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Lookie what I found!

The Hackett - Before

The Hackett - During

The Hackett - After clean & 1st polish

This is my first pass at cleaning it up.

I wish I could have better preserved the darkening of the blade etching. I'll have to look into methods of doing that. Maybe some combination of wax and acid?

Once I get it good and clean, I'll get a proper water stone and teach myself how to hone. Good thing I've got two blades, huh?

It was made somewhere between 1906 and 1912. I'm guessing the scales (handle) are celluloid. Yes, I know what that means and yes I'll be even more careful than I'd normally be with a blade sharp enough to cut hair with no more force than the stiffness of the cuticle.

Edited to add.

This thing is actually sharp enough to shave. Not a real comfortable shave, mind you, but a shave all the same.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
How lovely!
May. 12th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Made for a hardware store in St. Paul, no less. The other blade I've got is closer to a wedge (it is, in fact, self-described as a wedge). This one has a pretty hollow-grind, so the blade is very thin. It nearly sings when it's cutting.

I'm sorta considering replacing the scales with something fancier. Partly because I'm not thrilled by the prospect of using an item that's partly made from explosives and partly because the ones that were on it are kind of warped a bit.
May. 12th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Lemme check, but you should be able to use something to oxidize the 'valley' of the etching. McCreight's book had something right next to the patina section. There's always nitric acid, but I think there are some nicer alternatives.
May. 12th, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah. That's what I was thinking. I dug around a bit and some folks were suggesting either gun bluing or enamel. I might go with the enamel since that'd let me make the design bright red.

I suppose I could also electro-plate it in gold and then really carefully sand off the peaks.
May. 12th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
That is a cool find. Were you looking for one? Or did it call to you as you passed by?
May. 12th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
I went looking for something cheap to practice with.

The other day I picked up another one at an antique store, mostly because the blade was in good shape and I knew -- even without experience -- that I could probably turn it into a usable item. But getting anything like this good requires practice. So, this one. It didn't look so great to begin with, and it was cheap.

My goal here is to be shaving with fully vintage cut-throats that I've restored and honed myself. At a guess, I'd say I'll probably end up with one or two more, just to get the experience with making them usable. I like having a margin for catastrophic error.
May. 12th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Never a dull moment with you, my dear.
May. 13th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
One of the two is pretty dull, actually. :)
May. 13th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
<-- :-D
May. 13th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
That is a beautiful little implement. Two things come to mind:

- While taking a walk yesterday, I glanced into a barbershop and saw a female barber giving a customer a shave with a straight razor (two firsts).

- A few years ago, Lyn did some post-production work on a documentary about America's vanishing barbershops. One of the extras was an anecdote about a thankfully non-fatal but gruesome straight razor accident that had me laughing out loud and cringing at the same time. Remember to play safe...
May. 19th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
I've never seen either a woman barber or a barber shaving someone with a straight. Amazing! Also, awesome!

I've been shaving with a training-wheels version of a straight razor for a little while now. It's got removable, disposable blades.

The first thing I learned was that things which are described as 'razor sharp' aren't. Straight razors are really, really sharp. Sharper than anything I'd ever used before. The thing about holding something that supernaturally sharp -- at least for me -- it changes the way impulses that lead to hand movement happen. I get way, way more careful with it.

I suspect that'll change over time.

Also, I've got six more razors en route, all in various stages of needing cleaning / honing. One of them is a really lovely art nouveau piece made sometime between 1900 and 1930 in the rust belt before the oxidation set in. It's got this killer lily-of-the-valley silver inlay. I'm also keeping a hawk-like eye on a gorgeous, gorgeous razor made during the reign of King George V (1820-1830). If I can get it, I'm pretty confident it can be made fully usable. There are plenty of people out there who have others like it and use them daily. It just blows my mind that a tool almost 200 years old can be pressed into active service now.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )