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A couple of years back a neighbour of mine told me he had bought a cut-throat razor. At the time I was busy making knives so it sparked my interest. He explained that he had set himself up with a razor because he wanted to save money by doing things the old way. I asked to look at the razor and if he could tell me all he knew about it. He had out laid a bit for his set up - about $400 AUD - and the razor was quite nice. I marveled at its simplicity and beauty. I thought to myself I have to make one!

I joined a razor forum and asked a few questions but was met with basically "It's not an easy road and involves a fair bit of research". I didn't think it would be very hard to make one, so I came across a little arrogant in my response even though it was not my intent. "I don't think it would be that hard to grind one!". They knew a bit about razors, I did not...

I researched under the advice of forum members and then found a local guy close to me that makes the most beautiful hand crafted razors. Stu is his name from Boxer razors. You can see his work here. I asked if he would help me and graciously he said he would

Stu is a patient, kind man and took the time to explain many things to me to make my road an easy one. I dedicate this instructable to him because without him I would have had a second grade razor.

The video is a visual documentation of the process I went through to make the razor. I hope you enjoy.

Step 1: Designing a Razor

The design process of your razors' geometry is most important. Since the razor is such an age-old design there are many, many websites that hold the key to information regarding the subject.

Here are some:

Wiki

Robert williams

Shave my face. A good read for those who have time

For this reason, I will briefly go over the most important things that helped me design a functional razor. If you have made a razor and have a suggestion, leave a comment. I am always fond of improving my instructables where there is a need.

The first picture shows the key components on a razor's body and will help to identify names when needed. (Images of razor profiles, razor components and razor points courtesy of theshaveden.com)

Profiles of razors: The second picture shows the shapes of various grinds applied to different razors. While they all look different, they do have something in common - the relationship of the spine-to-blade width. A basic rule of thumb is that the blade-to-spine ratio is 4:1. It can, however, be a bit less - say 3.7:1 . This will help in many ways, the first is that it prevents the blade from getting in the way when shaving, allowing all the pressure to be applied in the right place. Another common reason is that this helps in removing the hair and shaving cream away from the face. The third is that this will prevent you from grinding an edge that is too thin and having the edge crumbling away in your hands is not something you want. There are many others, but these are the basics.

Heel of blade to the pivot: Here you will need enough room to hold the razor, allowing your thumb to have movement.

Scale width at pivot: You want your razor design to be the same width at the pivot point as your scales. This will aid in many ways, but most importantly in holding the razor while stropping.

Tail: The tail of the razor needs to be designed in such a way that you have just enough room for a finger . My razor has what's called by some a "monkey tail" (longer tail). I liked the look of it but normally it's done when the razor is a heavy razor and is used to balance the razor. The monkey tail is not a necessary feature to the function of a razor.

Visually balanced: When I first started designing my razor, Stu suggested it's best that I hand draw the razor before digitising it. This helps to create a visually balanced razor that is appealing to the eye. The last picture shows my initial design.

The point: For a beginner, a round point is more user-friendly because it protects the user from nicks in the face while shaving. It's a better design in terms of safety. But the choice is yours in terms of how you want it to look. The picture above I took from a website and shows some of the different types of points razors can have.

Plunge cut at heel: This is something that was changed on my razor. Stu explained that because my plunge cut on my blade was all the way to the edge, it would impede on the way the razor was honed. We decided to scollop the finger hole far away enough to expose the edge so it did not rub on the hone. If this is confusing, I understand, have a look at my razor at the heel point and it will make more sense.

