The "what is" and " how to" thread for the Rolls Razor

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by gregindallas, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    This talk of restoring Rolls Razors never covers the restoration of broken hones. I was under the impression that it could not be done therefore I had to try it.
    It can be done and it is not difficult.
    With today's vast assortment of adhesives there must surely be some that would glue two mating edges of the same material together. I have found two and there are probably many more.
    What I wanted was an adhesive that was not too viscous and not too watery.

    I started by lightly brushing the edges to be joined to remove any loose material.

    The first one I tried was Instant Crazy Glue - All Purpose. A trifle thinner than I wanted but it worked. It left tiny gaps where material had come away from the stone but they did not cause a problem at all. One edge of the piece to be glued must first be dampened with water.

    The second one is Rapid fix. The same viscosity as the crazy glue but no need to dampen one side. It is a rapid drying adhesive - about 30 seconds which I prefer to the instant set. There is a bonus. A second bottle of very fine white powder that may be spread into any gaps after the glue has set. Then a drop of the liquid and it turns instantly into a solid that may be sanded or scraped.

    I needed a perfectly flat surface so I started off with a piece of glass larger than the hone. To keep the hone from sticking to the glass I covered the glass with one layer of plastic wrap pulled taut and wrinkle free. I put the two pieces of the hone on the glass face up and made sure they mated perfectly.
    I then followed the instructions that came with the glue holding the hone pieces down and together with my hands for the specified time. I was careful not to exert so much pressure as to crack the stone.
    This is a part of the operation that I may be able to refine with the use of a clamp.

    It worked. I could feel that both sides were even as were the edges but just to be sure I sanded the join with 400 wet paper. The one with the tiny gap that I filled in with the white powder required a little more sanding.

    It has now been 6 days with lots of honing in which the blades continue to pass easily and smoothly over the joins and my face. Everything still seems secure. There is a dark stain around the join which is a small penalty to pay for having rejuvenated, useless hones.

    My next test will be with Crazy Glue Advanced which is a gel that might fill any gaps itself.

    So now it's off to eBay to find a cheapy with a broken hone.
    178-bplatoon, gorgo2 and PLANofMAN like this.
  2. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    And Argus and Retina and Hasselblad and even an unknown in the background - a Minolta?

    Here is part of my hopeless addiction.

    PLANofMAN likes this.
  3. King camp

    King camp Well-Known Member

    What I'm asking is how many layers would it take to give the same angle as the rolls hone so after I sharpen it I can use the orignal hone for mantance without getting a compound bevel also I was saying I don't know how a strait shaves but that apparently these shave just as well as a strait when sharpened right so far the one I have will give a good shave but not as good as a de I think I just have to sharpen it better

    Wow part of your collection I still use a film camera but I'm worried soon I won't be able to get film. Can you still get film for those styles as I've got a real old camera looks like a black box with Crome trim and such and it would be interesting if I could use it
  4. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    You would need to measure the gap between the blade and the hone, then wrap tape until you reach that thickness. I can't tell you how many layers, because tape comes in different thicknesses. I would use folded paper to build up the thickness, then use tape to finesse the final layers. It's almost more trouble than it's worth, which is why few straight razor restorers are willing to spend time sharpening Rolls razors. NOS replacement blades are still fairly common which might also explain their reluctance, as does the increased risk to fingers. I hope that this will be a better answer. As for how it shaves, a rolls shaves very similar to an almost full wedge straight razor. The hollow grind is very minimal.
  5. King camp

    King camp Well-Known Member

    Thanks I found someone near me in Toronto that sharpens strait razors and says they'll do these for 20$ also so if I can't do it right ill Bring them there ill try the way you stated first though also I'm not asking how they shave and I've never used a strait razor so I would not know how they shave
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  6. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    King Camp.
    Films of various sizes are still available in many camera stores as well as the internet. B&H in New York, Henry's and Vistek in Toronto are some with which I am familiar. Processing can be expensive. I would process B & W myself but one must now buy such a large amount of chemicals that most would go bad before being used so I rarely shoot film any more. Colour negative film is probably the easiest to get and have processed.

    I think you might as well resign yourself to the eventual unavailability of film. Digital has much to offer, is, in many ways far more versatile than film and is certainly much, much cheaper per print.
    I can now manipulate a colour photograph in my computer in minutes - something that might have taken hours in my old darkroom. And that for pennies rather than dollars. No chemical mixing. No stains. No stinks. No wastage. And I don't need a whole room, just my desk. Furthermore, I can do things on the computer that I could never have imagined doing in the darkroom.

