02-16-2015, 10:34 AM
#1
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So a quick full disclaimer at the start - Please be respectful and appropriate to all parties involved.  If you have more pointed or expletive-laced feelings please keep those out of the thread.  I'll certainly field PMs about any questions you have.


The story:

In March 2014 I contacted Mastro Livi about obtaining a custom razor. I have been fortunate in that I am able to pick up nice, even pricey custom straight razors periodically, and Livi has had glowing endorsements across straight shaving forums. In a response, Livi informed me that all USA orders for his razors go through SRD and kindly offered the contact information of the proprietors there.
I have ordered many things from SRD in the past, and they are generally considered a pretty trustworthy source, so I contacted them about getting a razor with the following dimensions:

8/8 sizing
Spanish Point
Stainless (Inox) steel
Burl Scales

I left the bells and whistled up to Livi himself, as they are relatively minor things in my eyes. I am 100% a function > form individual.
I was told that the order would be forwarded on to Livi, and that typically the lead time to receive the razor is 3-4 months. I was pretty impressed and almost confused with how politely I was treated by SRD. I was addressed consistently as "Sir" and it was unusual enough that it really stood out to me.

In July 2014 I got the confirmation e-mail from SRD that the razor had arrived from Livi (with more "Sir"s added in, so interesting to me as a younger guy!), I confirmed the shipping address, added a few things on to the order (two Thater brushes, a paddle strop I had been curious to try) and within a day the package arrived.
So the razor was beautiful! Huge! closer to 9/8 than a true 8/8 and the scales were just on a level I had not seen before. This is the photo from Livi's certificate of authenticity. It came with a DVD of Livi, in a very nice wooden box. Everything looked awesome!

[Image: 1fWucSo.jpg?1]

Then I tried to shave with it and noticed some sharp tugging and discomfort towards the toe. No worries, I've actually usually had to re-hone customs to my own preferences, and I did so. Immediately, I saw that there was a significant toe warp and the razor would not sit on the hone. I tried a few ways with lots of pressure and eventually got a serviceable edge, but really not anything I would consider "nice" in terms of the edge.

I contacted SRD within a few days about the problem, and told me I had two options:
1) I could send directly to Livi himself and he would deal with it.
2) I could send it to SRD and they would inspect it.

I was a bit insistent that if SRD wanted to be the exclusive North America Livi retailer, they should be the ones handling this issue, so I sent it to SRD. Besides, they were still calling me "Sir", and I had seen a few videos where Livi expressed a bit of disdain for customers who complained about his razors.

Within about a week, I received an e-mail from SRD confirming the toe warp and offering to send it back to Livi for repair. I agreed that if a true 100% repair was possible, that would be fine, but I expressed doubts about how such could be the case considering the depth of the warp and the hollowness of Livi's grind.

In August 2014, the razor was sent back to Livi.

In late October 2014 I received an e-mail from SRD that my razor had arrived back at SRD and if I (still the "Sir") could confirm shipping. I did so, very eager to try out a fully functional razor at last.

In November 2014 I received the razor. It was definitely the same one, simply repaired, and some of my worries about how a repair might be possible were definitely grounded in reason. Here are the images I took of the "repaired" razor.

[Image: ZZUyJtO.jpg?1]

Livi definitely just ground down the toe to try and get past the warped area of steel and reground it even thinner to try and correct it. The end result was a razor that went from about 15/16 at the heel to sub-7/8 at the toe with a sharp, aggressive point. It was so thin that even when I tried shaving with it, the blade would actually bend and skip through tougher sections of beard. To top it off, it still had a mild warp to it. Not horrible, I was definitely able to hone it to my tastes, but it just was NOT a comfortable razor to use.

Now at this time, I reached out to a few members here and on other forums, as well as to a razor-maker in the Portland area I have been visiting to learn about the razor-making process. The universal message I received from all parties was this:
1) A blade warp in Stainless can and does happen, even to the best
2) The warp SHOULD have been caught by Livi
3) The warp SHOULD have been caught by SRD
4) A repair like this is unacceptable. Livi is one of the most expensive razor-makers and his stamp should be a seal of quality to match and exceed that price tag.

So, hating myself for being "that guy", in November 2014 I sent SRD another e-mail about the repair and issues. Once again, given the similar options as before, I insisted that SRD, if they wanted to be the exclusive retailer for Livi, should be the ones handling these QA issues.

Within a week, I received an e-mail, that "Sir, I have spoken with Livi and he is making you a new razor." So then the next waiting game played out.

A few days ago, in February 2015, I received the last of my "Sir" e-mails that my razor had arrived. I confirmed the shipping address, and was excited to finally have a true Livi-quality razor.

Here  is what I pulled out of the latest box. A beautiful razor, decent scales (had some alignment issues, not as "sleek" as the original pair, but still awesome), and something WAS DEFINITELY UP WITH THE SIZING.

[Image: 6OI8M8Q.jpg]

Even before I pulled out the measuring instruments, you can easily compare to the prior razor and see it is just not even close to a 8/8 razor.

