First Straight - F W Engels Special From Antique Shop in NH

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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jww
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First Straight - F W Engels Special From Antique Shop in NH

Post by jww » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:39 am

Gents,

For many years now, I have wanted to get a straight razor -- but was somewhat reluctant. So -- yesterday, we were browsing through an antique shop in Bethelehem NH, and I came across this rather clean and interesting looking razor for $30 -- which seemed to me to be a fair price. It's very clean, and doesn't look like it needs much work to get it shave-ready. I saw a few similar ones online for as much as $90 shave-ready. It's a F W Engels Special -- is very very clean, with a bit of black discoloration on the non-functional end of the blade. No pits, scratches, etc.

As many of you already know, I am an absolute neophite with straights, I haven't a clue what to do --- I know it needs a cleaning, it has to get honed, and somehow prepped --- with a strop? I need to purchase a strop as well --- and paste??

Anyway -- I'll do some research, but would appreciate any initial thoughts around making this a usable razor.

Postimage.org is down at the moment -- so I can't post a pic yet -- will do so as soon as the service is back up again as I am interested in more information on this razor.

Also -- looking to see whether anyone knows where I might get this honed and prepped in the Portland or South Portland Maine area --- or Ottawa if I have to wait until I get home.
Wendell

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TRBeck
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Post by TRBeck » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:09 pm

Good show, Wendell. Funny thing, I have decided to part with all of my straight gear. I can't help you with the honing, restoration, etc., but PM me and I'll be happy to send you two practice strops - one from Tony Miller, and one from Ken Rup, two well-respected strop artisans - in good condition, one with paste on the coarse side, no charge.

You can get by for quite a while with a properly honed razor, a practice strop, and the bit of paste on the one strop. That way, if you get the razor honed, you won't have to spend any additional money for a while to use your new razor.

Can't wait to see pics.

Regards,
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:18 pm

Eh, even though you like bizarre soaps from the less civilised end of my homeland, I'll hone it for you.

Chris
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Post by churchilllafemme » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:20 pm

I too am looking forward to the pictures and to hearing about your experiences. I've been considering trying a straight.
_______
John

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Post by brothers » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:05 pm

Wendell, I wish you success with straight razors. A nice vintage razor honed with care by Dr. Moss! Strops from Tony and Ken! You're definitely getting off on the right track. I think you'll enjoy this new aspect of shaving.
Gary

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matt321
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Post by matt321 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:38 pm

Yea, another convert. 8)

It's a very complicated process.

:wink: Here is a quick summary:
1. Rub blade on stone.
2. Rub blade on leather.
3. Rub blade on face.

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jww
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Post by jww » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:50 pm

Postimage.org still down -- thanks so much for the offer Tim -- pm sent.

Dr Chis - likewise.

8)
Wendell

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Post by jww » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:15 pm

Here 'tis.
Image
And here is a closer crop of the blade.

Image

I am quite pleased with myself on this one -- the first real ever antique shop shaving find here in north america. I have some scuttles I picked up for a song in York, England a few years back.

So gents -- what think ye?
Wendell

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matt321
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Post by matt321 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:36 am

That should do nicely. It is a well known quality brand.

There seems to have been a certain period of time when metal bolster caps were in fashion. I'm not sure when that was, but I'll guess it was in the 1920's. Anyone have a better idea?

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Post by brothers » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:04 am

I wish my first razor had been that nice to look at. I have a feeling you might own this one for a while, but it probably won't be your only one! That was a good antique store score, Wendell.
Gary

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Post by jww » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:31 pm

Thanks Gary -- I couldn't resist it -- and the blade looked perfect - no nicks, no discoloration. I didn't even haggle. Yes, I know I should have, but something inside me told me that this was a bargain at $30 and to take it and run as fast as I could -- which I did. :wink:

As best as I can figure -- it seems to date to about 1930 -- which is when the FW Enger special was a very popular straight. I like it very much.
Wendell

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Post by pinklather » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:25 pm

Hi Wendell,

When new to str8s, I don't recommend the ebay/antique store route, but you're already there - and it DOES look dang nice.

The good Doctor's offer of honing is strongly recommended. In an act of typical immodesty, I ignored the counsel to learn the shave first, then the honing. That means I suffered w/ horrible edges for 6 mo, and bled alot. A really well done edge, heavy on the 'smooth' attribute would be essential for learning. The Coticule, escher/thurry, and Jnat finishes are known for their smoothness. Some strop pastes do well in toning down any harshness also. The professional bladesmiths have extra tricks in their bag, and can usually bring the smoothness to most stones or methods, but shave ready and smooooooth is gonna save you some flesh and frustration.

Biggest skill will be learning to strop. I was horrible at it. Strops still run screaming when I enter a room. There are excellent threads and vids on it. If you have trouble finding them, PM me.

Best of luck. You're in for the best shaves of your life.

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Post by brothers » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:31 pm

There's another benefit to Wendell taking up the straight razors. It will mean he's going to be posting more in the SR forum. :lol:
Gary

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Post by jww » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:46 pm

brothers wrote:There's another benefit to Wendell taking up the straight razors. It will mean he's going to be posting more in the SR forum. :lol:
8)
Wendell

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Post by Short Round » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:28 pm

Nice score!

The ones I saw in the local antique stores I wouldn't cut rat chewed mildewed jute rope with them. They looked like they came out of a junk drawer of an abandoned barn and likely did.
Tom

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Post by jww » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:45 pm

Yup -- it was incredibly clean - I couldn't believe it, and decided not to pass it up.
Wendell

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Tried an Engel this wk

Post by pinklather » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:23 am

A member on another forum sent 17 blades to evaluate his bevels, hone what I wanted. Well, that included a Williams 'Purist' (nice), but the real star was an Engels 'Leader'. The owner described some rather aggressive restoration efforts, but on this one, it paid off. It was quite handsome, but the shave was the best extra hollow that's touched my face. 3 Satinedges - none shaved this well.

'hope yours treats you this well.

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