AK-SAR-BEN a German razor saved. Nebraska spelled backwards

Discussion in 'Razor Restoration' started by Gibbs, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Gibbs

    Gibbs Member

    Well, I guess this is the place to post this...

    I got my mail Saturday and the AK-SAR-BEN razor I won on ebay arrived. And, as was noted in description and pics, it had some issues, but I figured, ah heck it needs a home, and what better home than a former Nebraskan :D

    This had a pretty big chunk out of the very front of the blade. I had seen and Ak-Sar-Ben on ebay before but it got sold before I even had a chance to bid. This one was $10.00 and I figured it was a real AK-SAR-BEN anyway. Since I'm from Nebraska and my handle on many gun forums and others is Ak-Sar-Ben, or Darth AKsarben this would be kind of nice to own and shave with. It was ten dollars for a reason. Looked mostly neglected and of need of care before it rusted away. Fortunately, there was not deep pitting, just a lot of rust and rust staining. There is some light drops of white paint on it and I wonder if someone was using it for painting and that is how the nick in the blade came about. I did not polish out the white drops, nor did I change the scales. So, it is about as original as it comes, save one minor detail. Since the nick was so bad, I decided to make it into a round point. I used my Harbor Freight belt sander and started out with 320 grit, a left leather glove, a dish of water and some time and patience.

    I began by grinding out the end of the blade starting up at the tang. The leather glove was for getting my thumb and finger wet and every few seconds I would strokes the work area with that wet glove and go back to sanding. It kept the heat at a minimum. When I got close to the end of the blade where the nick was, I switched to 600 grit. Then after the initial nick was about even and out, I switched again to 1000 grit. I finished up with 1000 grit (German belts all) keeping the blade from getting hot by cooling with the wetted glove very frequently. When I got done I put on the leather 1" X 30" German belt and used green polishing stick and polished up the end of the spine and along the top of the spine.

    I had already cleaned off the rust and staining on the top and sides with my Dremmel and those rotary flipping sanding pieces, starting at 120 (med) and then at 220, finishing up with a cloth buffer with green polishing compound (Dremmel size). It really got rid of a lot of that rust and stain, so when I re-shaped the front of the blade and then polished with the leather belt, it was pretty easy to get a nice shine along the top of the spine (NOT on the sides).

    It was kind of a mess on the edge, and had a slight frown that I removed with bread-knifing. Some tape on the spine, some coarser wet/dry sandpaper at 600 grit, and I got it down to where I could tackle the edge with the razor hones starting at 1000 grit. Glen aka gssixgun told me to ALWAYS, always, always, always, always get the whole of the edge so that it can shave hairs at 1K BEFORE moving on. I did that, and even thought it took some time, even using the Coticule, I kept at it until I could no longer see any of the edge under a bright light and magnifying glasses. I can actually "see" an edge on a razor that is not able to cut hairs. Once it was "hair cutting sharp" at the 1K level, I moved up to the 4K, 8K stones and then the 00 Frictionite that is 10K, and then to the Chinese 12K stone for final honing.

    I stropped about 50 on my leather strop, and shaved with it tonight. GREAT shave!!! It was nice and smooth. I also pre-conditioned with Udder Cream and left it on my face for about 10 minutes and then just applied shave lather on right on top of it. The razor glided nicely and I could hear a "skritch, skritch" as I was shaving, but no tugging or pulling, and it's nice and close. It was the only razor used and even around the lips, and chin I had no problems. (My 6th week since finding out about straight razors.. LOL). 2 lathers, no nicks and I'm done, and it went very well.

    Pictures below are what it looked like before, and the bottom pictures are the After pictures.

    Now, who know much about these razors???









    And, the front after polishing. The camera and picture recorded it looking like a black spot, but it is just a flash abnormality, and is really shiny like polished chrome.


    Another pic, more blurry, but shows the end and length of thinness of the blade.

    mrchick, Keithmax and Roberta Roddy like this.
  2. blugill

    blugill New Member

    Wow Vern, that is an amazing job you did there sir ! what a transformation in such little time. Beautiful fix on that blade, and cleanup !Those are some really nice looking scales to my friend. Great Job !
  3. Gibbs

    Gibbs Member

    Thanks Mark!! Besides sharpening up a lot of knives, I'm finding more uses for that $49 Harbor Freight 1" belt sander. *S* I don't have any "pins" so I did not take the blade out of the scales, or it would have been a nicer look to it I think. In the final, by honing to popping hairs at 1000 grit and going on from there, it really made a nice shave tonight. For a Nebraska, that has this razor, it has meaning. There really was an AK-SAR-BEN society in Nebraska. Most of the folks from that state recognize that name.
    Roberta Roddy likes this.
  4. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Great job Vern! :happy088:happy088
  5. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    Wow, excellent work!
  6. PanChango

    PanChango Not Cute

    Now that's a great save.

