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Gold Dollar (the ones marked 'Sharpened') edge crumbles away

Not sure if this is a honing or a razor problem but let me assume it is my honing and so I think this is where this thread goes :)

Picked up my first Jnat and have pushed a few razors over it, all vintage, one Boker King Cutter, one Boker Red Injun and one Red Imp 133. The Red Injun turned out with a decent shaving edge although I would not use it ATG. The Red Imp is looks and feels excellent and will readily tree- top (have not shaved with it yet).

I picked up three new Gold Dollars, and these are new- to- me models, etched 'Sharpened' on the face of the blade (the first fib.....). After grinding a bunch of steel off the spine and edge, there is reasonable geometry on all three razors. But a funny thing is happening in that all three razors are having a section of the edge break off before the full 'V' is set. In other words, the bevel is being honed but the very edge is breaking off, though only in very specific spots on each razor. ?? I have tried a Naniwa 1000, an Atoma 1200, 3 micron lapping film and even a heavy slurry on the Jnat out of desperation. Always the same problem, sometimes very subtle and sometimes very obvious but always there. The patches where this is happening are always in the same place although that place and its size very among the razors. Always near but not at, the toe and the length varies between about 3/8" wide to almost half the blade and the patches are in different places and different sizes on each side of each razor.

I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that I simply cannot hone but again, I have had somewhat consistent success with vintage razors and OK success with a new Thiers Issard, and the fact that it is in specific areas on each razor lead me to wonder if the steel is defective, a large grained steel (a lousy choice for anything needing a strong, fine edge) or it was improperly tempered. Gold Dollars always seem to be harder than the average razor although the T.I. was pretty hard also. Has anyone experienced this? Is it the razors, my poor technique or perhaps a combination where other, softer razors are more forgiving of being a bit too rough?

Any input that is useful or at least humorous is appreciated.

Brian
 
I've had that problem, once, on a kamisori from a random lot of 7 I got cheap on eBay. It just kept throwing ribbons of steel onto the stone. I threw it away. It was cheap, and life is too short.

I don't know how you would make that happen with your honing. I think it has to be bad steel/heat treat. I suppose you could keep grinding away to see if it's just the edge that's the problem. That can happen with knives, when the grinder heats the edge and ruins the temper, but there is perfectly fine steel a little ways down.

I have only one Gold Dollar, just because, and I have not put it on a stone yet, but when I do, I will be surprised if the steel seems harder than, say, Iwasaki Swedish Steel or TI C135 or Heljestrand.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
It’s possible that the Gold Dollars have bad places in them, QC is not their forte. First, check the bevel angle. Most GD are around 18.5-19.5 degrees.

At what grits are you seeing the problem? I’ve had too-shallow (like 15 degrees) bevels fail to hone at 8k+ but they usually look OK at the coarser grits.

Try a couple of layers of tape to see if the edge will hone. You might or might not want to actually use it honed this way, but it might tell you something.

Good luck!

Steve
 
I've never seen a gd that didn't take an edge. They do have other issues like cheap scales and rough grinding etc. Anything is possible though. The gds I'm sure are mass produced stamped heat treated etc in bulk for efficiency. So if that one is bad then there will be a load more.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I have honed a bunch of basic GD’s and never had that problem. Then I’ve never ground down the spine either. That may be the source of your problem. Just a thought.
 
Thanks for your input gents: To expand on this a bit, I have tried hones from 1000 all the way to a Jnat with a heavy slurry. No difference with any hone or lapping film other than the fact that the chips of steel tear up lapping film while they just get pushed off the stones apparently.

I have tried tape, both Scotch electrical as well as Kapton tape, 0.007 and 0.001 inches respectively- absolutely no difference in how the edge behaves. And at this point, I am not the least bit concerned with shaving with any of them. I am simply trying to get a bevel set on at least one of them with a very consistent mode of failure.

I have six GD's, three of the older 66's and three of this new type, model designation unknown. All are quite poor with no real geometry when new and lots of hone wear to get any kind of plane going on both sides. That said, the three older ones will hone while the three newer ones just will not.

