The F&W Clockwork Razor

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by PLANofMAN, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Recently I made a post here:

    The relevant bit is this: "It would take a self sharpening, self lubricating, one piece twist-to-open, low profile, open comb slant to really put a smile on my face.

    It could be done. I've got the design in my head. I'm not 100% sure the slant could be incorporated, but the rest of it is fairly simple stuff."

    So I decided to sit down and try to sketch it out. I got a very rough first draft, just working out the concepts more than anything. I had a brief chat with Tom @twhite and he encouraged me to dream it up and he'll build it, IF I can get my ideas drawn out good enough. Tom is also collaborating with me on another project at the moment, and I would share details of that, but neither Tom or I is sure it will actually work.

    *side note: this is NOT in fact, "fairly simple stuff."*

    This is very much a one-off project, as the design in my head is not even close to being suitable for scaled up production, and I would go a different route with the design if I was inclined to go in that direction.

    Tom has other projects he's working on, so don't expect a quick turnaround. It could be a year or more before this project is even close to completion.

    The DE razor will feature (probably):
    A low profile top cap
    Lubricating slots in the top cap
    Dual self sharpeners/lather ejectors
    Twist-to-open one piece design

    This is not my "dream" razor. This is more of the "hold my beer and watch this" type of razor. There's the best way to do a thing, and then there's the interesting way to do a thing. I've gone the "interesting" route with this razor design.

    I'm aware that self sharpening razors are an evolutionary dead end, now that 99% of DE blades are stainless. I believe they offer a marginal improvement to stainless blade life, and the mechanism is great for clearing lather from the blade.

    I'll start uploading drawings over the next week or so, but to give you guys an idea of where I'm going with this, I'll describe a few concept design features I've incorporated thus far.

    The top cap will secure to the baseplate via a dovetail. The baseplate will slide open and closed using a rack and pinion TTO mechanism. As currently envisioned, the baseplate alone will have four moving parts.

    The TTO knob will be pinned in place. Basically, lathe a groove into the barrel of the handle, slip the TTO knob on, drill a hole to match the groove, and insert a pin. The pin keeps the TTO knob from moving up or down, but still allows rotation.

    My original idea for the hones was to use thin slices of sharpening stones, cut with a water cooled tile cutter. I'm now thinking of using actual ceramic tile pieces for the hones.

    One final note. I actually envision most of the razor to be made of lexan or plexiglass.

    The working name for this contraption is the "F&W clockwork razor." (F&W= Foster & White).

    One final thing. I'm not looking for "helpful suggestions." This is just a opportunity for the shaving community to watch Tom and I design a razor from initial concept to completion.

    If you've made it this far, let's play a game. @brit and @efsk , sorry, you are not eligible, you know too much. Also, anyone on the article team, you have access to too much information as well. Here's the clues for the other project Tom and I are working on:

    1. Tom currently has my Valencia slant razor.
    2. The project is not a razor.
    3. The project is loosely related to an article I'm working on about straightening bent razor teeth.

    The prize for the first person to correctly guess the project will be an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of that project... If it works.
    Droo78, jimjo1031, gorgo2 and 4 others like this.
  2. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Here's the initial rough draft. Pretty much everything you see in it is not going to be part of the final design. This is me just working out concepts.
    Droo78, José Santos, Jim99 and 4 others like this.
  3. twhite

    twhite Peeping Tom


    I am so looking forward to this very challenging razor project. I have run out of razor ideas for now. So getting to be involved in your “Hold my Beer” razor will be a blast and a half.
    Droo78, José Santos, Jim99 and 3 others like this.
  4. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    Sounds really interesting. Tuning in for the updates.

