How to make a custom wood handle for a double edged safety razor

Picture of How to make a custom wood handle for a double edged safety razor
Like many others, I have ditched my cartridge razors and went back a few decades. If I have the option to make or buy something, I always chose to make it.  These are enjoyable to create and I have made several. There are razor heads available, but no information on how to create or attach them to a wooden handle. Here is what works for me and how I made this lovely Koa handled double edged razor below.

Tools I used to create this:

Table saw
Drill press
Bench grinder
Spindle gouges
1/2" parting tool
Round nose scraper

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Step 1: Source the materials

Picture of Source the materials
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With some diligent internet searches, I was able to find a double edge safety razor head at an online retailer called The head is made by Parker and is a fairly decent one. I also sourced a 6 inch long and 1 inch thick piece of Koa wood from Hawaii  

Step 2: Square the ends

Picture of Square the ends
On my table saw cross cut sled, I squared the ends of the Koa blank by trimming off a very small portion on each end. This is important since it will need to be perfectly centered on the lathe.

since I am working with small parts you notice I am not holding the wood by hand. This can be very dangerous so I want to exercise as much safety as possible while retaining accuracy. 

Step 3: Drill the hole for the reciever

Picture of Drill the hole for the reciever
The reciever that comes with the kit threads into the handle with a 1/4-20 thread size. To accommodate this, I drilled a 7/32" hole about 1/16" deeper than the threaded bolt extends. This way the threads will bite into the wood and self tap.

You will notice I am using a jig and a drill press. This hole must be perfectly centered. If it isn't you run the risk of an off center alignment, or splitting the wood when you mount the head. 

To find the center I simply draw and X from one corner to the other and mark the center with an awl. Do this on both ends
aelkovits111 months ago
Fantastic instructable. I have always loved woodworking and this is an excellent how to. I hope one day to get into making items like this as it seems like a lot of fun.
SlickSqueegie11 months ago
Nice work and nice write-up!
Have you ever "wet-sanded" the CA? I found that it works much better than dry...
joelav (author)  SlickSqueegie11 months ago
Yup, I have. I was careful on this one because unlike pens or "kit" turnings on a mandrel with bushings, the ends are raw wood and I didn't want to soak them.
sublingual11 months ago
Nice instructable--good solid safety info, too.

I'm more a metal guy than a wood guy, but now you've got me inspired to cast my own handle out of brass (or scrap silver if I'm feeling punchy). I just need to figure out the tapping bit, since I generally work in jewelry.

Oh, one quick suggestion, if it's relevant: After you mark your centerpoint on the non-drilled end, could you just knock the corners down with a hand planer to start the rounding process, and get to higher initial speeds on your lathe?
joelav (author)  sublingual11 months ago
The bandsaw works great for this using a small jig with a V shaped groove. Since the diameter is so small on these, it's not a big deal to get it round on the lathe. On a small piece like this it only takes 3 or 4 sweeps with a gouge to knock down the edges.

On larger items, that is definitely recommended. Tapping should be a lot easier in metal. 1/4-20 is a very common size,
sublingual joelav11 months ago
Yeah, the nice thing about cast metal is that I can just drill the hole in wax, and jewelry metals are nice and soft for tapping. I'd love to get a metal lathe at some point, but it's not on the horizon at the moment.
Rombie11 months ago
How much you selling them for? Yeah I could use one, I have black hair so my facial hair comes in fast so I shave daily.
joelav (author)  Rombie11 months ago
My profile has a link to my shop. I am out of stock on the heads now but should be getting more soon.
a.steidl11 months ago
Wow, I never thought of using cyanoacrylic as a finish before. I've used nitrocellulose, and love it, but it doesn't seem to like water too much after time.
joelav (author)  a.steidl11 months ago
It only works well on a lathe and on smaller items. I make badger brushes as well and finish them with CA. With enough coats, it's 100% waterproof. Just be careful because it is a very hard finish (like nitro) and can crack if you hit it just right.
a.steidl11 months ago
Very nice instructible, mate. Love woodworking, and need a lathe soon. :)
joelav (author)  a.steidl11 months ago
Lathes are fun. The learning curve is not very steep. Just beware that the supporting equipment like chisels, chucks, sharpening equipment, and centers can easily exceed the cost of the lathe itself.
a.steidl11 months ago
Dang that's pretty, after 12k grit! :)
abrannan11 months ago
Since you've got extra material, why not drill the hole a bit deeper, and run it with a drive center? Seems like you'd have to worry less about splitting with the dead center, and the I Italy rounding would be easier.
joelav (author)  abrannan11 months ago
I did for the first few. It's really hard to keep the top square and the hole perfectly centered with a drive spur. The dead center doesn't split the wood, when you try to drive the receiver in an off center hole is when splitting happens. Plus CA finishing is almost impossible with parts at both ends
eblackman111 months ago
well done sir, well done!
neo7166511 months ago
Looks great. I use a Fatboy that was me grandpas but been thinking of making one. Next on my list right now is an acrylic badger brush. I just gotta get a lathe first lol.
8bitMisfit11 months ago
That's awesome. I've seen razors out there like that cost $50 and up. great instructable.
Rombie11 months ago
Beautiful work. You should be selling these. I drop $40 a month on blades, it's a joke.
joelav (author)  Rombie11 months ago
I do sell them. I am out of stock now and need to order more heads. Not only are cartridges so expensive, a double edge razor gives you a much better shave with less irritation. I thoroughly enjoy shaving now