The only other thing I can think of is to get one or a couple of truly coarse hones, perhaps down to the 325 range (!!!) and carve some steel off while using very little pressure. I am using very little pressure on these razors but it seems that that will not cause enough material removal to again expose a sharp, complete bevel.

BTW: had a great shave with Red Imp honed on a Jnat and stropped with linen and leather. Very sharp and while it was not as sharp as an edge from pasted balsa but at the same time, the edge does seem to have what I am thinking of as 'the Jnat tooth' that a very fine synthetic just does not have. Almost like the edge is very finely serrated and those peaks are helping to grab hair. I first noticed this quality from Alfredo's (Doc226) edges many years ago. So I was of curse very glad to feel that same quality from my own rock- rubbing on a natural stone. It was actually pretty straightforward to hone some vintage razors while the new type Gold Dollars have been impossible to get a bevel set.... at least so far.
 
What model? There are Gold Dollars, and there are Gold Dollars. Some are okay. Some are not. It is a really good idea to always check in here before buying anything. It will save you a lot of grief. You really should post pics of your razors, so everyone knows what you are talking about. Be sure and get closeups of any etching or stamping or painting.

The models that I have always had good sucess with were the 800, (this one is SS), 300, 200, 100, (those three are made in both carbon steel and SS but they are not marked which is which, but it really doesn't make much difference), the 208, the P81, and the 66. I won't vouch for any others, especially the "W" models. Some of them have a bevel angle that is much too acute. The Gold Monkeys are okay, and made in the same factory. The P81 is stamped "1996" in honor of the year the factory was established, and it is not the model number.

No, the steel is not harder than the average razor. It's actually pretty middle of the road. QC is pretty dodgy, as you would expect with a product like a straight razor that is made by dime an hour illiterate factory workers. They are cheap enough that you can cheerfully toss one out of every batch that you buy. Smart money is on buying batches, not singles. Like I said, they are cheap.

I have never seen any that had "Sharpened" etched on them. That definitely rings a warning bell. The factory doesn't have anyone who even shaves with a straight razor, let alone knows how to hone one. All factory "honing" would do is waste steel for no good reason. Never trust anyone who doesn't shave with a straight razor to hone yours. Nor should you let anyone hone your razor who is not known and respected within the community. Trust me, it will end badly 95% of the time.
 
Thanks for your input gents: To expand on this a bit, I have tried hones from 1000 all the way to a Jnat with a heavy slurry. No difference with any hone or lapping film other than the fact that the chips of steel tear up lapping film while they just get pushed off the stones apparently.

I have tried tape, both Scotch electrical as well as Kapton tape, 0.007 and 0.001 inches respectively- absolutely no difference in how the edge behaves. And at this point, I am not the least bit concerned with shaving with any of them. I am simply trying to get a bevel set on at least one of them with a very consistent mode of failure.

I have six GD's, three of the older 66's and three of this new type, model designation unknown. All are quite poor with no real geometry when new and lots of hone wear to get any kind of plane going on both sides. That said, the three older ones will hone while the three newer ones just will not.

The only other thing I can think of is to get one or a couple of truly coarse hones, perhaps down to the 325 range (!!!) and carve some steel off while using very little pressure. I am using very little pressure on these razors but it seems that that will not cause enough material removal to again expose a sharp, complete bevel.

BTW: had a great shave with Red Imp honed on a Jnat and stropped with linen and leather. Very sharp and while it was not as sharp as an edge from pasted balsa but at the same time, the edge does seem to have what I am thinking of as 'the Jnat tooth' that a very fine synthetic just does not have. Almost like the edge is very finely serrated and those peaks are helping to grab hair. I first noticed this quality from Alfredo's (Doc226) edges many years ago. So I was of curse very glad to feel that same quality from my own rock- rubbing on a natural stone. It was actually pretty straightforward to hone some vintage razors while the new type Gold Dollars have been impossible to get a bevel set.... at least so far.
So what does the edge actually look like, under magnification? Is your bevel going all the way out to the apex, and both faces intersecting properly? Let's get that question put to rest, first. If the bevel is not set then there is absolutely no point in wasting your time with any fine stones or film. The bevel is the edge, and if it isn't there, then there is no point in polishing it with fine abrasives, is there? You can rub a razor on a Jnat for a month and if the bevel was never set, the razor won't get sharp.

