07-04-2012, 11:12 AM
User Info
Part 1 of this series of threads on the Rolls Razor described some of the more common models of this razor. This part will deal with instructions on how to use it, and how to choose one when buying it in the wild.


Usage Instructions:

The best thing I can do is to reproduce the instructions from one of my Imperial #2 razors.

[Image: IMG_20120704_140620.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20120704_140627.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20120704_140646.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20120704_140652.jpg]

I'll speak more about the usage when I discuss using one for a shave, but for now let's see how you put the blade and handle together for a shave.

Here's an Imperial #2 handle, it's shown with the lower segment unscrewed partly for blade insertion.

[Image: IMG_20120704_135859.jpg]

You then slip the hooked end over the blade spine and tighten the handle by screwing in the lower segment.

[Image: IMG_20120704_135923.jpg]

Here's a pic with the Imperial #1 and #2 razors assembled for use.

[Image: IMG_20120704_140021.jpg]

So yes, the rest of the case/box is there only for stropping and honing. The razor itself is just the blade/safety bar and handle.

The blade is like a segment of an 8/8" meat-chopper straight razor.

[Image: 974747.jpg]

This gives rise to the description of the Rolls Razor as 'A straight on a stick'.


Buying a Rolls Razor

These Rolls Razors are frequently seen on online auction sites and in antique stores. For the most part, the razor survives in good shape. The case is basically indestructible. The blades are thick and the stropping handle is always in place.

The case may not be shiny, but even if it looks like this:

[Image: IMG_20120704_135534.jpg]

It can be polished up pretty easily.

The issues start when you look in the razor. When buying a Rolls Razor you need to look for basically three things.

1) Is the hone absent or broken?

As you can see in the case of my Imperial #1 set, the hone is broken.

[Image: IMG_20120704_140217.jpg]

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the hone has limited use, but it is not nice when it's missing entirely.

2) Is the razor handle missing?

This is more serious, as the razor is useless without the handle. I buy these incomplete sets for parts.

Here's an incomplete set:

[Image: IMG_20120704_135551.jpg]

Believe me, you can spend hours trying to convince an antique store owner that the stropping handle is not the razor handle. Wink They just won't listen.

In this set above you can also see a very badly damaged strop.

If you don't see one of the handles below in your set, you should consider skipping it (except for parts).

[Image: IMG_20120704_140021.jpg]

3) What condition is the blade in?

The blades usually survive in good shape, but if they were stored in a damp environment, then you can have rusting issues.

[Image: IMG_20120704_135612.jpg]

Strangely enough, this blade is recoverable. However, you'll need some serious restoration tools and skill to bring that back to life.


So, you bought a Rolls Razor with all its parts and a nice, shiny blade. You're ready to hone, strop, and use it. Are you ready to go?

Short answer: No!

These vintage razors need to be professionally honed before use. Do not think you can use the included hone to get the blades to shave-readiness.

More on that later.

39 1,750
 07-04-2012, 11:29 AM
User Info
I have a Rolls that I was able to clean up really nicely. I spent 2 solid weekends using the included hone to try and make the blade shave-ready. It did not work. I will second what Yohann says about having it professionally honed. I haven't taken that step, nor do i know how so I'm really looking forward to the next part.

Yohann, once the blade has been professionally honed will the Rolls' own strop & hone keep it serviceable for a long time? If not, how often will a trip to the hone-meister be recommended? Thanks for all this great info. I really hope to be able to shave with mine someday.

31 8,065
 07-04-2012, 12:31 PM
User Info
Very interesting!

Looking forward to additional installments.

32 6,609
 07-04-2012, 02:57 PM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
(07-04-2012, 12:31 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Very interesting!

Looking forward to additional installments.


Good stuff Yohann Thumbsup

23 1,872
 07-04-2012, 03:44 PM
User Info
Indeed! That portion of the article about "what to look for" is really helpful. SisiThumbsup

2 5,600
 07-04-2012, 05:50 PM
User Info
(07-04-2012, 11:29 AM)SharpSpine Wrote: ........................

Yohann, once the blade has been professionally honed will the Rolls' own strop & hone keep it serviceable for a long time? If not, how often will a trip to the hone-meister be recommended? Thanks for all this great info. I really hope to be able to shave with mine someday.

Brian -

That depends on -

A) How the blade was honed (you'll see what I mean when I start discussing that).
B) The condition of the strop

I'll be honest and say that I don't use the Rolls hone. I never really gave it a shot as it's nowhere near as fine as my finishing hones.

The Rolls strop is apparently on par with barbers hone (reported by other users), so I'm currently giving it a chance to show that it can be used to touch-up an edge. However, it's never going to be as fine as some of the hones I have access to, so I probably won't use it for touch-ups much.

Anyway, I'll tell you about my results with it once I've made up my mind on it.

Now, to return to your question - with just the strop (which is what I use after I have honed the blade), you can keep the edge going for months. Again, that depends on the two points above.


The next few parts of these Rolls threads will take some time to get done. It is time-consuming to take all the pics of each step of the process.

39 1,750
 07-04-2012, 05:52 PM
User Info
Thanks Yohann. I'll look forward to more information.

31 8,065
 07-05-2012, 10:42 AM
User Info
Yohann, thanks for the info on an interesting razor.

93 21,373
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)