01-05-2014, 03:11 PM
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I have had a Fixed Handled Durham Duplex razor for some time, but just never took the time to try to find blades to fit it in order to test it. I finally decided to see if I could procure some blades and test this razor. So the results of the test are below and I thought I might include a brief history of the Durham Duplex company. This historical overview is a condensed text from A Safety Razor Compendium Version 1.1 by Robert K. Waits (October 2005).

Quote:The Durham Safety Razor Co. was founded in New York, N.Y. c. 1908 by Thomas C. Durham. The trademark name was first published May 18, 1908 and was probably first used in February 1 90& The first Durham Duplex U.S. patents were filed in October 1906, and January and March 1907. The inventors listed on these patents included Durham, Sidney I. Prescott, and Thomas C. Sheehan.

In 1917 Durham-Duplex claimed five million razors in use and in 1920 advertised eight million satisfied users.” Because of this success. these razors are relatively easy to find. Exceptions are the high-end Durham-Duplex gold- plated sets, and the colorful celluloid- and Catalin-handled Durham-Enders hoe types. The basic Durham razor was a ‘barber type’ folding straight razor with a removable comb guard, a double-edge rigid replaceable blade, and a celluloid imitation ivory (‘Parisian Ivory’) handle.

In the early 1920s Durham-Duplex acquired the W. & S. Butcher, Ltd. and Wade & Butcher plants in Sheffield. England (see Wade & Butcher). Starting in the early 1920s hoe type razors such as the Durham DuBarry, Durham Dorset and Durham T-Type were introduced that used the standard Durham-Duplex blade. By 1929 the basic Durham Duplex patents had expired.

In 1940 the Durham-Duplex Razor Co. and the Enders Razor Co. of Mystic Connecticut merged to become the Durham-Enders Razor Corp. of Mystic Conn. Durham- Duplex razors and hair trimmers continued to be sold at least into the 1950s by Durham-Enders and Du Sales, Inc.. of Jersey City. New Jersey. A successor company, Durham-Duplex Co., Ltd., Sheffield. England, formed c. 1970, still sells blades and knives with replaceable blades.

With that quick coverage of the company history , lets now discuss the Fixed Handled Durham Duplex. One thing is that new shaving ready blades are not easily available. Most people have to use carpet cutting blades and so I went to find a blade for this razor. Personna makes a blade in their ARMOREDGE series. Blade number 61-0140 fits this razor and is a carbon steel blade and rounded edges for additional safety. The smallest pack was a set of 10 blades and cost less than $3 at LOWES. Before using the blade, I gently stropped it for a minute on each side to help to ensure that the blade had consistency and that no ridges or bumps that could cause a disruptive shave existed. I then let it sit for 10 minutes in Marvicide to disinfect the blade. Now with the first pass, I had to learn to make sure to keep the top of the head against the skin in order to maximize the cutting action and minimize tugging and pulling. The attached diagram shows that the handle must be at a 90 degree angle to the skin. If you can maintain it, the blade will cut and not tug at the hairs.

[Image: 11786735754_dcf547dc76_c.jpg]

The carbon steel blade was not exceptionally sharp compared to shaving blades and it took 4 passes to achieve what is would take 2 passes with a DE / SE / or Injector razor. I was able to get an acceptable shave with 4 face passes and 2 head passes. This would be a good razor if more modern blades (stainless shaving grade) were available and easy to obtain. Had I have chosen to hone the blade on a DE hone and stropped it, the blade would have been more efficient as well. I did want to do too much adjustment to the blade to see how it would perform out of the package. I was able to shave with it and not have any issues with nicks or cuts.

Am I glad I tested this razor? Yes I am. I am going to use this razor further? More than likely not since there are so many other razors with really good blades available for use there is no need for me to continue on with this razor. The handle is nice and can be used with many Gillette DE heads so the handle may see more action in that fashion. So with that, here is today's shave with the Fixed Handled Durham Duplex.

[Image: 11785648076_d2f855ea8f_h.jpg]

1 2,827
 01-05-2014, 04:46 PM
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Wow, Gary, that is a very unique looking razor! Smile

78 20,952
 01-05-2014, 04:58 PM
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(01-05-2014, 04:46 PM)celestino Wrote: Wow, Gary, that is a very unique looking razor! Smile

The first design mimicked a straight razor. The head on the folding one is the same as the head on the one I reviewed which is the later design.

[Image: JIgs6Wy.jpg]

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 01-06-2014, 08:48 AM
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I will say you are brave for shaving with a blade that is intended for Flooring. That thing is meant to cut linoleum or carpet not facial hair.

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 01-06-2014, 09:52 AM
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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Great review and pictures.

106 12,606
 01-06-2014, 09:53 AM
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(01-06-2014, 08:48 AM)BigMark Wrote: I will say you are brave for shaving with a blade that is intended for Flooring. That thing is meant to cut linoleum or carpet not facial hair.

Yeah, it seems like it wouldn't work, but if you read up on the Durham Duplex, many users have said that flooring blades work just fine. I've always wanted to try one.

74 1,411
 01-06-2014, 10:24 AM
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Very nice write up on an often overlooked DE.

I will say that I have used the Home Depot "Husky" blades, a sharp NOS DD blade and even a modern Stainless blade and none of them provide a smooth and sharp enough shave, even the new stainless blade. Mind you, it is not PTFE coated so that may make a world of difference.

65 2,134
 01-06-2014, 06:07 PM
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I might have been able to do better with it if I had done a little honing and stropping. Maybe one day I will return to this or one like it if I have the opportunity, but there are too many other things to use.

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