SA940's Vintage Straights

Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Location
Piora, Nth NSW
A few weeks ago I received a batch of 20 straights from one of our newer members,Steve,a.k.a @SA940 .
He found them when he moved in to his family home,and what a find they were.I sent Steve a message with an initial report on the condition of the razors,which is copied below and then amended with more information after cleaning,and honing the ones that were able to be saved and/or used.I cleaned the rust/marks off all of them yet I knew right from the start that some were not able to be saved.
A bit of a long read guys-
Beyond Repair:
NO7, Unknown maker Barber Notch,5/8", very rusty including edge beyond repair with broken scales.
* This is a John Heiffer,Sheffield branded razor.
NO10, D.Peres, Solingen (Germany), 4/8", extreme hone wear resulting in blade narrower at toe end than at heel end.Can clean and hone but not very functional as a shaver.There are other blades that have been honed by the same person,indicated by the blade narrowing.Very old,most likely pre 1900.
NO12, Unknown,visible lettering "BOURGAD", 4/8", Heavy rust damage at toe end to edge also on tang.Possible horn scales with heavy chipping on closing edges.Beyond repair due to rust.Very old as well.
* The tang stamps only revealed "Bourgade Tar...", then "Thiers"
NO14, Bengall, 6/8", Engraved blade with heavy rust damage to edge and large chip toward heel,beyond repair.
Possibly repairable upon clean and inspection:
NO8, (unknown name) & Scherf,5/8", German,heavy hone wear,corrosion damage toward and including heel on both sides of blade.
* Korten and Scherf .Badly pitted edge and not repairable.
NO11, Flick,6/8", minor pitting on heel both sides of blade,heavy rust on spine and tang.Engraving on blade mostly corroded over.Lovely faux marble pattern scales with "Flick,Regd." inlaid.Inlays usually in pewter.
*Edge pitted beyond repair
NO16, Unknown 4/8",blade heavily corroded to edge and tang.May be irreparable.
*Stamp only showing "Garantie".Edge pitted beyond repair
NO 17, May be "AEON",6/8", rust at toe to edge both sides,most of spine and tang.Scales warped but still hold blade may be ok.
* Stamp shows "MALWA.." Edge pitted beyond repair
NO18, Le Grelot Hospital,4/8", heavy rust on spine, and tang around heel area,lightly corroded on toe both sides.Most of the edge is ok.Highly collectible,sought after maker.
* Really wanted to save this one but unfortunately the edge was pitted when loupe used for inspection
NO19, Unknown but can make out "ERICAN",on what seems to be second word.AMERICAN?? 4/8",serious rust on toe,edge has a little but hopefully can salvage.Tang and blade toward heel very rusty as well.
* Very difficult to read stamps but had "L'AFRICANS" as far as I could tell.Bad pitting beyond repair.
Good to Excellent:
NO1, Ern & Co 1265,4/8", very well kept blade.One of the shavers preferred 4/8 blades and this seems to have been his favourite based on the condition.Buff and hone.Black Coffin.
NO2, Bengall, 15/16", toe end narrower than heel due to honing,engraved blade. Bengall were well known for engraving blades to special order.Some minor pitting toward toe in mid blade,will polish out leaving a stain.Well used,slight frown at heel end,smile at toe.Will need minor edge correction,fair hone wear on spine,minor pitting/staining on spine and tang.Scales are in very good condition.Will clean up very nice with some tea stains.Worn dark brown coffin.
NO3, Bengall 5/8" in outstanding condition.Very little hone wear,will need quick buff then hone.Faux ivory scales in immaculate condition.This was not used much at all.If you were to only keep one of the razors,this is the one.
NO4, Bengall 6/8" in excellent condition.Scales have brand name stamped,blade in very good condition,although a slight discoloration on face edge indicates that it may have been put on an electric grinder/sharpener.This can overheat and ruin the temper of the blade.No indication on back side of the blade so hopefully it is just a bit of tea staining.Mild hone wear,with a very slight frown toward the heel.This should clean up well."Gotta" coffin.
*Discolouration on blade polished out easily and not from heat.
NO5, Bengall 6/8", Minor rust on face side blade around halfway,and on spine toward heel coming on to balde on back side.Will clean nicely with some tea staining,minor hone wear,edge very good and scales good too.Dark brown coffin.
NO6, Bengall 6/8",Severe hone wear narrowing blade toward toe.Heavy rust on spine at toe and tang.Will clean up ok with tea staining,but will not be able to rectify the blade wear,can hone to shave ready,can be used but narrowing will affect.Considered placing in the "maybe" but will save it.Worn coffin.
*Sorted the blade as wasn't as bad as intially thought
NO9, Unknown 6/8".Will be able to identify when cleaned.Etching on blade which I should be able to save,moderate rust on tang and spine,with heavy rust on back of blade.Edge is good,will clean up with some staining,Tortoiseshell scales with inlay,lifting at one end.When cleaned will know whether scales are real shell also.
* This is an "Aevos" Unfortunately the edge was pitted and not repairable.
NO13, Boker,6/8".This is a touch and go blade as has a lot of corrosion,but I should be able to save it.When I clean the tang I can give an idea on age as the "tree" stamp indicates the time period.Boker are one of the great makers,excellent steel and shavers.Has a break at the hinge pin on the face aide.It may be worth getting this rescaled if the blade comes out ok,it is a Boker after all.
*The edge on this was badly damaged with pitting.Couldn't save it.
NO15, Acme, originally 5/8' now narrower.Heavy hone wear,slight frown in edge around halfway,slight pitting all over which will clean up and stain.Should be ok.
NO20, Puma, 4/8",Well known blades,this has minor pitting on tang spine.Scales are good and will clean up nicely.Another of the little ones.

