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Jeannin à Crépy

Item Description

Hunting around for old razors at a flea market often turns up a lot of dogs. Most of the time, what you see is what you get, but every once in while you take home a razor that astonishes you, sort of like letting some poor, street mutt follow you home for a handout which then surprises you by not only fetching the morning paper, but bringing it to the table and then pouring your coffee for you.

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OK, OK, you know I'm exaggerating, but that is the sort of happy surprise that I experienced with this latest razor that I found at the flea market. The price wasn't much, being a mere 3 euros ($4.40) with a second old razor thrown into the bargain and so I decided to take a chance. But let me start off by stating that this razor really is something of a sorry mutt in the fit and finish department.
  • The left and right scales are neither the same height nor thickness. The difference is more than just slightly visible, one scale being 17mm in height, the other only 14mm (about 1/8" difference) while the thickness difference is almost 1mm (around 1/32").

  • The bone wedge wasn't cleanly finished and sticks out a bit around the edges.

  • The brass pins are not properly centered and each runs off at an angle… both in the horizontal and the vertical.

  • The blade does not center properly and must be carefully guided down between the scales in order not to scrape the scales and compromise the blade edge.

  • To top that all off, when I first saw this razor it also sported a very fine, thin coat of dry rust on the blade.

Happily, that initial layering of rust turned out to be very light, indeed, and came away in minutes with a simple bit of polish on a rag. More thorough cleaning of some slightly heavier corrosion on the tang finally revealed the maker's mark, "Jeannin à Crépy". The only thing that tells me for sure is that the razor is French made by a cutler (or cutlery firm) named Jeannin who worked in Crépy. Unfortunately, there are at least three places in France having the name 'Crépy', so pinning down any actual location would be pure speculation on my part. As for age, my suspicions are that it was forged and ground prior to World War I and very possibly before 1900.

attachment.php


You already know that the scales are nothing if not strictly functional. They are made of horn with a bone wedge and I strongly suspect that the workman who assembled this razor so long ago was having a very blue Monday morning. The blade, on the other hand, was what I found to be really interesting.

I have always been attracted by the form of frameback razors and in addition, the blade on this razor rather than being hollow ground, is flat ground from the side (for a razor with a similar grind see this article: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?ltr=T&t=21004). Of course, what I couldn't know from the outset was the quality of the steel, but I'll come around to that in a bit.

The blade is a 6/8 with an oblique point and measures 154mm in length from point down to end of tang (just a 32nd over 6"). The spine is 5.3mm wide (3/8"). As mentioned, the blade was flat ground on wheels worked in the horizontal plane from the side. The blade is somewhat on the thick side and the grind is also a bit uneven so that the blade thickness is something like 1mm in the middle, but thins out towards .85mm at the point and heel. I don't know if this was intended or is just some limitation of the original grinding process. For the rest, there is no fancy work on this blade. The grinding simply fairs out into the tang at the rear.

attachment.php


Now, as regards the steel of this blade. It has qualities which elevate an otherwise forgettable piece of cutlery into a razor that is really quite good. This steel is not brittle like that of most modern razors and can stand up to abuse. Truth to tell - and to my chagrin :redface: - this is one of the few blades that I have accidentally let fall to the ground. It bounced off the point from a tile floor, but ended up with nothing more than a little ding which I could stone out afterwards. Most modern blades would have shattered from such cruelty.

Sharpening the blade posed no problems at all and the edge it will take is extremely good. What's more, it will hold this edge through a number of shaves without trouble, and being a somewhat softer steel, it responds very well to pasted strops.

Note that this frameback thinks it is a wedge. In use there is absolutely no flex whatsoever, but the shave it delivers is first class. It feels like some sort of weird, non-pedigreed cross between a heavy wedge razor and a dining table steak knife. But then I already admitted that this razor is something of a mutt, albeit a talented one. It is going to remain a working part of my collection and if I should ever come across another one of these I'll jump on it… like a flea on a dog!

