Home Page | Gallery | PM Inbox | Forum Index  
 

How to Sharpen a Wedge Blade

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.

How to Sharpen a Wedge Blade

Postby D.Irving79 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:27 pm

so........for a long time i asked around, i searched high and low on the internet, i asked for the assistance from so called "honemeisters"....and nothing. i could get no help to sharpen a 2 inch piece of metal resembling a piece of a straight razor called a wedge blade. for the curious, a wedge blade was the first safety razor "blade". it was NOT disposable and had to be resharpened for continuous use. i recieved mine when i won an auction for an 1888 kampfe bros. star razor, and ever since then ive wanted to use it, but i really didnt know where to start as far as sharpening it went, and i didnt feel like spending $$ on a good strop, x7623945623 stone, etc.

the other day i recieved a full gem junior outfit i had purchased that included an automatic stropping machine. i knew this was something i would have needed if i wanted to attempt to sharpen a wedge blademyself, but people selling automatic stroppers were either REALLY overcharging for them or had ones in very poor condition.

anyways, yesterday i was bored, threw together some basic items that could accomplish the setup. as far as the end result, i would know if i tried. but it worked; today i shaved with it in the 1888 kampfe and the shave wasnt GREAT, but it was good. the blade was sharp, shave ready. it needed a bit more, but my methods had worked; i had found a formula. so here it is, step by step:

first, the tools of the trade:



Image

at the top we have a stropping attachment. under that we have a stropping handle; mine happens to be the handle of a GEM razor. to the left we have the hone section of a rolls razor. in the center, the wedge blade itself. to the right, the stropping machine. in this case, a GEM. and lastly, a strop. i used a valet.

after you insert the stropping attachment into the stropping handle, you will want to insert the blade:

Image

youll notice that its hanging out slightly. that is to cope with the metal edges of the lid of the rolls hone. next, the actual honing itself. up one way on one side, then back the other way on the other side (duh). keep it FLAT btw:

Image
Image

i neglected to keep count, but i kept it up for at least 1-2 hours. ymmv: one blade might be duller or sharper than the other.

after youve done the honing, youll want to do some stropping. prepare the stropper:

Image

youll notice the empty slot in the middle. on the right, theres a pin with a spring that pulls out for blade insertion. pull it back, insert the blade, snap it into place:

Image

now youll need to run your strop through the stropper. hook the strop to a secure place facing you, pull it under the first roller, then under the turn pin, then under the second roller. youre basically doing this in steps towards you:

Image

you run the stropper up and down the strop. the turn pin flips the blade back and forth exactly like it would a valet auto strop razor. repeat as needed. i tested the blade on my face. even a dull blade can cut arm hair. the finger test can work as well, or that folded hair test they do with straight razors (i think thats how they do it).

....id like to thank the 2 people that are interested in this :lol:
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby Sando » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:18 pm

Next up - Dave tackles Clear Picture Photography.... :wink: Seriously, that's some dedication to your craft? hobby? I'll bet it's been 70+ years since that gear has seen some work.

You said you tested it on your face. Done a full shave yet?

...Ray
Sando
 
Posts: 691
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:28 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Postby george » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:21 pm

2 words for you Dave:

youtube video.

I'd like to see it in action :)
-Michael
george
 
Posts: 294
Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 12:40 pm
Location: mid-Michigan, USA

Postby D.Irving79 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:36 pm

Sando wrote:Next up - Dave tackles Clear Picture Photography.... :wink: Seriously, that's some dedication to your craft? hobby? I'll bet it's been 70+ years since that gear has seen some work.

You said you tested it on your face. Done a full shave yet?

...Ray


hey give me a break. im still learning how to use my camera :lol:

im a big fan of the first safety razors, so if i can use them, i will.

that stropping machine is patent 1898 actually, so its the first model that gem cutlery introduced with its razor outfits.

did a full 3 pass shave today. gonna do it again tomorrow. did some more honing and stropping today to try and fine tune the edge on the blade.


michael: if i can, i will. you wont see me though. just the machine in action. my myth will grow in the meantime :lol:
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby Pauldog » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:56 pm

Very clever there, using a Rolls hone. Not too hard to find an old Rolls razor online with a working hone - and something else not working or missing - to keep the price very low.
Last edited by Pauldog on Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Pauldog
Never Shave a Husky
 
Posts: 5841
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:39 pm

Postby D.Irving79 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:21 pm

i just used the one from the rolls i use for spare parts, so i guess it served its purpose :D
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby razorcat » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:34 pm

I always wondered how that was done. Thanks Dave for the info.

