The Rolls Razor

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I am writing this guide as a user of these things and feel there are some pretty unrealistic prices being asked for what is a fairly common item. I started here, I bought my first Rolls Razor, as I was unemployed at the time and very sick of buying the  expensive 'Mach 3' razor heads, I tried the disposables even, but they were just not it for my hair, one shave, and in the bin they went.

So, having heard about the Rolls Razor,  I decided to source one and try using it, which I did with some success, a superb shave, but a time consuming shave, it being much like the old straight razor shaving, the preparation of the skin prior to the shave. Incidently, I also went on to use the straight razor, having learned with the Rolls, now I alternate between the two depending on the mood.

Right, some advice regarding the purchasing and use of these things;

When I first bought a Rolls, I tried to research as much as possible about these things, but information was scarce, aside from this very informative website page ;

A page which will give the history as it is known, and some guidance  as to what was available at the time these things were being made and sold. Also on this web page is some very useful and fairly accurate information on what these razor units are actually worth, with the most common varieties only being what a person is prepared to pay for them, they are not that rare as to command a price because of the use of precious materials, to note the rarer gold  plated models are only plated with gold, and a thin layer at that, hardly worth anything if the gold was recovered.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the Rolls razor, in that topics about them are being found on the straight razor forums, the straight razor users taking an interest in using the things, many commenting on how good a shave they are.

So items offered for sale on ebay;

The most common Rolls Razor offered for sale, is the Imperial no.2 , this is a nickel plated item which lacks some of the refinements of the Imperial no. 1, being a silver plated model, and the Imperial no.3, a stainless steel model. Often the razor being offered is boxless, though this is of no consequence for a person who wishes to use the razor. The Imperial no.2, being the most common and lacking a refinement of the other models, is not to say it is inferior, just aimed at another market, it's construction is as good as the others and it is perfectly useable, my first Rolls was an Imperial no. 2. Since then, I have had a no. 1, a no.3, various chrome plated and alluminium viscount models, but have settled for the No. 3, the stainless model, complete with the leather travel case and spare blade, but the blade box being the stainless box, not the mottled plastic box. I use my rolls regularly and enjoy taking the time for myself to get a good shave.

I have also bought whatever I could find at a good price to servive, repair and restore other razor sets for giving to others, complete with personal instruction in the safe and effective use of the razors.

If you are going to attempt to use these razors, you must look out for certain things when considering purchasing, these include making sure the leather strop and the sharpening stone are intact. Yes, the stone is fragile, and dropping the lid can crack the stone, but for the blade to be correctly honed, this stone must be intact. The leather strop, though one without cuts is best, a marked strop is ok, they work with some cuts in them, (mine was unmarked, but it got marked, with no difference in performance).

 The blade, as the Rolls Razor was marketed as a safety razor, it was/ is safer than a straight or open razor in that it has a thin rectangular sectioned C shaped bar guarding the cutting edge, this bar moved from side to side across the cutting edge, the idea being one could not make the razor blade, which basically is a 3.5 centimetre section through a hollow ground straight razor,cut at a steeper angle than is deemed safe, try to do it, and this C shaped bar moves across and prevents one from shaving, it works well, but cutting oneself is still easy in other ways. Make sure this C shaped bar is present and works, not a good idea to use the blade without the guard, or a functioning guard, though a stiff action can be alleviated with a touch of penetrating oil.

The only other thing I would mention, is the friction clip, the C section cylindrical sleeve over the stropping spindle, this friction clip ahs two raised 'ears' of metal, the idea is these ears keep the blade on the attachment pin when stropping, they must be present, also they may seem a little loose, worn perhaps, I assure you, they are not, they are meant to be loose, and attempting to bend them will break them, I have learned this fact, besides, if one looks at the instructions for the razor, it is mentioned there, don't bend the ears.

The instructions can be downloaded from the above website I have mentioned, there is in the instructions, a list of 'do's' and 'don'ts', the ear thing is mentioned there, as there is a very good diagram of what should be in a Rolls Razor set.

Now, the using of the things, well, to that, the Rolls Razor instructions fair very well, as does any instruction about how to use a straight razor, the key to it all, is in the preparation, the preparing of the skin for the shave, get this right and you may very well be surprised about the quality of the shave, for it is superb. I am not going to say better than a modern razor, but about on a par, but the rewarding item, is the fact that a properly loooked after Rolls or straight, will last a lifetime, and can be used anywhere in the world. The other thing of course, is because of the very open aspect of the single blade, the razor exfoliates well, it effectively removes the dead skin layer beneath the whiskers, leaving the skin, oh so smooth and healthy.

To note, the end comes quickly for the modern disposable blade heads due to the fact that the gap between numerous blades is so small, they effectively block up with whisker, soap and skin flakes to the point that the blade cannot reach the whisker, and in the bin it goes. True, you rinse the head, but are unlikely to get it all, and why the need for several close blades, when one blade does just as well.

Now, cuts and things, make no mistake, they will happen, and most likely bleed like hell, facial wounds do, but don't let that dismay you, for the bleeding will stop and the cut heal, but in that time perhaps a little bit of reflection on what you were doing to cause the cut, reflection often leads to a better technique. Anyway, cuts can be stemmed with the application of a styptic pencil, a stick made out of alum, it stings, but it works.

So, back to price, remember, something is only worth what you are prepared to pay for it, you think something is worth a bit extra, research it first.

And just a word regarding our current financial situation, if you want to make the jump to a razor for life, good for you, and if you have any questions, message me, I will do my best to answer your query, or at least direct you to where you may find out more.

Good luck to you all in your aims.

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