- Ignatz

Latest reviews

Hunting around for old razors at a flea market often turns up a lot of dogs. Most of the time, what you see is what you get, but every once in while you take home a razor that astonishes you, sort of like letting some poor, street mutt follow you home for a handout which then surprises you by not only fetching the morning paper, but bringing it to the table and then pouring your coffee for you.

attachment.php


OK, OK, you know I'm exaggerating, but that is the sort of happy surprise that I experienced with this latest razor that I found at the flea market. The price wasn't much, being a mere 3 euros ($4.40) with a second old razor thrown into the bargain and so I decided to take a chance. But let me start off by stating that this razor really is something of a sorry mutt in the fit and finish department.
  • The left and right scales are neither the same height nor thickness. The difference is more than just slightly visible, one scale being 17mm in height, the other only 14mm (about 1/8" difference) while the thickness difference is almost 1mm (around 1/32").

  • The bone wedge wasn't cleanly finished and sticks out a bit around the edges.

  • The brass pins are not properly centered and each runs off at an angle… both in the horizontal and the vertical.

  • The blade does not center properly and must be carefully guided down between the scales in order not to scrape the scales and compromise the blade edge.

  • To top that all off, when I first saw this razor it also sported a very fine, thin coat of dry rust on the blade.

Happily, that initial layering of rust turned out to be very light, indeed, and came away in minutes with a simple bit of polish on a rag. More thorough cleaning of some slightly heavier corrosion on the tang finally revealed the maker's mark, "Jeannin à Crépy". The only thing that tells me for sure is that the razor is French made by a cutler (or cutlery firm) named Jeannin who worked in Crépy. Unfortunately, there are at least three places in France having the name 'Crépy', so pinning down any actual location would be pure speculation on my part. As for age, my suspicions are that it was forged and ground prior to World War I and very possibly before 1900.

attachment.php


You already know that the scales are nothing if not strictly functional. They are made of horn with a bone wedge and I strongly suspect that the workman who assembled this razor so long ago was having a very blue Monday morning. The blade, on the other hand, was what I found to be really interesting.

I have always been attracted by the form of frameback razors and in addition, the blade on this razor rather than being hollow ground, is flat ground from the side (for a razor with a similar grind see this article: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?ltr=T&t=21004). Of course, what I couldn't know from the outset was the quality of the steel, but I'll come around to that in a bit.

The blade is a 6/8 with an oblique point and measures 154mm in length from point down to end of tang (just a 32nd over 6"). The spine is 5.3mm wide (3/8"). As mentioned, the blade was flat ground on wheels worked in the horizontal plane from the side. The blade is somewhat on the thick side and the grind is also a bit uneven so that the blade thickness is something like 1mm in the middle, but thins out towards .85mm at the point and heel. I don't know if this was intended or is just some limitation of the original grinding process. For the rest, there is no fancy work on this blade. The grinding simply fairs out into the tang at the rear.

attachment.php


Now, as regards the steel of this blade. It has qualities which elevate an otherwise forgettable piece of cutlery into a razor that is really quite good. This steel is not brittle like that of most modern razors and can stand up to abuse. Truth to tell - and to my chagrin :redface: - this is one of the few blades that I have accidentally let fall to the ground. It bounced off the point from a tile floor, but ended up with nothing more than a little ding which I could stone out afterwards. Most modern blades would have shattered from such cruelty.

Sharpening the blade posed no problems at all and the edge it will take is extremely good. What's more, it will hold this edge through a number of shaves without trouble, and being a somewhat softer steel, it responds very well to pasted strops.

Note that this frameback thinks it is a wedge. In use there is absolutely no flex whatsoever, but the shave it delivers is first class. It feels like some sort of weird, non-pedigreed cross between a heavy wedge razor and a dining table steak knife. But then I already admitted that this razor is something of a mutt, albeit a talented one. It is going to remain a working part of my collection and if I should ever come across another one of these I'll jump on it… like a flea on a dog!

- Ignatz
Price
5.00 star(s)
Lasting Edge
3.00 star(s)
Craftsmanship
1.00 star(s)
Easy to Sharpen
4.00 star(s)
Easy to Maintain
5.00 star(s)
Shaving Smoothness
4.00 star(s)

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