Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Glorious Bygone Era of Traditional Straight Razors

The traditional straight razor or more lovingly called “cut-throatrazor” has been around since the early part of the 19th century, but it was not until 1932 that the first commercially produced straight razors started to be sold in Germany. These straight razors were made in Solingen, a small town in Germany which is known to produce some of the best cutlery products in the world, particularly scissors, knives and in this case, straight razors. 

Besides Germany, England and France are also considered to be among the best countries in Europe that make some of the world's best straight razors with regard to having the sharpest razor blades that earn their reputation of giving you the smoothest shave possible. Straight razors, particularly those that are made from England, France and Germany are made from the highest quality carbon steel materials. Carbon steel has been the first choice in making these sharp blades because of their unique metallurgical properties. 

The most common method of making the straight razor blades require carbon steel bars to undergo a heating process to slightly soften its metallurgical properties. Once the carbon steel bars are hot enough, they are subjected to a forge cutter, which cuts the initial shape of the straight razor while giving it its shape, along with its hollow ground. The newly cut blades are then dipped in powdered lead and is again dipped in molten lead to further tempering it, fortifying the hardness of its blade. It is then taken out from its molten lead bath and immersed in oil to seal off its pores, making it more resistant to oxidation

The heat tempered blades are then given their initial sharpening by subjecting them to a double wheeled grinding whetstone that gives the straight razor its distinctive concave cross section. After getting an initial sharpness, the blades are finally given one last honing that is undertaken by craftsmen who are well experienced in sharpening straight razors with their hands. The final stage in the production is attaching the scales (the handle) of the straight razor by inserting pin stems through the razor blade's tang, in which they are finally inspected and given the “falling hair” cutting test to determine the quality of their sharpness.