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.
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:
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.