Next, with a dial caliper, or better yet a plastic vernier scale, measure your blade. Measure the spine's thickness at some point near the middle. Now at that same point along the blade, measure from the top of the hone wear on the spine, to the very edge of the razor, without dinging the edge. ALmost impossible to do with a metal dial caliper and absolutely impossible with a micrometer, but a vernier scale will be accurate enough here. You can use a mike on the spine, won't hurt anything there, and that measurement is more critical, being smaller. The distance from the top (nearest the top of the spine) to the edge is the Hypotenuse. This needs to be accurate to the nearest .01" at least, and the nearest .005" would be better. Spine thickness ought to be taken to the nearest .001.The spine thickness is twice the Opposite side, so divide spine thickness by 2 to get Opposite. Sine of the angle equals Opposite / Hypotenuse. The ArcSIN of that is half the bevel angle, so double it and there's your bevel angle. Even better, just post your measurements. Post pics of the razor, too, including closeups of any stamping, etching, or other marking. Most of the old models that have been around a while have a bevel angle that is too obtuse, IOW too big. However it isn't so bad that you can't make the razor shave just fine. But some of the new models have a bevel angle that is much too acute, which creates a challenge to the adequate but not exactly super space age high tech steel to hold together and take and keep an edge without crumbling. So once we know that there is a problem, let's figure out if this is the problem or if it is something else. If this is the problem, it is possible to compensate to a degree, with tape on the spine, but do NOT NOT NOT tape the spine until it is proven that the bevel angle is too acute.
 
This is the razor I bought: Classic Pro Gold Dollar Shave Straight Edge Barber Razor Folding Hair Shaving | eBay - https://www.ebay.com/itm/173746567590?hash=item28741a39a6:g:icgAAOSwg5FcQPMV

After looking at it more closely, it may not be a Gold Dollar at all. At the time, I thought it was just a later model as well as thinking that the originals were so bad how could this be any worse? Well, I now believe these are worse than Gold Dollars and they are showing the classic signs of a lousy, large- grained steel that is far too hard for its metallurgy. Thanks for the advice but really no need for measurements, the edge simply crumbles away as it thins but before it reaches a true 'V'. I would buy some genuine Gold Dollars (never thought I would have said THAT) but I have several much older ones and while they will sharpen, they are also pretty awful regarding geometry as well as heavy and clunky to shave with. I have quite a few vintage razors, as well as a few new ones that I think I will spend time learning how to use a Jnat and will not hate shaving with them when testing out the blade's edge.

For others out there, I would steer clear of razors etched with "Sharpened" on the blade face. They are sold as Gold Dollars on Ebay but I am doubtful that they actually are Gold Dollar razors. Probably a cheap knockoff, or would that be [cheap knockoff] ^2 :)

So again, thanks for the input folks but I think this is just a terrible and unworkable razor from the get- go.
 
I actually have a Gold Dollar W58 on the way to Doc for honing. I purchased a Gold Dollar 100 -- apparently one of the stainless steel ones, not the carbon steel variant, though there's no way to tell -- direct from China and will be practicing my honing on that. Will be interesting to see the difference between the two.
 
That looks to me like it came from maybe pakistan.

The ad copy is really odd and lots of typical mistakes for someone supposedly out of Annapolis maryland (idk ) And free shipping to AUS? From MD? For free? No way.

“100% Customer Satisfication”

The handle looks like something from pakistan rather than the gold dollar ones i’ve seen. GD and other china based factories arent doing that style afaik. But i’m no expert and the logo is just the sellers name, right? Its missing an e.
 
Not a Gold Dollar. Not even a rebrand made in the GD factory. And I suspect @global_dev is right. That looks like a PRSO. If it is indeed Pakistani, you may as well try to hone a piece of melted-down refrigerator or car body panel, because that is probably what it is. They are notoriously awful.

