The Stanford 5 Second Sharpener

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by PLANofMAN, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    A little history first.

    Way back when (before I joined this forum), I owned one of these Stanford 5 second sharpeners. I picked it up at my local antique store for three dollars and took it home. I hopped online to try and find out all I could about this DE blade sharpener. I found a photo of the instruction sheet that originally came with this little marvel and followed the instructions carefully. Let's just say the results were less than spectacular. It gets tossed in the junk drawer.

    Fast forward a year.

    I'd recently gotten one of my friends to convert to wet shaving. One day I asked him if he would be interested in this little gizmo that I bought to sharpen DE blades.
    "Sure" he said. I forgot all about it until four months later he casually brought it up in conversation.
    "I really like that blade sharpener you gave me, Ryan."
    I mumbled something noncommital.
    "In fact, I'm still using the same blade I was using when you gave it to me."
    I must have looked like a deer in the headlights. "Really?" I say casually. Inside, my heart's starting to leap around like a trout out of water. He's been using the same feather blade for four months! It's all I can do to not grab the front of his shirt and scream in his face.
    Instead I mildly ask, "What are you doing to make it work for you?"
    "I take the blade out of the razor and dry it off, then I put in the sharpener and work the little lever for about fifteen seconds."
    -Work the little lever for about fifteen seconds? Like a lightning bolt from the heavens, I suddenly understand. Stainless blades are softer and have different bevels than the old carbon blades they replaced. This machine was made to sharpen carbon blades. In order to sharpen stainless blades you had to sharpen the blades a little longer. Ten seconds longer to be exact.

    Which brings us to today. You see, today I won an auction for one of these 5 second sharpeners. They are fairly rare but usually slip under the radar on the auction sites because people are looking for DE razor stroppers (which are useless for modern stainless steel blades, in my opinion), not sharpeners. As best I can tell, the old ads claim that the sharpeners were made from high carbon tool steel, which is harder than even today's razor blades. The cases were made from nickel plated brass. Here's some pictures.
    (The one I won was in better shape, but the pictures were not as good. So I used these instead.:) )
    $T2eC16hHJHIE9nysfp0QBQCu-kUK5!~~60_3.JPG $T2eC16FHJIYE9qUcNTL7BQCu-mCerw~~60_3.JPG
    $T2eC16RHJGYE9nooh7slBQCu-ntB5!~~60_3.JPG $T2eC16JHJHYE9nzpcwpJBQCu-pqIb!~~60_3.JPG $T2eC16dHJF0E9nmFS0!CBQCu-rq6hg~~60_3.JPG
  2. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Why do the instructions say not to move it back and forth more than 5-8 times? Did your friend only move it 5-10 times in those 15 seconds? It's nice to know that you can get a refund from Stanford if this doesn't work out for you, Ryan.
  3. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    To the first question, I don't really know what overhoning does to a DE blade. As for the second question, he does it fifteen times. Remember he's sharpening stainless blades, not carbon ones. That was my mistake. I followed the instructions carefully, not realizing they were intended for carbon blade users (I was a newb once too) My friend, in his ignorance, just kept doing it until his blade was sharp (15 times) and did the same after every shave thereafter. He recently went half and half with me on a purchase of 100 DE feather blades and still occasionally jokes about his "lifetime supply" of feathers.

    Thank goodness for that refund. I don't know what I'd do without it!;)

    From the information I've been able to find, these were made in the 1920's and worked really well. after that, they vanished without a trace. I imagine Gillette or another blade manufacturer purchased the company and shut it down or the company failed during the great depression of the 1930's. At this point it would be difficult to find out. I do know that the patent was issued in 1930, but I've only seen them with the "Patent applied for" on the case.
    awake2shave likes this.
  4. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Cool! Well, I expect a full report—with photos, review, and a video file of you throwing away all of your excess blades—as soon as your sharpener arrives.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  5. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    Don't be daft, Steve, I don't have excess blades. I only keep enough on hand to last through a Great Recession (or two, maybe three).;) Photos and a review are doable though. Heck, if it works, I'll buy another as backup and send the other out to be rhodium plated!
  6. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Excellent job. I was just testing you. You are hereby [​IMG] Shavepocalypse Certified. [​IMG]
    asleep2shave and PLANofMAN like this.
  7. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    Thanks, but I already have a custom title.

    Alright, I have to ask, where did all the new emoticons you've been using for the last two days come from?
    awake2shave likes this.
  8. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Wait, you're only just now noticing my custom blend of emoticons? I've been using custom emoticons since I got here in May. If you're interested, I'll post a brief tutorial in the appropriate section for how to use the ones I often use. Though, I hesitate to make too big a deal of it. It's like bringing your own lunch into a restaurant...
    wlmcad and PLANofMAN like this.
  9. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    [​IMG] I've been assimilated. Resistance is Futile.
    asleep2shave, Smott and wlmcad like this.
  10. gorgo2

    gorgo2 Well-Known Member

    I have excess blades, what do I win?
  11. gorgo2

    gorgo2 Well-Known Member

    An expert straight guy could tell us. I know when I was young my dad always warned me against oversharpening knife edges...to this day it hadn't occurred to me to ask why not.
  12. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire Staff Member

    Moderator
    I would be interested. Please post it. Thanks.
  13. Neolithium

    Neolithium I am Canadian, eh Staff Member

    Moderator
    I'm guessing that's where the manufacturer found overhoning would be taking place, a fantastic little turning point from excellent smooth shave to pure face shredding hell because the edge is buggered up. Happens with people who first start razor honing too, "MOAR IS BETTER!" then discover that is not always the case ;)
    Smott and PLANofMAN like this.
  14. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    Look, you think I'm passing out Shavepocalypse certification to just anyone like it's some kind of cheap Halloween candy?

    Yes? Excellent, that's correct. You're [​IMG] Shavepocalypse Certified. [​IMG]
    asleep2shave, gorgo2 and PLANofMAN like this.
  15. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    [​IMG]
    Your very own picture of a vintage Cracker Jack prize. Thank you for playing!
    Smott likes this.
  16. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    I created a thread to address this important subject. All I ask is that your next son or prized pet be named after me.
    macaronus and PLANofMAN like this.
  17. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    pet rock.JPG
    I'd like you all to meet my pet rock, Smott.
    asleep2shave and Smott like this.
  18. Smott

    Smott Chew your shave. Slowly.

    I'm truly honored. Raise him with love and care.
  19. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    Have I neglected to mention my 1100 Astra blades, some 100 SE blades, 50 or so Injectors, and other assorted DE blades? Basically, and providing I start SE/injector shaving more regularly, I won't need to buy any blades until I'm close to 80.
  20. gorgo2

    gorgo2 Well-Known Member

    I already have that one.
    Smott and PLANofMAN like this.

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