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Chips in 200yr old blades, remove or leave alone?

When there is a chip in a 'historic' blade, is it better left alone?
I know this could be removed, but it's in my Tortoiseshell Papillion, and might leave one blade slightly smaller than the other. Thoughts?

IMO, it depends on the chip size, if its small then yes remove it and move on....but the size of the one you have on that blade you would have to remove WAY too much metal to make it shave ready. I would leave it alone and use the other blade solely if its useable.

If you are trying to get it functional again, possibly. That is a pretty big chip for a heavier ground razor. If you are keeping it as a collectible I wouldn't worry about it.
I would not bother with that one, collector's item only (and worth more with the chip than ground down to a stub, I'd bet).

For user razors, I tend to get ones with good blades but toasted scales, or scale-less blades. Only blades with no chips or rust if I want to shave with them, not worth the effort to grind them down that far.

Even then, you can get bitten -- I got what looked like an unused, unhoned blade that looked great in the photos, and found a crack near the heel when I started honing it. Likely why it was never used, defective in the box originally.
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Why not remove it?
It is useless to anyone unless fixed.
Having an old collectable razor with a huge chip in it is not worth looking at IMO.
The conversation will always be " its beautiful and historic but too bad about the chip."
Measure the bevel angle where the new bevel would be, if it is in the reasonable range then I would remove the chip. If after removal of the chip the bevel angle is too high I might just leave it.

Not a great pic, but I think those scales are dyed horn, not tortoise shell.
Measure the bevel angle where the new bevel would be, if it is in the reasonable range then I would remove the chip. If after removal of the chip the bevel angle is too high I might just leave it.
Good advice, you will have to remove some spine width in the process. It can be blended to look good.
Do you really want and need to shave with it?

Or do you care about the dollar-value of your set? You can be sure it will always be worth more in original condition, regardless of that chip.


Moderator Emeritus
Personally, I would leave it, and keep the razor as original as possible, as a collectible. There are tons of other, less historic razors to shave with.
Wouldn't be much razor left after honing out that chip, the etching will be mostly or completely removed and it will be a plain wedge by then, so you'd have to re-grind it. Won't be recognizable as the original razor when you are done, and it will be less that 4/8 in width I'd bet.

For all that work I'd start with a GD 66, at least it only needs a ton of work and not a total re-grind.
Thanks. The second blade is fine, and since this blade will always be decoration, it was about edging out the chip so it doesn't stare at me rather than putting a shave-able edge on it. I'll just leave it alone and enjoy the deep etchings.
I don't think you will be anywhere near the etching when removed.
If you are unsure about your ability to fix it - maybe send it out?
Would be nice to shave with even if only once in a while for preservation sake.
That's a near wedge, getting that chip out would remove a serious amount of metal. I'd leave it be, and look for another user to shave with.
Its ok to have another opinion:)
Part of the joy for me is using these items and not watching them sit in a box.
Seems I'm not the only one who thinks so as well..
It's all good. I have lots of restoration experience but am an amateur when it comes to the geometry and subtleties of hones and stones. I grabbed a quick measure and it's a 4mm spine and you could likely remove the chip with 14mm of blade width intact. It is indeed pretty wedgy. The other blade has 4.56mm spine width...I hadn't noticed but I guess the chipped side was the one used regularly. Who comes to mind if I were to send it out?


Moderator Emeritus
The other reason I would leave the chip in, and just keep the razor as a display piece is that it is a butterfly razor. If you removed metal to hone out the chip the two blades would be a different size and not match anymore. That would bug me.