<p>This is gorgeous, would it be possible to forge it from pattern welded steel? As in hammer out a sheet of pattern welded steel, then cut it into shape and continue from step 5?</p>
I guess if your steel holds an edge fairly well you could. You could make a really amazing one from layered or Damascus steel. They look fantastic. I have seen a few of them. Post it up how you made it. Love to see what you produce. Kind regards Nick
My friends said I couldn't make my pocket knife sharp enough to comfortably shave with. I've searched the Internet for cheap alternatives. So your sharpening grits layout at the end will come in handy. I found sand paper with all the grits given. And I have a strop. So I'll give it a shot thanks
The key for this is to first sharpen both edges to a burr. You will see it when it happens, it will be like a paper thin bit of steel on the edge. When you have that your very close. Drag the knife edge through the end grain of a piece of pine to pull the butt off and strop. Alternatively you could use a buffing wheel to cheat or even a Dremel tool with the mini buffer wheel. Use the polishing compound that comes with the Dremel kit on the buffer. Polish the edge and Bing! Razor. Have fun and don't give up.
<p>i've been wanting to make one for myself for a long time, i do have a cheap one that i bought in a flea market that i learned to use mainly by trial and error, ive never cut myself, and have since been using to trim my beard thanks to a comb like attachement, my question is, are there any function diferences in the type of cross sections you listed before? is anyone better than the others?</p><p>thank you</p>
<p>Good question. Yes there are some differences. The deeper the hollow in the cross section the better the shaving cream will roll onto the razor and along with it the hair. Having said that the wedge shape is becoming increasingly used by razor makers. The wedge is a heavier razor meaning it feels different by having a bit of weight behind it. A thinner razor feels a bit &quot;tinny&quot; when cutting through thick hair. I chose this design for a few reasons.</p><p>1) A larger piece of steel is more controllable in a heat treat oven and therefore you are less likely to melt away a very fine edge and or warp your razor under the heat.</p><p>2) The wedge has more steel meaning you will get a longer life from it and if it does happen to get a bit of surface rust on or near the edge it can be refurbished without fear of damaging such a fine edge.</p><p>All that said I feel my razor turned out fine and catches the hair and shaving cream fine. I might note that a wedge style razor takes longer to put the initial bevel onto. Because it has a much shallower hollow grind. This means when its put to the stone you have to wear away a decent amount of metal both sides to form the edge. After that has been done general stropping is much the same.</p><p>Hope this helps.</p>
<p>amazing stuff.</p><p>I also checked out Boxer razors. HOLY CRAP, talk about being taught by a master.</p>
<p>Nice, My grandfather taught me to shave with one when I was just 12.</p>
<p>Really? Do you still use one?</p>
<p>I like your great instructable. I'd be very nervous to use a straight razor, but have wanted to. I also like the notion of making my own knives.</p>
<p>Thanks for the comment! Yes it came out so so sharp and slight pressure on the strop sent it in deep. I was very worried at first but now I just concentrate only keeping it moving in the right direction. </p><p>You should make your own knives. Start with a high speed steel hacksaw blade. Big industrial ones are best. If you keep them cool while doing your bevel you will have a knife that will cut a ridculious amount of things before dulling.</p>
<p>Great Instructable! As a 20 year old who shaves exclusively with his dad's old blade, this was really interesting. My blade is completely rounded on the far edge from many years of service and I have often considered what it would entail to make one. Thanks for the awesome upload!</p><p>That strop you use appears to have two layers? Is there a reason for this? I use a simple strip of leather. <br> <br>Cheers</p>
<p>Thanks for the comment. Nice to know there are people using them.</p><p>You are indeed correct, there are two layers. </p><p>One is a compress felt type backed with a smooth vinyl/artificial type leather. This is used for cleaning any light rust or dirt from the razor prior to stropping on the leather side</p><p>The leather is as you already know cleaned and loaded with a compound. I clean mine every so often with a light water/soap mixture then re-load it. </p><p>Hope this helps</p>
<p>Beautiful to look at and proud to use I am sure. Nice craftsmanship! </p>
<p>Whenever I make razors I put the tang in front of the swedge and I believe that convex grinds produce the best results.</p><p>Good build!</p>
<p>This is one very cool and educational instructable. Since I use a straight razor to shave with on a regular basis, I found the last step to be the most informative one. That being said, I may just have to try making one for kicks and giggles. Thanks for a well put together instructable.</p>
<p>THAT...is a work of art and deserves to have your name on it....</p>
love your work!!
<p>Really nice work!!! You've got my vote!</p>
<p>This is fantastic - beautiful pictures!</p>
<p>Great workmanship! I just completed my first straight-razor shaving this weekend with my own DIY blade. Mine is a little less conventional thank yours, and I wished I had tried with something like this first. Practice with the blade gives confidence!</p><p>I'll keep your Instructable in mind while I'm writing mine up. Check your inbox for a PM!</p>
<p>Ficou muito bom.</p>
<p>Well done mate. Solid instructions, excellent final product. You've got my vote.</p>
<p>great looking piece, cheers and thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>holy moly... that's amazing!</p>
It's a beauty, mate!
Great in depth, detailed instructions. The finished razor looks great!

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Bio: My Name is Nick and I love making things!! Learning about everything is something I like to do. I have been a carpenter here in ... More »
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