Rolls Razor

Discussion in 'Single Edged Razors' started by StubbleShaver, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. An Antique dealer near me is bringing a couple of these in aswell as some shaving mugs.

    Worth picking up? How much should i be looking to pay for them?
  2. Not a great amount to be honest. They are very common. Take a look on the bay for average prices. I have three.

    They are great shavers and a thing of beauty!

    Main things to look out for are the condition of the strop and hone. Especially check the hone isn't cracked. Strops are revivable if a bit dry with some leather treatment stuff.

    Also make sure the handle is there as well. It may be tucked into the side of the mechanism.

    Of course check the blade isn't chipped or damaged, not that I've seen one that is.

    Great shaves once you get them sharp enough!

  3. $20.00 for each razor if all the pieces are there, the mugs $8.00-$10.00 each
  4. They must be tough as there are always plenty of them for sale, maybe their owners didn't like using them but couldn't throw them away.
    I have never shaved with one, if they shave well I would be tempted. Anyone know what modern blades they take?
  5. It doesn't take a disposable blade at all. The Rolls Razor literally looks like a sawed off portion of a straight razor, with a handle attached. The case contains a mechanism for stropping, and sharpening the blade. The greatness of the shave is fully dependent upon having the blade restored to shave ready status, by a skilled straight razor honing service.

    If the blade is properly sharp, the shave is basically the same as you will get with a straight razor; if the blade is not in a true shave ready state, the resulting shave will be horrific, with the blade badly pulling.
  6. oh so now i understand ... thanks
  7. TheVez2

    TheVez2 Contributor

    Make sure the hone is not cracked. Make sure the strop is leather (red) and not cork, and make sure the handle and the blade are in the set. You will likely need to have the blade re-honed by someone who knows what they are doing, someone who can hone a straight razor. The included hone is meant for touch ups, not for restoring the edge.

    I wouldn't pay over $10 unless it was in remarkable condition or came with the nice lined outer case. I've picked up a bunch off ebay for under $5, that are in various states of needing refurbished. Looking forward to finding time for that.
  8. Yeah, I'm gonna try and get it for around $15 (£12) and get him to chuck in the Shaving Mugs for free, I need something to put my EJ Sea Buckthorn in!
  9. Properly honed, they are one of my favorite shavers- as close as aggressive SE, but with the "mellowness" of a straight.
  10. I own 5 or 6 of them and extra blades on top of that. Hone them yourself - use the included strop or have it replaced like I did. I use a variety of stones with mine and lapping paper - the shave is as good as you're going to get if you hone it properly. You have all the ease of use as a regular DE/SE and the closeness/smoothness of the very best straight. Rolls used Sheffield steel - so properly honed it takes a wicked sharp edge - or mellow - all depending upon how you hone it. If you're not going to hone it yourself and are stuck with the Rolls hone - I would probably give it a pass.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  11. These things are common. Nobody uses them much anymore, but nobody can bring themselves to toss them!

    +1 to all above. A cracked hone is a dealbreaker... if you hone in the case. The honing and stropping mechanism is way cool! The system does work, but it suffers on one respect: it does not allow light enough pressure for best results. The shave from a case-honed and case-stropped Rolls is just adequate, not anything special. And of course there is the thing with the broken hones. But a Rolls blade honed on film or stone, and stropped on a regular strop, will shave as good as a straight. Using the spine as a bevel guide, the way you would hone a straight, works pretty good.

    I made this up a while back. Humble man that I am, I call it the Slash Tool.!-A-honing-solution?highlight=rolls

    BTW I tossed that silly guard. It is not needed.
  12. TheVez2

    TheVez2 Contributor

    I though the guard was just so you could set it down without messing up the edge.
  13. I thought it behaved as a fail safe of sorts to stop you from gouging your face if you used too much pressure/ incorrect angle: in this case the safety bar would "pop" the razor off of your face thus preventing serious injury. I even thought I had read that in the included instructions; but I could be wrong.

    Without the guard, you literally have a "straight razor on a stick", as the Rolls is often called.
  14. So it's like a piece of a straight razor on a stick ... now i begin to see it all! Interesting razor if the blade can be taken to shave sharpness I guess it could be sent out to be honed, of course I could get some rocks and learn how to do this my self. What stones would i need? I could use the same stones to sharpen my old Valet blades too, I see a plan in the making.
  15. Stones? Why not lapping film? You could be well set up with lapping film for $20 including your lapping plate / polished marble floor tile. A stone setup will cost you quite a lot more than that!

    For films, get 12u, 5u, 3u, and 1u. For stones, I suggest a 220/1k Norton Combo, a 4k/8k Norton, and a 12k Cnat or if you are not so impoverished, a 12k Naniwa Superstone. Or you could get the 220/1k Norton for bevel setting, and get 5u, 3u and 1u film. Actually that might be a very good option for you since you will then have the 220 side for not only heavy edge repair but also for pocketknife sharpening.

    As for sharpening your Valet blades, I think you are biting off more than you can chew. The problem lies in first of all getting your bevel angle exactly right, and secondly in maintaining that angle of attack on the stone. It is more critical than you might think. I suggest stropping on a separate strop loaded with diamond paste before stropping with an unpasted strop. If you can't find another Valet strop, just make one to the same dimensions as your original one. It can be longer but obviously it can't be wider or very much thicker.

    See the link posted in my earlier post on this thread regarding honing and stropping the Rolls blade. I highly recommend that you make yourself or have made a Slash Tool. I don't use the in-the-case mechanism for honing or stropping at all any more.
  16. I gave up on the Roll's after an inattentive lateral movement.
    By far my worst ever shaving cut in 40 years.
    I would guess that more of these razors got used once and put away for ever,than any other.
  17. I believe you are correct. They can be unforgiving shavers especially the first time out. But they are just so cool that nobody tosses them. That's why you see so many on the bay going for $5 to $10, in excellent shape. From a strictly value point, I think a lightly used but not so carefully pampered and stored Rolls is a tremendous bargain. A new Rolls cost a lot more than a new Gillette back in the day, and now the Gillette in very good condition will bring quite a bit more than the Rolls. Look at the FatBoy. You can hardly touch a near-mint FB for less than $40 and they can go a lot more than that. A nice shiny Viscount goes for 1/4 of that unless it has a nice outer case and a spare blade. Little used, seldom discarded. Supply is greater than demand. I have never even seen a Rolls that shows serious wear on any part of it, including the blade.
  18. A Rolls that is properly prepped will give you a shave as good as any straight/DE/SE or kamisori out there. I've tried a good number of them and to be honest - the Rolls is a hugely under-estimated shaving tool. Once again, if you stick with the Rolls hone, you will never fully experience just how good the Rolls can be. If you think outside of the box and hone it yourself with lapping paper or stones and strop it properly - you're going to be blown away. Far easier to handle than any straight (for the vast majority of people) and an edge that is simply as good as any straight that you're ever likely to use.

    Pick up a Rolls for $15 and plenty of lapping paper for another $15 or so...and you have a bulletproof combo second to none...and I do mean NONE. With that being said, I still buy new stuff all the's an addiction I guess; I need help. :)
  19. Rolls is my preferred winter razor. Yes, the real problem is that usually even NOS blades are blunt and some work is needed to remove the "age". Instead of soldering the blade pin on a tool you can simply use the whole friction clip mounted on a stick. Once the blade is set up the internal hone can do the work quite well.

    I also created a web site for Rolls but it is written using Italian:
  20. Not a good idea. If you try it you will see why.

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