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Consideration of the balance of a straight (for scales of stainless steel)

When I asked Dovo if I could get stainless steel scales with a product they sold with non-stainless steel scales, they told me it wasn't possible because the designer of the straight razor had created that particular configuration while taking into account that the result needed to be well balanced.
  1. What is meant by saying that a straight razor is balanced?
  2. For replacing scales of a razor with stainless steel scales, how does one ensure that the result is "well balanced"?
 
What he said ^. I have an old Boeker blade to which someone later paired with thick aluminum scales. The balance is weighted towards the scales, causing the blade to be lifted off my face when shaving. I suppose if I were to only shave with such a razor, the balance factor would arrive by way of habit--gripping the shank near the pivot point instead of towards the heel of the blade. Maybe Wapi blades with stainless steel scales are balanced relative to the blade at the pivot point?
 
Thanks. I thing (by calculating the moments) that if a razor balances when horizontal then it will also balance when the razor and scales are at the same angle, which can be setup if the pivot has enough friction to hold the angle.

So in the image below, if the razor balances at A it will balance at B too:

if_a_balances_then_so_does_b.jpg

The all stainless steel Dovo has a big piece of metal between the two flats of the scales at the far end joint. So I suppose in creating custom scales for a razor, one could start with a bit heavier weight at the far end, and file the weight till the razor achieves balance.
 
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Just for kicks, I checked the balance of an old, shoulder-less Solingen "Mon Bijou" with plastic scales that I've been shaving with lately. The balance point appears to be with the shank, near the heel, rather than at the pivot point. I tend to grip the shank of this razor when shaving and stropping somewhere between this balance point and the pivot point.
 
I think as long as the scales aren't too bulky or heavy it really doesn't matter

I have honed a few TIs with the metal scales, and they are heavy.
 
Balance is probably more noticeable during stropping than the actual shave. Some prefer stropping with a more balanced razor.
Altering the wedge is one way of changing the balance.
 
Balance is probably more noticeable during stropping than the actual shave. Some prefer stropping with a more balanced razor.
Altering the wedge is one way of changing the balance.
I think that you are correct about the stropping, honing is another place where the balance makes itself known. I also think that there is a more subtle appreciation of balance when just handling the razor. Ever pick up a poorly balanced knife? It feels like you're holding a tire iron. Dead instead of lively.
 
Barbers shave with mostly horizontal motions while a self-shaver uses mostly vertical motions. I suspect a Barber would appreciate a razor whose scales are light whereas for self-shaving, I would want a balanced razor (I have handled all three types of razors: balanced, blade heavy and scale heavy). Feather DX is made for Barbers and so has a light handle -- however, the blade is so light that the imbalance is not noticeable during a self-shave.
 
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We're you asking about availability of the product, or were you asking if they could put SS scales on a specific blade for you?
I first asked Dovo about availability of non-full-hollow stainless steel razor with stainless steel handle -- they said no. Then I asked if they could put stainless steel handles on a non-full-hollow stainless steel razor they do sell but sell only with non-stainless steel handles -- they again said no citing blade designer's choice to achieve a balanced razor.
 
Don't be so quick to dismiss. They don't have to be balanced like a fencing sword, but a more balanced razor does handle more comfortably. Especially when stropping and honing.
Well I mean obviously there is a limit to how heavy or long scales can be before they're ridiculous to use. However, everything that is within reason balanced or not works the same to me. The thing I have noticed is that scales heavy or light do not change my shave in any noticeable way since I hold the tang with my hand and not the scales. The scales rest between my middle finger and ring finger. I will say that scales that are too fat or bulky but still balanced by weight make it more difficult to shave. I know that scales that fit a razors size, no matter how heavy or light never really effect my shave. I have rescaled razors with different size and weight scales and while it may not be balanced the shave didn't change since my hands are strong enough to handle the weight of pretty much any set of scales. The only thing that has ever made stoping more cumbersome has been when the razor was pinned too far down the scale to make the razor more balanced. This caused the scales to be in the way when stroping. Are balanced razors a bad thing? No they're not. However to me it never seemed to make a bit of difference and I have been straight shaving for a modest decade and have used 50+ razors and still own 20 razors vintage, new, rescaled, and restored. All have worked fine. I'm mearly saying don't get hung up on it. Cheers.
 
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Well I mean obviously there is a limit to how heavy or long scales can be before they're ridiculous to use. However, everything that is within reason balanced or not works the same to me. The thing I have noticed is that scales heavy or light do not change my shave in any noticeable way since I hold the tang with my hand and not the scale. The scale rests between my middle finger and ring finger. I will say that scales that are too fat or bulky but still balanced by weight make it more difficult to shave. I know that scales that fit a razors size, no matter how heavy or light never really effect my shave. I have rescaled razors with different size and weight scales and while it may not be balanced the shave didn't change since my hands are strong enough to handle the weight of pretty much any scale. The only thing that has ever made stoping more cumbersome has been when the razor was pinned too far down the scale to make the razor balanced. This caused the scales to be in the way when stroping. Are balanced razors a bad thing? No they're not. However to me it never seemed to make a bit of difference and have have been straight shaving for a decade and have used 50+ razors and still own 20 razors vintage, new, rescaled, and restored. All have worked fine. Im mearly saying don't get hung up on it. Cheers.
I certainly understand that. Its just that when people say "it doesn't matter" and leave it at that, it can send a different message to the person asking. And at least some of manufacturers seem to think it was worth taking into account when making the razors. If you don't get too crazy when making the scales, they should provide a decent counterbalance.
 
... since my hands are strong enough to handle the weight of pretty much any set of scales. ... I have been straight shaving for a modest decade and have used 50+ razors and still own 20 razors vintage, new, rescaled, and restored
My technique for holding while shaving is different -- but I am a total newbie to straights and so my technique could evolve into something else. At present, my thumb is below the tang and thee first two fingers are above with the scales between them. It is less of "holding the razor" and more of balancing it on the thumb while using the two fingers to prevent rotation. But there is some type of holding in that the position of the cutting edge and the inclined surface of the blade can still be controlled to undergo minute adjustments as the razor is moved. The intent during he motion is to have the blade at a certain angle while the edge moves over the surface -- with absolutely zero force toward the face. Any sensation of a touch will result in the fingers making adjustments. Currently, most of the adjustments are to stop the motion and restart, perhaps with some observation and thinking in between. As of today, rather than my strength, my sensitivity and responsiveness is what is important.

(Currently, I have given up on the Dovo because of the variability of the hone, and am using the folding feather DX; the folding DX is so light that the imbalance of the heavier blade is not an issue; however, in the future, I might get a Japanese style DX and use it with the third finger being on top too.)
 
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I certainly understand that. Its just that when people say "it doesn't matter" and leave it at that, it can send a different message to the person asking. And at least some of manufacturers seem to think it was worth taking into account when making the razors. If you don't get too crazy when making the scales, they should provide a decent counterbalance.
Cheers!
 
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