by PLANofMAN at 8:00 PM
(5,141 Views / 9 Likes)
First off, caveat emptor. This is done at your own risk. I've straightened exactly one tooth on a modern brass razor, so I'm not any sort of hands on expert when it comes to this topic. (Edit: I now consider myself an "expert," for values of expert). Indeed, I was reluctant to publish this article with as little hands on experience as I have, but felt the information needed to be available to the wet shaving public anyways.

I've noticed a lot of misinformation on this topic across multiple forums for years. It's time to clear up some common myths and misconceptions about straightening teeth on vintage razors.

It can be done, with minimal risk.

The first question you need to ask, "Is the tooth bent down, or if an end tooth, down and inwards?" If the answer is "yes," then you need to make a choice on whether to proceed, or just leave well enough alone. The razor is fully functional as is, and the bent teeth are a cosmetic imperfection only.

Broken outer teeth represent an actual shaving hazard. If the razor has sentimental, monetary, or historical value, you might be best off letting sleeping dogs lie.

Rules for straightening teeth:
1. If you can see a crease, crack, or fracture where the tooth meets the baseplate, don't try to fix it. It must be straightened and repaired by a jeweler or someone with equivalent skills. It will certainly break if you try to bend it.
2. If you deviate from the following guide, you will break the tooth.
3. If you don't have patience and steady hands, you will break the tooth.
4. You might break the tooth anyways.

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It's a fancy way of saying we are about to learn why brass gets brittle, or "Why does the tooth break when it gets bent back to the proper position?"

The TLDR version:
When you heat and cool brass it gets soft. When you move it, it gets hard and brittle again. If your brain is hurting, skip the bit in italics.

Boring scientific bit:
"Copper and copper alloys, such as brass, can only be hardened by work hardening. This is usually done by running a sheet between rollers, or it can be done by drawing (pulling a wire through a hole smaller than the diameter of the wire). Hardening can also be done by beating with a hammer, but the results will be uneven, to say nothing of the resulting uneven thickness. At some point the material becomes brittle, which may limit the amount of bending possible for your part. In a rolling plant, the sheets get hard after a few rolls, and so, they need to be heated (tempered) to soften them so the thickness can be reduced some more.

Iron is also hardened by working, but the amount is limited. Hardening cannot be achieved by heating and quenching (rapid cooling) unless the carbon content is greater than 0.12%. This limit basically defines the difference between iron and steel. To go beyond this, other elements are added, creating alloys. On the topic of alloys, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; bronze, is an alloy of copper with tin, phosphorus, aluminum, nickel or silicon.

Aluminum can also be hardened, but this is mostly done by precipitation or solution hardening, where the material is kept at a certain temperature for period of time. The hardness is designated by a "T" code, as in 6061-T4, which is the most common grade of aluminum.

We work in brass and copper in models because they are easy to work, easy to solder or braze, and are corrosion resistant. We could use stainless steels (there are many grades), but they tend to be quite hard, as anyone who has tried to drill and tap a 4-40 thread in stainless knows. Aluminum has some of the same properties of brass, but it's very hard to join, although I've seen some aluminum "solders'. Although aluminum is corrosion resistant, it does form a soft oxide layer that comes off easily.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but now that it's been emptied from my brain, I have room to learn something else...."

-lehmann from the model ship world forum

I quoted this guy because he was able to put this stuff in layman terms and describe it a lot like I would. I didn't quote him because he's some kind of expert, though he might be.

Old type Gillettes were made from softer sheet brass, and tend to be more forgiving when worked cold. The Gillette New onwards were made from a different type of extruded brass and the brass is harder. The New (and newer Gillette razors) must be annealed before bending.