So,after cleaning all of them,inspecting with a loupe it ended being that 8 of the razors were able to be honed and can be used. Those being five good Bengalls,an Ern,Acme and Puma.
From the differences in honing and the sizes and age I reckon there may have been four different users.
Someone liked the small blades,as there were so many 4/8" razors.Two of those were pretty old based on the stamping.
One had a hone technique that was toe heavy resulting in narrower blade width at the toe than the heel end,and he had two of the larger Bengalls.
One had hone technique that resulted in frowns toward the heel.
And someone really liked their Bengalls,that were well maintained,clean and honed with good,even technique.

Out of twenty old razors that have sat untouched for over 40 years,and some way more,ending with eight that are able to be used is a pretty good result.
This batch was the find of a lifetime.
 
Last edited:

SchoolForAnts

Member
2018 Charity Auction Winner
Artisan Producer
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Location
Adelaide
Awesome find!

Perhaps some of those no longer serviceable razors could be re-purposed as letter openers or something? That's what I've done to one or two of my old ones... I just breadknifed the edges, cleaned them up, and they live in a drawer here at home.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
Melbourne
Awesome find!

Perhaps some of those no longer serviceable razors could be re-purposed as letter openers or something? That's what I've done to one or two of my old ones... I just breadknifed the edges, cleaned them up, and they live in a drawer here at home.
Great idea. I'm hoping to give some to the male relatives of my family.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
Melbourne
A few weeks ago I received a batch of 20 straights from one of our newer members,Steve,a.k.a @SA940 .
He found them when he moved in to his family home,and what a find they were.I sent Steve a message with an initial report on the condition of the razors,which is copied below and then amended with more information after cleaning,and honing the ones that were able to be saved and/or used.I cleaned the rust/marks off all of them yet I knew right from the start that some were not able to be saved.
A bit of a long read guys-
Beyond Repair:
NO7, Unknown maker Barber Notch,5/8", very rusty including edge beyond repair with broken scales.
* This is a John Heiffer,Sheffield branded razor.
NO10, D.Peres, Solingen (Germany), 4/8", extreme hone wear resulting in blade narrower at toe end than at heel end.Can clean and hone but not very functional as a shaver.There are other blades that have been honed by the same person,indicated by the blade narrowing.Very old,most likely pre 1900.
NO12, Unknown,visible lettering "BOURGAD", 4/8", Heavy rust damage at toe end to edge also on tang.Possible horn scales with heavy chipping on closing edges.Beyond repair due to rust.Very old as well.
* The tang stamps only revealed "Bourgade Tar...", then "Thiers"
NO14, Bengall, 6/8", Engraved blade with heavy rust damage to edge and large chip toward heel,beyond repair.
Possibly repairable upon clean and inspection:
NO8, (unknown name) & Scherf,5/8", German,heavy hone wear,corrosion damage toward and including heel on both sides of blade.
* Korten and Scherf .Badly pitted edge and not repairable.
NO11, Flick,6/8", minor pitting on heel both sides of blade,heavy rust on spine and tang.Engraving on blade mostly corroded over.Lovely faux marble pattern scales with "Flick,Regd." inlaid.Inlays usually in pewter.
*Edge pitted beyond repair
NO16, Unknown 4/8",blade heavily corroded to edge and tang.May be irreparable.
*Stamp only showing "Garantie".Edge pitted beyond repair
NO 17, May be "AEON",6/8", rust at toe to edge both sides,most of spine and tang.Scales warped but still hold blade may be ok.
* Stamp shows "MALWA.." Edge pitted beyond repair
NO18, Le Grelot Hospital,4/8", heavy rust on spine, and tang around heel area,lightly corroded on toe both sides.Most of the edge is ok.Highly collectible,sought after maker.
* Really wanted to save this one but unfortunately the edge was pitted when loupe used for inspection
NO19, Unknown but can make out "ERICAN",on what seems to be second word.AMERICAN?? 4/8",serious rust on toe,edge has a little but hopefully can salvage.Tang and blade toward heel very rusty as well.
* Very difficult to read stamps but had "L'AFRICANS" as far as I could tell.Bad pitting beyond repair.
Good to Excellent:
NO1, Ern & Co 1265,4/8", very well kept blade.One of the shavers preferred 4/8 blades and this seems to have been his favourite based on the condition.Buff and hone.Black Coffin.
NO2, Bengall, 15/16", toe end narrower than heel due to honing,engraved blade. Bengall were well known for engraving blades to special order.Some minor pitting toward toe in mid blade,will polish out leaving a stain.Well used,slight frown at heel end,smile at toe.Will need minor edge correction,fair hone wear on spine,minor pitting/staining on spine and tang.Scales are in very good condition.Will clean up very nice with some tea stains.Worn dark brown coffin.
NO3, Bengall 5/8" in outstanding condition.Very little hone wear,will need quick buff then hone.Faux ivory scales in immaculate condition.This was not used much at all.If you were to only keep one of the razors,this is the one.
NO4, Bengall 6/8" in excellent condition.Scales have brand name stamped,blade in very good condition,although a slight discoloration on face edge indicates that it may have been put on an electric grinder/sharpener.This can overheat and ruin the temper of the blade.No indication on back side of the blade so hopefully it is just a bit of tea staining.Mild hone wear,with a very slight frown toward the heel.This should clean up well."Gotta" coffin.
*Discolouration on blade polished out easily and not from heat.
NO5, Bengall 6/8", Minor rust on face side blade around halfway,and on spine toward heel coming on to balde on back side.Will clean nicely with some tea staining,minor hone wear,edge very good and scales good too.Dark brown coffin.
NO6, Bengall 6/8",Severe hone wear narrowing blade toward toe.Heavy rust on spine at toe and tang.Will clean up ok with tea staining,but will not be able to rectify the blade wear,can hone to shave ready,can be used but narrowing will affect.Considered placing in the "maybe" but will save it.Worn coffin.
*Sorted the blade as wasn't as bad as intially thought
NO9, Unknown 6/8".Will be able to identify when cleaned.Etching on blade which I should be able to save,moderate rust on tang and spine,with heavy rust on back of blade.Edge is good,will clean up with some staining,Tortoiseshell scales with inlay,lifting at one end.When cleaned will know whether scales are real shell also.
* This is an "Aevos" Unfortunately the edge was pitted and not repairable.
NO13, Boker,6/8".This is a touch and go blade as has a lot of corrosion,but I should be able to save it.When I clean the tang I can give an idea on age as the "tree" stamp indicates the time period.Boker are one of the great makers,excellent steel and shavers.Has a break at the hinge pin on the face aide.It may be worth getting this rescaled if the blade comes out ok,it is a Boker after all.
*The edge on this was badly damaged with pitting.Couldn't save it.
NO15, Acme, originally 5/8' now narrower.Heavy hone wear,slight frown in edge around halfway,slight pitting all over which will clean up and stain.Should be ok.
NO20, Puma, 4/8",Well known blades,this has minor pitting on tang spine.Scales are good and will clean up nicely.Another of the little ones.

