Sheffield Restoration

Geo. Smith.jpg

 So - basically - I shifted gears on this project. 

What happened was; I used the scales I was making for the Warranted blade for my Geo. Smith Wedge. 

Reason? 

Well - the Warrented blade I started with here has a very ‘off’ grind and getting it to center in the scales as I had them set up was going to be extemely difficult. Plus -  the original scales for the Geo. Smith were starting to become extremely problematic. 

So - I used thise new scales for the Smith - and I’ll make new scalest for the Warranted. The new set will get a slightly thicker wedge and I might angle the pivot pin too. I’ll probablhy taper them a bit more also.  

Warranted 11.jpg

 The wedge is in place now, pinned with brass rod. I didn’t use washers to keep the styling consistent with the age of the blade and the shape of the scales. I still have a lot of sanding to do but a lot of the hard work is behind me now. I could go ahead and pin the blade in now but I want to smooth things out a bit more than they are right now. This is going to be a daily driver razor, not a shelf warmer; perfect isn’t important but a little finesse can go a long way here. I may polish the blade a bit more also. 

Warrented 10.jpg

The start of the sanding stages begins with using a dremel sanding drum to start off beveling at the edges. Once that chamfer cut is done then I move to 220x w/d paper. From here on out it’s all hand sanding, all by eye and judged by feel and visual inspection. Once I have the beveling rounded evenly enough I’ll probably be able to shift to 320x paper. At that point, the sanding goes quickly; I’ll have to put the wedge in at one point but I have to make sure all of the scratches have been sanded out first.  In this photo, you can see the edges have been rolled off and that the scales have been thinned out a bit. Each successive sanding removes more material - the goail is to wind up with the right shape with nicely beveled edges and similar thickness on each slab. 

Warrented 9.jpg

Once I have the wedge pin and pivot pin holes done, I can start doing the 1st stage of hand-sanding.

Warranted 8.jpg

I start the pilot hole for the wedge and pivot pins with a gizmo called a pin-vise. Then I use a regular drill to complete the job. A drill press would be better, but I don’t have one so I make do with what’s on hand.

Warranted 7.jpg

With a dremel, I use a cutting disc and a drum sander to cut out the outline for the basic shape of the scales.  The outline of the original scales is larger than the actual pieces so I’ll be dressing these down bit by bit until I get to the outside dimensions close. Then, I’ll be using a hand-file to take the shaping a bit further.  After that - I need to drill the holes for the pivot and wedge pins. 

Warranted 6.jpg

Time to cut new scales. Here, I’ve traced the outline of the original scales on the slabs. Next, I’ll use two-sided tape to stick the slabs together; I’ll cut both at the same time and the tape will help me keep the same profile on each side. 

Warranted 5.jpg

Here - the scales are completely taken apart, and the blade has been cleaned up significantly.  I am not a fan of high-polish finishes on vintage Sheffield razors. I prefer these old birds to continue on in style, with some of their patina and battle scars showing proudly. This is a very old blade - the forging at the tang is somewhat primitive, some of the grind marks are still visible, and the shape on the tail is rough. 

Warranted 4.jpg

The two arrows above point to the wedge pins. Usually, when there’s only one pin, you can move the scales back/forth a bit to loosen them. Not this time - the second pin had the scale frozen. I wanted to use the scale as a template for the new set so I had to spend a lot of time working it free. The inside of the opposite side tells all - these scales need to go. 

Warranted 3.jpg

If you look closely above, you can see that there are two pins there. I can only imagine that this was from a very early repair. It makes me wonder just how old this blade really is. 

Warranted 2.jpg

 Pulling the blade out was easy enough. Side cutters help alot. Even so - the pivot pin was a bit tough, it might not have been brass. I’ve seen steel pins used on these old wedges before.  The horn scales are brittle and stiff, so they cracked a bit but that’s fine - I’ll be making new scales for this blade. 

Warranted 1.jpg

This is how the razor arrived. The photo makes it look better than it is. The scales are shot, the wedge is almost gone, an early repair left two pins at the wedge, the horn scales are delaminating and chipping, the blade is dark from heavy oxidation and there is active rust up in the pivot. 


© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2018