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

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

  1. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    $35 is not a killer deal for a Rolls unless/depending on whether you are a collector or not. If you are into collecting looking for one with a pristine box, all the literature, never been used, then maybe. But even then, it would have to be special. If you check E-Bay, you'll find a large number of them; in good condition one can be had for $20-$25 that is serviceable. $15 will get you one you may have to work on a bit.

    Exnapo - yes I used 3M film to finish the razor. I'm still on the fence about the Rolls hone. It seems to be too coarse for just a touch-up hone, and takes too much effort on the strop after honing on the stone to bring the blade smooth. For regular use I touch up on a three-line Swaty, then go to 1 micron 3M film. For the blade with a big nick in it I had to hone down past the nick, so I started with 400 grit and then worked my way up. The films will give you a mirror finish on the bevel.

    I've been toying with the idea of cutting some films to the shape of the hone and then just using the Rolls mechanism to do the work for me. One of those tasks that I have yet to get around to, though.

    macaronus likes this.
  2. richard b

    richard b New Member

    not really that is the going rate on ebay
  3. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    Thanks for posting. ThatÅ› some neat idea! Do you hone with the blade flat on the hone surface or do you tape the spine? - in other words: what is your technique on honing the blades?

    Pics would help... ;) :)
  4. harry589991

    harry589991 New Member

    hey i appreciate with you that you are carrying 3 rolls razors bdlehr can i get one of them if you have no problem and kindly tell me the rates through PM thanks in advance

    Freeport NY Locksmith
  5. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    Macaronus - I just hone with the blade flat, no tape on the spine. In this thread someone recommended using four thicknesses of tape, but the bevel on mine seemed to be the same as the original with it just flat to the hone.

    I looked at a couple of blades that were still in their original wrappers, and there is no way I'd consider them "shave ready". They look a lot like what you get after honing on the Rolls hone with no finishing.

    There seems to be no consistent opinion if you search for "Rolls hone grit" on what the grit of a Rolls is. My guess is around 4000, but that's just a guess. The three-line Swaty I have will remove the strokes of the Rolls, and the Swaty is around 7000-8000, so the Rolls has to be something less.

    To my face (and hands to do the work), the Rolls hone is too coarse to move directly to a strop. I'll use the Rolls hone to set a bevel or take out some nicks, but then go up to the Swaty and then to film. Strop as usual, just for not as long.

    I'll try to get some pictures. Wish I had something that could show the edge, though.

    Ryan B likes this.
  6. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    Thanks! That explains a lot already!
  7. kcb5150

    kcb5150 Member

    Does anyone have a method for the imperial 1 with the earlier style track with the big wheels? One of the gears is cracked in two and needs to be changed out. On a later one I would just need needle nose pliers and patience, but I really don't know how to proceed here. It's a really great silver plated example otherwise so I don't want to scrap it.
  8. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    I was trained as a scientist, and have the unfortunate habit of testing things. Macaronus' question on the bevel angle for honing got me to questioning what I'd done on the Rolls blade. When I first got one I honed the blade on a Swaty stone with the heel flat on the hone and didn't see much difference from the established angle. After Macaronus asked the question, I honed a blade with the previously suggested 4 layers of electrical tape (2000 grit, then 5 microns, then 1 micron film), then stropped 60 times on the Rolls strop.

    Noticeably big difference on my face. So I have to retract my comment about honing with the blade flat to the stone. The shave felt much better with an increased bevel angle.

    To take things further, I took a set of feeler gauges and measured the clearance of the blade heel off the hone with the blade in place on the pin and the edge resting on the hone. The clearance is 0.015" or 0.381mm. I measured the thickness of four layers of electrical tape and they are 0.024" or 0.61mm, so four layers of tape are too many.

    If four layers of tape = 0.024"/0.61mm, then two layers of tape will get you very close to the Rolls factory bevel - within 0.003". Another alternative would be to get a small piece of shim stock at 0.015"/0.381mm or sacrifice that blade from an old feeler gauge set.

    My hypothesis is that I ground a finer angle onto the blade with the heel flat to the stone which resulted in a better shave, but only briefly. Because the bevel angle was finer, the edge didn't strop right on the Rolls strop. When I ground the edge with four layers of tape, the resulting edge had a flatter angle on the strop and stropped to a better edge.

    With the proper shim clearance now measured, we should be able to get a dead-on Rolls edge using external hones.

    Exapno likes this.
  9. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    Thanks for the elaborate addition, Rougaroo!
  10. Lothar101

    Lothar101 Active Member

    Does anyone have a method to un-stick a Rolls handle so it screws apart as it should?
  11. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    I had the same problem. First make sure you have the two-piece handle and not the earlier one-piece handle. The two-piece os on the left; the one piece is on the right. The one-piece does not unscrew, so don't even try. Picture below is from GreginDallas' earlier post in this thread

    To undo the two-part handle you'll need some non-damaging pliers thin enough to clamp what looks like the end band on the two-part handle on the left above. It is actually a screw-in cap. You may need a good amount of torque to get it off if rust has started. As a precaution before you start, try squirting some penetrating oil like Kroil or the like both around the cap and down from the ball at the top. Let it soak overnight before you try unscrewing.