    The before pics show a razor that most people wouldn't give a second look. With a little effort, you returned it to a functional piece that should last another lifetime.

    Nice work.
  7. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Nice save!

    I used to sort of live across the street from Aksarben in 2001.

    Then they tore it down!
  8. Dslazar9

    Dslazar9 Took the Menthol-cratic Oath

  9. Probably some swag given out to the members back in the day---doesn't look like it would be a one-off but rather a commissioned limited run.

    Nice score.
  10. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    Breathtaking work!
  11. mycarver

    mycarver New Member

    I was one click away from bidding on this piece only because I thought the scales were so cool that I wanted to see them in person , even though they were cracked and wanted to buy it. But instead I set my sights on three others. Darn if I didn't get 'em.
    I also thought I could find some way to remedy the blade situation. I was thinking this would have been a perfect candidate for a Spanish Point seeing how it was cracked and would have lent itself perfectly to that besides the fact I love Spanish Points. But you came up with a good resolution as well.
    You did a great service to this razor and it looks just terrific. Excellent buy, restore and save.
    I just knew somebody had to do it.
    Now, back to the stuff I got. Like I need more work. I too will post my efforts with my flea bay finds.
  12. moviemaniac

    moviemaniac Tool Time

    Very nice job restoring that very unusual razor!
  13. Gibbs

    Gibbs Member

    Many thanks all!! I appreciate your kind words. Would anybody here know who A.L. Undeland, a Norwegian immigrant who started selling barber supplies in Omaha, NE would have commissioned to make the razors for him in Germany? On the one side says Germany, but there really is no indication "who" in Germany made them.
  14. Gibbs

    Gibbs Member

    I will answer my own post for those that were curious. Credit goes to Marlon Blanco (Hogrider) in another forum. Andrew L Undeland was a Norwegian immigrant settling in Omaha and started up a barber supply store at 106 North 14th Street, Omaha, NE about 1882 . He was actually the Norwegian Vice-Counsel to Nebraska. He had also had shaving mugs and other supplies made for him under the A.L. Undeland name. His razors were contracted from a German firm by the name of Grah & Plumacher, makers of the Black Diamond, GOTTA, and the AK-SAR-BEN razor custom stamped for the company. Ironically, the original location of the the A.L. Undeland store burned down and later on became the site of the Omaha Library, that contributed a bunch of info to Marlong about the story.

    Not my research but Marlon (hogrider) Blanco, a researcher on a different forum.
  15. Roberta Roddy

    Roberta Roddy New Member

  16. Roberta Roddy

    Roberta Roddy New Member

    Hello, Here it is 6 years later and I just found this site and your post with a search for Undeland. He was my great-grandfather and I've enjoyed searching for any information about him and collecting items from his manufacturing company. I wasn't aware of the AKSARBEN blade. I went to nursing school at the old Immanuel Hospital, lived in Omaha years ago and went to the races at AKSARBEN. Thanks for your post. This is a copy of
    his barber chair invention/patent. Have some other interesting legal history on this as well as a dispute over a scalp tonic. Will try to post more later if there is any response here.
    Undeland Barber Chair.JPG

    Attached Files:

    RyX and jimjo1031 like this.
  17. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Welcome to TSD Roberta. Tell us more, please!
  18. joamo

    joamo Well-Known Member

    @Roberta Roddy
    There is an article that mentions your great grandfather posted in a Facebook group called Forgotten Omaha.
  19. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    Are you sure that is the same razor???? Great job!
  20. RyX

    RyX DoH!

    Thank you for sharing Roberta! While we as a group do catch a thrill when a new razor or soap hits the market, the meat and potatoes of Wet Shaving is Vintage Gear. Thanks to the internet, your great grandfathers contributions are being appreciated all over again.
    Share as you choose, you will find many fans of his work here at TSD.

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