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Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:54 pm
by Mike Blue
I'm enjoying all the feedback. There are a lot of good points.

AEB-L and 12C27 are older under-rated steels, in the same historical period with O-1, with good performance. We all need to consider that humans shaved with razors for generations before stain resistant steels came on the scene. They made do with what was available.

For reference: cutting a human hair of whisker diameter is approximately the same as cutting copper wire of the same diameter. One of my friends Glen, who sharpens razors professionally corrected my shaving techniques long ago. I would get razor burn and thought it was the blade. He told me its rare enough when a face actually dulls a razor so it drags. It's more likely shaving angle and technique. Observing those things afterward made a big difference in post shave results. It's not so different than milling or drilling. Edge angle and pressure make a big difference there too.

The qualities of hardness and toughness of a blade that should perform daily at that level have been discussed. Our conclusion: Any steel used should be at or above being stropped alone for months. Then, if necessary, a simple barber hone to clean up the edge (burr or wire). These blades require a different mindset and some modification of care requirements.

Everyone worries about rust. I have not had a razor rust since I started shaving with a straight in 2004. I have old blades (Sheffield, Solingen, Thiers) that are definitely carbon steel. They have old patina but none new. My method is to use hot water to shave. The blade warms during the process. When I'm done, I dry the blade with a dry towel and put it away and the residual heat evaporates the moisture left. Maybe the steel gods just smile on my foolishness. It's a debatable point. We all have to develop our own ritual so we know what is supposed to be done.

Then, according to my friend Darryl, "you need confidence." Given confidence, educating the shaver may be the most important factor.

I do not advocate EDC or pocket carry, or any kind of un-cased carry, of a straight razor. I make straights. I do not lightly reach into any closed space containing a razor by virtue of hard earned experience. Even when placed in a slip. Reaching blind into a bag or a pocket, you risk the ouch. There are other blades specifically made for pocket carry. Or your first aid kit should have stuff to make a pressure dressing from.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:33 pm
by JacksonKnives
Mike Blue wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:54 pm
For reference: cutting a human hair of whisker diameter is approximately the same as cutting copper wire of the same diameter. One of my friends Glen, who sharpens razors professionally corrected my shaving techniques long ago. I would get razor burn and thought it was the blade. He told me its rare enough when a face actually dulls a razor so it drags. It's more likely shaving angle and technique. Observing those things afterward made a big difference in post shave results. It's not so different than milling or drilling. Edge angle and pressure make a big difference there too.

The qualities of hardness and toughness of a blade that should perform daily at that level have been discussed. Our conclusion: Any steel used should be at or above being stropped alone for months. Then, if necessary, a simple barber hone to clean up the edge (burr or wire). These blades require a different mindset and some modification of care requirements.
Agreed on all points.

If there are advances to be had from PM carbides, great, but if better edge life comes with poor maintenance characteristics, then I don't want it. Carbon steel is tricky enough to hone well for most of us. ;)

The hurdle as I see it (or at least as I've experienced it) is that the benchmark for "shave-ready" is both incredibly high and yet very subjective. I've seen honemeisters rise and fall in the esteem of collectors over the last 20 years, and I doubt they changed their standards much over the years.

What works for some people does not work for others. Is that mostly because of technique? Sure, probably in this case.

Mike, what's your experience with customer satisfaction? Do you ever get customers asking for refunds because they couldn't get a shave with a blade you were happy with?

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:00 pm
by GarageBoy
A fine grain nitride steel would be good for this purpose, no?

