What's new
  • Welcome back Guest!
    If you have been away from our site you may have to request a new password. Simply click on the link for "lost" password in the log in page.
    Thank you.
  • Guest
    The BST is now open, please note the changes in our guidelines to address the recent fraudulent activity. Ensure you read the guidelines prior to creating a sale thread in the Buy-Sell-Trade forum with special attention to the new photo and payment requirements.
    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

"odd" E.A. Berg restoration tips

Finally I got my mail from Sweden with goodies - some lterally since my brother packed down Swedish food!:drool:

He also put down a flea market find for me - an E.A. Berg straight that looks quite old. And cheap. The handle seems to be bakelite but the blade confuses me. At first it looked like a faux frameback, but at a second look the blade and tang are one piece, it looks like cut from one thin piece, maybe 1,5 mm thick. Then the spine is another piece of thinner steel that is clamped on around the top of the blade - unfortunately I could not capture it on picture. I might make a new attempt tomorrow morning when the lights are better in the apartment.

The stamp on the tang says
"E.A. Berg
Eskilstuna
Sweden"
and on the blade is etched a shark with the words "skyddsmärke" below. You can see a very vague outline of the etching on one of the pics. Skyddsmärke would be the modern equivalent to protected trademark.

The scales are in good shape so I will want to try to restore this as it is without removing them first. The blade is also perfectly centered in the scales.

The blade is more dirty than rusty, and there seem to be no active rust on it. I am a bit worried of the steel because there are some blue discoloring towards the heel, as if ben put to a grinder and got warm, but I see no mark form the grinder so I hope it is still ok.

So question is:
1. Any tips on how to bring back bakelite scales to top condition?
2. Ideas on how to manage a restore without removing the scales and still touch up the blade? There might be some rusting around the pivot on the blade.
3. Anyone have info on this straight? Especially when it comes to the strange blade.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Nice score! It doesn't look like you have any rust near the edge so it should be easier to restore...

1) I would use a polisher of some sort but then, someone more experienced than me in restoration can probably advise you better.
2) If you leave the blade in the scales, you won't be able to remove the rust between the scales and the pivot. Some can live with that, it depends how you want it to look at the end.
3) Erik Berg made quite a few straights over the years and they are good ones. I wouldn't say this one is odd. I suspect that you will get more information from our Swedish members.
 
That is a very common frameback style from Swedish makers. I've owned an EA Berg, Dahlgren, Hellberg, Jernbolagot and others in this style. They have all taken excellent edges and are the best framebacks IMO. Bakelite scales could just be polished with some buffing compound. As far as cleaning around the pivot, dental floss, MAAS, and patience.
 
1. Any tips on how to bring back bakelite scales to top condition?
Have your brother send you some Autosol. It kicks any other metal polish out there out of the ring during the first round. Works wonders on bakelite & even celluloid too.

2. Ideas on how to manage a restore without removing the scales and still touch up the blade? There might be some rusting around the pivot on the blade.

If it isn't a rare or very unusually pinned straight, like one of those bulls-eye Sheffields, I always unpin.
It's a real pain in the...well... to restore a straight with the scales on.
But if you must, use some folded sandpaper/0000 steel wool & q-tips.
Dip the wool & q-tips in the Autosol your brother sent you.
Make really sure that you have removed all active rust. Or you'll have problems very soon again. Most likely you won't be able to remove all without un-pinning...

As for the blade restoration, the rust might just come of with 0000 steel wool & Autosol
The dirt will come of with Autosol, a towel & a lot of elbow grease.

I wouldn't worry about the blue, most likely patina from the steel reacting to something organic. Like blood :ohmy:

If not satisfied after the Autosol treatment, the next step is high grit sand paper, next low-grit sandpaper, next angle grinder..

But, do remember that these straight were never very neatly finished.
They were sold with visible grindmarks, which leads us to...


3. Anyone have info on this straight? Especially when it comes to the strange blade.
Infact I do...This model was the most common model amongst Swedes in the 1880-1890's.
Here's a few more:




However the model is rarely seen outside of Sweden.

I've only seen it on some Sheffield blades, probably made pre-1860 or even 1850.Here's my Joseph Elliot 8/8:


And they always have a thicker, more "normal" tang. Not the very thin one as on the Swedes.

The Swedish ones have a even thickness, something like 1/16" all over the blade & then they have this frame piece that only functions like a honing/angle guide.
It's often made of some non-ferrous metal or if it's metal, soft metal.
So when honing you really need to use a layer of tape, otherwise the angle will change during honing because of the way softer frame, kinda frustrating if you don't know about it.

The reason why they did them this way is simply because it's the absolute cheapest way to produce a straight, minimal grinding & minimal metal used.
And during this period in time, Sweden was a dirt poor country. People starved to death & a good bunch headed out West. As all you Minnesotans have noticed...

Most people who have tried this model seems to either love them or hate them.
I'm in the love-camp.
Once you get used to the thin tang, you realize that they are the Bomb!
Very nimble & light, yet stiff enough to handle anything.

And the steel :001_tt1:
I've tried a whole lot of different straights of this model & they have all, without exceptions, the most exquisite steel.
Very hard, able to take the most stupendously keen edge & still remain smooth.
So it sure seems like they skimped on everything but the quality of the steel.
 
