03-26-2015, 11:54 AM
#1
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I've been wanting to do a systematic evaluation of a few of my hones and I decided to use a pair of Gold Dollar razors that I had bought a long time ago for this. 

The choice of Gold Dollar razors was made because:

1) I have two of them, so I can evaluate the finished edges of two hones at a time
2) They're cheap
3) They have been shown to be good razors once they've been properly modified and honed

------------------

One was already modified by the previous owner who ground down the shoulder. It was supposedly shave-ready. The shoulders of GD's are usually ground down because they have very 'tall' stabilizers that don't allow the edge at the heel of the razor to lie flat on hones. I've been trying to get the edge on this razor up to par, but there was a finger-width section of the edge that would not hone up. I checked it using a marker, and found that the bevel was not set in that area. So it had to be reset.

Part 1 was setting the bevel on both razors. I initially tried to do it on my DMT 1000, but a short experiment showed me that would be a lot of work, so I dug out the big guns.

[Image: IMG_20150325_153118.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20150325_153238.jpg] 

Here are the bevel-setting hones. 

1) DMT 220/325 combo - usually used to lap my hones and not for razors
2) DMT 1000
3) DMT 8000

DMT hones cut quickly, so big jumps in grit are not usually an issue. 

I had to use the DMT 325 to set the two bevels. The one that had already been worked on just took about 30 strokes, and then I was able to move to the 1000. 

The other one (brand new), was a real pain. The factory 'bevel' was not really a bevel and the edge was wavy. It took a lot of work to get the bevel to set and also to flatten it. Several hundred strokes. I taped the spine for this process, and had to replace the tape every 50 strokes. This took a looooooonnngggggg time. Hats off to the guys who do this regularly. 

Once both razors had the bevels set, it was time to move on to the other hones. Here is the procedure I used on the next two:

1) Tape the spine - do 20 circular strokes on each side (this removes the scratch pattern from the previous hone) - then 30 X-strokes on each side. 
2) Rinse the hone, retape the spine and do 50 more X-strokes.

I did this first with the DMT 1000, and then the DMT 8000. At this point, they would cut arm hair. 

Next thing up was moving to the finishing hones, but that will be discussed in a separate thread. 

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 03-26-2015, 12:29 PM
#2
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Nice razors. I think I should get one of these one day

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 03-26-2015, 04:02 PM
#3
  • geezer
  • Senior Member
  • Menomonie, Western WI
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Your experience was about par. Depending on the vender and when they bought the lot of razors there is a great difference in quality of grind. The shoulders are usually the first thing to look to regrinding or deciding not to by deciding if the hone will  hit the shoulder, or not, for a few honings. Then to assess the spine and bevel and deal with the failures there.
But, the final step for any razor most hone guys forget:
Assure that the shoulder and the toe end of the spine are not sharp! If either is sharp, the shoulder will raise heck
(read shred!) the near edge of a strop and fingers and thumb. The un-softened end of the spine will scratch across a strop in a heart beat.

They can be good razors and I have a couple I really enjoy shaving with but...in my opinion they are not a first razor and should not be a first hone project.
You done good!
~Richard

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 03-26-2015, 04:08 PM
#4
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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The inconsistencies of grind quality with the Gold Dollar razors, and efforts needed in order to achieve an acceptable result .. seem to negate any cost savings that these razors offer initially.

Thanks for sharing your experiences here, Yohann. Smile

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 03-26-2015, 04:11 PM
#5
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I bought one of these straight razors a few weeks back and thankfully it had been honed properly by the previous owner, gave a fantastic shave.

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 03-27-2015, 12:38 AM
#6
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I really can't believe you needed to go below a 1K stone to set the bevel on a Gold Dollar? especially with a full hollow grind I recon I could set the bevel on both those razors with either a 1K Chosera Naniwa or a most othe 1K synthetics in less than a minute and using DMT's well that's real overkill in my eyes.

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 03-27-2015, 06:08 AM
#7
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Jamie - 

You wouldn't believe how bad the one razor was. I didn't need to use the lower grits for the other razor, but the one that was new was really bad. There was a lot of work to be done to straighten the edge. If I was thinking properly, I would have started by butterknifing the edge first, but I didn't. 

DMT plates may be overkill, but they're really the only low-grit hones I have. Everything else is a finisher. I guess I could have started on my Oozuku with the low-grit nagura, but I didn't want to use the Oozuku for these blades (I am testing something else). 

Also, the DMT scratch patterns are distinctive, and I wanted to evaluate the finishing hones for speed (how quickly the scratch pattern disappeared). 

