Some Progress

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Bill, Aug 29, 2007.


What Material Would Be Best For Scales

Poll closed Nov 13, 2007.
  1. Desert Ironwood

    3 vote(s)
  2. Kauri

    2 vote(s)
  3. Purple Heart

    2 vote(s)
  4. Yellow Heart

    1 vote(s)
  5. Curly Maple

    3 vote(s)
  6. Ebony

    1 vote(s)
  7. Cocobolo

    4 vote(s)
  8. African Amazique

    0 vote(s)
  9. Asian Cinnamon Burl

    10 vote(s)
  10. Bill's Choice

    22 vote(s)
  1. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    Looks like it just might work out. Details can be worked out later. I have to finish them all first. Because of other commitments, it probably won't happen for a couple months. I'm only a little slow because I am so busy.

    A little more info for the curious.

    • The one to be given to the Shave Den is the bottom one with filework on the tang in the very first picture. It is also the last pic shown of the four that gives a close-up of the filework. The steel is 440C stainless with a blade width between 7/8 and 8/8. It is 1/8 inch thick.
    • The two with filework thus far are out of 1/8 thick 440C stainless. The rest are out of 5/32 inch thick ATS-34 stainless.
    • The razor on the top left in the first pic is a 10/8. No wimps allowed on this one for sure.
    • The two similar blades in the first pic closest to the single-piece razor are between 7/8 and 8/8 using ATS-34 stainless. They will be getting filework as well.
    • The two single-piece razors are a full 8/8 in width and are ATS-34 stainless. I'm sure I'll gussy them up a bit. These are a joy to shave with, by the way. Don't even need to switch hands 'cause you can see what you are doing with it. Ergonomically dandy, as well. They are very comfortable to hold in many positions. The only concern for these is protecting the blade when it's not being used. There will be options for the buyer on that.
  2. SSLSTudio...

    SSLSTudio... Forum Debugger

    Great offer by Bill, very nice and as always :drool:drool:drool

    I shaved with my Shapleigh Custom Purple Scale by Bill today as always a joy to use the razor.
  3. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    I figured I would give a short tutorial on how to do filework. Filework is basically just fancy jimps. They are areas to keep your fingers from slipping so easily along the spine as you use the razor.

    Keep in mind, you will not be able to do this with an existing razor. You could do simple linear stuff with a thin cut-off dremel disc, but that's like putting that tinted film in your car windows that always shows the air bubbles. The razor you have has already been heat treated and is too hard to use this process. This razor hasn't been heat treated yet, so it is soft enough to use files on.

    This first pic shows how I marked the blade with a thin-line permanent marker in even increments along the spine. I first make tiny dots at the desired distance near the edge for the length that I want the filework. Then I use a machinist square to extend the lines all the way across to the other side. If the tang has any taper to it, this does not work. In those cases, like this one, I eyeball it.

    Then I take a small triangular file and put a V on alternating marks along the spine. I do this to keep the round file that I will be using in the next step from drifting and messing up the pattern.

    Then I come back and use a round file and take away the material to the parallel marking on the farther edge. The parallel markings were put on before any grinding took place. The spacing between lines is about the diameter of the round file that you would use. The thicker the spine, the bigger file you can use. You can experiment with different distances and file sizes to suit your own artistic touches.

    Go around to all the marks and file all these half circles. It should look symmetrical... or close to it. I'm a bit off in a spot or two. I'll blame it on 60 year-old eyeballs.
  4. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    Oh, there's more to come. The filework is not done yet.
  5. jnich67

    jnich67 Member

    Great stuff Bill. Thank you for sharing.:D

  6. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor

    Thanks Bill!
  7. PalmettoB

    PalmettoB The Old Guard

    Awesome stuff, Bill. I like to see a work of art in progress.
  8. Scorpio

    Scorpio Big Hitter

    fantastic job and thank you for sharing the "How to".

  9. Sejanus

    Sejanus New Member

    Very interesting! I'd love to see more of the from start to finish process. :)
  10. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    I have to make an addendum to the statement I made about not being able to do filework on existing razors.

    Dave Thomas, a knifemaker, does it and his work is fantastic. He says that he starts with a diamond coated file and then goes to carbon files to finish up. I am not at liberty to say exactly what he does because I do not have his permission to reveal his techniques.

    The man gave me some fossilized dinosaur tooth to use on some scales. That stuff is really priiiii - tee.

    He does say that it ruins files. One knife ~ one ruined file. So it can get expensive. I have patience, but not that much patience.
  11. Lyrt

    Lyrt Flash

    I’m in admiration of your craftsmanship. In our society of services, it is often frustrating to produce “invisible goods”, while you can produce things you carve with your own hands. And from craftsman you can become artist.
  12. Iacchus

    Iacchus Member

    This is a great thread.

    It is an honor to get to peek at what goes on "behind the curtain"
  13. minderasr

    minderasr New Member

    +1 to say the least!
  14. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    How 'bout $60?

    $6 if you get the winning tickets... otherwise you may want to check the prices on my knives. They will be a tad less... with fluctuating generosity given to the word tad.
  15. Sejanus

    Sejanus New Member

    Very reasonable considering the workmanship as well as the quality. If I ever get into straights Bill I will be come to you for one. :)
  16. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    Keep in mind, this is only one of the many patterns of filework that I use. For this one, I start out with a small quality triangular file and make a barb at the trailing edge of each half circle.

    Then, do the rest of them. Try to keep things close. *word to the wise - try this on scrap material first* This pic shows everything in the rough stages of filing.

    Everything is a little closer, but now I need to ensure all the barbs have a point and not a square end. The finesse stage is next. I try to get everything with the filework as close as I can get it before it goes to heat treating.

    Don't forget to add the filework to the bottom of the tang. Here's your $60 Sledge... :D

    This one is not spoken for, by the way. The only one not spoken for. It will probably go for $345. It's a 10/8's with ATS-34. Haven't decided on scales yet...
  17. Sejanus

    Sejanus New Member

    Beautiful work Bill, you really have amazing talent!

    Really looking forward to more in progress reports, and of course the final product!
  18. Bill

    Bill Man of Steel

    I was poking fun at the person who wanted my $120 scales for $60. Shape up, termite. Just think about that $60 price tag for a sec.

    • What would you guess the steel cost is? It's about $12
    • What do you think heat treating costs are? About $11
    • What do you think the cost for those 2 x 72 sanding belts run that do all the grinding? Almost $6 apiece - I'll go through 3, at least.
    • What do you think the incidental costs like glue, sheet sandpaper, rod, washers, and the like are? I'd say about $7 to $8
    • How much do you think those splinters of wood cost to make the scales? Quality wood can sometimes run $35, easily, for a nice set of knife scales. Divide it by three, just for giggles. We'll say $12
    I still haven't factored overhead in the equasion. We'll just skip that part, also for giggles. My abacus tells me the total is up to $60 just for materials. Now... do you even remotely think I would spend probably 20 hours on something and then just pass it on for material cost? As John Pinette would exclaim, "Oh, nay nay!"

    Somebody help me....
  19. Sejanus

    Sejanus New Member

    A lot of people cannot put two and two together sadly. It seems like people just seem to forget that the time is even more important and valuable than the materials involved.

    Not only that but the time it took to learn how to preform the skill in the first place. Also let's face is, quality costs money. Rightfully so.
  20. CatMan

    CatMan Member

    Beautiful work, Bill! Thanks for sharing!

    Just out of curiosity, may I ask why you don't use rotating tools to grind instead of files? Would the developing heat maybe have a negative impact on the metal's properties?

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