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I Forge Iron

Straight razors ?


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I can generally see the change in metal on an old patinated chisel that's steeled wrought iron.

To get a solid read out there is spark spectroscopy and other high tech (read expensive) methods.

Then there are things like spark testing with a grinder and evaluating the sparks---helps to have samples to compare it with:  coil spring, A36, file, etc

Finally and not suggested for this usage: heat to nonmagnetic and quench in water and see if it cracks and if not tap it with a hammer on the anvil WEARING PPE and see if it shatters, etc.

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Yes, files 'can' be used.

However, other than the geometry, heat treatment is the main stumbling block for straight razor newbies. and because the edge is so very thin, it is more important than if you were making a machete for example. Known tool steel such as 1086, 1095, O1, L6 or 15N20 are abundant and very cheap.

You stand a much better chance to make a decent razor using known steels, and if you are experiencing troubles during heat treatment, it is much easier for others to give you advice. Many files are good steel but unknown steel.

My advice is don't use old files for razors but use known tool steel.

As for chisels, be careful. It is not uncommon for chisels to be made using a high carbon part and a low carbon body. Granted, not your everyday cheap chisel probably, but I've seen a couple like that.

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Thanks snail forge, I saw that you need up to a 12000 grit sanding stone. if I don't have that , should I rather not attempt it ? 

If I get some O1 or something, will I be able to forge it an then use files, stones and sanding paperon it instead of a grinder ? I have the patients to do it if it's possible.



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8000 is sufficient for shaving. Anything beyond that is just the cherry on top. The Norton 4000/8000 is my workhorse and pretty inexpensive.

The one thing I will say is that you have to shave with a razor and learn to sharpen them in order to know what it is about. It is also very helpful to buy a couple of vintage blades on ebay, take them apart and restore them to get a feel for the geometry. The main obstacle is hollow grinding, but if you don't have access to a grinder, you could essentially do the same with the stone of a benchtop grinder and lots of elbow grease.

I suggest you go to straightrazorplace and learn about shaving, terminology, and various other things that are related to straight razors. That will greatly improve your chances of success because you understand the thing you are trying to make.

For example, the number 1 thing knifemakers get wrong is the thickness. The thickness vs width ratio of a razor should be between 1/3 and 1/4 in order to get the correct angle on the bevel. So a 6/8 razor should be made using 3/16 to 1/4 " thick stock..

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I tried to going straight razor place, i couldnt register cause my adress was not valid cause I live on a farm.

I like hand finishing work, from the anvil to filing and sanding for days and weeks ... 

Do you perhaps know where in south Africa I can find such stones , or someone that might know ?



PS. What is the width ratio ? Relevant to what is the ratio measured, the thickness ?

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Could be differing postal codes too.  I once was signing up to get gas service for a new house and they demanded my *parents* address; Odd as I was in my late 20's married and working on a family; anyway my parents were living in the Netherlands and so I gave them the correct phone number and address and their computer would not accept it as it didn't meet american standards.  I showed them Mail addressed with it and they finally dropped their demand...

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