Does Alum Pose a Risk to Straights?

Discussion in 'General Straight Razor Talk' started by StubbleTrouble, May 31, 2014.

    I have some questions regarding straight razor care and maintenance:

    1) I was watching the 30th Anniversary Shave on youtube and tried using alum on the fingers for more grip while stretching, and it works very well. My question is since it's a salt which ultimately comes in contact with the tang, I'm reluctant to get water there to rinse out in fear the water (and alum) will get into the pivot pin.

    2) I'm guessing the alum would have to be rinsed off of any contact area

    3) Lynn Abrams mentions (as I recall) that getting water into the pivot pin is the kiss of death for a razor. I find soap manages to find it's way in there from time to time and wonder if rinsing there is out of the question. Then the thought of alum in there... :scared:

    4) Is it really that bad (and uncommon for an experienced shaver) for a razor to get water in the pivot pin on occasion? What's the best way to treat this?

    Am I making too much of this?

  1. I don't know that water at the pivot is the 'kiss of death' - I've unpinned tons of razors and found rust there and they were fine with a brief cleaning.
    Alum - not sure. Test it. If it's a problem, clear that hand before shaving? I usually start with clean/dry hands so I don't create or exacerbate issues I don't need to deal with on the back end.
    Water - I put a drop of mineral oil on pivots occasionally. Seems to work fine. Generally - I don't get that hand wet when I shave but sometimes it happens. I can't be neurotic about it though, it's a razor and I use it around water.
  2. Wid


    I never have worried about this. I get water in the pivot all the time, it is a razor. When you think about a razor as a tool and not a cherished piece of art work it gets pretty simple.
  3. I don't have an answer for you, but I can say I get a kick out of Lynn and his buddy Glen (GSsixgun). Lynn will say something in a video, and then Glen will say the exact opposite, seemingly in reference to Lynn's video. This water in the hinge is a prime example. Glenn says something like "Some people say not to get water in you scales. I think that is silly, this is wet shaving. I'll put the whole straight in water". Paraphrasing here, so don't mind the quotes.

    Again, I don't have a good answer for you. Personally I try and keep soapy water out, during a rinse, but overall don't fret plain water much too much. I don't try and get it in there, but no tears when it does. As long as I dry it as much as I can, and leave it out to air dry, I figure I'm probably okay. Funny how much disagreement there is between a death knell, and an insignificant detail.
  4. The salt can corrode the razor quickly make sure you rinse the blade thoroughly after
  5. Thanks to all for the input.

    I don't want to be OCD, but wanted to be cautious in my ignorance.

    I did just buy some mineral oil which will go on to all of my razors when stored. Thankfully I received the advice not to apply the oil until the blade is completely dry.

    I live 500m from the Ocean, and salt air is definitely a factor here. It does make its way inside and affects furniture among many other things.
  6. Yeah I've used a styptic pencil mid shave (basically crushed alum) and by the end of the shave had a spot of corrosion that took 10 minutes with maas to clear out... Just rinse well
  7. +1

    I use alum for grip every shave and usually water/lather gets in the pivot. I dry it and store in the TSS protective sleeves. Never had problems.
  8. Yep, but I only shave one handed, so my alum'd fingertips don't get on the blade generally. Rinse, dry, store with some care, and it should be no problem. Having done this a little while now, I rarely get the pivot/tang wet anymore. So that's a plus too.
  9. I'd avoid contact with the stuff just because. The only things a razor should be touching is face, whiskers, lather and stones :)
  10. You crazy Canadians are so rough and ready that you don't even strop, now I am impressed.... :p
  11. Nah, they just make strops from the faces of their enemies. It's all Texas chainsaw massacre up there.
  12. It's true.
  13. I use alum for grip and haven't noticed any impact on the razors. I do try to avoid getting water in the pivot and will breakout a hairdryer after I'm done, if I've made a mess.
  14. I'm relieved to know that this thread does [edit] not [/edit] pertain to me! Carry on lads. ;-)
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  15. jkh


  16. I'll admit that I thought of you before the stone. ....
  17. Oops, I forgot one crucial word!

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
  18. Not sure if this was already implied, but it seems like you could make sure to keep oil on the blade around the pivot and that may help prevent some of what you're concerned about.

    My first razor, a Gold Dollar, does have some pivot rust from my previously poor rinsing habits. I still rinse blades, but now I do it in a way that keeps the tang and above dry. No rust on any other razor.
  19. This! :thumbup1:

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