06-10-2013, 02:41 AM
#1
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I am seriously considering dipping my toes in the pool of straight razor shaving - much to the worry of my Better Half, who likely imagines scenes out of Sweeney Todd re-enacted in the bathroom on a near daily basis... Just to be clear up front; I'm not planning to give up on DE-razors - just pondering the possibility of expanding my horizon a bit. With that in mind I'm looking at shavettes, in particular the 'butterfly' ones from Parker (SR-series).

The reviews online seems to be generally in favour - but they are few and far between - so i wonder what peoples experience with these are?
Are they difficult to get to grips with for someone who knows how to shave with a DE-razor - keeping in mind that I still manages to nick myself now and then?
Should I preemptively take a week of work to get the bleeding to stop?
Are there any real difference to how the Parkers with metal and plastic shells handle, or should I just go with my guts and get the metal ones?

My Better Half would probably sleep better if y'all just talked me out of trying straights... Undecided

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 06-10-2013, 03:07 AM
#2
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crickets...

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 06-10-2013, 03:10 AM
#3
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I tried my hand at it via the CJB non-folding disposable straight. I'm quite used to the Feather Professional blades as I use them in the Cobra Classic all the time. However, it is quite different being in complete control of the blade angle with an open blade. It wasn't for me and my less than steady hands.

I say definitely give it a go but suggest keeping the cost low to start.

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 06-10-2013, 03:52 AM
#4
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Hans, tell your dear wife to sleep easy at night. If you can be trusted to travel half way around the world on humanitarian and peace keeping missions, you can surly be trusted with a straight razor.

Now this is just my personal opinion. Skip the Parker. Go straight to the Feather Artist Club SS Razor. Initial investment is more, but you will be well rewarded for that investment.

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 06-10-2013, 03:55 AM
#5
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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I rely on DE's as my daily shavers, but if I have time I enjoy the occasional straight razor shave and more regularly a shave with the Feather AC range. I don't have any experience with Parker shavettes. I had a Dovo shavette and was not a fan. Metal vs plastic is simply aesthetics. The blade holder is what I'd be looking at more closely, with more weight at that end being preferable IMO.

The new Feather SS range paired with a Feather Pro Guard blade will lessen the chance of you seeing red. I really enjoy the Feather AC range especially if I have a couple of days growth, otherwise it's nice every other day with a DE shave in between. The Feather gives a really close shave, but concentration and patience are required to ensure a pleasant shave.

EDIT: I just read Johnny's post (he must have submitted his response while I was typing mine). Anyway great minds think alike! Feather SS is a very good choice and what I was suggesting too. It has a built in lip that acts as a quasi safety bar and coupled with the guard on the Feather Pro Guard blade, you've got the closest you'll ever get to a safety straight...

So yes, I'd like to talk you out of the Parker and into the Feather SS.

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 06-10-2013, 05:13 AM
#6
  • Barrylu
  • Senior Member
  • Portland OR
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I too faced your choices a few months ago. I picked up a barely used SS for $60. Cut the hell out of myself with pro blades. Switched to Pro-Guards. No more cuts. Could now sucessfully perform a wtg and xtg with little or no cuts. However, I could never get a close shave. Would have to do the 3rd pass with my Cobra and then some fix up for a close shave.
Said the hell with it. Bought a Dovo and went right to straight shaving the way I wanted to go in the first place. The shave was very different and easier to control than the SS. There was no need for the intermediate step at the SS. Sold the SS for $70 on e-bay.
Could not get a close shave with the Dovo. Found a chrom paste and stropped the hell out of the Dovo. Result cleaner shaves but still have to do 3 rd pass with the Cobra.
Bottom line is I get phenominal shaves with the Cobra. Why do I persist practicing with the Straight?
I guess it's because I want to master it and I remember the shaves I used to get in the barber shop as a young man.
Bottom line my advice to you is to proceed right to the straight and do not waste time with the SS.

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 06-10-2013, 05:23 AM
#7
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The Feather SS does look very nice - but is quite a bit more costly than the Parker. And since I would have to order from abroad... add VAT on top of that. The Parker on the other hand would be cheap enough to not having to pay VAT (limit is about 30USD, give or take depending on the exchange rate).

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 06-10-2013, 05:24 AM
#8
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I agree a straight is the way to go "IF" one wants to take the time for the honing, stropping, etc. You should have spent more time developing the technique with the SS. I shaved with a straight for almost 30-years then got away from it for almost 20-years. I used the SS to convince myself I wanted to get back into using straights. I'm retired now and in no hurry and I enjoying the honing, stropping, etc., again. But I could get a DFS shave with the SS in just two passes.

