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Bengall Razors and Travel Case

The scant amount of 'restoration' work that I've done here probably doesn't deserve its own thread tbh, but I quite like the results, so it's getting one. Also because - it'll show that making this kind of case for oneself would be incredibly simple. As in effect; it's nothing more than a spectacle case with some padding and a divider inside, all you'd need is a glasses case, some glue and a bit of foam.

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I got this pair of old Bengalls plus travel case pretty cheap on FB marketplace last week:

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The razors themselves were in very good condition, the case however was not. Someone had tried to hack off all the faux leather stuff from it, and got bored halfway through, then improvised a hinge with some bits of wire. Before taking it all apart to clean up though I did save that little strip of material, which I felt might be useful later on.

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Cut the wires, used a little kiridashi to remove the rest of the papery-leathery whatever and then sanded the two sides down. The wood is some kind of incredibly soft and light-coloured (almost white) pine I think. Might even be balsa, perhaps I should've diamond pasted the outside for a handy travel strop ;).

Anyhow I wanted to make it darker, and I don't really use wood stain. I thought about using coffee but I don't have the first idea how to use our coffee machine idea how to work our coffee machine cos the thing has a billion complicated knobs and dials. There's even a feckin' speedometer on the top.

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If only I still lived with my mother, she'd have all the right kit! (My mother is a picture framer).

After a while I remembered that my wife had actually been bollixing about with some stain n varnish stuff a few weeks back. Normally I avoid this kind of thing like the plague, cos it's sticky, and streaky, and nasty, and I don't have the patience to wait for it to dry properly. But needs must.

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Yuck!

It did work though, after a fashion. I then sanded the two halves back a bit and gave them a proper finish with Tung oil.

Next I needed to think about how I was going to remake the hinge bit. My idea is to use the original white strip of fabric glued on the inside of the case, and something else on the outside. I cut out a little bit of roo leather and thought about that, but decided it'd look weird and sit proud from the case.

The stuff at the top the next picture is a big pile of Liberty print fabrics. (My mother also used to work in the textile department at Liberty. Told you she was handy.)

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I've always rather liked the classic peacock feather print, so I cut a strip of that out instead. Used some spray glue stuff to fix them to the inside and outside of the case to hold it all together, and here we are...

I'm sure it could have all been neater, but I think it has 'charm'. I like the little flash of colour and pattern from the fabric, and the hinge works well without being floppy - in the final picture the top of the case isn't actually resting on the table, which was what I was hoping for.


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[Some pics of how the razors cleaned up to follow.]
 
The two straights required even less effort...

Both needed the pivot tightening, so I got to use my cutesy little vintage peening hammer I bought the other day, which was nice.

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One had a tiny chip on the bevel which needed to be honed out, the other had little spot of surface rust on the tail. I sanded both at 2k, and then polished with diamond paste to a pretty close to mirror finish. Also lightly sanded and oiled the horn on the one with horn scales.

Really though they'd been very well looked after tbh - honing didn't take long at all, and they shave excellently.

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Cool.

It's not balsa. It might be cedar.

Oh good point, I imagine you're right. It did actually look and feel a lot like Cedar, and not really like any Pine or Balsa I'd come across before.

(I don't remember it smelling like Cedar when I sanded. Though my knowledge of the smell of cedar comes exclusively from cigar boxes, so I probably just think Cedar smells like cigars.)
 
Also - I can't imagine I'm the first person to think of using a glasses case to make this kind of thing. Anyone done it...?
 
Oh good point, I imagine you're right. It did actually look and feel a lot like Cedar, and not really like any Pine or Balsa I'd come across before.

(I don't remember it smelling like Cedar when I sanded. Though my knowledge of the smell of cedar comes exclusively from cigar boxes, so I probably just think Cedar smells like cigars.)
Cedar does have a nice smell, and it's not very archival for storing metals, but I've got a couple of similar boxes, and they are very light. I'm not sure what else they could be.
 
Cedar does have a nice smell, and it's not very archival for storing metals, but I've got a couple of similar boxes, and they are very light. I'm not sure what else they could be.

I remember you saying that about cedar before actually. Perhaps I shan't use it for long term storage then, and just when I want to travel in style!
 
I remember you saying that about cedar before actually. Perhaps I shan't use it for long term storage then, and just when I want to travel in style!
I'm trying to think of what other light, soft, inexpensive woods would be used in England in the late 19th century. It would be a cheap wood, since it was all going to be covered in leather and material.

Poplar? Willow? Could be some sort of fir.
 
The scant amount of 'restoration' work that I've done here probably doesn't deserve its own thread tbh, but I quite like the results, so it's getting one.
It's always good to see other peoples ideas and techniques.
There's even a feckin' speedometer on the top.
While I'm sure the speedometer has to do with pressure I'd like to believe it sets the coffee to how hyperactive it'll make you after a cup. If it goes to 11 all the better.

Someone had tried to hack off all the faux leather stuff from it, and got bored halfway through, then improvised a hinge with some bits of wire. Before taking it all apart to clean up though I did save that little strip of material, which I felt might be useful later on.
remove the rest of the papery-leathery whatever
After a LOT of research I discovered that papery-leathery stuff is called Skivertex as I too have a razor case to restore.
The wood is some kind of incredibly soft and light-coloured (almost white) pine I think.
I think these old cases can be anything from Pine, Poplar or Larch (red deal) but it's probably scraps from something else so it varies. As @Legion says it'll be covered anyway.
Next I needed to think about how I was going to remake the hinge bit. My idea is to use the original white strip of fabric glued on the inside of the case, and something else on the outside.
There's a special way of doing this and you've got the general idea spot on but it won't work properly with fabric because it stretches and will sag over time. That's why skivertex is used as it's very strong but thin for lining boxes.
I can find you a video on how to do it if you want.
 
It's always good to see other peoples ideas and techniques.

While I'm sure the speedometer has to do with pressure I'd like to believe it sets the coffee to how hyperactive it'll make you after a cup. If it goes to 11 all the better.


After a LOT of research I discovered that papery-leathery stuff is called Skivertex as I too have a razor case to restore.

I think these old cases can be anything from Pine, Poplar or Larch (red deal) but it's probably scraps from something else so it varies. As @Legion says it'll be covered anyway.

There's a special way of doing this and you've got the general idea spot on but it won't work properly with fabric because it stretches and will sag over time. That's why skivertex is used as it's very strong but thin for lining boxes.
I can find you a video on how to do it if you want.


Ah cheers for all the info!

I did wonder about if, and how long, the fabric solution would last. So yes - if you do have a link to a vid that's be great, as I can always re-do it. All of the 'stress' atm is on the piece of material on the inside, which is a little thicker, so I could replace that or both with something else...
 
I found this a while ago when thinking how to do my box and it's exactly what you're looking for.

Around the 9:56 mark is where he starts on the hinge for the box.


Excellent, thank you! I'll watch that in a bit.
 
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