    As for the secret project... is it a duck? ;)
    PLANofMAN and twhite like this.
  5. brit

    brit in a box

    very cool Ryan..
  6. twhite

    twhite Peeping Tom

    You are one strange dude! You know I sold my Ronco Cloning Kit last year. No more cloning living things for me. The FBI is not too keen on it.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  7. richgem

    richgem suffering from chronic clicker hand cramps

    Well, I just assumed that you had a back up kit. :D But, now, that doesn't explain the secret lab that the Penguinators found.
    PLANofMAN and twhite like this.
  8. timabababaluka

    timabababaluka No exceptions. Except.....

    Sweet! Will be following this thread closely--"hold my beer" projects are the best :D

    Is the other project a way to modify blades so they work like a slant in a normal DE? Crud. I just read what I wrote, and it sounds... well, it sounds like someone who has been "holding" too many beers for too many other people :happy102:
    PLANofMAN and twhite like this.
  9. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    No. :)
  10. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    This is still part of the first draft. I can already see some issues.

    The arms will attach to the outer parts of the baseplate, and manipulate the 'shake sharp' function. The 'arms' ought to be spring loaded to keep pressure on the bottom of the blade. I think I can do that with this current design. The slide ring is not necessary if I go with spring loading, but it will mean that a person will need to manually push one of them back into place. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Basic physics stuff.

    Edit: and the flats are way too long. They could be half or even a third of the length they are drawn.
  11. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    May I make a suggestion for the color?
    Jim99 and timabababaluka like this.
  12. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    A TTO type knob to sharpen the blades, yeah, had to guess. Also, I'd pick lexan as plexiglass is more brittle and easy to break.
    Jim99 and timabababaluka like this.
  13. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    No input from me just yet, but I do find it interesting.
    PLANofMAN and timabababaluka like this.
  14. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    No. Though I may invest in colored markers. Just to make the pictures more legible.
    If you were talking about the final razor color, the answer is still no.
    If that's your guess for the other project, the answer is no. If that's your guess for what's going on in the razor design, the answer is still no. The TTO knob is in fact, just a twist to open knob. It releases the top cap only.

    I'll try to explain my thought processes in more detail in future posts, just to clarify things.
    Good to know. Materials are subject to change.
    I'll try to keep it that way. No promises.
  15. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    Why not lapping film? Sticks to rubber, easily replacable and stuff, I know folks who work wonders with the stuff on straights.
    PLANofMAN and timabababaluka like this.
  16. battle.munky

    battle.munky Has the menthol.munky on his back!

    I'm interested to see where this goes. Go big or go home! Y'all aren't anywhere near the house on this one. I applaud your audacity :)
    Jim99, PLANofMAN and timabababaluka like this.
  17. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    I hadn't even considered it before you mentioned it.

    I guess it boils down to exactly what I'm looking for from the 'shake sharp' action. The vintage shake sharps used a (as best I can tell) steel plate in the first generation versions, and a diamond dust composite in the second generation models. The second gen versions can be rejuvenated by scrubbing the hones with toothpaste to clean them.

    Neither style of hone appears to have any real meaningful impact on modern stainless blade longevity, though they will let a person get virtually unlimited shaves from a carbon DE blade.

    My initial idea was to use a water bath tile cutter and just saw up sections of sharpening stones. I then switched to just cutting up ceramic tile and using that instead. I see it as less a hone, and more a strop. Since I'm going the strop route, an ordinary piece of glass actually makes the most sense to use.

    Glass is the recommended backing surface for adhesive backed lapping films, so I suppose if people want to experiment with that during the post creation pass around, I have no objections.
    Jim99, efsk and twhite like this.
  18. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    FWIW the 1945 introductory ad for the Shake Sharp mentions a diamond dust impregnated hone.[​IMG]

    Sent from my LG-US998 using Tapatalk
    Jim99, PLANofMAN and twhite like this.
  19. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    No more guesses on the other project?

    Time for another clue.
    4. The reason Tom has my Valencia is because he needed the measurements from it. Now why would he need those?
    Droo78 and twhite like this.
  20. Droo78

    Droo78 Well-Known Member

    Is the new project a torquing device to convert a regular open comb razor head to a slant one?
    PLANofMAN likes this.

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