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Seeking advice on honing a trapezoidal wedge

Hi All,
New to Badger&Blade as well as SR (shaving and honing). I got started about 1 month ago, and since I have experience sharpening kitchen knives and have some free time, I decided to dip my toes into e-bay to get a few vintage razors for experience with both shaving and honing. The 1st 4 SRs were easy enough, perfectly straight spines, nearly straight edges, just a matter of clean-up, setting the bevel and running the progression (a learning process in itself since I am new to SRs). I have shaved with all 4 and the shaves have gotten progressively better (though whether that is due more to increased skill at honing or shaving I can’t say). #5 has a geometry issue (if I am using the term correctly) but I am reasonably sure as to the proper approach for fixing.

That brings me to #6 - a Wade and Butcher near wedge. It has a slight smile (which I don’t mind) but the main issue is this - the blade edge is not parallel to the spine. It is literally a 7/8” at the toe and a 6/8” at the heel! Given the lack of wear (at least to my uneducated eye) I am thinking that it was made this way. Does that make sense, or is it possible that this shape is due to repair of a chip at the heel at some point in time? The spine itself is of nearly constant width (around 0.234”). Of course these dimensions imply that the bevel angle must be changing as one moves from heel to toe and in fact that is what my calculations indicate, with a 16.1deg bevel angle at the toe increasing to 17.6deg at the heel. No surprise then that the blade can’t pass a wobble test, though it’s not awful (my #5 item wobbles more).

So my thoughts are:
1) Leave the spine alone and just trying to hone using rolling-Xs. Thought here is that while the bevel angle is changing, it is staying pretty much within the sweet spot that I keep reading about. I have tried running a few passes on one of my stones, and it does seem possible.
2) Breadknife it to reduce the toe width to 6/8, thus getting me to a consistent 17.5deg bevel. Of course that may imply a final edge bevel > 18 since it seems that most people recommend using tape while honing a wedge. And the thought of literally removing up to 1/8” of steel from the edge and then re-setting the bevel definitely gives me pause.
3) Grind down the sides of the spine in a roughly linear fashion so that I end up around 0.21” near the heel. That would give me a constant bevel angle around 16 deg and an edge bevel around 18 if I use tape while honing (which almost sounds silly if I have just ground down the entire spine).
4) Sell it, (perhaps after trying option 1)
5) ??? I’m sure there are other options out there.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

B50CAA19-64E7-465E-8B70-DBAC42A58757.jpeg
 
No 1 all day long for me.

thats an oem shape. It should shave magnificently even without a constant bevel reveal width.

in the end, you have to decide where on the spectrum of tool/art you want the balance to lay.
 
Hi Global_dev,
Thanks for the reply. You are absolutely right - one of the reason I started with an assortment was to try to experience a wide range of styles. If this is OEM then somebody must have had a reason for making it this way - I owe it to him to find out what that was! :)
 
Within reason it doesn't matter if the blade width is constant from end to end. When we tali about edge being not parallel to the spine, we usually mean laterally. I see nothing unusual about the razor in your pics.
 
Thanks, I keep hearing the term “geometry problems” but don’t actually have a clear idea of what that means yet. I know it would include a spine that curves sideways, but not much else.

My #5 has what I’m assuming is an actual geometry problem. The spine is straight and consistent for most of the length, but in the last .25” before the toe side-to-side spine width flares out about 0.02”. The result is that no matter which side of the blade is facing down, when the spine is flat on a surface, the toe end of the edge is up in the air and one can see light under the spine where the flare starts.
 
Razor geometry problems

1) one or both sides of razor spine too narrow or too wide for width of razor

2) warp

3) some might argue that a smile is an issue, i dont normally assume that it is.

I’m not 100 sure I understand what razor 5 looks like. I am having a difficult time fully conceptualizing the gaps. Is the edge dead straight? Or is it a smile? The dimensions seem off if both sides exhibit the spine flair and the gap. The edge in the air could be due to width issues which a roll would address or just dont use it until the rest of the edge catches up. Some much older pieces have an upward curve kind of like dip a toes iirc.
 
Hi Doc226,
That seems to be the consistent advice. So that is what I will try. Hope to be able to report back some point next week on how it shaves!
 
Razor geometry problems

1) one or both sides of razor spine too narrow or too wide for width of razor

2) warp

3) some might argue that a smile is an issue, i dont normally assume that it is.