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:34 pm
by Bloke
jpm2 wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:16 pm
Every once in a while I use one of my knives to shave with
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lId5Huti_tQ

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:45 pm
by jpm2
^^ Funny movie Bloke. I like the telling time by the sun scene too. :)

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:52 pm
by Bloke
jpm2 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:45 pm
^^ Funny movie Bloke. I like the telling time by the sun scene too. :)
Definitely! :cool:

It’s a very funny movie but I’m sure some of the humour went over the heads of many non Australians. :)

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:48 pm
by Mike Blue
JacksonKnives wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:33 pm
If there are advances to be had from PM carbides, great, but if better edge life comes with poor maintenance characteristics, then I don't want it. Carbon steel is tricky enough to hone well for most of us. ;)
I definitely think powder metals have a place. Especially if the steel used is to be of a "fine grain" in the parent bar stock. If we add the variable of a forged blade, it will be necessary to thermal cycle the material for grain reduction. That's adding more steps not less.
The hurdle as I see it (or at least as I've experienced it) is that the benchmark for "shave-ready" is both incredibly high and yet very subjective. I've seen honemeisters rise and fall in the esteem of collectors over the last 20 years, and I doubt they changed their standards much over the years.
I've tried to think through this variable. I agree with you. It's pointless to make a razor that doesn't shave. The criteria is a good one. A knife edge is more forgiving. Buyers often sharpen them themselves. How to make sure that a Spyderco razor is shave ready will take planning.
Mike, what's your experience with customer satisfaction? Do you ever get customers asking for refunds because they couldn't get a shave with a blade you were happy with?


For my own blades I do warranty my work and materials within my control. I have had blades returned, thankfully not many. I have been fortunate that I have been able to replace them to the satisfaction of the customer.

I have never had a razor returned because someone could not shave with it. My expectation is that most buyers have some experience shaving with a straight razor. Unfortunately this is a huge variable when it comes to individual razor performance. Honing only makes a blade ready to shave, the wet computer, talent, time, experience all affect the satisfaction with the shave. Simple things like a poor stropping technique can affect shaveability. These are out of my control. Just examples. I'm sure there are more that haven't been thought of.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:04 pm
by Lucabrasi
I would certainly be interested. I rotate through seven vintage rust belt straights, and a Hellas trans and a couple Sheffield’s. If you brought something in a good steel capable of a serious Japanese natural edge I’d be in. For some reason I think xhp might have a shot but could be way off. Obviously would come down to price too.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:38 pm
by SalomonA
zhyla wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:25 pm
SalomonA wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:42 pm
Honestly, if I could clamp the straight razer with my wicked edge, I'd be in.
Straight razors have sharpening guides built in. There’s no need for anything but a flat stone to hone them.
Could you elaborate on this. If razer's had a flat grind going all the way to the edge, I would understand, but I was under the impression that razer's had a concave grind to them.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:06 am
by stockliman
I think Spyderco would only be selling them to Spyderco fan's and not users. Better off being a commemorative piece like a 2020 forum "knife". As a seller in any numbers, I think it would be a flop. With fewer shaving these days, the pervasiveness of those horrible 10 blade / $20 for 4 cartridges , the number of S/E and D/E safety razor users and collectors, it leave a few straight razor folks left. Of those, most have their favorites that they will never deviate from.Most love tradition.
The sales would need to be from collectors of folding knives, or the razor being a technical marvel or such a good price, they can't ignore it. I can't see either of the latter happening.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:58 am
by zhyla
SalomonA wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:38 pm
zhyla wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:25 pm
SalomonA wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:42 pm
Honestly, if I could clamp the straight razer with my wicked edge, I'd be in.
Straight razors have sharpening guides built in. There’s no need for anything but a flat stone to hone them. Diagram is about stropping but the only difference is the direction you move the blade.
Could you elaborate on this. If razer's had a flat grind going all the way to the edge, I would understand, but I was under the impression that razer's had a concave grind to them.
It’s because of the hollow grind that you can lay the razor flat on a stone to sharpen. See diagram on the right.

Image

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:06 am
by Sumdumguy
I don't know how big the market is, bit I know I've been looking at straight razors for several years, but I find it hard to trust a maker I'm not familiar with.

It would put my mind at ease if Spyderco made one!

Also, I'd shave more often and not look like a homeless bum all the time! :p

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:17 am
by zhyla
Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:06 am
I don't know how big the market is, bit I know I've been looking at straight razors for several years, but I find it hard to trust a maker I'm not familiar with.

