Thursday, November 5, 2009

Neil Miller - has another satisfied customer

I'm delighted the way my approach to straight shaving is working out. I now have:

A cheap Ebay razor and strop - just to get used to handling a straight, grips etc. and practising stropping without concern about damaging anything. And I am so glad I did, having made a complete mess with my early grip of the razor and stropping pressure. After a couple of days, things are improving.

A very fine razor and strop. The photos don't do them justice. Neil gave me this information about the razor - it adds to the feeling of connecting with the past by going back to traditional things:

"The razor is one made for Maurice Viane who had a gentleman's shop in Knightsbridge at the time of the Great War and probably up to or shortly before WW2.  His son Edgar was killed in action in Poland in 1917.  The steel came from a company called Edgar Allen & Co., who owned the Imperial Steel Works in Tinsley, Sheffield, so it is a carbon steel, Sheffield forged razor.  The Imperial works were opened in the late 1800s and the furnaces installed in 1912 were still in operation when the site closed in 1988.

I would put the age of this razor between 1930 and 1950.  It has a round point - safest to learn with - and is slightly less than full hollow ground, giving it quite a firm blade which is not as hard to get used to as the really wafer-thin hollow ground razors.  I had three of these razors and this is the best of the bunch - it is elegant but understated, it's appeal lies mainly in the steel used and the fineness of the cutting edge.  This particular example has taken a very keen edge indeed!"

The strop - latigo leather/heavyweight cotton double hanging. Together with pastes and advice about maintaining the strop in good condition.

And finally, I have sent two good quality vintage razors for Neil to restore about which I will post later.

It has been a real pleasure to deal with Neil. It is reassuring to have someone who makes or restores the things you use regularly who is there for consultation when you need them. I can happily recommend him to anyone who wants to take up the challenge of straight shaving.

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