Tools of the trade:
Hobby torch. At minimum, a gas station butane torch lighter, affectionately known as a "crack lighter."
A better option would be a kitchen or brulee torch.
The best option is a Bernzomatic...
by Primotenore at 8:32 AM
(9,964 Views / 36 Likes)
Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and join me...yours truly, Primo on what, hopefully, will be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Deciding on the topic of my first submission (as a newly-appointed member of the Article Team) has been difficult. One would think after 6 years on TSD and other shave fora, I would have plenty to talk about. Indeed, I have never been short of words or comments of which many of you can attest. ;)

Here I sit, up since 4:45am, working on my second cup of coffee, with nothing to say. :signs002: Which reminds me of the television show, Seinfeld...the show about nothing. :)

Maybe I should I reminisce about my life post re-discovering the joys of traditional wet-shaving? That's a topic to which most of us can relate. Remember the drudgery of shaving? Remember the 2 blade carts, three...4 and 5? Most recently, I remember spending $35.00 for an 8-pack of Gillette Fusion carts. Yes, I though that was a lot of money, but keep this fact in mind: I only shaved about once every 6-7 days! I was professor at a university, looking like a BUM! But the fact still remains, I really wasn't spending a lot of money on shaving.

Back in my singing days, If I didn't have a performance, I didn't shave. Period. I tried every different kind of razor. I had a Phillips (Norelco) triple-headed razor. (That wasn't cheap). I got such razor burn with that sucker, you have no idea. The only way I could get a relatively irritation-free shave, was to sprinkle a handful of talc on my beard and then shave. What a mess!

I had a big, glass bottle of ED Pinaud Lilac Vegetal. Yes, friends, I was using The Veg as far back as 1982. That's before you were born Andrew! @Linuxguile I also had a huge bottle of the Hair Tonic, Eau de Quinine, they called it. iu.jpg Remember that red juice? That...smell? Remember when I had hair? :angry017: Beautiful bottles, BTW. My last bottle of the Quinine fell off of a shelf and smashed to smithereens in the bath tub. Never bought another. I can't recall what happened to my glass bottle of The Veg:signs002: I wish I still had it. I recall vividly removing my makeup after a performance, washing my face and slathering a HUUUGE amount of that green juice on my face. The burn was excruciating. As I think back, it's a wonder I had any friends at all...not to mention women. :pri: So, those of you who call yourselves "Chosen", remember that Primo has been "chosen" for almost 40 years.:happy036:

I also recall using my first shave brush in the early '80's. A singer colleague of mine used one and I was intrigued. Bought one. It was a boar bristle with a plastic handle. I used Noxzema shave cream in the tube...oh, how I wish that product was still available. There was Palmolive in the tube as well, but the Noxzema scent has always been one of my favorites, so I stuck with it. I cannot recall what cart I was using at the time. My best guess is a Gillette Trac II with the solid, knurled handle. iu.jpg These babies are commanding some real money on Ebay. Naturally, I probably dumped mine in the garbage can. :angry019:

Speaking of dumping shave gear into the garbage can, I trashed my very first puck of vintage AoS sandalwood. :shocked003: It smelled EXACTLY like Ben Nye greasepaint makeup.
What else have I binned :signs002: Oh, yes, a very generous forum member (don't think it was TSD) included with a purchase, a tub of Castle Forbes Lime soap and a bottle of the matching aftershave balm.
Extremely generous, right? Tried it. They smelled EXACTLY like Lestoil cleaning solution and I immediately trashed them both. Now, in all fairness, I was a shaving :whacky024: so about 4 years later, I repurchased the soap to give it another chance...nope :rolleyes005: still stunk and this time, rather than binning it, I had the presence of mind to sell it. :cool:

Am I the only one who get the point. This hobby is a real merry-go-round. :shocked029: Just a few minutes ago, I am looking at a BST thread. Up for sale is a jar of Martin de Candre rose. Now, I do like MdC, and I really like rose, but for goodness sake, I just purchased ONE KILO of Klar Kabinett. I need more soap, like I need a hole in the head. Thank goodness it was sold before I succumbed. But there's always the vintage ______, which if I mention the name, some other soap junkie will grab. :shocked002: :p Real-time edit: Just scored that vintage, SEALED tub of Yardley. :happy093:

It's not always soaps. In fact, I have about 50% more aftershaves than I do soaps! As a matter of fact, inbound is a brand new bottle of St. Johns Bay Rum. Gotta great deal. :happy088: You can NEVER have too much Bay Rum.

Shall we talk about razors? Sure, let's. I purchased basically an entire collection of vintage Gillettes. All gone. Everyone of them. they are all over the world. But don't feel bad, I still have 7 DE razors, including my second Feather AS-D2...