    This will usually work. When you reassemble, put some silicone grease into the entire assembly and on the screw threads to make it easier for the next time.

    macaronus likes this.
  12. Lothar101

    Lothar101 Active Member

    No joy there. I've had the razor for a year or so, and have soaked in penetrating oil, clamped in vise etc.. All I have managed to do is to screw up the knurling a little on the top half :angry017: BTW I do have the one on the left. Sliding a very sharp blade into it under the spring tension works. but seems rather dangerous. Guess I'll have to go to the Bay and buy a set with handle that obviously unscrews .
  13. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    If you have already made some scratches and/or this one is for use, not show, there are a couple of old mechanic's tricks you might try. Put the handle in a vise and use a hacksaw to cut a slot in the cap deep enough for a large screwdriver. Make sure to use a screwdriver that has a blade wide enough to go all the way across the cap. Try that first, as the next one will definitely be non-beautiful: measure the cap and then file it on two sides to fit the next-size-down open-end wrench. Again, make sure you file enough to give the legs of the wrench something to grab. You will file through the plating into the metal for that one.

    Good luck -

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  14. Tomas Garcia

    Tomas Garcia Member

    I've been looking for a less corroded razor handle for my rolls, also a new strop, I think I heard about somebody making replacements?

    I would rather not buy a whole new rolls (wife would have my head) just to get the handle though. Any ambitious machinists out there?
  15. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    No one is making replacement handles that I'm aware of. Replacement handles were sold by Rolls, as well as replacement friction pads, clips, etc, and they turn up infrequently on E-Bay. They usually fetch a price that seems quite high for their real functional value, so I'm guessing that collectors snap them up as a part of a "complete" collection. There are normally quite a few Rolls on E-Bay/Kijiji/Etsy/craigslist that have broken hones or something else giving distressed value. Many times can be had for $10-$15. That's probably what a replacement handle would cost even if one were available. Just check the pictures to make sure it has the handle you want. If it has a functional blade, so much the better!

    Exapno and macaronus like this.
  16. Exapno

    Exapno New Member

    Thanks for your input on this thread Rougaroo, I've read lots of conflicting advice regarding taping the spine for honing and I'm glad someone has gone to the trouble of actually measuring just how much tape (if any) is actually needed. I'm in short supply of both funds and time at the moment but when I get a little more of both I'm going to start restoring my Viscount and hopefully get it shave ready. I picked it up for a good price (being in the UK is beneficial when it comes to Rolls razors) and I'm pretty sure it won't take too much work to make it serviceable. I'm considering replacing the cracked hone for something like perspex with lapping film over the top, I'm not sure what lapping film would be best for a 'shave ready' blade just to refresh it though (it isn't shave ready yet but I can get it honed). As for the strop it's also in a sorry state but again I'll restore or replace it as needed.

    I was lucky enough to get a spare handle free of charge from a very generous member of a UK shaving forum so I have two working handles. I should probably get a couple of spare blades too but the eBay prices are fluctuating wildly at the moment. Handles do come up on eBay UK from time to time but they're often more expensive than buying a bad condition full Rolls set and using the handle from that.
  17. rougaroo

    rougaroo New Member

    I've also toyed with the idea of either replacing the hone with something else or just covering it with film. You can glue the hones back together with SuperGlue (don't know the equivalent in the UK but cyanoacrylate glue). The instructions are somewhere back in this thread. If you do, make sure to lap the surface of the hone so that it is level across the glue joint.

    The lapping films come in various grades, but I've found it is worth the extra money to go for the diamond films. They seem to last longer and also hold their sharpening capacity longer. You really only need three grits unless you're really a perfectionist. 15 micron, 3 micron, and 1 or 0.5 micron seem to work just fine. You can use a bit of oil on the diamond film and it carries away the swarf of the blade.

    I've often looked with envy at the Rolls kits, blades, and blade vaults on the UK e-bay site. The prices are really inexpensive there, and there is a lot more variety in what comes up. It also appears that there were many options offered by Rolls over there that never made it across: Imperial #2's in kits with a mirror, extra blades, and a brush, for example.

    One thing about being short of funds - every time I shave with my Rolls I think about the money I'm *not* giving Mr. Gillette. Makes me feel richer every time.

    Exapno and macaronus like this.
  18. Desi

    Desi New Member

    Sorry to dig up an old, but very informative, post.
    I'm cleaning up an early Imperial #2 and have run into a snag I can't figure out.
    The gear is a couple of teeth out on one side of the slider making the whole thing crooked. How does one get the teeth to align on a side to side matter so it is straight?
  19. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    First: welcome to TSD! Hope you'll be having a great time over here!

    Second: Don't be sorry! Questions are there to be asked, aren't they? ;)

    Third: wish I could help you out. I checked my own Imperial #2, but couldn't find any clues as how to get it straight. Ummm. Does it function as it is? If yes: keep it like this (for now). If it doesn't function right now: try brute force. If something gives and it works: great! If something gives and the thing breaks: you've at least tried. That's all I could think of. :(
  20. Desi

    Desi New Member

    Thanks for the welcome macaronus.

    I don't have anything invested in the Rolls, so I took off both sides and held the handle upright, a couple of yanks later its only one tooth out now. It doesn't rub the sides now, and crosses end to end fairly smooth. I had to dissolve with degreaser about 60 years of good intention from the previous owner off the gears, wheels and trackway.
    Not bad shave for something that's been in my junk boxes in the basement for twenty years. I used to work in the "post-healthcare" field so I am fairly well versed at putting a decent edge on scalpel blades. The blade wasn't to bad to begin with.
    I discovered that I have the original hand written "inspected by/packaged by" small slip of paper in addition to the numbered warranty instruction sheet and a small pictorial card showing how to shave.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

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