06-23-2014, 01:40 PM
#1
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Quite a while ago I began acquiring Rolls Razors, figuring correctly, that I would be able to piece together a really nice kit and have plenty of spare parts by bidding on RR kits that no one else bid on. I never spent big money for anything I bought. I wound up with plenty of useable kit bodies, one (or 2?) useable hones, and before refurbishing them, 1, or was it 2? useable strops. After refurbishing I have what I think will be 5 useable strops. They will be required to experiment with various grits of grit Biggrin required to maintain the blade. The hones? Not exactly the grit required for best Rolls maintenance or so my guru tells me. But lapping film will work fine on the hone surface.

So today I received in the mail my 5 blades I sent to a friend in the UK for honing (Thanks Marcus!). I haven't used the razor yet, but maybe tonight I can persuade my face that it needs a shave. I'm giddy with anticipation. It's been a long time in process. Is there any razor with a higher "cool" factor than a Rolls? If there is I don't know of it. YMMV of course.

The goal here is to take someone with absolutely no knowledge of maintaining a straight edge razor edge, that would be me, and turning me into a person who can maintain the shaving edge indefinitely. The point is, if I can do it, anyone can.

Wish me luck!

Marcus has used these blades he honed so I know they are shave ready, now it's up to me with his guidance. If I'm successful in the long term I plan to post a "how to" along with Marcus' input. I can't be the only person with a Rolls Razor kit and a desire to use it.

I'll post here no matter how it goes.

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 06-23-2014, 01:46 PM
#2
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I wish you luck Brian but I am sure you will be just fine. Looking forward to your review.

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 06-23-2014, 02:03 PM
#3
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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I, too, am looking forward to how this plays out. However, I have complete confidence in you, Brian, so I'm expecting that "How to" posted pretty quickly. Thumbsup

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 06-23-2014, 02:22 PM
#4
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(06-23-2014, 01:40 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Quite a while ago I began acquiring Rolls Razors, figuring correctly, that I would be able to piece together a really nice kit and have plenty of spare parts by bidding on RR kits that no one else bid on. I never spent big money for anything I bought. I wound up with plenty of useable kit bodies, one (or 2?) useable hones, and before refurbishing them, 1, or was it 2? useable strops. After refurbishing I have what I think will be 5 useable strops. They will be required to experiment with various grits of grit Biggrin required to maintain the blade. The hones? Not exactly the grit required for best Rolls maintenance or so my guru tells me. But lapping film will work fine on the hone surface.

So today I received in the mail my 5 blades I sent to a friend in the UK for honing (Thanks Marcus!). I haven't used the razor yet, but maybe tonight I can persuade my face that it needs a shave. I'm giddy with anticipation. It's been a long time in process. Is there any razor with a higher "cool" factor than a Rolls? If there is I don't know of it. YMMV of course.

The goal here is to take someone with absolutely no knowledge of maintaining a straight edge razor edge, that would be me, and turning me into a person who can maintain the shaving edge indefinitely. The point is, if I can do it, anyone can.

Wish me luck!

Marcus has used these blades he honed so I know they are shave ready, now it's up to me with his guidance. If I'm successful in the long term I plan to post a "how to" along with Marcus' input. I can't be the only person with a Rolls Razor kit and a desire to use it.

I'll post here no matter how it goes.

Brian,

I have been using and, without intending to become a collector, acquiring Rolls Razors. I now have 15 of assorted models.
I am gradually going through them, sterilizing, cleaning, degreasing and overhauling them and then trying each one to get it in acceptable user condition. It is a long slow process. There is a man in Toronto who does an excellent job of bringing the edges to perfection.
I am, however, trying to learn how to hone and strop them myself. It is frustrating but I am determined.

I am going to my daughter-in-law's for supper now. Tomorrow I can send you some excellent sources of the Rolls history, restoration and maintenance. And try to answer any questions you may have that I am able.

MIckey

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 06-23-2014, 02:23 PM
#5
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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Brian, I look forward to learning from your efforts.

I have a Rolls Razor, and I believe the hones/strops are in decent shape. The blade would need to be sent out for sharpening, however.

I'll be curious to know if one can maintain the blade with the included hones/strops. I would also like to know how aggressive the razor is.

- Murray

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 06-23-2014, 02:55 PM
#6
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Murray, what the gent did to hone mine was to use the segment of straight razor blade required for the rolls on his hones using the blade itself as the sharpening jig, as intended if it was a straight razor. By me using the Rolls jig I'll make a 4 facet blade, similar to the GEM SS blades I now use. Then for me to maintain it I only maintain the 2 cutting facets using the Rolls kit. No honing stone. The Rolls hone will only be the base for the lapping film should it ever be needed, or diamond spray on a spare strop. We don't know what will work at this point so I remain flexible. The hope is that honing more than that will never be required because the strop with the backing panel will never round over the cutting edge. The Rolls honing stone is way too coarse according to my friend. But we'll see how it plays out. With that I just gave up every bit, and more, of the little I know about straight razors.

