View Full Version : Hi there...
02-07-2007, 04:04 PM
I just wanted to jump in and say hi. I've decided to switch to straight razor shaving (sick and tired of the crappy ultra expensive gillette et. al. cartridge razors with 4-5+ blades).
Anyway... there are very few (if any) vendors for the type of equipment that I"m going to need. I was in my local antiques shop and saw a razor for 6 dollars... it reads:
Joseph Elliots Best Silver Steel, Sheffield Eng
and on the blade
The Silver Ring
The razor has what looks like a black plastic handle and the blade itself is round tipped. The cutting edge is slightly less than 3 inches long and slightly curved.
The blade steel is a bit discoloured, but the edge looks like it's been well taken care of. It has been honed evenly, and has no pits, chips or what have you (ouch!!).
Any ideas on taking on a blade like this, giving it a hone and a strop?
Anyone heard of the name brand?
Any advice against buying a "used" or "Antique" razor?
02-07-2007, 04:29 PM
For 6 bucks! Go for it
02-07-2007, 05:01 PM
Joseph Elliot was a well known brand. Honestly without looking at the razor it is hard to tell but for 6 bucks you cant loose. As far as honing I would send the razor to one of the honemeisters so you only have to worry about learning to shave with it. There is a learning curve you know!!! Get a good strop from either Handamerican or Tony Miller. That set up should get you started in the right direction. Learn to shave and strop first then worry about honing later. I buy straights from antique mall all the time. I look for some of the things you mention but I also look to see if the blade and/or the scales are warped, is the blade tight or loose on the scales and does it close centered in the scales. My razors are all vintage and they are great shavers.
BTW how is spine wear on the blade?
02-07-2007, 10:27 PM
If it's not badly worn, chipped, rusted then $6 is a bargain. Joseph Elliott are nice razors, and are made of good quality sheffield steel. It could be a very nicer razor cleaned up, maybe re-scaled, and honed properly. :smile:
02-08-2007, 08:33 AM
My advance to someone starting out is to buy from a person who will be selling a razor in good shape and shave ready. For someone well versed to straight use and restoration the $6 is probably a bargin and down the road it might be for you but right now I would say buy from one of the known entities over on SRP.
02-08-2007, 08:43 AM
Welcome to B&B, I have a Joseph Elliott and it's a Great shaver I'd get it for $6.. Also Check with the folks at SRP, there are quite a few gents over there that offer shave ready razors at reasonable prices.
02-08-2007, 05:27 PM
Hey Chris -
Welcome to B&B.
For $6, I would go for it.
However, I agree with others and would send it to one of the honing specialists (honemeisters) to get it in shape for you. You can then just focus on stropping and shaving to start.
Welcome to the B&B!:thumbup1:
When buying antique straight razors, it's also a good idea to do the thumbnail test just to see the condition of the blade:
Lick one of your thumbnails, then, starting at the heel of the blade, rest the blade on your thumbnail and pull it slowly across while applying no pressure. Any hang-ups will tell you if there are any nicks (or folds) in the edge, and will give you an idea how much effort will be needed to get it ready to shave. If it's a fold, you can usually see a long part of reflection on the edge of the blade. They're pretty easy to undo - usually come out with just a stropping before honing. Nicks, on the other hand, require a bit more attention and need to be honed all the way out. If it just goes smoothly all the way across, that's a steal :D
02-10-2007, 09:02 AM
Well, I went back and picked it up... for 6 dollars. Almost broke the bank on that one! Hahaha.
Anyway... I did the various tests and brought a magnifying glass with me and the edge has no nicks, dents or pits. It's been kept in fairly good condition.
The scales are solid and not cracked. The blade rests exactly center when looking between the scales.
There was a lot of discolouration on the actual steel. Mostly on the back of the spine and the finger rest and grip area. I used some emery cloth and some steel wool to get as much of that off as possible. The discolouration is still present in many spots, but it seems to be colour only and not actual pitting of the blade. In the photo it looks worse. The surface is very smooth and almost polished feeling over the stained areas...
It was very sharp on purchase, but required honing anyway. :D I acutally picked up a smallish hone at the same antique store for 8 dollars!
Anyway, after some cleanup, honing and stropping I am ready for an attempt at shaving. I lathered up the back of my hand and gave it a test and it managed to shave perfectly with a single pass and the lightest touch. So, I'm going to test out the face next :D Wish me luck on that one! hahaha
I am attaching a photo of the razor (it's hard to get a nice shot with such reflective material!).
Thanks for the advice and help.
02-14-2007, 03:13 AM
Looks lovely! Antique razors are the way forward, so inexpensive, and almost always of excellent quality. It always feels good to bring them back to life, and get them doing what they are designed to do.