    I never did collect with the intention of using the cameras. I do like to restore them to working condition though, if possible. I am just fascinated by the creativity and ingenuity of the designers and manufacturers. I also enjoy researching the history of those magical boxes.
    Your " box with chrome trim..." could describe many hundreds of cameras from rare to mundane. Some good photographs and/or any wording on the camera and lens might enable me to identify it and possibly determine if film is still available for it and maybe even its approximate value.
  7. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    Nathan Maskerine at lives near Avenue Road and Eglinton.
    He sharpened two Rolls blades for me. They are like new. His pricing is very reasonable.

  8. King camp

    King camp Well-Known Member

    Yeah that's who I had found Canuck blades is his website he had quoted me at 20$ per blade

    Ill see if I can find my camera and take some pictures it's good to know they still manufacture film for cameras this old
  9. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    I am probably a little older than you (80) and I have never used a straight razor.
    I just don't want to become Canada's Vincent van Gough.

    King camp likes this.
  10. King camp

    King camp Well-Known Member

    Yeah I'm only 18 but I absolutely hate new things its all junk i dont even have a computer im on my i phone know only reason i have this is my dad bought me it last year stuff made 50 or more years ago wasn't made to be thrown out when it broke if your tv or radio broke you had a repair man fix it but know that's unheard of

    Only reason I don't care to use a strait would not be because of the mantance as a rolls needs to be honed and stropped it's just everything is separate and would be a pain to store and take out I find rolls razors are contained in a neat little package

    I couldn't find my old camera but I found these are these good to use and what for I haven't seen a camera that takes these little plugs oldest I've seen is a hot shoe also what kind of batteries do these take I tried all regular sizes a single AA fits in between the terminals but I don't think it's the right kind as there's lots of extra space

    Attached Files:

  11. Gary

    Gary Member

    Anyone ever replace the ball bearing in the razor? While I was in the process of cleaning ANOTHER Rolls I just picked up and when I blew compressed air at the razor when I had the guard off, the ball bearing came out and shot somewhere in the garage! Any idea size wise? How about how to remove one? I have a razor that is from 1935 but has been honed so much it is in a u shape. I could take the ball out of that one but cannot figure out how! Assuming it is pressed in and that the one I lost the ball on just had too large of a hole or small bearing..
  12. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    I could find nothing about the REM flash gun but it looks similar to the Minette. The Minette was made about 1960. It seems to be similar to an Anglo flash that I have. It uses one 22.5 volt B. Battery and one capacitor about the size of an AA cell - or - 3 Penlight (AA) cells.

    The plugs as far as I can make out from the photo are standard male Prontor Compur Flash Sync connectors. They should fit most cameras that have standard PC female connections.

    Value - Perhaps $5 on a dark day.

  13. Swigman

    Swigman New Member


    I just did some measurements on an old worn blade. BALL DIAMETER 0.1383" HOLE DIAMETER 0.1444"
    9/64" = 0.140625" so maybe 9/64" diameter was the original size because the ball is somewhat worn?

  14. Swigman

    Swigman New Member

    "This talk of restoring Rolls Razors never covers the restoration of broken hones. I was under the impression that it could not be done therefore I had to try it.
    It can be done and it is not difficult."


    Very very interesting.
    Does the join in the hone adversely effect the quality of the blade edge? If not this could be an excellent solution common to many old Rolls Razors.
    I look forward to your further experiments

  15. Gary

    Gary Member

  16. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member

    The join gap is virtually non existent as it has been filled with the glue or the powder and glue. I then sanded it perfectly smooth to the touch. I am sure it ads nothing to the removal of the metal while honing but it occupies such a tiny area of the stone's surface that I don't think it matters at all.

    I believe that even if the gap is allowed to remain, as long as the blade can pass over it without catching on its edges it will not cause a problem. Hence, both pieces of the hone must be perfectly level. That is why I chose to assemble them on a flat piece of glass.

    If the break were exactly at right angles to the edge of the blade there might be a problem with the blade edge dropping into the gap but I have yet to see such a break. As long as the blade is supported at some point by a part of the hone, however small, it can not drop into the space.

    In my hunt for broken hones I am discovering that the vendors assign great value to their useless hunks of rock.
    I just received a Viscount that looked in its picture as if it were cracked. It was $9.
    Well it isn't cracked. And, worse luck, there was a new, unused hone still in its envelope, under the razor's case.
  17. Swigman

    Swigman New Member


    A Viscount without a cracked hone for $9 could be a bargain.

