by PLANofMAN at 7:00 AM
(1,207 Views / 6 Likes)
First, by reading this, you swear never to reveal this post to my wife, the current custodian of my family's "secret family recipes." Second, Merry Christmas!

Now that we've gotten the inconsequential life & death stuff out of the way...

This is a secret recipe. Well, it used to be secret. Now it will be on the internet, and we all know what that means. People are gonna eat real good and claim their granny was given this recipe by a dying Frenchman in Normandy or some such rubbish. Call it "Le Grande Imperiale Carrot Cake" or something.

The truth is far more pedestrian... My mother clipped the original recipe out of a newspaper, the Silverton Tribune, I think, back in 1981. She tweaked the recipe slightly over the years, but quickly perfected it and jealously guarded the recipe for the next 40 years.

Moist. Rich. Decadent. The world's finest Carrot Cake. This is the best of the best, my Christmas gift to you all.

Company Carrot Chiffon Cake
(Yes, that's really what it's called. It probably sounds way more impressive in French or Spanish). If you repost it elsewhere, throw me a bone and call it the "Foster's Carrot Cake."

Sift together and set aside:
2 cups of flour (general purpose is fine)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat together:
1-1/2 cups of vegetable oil
2 cups sugar

4 eggs, one at at time, beating well after each addition.

Blend in the dry ingredients at low speed. Last of all, fold in:
2 cups carrots, grated very fine
1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
3/4 (to 1) cup of chopped raisins

Note: well drained means "well drained." Dump it in a mesh strainer and let it sit. Don't press it, wrap it in paper towels or anything like that.

Chopped raisins means mince the suckers. Chop them until you hate yourself. They will stick to the knife, the board, your fingers... I mix the chopped raisins, pineapple, and carrots together before folding into the cake batter. It helps to keep the raisin bits from clumping together. (Pro Tip: Dusting the raisins with a touch of flour keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). This might be a good time to note that the pineapple and raisins are not very noticeable in the final cake, unless you forget to add one or the other.

The original recipe called for "1 cup of nuts" instead of raisins. Absolute madness. Adding nuts is a fantastic way to ruin a great cake. YMMV.

Bake in an ungreased 8" x 12" x 2" baking pan or dish (or any pyrex 2 qt. rectangular casserole dish) at 350° F (177° C) for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This is a self-lubricating cake. Greasing the pan will add a lovely scorched flavor to the outside and underside of the cake. Don't do it. A light spray of PAM or equivalent on the bottom of the pan or dish is fine.

The cake itself will be dark brown, a far cry from most ginger colored, cake-in-a-box carrot cakes. Let cool completely before frosting the cake. Overnight is best.


It needs frosting. Lots of frosting. A great carrot cake needs an equally great cream cheese frosting. This is the world's best recipe for that too... It's called:

Cream Cheese Frosting
(What? You thought the names would suddenly get fancy now?)

Mix together:
1 - 8 oz package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 lb. of powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Dump ingredients in your kitchenaid or equivalent. Mix. Dump into gallon sized ziploc bag. Cut off the corner, squeeze and spread evenly on the top of the cake. Use a spatula to smooth it out.

This frosting recipe is the one that originally came with the carrot cake recipe, save for two omissions. The original frosting recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon rum flavoring and 1 cup of shredded coconut in addition to the above ingredients. (I've never tried it that way... don't plan on it either).

While basic, and the best things usually are, this is one of those happy coincidences of a perfectly proportioned recipe. Doubling the recipe eliminates almost any need for measuring. One box of butter, two packages of cream cheese, one 2lb bag of powdered sugar, and two tablespoons of vanilla extract. You'll never go back to a Duncan Hines can of cream cheese frosting again.

Our family also uses this frosting recipe (doubled) for The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls. Those are fantastic as well. I recommend using softened butter rather than melted butter if you do try that recipe. Much less messy. The final result is an epic Cinn-a-bon level cinnamon roll. Add pre-cooked bacon bits to take it to the next level.
by PLANofMAN at 8:00 PM
(3,207 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...