Another very old razor

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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brothers
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Another very old razor

Post by brothers » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:16 pm

Today I met a gentleman who had 3 straight razors for sale. He wanted me to buy all of them. There was a time when I would have done just that. As a matter of fact I remember the last time I did it. However, I did choose one, a full wedge, completely original with pins, washers, and scales. The edge of course, isn't shave ready, and negligible hone wear, as far as I can tell. No rust other than that dark patina they usually have, and which will shine up well when the time comes. Or not, if I want to sharpen it as is and just use it as I have done with my R. Wade (1812) and the King razor (1856). This one, according to a reference I found, was made 1n 1830. That's 187 years ago. It's stamped on the blade "W. GREAVES & SONS"; on the tang it is stamped "CAST STEEL WARRANTED"; on the scale is stamped "SHEAF-WORKS". The blade measures 6/8. The tail has a few spots of surface rust. Also, one of the scales has some rot but not much. It'll be a pleasure to sharpen this old survivor, and shave with it when the time comes. I'll get a photo up in a day or two.
Gary

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Another very old razor

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:20 am

You might like to know that William Greaves started his business in 1775, and in 1816 added "& Sons" to his stamping on the blade of the razor. With the huge new Sheaf Works opening in 1823, he moved the "W. Greaves & Sons" stamp to the tang. This means your razor, if I understand it to be stamped on the blade rather than the tang, was probably a very early output of the Sheaf Works, or perhaps old stock from his Division Street business that was stamped Sheaf Works after the move to the new factory. Greaves was the first razor maker to concentrate on the American market and became very wealthy as a result. He died in 1830, and his sons continued the business until the company was folded up in 1850. Sheaf Works is now a pub/restaurant complex.
Cast steel was the term used for a form of crucible steel made first by Benjamin Huntsman around 1740. Rather than converting iron to steel by the Bessemer process, he mixed steel, iron and some flux in a crucible and melted them together. The resulting metal had a microstructure that consisted of interwoven strands of slightly different steels, rather like the ancient Indian wootz steel, although on a finer, invisible scale. At the time, it was the best steel available for durable cutting edges.
I would not polish that blade up to a mirror shine, but rather let it show its seniority. Keep the scales on it if they are original. Most of all, hone it and use it. You'll be shaving with a piece of Georgian history.

C.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

brothers
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Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Another very old razor

Post by brothers » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:47 am

This morning I put an edge on the 187 year old razor and shaved with it. I'm no Chris Moss! :D However, it did take an arm-hair-popping edge on the first stone, and the edge-polishing process with the other stones was efficient. Stropped it on the Jemico Red Russian and conducted a full 3 or 4 pass shave, laying aside my normal single pass against the grain. As far as I'm concerned it lived up to all of my perceptions and expectations. I am very satisfied with the result.

Chris, thanks for the additional information. I'm excited to know the facts surrounding the origin of this old razor. As you can see, I'm going to leave it in the original condition.

Image
Last edited by brothers on Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gary

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Re: Another very old razor

Post by EL Alamein » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:58 am

Beautiful razor, Gary! Use it in good health.

Chris

brothers
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Re: Another very old razor

Post by brothers » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:02 pm

It's heavy. The pins and washers are impressive.
Gary

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