I mean this seriously and humbly: I love that people trust me to restore their heirloom razors. In fact, I love the love that people show for heirloom razors. A razor, which, more often than not, has been languishing in some drawer since its last user put it there (many years ago) is discovered by a family member (often a grandson).
What happens next says a lot about humanity. The family member sees the potential of the razor, even though it may be rusty or chipped. Second, the family member believes that the razor can be repaired; put right; made useable once more. More importantly, the motivation is often love for the departed former owner of the razor. That love sparks something, something that makes that razor the most special razor there is.
I love that about people. It's the same urge in us all that makes us pick up the pieces after our lives shatter around us. It's what makes us give people the benefit of the doubt. It's what makes us see people's potential, to believe that people can change. It's what makes us human.
Ok, I know I should be discussing razors. When a razor is sent to me for restoration, I feel tremendously proud that people entrust me to bring that beloved razor back to life. It also makes me determined to make that razor a great razor once more.
Let's look at the restoration of a typical heirloom razor. As it happens, it's one I've been working on this week. It arrives in the mail. Sometimes the scales are chipped, cracked or warped. Chipped because the razor wasn't aligned properly. Sometimes the blade is rusted into the scales. There's a lesson for all of us, never store your razor damp. A drop of oil round the pivot stops your razor looking like this.
It's not a great look, is it? Look after your razors guys and gals.
Usually, the spine and tangs are rusted. Again, this is a sign that the razor has been stored wet. The faces of the blade can be rusty too; sometimes in big patches, sometimes in spots. Oftentimes, the razor can be covered in patina. Sometimes this is attractive, but often the patina masks corrosion and pitting.
Meet this Marples made razor. A lovely, big blade, wonderfully ground. Made by a Sheffield
As you can see, the Marples razor has all the tell tale signs of water damage. Let's take a closer look at the rust.
What we can see isn't pretty, is it. Trouble is, what we can't see is worse. I hate rust. It's got to go.
Jimps are the lined grips in the razor's tangs, intended to give a better grip. They are an attractive feature. Trouble is rust loves them. In fact rust eats them for supper. Have a look.
The jimping around the pivot has been destroyed. My solution is to grind these out, to grind them smooth.
Here's the razor ready for re-pinning in its scales.
Sometimes, the restored razor actually improves on the original. In this case, the original lead spacer, was way too tapered and narrow for the razor. It shouldn't have been put in the scales. Sometimes though, style was everything for the Victorians. Trouble is a spacer that's too sleek and thin causes the razor to strike the scales. It had to go. A new one had to be made. In any case, black acrylic looks great with blond scales.
Here's the heirloom razor back together after about 7 hours work. Excuse the polish marks on the tang. There's nothing like photography to show up polish residue!
That's a quick look at restoring an heirloom razor. Just remember, a razor, like a person can appear to be past its best, but don't be fooled: the best is yet to come.