Last edited:
+1

The tang is something I had to get used to, but after a couple of shaves, it's not an issue anymore.
 
Thanks for the tips guys, I am looking forward to shave with this. It does seem quite special - I noticed right away how light and nimble it felt in my hand and thought it would provide an interesting shave!

Luc: As you say, the edge looks well preserved from rust or pitting and I agree. I studied it closer in my jewellers loupe and I cannot see any damage of any sort to the edge.

Jens: There was a tube of Autosol in the package from my brother together with Herr Berg! ;)
I was thinking about the rust around the pivot during the night and unpinning is probably the best way to get it all away, what worries me is that the pins are without washers and sunk pretty deep into the scales, I am not sure I can unpin them without damage to the scales - need tyo look closer at that, wouild be nice to keep these scales.

One thing I was thinking about: the frame or sharpening guide or what we should call it - its only a sheet of metal bent around the spine of the blade. To me it looks like there is plenty of open space between the blade and the frame/guide, perfect for catching dirt, rust and water. I assume there is no way of cleaning inside there?
 
The spine piece is removable, it's pinned at the ends mostly. Very careful prying and gentle heating usually does the trick.
And you are right, it's a virtual trap for all kinda nasty things...

I usually put it back on using some good epoxy, that will keep it in place & fill all voids, so no water or anything else can enter.
However, using epoxy is a rather irreversible method. So you might just cause another restorer to curse over your action, another 100 years or so from now.

Be very careful when handling & doing anything to the spine piece. It solely sets the angle & must be put back in place exactly like it was before, otherwise you will change the whole geometry of the blade.
 
The spine piece is removable, it's pinned at the ends mostly. Very careful prying and gentle heating usually does the trick.
And you are right, it's a virtual trap for all kinda nasty things...
Thanks for confirming this. Well the part about nasty things seemed obvious... I was thinking about removing it, have so far managed to stay away from oit except a quick clean up with Autosol - I discovered today that I can find it in my local store in HK as well!!!

I usually put it back on using some good epoxy, that will keep it in place & fill all voids, so no water or anything else can enter.
However, using epoxy is a rather irreversible method. So you might just cause another restorer to curse over your action, another 100 years or so from now.
100 years from now I will most probably not care - but I do plan to try reattaching without epoxy as long as it will get back as it should!
 
That is a very common frameback style from Swedish makers. I've owned an EA Berg, Dahlgren, Hellberg, Jernbolagot and others in this style. They have all taken excellent edges and are the best framebacks IMO. Bakelite scales could just be polished with some buffing compound. As far as cleaning around the pivot, dental floss, MAAS, and patience.
+1 I have a Hellberg which I have been messing around with for a short while which looks almost exactly like your one. It should be easy for an experienced honer to put an edge on it seeing as a newbie like myself managed to put a passable edge on it. Good luck!
 
Jens, what's with the new avitar? I'm a NCIS fan. If you ever have a frameback Berg you just want to get rid of, let me know. I like one to go with the regular Berg I got from you.
 
So, scales removed, naturally they cracked around the pivot but superglue put them together quite well apart from one small piece I cannot find. I will try to fix that with some epoxy and see if I can still use the scales. On the other hand the thin Swedish blade gave me an idea for my first custom scales, not sure how it will work out but I might give it a try.

The spine got loose quite easily after some initial resistance, as Jens wrote, It was only attached at the end points, so when one got loose the rest was simple.
Lot of old junk inside there.....

Today I hope I get time to polish the metal parts - it will be a bit tricky since I want to preserve the trade mark etched on the blade, but Autosol might do it!

If I get any progress I´ll post some pics later for you guys.
 
+1 I have a Hellberg which I have been messing around with for a short while which looks almost exactly like your one. It should be easy for an experienced honer to put an edge on it seeing as a newbie like myself managed to put a passable edge on it. Good luck!
They often hone up rather easily, because there isn't a very thick bevel so not to much metal to remove.
And they are hardly ever bent or warped.

So, scales removed, naturally they cracked around the pivot but superglue put them together quite well apart from one small piece I cannot find. I will try to fix that with some epoxy and see if I can still use the scales. On the other hand the thin Swedish blade gave me an idea for my first custom scales, not sure how it will work out but I might give it a try.

The spine got loose quite easily after some initial resistance, as Jens wrote, It was only attached at the end points, so when one got loose the rest was simple.
Lot of old junk inside there.....

Today I hope I get time to polish the metal parts - it will be a bit tricky since I want to preserve the trade mark etched on the blade, but Autosol might do it!

If I get any progress I´ll post some pics later for you guys.
For bakelite superglue is the best, it really fuses together most kinds of plastic materials & they more or less become one, like they were welded.
Jens, what's with the new avitar? I'm a NCIS fan. If you ever have a frameback Berg you just want to get rid of, let me know. I like one to go with the regular Berg I got from you.
NCIS?
Oh no.

Most of us Swedish guys are in mourning over the loss of our wonderful Princess to an American stockbroker. Globalization has it's drawbacks :crying:
 
Restore finished and all pieces are in the right place :)
No beauty, but it is my first restore so expect pictures in about 15 hours when the morning sun lights up the room!
 
Top Bottom