02-14-2007, 03:52 AM
That looks like an excellent find indeed, well done. :)
02-14-2007, 06:06 AM
Alas... my honing skills are not up to par I guess. :) I have given it a try two times since honing and stropping... and it's still not sharp enough I'm guessing (or perhaps my technique is not correct? hmm...) The first time removed some hair but pulled like crazy! So another hone and stropping session and it seemed to work better still, but not nearly like in Lynns video, heh. Lot's of pulling still. I'm familiar with knives and sharpening etc. I've never sharpened a blade to the level that this razor is before, and according to all my tests it's incredibly sharp. But as I'm unfamiliar with what a straight razor's level of sharpness SHOULD be... I really have no basis of comparison. To a regular straight user it could be downright dull. :P
Anyway, I think I'll pop into my local barber shop and see if he'll give me some guidance, or perhaps I can pay him to sharpen it for me. I might as well get a shave while there, haha :)
Is there anyone on this board in or near Orono, Ontario, Canada? One of the board Honemeisters close by perhaps?
Anyway... until later!
02-14-2007, 05:42 PM
Could be technique. Shaving with a straight is quite different that with any other shaving implement. There is a degree of pull but it should not be one that makes shaving uncomfortable. Angle of blade in relation to face could be playing a part. If you lay the blade flat against your face raise the spine around 2 spine widths from your face. That should get you close to where you need to be. Too much more and you will be scraping your face not shaving. When stroping go slow keeping the spine on the leather at all times and keep the strop taut but dont rip it off the wall. Use very little pressure or no pressure and just push and pull the spine on the strop. Hope this helps
Always remember to strech the skin being shaved. This action helps the stubble to stand up making it easier to cut. Take your time and don't rush.
You are on the right path. Keep at it and it will come naturally but always respect the blade, she will remind you when you forget.
02-14-2007, 05:57 PM
Chris - I think you are heading in the right direction. Get it done right the first time then maintain it.
02-15-2007, 07:11 AM
I find that after honing, the blade takes a while to "settle", with the repeated stropping, and after a week I am getting better shaves than when it was fresh off the hone. If it is working, and facial hair is being removed with no irritation or disfiguring ragged scars from ear to nose, maybe you should just stick at it for a few days and see if this happens. If it gets no better after a week, go back to the hone.
However, don't forget that technique is important- depending on your stubble, different angle, strokes etc may be needed. I have very thick stubble, and found when I first used a straight that it pulled a little, but just got used to it. Recently I found "Razor Central", and read up on it- the site advocates "scything" strokes. A few nicks later and I figured out what that meant, it makes a huge diference for me.
Keep it up, it only gets easier. Enjoy!
02-23-2007, 07:09 AM
Thanks for all the support and responses :D I never did get a chance to get to that barber, but I gave the razor one more hone and some stropping and I'm on my third successful shave with it. :)
I know what you mean by "settling in" with a blade... I even noticed that on my old Mach 3's. The first shave with a new cartridge was a bit rough, but the second and third shave was much better and then quickly downhill from there.
My straight is doing well and it does pull a bit still... even though there is no irritation like the old Mach3's I used. I figure that with the pulling there would be problems, but there isn't even redness. My wife commented on how good my face is looking (clarity of skin, no razor burn etc.) My sideburns, cheeks and neck shave just so nicely. The large flat areas are perfect with little pulling.
I am still having difficulty around my chin (it pulls like crazy there, and hurts!). Just under my lower lip was shaved with the grain for the first time and also the lower half of my upper lip/moustache area worked. Closer to my nose was very tricky... I'll try that one later :D In the meantime, I'm using some cheap disposables to clean up the little areas around my mouth and my chin until I feel confident enough to not chop my skin off and I get used to the pulling.
Thanks again everyone!!
02-24-2007, 07:10 AM
what you are describing is an overhoned or "wirey" edge.
where the first shave is bad... then the 2nd/3rd are good and then poof all down hill fast from there.
see the first shave you are actually removing all the micro serated edges of the wirey or over honed edge.
the next few shaves the edge is now smooth and very share but also at the same time overly thin and disintegrates quickly
thus brining us to the rapid downhill sharpness of the blade on shaves 4/5.
perfect example of a overhoned "wirey" edge.
you gotta take the razor back down to lower grit, get rid of that terrible edge and create a new one. don't over hone this one. gently taper off the pressure once you start reestabilishing the new edge, move up the grits with the pyramid honing till u get where u want.
the reason people suggest the pryamid with alot of testing is so you don't go past the keen edge and have it become wirey. you want to stop before then. so get it close to keen..then test shave.. bring it back for a small pyramid..test shave again...another small pyramid...test again. you see what im getting at.
ps. do more stropping before your first shave, that will help break off more of those thin, wirey striations if you over honed.
02-28-2007, 07:19 AM
Good work! I'm sure you'll get the knack of maintaining it well, it sounds like you are doing fine. The upper lip and chin are perhaps the hardest areas to shave, but are perfectly doable. Most folks leave them till last to allow the lather to really soften those tough chin hairs. Just under the nose is the "Coup de maitre" you put the razor down directly under the nose with the spine resting on the nose, and kind of rotate it to draw the blade down that little patch of whiskers. Because the blade starts at such an extreme angle this cut has a reputation of being difficult and with a high risk of cutting. Personally, I've never cut myself doing it, I more often nick on my chin. I find it quite a satisfying cut, it helps if you contort your face a little while doing it, stretch the lip down with your facial muscles, that makes it a smoother bit of skin to draw the blade over. If you're afraid of disfiguring injuries, try it out on a weekend when youdont have work!
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.