As I wrote, whether it works or not, I'll be sure to post here. This should be fun! Or if not fun, interesting at the very least. I've never shaved with anything remotely like a straight razor and this is as close as I intend to get at this time. The Rolls limits the depth of slab removed from the face to about 1/8" deep. Not exactly what I picture as a "safety razor". Biggrin I figure it should make the Muhle '11 R41 seem sort of like a Tech in comparison. I need to keep my "razor familiarity" in check and understand that all of the razors I prefer can bite.

I have serious misgivings about this as I have with no other razor. Hopefully all my misgivings will be totally unfounded. (crossed fingers emoticon goes here) I don't need more scar tissue, especially on my face.

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 06-23-2014, 07:21 PM
#7
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Best of luck, Brian! Smile

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 06-23-2014, 09:10 PM
#8
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Well, the first shave is complete. Clearly I have a lot to learn about stretching the skin and such. I stretched the skin with SE and DE shaving but I suspect I need to do it even more with the Rolls.

The good news is that I drew no blood, the bad news is that the shave I got tonight isn't up to my standards. I also probably need to get the blade sharper. But the razor definitely removed hairs and nothing needs to heal so I claim a success. It would be a DFS in anyone's book.

It's also a shave that doesn't appear to be able to be rushed. I also wonder if a better shave will result if I have more stubble to remove. I've been shaving with the '11 R41 lately and that gives an extremely close shave. Even after 24 hours, which is what I had between shaves tonight, there simply isn't much to remove. But I simply had to use the Rolls Razor.

Murray, it's not a Tech. Look at the comb and where the blade is. There's a lot of exposure. As I was shaving I was thinking that the comb/guard whatever one calls it couldn't be removed just to get it out of the way. Then it would be basically a straight razor with an odd handle. I can't figure out what the comb is there for since it does nothing. Near as I can figure the blade is laid parallel to the skin as though taking a slice of skin off. Of course by using a light hand and stretching the skin the goal is only to remove the whiskers. It might sound scary, but the thought is worse than the reality. It was actually pretty easy to do. If you have sensitive skin it might be a problem, but I have a slight sunburn and I had no problem.

I still don't think I want to get a straight razor, but after this one experience I think I could handle one. I don't think I can get my bad wrist to do the motions required with a straight razor though. Again, the Rolls is basically using a straight razor with a strange handle. I could be wrong, but I feel that blade maintenance will be the largest learning curve, and the gent who honed my blades and I will put something together if I'm successful at this in the long term. Much of it straight razor users already practice. Coming to a Rolls Razor or any straight razor is an entirely different animal as far as maintenance. But we hope to do it with minimal gear.

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 06-24-2014, 02:26 AM
#9
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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Very nice project to be working on. While the Rolls Razor looks intimidating from today's pov anyone used to a straight should have no problems.

I have only one RR and honed the blades as I would my straights. While shaving I use an angle similar to what I would with a straight. Always thought shaving with a RR was like using an adze on your face due to the way the setup looked.

I am sure that when you get the blade sharpness dialed in and are a little more comfortable with the razor you will be getting some fine shaves in.

Bob

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 06-24-2014, 07:26 AM
#10
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Nice Brian. I've been wondering how things were progressing for you on the Rolls front. I look forward to hearing more as it unfolds for you. Godspeed my friend!

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 06-24-2014, 07:41 AM
#11
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Good to hear about the first shave, Brian, and good luck if you continue! Biggrin

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 06-24-2014, 08:47 AM
#12
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The blade guard isn't there to somehow protect your skin, like the bar on a DE. It is there to protect the edge of the blade from accidentally bumping in something.

Enviado de meu GT-I9505 usando Tapatalk

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 06-24-2014, 01:00 PM
#13
  • Exapno
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  • Northampton, England
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I agree with cegadede, the blade guard on the Rolls blade is probably there to protect the blade edge pre and post shave from knocks and dings. I don't think it serves much of a purpose during the shave.

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 06-24-2014, 07:23 PM
#14
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Thanks. I decided after dropping the blade tonight that I'll just keep it in place to protect it from me. Biggrin I know how easily carbon steel rusts so I keep a light coating of petroleum jelly on it. Fumble fingers let it slip.

Tonight's shave was quite good actually. I checked with Marcus and he told me that it would be OK so spend a lot of time stropping the blade, so while the TV was on I spent probably 4 minutes or more stropping it. I can actually see the dark color of the steel on the FeOx on the strop.

Last nights shave was a success largely because (IMO) I didn't need stitches. Tonight's shave isn't quite a BBS, but it's close. As with any razor, angle is critical and this requires the blade to almost be touching the skin on the spine and cutting edge. When I was able to do that the razor did it's job. My problem areas now are the chin and below the chin line.

One characteristic of this razor that blows my mind is that the feel of the shave immediately after the shave and 10 minutes later, or more, are completely different. I felt my face after the shave and it felt merely like a DFS, right now it feels more like a BBS. Yet it isn't a BBS because I can see areas, creases in the skin and such, where stubble can be seen. Areas of radius are tricky and the chin in particular is where I saw the stubble.

