03-06-2015, 10:17 AM
#1
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I'm ready to take the plunge. However, i don't truly know where to start, besides knowing that i would love to have a 6/8 as far as size. Here in Washington, there are a bunch of straight razors that i find at some of the local antique stores. They are relatively cheap too. I could but at least 7 or 8 for barely $100. So, because I don't have any knowledge, except for what i learn here, i am curious to know, what are some of the brands that i should be looking for.

Any info would help. I want to have a couple of the artisans here restore and customize the ones i find that are worth it.

Thanks guys.
- Bryan

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 03-06-2015, 10:32 AM
#2
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Bryan,

Be careful what razor you buy and where. That razor you buy from an antique store or eBay for $20 will cost a lot to restore and hone. Try not to shoot for the stars with your first razor; rather, find a 5/8 or 6/8, vintage or new production, that is shave ready. You have plenty of time for extravagance.

For a shave ready vintage razor, brows the various classified sections in shaving forums. For a new production razor, your choices include Ralf Aust, Boker, Revisor and Dovo. Make sure you purchase from a vendor that offers the razor as shave ready.

You will also need a good strop. Most prominent vendors also sell quality strops. The strop is one of the most important element of the straight razor world. Learn to strop properly.

Beyond that, you need patience.

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 03-06-2015, 01:42 PM
#3
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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I can only add a couple new brands, Thiers Isaard, Hart, and Portland Razor Company to Obie's list. There are many very fine vintage brands and a few new ones to avoid. Most vintage from the US and Germany are good, China, Pakistan, bad. 

Having one shave ready when starting is key and as mentioned a strop of quality.  When starting out there is a good chance of damaging the strop, the razors edge or both. Go slow 

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 03-06-2015, 02:56 PM
#4
  • geezer
  • Senior Member
  • Menomonie, Western WI
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Just a comment...if the price is low < $30 on ebay then you are really getting a razor shaped object. Also there are sub-humans who sell shaving kits for high prices which consist of shoddy goods. Buy from the Classified Ads / Swap and Shop and you will do a lot better. Post a want for a strop and you will probably get a bite for a ~$40 or less. For soap and brush, you could do a lot worse than to use Van derHagen... the kit at Wally World is about $10 or so. You will move forward from that but use the money to buy good kit.On another forum I would recommend reading:
Straight Razors to Avoid!
Just some common sense things to save you money and frustration.
~Richard

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 03-06-2015, 02:59 PM
#5
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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Some good advice already above.  I would also advise you to stay away from buying any razors on Ebay.  Until you know your way around straights, it can be a really dangerous place and you can get ripped off very easily.  Obie's advice in buying here or other shave sites like Badger and Blade or Straight Razor Place is a good one and likely your best choice for a good deal. 

If you are willing to spend some more, Portland Razor is a good place highly recommended by many and although Hart makes wonderful razors I have found the edges as sent out by them in need of a touch up and not quite shave ready as the Portland Razors are.

As Obie already said.  Don't try to get too fancy to start, just make sure it's shave ready and from a reputable seller and make sure to pick up a decent strop.  But not one that is too expensive.  You absolutely WILL slice up that first one.

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 03-06-2015, 03:50 PM
#6
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Guess i should have elaborated a lil more. I'm not looking online at all, just at some of the places here in Olympia, that i can buy some straight razors from, that I've already seen.

I want to get something that is a fixer upper, but is also a good brand. It's going to be a first, but i want to actually get it customized by (MyCarver) or another artisan here on TSN. It'll be to shave with of course as well, but that's not even the priority. I just want to know some real good vintage brands, so that if i come across something in decent condition, it'll be something i have a lil inflation on, and won't hesitate to purchase.

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 03-06-2015, 05:15 PM
#7
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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Well there really are a LOT of vintage brands. If you tell us what the brands are that you are looking at or even show us pics we could give you some more specific advice. Really, pretty much all of the vintage brands will be good. The bigger question will be what kind of shape they will be in.

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 03-06-2015, 05:15 PM
#8
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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Bryan,

If I may reiterate my earlier thoughts, first learn how to shave properly, and how to strop properly, before exploring restorations of quality razors. It will take you about 100 shaves to gain confidence in your ability as a straight razor shaver. By then your taste in razors might have changed. Until then, a basic but quality and shave ready razor will give you a good start.

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 03-06-2015, 06:12 PM
#9
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I've heard good things about Whipped Dog, to Obie's point.

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 03-06-2015, 09:02 PM
#10
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(03-06-2015, 05:15 PM)Attila Wrote: Well there really are a LOT of vintage brands. If you tell us what the brands are that you are looking at or even show us pics we could give you some more specific advice. Really, pretty much all of the vintage brands will be good. The bigger question will be what kind of shape they will be in.


(03-06-2015, 05:15 PM)Obie Wrote: Bryan,

If I may reiterate my earlier thoughts, first learn how to shave properly, and how to strop properly, before exploring restorations of quality razors. It will take you about 100 shaves to gain confidence in your ability as a straight razor shaver. By then your taste in razors might have changed. Until then, a basic but quality and shave ready razor will give you a good start.


(03-06-2015, 06:12 PM)Rory1262 Wrote: I've heard good things about Whipped Dog, to Obie's point.

This is good stuff. I appreciate you guys responding, the few of you that did. I'll definitely take the advice of finding something that is shave ready, and I'll also take photos and I'll post them for you guys.

Obie, what would you fully consider shave ready?

