Proper sharpening of vintage Sheffield

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by David B, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. David B

    David B New Member

    I acquired a vintage straight razor with nicks in blade. I taped cardboard on both sides to a tight angle to remove nicks but am at a loss on how to regain proper sharpness. I’m sure some of you guys can help.Please. I really want to try my first straight razor shave on my own but not with such a dull blade(of course. 3EE42469-551B-46A8-8E6B-246825D4ACDA.jpeg
    gssixgun and atbat82 like this.
  2. americanshamrock

    americanshamrock Let's Make a Deal! Staff Member

    Moved to the more appropriate straight razors section
    atbat82 likes this.
  3. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    You "Lifted" the spine essentially to do the chip correction ???

    Just making sure I am reading it right before I give ideas

    What are you using as Hones / Stones
  4. Slash McCoy

    Slash McCoy Well-Known Member

    Supporting Vendor
    Wedge? Hollowground? Why the cardboard? What hone did you use for the repair, and what do you have for a progression? And have you considered letting someone who knows how to hone your razor have a go at it? It really is waaaaaaaay easier to learn to shave with an already shave ready razor and THEN learn to hone a razor. Honing a razor is not "that" difficult, under most circumstances. I have taught guys to get great edges first time at bat. But if you don't even have any experience handling a true shave-ready edge then you don't have a benchmark to go by. It is an order of magnitude greater sharpness and quality of edge compared to a sharp knife.

    Anyone recommended on this or any other straight razor forum can generally be trusted when recommending a good honer. Don't let some knife sharpener guy touch your razor. Same goes for vouching for a seller offering shave ready razors. Don't trust anyone without verification on a public forum. There are sellers on fleabay and etsy who will claim that the razor listed is shave ready, even when the seller does not shave with a straight razor!

    Once you have shaved successfully and have tested a shave ready edge with any of the standard sharpness tests, you will have a much easier time learning how to hone your own. Start with TWO shave ready razors, and you still have one to shave with, while the first one is out for honing our you are trying to learn on, yourself.
    Karl G, Primotenore, atbat82 and 2 others like this.
  5. M14Shooter

    M14Shooter Well-Known Member

    Like others have said .Your best bet is to send it out to a pro .There are several honers on this board that could help you out .It hard to tell the condition of your razor based on your photo.There are a lot of variables in repairing ,honing and restoring straights .If you want a shave ready vintage razor to start your journey just send me a PM. I will gladly lead you down the rabbit hole of Straight Shaving .Just take your time and do not rush the experience .You will need a strop to maintain a shave ready edge .

    Regards Mike
  6. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    My Sheffields were honed on a $27 packet of 3m non adhesive films. There is absolutely no reason to go to the aggravation and expense of sending it out. If you are commited to using a straight, at some point you'll have to learn to hone them yourself. Better now than later.
    Leclec13 likes this.
  7. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    It’s a bit of a challenge to learn to shave and hone at the same time. It is a choice as to if you want to try to do both at the same time. People do it and I think a lot depends on how good you are with your hands. I started with shave ready razors so I could simply concentrate on learning to shave. Hones can be a rabbit hole, but so can a lot of things in regards to wet shaving. If you learn to strop effectively and do not restore razors, you can keep the same edge going for a long time. There are a number of people around here that hone for others.
    Karl G, Edison Carter and M14Shooter like this.
  8. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    I started out the way you're doing. I couldn't afford new razors by a longshot, so I bought an old razor off eBay along with a cheap strop and tried to give it a go. This was years before online communities were there to provide support, so I was pretty much on my own. I followed all the directions I could find regarding how to prepare my razor for use. First attempt at shaving barely cut any hair but left my cheek red, irritated beyond belief, and bleeding in a few spots. Under a loupe I was able to see that my razor had areas of jagged edge damage. Knowing nothing about honing, I put it away and didn't reconsider straight shaving for another 10 years or so. That was when Art of Manliness put the idea back in my head. After reading up on new, better written articles, followed by discovery of the growing online communities such as this one, I developed a game plan.
    First I wanted to figure out whether I could get the hang of the technique. To do this I acquired a hair shaper- sometimes called a shavette, it is a device that looks like a straight razor but is actually a holder for half of a disposable double edge razor blade amd it's very cheap. That took edge quality out of the equation. It took a while to master the use of even that.
    While I was learning, I turned my attention to trying to fix my old real razor. I studied up on honing and tried the only hone I had, a Belgian yellow stone. I found that it was too fine of a grit and didn't accomplish much, so I searched around for something I could afford and found something called a Super Punjab. Being only five inches long or so, it wasn't particularly helpful either. Finally, I just decided to get it honed. I found Whipped Dog and liked his pricing, so I sent it off. I also had found that my cheap strop was junk, so I ordered a poor man strop from him. Based off the time stamps of his emails saying he had received my razor and that he was done with it, I believe it took him less than 30 minutes to restore it to working order. Astonishing after it had sat for so long... Razor and strop now in hand I started learning with proper equipment and gradually figured it all out.
    Over time I've been able to get to where I can maintain an edge to some degree, but I've never really mastered honing. I don't have the money to invest in good stones. I find that my methods of maintaining an edge work well enough to get me by and when something needs honed I send it to someone like Glenn (gssixgun) to fix it. Eventually you will want to get other razors, both to test out what works best, and to have a rotation, but just take things in turn and build naturally. It's really easy to go off the deep end buying everything you can get your hands on, but then find you've acquired a lot of junk in the process.
    There is no shame in getting help to get your razor ready to use. You really can't learn without having a solid base to start from. Look around here and read up on shaving tips, stropping techniques, honing, lather making, and how to spot a salvageable used razor or how to shop for a new one. There is a wealth of experience here.

    Good luck and good shaving!

    Sent from my LGUS992 using Tapatalk
    Karl G, Steve56, gssixgun and 2 others like this.

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