Saturday, February 18, 2017

H. Böker Restore

This is a copy of the write-up Kevin did on The Shave Den concerning my H. Böker straight's restore.


A relatively quick turnaround on this vintage Böker belonging to fellow member and brush-maker Jim @Jayaruh. The razor itself needed a through cleaning and honing. 

Like many 'well-loved' 80+ year old razors, this Böker had some evident spine wear, particular near the nose. It didn't appear severe enough to compromise getting a good consistent edge. Many of these old carbon steel razors also tend to suffer from black rust on both blade and tang, particularly around the hinge point. Most of the surface rust was located near the spine, not the usable edge — good news! Some intrusion on the both sides of the tang, but the hinge point looked great. 
The initially hand-clewing revealed some stubborn rust areas that required the use of greaseless compounds on the buffer. After a progression from 180 grit to 600 grit, the majority of the external rust was gone. All that remained was some residual surface pitting (purely cosmetic). When cleaning or removing material off the blades, one has to be careful (not overdo it!) to not mar the maker's stamp nor any blade etching or engraving. Overzealous buffer work can easily result in softened, muted stamps or engraving.

The scales and hardware (bolsters) were in very goos shape and required polishing and buffing to bring some luster back.

Honing: Bevel set on the Cholera Pro 1000; followed by a Naniwa SS progression (3k> 5k>8k>10k>12>) which yielded a VERY keen (hht3-4) edge. After I took the razor for a test drive (a very close shave, by the way), I opted to take the razor back to the hones to 'soften' the edge a bit...remove some of the 'harshness' an extremely sharp edge can feel like on the face. I gave the blade a series of laps on a vintage Escher water stone, which tends to yield a very 'face-friendly' smooth feel. Still very keen, but perhaps slightly more 'comfy.'  Overall, Bökers make excellent shavers and this one certainly qualifies!

Here are a few 'glamour' shots taken before I pack this bad boy up and ship it out...

See the uneven wear along the spine and how it dips dramatically at the nose. Very common. 
Sometimes the wear can be too extensive and getting a good consistent edge is darn near impossible.
Pitting along the length on the spine. Rarely an issue unless it ruins the integrity of the blade's edge.

Rust removal on stamped tangs creates a 'balancing act' where one must remove some steel to eliminate or minimize the pitting but not obscure or damage the markings.

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