I’m not 100 sure I understand what razor 5 looks like. I am having a difficult time fully conceptualizing the gaps. Is the edge dead straight? Or is it a smile? The dimensions seem off if both sides exhibit the spine flair and the gap. The edge in the air could be due to width issues which a roll would address or just dont use it until the rest of the edge catches up. Some much older pieces have an upward curve kind of like dip a toes iirc.
Hi Global_dev,
Happy to share more info on #5! It is an Imperial 5/8 extra hollow square point (photo 1). While the photo may not be conclusive, based on touch I believe the edge is completely straight (photo 2). Photos 3&4 show that whichever face is down, the toe end of the edge is off the surface when the spine is lying against the surface. The next 3 photos are meant to show that the spine is a constant width for most of its length, but then increases by about 0.02” near the toe. The final 2 photos attempt to show the gap between the spine and surface when the spine is lying on the surface. In the first photo you can see that the maximum separation is at the extreme toe end of the spine. In the final photo I think it can be seen that the toe end of the spine contacts the surface about 1/4” from the toe, with air gaps on both sides.

A little more background on me - I have over 25 yrs experience in product development of hardware. To me a 0.02” variation in spine width is a definite quality issue and would clearly explain why the razor edge at the toe is elevated when the spine is flat on the same surface. But I also acknowledge that I know next to nothing about manufacturing of straight razors in general, and I know even less about how this specific razor was manufactured or when it was manufactured and what normal manufacturing tolerances were at that time. So I am open to the possibility that the answer is “this is normal, you should be able to roll through it”. But based on my limited sample size of 6, this is noticeably more variation than I see on the other SRs in my possession.

BTW if anyone CAN make suggestions about when this razor was manufactured or point to videos, articles etc about razor manufacturing methods, I would love to see it! :)
 

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So this is a handmade item. I am no metals, chemistry, smithing or physics expert. But i think you are seeing a some sort of combination of grind,warp, honing, etc.

in my experience, ive never done these flat tests for diagnosis to treat, but the wobble test is great for some.

I hone more towards the edge and not engaging all of the flat hone. I just need all of the edge to be V sharp but doesnt need to be all in the same exact straight plane, it can follow a curve for me.
 
BTW if anyone CAN make suggestions about when this razor was manufactured
Likely Manufactured Towards end of first quarter of 20th century. (Country name)
A. KASTOR & BROS
Trademarks used: "Imperial Razor Company"




both dovo and TI i believe have videos of more modern razor making techniques.
 
Thanks Global_Dev. I did find a few videos. One from a more modern place (where the grind is done by a pair of counter-rotating grinders) the other done entirely by hand. I’m going to focus on the Wade & Butcher first and think a bit more about the Imperial. Meanwhile I can shave with the 6/8 Imperial that I honed last week. :)
 
Rolling x strokes either with or without tape, that’s your call. JR with trapezoidal shape. The bevel is uneven and so some wear on the spine, shaves brilliantly. No tape here...
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Thanks Adjuplessis -
That’s really nice! I did some polishing today to clean out the pits as well as I could. I’ve been flipping back and forth on use of tape on my razors. Leaning towards tape for this since A) so far there really seems to be no hone wear on the spine B) this will be my first time sharpening a near wedge C) bevel angle is narrow enough (16-17.5deg) that tape won’t make it too fat.
 
That W&B looks pretty normal. I'd put it on a 1k-ish stone to see how the geometry lines up. Might be ok. Might want to use tape to continue. Probably needs a rolling stroke no matter what. Looks like a blade I might wind up putting 1 layer of tape on but maybe not, hard to tell by pix. Personally, I don't mind wide flats on the spine or big wavy bevels on those old razors. Some guys squirm at the thought of visible wear though, so a layer of tape will keep the spine as is and possibly prevent the bevel from getting much wider.
Honestly, it's not a big deal. I would hone it and figure it out as things progressed. Checking bevel angle now doesn't help until you cut through to good/fresh steel and create a new continuous edge. The new bevel angle might be the same as it is now, or not. But that new bevel is the actual baseline to start with. Don't need to finish the bevel-set, just get it lined up and 'close enough' to measure.
The angle will vary from toe to heel most likely, so it's not a perfect science.
 
Thanks for your reply Gamma!
I am thinking to start with a 5k or 2k. Might be too high, but would rather start high and then move down if there isn’t any progress. Usually 5k is too high a starting point, but not always.
Sincerely,
Marty
 
Hi All,
Based on comments, I did nothing major. I tried to clean up the dirt and pitting with some white and green rouge applied to a felt pad on a Dremel (looking at the tail, there obviously is more work to do). For the edge i started at 5k, dropped down to 2k for just a minute, then back up 5k, 8k, IRL, black ark, pasted denim strop.

Shaved with it this morning - keep in mind I am a beginner with < 15 total SR shaves under my belt. No cuts, pretty close shave. If I don’t call it a great shave, that’s likely because I’m not sure how to actually do a great shave :) Definitely the heaviest SR I’ve used and the lack of jimps had me laser-focused on how good my grip on the tang was! Quantitatively I will say that it was VERY different than the 6/8 Imperial extra hollow that I used on Monday. Will have to give it a few more shots before trying to decide which I prefer.
A6890334-69A2-438F-8691-2CDBF2EAB4EA.jpeg

Thanks for all the advice!
Marty
 
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