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

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

  1. Mustache

    Mustache Well-Known Member

    I finally found a complete, non broken, non missing parts, Rolls today. Even has the extra blade and blade case. Now to go back and spend A LOT of time reading this thread from the start.
    Jayaruh, 178-bplatoon, twhite and 3 others like this.
  2. Joe Mabuse

    Joe Mabuse New Member

    I recently got a Rolls with no hone on the cheap. (I've been using one with a hone for several months and it's a real favorite.) I had been intrigued by an idea for substituting a part for the hone.

    The depth of the hone side of the case is about 1/8". I bought some 3/32" float glass (just replacement window glass from the home center) and some double-sided tape that I figured would make up the other 1/32". I used float glass because it is really flat. I cut a piece of the window glass to the right shape (I am not great with a glass cutter but the precise shape doesn't much matter), sanded the edges with emery paper for safety, and mounted it in the case with the double-sided tape. Now I can cut sheets of abrasive material and spray adhesive on them to affix them to the glass sheet. The Rolls honing mechanism can then be used to hold the blade at just the right angle.

    It works a treat, and has the advantage that if you have a nicked blade and need to remove some material, you can start with a coarser grit. This was important for me as my cheap Rolls-with-no-hone had a nicked blade that I wanted to restore. The glass doesn't crack when using the hone -- I had worried that repeated impact from the blade might cause it to crack -- but after many hundreds of cycles it was fine.

    What didn't work so well: removing and replacing the sandpaper is a little messy -- it peels off easily enough but the 3M spray adhesive I use leaves a sticky residue. I found the best approach for removing it is just scrubbing with soap and water. Obviously then dry with a towel before putting the next layer on.

    Anyway, just thought I'd share -- once I had the needed parts the fix took about an hour, and would have been quicker except I am rubbish at cutting glass.
  3. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    That sounds pretty neat. Got any pictures?
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  4. atnbirdie

    atnbirdie Member

    I wouldn't expect the glass should crack if you hone properly. Stropping should be done rapidly (a whack-whack-whack sound). Honing should be done very slowly so you hear a double click on each stroke: 1st click is the "safety" bar tapping down; 2nd click is the blade contacting the hone. Thus, all gentle taps, no hard impacts. Have fun!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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  5. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    Excellent modification! Thank you for posting!



    Funny how these 'Threads' .."Peter Out"..Thanks to all that have taken the time to 'Post'
    There is nothing like a Rolls..."There'll Always Be an England"..!!
    macaronus likes this.
  7. John Warr

    John Warr Member

    I have read this with great interest. My Rolls has the hone reversed - the old "up" side was a bit deeply marked. The strop was also marked & I have replaced it with 1/16" full grain leather & the old rubber (?) strip. I would quite like to replace it with a section cut from an old strop without the backing strip a la early Rolls strops. Has anyone any idea how thick this should be ? The hones are about 2.8mm (0.11") thick - I wonder if the early strops were also that thick ?
    I am in the fortunate position of having a splitter to hand so getting the right thickness, once I know what it should be, is not really a problem.
    Jayaruh, macaronus and twhite like this.
  8. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    Um, two ways to find out.

    1. Use calipers to measure the old strop and backing

    B. Wait until I'm home so I can measure my strop. That will be somewhere next week. (on vacation right now)
  9. John Warr

    John Warr Member

    It has been suggested that I am over-thinking this :)

    I await your information. Have a great vacation. :)
    macaronus likes this.
  10. turboultra

    turboultra New Member

    I've cleaned up and tried my great-granfather's old Rolls. I think it's an imperial no.2 from 1939. I cleaned and lubricated it as per the thread. The hone was cracked and glued so I got a replacement on eBay. I softened the strop with neatsfoot oil, sanded it lightly with 400 grit paper (don't think this was useful as it's not really flat enough to sand evenly - is this a problem?) and rubbed in some jeweller's rouge with my fingers. I scraped off the excess rouge with a store loyalty card. I measured the thickness of the disintegrating strop backing with callipers (0.05") and two layers of card made a replacement of similar thickness. I've just tried it and it gave an awful shave. I shan't give up and a few more honing-stroping cycles will hopefully improve things.
    macaronus, Paul76 and Linuxguile like this.
  11. Linuxguile

