Many old double edge razor blade sharpeners are still in use these days. Here is a look at some classics like the Twinplex, Allegro, and Kris Kross.
1. Twinplex Stropper
The Twinplex blades stropper was invented by George Floyd in 1910. The tool has an outward appearance of an old pencil sharpener, with its handle for cranking. There is a tab on the opposite side of the handles, and it pulls out. One simply places blades on the tab and then slides them back into the mechanism. Turn the crank and the sharpening process begins.
When one turns the Twinplex handle two rollers come in contact with the blades. The rollers are covered with a leather material, and this is what does the sharpening (stropping). As one uses the crank, it flips blades over to make sure that all sides are well sharpened.
It is recommended to strop the blade before the first shave. Subject to temperature changes, a new blade will be dull if it is not used for a long time. Don’t feel bad about the Twinplex. It does not grind the blades. Instead, it strops them and helps them maintain keen edges almost indefinitely.
In the late 1950s, the Twinplex company discontinued producing the stroppers. But, one can buy vintage double edge razor blade sharpeners on online stores like eBay. You may have to look in several places, but they are not too expensive.
The Allegro works in a similar fashion to the Twinplex but does not employ a crank. One places blades in a special mechanism and then inside of the unit. The sharpener works by moving the blade back and forth. Just a few strokes backwards and forwards. First on the stone and then on the leather side. It is best to look for a video tutorial on this model:
3. Kriss Kross
The Kriss Kross sharpener is an amazing little item. It is a flat looking circular unit with a crank. Put your blades it the special area and then turn the crank. Blades are placed down against the sharpening surface. As you turn the holding mechanism it comes up and does a 180-degree flip. It then places blades back to the surface and completes the cycle.
The Kriss Kross model has tips and instructions for operation:
1. Clean leather with a damp cloth. Apply little shaving cream. Rub well-in leather. Repeat occasionally.
2. Strop new blade light pressure. Turn slowly. Two turns each side at edge.
3. Increase pressure as the blade dulls.
Vintage double edge razor blade sharpeners should be carefully inspected before use. If possible, choose a seller that provides some kind of guarantee with your purchase. Yet, most of the models are well made and still have a great deal of use left in them.
When you use your stropper be careful not to over sharpen as this can ruin the edge of your blades. Also, these things are very sharp and if one is not careful, it is easy to cut one’s hands or fingers.
Take your time and make sure that you understand how your sharpener works, so you are less likely to make any mistakes. Double edge razor blade sharpeners can be an important addition to your shaving gear. They are not expensive and will save you a lot of money on blades.