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Keeping a cutting edge sharp

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  • Keeping a cutting edge sharp

    While the parts and method I will explain is not metalworking related, I believe it is applicable to metalworking tools. Read on and let me know what you think.

    This is all about a razor blade. I used to replace my double edge blades every week. I've been using my current blades since 01-01-2001. And it still gives me great shaves. I've thought about retiring it, but have no reason to do it.

    What I do is:

    Wash thoroughly
    Lather my face
    Rinse the razor
    Dry the razor
    Blow the razor dry again

    Why I do what I do:

    There is no way my facial hair is harder than a steel razor blade. Shaving hair does not dull a blade. Two things cause a blade to go 'dull'.

    1. Dirt on your face. Dirt is very finely ground rock. Rock is harder than steel and will dull a blade.

    2. Water (or lubricants, soap, etc.) drying on the blade will form deposits that prevent the blade from reaching your face - giving that 'dull' feel to the blade.

    Washing your face removes the dirt that can damage the razor blade.

    Lather will lubricate your face and the blade.

    Rinse the razor after to use to clean it.

    Dry the blade by shaking excess water out, then towel drying it.

    Finally, I blow the blade dry. Moisture hides in between the blades and will form a residue if it dries in there.

    I'm currently using similar techniques with metal cutting with good results.

    Clean the metal before cutting. I also use a sacrificial tool for metals that can't be cleaned properly.

    Lubricate the part to protect the part and the tool. Prevent edge build up.

    Clean the tool before you put it away for storage.

    Mike L
    Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.
    Mike L
    Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.

  • #2
    Mike, ref your statement "...using my current blades since 01-01-2001..." Do you mean you've been using the SAME BLADE since 01/01/01, or, you're still working on the same package of blades?

    What you say makes sense. Cleaning face, drying blade after shaving, etc., does I'm sure extend the blade life. But based on my experience cutting even softer material does over time reduce the keeness of a sharp edge. For example cutting paper will very quickly dull an extremely sharp pocket knife.
    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


    • #3
      The same exact blade for over 2 years!

      I thought that maybe, I could get a month or more out of a blade.

      Don't tell anyone else about this, or Gilette may go out of business.

      BTW, paper doesn't dull a cutting edge, it is the impurities (dirt mostly) that are embedded in the wood fibers that is dulling the cutting edge. Cutting wood will even dull carbide because of the contaminants that are present in all wood.

      Mike L
      Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.

      [This message has been edited by Mike L (edited 01-06-2003).]
      Mike L
      Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.


      • #4
        I usually get about 3 or 4 months per blade (now using those twin blade "Shick Tracer" blades). I always do the face washing, then lather, but have never bothered to dry the blade aftrwrds ... just swish it in water to remove visible beard fragments. I'll try to remember and start drying it afterward.

        Oh yeah, I have to ask. You didn't wear a beard for a year or so did you?

        [This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 01-06-2003).]
        Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


        • #5
          No beard. Amount of facial hair is the same for the last 5+ years.

          You'd think I was trying to pull one over on you. I'm not, but if I was, I doubt I'd get away with it.

          Mike L
          Mike L
          Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.


          • #6
            I quit shaving 20 years ago next month. Quit shaving my neck when I trim my beard about 8 years ago. It's like banging your head against the wall, it felt so good when I stopped.

            But thanks for thinking of me.


            • #7
              I'm like Dunc. same blade for over 20years!


              • #8
                I used to use a straight razor - but I quit. Now I use hair clippers and just cut everything off. Bastards in the hospital shaved patches off my chest and for a while I looked like I had mange...


                • #9
                  Paper contains varying amounts of kaolin or clay, depending on the quality. This is mostly what dulls a blade when cutting paper.

                  All or most plant material contains silica, from what I read, in microcrystal form, that the plants roots extract from the soil and which ends up in or on the plants cell membranes. That is another element causing dullness when cutting paper. I've seen an old time barber stropping his razor on a sheet of newspaper, then proceed to shave a customer. Worked great.

                  From now on sharpen your tools with newspaper
                  You may win some bets with this


                  • #10
                    I have no idea how long a blade would last, I haven't shaved in 30+ years. A waste of time imho, you do it once and you gotta do it again the next day. The hair is there for a reason, damned if I know what it is, but it must have a reason. I just trim when the wife says it's time otherwise I wouldn't bother. Do my head at the same time but that dosen't take as long as it used to.
                    Paul G.


                    • #11
                      I had a beard for 25+ years, but had to shave it off about 4 years ago. Seems that OSHA has made it law that if you wear a respirator you can't have any facial hair. It doesn't matter if the respirator seals with a beard, IT'S THE LAW. I sure do miss that beard when I'm out hunting and it's 10 degrees. What a waste of time shaving is!



                      • #12
                        Thought you were going to tell about one of those Pyramid sharpeners. They are a cardboard model of the Great Pyramid and you put your blades in them and they get sharp again. I've always wondered if they actually work.

                        I've got a razor somewhere, last time I used it was the last week of June 1982. Never missed shaving since, Brenda has to about beat me to trim up. If it wasn't meant to be there it wouldn't grow wild there. Did get a haircut at a Barbershop last year, might get another one when it warms up.


                        • #13
                          Showed this to wife. she warns its not to be construed as permission for me to emulate you hairsute persons. I pointed out that it seems as though there is a correlation between lack of interest in shaving and intelligance.


                          If consenus is it makes you smart, then I shave no more. Wifes says around here even smart guys can't cook. Any idea what she really means?

                          And I miss my straight razor. Had to use one when working in water tanks, Kept skin rash from rust down. Then went back to USM- no problems about the razor. Even used it on troop ship. Takes some skill. Got broken and never replaced when my house boy borrowed it to slice ham and brokethe blade on a bone. Japanese sold a 10 yen straight razor (less than a dime USA) that cut well, but hard to sharpen. Straight razor is a very good shave.


                          • #14
                            My last blade is probably still good but since I got the electric shaver who knows? I would like to just let it grow, but then I would be wearing "the uniform" just like all the other old hot rodders and I don't have the money they have. And, I am more tolerant of other people's ideas of what is cool than they are. Got billet? Ina Dirt? Can't afford a '34 coupe? Don't wanna go there.....


                            • #15
                              President HarryTruman once demonstrated to reporters how he sharpened a razor blade by rubbing it around the inside of a wet drinking glass during the Depression. I have just started to resharpen my double edge Gillette blade by rubbing it against the bathroom mirror.

                              Down with conspicuous overspending! Down with gas guzzling SUVs! Up with resharpened razor blades and resharpened carbide inserts!

                              Frugality forever!!!!