Technique is the answer.

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 06-10-2013, 05:33 AM
#9
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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I find straights and Feather (or Kai and CJB) razors a lot easier to shave with then a shavette. But straights require honing and stropping and the necessary hours of practice before you get good at it.

If one switches a lot between them and a DE then the learning time will increase even more. A shavette is a cheap way to get somewhat acquainted with straight shaving but it's not the same. Considering that you still nick yourself with a DE your wife is probably right ;-)

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 06-10-2013, 05:39 AM
#10
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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I own the Feather DX, RG and SS. I get my closest shaves with the SS. I'm more relaxed with the SS and shave faster with it than the other two. I also found I prefer the non-folding.

The Feather blades are very sharp, sharper than most straights.

I prefer the weight, aesthetics and feel of my TI straights, but the Feather is so much more convenient and maintenance free.

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 06-10-2013, 05:40 AM
#11
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(06-10-2013, 03:52 AM)Johnny Wrote: Now this is just my personal opinion. Skip the Parker. Go straight to the Feather Artist Club SS Razor. Initial investment is more, but you will be well rewarded for that investment.

I agree with this 100%. I could never get a shavette to work well, or at all. Then I got a CJB with ProGuard blades and I haven't looked back. Since then I've upgraded to the Feather A/C system and its even better. I would definitely recommend trying the ProGuard blades first. I've been trying to get into straights and the A/C system for years with awful luck until I went with the CJB/ProGuard. Now I use the DX and Kai Milds (without guards).

I got the CJB off of eBay for around $35 and then the blades for $20. So for about $25-$30 more than a Parker Shavette, I got a much better shave and much better results.

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 06-10-2013, 06:41 AM
#12
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You really can't beat the CJB and the Proguard blades. Great combo!!

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 06-10-2013, 07:25 AM
#13
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Hans, my friend, I advise this:
If you want to shave with the straight razor, go with a regular straight razor and embrace the colorful ritual. The Shavette and similar straight razors with replaceable blades will shave you, yes, but you will miss out on the pleasures of the real straight razor. Every element of this ritual is an art and requires skill: shaving, stropping and honing. You need not hone your razors now. Send them out to a professional. Learn to hone later, if you want. For now concentrate on shaving technique and proper stropping. I'll gladly mentor you, if you like. Go with the real stuff.

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 06-10-2013, 07:36 AM
#14
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I absolutely love Disposable Blade Straight Razors (DBSRs)! I have done a huge amount of research into the subject and have found that there is disturbingly little information out there. Most of the usable info about DBSRs is spread far and wide and involves an unfortunate amount of bashing. I have not been using DBSRs for very long, but I have yet to nick myself even once, I have yet to cause myself any irritation with one, and I get shaves equal to that of a straight razor in half the time.

Are DBSRs right for everyone? No, but neither are straight razors. Both DBSRs and straight razors require an investment of time that not everyone is willing to make. How many threads are out there with new straight users complaining about getting "the worst shaves of their lives" using a straight? Tons. How many people tell them, "Stick with it, your technique will improve, it takes a good 100 shaves to get it right,"? Tons and tons. So, why should it be any different with a DBSR (Disposable Blade Straight Razor)? I use DEs, straights, and DBSRs (maybe that'll catch on Smile ), and I actually prefer the DBSRs. It's astonishing to me that there is so much hate thrown at them. The DBSR is the red headed step child of the wet shaving world, which is unfortunate because it is an excellent tool with a lot going for it. DBSRs are not fake straight razors or straight razor trainers, they are a unique type of razor with unique abilities and properties. I currently own 7 DEs, 6 straights, and 3 DBSRs and I can get good shaves from all of them, but I prefer the DBSRs. DBSRs have the style and close shaving ability of a straight, but with the ease of maintenance, lower cost, and blade variety of a DE.

Here is my assessment:
If you have never used a straight razor then it will mostly likely take a while to master the DBSR. Holding a straight razor/DBSR is a totally alien feel for a person used to a DE and it takes a while to figure it out. A DBSR is lighter and sharper than a straight, but is otherwise fairly similar. If you use a feather light touch and take the same advice that people give to straight razor users (take your time, start off doing just wtg, keep your angle tight, and stretch your skin) and apply it to a DBSR, then you will be fine. The DBSR allows you to customize your experience with multiple types of blades, disposes with the uncertainty of whether or not the blade is properly honed, eliminates the time consuming process of stropping and oiling, and will let you get into it without spending a ton of money. Unfortunately DBSRs are usually on the low end of the quality spectrum. Parker and Sanguine have some well made ones, but their quality control is a bit hit and miss. Feather and Kai make high quality DBSRs, but they are absurdly expensive. No one, with the possible exception of CJB, really makes good middle of the road DBSRs yet.

