This weekend I made the family go to flea market about 30m away from our home. My original intent was to find a old school vintage Barbers Hone. Something nice that I could use to keep up my straight razors. I was hoping for anything decent really. Panama, Swaty, Escher, Shatner, Dubl Duck, Shumate etc… sadly, I didn’t find a single one.
I DID find some straight razors. Specifically, I found three from Sheffield England. Two Wade & Butcher straights and one Joseph Rodgers & Sons… I haggled with the guy and was able to get them for $10 a piece. I knew they were not in the best of shape but I figured what the heck, they might turn out nice as restores.
Top: Joseph & Rodgers Middle: Wage & Butcher Spike Bottom: Wade & Butcher Barbers Notch
Here are some closeups of the razors…
Joseph Rodgers & Sons…
Wade & Butcher Spike…
Wade & Butcher Barbers Notch…
Restoring Two Wade and Butcher Straight Razors from the early 1800s
So, here is my first restore. Admittedly I have never done this before. Nor was I ever planning to do one.
They were pretty beat up but for $10 a pop I figured I could use them for something. In the car ride back home I was really growing fond of the two old W&B’s specially the barbers notch. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to clean them up. Im on a tight budget at the moment so I didn’t want to have to pay a lot to get them in nice working order. My thought was to de pin them and then clean the steel up as best I could.
So, I de pinned the two W&B’s and started to go to town with the limited supplies I had. I started whacking away at it with 100 grit. And I got the barbers notch to this point…
That took about a little less than an hour to do. Then sadly, I made a BIG STUPID mistake… I broke the tip off the Barbers Notch!
Which really pissed me off… I felt horrible. I mean that razor is probably at least 180 years old! So, this morning I decided to grind down the Barbers notch… I figured WTF? I already buggered it up… Here is what I was able to do with the damaged point.
Yesterday morning I went to the home depot and to the auto parts store and picked up some more sand paper… 120/150/220/320/400/600/1000/1500/2000
Now I must confess / warn you I didn’t take a whole lot of time. I think I spent a total of five hours. During that time I broke out the dremel and mandrel grinder. Went over most of the razors knocking out all the rust and as much pitting as I could. I also took off a lot of patina and such.
Then I proceeded with the grits. One thing I did was on each grit I used Flitz metal polish as a slurry – so to speak. I just added a few drops to the sand paper and went at it. I think this really helped cut faster.
So here is where I stand right now. I did the barbers notch all the way to 2k and the spike to 320 or 400 I dont honestly remember.
Considering this should have taken a week (to do properly) I am still pretty impressed with the outcome. I know I really should have spent more time on the different grits, but I really didnt want to make this a long drawn out ordeal – remember I wasn’t planning on even doing this. Nor have I ever done it before.
Next up, I am going to attempt to salvage the scales. One of the Wade & Butchers scales is cracked at the pivot pin. I will try and fix it though. It would be nice to have the original scales with the razors. The Joseph Rodgers & Sons scales might even be real tortoise shell. Im going to test them this week and see if they are real or not.
So, considering the rush job… how did I do? Any comments would be appreciated.
Matt is a Systems Development Director for a multinational franchise. Matt has lived and worked in Hawaii, Chicago, South Florida and currently resides outside of Atlanta. He enjoys his hobbies including Technology, Gadgets/EDC, Fountain Pens, Wetshaving, Clocks, Antiques & Coffee. He even roasts his own coffee weekly.