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 03-06-2015, 09:26 PM
#11
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Brian, are you planning on using the straight for your head? I had thought the beard was permanent!  Biggrin  I would also suggest Whipped Dog as you can get some an inexpensive one with a starter kit, there, to see if straights are for you. Good luck, my friend! 

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 03-06-2015, 09:36 PM
#12
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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Bryan, I don't think you could go wrong with the $120 razor offered by Portland Razor Co., and they will add an excellent strop for $55. If straight razor shaving wasn't for you, you could easily sell these items. I have several razors costing many times that much that I don't enjoy any more than the one I have from Portland Razor. I live in Portland and have visited their shop twice, and am also impressed with their strop, which I tried out on my last visit. I agree with Obie in that once you've gained the skills involved with straight razor shaving, and have picked up a little more knowledge about razors and your preferences, you could then search for a straight to restore. 

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 03-07-2015, 03:41 AM
#13
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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(03-06-2015, 09:02 PM)C-NoEviL Wrote:
(03-06-2015, 05:15 PM)Attila Wrote: Well there really are a LOT of vintage brands.  If you tell us what the brands are that you are  looking at or even show us pics we could give you some more specific advice.  Really, pretty much all of the vintage brands will be good.  The bigger question will be what kind of shape they will be in.


(03-06-2015, 05:15 PM)Obie Wrote: Bryan,

If I may reiterate my earlier thoughts, first learn how to shave properly, and how to strop properly, before exploring restorations of quality razors. It will take you about 100 shaves to gain confidence in your ability as a straight razor shaver. By then your taste in razors might have changed. Until then, a basic but quality and shave ready razor will give you a good start.


(03-06-2015, 06:12 PM)Rory1262 Wrote: I've heard good things about Whipped Dog, to Obie's point.

This is good stuff.  I appreciate you guys responding, the few of you that did.  I'll definitely take the advice of finding something that is shave ready, and I'll also take photos and I'll post them for you guys.

Obie, what would you fully consider shave ready?

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Bryan,

The best test for the shave ready razor is the shave: that the blade cuts hair smoothly. Shave ready cannot be described; it must be experienced. When I hone razors for others, I always shave test them before shipping them out. Because of my heavy and thick beard, if the razor shaves me, it will shave anybody. Various sharpening stones with the proper honing technique will put a good edge on a razor. There is one more step to go, however, and that is the shave. It is that tangible element that will determine if the razor is ready or not.

That is why it is essential for you to start with a shave ready razor. And a quality strop. I don't recommend sight-unseen starter kits — I like to see what I am buying. Nor do I recommend starting on the cheap. Cheap stuff will result in a cheap shave. So get a quality razor that you can see. For vintage, I recommend the classified from the various shave forums, including here. For a new production razor, try the various online vendors that specialize in straight razors. See the razor and read its description before you buy it. For a strop, opt for a quality three-inch sold by a number of online vendors — where you can see a photo and read the description of the strop.

A quality 5/8 or 6/8 vintage or new production razor and a modestly priced but quality three-inch strop will give you a good start. Patience as you hone your skill will take care of the rest. If you would like, I will mentor you. It is my pleasure. Give yourself a good start.

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 03-07-2015, 03:50 AM
#14
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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(03-06-2015, 06:12 PM)Rory1262 Wrote: I've heard good things about Whipped Dog, to Obie's point.
Actually, Rory, I recommend the various shave forum classified sections for vintage razors.

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 03-07-2015, 04:41 AM
#15
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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Have you priced a restore for a razor?  Your $15 razor may cost you more than an entry level new one by time you finish. In the classifieds you can get a razor that is ready to go or you can buy your second hand razors, Polish them up the best you can, send them out to be honed for $20 to $40 a pop and have  razors to shave with. 

If you buy a new one or a fully restored one you will be able to get most of your money back if straights turn out not to be for you. I don't think the same will be true for your second hand store razors. 

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 03-07-2015, 08:38 AM
#16
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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There are a couple restores in your price range up for sale right now on BST, a JA Henckels 415, and a W. Engels, either would be excellent starter razors. I would still consider the Portland Razor Co. razor, as it is an excellent razor, as well as their strop, IMO. 

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 03-07-2015, 09:26 AM
#17
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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Great advice by all the gentlemen above. Particularly Obie's detailed post.

The only thing I would add is that I personally found 6/8 razors easier to use with regards to shaving angle instead of 5/8 razors. When I was starting out.

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 03-07-2015, 06:09 PM
#18
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This is all very interesting. I wish I had this much advice prior to buying mine...

Bryan, I hear what you are asking and looking for. I hope you are able to pick one up, restored to your satisfaction, and enjoy SR shaving. I am unable to tell you as far as what brands to look for while shopping.

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 03-08-2015, 12:04 AM
#19
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I thank you guys for all of the information and for the help. Everything is considered and noted. I'll be figuring out the best way to go about getting something that's more decent before worrying about a full restore. I'm starting to get into collecting, and this is one of the many things i am interested in. However, i want what i find to be useful a few times as well.

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 03-09-2015, 11:57 AM
#20
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Hey Bryan, seems that there is a lot of good info from some good fellows already, but if you are wanting a good vintage razor look for something like a Bengall, B.J. Eyre & Son, F.W. Engels, Frederick Reynolds, Wostenholm & Son, J.A. Henckels, Joseph Rodgers & Sons, W. Greaves & Sons, Wade & Butcher, Clauss.....These are just some of the Vintage razors that are well known and would be worth having restored if you are planning on keeping it to shave with....Good luck on your new journey.....I was only going to get one or two and I now have 8 and don't know if I will ever stop....LOL

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