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Restoring a Gillette New Short Comb & Bakelite Tech

I picked up these crusty survivors from ebay with the intent to clean and polish them and see if they will come back to life. As you can see, the plating is mostly gone, so I'm thinking about polishing most of the rest off and getting it to bare brass. Then I'll shine that a bit and let it patina on its own. This is just a little project for fun. Am I nuts for trying? Any advice to share about polishing these up?

Did I identify these right? I think it is a New Short Comb, probably from the 1930s. It says Reissue Pat No 17667 on the bottom. I think the Tech is a 1938-1945 plastic handle.

Is the Tech brass as well? I will only polish lightly on the safety bar, any advice there?
 

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lasta

Blade Biter
Looks like a great start!

If you want a quick way to see what you are working with, try a Barkeeper's Friend rub. Get rid of even 100 year old "crust" in about a minute.

IMO, looks like there are more than patina, maybe some fairly deep set scars. If it were me, I'd start sanding. 400/600 to start, then work your way up to at least 3000 before metal polish (I like to take mine up to 7000).
 
Thanks @lasta!

To anyone - advice on the Tech safety bar? It seems fairly delicate. Should I mostly avoid it or can it take a lot? It seems to be bare as it is.
 
Wow, you're not kidding, Bar Keeper's Friend really took off the grime fast. Now I have a couple of questions...

Why is it pinkish vs other parts that are brass-colored? Is that nickel plating?
Is the old Tech not brass underneath? Look at the edge, it is a bit chipped and the metal underneath is gray. What is that?

Thanks for any help, y'all, I really appreciate it!

I am guessing that this is what I am seeing for the New Short Comb, @Cal, is that your razor?

What about the Tech cap edge?
 

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Last edited:
@spacemonkey42 Wow! That has come along way from crusty (you weren't kidding and that was a perfect description.) The suggestions for Barkeeper's, toothpaste, soft toothbrush all quite good. I've used toothpaste (the cheapo leas expensive Crest) to remove tarnish and brighten sterling silver. i would suggest a good clean with soap and water to neutralize what ever you use.

I've also had some interesing/positive results using baking soda as a last step.

I've polished out knife blades to mirror using multiple grades of wet/dry to about at least 3000 grit and then used multiple grits of polishing compound the finest of which, if memory serves me correctly is 10000. These are laid on a some heavy guage leaher stopping I made for the purpose of sharpening my knives.

I've not polised brass to this degree. I'm under the impression the metal of our razors is softer. I'd be willing to experiment when time allows and provide feedback on the results.

From the photo you posted, it appears you've reached the same/similar level of color and finish as the NSC I just got: well done.

I see you scored a Bakelite handled razor as well? What are your thoughts just handling it?

I think you're right in being cautious about the solid bar. My only suggestion is even pressure and be gentle. Laying the piece on a moderately stiff piece of thick leather, an old belt might more readily allow for relieving some strain while at the same time being supportive. (Not sure if that made any sense?)

Also the more liquid compounds like Barkeeper's would do well with toothbrush to keep the knurling on the handle from being flattened/polished off and get into the grooves.

Polish on Grasshopper!!!
 
Thank you so much, @EdHeart! I couldn't believe how much crust came off and so fast. I am absolutely thrilled that I am breathing new life into this Short Comb!

I don't know what to do with the Tech. The edge of the top cap doesn't look right. Is it not brass? It doesn't seem to be the same metal underneath, unless that is some kind of corrosion. I'm hoping someone can tell me more about it. Right now I just got the crust off of it and left it as above.
 
It seems like the top cap of that pre-war bakelite Tech is not brass? Or it has a thick nickel layer? Do @lasta or others know?
 

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lasta

Blade Biter
I'm pretty sure all pre 60s Techs are brass...

But damn that's a lot of scratches! Go easy o. The sanding, or use something a little finer.
 
It seems like the top cap of that pre-war bakelite Tech is not brass? Or it has a thick nickel layer? Do @lasta or others know?

I'm no metallurgist but that doesn't look like brass to me. It also seems unlikely it would have that thick of a nickel layer. But, I'm just guessing. Following the thread with interest and amazed at how well you've cleaned up the razors so far. 🍻
 
It seems like the top cap of that pre-war bakelite Tech is not brass? Or it has a thick nickel layer? Do @lasta or others know?
100% brass, provided it is/was the original cap. Brass is copper/zinc alloy [mostly, for simplicity][bronze is copper/tin alloy]
Brass plus bar keepers friend = very minute amounts of copper come to the surface that appears as a pinkish red copper colour, yes it will come up through nickel. And under that nickel is brass.

Your cap has corroded, the edge has been laying in?[most likely old soap] soap is fat and lye and over long eons un-reacted lye in soap is corrosive to the zinc first and the copper also, the edge is gone. The ugly grey is most likely corroded zinc, from the brass as an alloy.

The short comb is copper cap brass guard copper and brass handle, copper takes a gold plate without the need for first nickel plating. There are copper handles on other razors, these do not suffer the same ''crack'' problems as the brittle brass versions as they are a very fine tolerance press fit, hence 1 poofteenth of mis-machining and 'crack'.
 
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