It would put my mind at ease if Spyderco made one!
No doubt if Spyderco made one it would be trustworthy. But there are lots of reputable brands out there. And honestly the cheap Chinese stuff has gotten really good. My Gold Dollar model 1996 ($25!) works like a charm. Straight razors are all about sharpening and technique.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:17 am
by sal
Hi Lucabrasi,

Welcome to our forum.

sal

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:54 am
by Sumdumguy
zhyla wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:17 am
Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:06 am
I don't know how big the market is, bit I know I've been looking at straight razors for several years, but I find it hard to trust a maker I'm not familiar with.

It would put my mind at ease if Spyderco made one!
No doubt if Spyderco made one it would be trustworthy. But there are lots of reputable brands out there. And honestly the cheap Chinese stuff has gotten really good. My Gold Dollar model 1996 ($25!) works like a charm. Straight razors are all about sharpening and technique.
I don't buy from China, if I can help it. I've been looking at a kamisori, just haven't pulled the trigger. Now that this is seriously on the table from Spyderco, my decision will be much easier!

I'll probably get a kamisori in the mean time. It will be fun to compare the different styles.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:39 pm
by Lucabrasi
Thanks for the welcome. Love what you guys do, happy to be apart of this community.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:45 pm
by Wartstein
stockliman wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:06 am
I think Spyderco would only be selling them to Spyderco fan's and not users. ...

I am an example for one who'd buy one, actually it, AND is a Spyderco fan... ;)

(But you're right, I am also not sure how well it would sell generally)

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:54 pm
by SalomonA
zhyla wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:58 am
SalomonA wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:38 pm
zhyla wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:25 pm
SalomonA wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:42 pm
Honestly, if I could clamp the straight razer with my wicked edge, I'd be in.
Straight razors have sharpening guides built in. There’s no need for anything but a flat stone to hone them. Diagram is about stropping but the only difference is the direction you move the blade.
Could you elaborate on this. If razer's had a flat grind going all the way to the edge, I would understand, but I was under the impression that razer's had a concave grind to them.
It’s because of the hollow grind that you can lay the razor flat on a stone to sharpen. See diagram on the right.

Image
Thank you for the picture, it helps give me a visual of what you meant. I may have to get that cheap one you recommended to practice with and to get the hang of sharpening with until a possible spydie version comes out. I have done plenty of hand sharpening as well, but if you can lay the blade on a stone like it shows with that strop, then it really should be a breeze. I've got stones and strops other than the wicked edge if it works that easy.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:42 pm
by zhyla
SalomonA wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:54 pm
I have done plenty of hand sharpening as well, but if you can lay the blade on a stone like it shows with that strop, then it really should be a breeze. I've got stones and strops other than the wicked edge if it works that easy.
Just make sure your stones are flat. What passes as "shaving sharp" on an EDC blade is laughable on a razor. The flatness of the medium matters. I use sandpaper on glass, but if your stones are properly dressed I hear they work fine. In sandpaper terms I go up to 5k grit. I would say 2k is a minimum.

Re: Straight Razor from Spyderco

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:30 pm
by JacksonKnives
SalomonA wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:54 pm
I may have to get that cheap one you recommended to practice with and to get the hang of sharpening with until a possible spydie version comes out. I have done plenty of hand sharpening as well, but if you can lay the blade on a stone like it shows with that strop, then it really should be a breeze. I've got stones and strops other than the wicked edge if it works that easy.
Gold dollar razors are about as good a place to start as any, though some will caution you to use a razor honed by someone with experience before you try learning, since the feel you're looking for is tricky to define in writing.

Definitely look up the popular methods and pick one you have tools for to try first; stick with a method through the whole honing process before you let some shiny new piece of sharpening gear distract you.

I've spent 20 years now chasing satisfactory edges on straights as an on/off hobby. The disappointing results can be frustrating, but it helps to have a group of fellow enthusiasts here focusing my edge-OCD elsewhere. ;)