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Thread: Advice for a newbie

  1. #11
    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    I agree with Scott BTW. First make razors that are plain-ish, like the sheffield razors or solingen razors. Tear apart some old vintage ones.
    You want to make them, see if they work, why they do or don't, get a feel for the geometry, etc.
    Razor geometry is not rocket science, but things like the position of the pivot with respect to the edge, the taper in both directions, etc can all trip you up.
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    aka shooter74743 ScottGoodman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasman View Post
    Thanks for jumping in Bruno. I was hoping a razor vendor would pop in.

    The designs the op are trying for are nice, but would be hard to handle and use. Nice to put on the wall when done just for looking at. Im NOT a razor maker at all! So my hats off to you for jumping in and trying this. But id think that in the beginning you need to stick with the basics until you get a few as right as they can be. Learning the right way is the most important. Then after you have learned what is really needed in a razor, go to the fancy stuff. Brunos razors get fancy and very special but they are still in the basic shape so still usable.

    It takes time and mistakes to learn so your on your way. Keep us posted.
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    Senior Member IndependenceRazor1's Avatar
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    Beautiful work.
    Two comments:
    1. I use Peters Heat Treating in Meadville, PA.
    They are very experienced - they have a division specifically for blades.
    They suggest minimal edge thickness of 0.03" - to minimize warping.
    2. Many - but not all - makers use 1/16" round stock for the pivot.
    Yours looks closer to 1/4" (?).
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    I ended up making the holes bigger in the examples I posted pics of to accommodate barrel pivots which are 3/16 I think. I ensured theres a nice snug fit with them when I was drilling.

    Thank you for the recommendation of Peters! I'll probably send a batch off to them.

    I see some razors are "edge" treated/hardened. I'm wondering whether this might be easier to do myself with a torch, can of canola and a toaster oven? Obvious issue with only the edge being hardened would be that sharpening would lead to rapid spine wear which could be solved simply enough with some tape on the spine. Figured I'd see what you guys thought about that?

    Thanks again!
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  6. #15
    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    It's going to be very hard to do so reliably. The spine will continuously suck heat out of the edge, while you are trying to bring the edge to an even heat with a moving heat spot. And you will want to respect soak times as well.
    And on the flip side, you're going to have to be very careful not to significantly overheat the edge.
    On top of that, edge hardening is a process that can easily lead to cracks.

    I'm not saying it can't be done. But the success factor is going to be hit or miss even for experienced people.

    You'd be much better with a couple of soft refractory brick and make a small mini forge. Costs only a couple of $ but at least you'll have a chamber with a more or less controlled heat, allowing you to heat the entire razor evenly.
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    NickyJ

    I see you live somewhere in the Boston area. Pete (petercp4e) also lives in the Boston area. He has a wonderful collection of custom straight razors, including one he made himself from a block of steel and a block of wood while attending a meetup in Texus last year at Charlie Lewis's shop (see LewisRazors.com web site). I am sure Pete can give you some pointers. He is a great guy. I met him at the recent Wisconsin meet at Rolodave's place.

    Send petercp4e a private message and see if the two of you can arrange a Boston meet.

    Some other posts have give some good advice.

    Since you drilled the pivot holes larger than might be desirable, you can always use a bushing to reduce the size of the hole to fit a thinner pivot pin. Considering the mass of your "choppers" I can understand why you wanted to go with something larger than 1/16". Perhaps you could use a bushing and a 3/32" pin. If you go much bigger than that, you might have an issue peening the pin evenly, but an alternative is to use screws for the pivot rather than brass or nickel silver rod. Although screws are not traditional, some custom makers use them so the scales can be removed for blade maintenance without damaging the scales.

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    Senior Member petercp4e's Avatar
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    Hello NickyJ

    If there is anything that I can help you with I would be more than happy to do so, just let me know.

    I live in between Worcester and Springfield out in the woods.

    I did forge my own razor in Texas, but it was under the direct guidance of Charlie, Bruno, Victor, Scott and Joe. All I did was follow their instructions and luckily everything worked out. This was indeed my maiden voyage. The razor is actually a testament to how well they teach. I still am very much a fledging student in the art of forging and probably can't offer much advice on it's intracasies.

    Pete <:-}
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    heat treating with a torch can be done, my good friend and mentor ed fowler ht's most of his knives with a torch, I will very occasionally do it.

    -you would need a oxy/act torch, a propane or mapp gas torch without any sort of chamber will be tough to reach critical temp.

    -heat treating with a torch really messes with my eyes, if I don't use goggles, then after just one blade ill start seeing spots, if I use goggles, I have a hard time judging colors.

    -use a magnet, and do it in a dark room

    - use a scrap piece of steel, and practice a couple dozen times before you try it on any piece of steel that you have time in.

    -for a razor, I would preheat the spine and part of the tang with the torch, to a nice even red color or more, and then start painting the heat on the edge portion.

    -with thin steel, have the quench tank very close to where you are heating the blade. not close enough so that the torch is heating the oil of course, but you want a short time between when the blade leaves the torch and the moment it goes into the oil as it will lose heat very quickly in the air.


    I did a test with peters heat treat once about 10 years ago, and they did really well, I would recommend them if you are going to send out for heat treat

    another thing to look at is the one brick forge. first time I saw it was in wayne goddards $50 knife shop book. I have made several over the years and given them to folks who didn't have forges and didn't want to make a big forge. the cost for one of those is one insulating fire brick, and a propane torch, and about an hour to make it. they work pretty good and if I was just doing razors, pocketknives, and hunters up to about 5" of blade, I think I could get by pretty well with one.

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  11. #19
    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caltoncutlery View Post
    another thing to look at is the one brick forge. first time I saw it was in wayne goddards $50 knife shop book.
    One-brick forge was the term I was looking for. Cheap, easy, and imo much easier to use for a thin razor than a torch.
    Til shade is gone, til water is gone, Into the shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath.
    To spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the Last Day

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