[Image: rH4Irsg.jpg]

So I was faced with a dilemma: the razor looked awesome, and 7/8 sizing is still perfectly comfortable to me. But... this is a bit absurd and perhaps a "principles" issue. I reached out to a few trusted members and got a few bits of advice, but pretty much the sentiments mirrored my own.

The razor is wonderful, I'm sure I would love it, but it is definitely crappy that at the price tag, wait time, and issues plaguing this whole thing, I still didn't have what was ordered.

So I sent SRD another e-mail two days ago, gently asking if perhaps there may have been a mix-up with razors. I, of course, did not wish to take a razor intended for another, and since this one looked a lot like mine but perfectly lined up with a 6/8+ or 7/8 rather than the 8/8, perhaps a mistake was made somewhere?

I received back my first non-Sir e-mail, which was notable I suppose, that the razor was most definitely my razor, and thank you.

So... here I am.

I guess I'm keeping the razor? I really wish it was the full sizing I was looking for. I tried it this morning and it is quite nice, but it really needles at me that question of "What if it were the RIGHT razor?"

So TL; DR - 3 strikes for getting an order from Livi. The razor is nice, but bothers me a lot since it's actually a wrong order... with a $700 price tag. For those looking to get a Livi, I'd strongly advise against ordering a custom and just take a shot at waiting for what you are looking for to become available.

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 02-16-2015, 10:46 AM
#2
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Sorry to hear of this saga .. if it were me, I would return it for a full refund.
You did not get what you paid for, IMO.

102 18,650
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 02-16-2015, 11:04 AM
#3
  • Hanzo
  • Senior Member
  • Oakland, California
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If you watch the Mastro Livi videos on youtube and do any reading about the Mastro, you can't help but deeply admire an outstanding craftsman and SRD is the preeminent straight vendor no doubt . With that said if it was me the razor would go back and I'd demand the size razor I ordered, it is a custom razor. Perhaps something was lost in the translation, as I don't believe the Mastro or his son speak English. I really believe that with the  high standard of service SRD and Livi have, that you'll be sorted out properly .

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 02-16-2015, 11:21 AM
#4
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(02-16-2015, 11:04 AM)Hanzo Wrote: If you watch the Mastro Livi videos on youtube and do any reading about the Mastro, you can't help but deeply admire an outstanding craftsman and SRD is the preeminent straight vendor no doubt . With that said if it was me the razor would go back and I'd demand the size razor I ordered, it is a custom razor. Perhaps something was lost in the translation, as I don't believe the Mastro or his son speak English. I really believe that with the  high standard of service SRD and Livi have, that you'll be sorted out properly .

I've done that... twice now with regards to asking for what I ordered.

As far as translation concerns... the certificate states it is an 8/8 razor, so there was definitely an understanding of what precisely I was supposed to receive.  My working theory is that honestly there were several Inox razors being crafted in a "batch" and I received somebody else's.  The photos were taken, the certificates printed, but out there somebody received a 8/8 razor who ordered a 7/8.  The only other explanations are quite bad ones that reflect beyond poorly on others, and are pretty implausible for somebody with a brand or somebody running a business.

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 02-16-2015, 12:01 PM
#5
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I totally agree with everyone else, at that price point and for a custom razor, you should get what you asked for.

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 02-16-2015, 12:21 PM
#6
  • Hanzo
  • Senior Member
  • Oakland, California
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(02-16-2015, 11:21 AM)explodyii Wrote:
(02-16-2015, 11:04 AM)Hanzo Wrote: If you watch the Mastro Livi videos on youtube and do any reading about the Mastro, you can't help but deeply admire an outstanding craftsman and SRD is the preeminent straight vendor no doubt . With that said if it was me the razor would go back and I'd demand the size razor I ordered, it is a custom razor. Perhaps something was lost in the translation, as I don't believe the Mastro or his son speak English. I really believe that with the  high standard of service SRD and Livi have, that you'll be sorted out properly .

I've done that... twice now with regards to asking for what I ordered.

As far as translation concerns... the certificate states it is an 8/8 razor, so there was definitely an understanding of what precisely I was supposed to receive.  My working theory is that honestly there were several Inox razors being crafted in a "batch" and I received somebody else's.  The photos were taken, the certificates printed, but out there somebody received a 8/8 razor who ordered a 7/8.  The only other explanations are quite bad ones that reflect beyond poorly on others, and are pretty implausible for somebody with a brand or somebody running a business.

I think your theory of " batch" production and a mix up makes total sense. I got a Livi Griffetto at XMAS , not a custom, and it struck me immediately that I suspected the G is produced in batches .

Why haven't you called Don at SRD in Madina OH, directly, you can simply call his shop Imperial Shaving. Lynn Abrams and Don are the co-owners and Lynn has stated in interviews that he started SRD as a place to distribute ML razors, so I would tend to believe they take issues with the Livi's seriously. I do believe if you call you'll talk to Don and straighten things out. With so many other concerns and the twist and tangles of this order and the long time frame involved, perhaps its a matter of SRD not knowing specifically all the details of your razor's problem . No use being unsatisfied I would just call Don.

