Introduction: Razor Travel Case

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

These are my double edge (DE) safety razors. They are classified as three piece razors. (See the second photo.) The top cap (center of the three pieces) has a screw stud cast into it. These sometimes break off. I wanted a rugged, inexpensive, and convenient protector for when I travel. I decided to make a travel case from PVC.

Step 1: Materials

I used a 3/4" PVC Tee on which the center stub is threaded for a 1/2" PVC nipple. I also had a short piece of gray threaded 1/2" PVC that I used.

Tools I used are a fine tooth handsaw and some sandpaper.

Step 2: Cut 1/2” PVC to Length

Thread the 1/2" PVC into the Tee. Place your razor with the longest handle so the head aligns with the widest part of the Tee. Add a quarter of an inch or so and mark the 1/2" PVC. Saw the 1/2" PVC off with a handsaw. Use sandpaper to remove the shreds clinging to the edge of the cut. Smooth the saw marks with the sandpaper.

Step 3: Put the Razor Into the Travel Case

Razor blades are not allowed in carry-on airline luggage. Remove the blade and pack it in your checked luggage, or plan to buy blades after you arrive. Blades sold by "dollar" stores get reasonably good reviews from users of safety razors. See the second photo. Center the screw stud in the threaded opening on the Tee.

Step 4: Screw in the Handle

Place the end of the handle into the threaded opening on the PVC and catch the threads on the screw stud. Twist the handle onto the screw stud, but do not overtighten. Some razors, like my silver finish razor, would not catch the threads unless I held the Tee so the threaded opening pointed downward toward the floor. It was a little trickier, but it worked. I can also catch the stud threads more easily if I use my little finger to lift the top cap a little toward the threaded opening of the Tee.

Step 5: Closed and Ready to Travel

The photo shows my razor protected by my new, very rugged travel case. I could trim the smooth openings on the Tee to make them correspond more closely to the long side of the razor's head. If you are concerned about the small amount of free movement the razor has inside this PVC travel case, stuff some facial tissue around it through the opening.

To remove the razor from this case, unscrew the gray PVC. Unscrew the handle from the razor. Slide the razor head out of one side of the Tee. Insert a blade in the head and screw the handle to the head.

Step 6: Cheap Stuff

This is a bonus section.

My six dollar razor--The price of five blade shaver cartridges and some difficulty finding cartridges for my first generation handle made me look for less expensive alternatives. I decided to try an old-style double edge safety razor. But, what if I decided it was not for me? I did not want a lot of money invested in a razor I later found unworkable for me. So, I bought a cast zinc alloy head with an open comb on one side and a closed comb on the other side. See the first photo. You can buy razor heads like this for less than $6 US delivered. Mine came from China and I waited a few weeks for it to arrive. You can order these from vendors on eBay. West Coast Shaving also sells cast heads. (Most razors have zinc alloy cast heads, unless you spend around $100 and up.) Since buying this, I have found, as others also say, there really is not much difference between an open comb head and a closed comb head, unless you have a heavy beard growth. But, in the meanwhile, I had decided I prefer a closed comb razor and I shelled out $30 US for a Merkur 23C. But, it was not as aggressive as I need for attacking my "old man" whiskers.

What do you do when you buy a razor that gets very favorable reviews, but it does not work as you expected? Answer: You do what DE shavers have done for many decades. You shim the razor. Notice the red item with three holes in it from the first photo. It is a piece from a plastic file folder. You cut a piece of your chosen shim material and you use a common hole punch to accommodate the blade alignment studs in the head's cap piece. Then you place your shim between the blade and the bottom plate. This increases the blade exposure. Many people use an old razor blade from which they have trimmed the sharp edges. Some use more than one. If you need more than two, it might be good to look for a thicker shim material. There is a lot of YMMV ("Your mileage may vary."). That means your face is different from everyone else's, also in what is needed to get a good shave. I now have a piece of a lid from a margarine tub as the shim in my Merkur 23C. It adds 0.035 inch, but my Merkur now does a much better job of giving my face a clean shave, and it very seldom cuts or nicks me. (See also below on shaving soap. I had been using a Castile soap in place of shaving cream. When I found real shaving soap, it made my whiskers stand up better, and my razor cut more efficiently. That was unexpected, and it is not always about the razor.)

What about a handle? You can buy handles or borrow one from another razor. Some use 10-32 threads and others use M5 x .8 threads. Although not exactly the same, they are close enough to be interchangeable. I made a 4" long handle from 3/8" steel rod and added grooves for a good grip. I center drilled one end and tapped the hole for 10-32 threads. I heated it with a MAP gas torch and it turned a nice charcoal gray. I sprayed it with clear matte finish lacquer to protect from rusting.

If you break the screw stud... I am very careful with the screw stud in both of my razors. I do not overtighten and I smear some Vaseline on the threads regularly for lubrication. But, I see blog comments from people who broke the screw stud on a pretty good razor and now feel the need to buy a new razor. A guy at YouTube did a video on how he drilled a hole where the screw stud had been and used a stainless steel screw from the hardware store to attach his razor head. There is a word of caution, though. Razors costing less than $100 or so have heads cast from a zinc alloy known as zamak. It rots in the presence of water. Some protective coating will be needed to keep water away from the zinc alloy.

Shave stand-- I decided a shaving brush and soap would help me get a closer shave. I needed a shave stand to hold the brush so it can dry. They get expensive fast. I made my own from 1/8" and 3/16" steel rod. I found steel pipes to use as forms for bending radii needed. Then I used a MIG welder to weld the pieces together. I gave it all a satin finish with fine sandpaper and sprayed it with matte finish lacquer to protect from rusting.

Shave soap-- A mall store nearby specializes in supplies for men (faces and heads) and women (legs) who wish to shave with a DE razor. Shaving soap there is $30 or more per bar. A Castile soapmaker lists some uses on-line for their soap. Lather for shaving is one use. It does make a thinner lather, and multiple applications left my skin feeling a soap burn. I put a half teaspoon of my wife's hair conditioner into my lather bowl from the tableware section of Bed, Bath & Beyond ($3 US) and it mixes in quite well while whipping up the lather with my brush. My skin feels much better after multiple applications of the lather now. But, I also found actual shave soap for about $4 recently. It makes my whiskers stand up better for a really clean shave. I need more than one applications before the whiskers stand up like they can, though.

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