05-02-2012, 07:29 PM
#1
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Kampfe 1913 “Cru-Steel” Lather Catcher

Yet another of my absolute favorite sort of SE razor; another lather catcher! But someone has to take the hit for the team! Who better than myself?

The “Cru-Steel” refers to the “crucible steel” that the blades were made of.

[Image: DSC03475-1.jpg]

The 1913 Kampfe “Cru-Steel” is the first razor Kampfe made that was designed for SE blades. The lather catcher is small, but is larger than many other razors that follow it. According to Waits, this razor is identical to the Hero razor marked “patented on Apr 14, 1914". Construction appears to be of chrome plated steel. It has blade clamps on the sides of the razor, but these are bent from, and are integral parts of the head. One would need to send it through checked in luggage to have them get thrown out of adjustment. The comb is of the closed comb variety. I didn’t test the head for durability or ruggedness, but I suspect it’s quite rugged due to the construction and material it’s made of. Unlike razors made of plated brass, this razor isn’t adjustable, but because of the construction, it will take a catastrophic accident to destroy it IMO. One problem that can befall a plated steel razor is rust. When the plating wears through or is somehow damaged the steel will begin to rust under the plating. Mine displays this damage to a small degree. I have no idea if it can be restored for a reasonable price, but I intend to find out. The corrosion is plainly visible in the comb in the photo above. The 2 areas are to the left and just off center to the right.

[Image: DSC03474-1.jpg]

It comes with a decent handle, but if one needs to replace it an EverReady handle fits it. The Cru-Steel handle won’t work on an EverReady because the thread isn’t chased down far enough to work on it. There is very little to adjust on the Cru-Steel. The razor is plated steel, the comb is a closed comb and not prone to misalignment, unless it’s a razor that has been crushed. The only part not made of plated steel is the blade lock, and it appears to be of brass or bronze. The razor weighs 45 grams. The head is 1 3/4" wide at the widest part which is the lather catcher under the shave head. The width of the cutting head under the blade is 1 5/8". The handle (screwed in) is approx. 2 7/16" long and 3/8" in diameter. The razor as measured from the top of the shave head to the bottom of the handle measures 3 7/16" long.

[Image: DSC03481-1.jpg]

The handle is tubular and made of plated steel, so it has some heft and the knurling is very useable; I have no issues with it at all, and I’m handle “picky”. The handle is made to accept a stropping extension, but I don’t have it. Even if I did I have it, I have no doubt that it wouldn’t work with todays blades so IMO not having the extension is no loss unless you want the razor for historical accuracy.

Blade loading is a piece of cake, if you can't figure it out, call your wife to show you how. Just looking at the supplied pictures will explain it to you. It's straight forward with no surprises.

The shave with this razor is very aggressive. It’s an extremely efficient razor. I’ve used this razor a number of times now and as long as I’m attentive during the shave it gives me a great bloodless shave. On a day when I’m mentally off elsewhere during the shave, it takes that opportunity to strike, and it lives to strike. It can turn the face bloody in a heartbeat. The solution is to pay attention to technique and the shave; this razor absolutely demands it! If you’re having a bad day, please do yourself a favor and don’t use this razor on that day. I don’t have a str8 razor, but I can’t help but think that the shave with this razor would be something like using a str8. It ranks among the most aggressive razors I’ve ever used and I’m an aggressive razor junkie. I like this razor though.

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 05-02-2012, 09:20 PM
#2
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Great review, Brian. Thanks!

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 12-24-2014, 01:53 AM
#3
  • celar36
  • Enjoying Life 1 shave at time
  • London, UK
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Interesting, must resist!

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 12-24-2014, 02:11 AM
#4
  • mlzettl
  • Artisan
  • Morehead City, NC
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Thanks for the informative and thorough review. I have a couple of old SE's from the first couple of decades of the 20th century. I have been afraid to try them, but mostly because of the availability of SE blades. The ones that I have seen seem to be produced for utility purposes for painters, etc. What kind of blades did you use, and where did you obtain them?

Thanks,

Matt

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 12-24-2014, 02:13 AM
#5
  • celar36
  • Enjoying Life 1 shave at time
  • London, UK
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(12-24-2014, 02:11 AM)mlzettl Wrote: Thanks for the informative and thorough review. I have a couple of old SE's from the first couple of decades of the 20th century. I have been afraid to try them, but mostly because of the availability of SE blades. The ones that I have seen seem to be produced for utility purposes for painters, etc. What kind of blades did you use, and where did you obtain them?

Thanks,

Matt

This link is to show you blades not to promote shop... http://connaughtshaving.com/gemss.html

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 12-24-2014, 04:30 AM
#6
  • mlzettl
  • Artisan
  • Morehead City, NC
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(12-24-2014, 02:13 AM)celar36 Wrote:
(12-24-2014, 02:11 AM)mlzettl Wrote: Thanks for the informative and thorough review. I have a couple of old SE's from the first couple of decades of the 20th century. I have been afraid to try them, but mostly because of the availability of SE blades. The ones that I have seen seem to be produced for utility purposes for painters, etc. What kind of blades did you use, and where did you obtain them?

Thanks,

Matt

This link is to show you blades not to promote shop... http://connaughtshaving.com/gemss.html

Thanks, Jack. I noticed that those GEM SE's are made in the US, and available from a number of suppliers. I also noticed that they are carbon steel, so I guess one has to be a bit more meticulous about rinsing and drying the blade post shave, unless you are just using them once.