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 03-27-2015, 08:20 AM
#8
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(03-27-2015, 06:08 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: Jamie - 

You wouldn't believe how bad the one razor was. I didn't need to use the lower grits for the other razor, but the one that was new was really bad. There was a lot of work to be done to straighten the edge. If I was thinking properly, I would have started by butterknifing the edge first, but I didn't. 

DMT plates may be overkill, but they're really the only low-grit hones I have. Everything else is a finisher. I guess I could have started on my Oozuku with the low-grit nagura, but I didn't want to use the Oozuku for these blades (I am testing something else). 

Also, the DMT scratch patterns are distinctive, and I wanted to evaluate the finishing hones for speed (how quickly the scratch pattern disappeared). 

Yohann,


 I now see where you are coming from I didn't realize the one razor was in such bad order I fully understand your reason for getting the DMT hones out,  as I have myself on the rare occassion especially when I have a real bad wedge in with major issues such as hone ware and geometry problems said to myself to hell with it and just automatically reached for the 320 DMT.

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 03-27-2015, 12:53 PM
#9
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(03-26-2015, 12:29 PM)EJaggerMan Wrote: Nice razors. I think I should get one of these one day

They can be, but given the work required to get one of these to take a consistent edge, I would suggest getting a vintage razor instead. Those can also be had for decent money and if they're in good shape, they have fewer issues that need to be worked out. 

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 03-27-2015, 12:54 PM
#10
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Richard - those are good points, especially the one about the toe and heel scratching the strops. I will watch out for that. 

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 06-18-2015, 09:37 AM
#11
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When starting out the new guy should only concern himself with two things, learning to strop and learning to shave, not repairing a razor, especially with those issues. I agree GD razors are not one I would recommend as a first razor to shave with or to hone. Another one to watch out for are Double Arrows as they seem to have similar issues. I had a couple of both and once I fixed the flaws in them they honed up pretty well and gave a decent shave. These are razor that could be good learning tools one should maybe take a look at later if interested in restoring and learning how to repair flawed razors.

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 06-18-2015, 11:12 AM
#12
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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Gold Dollars are mixed bag, some are much better than others. The last two I bought were 208s, one is much better than average and the other much worse. The bad one was warped (banana-shaped spine). But at under $12 each, I can throw the "bad" one away and have $24 in a pretty decent razor. But I didn't, I beat the bad one into submission with DMTs and although ugly, it shaves fine. I didn't have to brute force it, I just decided to, really to see how badly it was warped (pretty badly BTW).

I can't recall picking one up to shave with to enjoy the shave - always to test hones, methods, compare edges with my fellow honerati, and this is indeed where they shine. They're pretty much all the same, the steel is good, so if you're having a comparison or a throwdown, it takes razor variability out of the equation. They're also great for travel because if you lose one or leave it in the hotel, who cares, get another one.


Here's how I do them from the factory:

Wash all that oil off them and try not to trigger the pollution alarms or plug your drains! You usually don't have to worry about cutting yourself (or anything lol) at this point, but be careful.


Put a straight edge to the spine to see if it's crooked/warped. If it is, you might politely ask for an exchange if the curvature can't be corrected in the next steps, but the postage hardly makes it worthwhile. Caution, you may see some unevenness because the spine has never hit a wheel/hone I believe, that's OK.

Take a look at the overall edge shape for up sweeps, smiles, etc.

Tape the EDGE and hone the spine until you have hone wear all along the spine, meaning no high or low spots. A small low spot is OK if it isn't at the very ends of the spine. Maybe OK then if not very long.

Taking a Dremel to the shoulder is nice but not been necessary on the 208s or the 800s I've had, but the QC is pretty much non-existent so YMMV.

Untape the edge and Sharpie the edge and the spine. Make a couple light passes over a 1-2k stone and observe the pattern, then hone to it. All the ones I've had lately have overground heels on the show side and need a LOT of extra DMT love down there. But oddly, the non-show side is pretty normal. You may get tired before it does! If so, just relax and do something else until your ready to beat on it again.

BTW, I have not gotten the heels perfect on the last 2 I bought, so of you can get a set bevel to within 1/8" or so of the real heel, you're doing as well as I did. You can get it perfect, but it might take a lot more metal removal.

Take your DMT or edge of the 1k and smooth the back of the heel, this would be the choile if it were a knife. Also smooth the nose and be careful near the edge, it is (now) thin and won't take much pressure.

That's pretty much it. Make sure it passes whatever bevel set test you favor. IME, Gold Dollars are a little more sensitive to hone properties and seem to like hard fine hones a bit better than softer ones (I use Jnats).

Don't hesitate to wear that thing out on those DMTs, Choseras, and Shaptons, they're half hollow and can stand pressure better than hollows. The spine wear will likely look terrible, but they'll hone just fine once you have a fully set bevel.

Cheers, Steve

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