    And a spare hone to boot!

    It seems to me "you are looking a gift hone in the mouth" so to speak.

    The hone in one of my razors is cracked right across the center. Which means the full width of the blade would cross over the crack if I glued it together. Hence my question and need for a replacement hone.

    I have found that hone fragments are great for the final dressing of the hones. First I use a Norton Flattening stone to remove the deep scratches and gouges. Which leaves small ridges and then I use the hone fragment to remove the ridges left from the Norton Stone. I should mention, that before I flatten a hone I measure its thickness first. And then after it is finished I add layers of paper or stiff card under it to make up the difference in thickness.

    For removing the hone I have found 1/8" diameter bamboo skewers about 1 1/2" long with one end of each sharpened to a chisel point and prying the hone at the lid tabs works really well. Any point load on that brittle fragile composite called a hone will cause it to fracture. Fortunately the bamboo fibers spread the load and are strong enough so the hone easily pops out. I have tried the Rolls instructions of banging the lid on a bench or table method to no avail and find this method is much safer and has more control.

  18. mickeyobe

    mickeyobe Active Member


    "It seems to me "you are looking a gift hone in the mouth" so to speak."
    I was being facetious.

    I have not yet encountered a hone cracked across the center but I think with care and some filler powder even that may be overcome.

    I am glad to see that others are not content with the "Can not be repaired syndrome".

    I use toothpicks - the round ones, not the flat ones - to pry up the hone. The flat ones break. The round ones swell gradually - just what is needed. I just don't want to use anything harder than the stone.
    Tapping the lid sounds like an invitation to tragedy. "Taps" for the hone.

    I have, so far, never had a hone so badly scarred that it needed redressing but I guess your advice will be needed eventually.
    It does sound tedious to remove so much of the stone by rubbing it with another stone. With luck I might not ever have to cross that bridge.

    Another problem I have encountered with two of my rolls is that they are extremely hard to push or pull along their track.
    I removed both lids. No problem moving them without the lid so it had to be the friction pad assembly. I tried lubricating it with a few drops of water. They worked like a charm so some very light lubrication may be necessary. I don't like having to water the FPA every time I use the razor and I don't like the idea of enclosing water inside the razor with closed lids to facilitate rust.
    The solution is a tiny spritz of that magic fish oil potion WD-40 and all is well. All that was needed was some Omega 3 Fatty Acid.


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  19. Swigman

    Swigman New Member


    The Norton Flattening Stone I mentioned in my previous post is designed and used for flattening waterstones used for the sharpening of wood plane blades and chisels etc. It is used with water and quite aggressive. But leaves a slightly roughened surface. I then use a piece of Rolls hone also with water to take out the roughness left by the flattening stone. Others use wet or dry abrasive backed on a glass plate.

    As for the hard to pull Rolls mechanism. I strongly recommend that you clean and lube the whole mechanism following the gregindallas technique before attempting any honing or stropping. A malfunctioning Rolls mechanism can really mess up a blade causing chips and wrong bevel angles at the least. On the other hand a correctly functioning Rolls mechanism closely emulates the best hand stropping technique creating a really nice bevel.

  20. Gary

    Gary Member

    So I have been shaving now for two straight weeks with my Rolls and FINALLY yesterday had my first shave without ANY razor burn! Second shave today without razor burn! I am HOOKED. Also now have 8 Rolls, strop paste containers, two leather cases, Rolls soap bowl and more coming!

    Anyone who has not had a good shave with one of these, give it some time. My blades for the most part were dull when I received them but after about 700 laps on the stone for each blade, they are as sharp as my DE blades.. At first I had razor burn all over my face and than the last week just my neck and now NONE!!! I was expecting this though as I have been using an electric shaver for the last 20 years. Most feel that getting to the point of not having razor burn has to do with technique but I am a firm believer that it is more to do with your skin getting use to the blade. The reason why I say this is that it took me a month not to get razor burn with my electric razor when I switched over 20 years ago. There is no technique with an electric razor just my skin getting use to the change of how I was shaving. If you are on the fence with this razor, follow the overhaul instructions on here and sit on the couch for an hour using the stone side and start shaving! At this point, I believe that I will only use my Merkur when I am short for time....
    PLANofMAN and macaronus like this.

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