So,after cleaning all of them,inspecting with a loupe it ended being that 8 of the razors were able to be honed and can be used. Those being five good Bengalls,an Ern,Acme and Puma.
From the differences in honing and the sizes and age I reckon there may have been four different users.
Someone liked the small blades,as there were so many 4/8" razors.Two of those were pretty old based on the stamping.
One had a hone technique that was toe heavy resulting in narrower blade width at the toe than the heel end,and he had two of the larger Bengalls.
One had hone technique that resulted in frowns toward the heel.
And someone really liked their Bengalls,that were well maintained,clean and honed with good,even technique.

Out of twenty old razors that have sat untouched for over 40 years,and some way more,ending with eight that are able to be used is a pretty good result.
This batch was the find of a lifetime.

I'd say they sat untouched for probably closer 70 years, maybe more. A few came from a cupboard that was locked all my life +40 years. And my great uncles used safety razors. I think they belonged to my great great grandfather, my great grandfather and my great grandmothers brother. The family have lived in this house in Brunswick since 1893/4.

Also, I hope your child is on the mend
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
Melbourne
So I shaved with No.3 today. As soon as I got home the box was waiting so there was no excuse. I'm indebted to @pvsampson.
I'll take photos of all the blades for all to see. And @pvsampson can explain the excellent work he did on them.
It's an amazing feeling to shave with a straight razor that belonged to my distant relatives in the house they also lived in. Almost spooky in fact.

 

borked

Shave, collect B&M pokemon, vodka, sleep, repeat
Grand Society
Group Buy Associate
Da Menth Heads
2018 Charity Auction Winner
Joined
Oct 10, 2013
The older ones that are no longer serviceable for their primary task, may, I repeat, may be suitable for someone to learn how to hone.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Location
Piora, Nth NSW
I was happy to do them @SA940 and there is no debt.I got to shave with some great old blades and that was something I may not be able to do again.The Bengall you used was the best of the lot and looks better than any pic could show and there is a bit of staining on some that could not be removed,some minor scratches etc.
I liked using the bigger blades more than the smaller,they just felt more substantial,and that 15/16" Bengall is a cracker.
Glad to see they arrived safe and that you are happy with them.
 
Top