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

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

  1. ackers

    ackers Member

    Quick question, oil or no oil when honing in the Rolls.
    Billyfergie likes this.
  2. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja

    The Hone for the Rolls is Slate..Its Said by Rolls to be 12 K Finishing Capacity..A Light Coat of Vaseline or Oil Can Pick it Up & Refine Further in My Humble Opinion..:happy088:

    I Personally Finish My Rolls Blade on an Escher Thuri 16 + Outwith the Rolls System..I Also Strop it Outwith the Rolls System with Tape as Above..I Get a Far Superior Shaving Edge..:)

    tjgriffin likes this.
  3. ackers

    ackers Member

    Thanks for that. I’ve read this thread several times but at the moment I’m not ready to go to the next stage of acquiring the extra kit that seems to be needed. I would also have to google a lot to find out what you are using . I’ve got plenty of time on my hands so I’m just going to sit down and hone away in my shiny Rolls.
    Billyfergie likes this.
  4. pisces_0

    pisces_0 Well-Known Member

    I can attest to adding a slight coating of Vaseline to the hone. It does refine the finish a bit.

    A thin coating of Vaseline, heat with a hair dryer to set it in then allow it to settle for a day or so.

    I do agree with Billy, though. A proper hone on stones outside of the case will garner the best edge. That's the next rabbit hole I'll be looking to plunge into...:shocked003:
    Billyfergie, tjgriffin and ackers like this.
  5. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja

    Aye..The main thing that Many Dont Know about the Rolls System is this..The Rolls Blades Came from the Factory Shave Ready..They were Bevel Set & Honed through a Progression in the Factory..:)

    In Other Words the Hone Slate in a Rolls System is ONLY a Finisher or Refresh Hone..Its Designed to Maintain a Proper Shave Ready Blade..It Will NOT Resharpen or Re Hone a Blunt Blade..That Needs Done Outwith the Rolls System as was Done in the Factory to Begin with..The Darwin is the Same..:happy088:

  6. ackers

    ackers Member

    I've got 4 blades, 2 of them I can shave with for a few strokes, 1 I tried honing using the tape as described in this thread, but I was using an old stone I dug out from the back of the shed, cost me a small fortune when I bought it but thats all I remember about it, made a right pigs ear out of it and that blade may now be consigned to the 'look what I did' drawer, the 4th blade is an unknown at this moment. I am trying to find somebody in the UK that can hone a factory finish for me on one of the blades and then I can sit back, relax and hone away on the others.
    Bookworm and Billyfergie like this.
  7. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja

    I Live in the UK..I have Honed More Rolls Blades than I Can Remember for Folks..PM Me if You Want a Superb Edge on You're Rolls Blade..:happy088:

    Linuxguile likes this.
  8. Newbie here. I made the switch to wet-shaving about 3 years ago, and my regular shave is a Merkur Vision outfitted with Feather blades. Yesterday, on a whim, I stopped in at an estate sale and purchased a Rolls Imperial No. 2 that appears to unused. I knew nothing about this razor when I bought it, but have read up in the meantime. Haven't shaved with it yet. Posting some pics - some of you might find interesting. Not sure whether I should oil the strop first. Any thoughts? The blade says 51 which I understand to be 1951. Marks on the blade are packing grease and fingerprints. This guy is even older than me!
    _DSF7961.jpg _DSF7962.jpg _DSF7964.jpg _DSF7966.jpg _DSF7967.jpg _DSF7970.jpg _DSF7972.jpg _DSF7973.jpg _DSF7975.jpg _DSF7976.jpg _DSF7978.jpg _DSF7979.jpg _DSF7980.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
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  9. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    Welcome, @Dr. Professor Grayhair . So glad you have joined us. That is a very nice Rolls. They are great shavers if you get the right angle and use little pressure.

    Billyfergie likes this.
  10. tagir.dn

    tagir.dn New Member

    This is my video about rebuilding the lines

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
    Billyfergie likes this.
  11. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    I received today a 1945 dated, new old stock Imperial No. 2, still with the wrapping film intact around the box - it had never been opened!
    After carefully sliding off the wrapper, I opened the box to reveal the Rolls, possibly the first time it'd seen daylight in seventy-three years


    There was no evidence of fingerprints on the casing, so it looks as though it indeed is 'brand new' and never been opened, removal of the hone lid showed all the packing slips etc. intact inside the razor 101_0013.JPG
    The two piece handle had the card instruction slip intact


    The hone shows no sign of use

    The hone even has the small instruction slip attached

    101_0020.JPG 101_0020.JPG

    I several other Rolls razor so I shall probably keep this one as an example of what the razors looked like when they were sold


    Attached Files:

  12. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    Most excellent find. Congratulations. These are very good shavers. If you are familiar with straights, this should be no problem.
    Billyfergie likes this.
  13. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    I'm not familiar with straights, but I've been using a Rolls as my everyday razor for about 12 months, I think they're fantastic razors once you get the hang of using them!

    macaronus and Billyfergie like this.
  14. kfbrady

    kfbrady Well-Known Member

    I bought two of them a couple of months ago, both in excellent shape. They are beautifully made and an intriguing piece of shaving history.

    I can't ever imagine actually using one though. :)
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  15. pisces_0

    pisces_0 Well-Known Member

    Oh, but they're WONDERFUL shavers once the blade is sharpened up properly.

    A quick run on straight razor hones with a blade in decent shape will bring it back to life in no time.

    Even the hone in the case will do a passable job of bringing a blade back up to snuff, though it'll take a bit more effort.

