Razor Edvard Neiström No 62 with hand-made scales of wood and razor brush with synthetic bristles.
WHAT DOES SHAVING HAVE TO DO WITH A SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE?
The shaving tools available on the market today are more or less disposable items. You keep the stem, but the blades that only last a few times are thrown away when they are worn. It means a huge material consumption throughout life. Imagine using two blades a week for 70 years. There will be 7280 disposable blades through life!! In addition, the models are replaced, so you will have to change the entire razor several times in life to be compatible with the changes. The blades for your old razor will no longer fit after a few years and they are not available for purchase. This is what it looks like in the wear and tear society we have created and which we today call development and progress.
Disposable razors do not work to shave off a long beard or even a week's stump. Then the hairs get stuck in between the blades and you have to constantly change to new ones because they are almost impossible to clean.
The alternative to the disposable razors is to shave with a machine, it is a better alternative in terms of resources because the machine can last a very long time and still consumes a negligible amount of electrical energy. A razor does not work for long beards, but if you use a machine intended for haircuts that can still be cut very short, it also works well to shave with, if you are not very picky about it being shaved (which of course still only lasts a few hours).
But the old-fashioned razor is still superior in terms of minimal resource use. You can have the same knife throughout your life if you handle it correctly and the only thing needed in addition to the knife is a grinding material, a grindstone or sandpaper, which wears minimally.
With a traditional straight razor, you can shave all lengths of beard hair.
You can buy a new straight razor even today and there is a good selection. The most renowned is probably the Germans from the Solingen area. They are still made there. Sweden no longer has any razor production, but not so long ago the Swedish razors were some of the best in the world. They were made with the famous Swedish steel and especially in Eskilstuna, the production was intense with a large number of manufacturers; Hellberg, Heljestrand, Neiström, E. A. Berg and many others ... There were upwards of 200 different manufacturers in this city alone! They can still be found used for a cheap price. The problem with the used straight razors circulating on the secondary market is that they are usually in very poor condition. The reason is mainly rust and it is the biggest mistake that they did not make razors made of stainless steel. I have a whole box that I have been collecting mostly from flea markets and bought at auctions on the internet. Only a few are worth restoring. It is also worth mentioning that there is a collector's climate on razors. Brands with the best reputation, such as Heljestrand, can fetch quite high prices of several hundred or even a thousand Swedish kronor. But if you find a knife in good condition, it is of course not a big cost for a thing that lasts a lifetime.
Buying second-hand feels extra durable, as these are tools that are already manufactured and would otherwise be discarded.
There are different types of razors and in my experience, only knives that are sharpened as hollow-ground are sufficient. I would not recommend anything else. They get the thinnest edge that cuts best and they are easiest to maintain.
I myself have renovated an Edvard Neiström No 62 from Eskilstuna that I have as my daily utility knife.
Once you have a razor that is well ground, it must be sharpened to an extreme sharpness to be suitable as a razor to cut off the beard growth. There is no knife that places such high demands on a perfect and finely honed edge as when it comes to razors. - "Sharp as a razor", it is said.
The honing is traditionally done on wet sandstone, then you polish it on a leather band (grooming), which is done to get rid of the raw edge (the edge that is always formed on the opposite side of the one you sanded).
However, good grindstones are expensive and they wear so that they become uneven and must, in turn, be sanded evenly now and then to work. So it is both quite expensive and cumbersome to grind on grindstones.
A better grindstone
I have invented a better method that is both simpler, cheaper, and more resource-friendly:
1) You procure a piece of thick floating glass. Mine is 12 mm thick and 60x200 mm in size. The floating glass provides a perfectly flat surface.
2) For sanding, use very fine-grained sandpaper. I have come to the conclusion that you do not need more than sandpaper of a grain size of 30 microns (grain size 600). At first, I used finer paper, but it has proved superfluous. This paper has such evenly sized grains that it becomes a fantastic sharpness already at 600 grains. It is faster to sand with a little coarser paper and it will be at least as good if you know how to sand.
I buy EM Abrasive Lapping Film. They have the most even grain size and they last a very long time. In addition, they have a plastic base instead of paper, which means that they adhere well to the glass.
3) To attach the sandpaper to the glass, no double tape or glue is needed, which I tried with at first. It's just a lot of extra work and extra resources. Instead, you simply spread a few drops of water on the glass and put them on the sandpaper. Then carefully push away all the air bubbles, first with your fingers and then with the back of the razor. It is important that you do not get any dust grains, the smallest dust is noticeable as an increase and impairs both the flatness of the surface as well as the attachment of the paper. The sandpaper has now been sucked onto the glass and it actually stays there for months if you have done it right! Should it come loose, just repeat the procedure. No glue, no tape, no resources other than a piece of glass, sandpaper, and water!
"Grindstone". Station Lund's invention of a cheap and efficient grindstone. A thick glass sheet of floating glass (12 mm) and a special sandpaper that is attached with water to the glass.
I have also come to the conclusion that the best and most environmentally friendly shaving foam is a few milliliters of unscented soap with equal parts water in a small glass or bowl! No shaving foam in a gasbottle, no environmentally harmful chemicals! With a shaving brush, first, whip up soap foam in a small glass or bowl and then whip it up further in the face against the skin. Foaming is improved as necessary during the shaving. It is important to keep the skin moist throughout the process. In addition to being a moisture-retaining resource, the soap also acts as a lubricant, which provides a gentler shave and a better cut.
The actual honing is done as on ordinary grindstones. I usually sharpen with the edge at a 45-degree angle to the moving direction. This is because I then get space with the entire edge on the grinding surface, which becomes significantly narrower than if I were to grind at a 90-degree angle.
The knife is moved with the edge forward. The back of the knife is lowered first and then the edge is lowered. If you do the opposite, you will cut both paper and edge. Think of the movement as landing an aircraft. First, the rear wheels are put down on the runway, then the nose. When you get to the end of the paper, you do the opposite and the "aircraft" now lifts the nose first and then takes off with the wheels that leave the surface last. It is important to practice this movement to perfection.
You start the sharpening by sharpening with a little higher pressure, and then with a little lower pressure, and finally with very light pressure on the knife. Sand a few times (maybe 20) on one side and then as many on the other side. If you do this, you only need a roughness on the sandpaper.
This method gives no raw eggs and no grooming is needed. The knife is ready to use.
It is a good tactic to sharpen the knife both before using it and after shaving. Then you keep a nice sharpness.
It is best if you can shift and hold the knife in both the left and right hand, otherwise it will be very backward on one side of the face. The razor is held at an angle of about 30 degrees over the skin in the cutting direction. The cutting angle must always be 90 degrees. NEVER cut with the knife diagonally or along the edge. It is life-threatening to see with a razor!
The razor should not have to be pressed hard against the skin, then the knife is not well sharpened. A sharp knife is only caressed over the skin with light pressure. What you do is you kind of scrape away the hair with the edge at a right angle to the direction.
First, heat some water on the stove and put it in a small washcloth. When it is warm enough, lay the washcloth over the face for 1-2 minutes so that the skin is moisturized and the pores open.
Then you sharpen the knife and possibly moisten the skin once more before whipping out a little foam on the face.
You shave methodically from one side to the other on the cheeks and then on the neck and neck. Everyone will probably come up with their own strategy. First, you do a rough shave with the hair direction, then if you think it is necessary you do another shave and then you try to shave in a different direction to what you have done before. If you want to be really clean-shaven, you take a third-round and then AGAINST the fall direction of the hairs, ie upwards in the face.
Finish by sharpening the knife and drying it well and hanging it up in an airy storage place, then clean the shaving brush and any bowls. Cleanliness and accuracy are a virtue in the art of shaving.
Most razors are made of carbon steel that is not stainless. They are very prone to rust, which is also one of the reasons why it is difficult to find really nice used razors. It is extremely important to clean the knife and dry it well and keep it airy so that it does not rust. I usually keep the knife open and not inserted between the scales.
Shaving and time
Many people think or think that it is too difficult to shave with a razor and there is a certain justification for this. But when you learn the art, you can actually shave just as quickly and t.o.m. better with a razor than with other methods. The biggest obstacle is the setting.
In modern society, you shave off the need to become representative and you want to have time to do so before you take the bus or make it to the meeting or go to an event. There is always someone or something waiting and shaving becomes a boring problem that you want to have overcome as soon as possible.
The philosophy with the razor is that shaving can take the time it needs. Time becomes insignificant and there is no one or anything waiting. The shave becomes a concentration where you caress the face with the knife and cut the hair at the pace it allows. When the goal is just the shave itself, there is no time and it does not matter how long it takes to complete the process. Shaving is like throwing yourself down a precipice and floating in the air. Slowly like a balloon you sail away and are driven by the wind and slowly you are pulled down to the ground until you land and are back in normal gravity ... Time and gravity are out of play.
When you then finish, you are naked and clean, you become reincarnated. The result of shaving is that you can go out into life after a while of concentration and start again, reborn. It will be a reset process and a purification ritual.