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 02-16-2015, 12:26 PM
#7
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(02-16-2015, 12:21 PM)Hanzo Wrote: I think your theory of " batch" production and a mix up makes total sense. I got a Livi Griffetto at XMAS , not a custom, and it struck me immediately that I suspected the G is produced in batches .

Why haven't you called Don at SRD in Madina OH, directly, you can simply call his shop Imperial Shaving. Lynn Abrams and Don are the co-owners and Lynn has stated in interviews that he started SRD as a place to distribute ML razors, so I would tend to believe they take issues with the Livi's seriously. I do believe if you call you'll talk to Don and straighten things out. With so many other concerns and the twist and tangles of this order and the long time frame involved, perhaps its a matter of SRD not knowing specifically all the details of your razor's problem . No use being unsatisfied I would just call Don.

I probably will later on, as I am running some errands in a minute or so.  Don has been wonderful each step of the way, but tends to not ask a lot of questions or type a lot with his responses.  Perhaps over the phone might be better.  Thank you for the suggestion.

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 02-16-2015, 12:30 PM
#8
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I think that you have shown a remarkable patience and are to be congratulated. Now, I would insist on a full refund.  Firedevil

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 02-16-2015, 12:39 PM
#9
  • Macko
  • Senior Member
  • Virginia
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I would return it for a full refund, it's either an 8/8 or it's not.

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 02-17-2015, 09:59 AM
#10
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Wow! What an ordeal! I hope you can find an appropriate remedy to this situation! You, sir, have much patience.

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 02-19-2015, 10:55 AM
#11
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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(02-17-2015, 09:59 AM)celestino Wrote: Wow! What an ordeal! I hope you can find an appropriate remedy to this situation! You, sir, have much patience.

+2.  I agree.

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 02-22-2015, 06:24 AM
#12
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(02-16-2015, 12:01 PM)Kpfeifle Wrote: I totally agree with everyone else, at that price point and for a custom razor, you should get what you asked for.


+1

I respect SRD for following through and trying to correct the issue for you...

But $700 is a huge chunk of money to drop on a razor -- and the reason for the high price is supposed to be the craftsmanship and/or customization. You didn't get what you had clearly and explicitly ask for -- and paid for - and are totally within reason to return it and request a refund.

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 02-24-2015, 11:41 AM
#13
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If you were to re-sell this razor would you advertise it as an 8/8 razor since that is what the certificate says? If no, then there's your answer.

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 02-24-2015, 11:59 AM
#14
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I must admit to having quite a few Mastro Livi's pass through my hands for honing and in all honesty I've never been impressed with the build quality or finish of the razors, I only said the other day that I wouldn't look any further than my Michael Waterhouse Custom 8/8 smiler for Barbers half hollow over any other custom razor I've owned or that's come in for honing. PS drop Michael a PM I assure you you won't be dissapointed.

[Image: DSC_1038_zps230382c7.jpg~original]
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 02-24-2015, 12:14 PM
#15
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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Wow!  Stunning razor Jamie.  Thanks for posting the pictures.

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 02-24-2015, 02:14 PM
#16
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How do I get one of those? Probably out of my price range but I can always dream

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 02-24-2015, 02:40 PM
#17
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Jamie, not sure why you're promoting another artisan razor maker on this thread. When Michael Waterhouse can make a full hollow I will be interested. As gorgeous as the razor is, it doesn't add any insight into what happens when things don't go as planned. The problem here is that the OP was not dealing with Mastro Livi direcctly but through a third party, SRD.
I've spoken with the OP and he's now dealing directly with Mastro Livi, who as an Artisan razor maker of over 50 years stands by his reputation and will make sure his customers are happy.

Just for some perspective here's one of my Mastro Livi razors. I personally watched him make it from raw metal. I can assure you the craftsmanship is second to none.

[Image: DSC_0012b_zpse0c30dcc.jpg]

[Image: DSC_0012_zps9ea7f145.jpg]
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[Image: DSC_0029_zpsa180ef19.jpg]

[Image: DSC_0036_zps24336abb.jpg]


[url=http://s111.photobucket.com/user/jodypress/media/The%20Mastro%20Livi%20Experience/The%20Razors/DSC_0005_zpse43948ee.jpg.html][Image: DSC_0005_zpse43948ee.jpg]

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 02-24-2015, 05:03 PM
#18
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I did have a follow-up phone call with SRD, and the results were mixed in the best of lights.  I have, however, taken a different approach now.

As Jody mentioned, the Livi issue is going through Mastro Livi himself now, rather than SRD thanks to some wonderful help from forum members here and elsewhere who got me into contact with a gentlemen who lives down the way from Livi and has translated some messages back and forth.

I have plenty of quarter hollow razors from skilled artisans stateside and have no need for more of them, while a forged razor with a full hollow grind is something much more special.  Hence my initial order for the Livi.  When an artisan arises who can meet that sort of request I would happily put something on order there, but the closest I have seen comes from makers who don't take custom orders, simply produce and sell one-off pieces.

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 02-25-2015, 05:03 AM
#19
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Great news OP and thanks for the update, please let us know the outcome. 

This is one of the things I love about our wet shaving community, there's help and great advice out there. 

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