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Preferred blade shapes from straight razors

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  • Preferred blade shapes from straight razors

    As a rookie I decided to try making a few blades from straight razors. I bought a few knives from Flexcut and I am happy after thinning the spine. After grinding the straight razors down to about .070, now I have to decide what shape. What would be the best starting point, detail, upsweep ? Thanks for your input.

  • #2
    Best you start carving to answer that question. What kind of carving interests you? Big? Little?
    It's a fact that the right tools do the job. Clearly not power carving.

    I switched from mallets and gouges about 10 years ago to the adzes and crooked knives of the Pacific Northwest. I knew a little about them already, Then, I went to the UBC Museum of Anthropology and studied the PacNW tool collections (I had cedar wood, a couple of bent knives and a box of new little crooked blades in my pocket that day.) I went back and forth, in and out, to carve prototype handles to compare with the museum collection. The staff had never had anybody do that.
    Time well wasted. I'm still the beginner.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      Ditto on what Brian said! You need to start carving and decide as to whether you want a straight edge or an upsweep blade or both. How long a blade do you prefer. You need to carve to figure that out. I prefer a shorter blade not more than 1-1/8" to 1-3/4". Some folks like longer bladed knives and do just find with 2" +.

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      • #4
        In the process of making the shape of your choice, you will become familiar with what skills will be required to maintain the shape. Many carvers never get beyond straight edges. Choose a shape that works for you AND one that you can maintain.

        My personal choice is a double edged curved blade, but most of my present carving is done with gouges. Can you imagine chip carving with a fishtail gouge?
        Last edited by pallin; 09-04-2022, 05:29 PM.

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        • #5
          In my experience curved blades were like fishtail gouges once experienced they quickly become your go to tool.

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          • #6
            I am a big fan of the straight razor knives, I have 3 right now, my preference is a down sweep, my recommendation as a new carver is start with one, as I've seen a few new carvers with a upsweep and down sweep both in there box grab the wrong one and bring there thumb down on the wrong side thinking it was the other knife, just be aware which one your using.
            Mark N. Akers
            My Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KarolinaKarver

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            • #7
              My favorite knife is an upsweep blade, 1.75 long, made by Allen Goodman. The blade is only 0.030 thick so it's flexible and the upsweep, for the way I carve, seems to automatically result in a slicing cut most of the time. I especially like the upsweep for it's ability to carve off saw marks on flat surfaces without digging the tip in...

              Claude
              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
              My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/
              My Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/claudeswoodcarving/
              My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the replies. I do plan to do caricature type and some flat plane carving. Tom Ellis recommended a spine a nickel thickness which is .077. The flexcut I have are about 050. I can grind down to .08 by grinder anything thinner will be hand thinned on a diamond plate. For anyone else doing grinding on a 1x30 type sander I have had great success using Norton Blaze ceramic belts. Amazon carries a combo pack of 40,60,80 for $20. They are a bit pricey but they last 3 -4 times longer than ALOX or whatever the everyday use is made from.

                The straight blades are coming along right now the blade width is about .037. As Tom Ellis told me the hollow grind on blades can be quite severe, some splines are as thick as .180, some .125. I'd swag it takes 30 minutes to grind the spine to useable size.
                I have a bunch of handles I glued up all walnut and I'm liking the Mertz? type pistol grip type handle. Glued up size is 1x2, sounds large but I have huge hands. I use a hand screw to hold the handle as a stand up workbench is impossible for me. I built a 24x36 table out of bamboo flooring works great with my power chair.
                Cheers

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                • #9
                  For those who have used straight razor blades, does everyone prefer a flat grind ? To get a flat grind with these blades the spine will be very thin, I'm thinking about .050 or so. The resulting blade width would be about .250. Are there any reasons not to leave some hollow grind on the finished blade ?

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                  • #10
                    The only reason I can think of is that it might be difficult to strop.

                    Claude
                    My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
                    My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/
                    My Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/claudeswoodcarving/
                    My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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                    • #11
                      Well stropping shouldn't be an issue because the edge is small. I'm not stropping the whole width even with a flat grind the cutting edge is what 1/64 th.

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