In addition to my line of shave ready razors, I buy a significant number of broken razors that have no apparent value or historic importance (keep in mind that some razors, even when broken, DO have value).
Why would I pay for broken razors?
These razors that would normally be discarded are a valuable source of material for someone who studies razors and repairs them. I have written several articles on razor restoration and how I am generally opposed to it, beyond a basic cleaning and honing. However, a blade with broken scales or a pair of scales holding a broken or badly corroded blade will never be a shaver, nor, unless it is something truly special, will it ever be a collector’s piece.
When I DO make repairs, I only use parts that are original to that type of razor. And given the thousands of different makes of razors out there, one needs MANY parts to have a chance at having the right one needed for an authentic repair. If I cannot repair a razor authentically, I don’t do it. That’s why broken razors are so valuable to me. They provide the source of genuine parts that I need to make broken razors whole again. In a way, I am running a personal, automobile-style junkyard for razors. Until I find original parts, beautiful blades sit in individual baskets waiting for scales; scales await blades and proper collars. The only items that absolutely cannot be salvaged from an old razor are the pins. That is why I am against the removal of pins for the purpose of cleaning a razor. Once they are out, a new one must be fashioned to replace it.
Just like in a good junkyard, organization of your parts is important. I organize them by the GOOD part in the broken “whole” razor. This leaves me with two primary bins:
· Good blades with broken scales
· Good scales with broken/badly damaged blades
I try to keep the broken razor whole until I need the part, as it provides me with valuable information about what goes with what. I also keep a few other bins of particularly tiny items:
· Pivot pin washers
· Cut pivot pins (as examples)
· Pin collars
Even these items I try to keep together as long as possible. One thing I do NOT keep are celluloid scales which have begun to decay. If I want to document the blade that went with such scales, I will photograph it. Decaying celluloid is too much of a hazard to metal to warrant keeping anywhere near your collection. But be careful how you dispose of celluloid scales…they go up like the Hindenburg when exposed to extreme heat or flame. If you feel the need to have this demonstrated, take a SMALL piece of celluloid and clip it to the end of a hemostat or tongs, then light a match to it and stand back – the ensuing conflagration is impressive (A completely unrelated, but equally cool fire can be made by touching the contacts of a 9 volt battery to 0000 steel wool, but this will be the subject of another article). Make sure you are outside or standing near a sink when you try either demonstration.
It gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction to restore a razor to its original condition. If you feel the same, you might want to start a razor junkyards near me of your own.