Livi video

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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EL Alamein
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Livi video

Post by EL Alamein » Wed May 20, 2020 7:01 pm

After reading through the thread about pasted strops I went searching for some information and came across this video of Mastro Livi:

https://youtu.be/mkZaNCeBzxY

Check out what he does with Zippo lighter fluid about nine minutes in. I was pretty shocked. I will admit though I'm going to give it a try.

Now if I only understood Italian I would know everything he is saying.

Chris

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Livi video

Post by drmoss_ca » Thu May 21, 2020 5:23 am

He's saying that you can tell the green paste works because it gets black steel particles on it. These need covering up with an extra swipe of green paste, but eventually build up so that they stop the paste from working. Then he uses gasoline in a single swipe to act as a solvent, taking off the top layers of contaminated paste and steel particles. It might take more than one swipe with gasoline on a kitchen paper, but do it with fresh paper and gas each time and do not go back and forth (which simply works the steel deeper into the paste). It's a good trick, as otherwise any pasted strop becomes useless. If I could afford a set of his loom strops I'd be sure to use it too! I have tried it with a green paste balsa paddle today - not with Zippo, as in the video, nor with gasoline as in the subtitles, but with naphtha (camp fuel) and it works a treat! All the contaminated green paste ends up on the kitchen paper and what's left on the paddle is a pure and even green. Me likee.

And before we lose another opportunity for teaching - those videos (the whole series) are well worth watching. It wasn't my knowledge of operatic Italian, which is all eyes, sighs and kisses, that let me explain the Zippo fluid. It was the subtitles! In some you will meet a barber who has long uncut hair and a beard, which gives me pause, but in all you will find the concentrated essence of straight razor lore as understood by Mastro Livi. There are more ways to skin a cat, of course, but his way seems to work rather well for his razors.
For example, I mentioned recently that I have trouble getting his Damasteel blades ready to shave without resorting to the nuclear option of Flexcut Gold paste. And while that's true, I know I can also do it his way, and it works remarkably well. Under running water dribbling onto the stone, use a 3k Naniwa to set the bevel, then a coticule with no slurry (obviously - running water!) and then a translucent Arkansas before the green paste he loves so well. For a particularly hard steel I'll slip a Belgian Blue between the 3k and the coticule, and the Escher in between the Arkansas and the paste. It doesn't give the very sharpest edge or the very smoothest shave ever, but it comes close, and I do like rust-free lightweight blades with fancy scales!

I was inspired by all this to see what is going on in the wider world, and I see only sad news. The mob at the 'sharprazorpalace' have taken against Livi razors, and uniformly report them dreadful, overpriced and fit for junk only. Of the ten I've bought, the last was bought in 2006, so things may have changed. Or it might just be that shitting on a maker that Lynn Abrams promoted, sold and made a deal with for a club razor is now politically useful there. The Livi website is non-responsive and it looks like he has fully retired. All the more reason to treasure the good (may I now say 'classic'?) razors made in his prime, even before torx screws and the ± tasteless electro-engraver signatures.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

EL Alamein
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:55 pm

Re: Livi video

Post by EL Alamein » Sun May 24, 2020 7:39 pm

Dr. Moss, thank you for the translation! I tried his lighter fluid trick to clean my old crox strop and so far it worked quite well.

Chris

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