    Give the Rolls an honest try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
    macaronus and Billyfergie like this.
  16. Billyfergie

    Billyfergie The Scottish Ninja

    I Used to Shave with the Rolls Without the Guard Bar..I Have Since Used the Guard Bar & I Wouldn't Now Shave with them Any Other Way..The Guard Bar is there for Good Reason..Its an Excellent Design..Its an Engineering Marvel in its Simplicity..The Guard Bar is Self Adjusting to the Contours of the Face..It Allows the User to Use Light Pressure on the Contours of the Face..;)

    What I Mean By that is..Follow the Guard Bar on the Face..The Guard Bar Moves Back & Forth & Pulls or Stretches the Skin for a Smooth & Very Forgiving Shave...The Angle of the Blade is Factory Pre Set for the Tolerances Within the Movable Freedom of the Guard Bar or Safety Bar...Thats Why its there..:D

    Rolls Razors Without the Guard Bar Can be Very Unforgiving Shavers in My Humble Experience..They Are Set at a DISTINCT Shaving Angle UNLIKE an SR which I Also Hone & Use..Especially Going Against the Grain..The are Set at a Steep Angle..They are a Safety Razor Design..Without the Guard Bar the Safety Feature of the Rolls is All But Lost..:cool:

    I have Used these Razors for Years Now...I Can Almost Throw the Rolls Around Like a Modern Cartridge Razor with the Guard Bar in Place..They Do Require a Bit of Skill to Use..The Main thing is a Proper Honed Blade..There are Very Few Blades that I Have Got to Hone that Dont Require a FULL Hone Job from the 1 K Bevel Hone..Through a Full Progression..:p

    Thats All I Can Say..Most Suffer from Age Related Micro Corrosion that Cant be Seen to the Untrained Eye..Even Via a Micro Lens..Its All Comes Out on the 1 Bevel Hone..Thats the Main Issue with them..I Have Honed More Rolls Blades than I Can Honestly Recall & I Can Only Recall One that was Fit for Shaving with Some Little Touch Up Work with Pastes or the Rolls System..:)

    That was an NOS Never Used Blade in Mint Condition..I Re Honed it from Scratch & Even that NOS Blade was Transformed into a Different Blade..The Micro Corrosion is Often Internal & Cant be Seen by the Naked Eye Until its Put on a 1 K Bevel Hone..Under the Lens..:eek:

    They are Excellent Shavers..Its Worth NOTING..Back in the Their Hay Day Most Rolls Users were Used to Shaving with Straight Razors that were NOT Properly Honed..The Rolls Safety Razor is FAR Easier to Use than a Traditional Straight Razor..But..These Guys had the Comdidence to Use an SR & the Rolls Razor Takes a Lot of Self Confidence to Use..Dont be Fearful of it..Its Just a Confidence thing..:happy088:

    They are an Engineering Marvel & Darn Fine Shavers..:angelic007:

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  17. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    WOW! Congratz on obtaining an excellent shaver!

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  18. kfbrady

    kfbrady Well-Known Member

    I'm sure you're right and some day I really should try them.

    But for now, slipping a fresh Feather into an Adjustable or a Super Speed is just so easy! ;)
    macaronus likes this.
  19. pisces_0

    pisces_0 Well-Known Member

    Over the past ~6 months I've been using a Rolls blade honed outside the case, Norton 1K, 4K, 8K & Naniwa 12K. Daily stropping in the case with a bit of CrOx added to the factory strop. LOVING the edge and shave this produces!

    Out of curiosity I wanted to see what the factory Rolls hone was capable of. I went in knowing full-well that it wouldn't produce as fine an edge as honing on a Norton and Naniwa, but what kind of an edge COULD the factory hone produce?

    Starting with a clean blade, I set the bevel on the 1K Norton with 1 layer of tape on the spine. For the Rolls case and hone I'm using I've found one layer of tape very closely matches the factory Rolls bevel angle.

    On to the Norton 4K for a few clean-up laps and to smooth out the striations left from the 1K. Didn't want to spend too much time on the 4K so as to not skew the results from the factory Rolls hone.

    After lapping the Rolls hone flat and treating it with some Vaseline, I did 400 honing laps. 100 laps, turn the case 180* and another 100 laps, rotate the blade on the FPA spike 180* and another 100 laps, finally turn the case 180* again and the last 100 laps. Repeat the same process for stropping. A bit excessive? Probably. Though, I really wanted to see what results I'd get from the factory hone with a properly prepped blade.

    The resulting edge was very passable for a daily shaver. The blade gave me a clean 2-pass shave that left me smooth all day. Ever so slight tug around my chin, but that's always been a tough area for me with the Rolls. Not as wickedly sharp as finishing on the Norton/Naniwa combo, and the bevel wasn't nearly as mirror smooth, but the factory hone did the job it was intended for. Once sharp, maintaining the edge with the factory hone and strop is quite quick and easy.

    All in all, the factory hone and strop are a great option for touch-ups or when in a pinch. I'll continue to sharpen blades outside the case on the Norton & Naniwa stones for the results noted above, but this was quite a fun experiment with a marvel of blade engineering.
    macaronus likes this.
  20. pisces_0

    pisces_0 Well-Known Member

    Has anyone come across a handle of this style, which is not threaded at the location noted above? Just a solid handle that does not unthread?

    I've got one that I've soaked in Simple Green, soaked in WD40, applied heat to, applied cold to, tried everything that I can think of yet it still won't unthread. To the eye, I cannot see a break/joint seam in the handle where most all others thread together.

    I can slide a blade in from the side, but I'm suspicious that Rolls did not intend blades to be inserted like this.


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