09-18-2013, 08:27 AM
Boker No. 454 4/8th extra hollow ground carbon steel straight razor
I have an accumulation of user straights ranging in size from 5/8" through to 15/16". Included are extra hollow grinds through to 1/4 hollow grinds from Thiers Issard, Hart, Wacker, GoldDachs, and Dovo. My tastes tend towards the 6/8 and 7/8 blades. I purchased the 4/8th Boker to round out my set and add an older style 4/8th to my shaving mix. I expected after a use or two I would make the Boker a display piece.
The Boker was purchased in shop from a selection of four that were in stock. The razor has a classic elegance imparted to it by the simplicity of a clean round nose blade, old school appearing monochrome art work on the face of the blade, polished white bone scales inset with a small round Boker medallion, and a plain polished tang without jimping. The artwork, while looking old school, appears to be a high detail laser engraving. The manufacturers information stamped into the face side of the tang has even crisp lettering and symbols. The serial number is also cleanly stamped. The wedge is a contrasting material stained very dark brown. All in all beautifully detailed. All four razors were well finished with only some variations in the scale colouring, as would be expected from a natural product, and slight differences in the peening of the pins. The blades were all flawless and I selected my purchase based on the uniform colour of the scales.
The literature supplied with the razor from Boker implied shave readiness but was somewhat ambiguous. The blade looked shave ready and I ran it through my usual routine to evaluate the factory edge. Normally I shave off the factory edge without first stropping. In this case I judged the Boker to be so sharp I thought the shave would be harsh so it was given 20 laps on linen followed by 30 on a heavy draw leather strop. Not a lot, but enough to start taking the edge off.
I shaved with the Boker the next four days using a mix of soaps, creams, brushes and strops. All shaves were BBS or DFS. With the use and stropping over those four shaves the blade mellowed, the initial harshness was lost, and it became a very comfortable blade to use.
The Boker is small, short, ultra manoeuvrable, and gave me the fastest straight shaves I have had. It is very easy to use and is more forgiving than any straight I have used to date. The small size makes it great for detail work although a spike point would be better. I finished my third shave off with an extra large dose of Cat O' Nine Tails Bay Rum aftershave. No burn, no irritation.
The Boker is a deceptive razor in that it has more heft to it than you would expect. It comes in at a weight of 44 grams making it heavier than many 5/8 razors. In my own accumulation it outweighs my Dovo Bergischer Lowe 43 grams, Dovo snakewood 42 grams, GoldDachs 41 grams, Dovo pearlex 40 grams, and Dovo Natural 38 grams.
The downside is the extra weight is in the scales and the tang is narrow and without jimps. It takes a little extra attention to adjust to the weight distribution and smooth polished tang. The clean looks of the razor are great but some users might benefit from the added security that jimps would give their grip. Boker chose looks over function.
While only four shaves into ownership, the blade is holding an edge and responded well to four very different strops. Shave results were great and instead of the expected use as a display piece this Boker has earned a place in my regular rotation.
A sizeable portion of the cost of this razor is in the scales and Boker medallion. Expensive but unique in the current market. If you want a classy small straight that shaves well it might fill your need.
10-10-2013, 07:33 AM
(10-10-2013, 06:14 AM)Jamie Mahoney Wrote: Two very nice Bokers but my eyes were drawn to those Bison strops they look great.I have the good fortune of having all four Bison models. Very nicely crafted with top notch Horween leather. The above photos include the maroon shell cordovan and red latigo. The latigo is a heavy draw, the shell smooth and buttery, the natural horse fast and light. Pricey but an absolute joy to use.
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