The GD brand has hit the big time. Someone is selling counterfeit Gold Dollars! And they said that would never happen...

If you want a GD, buy one properly marked, preferably from a seller who has sold to one of your fellow Badgers. I just looked at fleabay and nobody is selling them raw for a decent price. They used to go for under $4 with free shipping, and lately under $5. Now the prices are crazy. So instead of fleabay, I suggest you look on ALiExpress. Make sure it is one of the popular models. 66, 208, 100, 200, 300,or 800. Or the P81, which is stamped "1996" and sometimes called the model 1996 but it is actually the P81. These razors have the model number and the Gold Dollar logo stamped on the shank.

Just as an example, here is an aliexpress listing for a 66:

You can also have a look on the regular Alibaba site. I see the factory is now selling in retail quantities. Before, this razor was only available with a MOQ of 100 pieces. Beware of high shipping costs when buying direct from NIngbo.
Also, the actual company is notoriously difficult to deal with. But if you buy from the factory, get a bunch of them, not just a couple. You can always resell the extra, and you will need a few for the annual official B&B Gold Dollar modification competition next year. You KNOW you want in on that!
 
This is the razor I bought: Classic Pro Gold Dollar Shave Straight Edge Barber Razor Folding Hair Shaving | eBay - https://www.ebay.com/itm/173746567590?hash=item28741a39a6:g:icgAAOSwg5FcQPMV

After looking at it more closely, it may not be a Gold Dollar at all. At the time, I thought it was just a later model as well as thinking that the originals were so bad how could this be any worse? Well, I now believe these are worse than Gold Dollars and they are showing the classic signs of a lousy, large- grained steel that is far too hard for its metallurgy. Thanks for the advice but really no need for measurements, the edge simply crumbles away as it thins but before it reaches a true 'V'. I would buy some genuine Gold Dollars (never thought I would have said THAT) but I have several much older ones and while they will sharpen, they are also pretty awful regarding geometry as well as heavy and clunky to shave with. I have quite a few vintage razors, as well as a few new ones that I think I will spend time learning how to use a Jnat and will not hate shaving with them when testing out the blade's edge.

For others out there, I would steer clear of razors etched with "Sharpened" on the blade face. They are sold as Gold Dollars on Ebay but I am doubtful that they actually are Gold Dollar razors. Probably a cheap knockoff, or would that be [cheap knockoff] ^2 :)

So again, thanks for the input folks but I think this is just a terrible and unworkable razor from the get- go.

You got a counterfeit Gold Dollar!!!


Andd because of the icon in the upper right hand corner of the graphic,
you may have a case of mail fraud too!
 
This is more like it.

10pcs for $43 shipped free to the US on the slow boat from China. That is a price you can work with. Genuine GD66, and enough of them that you can go nuts and not worry about messing one or two up. I suggest you do one, and don't touch the rest. Begin by profiling the heel using a quarter as a template. There is a thread on that somewhere. And actually I have a video on that, on my youtube channel.
You can use a cheap Harbor Freight diamond plate or the side of a very coarse stone if you don't want to use power tools, and in fact that's what I recommend for your first attempt. You can also cut the heel back some more, just to be sure you got it good. With the heel trimmed, you will have a much easier time honing a GD.
 
I actually have a Gold Dollar W58 on the way to Doc for honing. I purchased a Gold Dollar 100 -- apparently one of the stainless steel ones, not the carbon steel variant, though there's no way to tell -- direct from China and will be practicing my honing on that. Will be interesting to see the difference between the two.
I honestly can't tell the difference, but the carbon steel razors have almost no chromium, and the SS ones have quite a bit. There are laboratories that can assay the steel using Xray Fluorescence testing. You can also usually figure it out with the mustard test. Just paint the razor with mustard. French's yellow ballpark mustard works fine. Apply mustard, let it sit an hour, then wash it off. SS will barely be touched. Carbon steel will have a pronounced patina from the acid in the mustard.