    Linuxguile dating an unusual aristocrat

    Your best bet is to hone the blade outside of the system to start with. The hone on the rolls was only mean for upkeep, not to restore the sharpness to a dull 80 year old blade.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
    Paul76 likes this.
  12. sdguero

    sdguero Well-Known Member

    This thread is terrific! I just found it. Several months ago I saw a Rolls razor in an antique store. I had never heard of it before, never seen one and didn't know if all of the parts were there so I passed on it. I intend to read this thread carefully to learn more. Thanks!
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  13. tagir.dn

    tagir.dn New Member

    A small overview for the restoration of the straps for razors.

    Video on Russian language.

    But you can watch without sound.

    The main process.

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  14. Paul76

    Paul76 Well-Known Member

    I bought a really nice rolls about 5months ago and just found this thread today! I’ve read a lot of good info on this thread too. Mine have the alligator leather case with an extra blade pocket. Only one I have seen like it. I was hooked since I saw one. Haven’t gotten a really good shave from it yet but it’s getting better.
    macaronus likes this.
  15. tagir.dn

    tagir.dn New Member

    Sharpening wedge ( dangerous) blades for Single Edge Razor.
    Video on Russian language.
    But the main process.
    It is possible to watch without sound

    macaronus likes this.
  16. John Warr

    John Warr Member

    I recently picked up a container of Rolls strop dressing in it's original cardboard box (price 1s 7d) complete with it's own instructions and sand paper. I don't know if anyone has posted these instructions (search didn't bring up anything) so here they are.....

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  17. John Warr

    John Warr Member

    I have been thinking about honing "off case" and a couple of people have suggested one (or two) thicknesses of insulating tape on the heel of the blade to get the right angle. I thought I would measure the "lift" of the heel for myself so I used a dial gauge to measure the height of the blade heel in honing mode and then the height of the blade just sitting on the hone. And I can't measure a meaningful difference. Just to check I marked the edge of the heel (if you see what I mean) with a marker & then operated the honing handle a couple of times, and lo, the marker ink is gone and the heel edge is bright again - which makes sense when you think about it. So I think that the blade should be honed exactly as one hones a strait razor, flat on the stone, without tape on the heel at all. If anyone has measured more carefully, or has a reason for honing with tape on there I would be glad to be proved wrong but the dial gauge is the best way I can think of for doing this and the marker tends to confirm the measurement.
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  18. tagir.dn

    tagir.dn New Member

    No matter how many layers of tape you add.
    I sharpen with one layer.
    But since the device Rolls Razor sharpening angle is higher, then there is nothing wrong.
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  19. Old School

    Old School *$&%@#~

    Supporting Vendor
    I paid $20 a couple months ago for one in very good condition at a flea market. Hone and strop are good, blade has no chips and still a scary sharp edge. Came with all the inserts....saddle soaped the strop, honed, stropped and shaved. Quick 2 pass, no blood! Not my smoothest, but very rewarding.
    Billyfergie and Jayaruh like this.
  20. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja

    I have Honed Hundreds of these Blades Over the Years..One Layer of Tape Keeps it Exactly Comparable with the Factory Set Bevel & the Rolls System..I Just Strop Mine on a Normal Strop Outwith the Rolls System with the Method Above with the Strop on a Table..:)

    I Take My Rolls Blade Out to 16 K on My Escher Thuri..I Get a Higher Grit Edge & a Far Smoother Edge Stropping it Outwith the Rolls System which is a 12 K Slate..Also..I Have a Lighter Stropping & Longer Stroke...;)

    Linuxguile likes this.

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