What's new

What I learned from my Gold Dollar

I posted a razor on the Gold Dollar competition thread and I thought that I would post what I learned over here in a separate post.

This razor has taught me a lot.

1) There is a lot of metal in a GD66 and a lot of it will hinder the function, at least the

honing of a well designed razor. It is common knowledge that the stabilizers at the heel

should be removed, while looking at those, I was also impressed with the amount of steel

in the tang. I have a cast iron skillet with less metal in the handle than a stock GD66 has

in the tang. I decided that I would thin it down to a thumb notch while I turned it into a

shoulder less design.

It is strange how I wanted a round point razor for a long time, but as soon as I started this

endeavor, I knew that I wanted at least a square point if not something more aggressive.

I kind of took it to an extreme, kind of matching the curve of the heal. I hope the

shortened spine will not cause me any problems with long term hone ware.

Even after all that metal dust, the flat of the spine (the part where it rides on the hone)

continued well up the tang. I can only think that this will cause long term honing issues

as that area would become ramped with ware. I thinned the tang near the spine on a

bench grinder and this was not even enough. I had to do quite a bit of blending of the

tang – shoulder transition with a dremel.

2) It takes a lot of sending to remove the results of a short period of inattention with


2a) Don’t be afraid of 180 grit (or even courser sand paper)

2b) Patience will be rewarded. I should have (and may still) spent more time sanding to

get a better finish, but it was my first GD project and my first non vintage and I was in a

hurry to get it into my stable.

3) Mothers mag wheel polish is magic.

4) Micara is cool. I used polyester resin sold as fiberglass and boat resin. It is much

cheaper than epoxy. It has a very forgiving mix ratio and a reasonably longwork

life. It does not cure to a shiny finish, but mothers polish brought out a shine very

quickly. After I shaped and sanded the scales, I found it easiest to set the scales

on a stand to elevate them off of the work surface and put a very heavy coating of

the same polyester resin on the outside of the scales. I laid it on to the point that

it was almost dripping off of the scales. This way the resin would self level and

leave a smooth and slightly convex surface. I did have to sand the drips from the

back side and sand the edges, but the faces only required polishing.

5) 0.130 inch is too thick for scales (at least in micarta and to my taste. I plan on

putting new micarta scales on it made from a shirt that my daughter hates and

made me promise not to wear anymore.

6) Pinning is not as scary as it seemed. I was worried that the back side of the pin

would mushroom as I was peening the top side and the washer would not be in

the right place etc. It did not happen that way. The top side was the only one that

mushroomed. I also used a pencil length section of ¼ in diameter steel rod as my

peening tool. I ground a slight dome on the the ends of the rod and used it to tap

on the pins until they were set. Looking back, I should have just used the back

side of a pin punch or nail set….

7) Wedges take a lot of fitting. I got frustrated with my first attempt and decided to

mask the inside of the scales with masking tape, fit a spacer the thickness that I

wanted the wedge to be just next to where the spacer would go and another spacer

the thickness of the tang at the other end. I then mixed a bit of bondo applied a

bit to the wedge area then put the two scales together with the spacers and the

pins (one pin through the bondo). Then I cleaned up the bondo that squeezed out

and left it to harden. I did this after the scales where shaped but before they were

topcoated. After the bondo hardened, I pulled the scales apart, the bondo did not

stick to the masking tape and cured into the shape and size of the wedge I needed.

8) I now know what it means when someone says “hone it like a Gold Dollar”.

This is a corollary to #1. After thinking that I had the bevel set and getting

disappointing results at the final honing, I took Slash McCoy’s advice and honed

it on one side until I could feel a burr on the entire edge. Flipped it over and did

the same thing. Then I went through the normal progression (including the bevel

setting stone) with full laps.

9) Spike points are scary, even though it is muted, I was very cautious diring the first

couple of shaves with it.

10) Don’t forget to soften the end of the spine. I radically changed the toe end of the

spine. Shortened it on a bench grinder. I sanded the grind marks, but did not

soften (slightly round) the ground down end of the spine. When I stropped it for

the first time, I saw scratches appear on my strop. Thinking that it must be from

the spike point I focused on keeping the spine in better contact with the strop and

was rewarded with more scratches. I stopped and analyzed what was happening

and found strop dust on the hollow of the blade closer to the spine. When I wiped

it off I noticed that those edges were pretty harsh. A little sanding on those edges

and no more scratches on my strop.

11) Harsh / square edges are good in some areas. I ground a thumb notch into this

razor, partially to help remove the shoulder and I think it looks good. When

handling the razor while sanding, I noticed the harsh edges of the thumb notch.

I rounded them a bit with sand paper so it would have a smoother feel. In use, I

sometimes wish that I had a bit more grip in the areas that I rounded. I suppose I

could add jimps also.

12) I really like the shoulder less design. I don’t have to worry about riding up on a

shoulder while honing or even stropping. I believe that it will prevent irritation

while honing in the future as there is a defined end to where the spine where ends

at the tang end.

13) You can turn a GD 66 into a fine shaving razor. Mine works very well. I can

see a huge disappointment if you were expecting it to shave out of the box, but if

you think of it as a razor blank, or kit, and put the required work into it they can

be very good.

14) GD’s can be addicting. I have already started on the next one. I feel much more

free to experiment on them. I do not feel like I am destroying a piece of history,

or have a huge fear of wrecking a $300 razor by sloppy honing etc. How many

people would take a new Brian Brown, or even a new Ralf Aust and grind a

different tip into it??? With a GD, the cost quickly becomes a matter of the time

you put into it. If you are at my stage, even a total wreck will probably be worth

the education.
You're welcome and Thanks for the input. It was a fun project and I am getting into it, already started another razor and 2 more batches of micarta. I was afraid that my ramblings about my experience were too verbose to keep anybody interested
You're welcome and Thanks for the input. It was a fun project and I am getting into it, already started another razor and 2 more batches of micarta. I was afraid that my ramblings about my experience were too verbose to keep anybody interested

I can't speak for others, but I found it interesting. Thanks for posting it up.
Top Bottom