One more skill added to my list. But time will tell if I can maintain the edge for the long term.

Murray, you asked about aggressiveness. From what I'm experiencing, that term doesn't fit. It's completely different from any safety razor I've ever used and aggressiveness simply doesn't work with it. I absolutely no longer think of it as a safety razor at all. An adze, as someone else wrote is an apt description. Get the angle right and I don't feel anything at all. Get it wrong and one feels the blade, but not as aggressive, more like sandpaper. I can't describe it better. I really have no words for it. Maybe straight razor users would better be able to describe it. I'm just a noob.

Possibly as a beginner ones skin might pay the price, but once the angle is dialed in (mentally) I find no irritation at all. Frankly I think it's 100% a mind game as far the shave itself goes. But of course there is still the maintaining of the edge to be considered. That's where I think the trick will be.

FWIW, I ran my last nights shave past Marcus (my mentor in this) an he told me that did good to even get a DFS with the first shave. But tonights shave is even better so I'm really happy.

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 06-24-2014, 07:41 PM
#15
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Congratulations, Brian! You do have the time to try to master this razor, don't you? Biggrin

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 06-24-2014, 08:27 PM
#16
  • CMur12
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  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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(06-24-2014, 07:23 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Murray, you asked about aggressiveness. From what I'm experiencing, that term doesn't fit. It's completely different from any safety razor I've ever used and aggressiveness simply doesn't work with it. I absolutely no longer think of it as a safety razor at all. An adze, as someone else wrote is an apt description. Get the angle right and I don't feel anything at all. Get it wrong and one feels the blade, but not as aggressive, more like sandpaper. I can't describe it better. I really have no words for it. Maybe straight razor users would better be able to describe it. I'm just a noob.

From your description, Brian, I can understand what you mean. With no actual "safety bar" as we understand it today, the Rolls really does sound like a "straight razor on a stick" and it may well provide skills transferable to shaving with an open blade.

I remember seeing a scene on YouTube of a young man shaving with a Rolls. It might be a good time to look that up and compare experiences.

Thanks for the observations, Brian.

- Murray

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 06-24-2014, 10:23 PM
#17
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Murray, I just spent some time on YouTube looking at Rolls videos. What I'll say is that straight razor videos would probably be more valuable for knowing how to use the Rolls. One gent did OK.

The vids I saw regarding the kit are almost useless. The hone certainly is, or so I was told by Marcus. I saw one video where the gent was slapping the blades side to side on the stone. Not an approved technique for a useable blade.

Before putting your Rolls into final working shape why not wait until we get this figured out completely? It'll save you time and cash in the long run and it's something I enjoy doing for the community.

There is a good thread on this forum regarding basic getting a Rolls blade ready for honing. I removed minor rust on my blades with 1500 grit wet/dry paper. But stop there and give the blades a coating of petroleum jelly. Of course you can try on your own or work with us, I'm not trying to stop you, and more heads are better than one, but I'm already involved and no one else appears to want to carry the torch for these IMO incredibly interesting razors.

The shave I got tonight tells me that Marcus and I are on the right track. If my shaves with this razor get no better I'd call what I have a success, but I never stop with just good enough. I have no idea if the razor can get better, but I know my technique can. Noob here!

I want to see how soon I need to shave again to compare it with a disposable razor shave. AND, it'll just get better. Some of the comments I read under those YouTube videos claimed the Rolls were useless razors, curiosities and such... no way. They are good shave gear capable of a great shave! But can they be maintained with minor gear? That's the real question.

IMO there's no sense in honing blades and such if we can't maintain the shaving edge indefinitely w/o honing.

I wish I had held back one blade to see if I could bring it to shave ready status with just what's in the kit and what we will suggest. But I didn't. I wasn't thinking along those lines until just now.

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 06-25-2014, 02:31 AM
#18
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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I think you are quite right in that you cannot assign an aggressive factor to the Rolls Razor as it is not a DE. The blade is entirely exposed as with a straight razor and nobody talks about aggressiveness in relation to a straight. As with a straight getting a good shave boils down to blade sharpness, using the right angle and minimal/no pressure. I also find that a shave soap with good slickness to it's lather really helps too.

To get a ballpark angle on the blade use about 2 blade spine widths separation between your face and the razors spine for a with the grain pass. That seems to be what you are doing when you describe the spine almost touching the skin.

All in all it sounds like you are off to a good start. Yes, regard and use it as a straight razor on a stick, which it is, and not a DE.

Bob

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 06-26-2014, 08:05 AM
#19
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My 3rd Rolls shave is in the history books. Still no blood, just a great shave.

It was the best shave with it, by far, of the 3 shaves. Except for a small section on my chin that isn't quite a BBS, it would catch cotton from a cotton ball rubbed over it, the rest of the shave is a BBS. But I'm closing in on my goal.

I'm tickled with the Rolls. It's definitely different and I like variety.

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 06-26-2014, 10:20 AM
#20
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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If you like different, two more razors you should be on the lookout for are the Darwin and Wilkinson Empire razors. Similar to the Rolls but just enough different. It is a slippery slope.

Bob

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