Welcome to Rasals! Croeso i Rasals.
You may know me from Twitter, where as @str8razors I've been showing pictures of my razor restorations for quite a while.
If you've ended up here by happenstance, I hope that you find something of interest. Perhaps this blog will give you an understanding of my interest in and attitude to straight razors and restoration in general. It is intended to be light hearted and informative. If anything that's written is
I've heard it said that when it comes to projects, such as building a website, that it's more important to make it useful than pretty. Eventually every website needs to be published sooner or later, even if it could do with a whole lot of improvement. There is a load more that I would like to do to the site. Trust me, it's more terrifying to think of publishing a website than it is to hold a straight razor to your face for the first time!
Ok, first things first. What does the name Rasals mean? I thought of building a website a long time before thinking of a suitable name. Of course, as you would imagine, every possible combination of the words straight and razor as a domain name was already taken.
Then, the thought struck me, why not have the Welsh word for razor, which is rasal, as a domain name. Brilliant, I thought. Would you believe it? Even the domain rasal was taken! So, being a Welsh speaking native of the beautiful island of Anglesey in Wales, I thought about using the word rasals, the (probably) incorrect plural of rasal (razors) used in everyday speech. Rasals means razors. Simple.
I Tweet in Welsh too.
So, there; that explains the name.
Why I decided to build a website is another matter. I think it stems from the fact that a vintage razor tells a story. This one, for example, with its chipped tip and chipped edge. Who did it belong to? Who made it? How did it end up getting so damaged? What would the grinding tell me? Would the steel be good? Would I find something the maker wanted to mask or hide?
The razor now lives and shaves in Texas, USA.
This is the sort of question that goes through my mind when I unpin a razor from its scales. I don't know whether you ever feel a connection to the past when you pick up an object. Perhaps I imagine it, but restoring a razor makes me feel that I'm just a part in the razor's history. A friend of mine, who's an authority on the history of the old Sheffield makers, often tells me that we never really own these antique razors, we just look after them and get great shaves.
I spend a lot of time on a restoration. I mean it, hours. Working on the blade, correcting issues, grinding, sanding, polishing, making new scales, honing. It takes time, sure. The thing is, everything I do adds to the story of the razor. This is why I love to work on heirloom razors.
So, to tell the story, a website is required. You can't tell the story on eBay. eBay is like picking up a magazine or newspaper from a stand or kiosk. It's not the best place to show off your work.
So, there we have it. The what and the why of Rasals. Next time, we'll look at the how!
Thanks / Diolch,