Eddie
User avatar
razorcat
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:01 pm

Postby Pauldog » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:48 pm

I'd be surprised if you couldn't also strop it on a conventional strop, using that handle Dave used to hold it for honing.
User avatar
Pauldog
Never Shave a Husky
 
Posts: 5841
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:39 pm

Postby D.Irving79 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:50 pm

you most likely can i think.
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby tom myers » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:07 pm

Dave, when you hone a straight razor blade, you have the spine of the blade as well as the edge down against the hone. When you put the safety razor wedge blade in the stropping handle, you are actually holding the spine up off the hone. Is there a reason you feel that these wedge blades should be honed at a different angle than a straight?

You may well be right, but I guess I would have expected that they would have been honed the same as a straight razor blade.

Regards,
Tom
tom myers
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:25 pm
Location: Northeast Ohio

Postby D.Irving79 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:59 am

tom, its basically honed the same as a straight. the apparatus w/ the wedge blade insterted is completely FLAT against the stone. id be doing the "X" pattern, but the edges of the rolls hone stone prevent me from doing so.
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby alcx77 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:03 pm

Would this sharpening princeple work on a Gem hi carbon blade?
alcx77
 
Posts: 708
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:25 pm

Postby D.Irving79 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:09 pm

possibly, but you definitely cant use all the items i have shown. if it worked for you, im thinking the most youd get is about 2-4 shaves extra.
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby alcx77 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:38 pm

Interesting that a Gem blade cannot be continually maintained.
alcx77
 
Posts: 708
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:25 pm

Postby fishgutmartyr » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:48 pm

These things fascinate me--how does it shave?
John.

I'll think of something clever eventually.
fishgutmartyr
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:31 pm

Postby D.Irving79 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:46 pm

the shave is very passable (if that makes sense). certainly not BBS, but very close.
User avatar
D.Irving79
The Great Lord Protector of the SE!
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 pm
Location: CRANFORD, NJ

Postby johnmrson » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:43 pm

Good post. I've got a Wilkinson Sword with the wedge blades and I haven't gotten around to shaving with it yet so it'll give me some good tips for getting the wedges sharp.
johnmrson
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:19 pm

Postby SmallTank » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:19 pm

any clear images?
User avatar
SmallTank
 
Posts: 343
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:13 am

Postby SRD » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:58 pm

I just bought a Kampfe Star Lathercatcher and just today figured out how to load a modern SE blade into it. Works like a charm. Looking forward to my first shave with it. Mine was the one that came in a tin box with 1 blade which has a chipped edge. I don't even know if it could be properly sharpened. I think I am going to get in touch with Glenn and send it to him to see what he thinks.
Dave
User avatar
SRD
 
Posts: 695
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:36 am
Location: Eastern Tennessee

Postby gugi » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:16 pm

I have only honed the rolls blades and they seem thicker than the ones on these pictures.
I didn't use a handle, just my hand to push the blade across the hone the same way (x-pattern) as regular straights. I also use the exact same tests and visuals as with straight throughout the honing progression.
Of course, the most important part, just as with regular straight, is cleaning the damage and setting the bevel (the paperwork with rolls says this part is a service to be done back at the factory).
The blade acted exactly the same as old sheffield wedges, which they essentially are, just shorter and wider shape.

I didn't like much the rolls hone and the rolls strop - way too rough of an edge. Any other hone that I'd shave off with a straight razor (coticules, thuringians, nakayama, naniwa 8k/12k) produced the expected much better results. For the stropping part, the best edge was, also as expected, on my regular leather strops (laid on a flat surface and again holding the blade free hand), but an easy improvement with the provided rolls mechanism was to slide a piece of newspaper and strop on it (I suppose replacing the stropping surface with leather would work very nicely, but I haven't done it).

So at the end of the day when I did everything right I got it to shave like a nice sheffield wedge.
gugi
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: upstate NY


Return to Safety Razors & Blades

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest