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Thread: Crescent City Razors News for August 2020

  1. #1
    High Priest of Low Budget Shaving CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    Default Crescent City Razors News for August 2020

    Yeah I know... I skipped July. Well, not much happened here at CCR. I did receive 100 P81 blades from Ningbo, no scales or stamps or etching or factory "sharpening". I am also sourcing horn and camel bone scales. I have a sample from one shop arriving tomorrow. I think with the inexpensive blanks already mostly done, and the prefab horn or bone scales from overseas and my own final grinding, fitting, polishing and honing, I can put out a pretty nice razor for a very competitive price. I don't care if I only sell one or two a day. That's all I have time to make, anyway. I will probably do one model with no significant modifications to the blade, and another one that looks more like my old GD66 mods. Sort of like this one:
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    The more refined model will of course cost a good bit more.

    The website has been all but useless for sales. Fleabay has been good to me. I have found that raising and lowering my prices by a buck or two works really well for regulating order flow so I am not swamped. I don't need to be the most expensive purveyor of Chinese razors. But I do need manageable order flow. I don't want this to be like a job. I have my union pension and next year I will have social security and the wife is making crazy money even though the bonuses have pretty much been put on hold this year... still there are stock gimmees and options. I know if I poured heart and soul, sweat and blood into this thing I could make a living from it but I already have a living so I would rather keep it just above the level where it is a hobby that pays for itself.

    So the product line as I write this is Gold Dollar 66, 208, and P81, and Gold Monkey 666. I am running out of P81 and I am negotiating for another 100 now. I won't be ordering any other models, I am thinking. The P81 is the easiest to hone and the acrylic scales are very plain and two dimensional, but for all that they are pretty tough and they don't look TOO bad. The price I pay still allows me to hone and sell them for not too much, so I am still living up to my original mission of getting inexpensive but shave ready razors into newbie hands. Meanwhile the ones I assemble and finish myself will cater to a more midstream market and serve as an upgrade to those who like my stock Gold Dollars.

    I still have not cut up the horse shell cordoban. I will do that this coming week but first I want to tune up the Sail-Rite for sewing leather, and do a couple of sewn cowhide strops. I want to sew the bolster pieces on the horse shell and put a heavy duty D ring on each end. That's the way I like my strops. My customers deserve what I think is the best configuration. With a D ring on each end there is no top or bottom... hang it whichever way. If you slice up the edge of the strop, then you hang it the other way. Easy sneezy. Sewn instead of attached with Chicago screws (I personally hate those single point clamshell ends) makes the whole thing worry free and will probably reduce my labor. On the negative side the Chicago screws do allow adjusting out any cupping by enlarging the two side holes and leaving the center hole alone to carry more of the tension. I will simply sew it so that the center is under just slightly more tension than the edges. The traditional clamshell lets the side edges have a little slack and my sewing will do the same, just less so.

    I haven't been making any cowhide strops the last few weeks, but neither have I sold any. I have not listed them on fleabay though. I should go ahead and put a dozen or so together and put up a listing I just haven't had time. I have had plenty of leather treated and hanging for a couple of months and I got the hardware. I just have to budget the time. My day trading activities and the boats and the honey do list has left me only 3-4 hours of sleep in a day. It is a wonder I get my Gold Dollars honed and shipped without falling behind.

    Thanks to all on this forum who have bought from me and promoted my wares. Good Luck to All, and Happy Shaves.
    Pretty don't shave. Sharp shaves.
    https://www.crescentcityrazors.com

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    For what it's worth I enjoy reading your updates.

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    Would be cool if ningbo could stamp you cheapo 7/8 or 8/8 w&b for barbers use or celebrated hollow ground/ classic Sheffield replicas. I think there would a market for those, and if you went with less hollow grind you might have less to touch up. Get a more pronounced tang hump with some sexy lines.

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    High Priest of Low Budget Shaving CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NittanyGator View Post
    Would be cool if ningbo could stamp you cheapo 7/8 or 8/8 w&b for barbers use or celebrated hollow ground/ classic Sheffield replicas. I think there would a market for those, and if you went with less hollow grind you might have less to touch up. Get a more pronounced tang hump with some sexy lines.
    HAHAHA yeah but TBH I don't like 1/4 hollows or wedges. A half to very full hollow is actually easier to hone. Don't want to do "replicas" and as far as my experience with old Sheffields goes, a true afficionado would notice right away that the steel of the fake is harder than the old timey shef steel. I don't like the humpy look and I did make a few humpbacks years ago but found them difficult especially for newbies to hone and strop because the center of effort is ABOVE the spine and not centered in the blade.

    Because on my premium line so much steel will be removed, factory stamping or etching will just get lost, anyway. I will etch blade and tang myself with whatever I feel like putting there. Brand, model, in some cases a serial number maybe. A logo, maybe my "Dubl Donk" two donkeys logo.
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    I get everything you're saying, replica may have been a poor word choice, I guess I meant that style, not actual replicas, but you are right about honing being more difficult on a smiling wedge.

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    Horn scale samples arrived. They look nice but the pivot holes are already drilled, and they are drilled out slightly too big. Otherwise I can work with this. I will send the guy drawings in a couple of days and let him make me some more samples. UNDRILLED. Meanwhile I cancelled my P81 order and I will be selling the blades I recently received, dressed in horn. Pics in a couple of days. I got to work up some etch stencils and punch out some domed washers. Still shopping for camel bone scales at a price I can afford. I really like the look of polished camel bone scales. SOOOOOO close to ivory. They have a certain warmth in the hand and they turn a very ordinary razor into something a little bit special.

    I was also able to hook up with my old lapping film supplier and received enough film to last me a couple of years for chimp change. No more flattening those rocks every honing day! I might start offering film honing kits. This stuff is identical to 3M AlOx film.
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    Admittedly, I am not familiar with Ningbo. The razor you have in the photo looks to be a pretty hefty blade - larger than a 5/8. At the risk of really showing my ignorance, how do these shave compared to some of the more famous razors - W&B, Boker, etc...? I get that some of it is subjective but you sound like you are familiar with the metallurgy. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5G62 View Post
    Admittedly, I am not familiar with Ningbo. The razor you have in the photo looks to be a pretty hefty blade - larger than a 5/8. At the risk of really showing my ignorance, how do these shave compared to some of the more famous razors - W&B, Boker, etc...? I get that some of it is subjective but you sound like you are familiar with the metallurgy. Thanks!
    Well, the one in the pic a few posts up shaves great! At least as good as my Bismarcks. Also the many others I have modded over the years. That razor is far from stock. It is a full regrind. First the edge is straightened and then the spine is thinned, with the edge as the guide so they are absolutely parallel and the bevel angle is brought down to the 16deg to 17deg range. Then the tang is thinned so that the spine is the thickest part of the razor. Then the massive stabilizer is ground away leaving a nice thumb notch, and the rest of the shoulder is ground away so that the blade and tang are faired together in a nice fluid transition. The hollowgrind is pushed up higher into the spine and the body of the blade thinned. Progressive sanding and polishing for cosmetic appearance, and new scales. Method honing. I haven't done any to this degree in a couple of years and I seldom sell them as they represent about 100 hours of my labor and nobody is gonna pay $3k for a razor LOL. But my product line will eventually include a model similar, just not so finished. The twin grinder will help. When I get it built.

    As for stock unmodified Gold Dollars, the bevel angle is in most cases around 18deg, a bit on the hefty side. They still shave pretty good, depending on who honed the razor. Generally they are not very aggressive compared to a blade with a more acute bevel angle, which actually can be a good thing for a beginner IF you pull out all the stops and go the extra mile to ensure the best possible edge. There is nothing wrong with the steel. It's just the factory grinding could be a little better, and they are making to a price. The factory workers don't shave with straight razors. The men. Those who shave at all. They don't know how to make a razor. They know how to copy a picture of a razor. As luck would have it, the razors can be made to shave decently enough and only cost a couple bucks wholesale. Spend a half hour honing it, pack it and ship it and you can pay for your film and balsa and pastes and rocks, and have a little bit left over for more beer ingredients. And some lucky noob gets a razor at a reasonable price that is perfect for learning to shave with and to hone. Without trying to pick out a good vintage online from all the crap.

    Gold Dollars (or Gold Monkeys... same company) are not going to replace your Solingen or Swedish or Japanese razors. If you have a nice rotation, you don't need one. Unless you are just curious. For a beginner they are a great start. For practice honing, great. If you can get a stock Gold Dollar to treetop silently, you have definitely learned the basics. If you want to put together a 7-set, this is the cheap way to do it. If you want to do some experimenting, these are cheap and expendable. There is even a modding competition over on the B&B forum every year and we get to see some very artistically done razors from both first timers and old hands.

    Bottom line is I would rather have a Bismarck or a Tanifuji than a Gold Dollar straight out of the box. But I can afford it. Not everyone can. I would rather have a classic vintage than a stock Gold Dollar. But not everyone knows how to pick a good one. So they have their place and answer a need in a couple of niche markets. And a full blown modified GD is a very nice razor indeed.

    The one I sell the most of, and the one I most recommend, is the P81, also often called the model 1996 because the tang is etched with the year that the company was established. It is a shoulderless razor with a slightly slimmer bevel angle than the 66, 100, 206, etc models. It is the easiest to hone and IMHO the nicest shaver out of the box. The steel of all of those razors is the same. They have some SS models but priced a lot higher. I decided not to sell them because with my normal markup, I just don't think they are much of a bargain and I don't think they would sell very well. The P81s I have to continually adjust prices so I sell as many as I care to hone but don't get swamped with orders. The market is reacting quite favorably to that one. The 66 is iconic, the one everyone is familiar with. The 208 has better grinding but is still competitively priced. All are made from the same steel and it is pretty decent steel at that unless your benchmark is finest Swedish or the latest greatest unobtanium alloy.

    Compared to your W&B or Boker? I honestly like a GD better than a W&B, hollowground or wedge. They simply don't live up to the hype, to me. Especially the older ones. A vintage Boker will outshave a stock Gold Dollar, if both honed by the same hand. But not by all that much if the honer has experience with Gold Dollars. Don't expect a $4 razor to outshave a $150 razor and you won't be disappointed. YMMV. I realize this is controversial and I can already hear the howls of outrage. I'm just telling it like I see it and I doubt anyone else on this board actually has or even desires to have my level of experience with these razors. But I say again, YMMV.
    ScoutHikerDad and 5G62 like this.
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    High Priest of Low Budget Shaving CrescentCityRazors's Avatar
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    ARGH! RAZM FRAZM RICK RASTARDWY!!!!!!

    I took a good look at the horn scale samples from my wannabe overseas supplier. Nice looking, not all twisty or warpy. But first thing I notice is the wedge... isn't. It is a flat spacer. And it is HYOOOOGE, taking up over an inch of scales! Uh oh... tried to fit a blade and no go. Can't even close the razor. I even tried a shorty... still won't clear that spacer. So I am going to work up some drawings in FreeCAD or Inkscape and challenge him to make me some real scales, not copies of Pakistani ones. A proper wedge. Proper dimensions. Undrilled. I will do the drilling, thank you very much. I think I can work with the guy and the price for a 50 or 100 lot is pretty reasonable, and finished scales will save me an awful lot of labor so I can keep the volume up and the price below the "artisan" level I hope. The workmanship is not lacking. They are shaped and finished as good as I can do. Did I mention cheap?

    Unfortunately he doesn't handle camel bone. I am still shopping around on alibaba for bone scales of price and quality I can work with. Doesn't matter how cheap they are if I am not willing to put them on a razor with my name on it and offer it publicly for sale.
    Pretty don't shave. Sharp shaves.
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  10. #10
    www.edge-dynamics.com JOB15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrescentCityRazors View Post
    Compared to your W&B or Boker? I honestly like a GD better than a W&B, hollowground or wedge. They simply don't live up to the hype, to me. Especially the older ones. A vintage Boker will outshave a stock Gold Dollar, if both honed by the same hand. But not by all that much if the honer has experience with Gold Dollars. Don't expect a $4 razor to outshave a $150 razor and you won't be disappointed. YMMV. I realize this is controversial and I can already hear the howls of outrage. I'm just telling it like I see it and I doubt anyone else on this board actually has or even desires to have my level of experience with these razors. But I say again, YMMV.
    I cannot say anything really because i have never tried a Gold Dollar ,however ... those W&B wedges have some of the softest steel and that coupled with quality finishing stones can give drop dead edges which i doubt can be compared to any modern steel..That's not hype but a fact..

    It is also true that a lot of ppl do not need drop dead edges, just sharp and a WTG will do them..

    A typical path of events with me is that i sell a full hollow or hone a full hollow and mention that vintage Sheffield wedges give the best edges. The customer shaves with my edge and really appreciates it.. Eventually they return & buy a wedge.

    This happened last week and i asked the guy for feedback (mainly because i fear the edge could be duff , although that is just healthy self doubt). He got back to me and explained that he had the most comfortable shave and it was also the fastest he had shaved. Reason being that the weight of the wedge gave him more controle and a steadier hand.. That Sheffield wedge is now his favorite razor..

    Good luck with your sales, ppl always want Gold dollars..
    Cheers
    Joseph
    www.edge-dynamics.com

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