Restoring a Thomas Ward & Co. Sheffield Razor

A friend of mine suggested that potential customers would be put off buying a restored razor if they saw the pre-restoration razor in its shameful natural state, scarred by time and neglect.  This is why I stopped putting on pictures of the restorations in product descriptions.

However, I know from customer feedback that you like to see behind the shop-counter to what goes on in the workshop. So, this series of Workshop blogs are intended to give a glimpse on the restoration process and, perhaps see the logic behind some design process that results in the finished, restored razor.

 

This series of Workshop blogs are intended to give a glimpse of the restoration process

 

 

Here, I describe why the Thomas Ward & Co. razor ended up looking as it does.

The Thomas Ward & Co blade is a beauty.

 

Razor scales often need replacing; as part of the restoration - they get chipped, become warped, or have broken.  Remember, razors have generally had a hard time of it before restoration.  So, when deciding on the style, fabric and shape of scales, I consider the following:

  •  Age of the blade;
  • Grind of the blade;
  • Shape of the blade, especially the spine;
  • Width of the tang.

As far as I'm concerned, a blade like this needs horn scales. There's something vibrant about horn. Coupled with sensitive pinning work and a suitable spacer, horn is hard to beat.

The shape of the scales is not so easy to decide upon. This is where I have to balance:

  • My own preferences;
  • Fashion (changes, style doesn't etc);
  • Expectations of the razor-buying public.

I do have to be conscious of my own preferences; I am a real traditionalist, or old-fashioned. I like tweed waistcoats and carry a pocket watch. See what I mean?

Usually, a good cup of tea and staring at the blade resolves the issue.  I'll see something about the curve of the razor's spine, curve of the blad, or shape of the tang or monkey's tail that catches my eye.

I then get sketching.

 

 

This usually takes a while. I have to decide how much of the razor blade to show, the weight and balance of the scales and spacer.

Obviously, the choice of spacer is important, too light and the razor can feel unwieldy and awkward.

The image is then transferred to the horn and the work begins.

 

As you can see, I opted for a square butted look, with a slight curve.

 

The choice of spacer was limited to either recycled acrylic or bone. In this case, I opted for acrylic because I needed a white spacer as a contrast.

 

 

Some more tea, time and a bit of elbow grease: the scales meet the razor.

The scales are pinned together in the traditional way, pin and washers, hammered gently and carefully. Then the scales are given the final polish.

 

 

Honing followed by stropping, drying and oiling finishes the process of turning the razor shaped antique into a smooth shaving, surgically sharp and clean razor. A future heirloom!

 

 A future heirloom!

 

 

 


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