Anatomy of a Straight Razor

Straight Razor
The straight razor may appear to be a simple tool, but it's important to understand each of its components and naming conventions if you are interested in using one. Below is a general diagram of a straight razor.

Image Credit: A Sharper Razor

The Parts of a Straight Razor

Point: the outer end of the Blade

Toe: the lower end of the Blade opposite the Heel and closest to the Point

Face: the lateral wall on either side of the Blade

Edge: the sharp cutting surface of the Blade

Heel: the lower end of the Blade opposite the Toe and closest to the Tang

Spine: the part of the Blade opposite the cutting Edge

Shoulder: the upper end of the Blade opposite the Point and adjacent to the Tang

Tang: the non-cutting metal fixed to the Blade that serves as a grip for the index and middle finger

Jimps: ridges and/or notches along the Tang used for grip

Tail: considered an extension of the Tang, it serves as a grip for the ring and pinky fingers

Blade: metal portion containing the Point, Toe, Face, Edge, Heel, Spine, Shoulder, Tang, Jimps, Tail

Pivot Pin: the axis upon which the blade rotates in and out of the Handle

Scales: decorative treatment adorning the Handle

Handle: non-metal portion which contains the Blade while closed and is primarily used for grip

Blade Metals

Stainless Steel: does not rust, generally keeps an edge longer, more difficult to hone

Carbon Steel: prone to rust without proper care, edge will wear faster, easier to hone

Widths and Grinds
The width of a blade is generally measured in 8ths of an inch, with widths varying from 3/8 to 8/8. A 5/8 blade is the most common width.

There are various levels of hollow blades. A hollow ground blade is designed to make honing much easier because only the very edge of the blade needs to be thinned. At the other end, a true wedge blade requires the one honing to remove steel across the entire flank. During the lifetime of a razor, the blade is somewhat narrowed by successive honing cycles, but the spine is also thinned such that the honing angle remains the same. 

Image Credit: Straight Razor Place



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