Matt

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 12-24-2014, 06:56 AM
#7
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Matt, check out Jacks link again. They are stainless steel. I've use them and others do as well, they're good. You can find carbon steel SE blades that are useable for shaving. They are definitely at CVS, probably elsewhere too.

Just one idiosyncrasy that the SS blades have... Many of us have noticed that they are better after a few shaves than directly out of the wrapper. It's no big deal, either hand strop it or use it in a mild razor for a few shaves, then use it where you wish. The CS blades are good to go right out of the wrapper.

You can try the hardware store blades, but I never heard of anyone actually being able to shave with one. I wouldn't buy any deliberately for shaving; only if you have some laying around.

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 12-24-2014, 08:08 AM
#8
  • mlzettl
  • Artisan
  • Morehead City, NC
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(12-24-2014, 06:56 AM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Matt, check out Jacks link again. They are stainless steel. I've use them and others do as well, they're good. You can find carbon steel SE blades that are useable for shaving. They are definitely at CVS, probably elsewhere too.

Just one idiosyncrasy that the SS blades have... Many of us have noticed that they are better after a few shaves than directly out of the wrapper. It's no big deal, either hand strop it or use it in a mild razor for a few shaves, then use it where you wish. The CS blades are good to go right out of the wrapper.

You can try the hardware store blades, but I never heard of anyone actually being able to shave with one. I wouldn't buy any deliberately for shaving; only if you have some laying around.

I guess that I was looking at a couple of websites in the US that have GEM blades, and the ones they were offering were carbon steel. The ones on the British website are SS, as you say. My routine DE blade is the Personna Lab Blue, and I have also noticed with that blade that I get a better and more comfortable shave after the 1st or 2nd use. I think that the Personna blades that are made in the US are all made at their facility in Virginia. I wouldn't be surprised if the SS DE and SE blades go through the same sharpening process, so perhaps the edge is the same. Obviously, I do not know that for a fact, just conjecture.

Matt

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 12-24-2014, 08:55 AM
#9
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You'll find few similarities between DE and SE blades or the shave experience that they produce. The SE blade is much stiffer. I can't address the sharpening since I know nothing about it. But I do know that it's called a triple facet blade.

FWIW, EMS and Ted Pella also carry the SS blades. But last I knew Connaught had the best price even with shipping from the UK. You'll see the diagram of the grind on the Pella site.

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 12-24-2014, 10:03 AM
#10
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I have a similar one, a gift from a really great friend, even! Only rebranded as Stoll and "Wilbert Cutlery". Which are Sears brands. I'm told Sears invented Stoll because the razors already had "SCS" carved in the baseplate (if that's what it's called on these!). Star Cru-Steel. So upon rebranding, it was said to stand for Stoll Chrome Steel.

Mine is decidedly not an aggressive razor, though. So there's one big difference. My friend who gave it to me said it had a patent of 1914, though mine is still "patent applied for", so presumably a little older?

I know, I know.... no pics and it didn't happen. I'll get some pics up after my holiday travels. And hopefully a fixed internet connection. (All os Tapatalk for now!)

P.S. he has a Hero lather catcher, maybe more similar? And he also.has a Kampfe Star Six, which I hope to borrow and post about also in the new year. I love these things, too, Brian, but never found one within my budget. I got lucky on the Stoll!

Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk 2

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 12-24-2014, 11:50 AM
#11
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Brian, thanks so much for the detailed review. I've bid on a couple of these, but not seriously (nor successfully). I had no idea that they were made of chrome plated steel.

I have a Kampfe Star on the way, but it's coming from Canada and taking forever! Angry

--Bob

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 12-24-2014, 12:35 PM
#12
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Andrew, without me looking it up to double check, I'm fairly certain that the Hero is identical to the one I reviewed. It just goes by a different name.

FWIW, while at one time I thought it was incredibly aggressive, I no longer do (check the dust on the original post). I can't explain it, but one day it just clicked and it became mid aggressive at best. Obviously the razor didn't change; I did. I like the razor quite a bit, but I don't use it as often as I should. Heck, I don't use any of my lather catchers as often as I should. I need to change that.

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 12-24-2014, 01:05 PM
#13
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I need to watch dates more. When I read this review I was thinking it was a new thread, rather than a bump.

When I read, "It ranks among the most aggressive razors I’ve ever used," I was thinking, "Wow, this from a guy who shaves with a Rolls." Smile

--Bob

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 12-24-2014, 01:09 PM
#14
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(12-24-2014, 12:35 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Andrew, without me looking it up to double check, I'm fairly certain that the Hero is identical to the one I reviewed. It just goes by a different name.

FWIW, while at one time I thought it was incredibly aggressive, I no longer do (check the dust on the original post). I can't explain it, but one day it just clicked and it became mid aggressive at best. Obviously the razor didn't change; I did. I like the razor quite a bit, but I don't use it as often as I should. Heck, I don't use any of my lather catchers as often as I should. I need to change that.

Ah yes, thread resuscitations. I did miss the dust. I have the same experience of being baffled by how mild razors have become, just through aging, unused, in the cupboard ;-) But my Stoll, I'm perfectly cavalier and zippy with, no fear of blood. From the start, even.

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