me when this happens to my stuff. That said, most of my razors, for better or worse, rest in their original cases.

Storing in ziploc style polyethylene bags - I had to move three years ago and my collection needed to be trucked and stored for a few months. My decision was to put virtually all the items in plastic zip bags. For the most part this worked well. The majority of the caseless razors were protected from scratching and did ok. However, several of the razor cases experienced some molding - mold that grew lightly not only on case material, but provided a 'dusting' of mold on the metal of some of the razors. When packing I was not convinced that 'zipping' the bag shut was the best option however I was uncertain and some bags were zipped, others not. The cased razors in zipped bags struggled and a few incurred some minor damages here and there. The bags not zipped, did not seem to experience this issue. My conclusion - moisture from the cases/ephemera/leather what have you contributed moisture into the bag environment and as it could not escape it created undesireable conditions in the bag resulting in damage. Did the poly bags help? Not really no. They protected razors from banging together and getting scratched, but they tended to increase the risk of moisture damage. If I keep any in poly now, I never zip the bag.

It is an interesting topic. And one that especially interests me as I continue to be caretaker for some of these wonderful items.

Thank you for your time to reply. it is appreciated.
 
As an example, I have this early basket razor which I have been keeping in its case. There aren’t lots around. I pulled it out for a checkup after maybe a year, and there are spots of verdigris on it - at the base of the locking clip, inside of the bar right side, and a spot in the back coming right through a rivet/hole. Can this be managed in the long run? I will clean as best as I can but in the rivet hole, the edges of the locking tab, cleaning is not thorough. Then when kept in the original case the contributing moisture supports the verdigris formation I believe.

Can someone suggest a strategy? Or do I accept ongoing degradation as part of the deal? I appreciate this razor is not a 10 of 10, but I intend to maintain it as best I can. Some suggest silica gel, but that can dry out the leathers to the point of cracking (did that too!) so caution need be there too. Humidity is a part of our world so yes there can be humidity in my home.

Thanks guys. I am not trying to be a smarty pants or snobby type, I am sincerely looking for ways to improve my care. Thanks :)

IMG_7321.jpeg
 
And this old thing, where the plating is missing, this evil stuff wants to live. I suppose this is probably a good candidate for cleaning and perhaps the Renaissance Wax? If I do apply it and then it forms underneath the wax, I am concerned I would remove more plating trying to remedy it. Just called me Confused.

IMG_7323.jpeg


And a quick question on that razor (I realize it isn’t the ideal spot sorry), I have never found a reference or comment regarding the engraving on the brass retention spring. Does anyone have a thought about why the ‘S’ might be added? Thanks!

IMG_7322.jpeg
 
Also, to touch back on your main concern, I did notice I was getting corrosion for lack of a better word, which was why I started using light oil and coconut oil on my straight razors and since I have started using that, I have not seen any progression however, I think the question is what is the best oil to use? Unless there is dissimilar metals, causing electrolytic action, which it could be in some razors as springs are often different metals, then the housings with those I have actually taken them apart, and left them in the case in pieces to prevent any further damage
 
Also, to touch back on your main concern, I did notice I was getting corrosion for lack of a better word, which was why I started using light oil and coconut oil on my straight razors and since I have started using that, I have not seen any progression however, I think the question is what is the best oil to use? Unless there is dissimilar metals, causing electrolytic action, which it could be in some razors as springs are often different metals, then the housings with those I have actually taken them apart, and left them in the case in pieces to prevent any further damage

Thanks for that. I have heard that organic oils like coconut break down, oxidize and can cause problems. Similar to the comment above about Camellia oil. I know ‘sewing machine oil’ used to be recommended for Str8s, which is a light paraffinic oil sold under different names. Usually a drug store carries very well refined liquid paraffin oil as a laxative. This is related to petrolatum, but is more refined and leaves less residue and troubling oxidative compounds. This is what I have to use - but often with DE razors I may underuse it since this oil can wreck instructions, pamphlets, blade cases, case linings…… Also as I wrote above, I have had the mineral oil bead up, typically on highly polished straights, and cause me some grief. Trying to not cross the line between helping and harming I maybe am too careful. My Dr says its just a mild personality disorder!
:oops:
 
Last edited:
I’m not trying to say what I am doing is right by any means….. what I really want to know is if there is any harm or negative consequences by me using olive oil or coconut oil as opposed to Ren. Wax, I’m assuming that I should be switching to that, verdigris and other forms of oxidation are significant problems, providing a barrier to the oxygen is what I believe needs to be achieved, thank you for the information about the oils breaking down this is exactly what I wanted to hear. And I don’t believe that we can be too careful… protecting these beautiful antiques and maintaining them is a rewarding part of the hobby I find however letting them go would just be a tragic loss
 
Back
Top