I once asked CiCi at the factory how someone could know that a razor I buy from the factory is stainless or not. She said that on request, she would be happy to mark the flimsy cheesy box indicating whether it is stainless or carbon. The idea of stamping or etching "Stainless" or "Rostfrei" or "Inox" or whatever on the razor is a totally alien concept. Honing the stainless razors goes without any particular drama though the 900, which is the only one made from a named alloy, (440C I think, but i forget... I only ever bought one as I hate the scales and find the razor overpriced.) is a little stubborn on the stones but nothing to get ruffled about.

So, you cannot tell from the pics in an online listing if a GD is stainless or carbon steel. And unless you trust the seller for some reason, you can't tell by the item description because ebayers and alibabbers will cheerfully call it whatever they think they need to call it in order to make sales. Remember a couple years ago when every razor on the bay was "shave ready", including $2 shavettes? Since it really doesn't make any difference, never pay extra for a stainless Gold Dollar, is my advice. You may NEVER know if you got ripped off or not.
 
Yeah, kinda' amazing actually- Gold Dollars ARE the cheap knock- off of a real razor. Now we have cheap knock-offs of the knock- off.... whatever is the world coming too?

The steel is hard but has an absolutely huge grain structure. The goal is obvious, to save material costs. My best guess is a non- alloy steel with insufficient carbon to be heat treated that was pack hardened. This will yield a very hard, brittle steel, soft on the inside with a shell on the outside perhaps 0.030" deep. When the two sides meet at the bevel, the steel is so granular and full of carbides as to be useless, at least for any purpose other than making something under compression loads such as a valve train shim or similar.

Anyway, a pretty inexpensive lesson learned, one really can go too far in buying what is essentially a steel billet with some scales attached.

You got a counterfeit Gold Dollar!!!


Andd because of the icon in the upper right hand corner of the graphic,
you may have a case of mail fraud too!
 
Thanks for the advice but honestly I do not enjoy hacking, honing or shaving with a Gold Dollar anyway. Just too crude and requiring more blacksmith work than shaving razor work, speaking just for myself of course. I find razors to be a very nice, precision device and enjoy honing and shaving with them. Gigantic, clunky razors such as GD's and even ancient full wedges just do not 'float my boat'. Now that I am having some good results with a Jnat, I will stick to my 5/8 and 6/8 full hollow ground razors to hone and use. The edge comes up quickly enough that there is not excessive hone wear and I have enough razors that no single one has to take the proverbial beating of my natural stone learning curve :)

As to your post about steel vs. stainless steel, that gets pretty tricky very quickly. What most of us think of as stainless steel are a family of steels that do not readily corrode but also are not magnetic and will not heat treat. In fact, they are considered non- ferrous (meaning without iron) even though the great majority of the material is iron. But with the addition of a lot of nickel it no longer acts or perform like steel. The steels used to make 'stainless steel' razors, surgical tools, etc. are not really stainless as they will corrode pretty readily, as well as being both magnetic and heat treatable. Which begs the question, what makes a stainless steel 'stainless'? Well, not much actually and it is a very blurry line between quite a few high alloy tool steels and heat treatable stainless steels. Steels from the air hardening group, especially high chromium types such as the 'D' series (D2, D4, D7 etc.) are extremely similar in behavior and presentation. Both will corrode but very slowly and with a lot of resistance, especially in the heat treated condition. Depending on the specific alloy, both types can be heat treated to very high hardness although the high alloy, air quenched steels tend to be considerably more wear resistant. Interestingly, at least to me, is that the older GDs that I have test in the low 60's Rc in hardness while a couple of German and American vintage razors test in the mid- 50s Rc ranges. Anyway, given the choice I would take a razor made out of D2 or D4 over a magnetic stainless type although it would be a very difficult razor to grind from the blank and would take considerable effort to hone.

Not a Gold Dollar. Not even a rebrand made in the GD factory. And I suspect @global_dev is right. That looks like a PRSO. If it is indeed Pakistani, you may as well try to hone a piece of melted-down refrigerator or car body panel, because that is probably what it is. They are notoriously awful.