If you're interested in half blade DBSRs, then I highly recommend the Parker SR line as well as the Sanguine X-D20s. Both will cost $15 or less and both have a nice design. If you're curious then spend the $15, try it for a month, and if you do not like it then pass it along to someone else who is curious.

Here are some links:

Parker:
(Use the code: shavingstuff and get a 5% discount)
http://www.razorsdirect.com/straightrazors.html

Sanguine:
http://stores.ebay.com/SANGUINE-SCISSORS...op=2&_sc=1

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 06-10-2013, 09:06 PM
#15
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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+1 for Jabberwock's post. I can add, I also use a variety of shaving tools (DE, SE, Straights & Shavettes). One's success with a straight depends on three things. How well you can control the blade (technique), how well you can maintain the edge (honing and stropping) and the shaving problem (what are your beard and face like). The first two can be learned with effort, the last one is only slightly under your control. If your beard is light and not very coarse and your face has few sharp angles and generally smooth skin, then you can with effort get a close, comfortable shave with a straight. If you have a heavy, coarse beard, acne, scar tissue and sensitive skin (especially on the neck), I don't think a straight is a good tool for you. I have all these so I am speaking from experience.

The edge of a straight, for the majority of shavers, is not maintained to anywhere near the sharpness of a machine produced blade. Lighter beards, etc. can be comfortably shaved with a straight, difficult beards are a problem. In most discussions of the problem of a straight not cutting, the maintenance of the edge and technique are pointed to as the cause. I am sure these are factors in some cases, but the shaver's problems are never discussed. There is an assumption that anyone can get a great shave with a straight if they just keep working at it. I do not believe this is true.

My opinion of shavettes has changed with experience. I also thought they were not real straights and should only be used for learning, but today I believe that if one wants to shave with a straight style razor they offer a superior tool for difficult beards and faces. While I am not fond of the Parker style (half a DE blade), it will give you a very close shave. It is said that straights are more forgiving than a shavette. This is true as straights are not as sharp so you are less likely to cut yourself deeply. The Feather system is an excellent alternative to straights. The blades are solid and resemble the edge of a straight better than the half DE variety.

If you like to maintain tools and enjoy honing and stropping and preventing rust, fixing pins, etc., the straight is a lot of fun, if you have the face for it.

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 06-10-2013, 10:39 PM
#16
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As much as I want to "embrace the colourful ritual" (nice turn of phrase there btw) it's impractical for me; perhaps when I'm retired I can devote that time, but as things stand now I can't. Bit of a bummer to realise that, admittedly.

I cant justify spending a hundred US or more on a proper straight and strop (even the cheapest option at Whipped Dog runs to 80USD for a straight and a strop - plus shipping and VAT) when I don't know if I'll like it or not... my Better Half is most supporting, but not that supporting. Same logic, I can't justify spending that amount on a Feather SS either - at least not until I've shown my Better Half that I can use and get a good shave out of it.

From what Jabberwock says, a DBSR might (or might not) suit my beard. They do seem to be somewhat of a redheaded stepchild in the shaving world though... so reviews are hard(ish) to find.

Back to pondering I guess...

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 06-11-2013, 02:32 AM
#17
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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There is a board where there is a lot of information on DBSR's and shavettes of all kinds, only problem is it's a German board, but you could use Google translate

gut-rasiert > Das Werkzeug > Die Shavette

http://www.gut-rasiert.de/forum/index.ph...,58.0.html (It's possible that you have to become a member to read, don't remember)

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 06-11-2013, 03:27 AM
#18
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I think that anyone can use a DBSR with a little practice and patience regardless of "beard type". Just the fact that you're asking shows that you're interested, so the real question isn't, "should I get one?" It's, "which one should I get?" I am certain that either a Parker or a Sanguine would be a good choice. Both razors are widely available at good prices and while they are nor exactly high end razors, they are well made. If you end up liking the razor then you can consider a higher end version like a Feather or a CJB. Keep in mind that just as a Feather DE razor is an expensive luxury, so is a Feather Artist Club razor. You do not need a Feather to get a good shave.

I highly suggest that if you're still on the fence that you check out that German board, they've manage to compile a large amount of information and do not seem to mind openly embracing the disposable blade straight razor, in all of its various forms.

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 06-11-2013, 03:51 AM
#19
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I'd say experience both shavettes and straight razors. You know that you're going to do it so read up and go for it.

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 06-11-2013, 05:13 AM
#20
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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CJB provides a more inexpensive option to Feather...

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