The GD brand has hit the big time. Someone is selling counterfeit Gold Dollars! And they said that would never happen...

If you want a GD, buy one properly marked, preferably from a seller who has sold to one of your fellow Badgers. I just looked at fleabay and nobody is selling them raw for a decent price. They used to go for under $4 with free shipping, and lately under $5. Now the prices are crazy. So instead of fleabay, I suggest you look on ALiExpress. Make sure it is one of the popular models. 66, 208, 100, 200, 300,or 800. Or the P81, which is stamped "1996" and sometimes called the model 1996 but it is actually the P81. These razors have the model number and the Gold Dollar logo stamped on the shank.

Also, the actual company is notoriously difficult to deal with. But if you buy from the factory, get a bunch of them, not just a couple. You can always resell the extra, and you will need a few for the annual official B&B Gold Dollar modification competition next year. You KNOW you want in on that!
 
Thanks for the advice but honestly I do not enjoy hacking, honing or shaving with a Gold Dollar anyway. Just too crude and requiring more blacksmith work than shaving razor work, speaking just for myself of course. I find razors to be a very nice, precision device and enjoy honing and shaving with them. Gigantic, clunky razors such as GD's and even ancient full wedges just do not 'float my boat'. Now that I am having some good results with a Jnat, I will stick to my 5/8 and 6/8 full hollow ground razors to hone and use. The edge comes up quickly enough that there is not excessive hone wear and I have enough razors that no single one has to take the proverbial beating of my natural stone learning curve :)

As to your post about steel vs. stainless steel, that gets pretty tricky very quickly. What most of us think of as stainless steel are a family of steels that do not readily corrode but also are not magnetic and will not heat treat. In fact, they are considered non- ferrous (meaning without iron) even though the great majority of the material is iron. But with the addition of a lot of nickel it no longer acts or perform like steel. The steels used to make 'stainless steel' razors, surgical tools, etc. are not really stainless as they will corrode pretty readily, as well as being both magnetic and heat treatable. Which begs the question, what makes a stainless steel 'stainless'? Well, not much actually and it is a very blurry line between quite a few high alloy tool steels and heat treatable stainless steels. Steels from the air hardening group, especially high chromium types such as the 'D' series (D2, D4, D7 etc.) are extremely similar in behavior and presentation. Both will corrode but very slowly and with a lot of resistance, especially in the heat treated condition. Depending on the specific alloy, both types can be heat treated to very high hardness although the high alloy, air quenched steels tend to be considerably more wear resistant. Interestingly, at least to me, is that the older GDs that I have test in the low 60's Rc in hardness while a couple of German and American vintage razors test in the mid- 50s Rc ranges. Anyway, given the choice I would take a razor made out of D2 or D4 over a magnetic stainless type although it would be a very difficult razor to grind from the blank and would take considerable effort to hone.
Just be careful when referring to magnetic and non-magnetic stainless steels. Austenitic stainless steel is non-magnetic and non-hardenable with heat treatment. Austenitic stainless steel is normally not used in traditional straight razors (except for RSO's).

Martensitic stainless steel is magnetic and can be hardened with heat treatment. Martensitic stainless steel is the one used for proper traditional straight razors.
 
I did not even notice that but you are right, they spelled it Sharpend. Not only on the blades but on the pouch they come in as well as the website, all spelled the same way- wrong :)

Oh well, I have spent more money on other garbage so this will not be the failure that stands out in reviewing my life. In fact, it really is a fairly cheap lesson reinforcing the benefits to paying attention.

Thanks for pointing this out! Maybe these posts will prevent a few people from stepping in the same pile that I did when buying these razors?

That looks to me like it came from maybe pakistan.

The ad copy is really odd and lots of typical mistakes for someone supposedly out of Annapolis maryland (idk ) And free shipping to AUS? From MD? For free? No way.

“100% Customer Satisfication”

The handle looks like something from pakistan rather than the gold dollar ones i’ve seen. GD and other china based factories arent doing that style afaik. But i’m no expert and the logo is just the sellers name, right? Its missing an e.
 
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