04-03-2015, 07:55 AM
#1
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I am getting ready to move up from My Feather SS folding to a straight razor. I have been told to go with a stainless steel 5/8 because it takes less upkeep. Then the old timers say to stay with regular steel because it holds the edge better and is easier to hone. Boker and Dovo are the razors recommended for a starter. OK, let the debate begin.

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 04-03-2015, 08:29 AM
#2
  • geezer
  • Senior Member
  • Menomonie, Western WI
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(04-03-2015, 07:55 AM)A CUT ABOVE Wrote: I am getting ready to move up from My Feather SS folding to a straight razor.  I have been told to go with a stainless steel 5/8 because it takes less upkeep.  Then the old timers say to stay with regular steel because it holds the edge better and is easier to hone.  Boker and Dovo are the razors recommended for a starter.  OK, let the debate begin.

I have, and have shaved, with many of both. The greater price considered, a stainless steel straight razor can be a nice thing to have. It takes a good professional hone person to get the edge correct even if it is bought "Shave Ready."

Just because the blade is stainless steel does not mean "no upkeep." Proper stropping is most important and a good paddle strop may be best for a person starting out.

The Carbon steel razor may be a better buy if you are just starting on your blade /face adventure.  A Ralf Aust or Revisor usually are of very good quality for the money. There are others and a glance through the classified. Buy, Sell, Trade threads can find you one.

The width of a razor is up to you, 5/8ths is an easy razor to use. If your face has wrinkles (aged) or deep canyons (Craggy), it would be a good not to go any wider to start.

Please understand, I am only giving some of my opinions, formed over the years for my face and its care.

~Richard

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 04-03-2015, 08:47 AM
#3
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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I use both types of razors and find little if any difference between them in the way they shave or hone up for that matter. Stainless steel is more rust resistant is about all the difference I can see in use and I like mine for that reason.

Bob

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 04-03-2015, 10:12 AM
#4
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Honestly, the difference in upkeep is minimal. Proper use and proper storage is necessary regardless of the steel used, and if you do that, most razors (even regular carbon steel) will stay in great condition indefinitely. 

Some people have issues honing stainless steel razors, but it isn't actually that hard to do. 

As to size: 5/8-6/8" razors are easier to find for a decent price. Larger razors cost more usually. Most people should be fine with a 6/8" as a starter. Brand is irrelevant. Any vintage razor in good shape will take a fine edge. 

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 04-09-2015, 05:48 PM
#5
  • Java
  • Active Member
  • Warner Robins, Georgia, USA
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On paper, tool steel is easier to hone, but doesn't hold it's edge quite as long. With large hunting knives, I can verify this is true. But with the incredibly fine edge of a straight razor, the difference is a lot smaller. I've never really noticed much difference. The stainless ones do seem to be a lot more expensive, though.

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 04-09-2015, 05:52 PM
#6
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No difference...stainless does require less upkeep. No worries about water spots or corrosion at the pivot if you get a little lackadaisical with drying it after a shave. Modern heat treatments make it easy to get an edge as keen as carbon

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 04-10-2015, 04:05 AM
#7
  • RobinK
  • I like things that work.
  • Munich, Germany
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First of all, I would certainly take an Aust or a Revisor into consideration rather than a Dovo. Dovo's 5/8 razors are machine made, and, sadly, very much hit and miss these days (despite the CNC robots - sic transit gloria mundi).

The English term "stainless" is actually slightly misleading. "Stainless" steels do stain. They will even get rusty, given enough time. They are simply slower to get rusty. 
 
Stainless steels are softer than high carbon steels, and therefore take a bit longer to sharpen. As mentioned previously, their edge retention is actually higher, but certainly not in a way that would be immediately noticeable to a beginner.
 
Personally, I would try to buy a 6/8 round point Solingen vintage by a less known brand. They can easily be had for less than $50 in good to excellent condition if you avoid the typical pitfalls (fanboy brands, "professional honing" markups by amateurs, or aftermarket costume scales). This article might make for an interesting read. Especially the part about not buying from eBay. 

Good luck,
Robin

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 04-12-2015, 05:10 AM
#8
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I think Robin nailed it on the head.

Having, using, and honing blades made from both, I too find that...

SS -- holds edges slightly longer, and can be slightly more stubborn/take more time to hone (we're talking a few extra minutes, not half an hour)
CS -- dulls just a hair quicker but are slightly easier/quicker to hone

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 04-12-2015, 06:09 AM
#9
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(04-10-2015, 04:05 AM)RobinK Wrote: First of all, I would certainly take an Aust or a Revisor into consideration rather than a Dovo. Dovo's 5/8 razors are machine made, and, sadly, very much hit and miss these days (despite the CNC robots - sic transit gloria mundi).

The English term "stainless" is actually slightly misleading. "Stainless" steels do stain. They will even get rusty, given enough time. They are simply slower to get rusty. 
 
Stainless steels are softer than high carbon steels, and therefore take a bit longer to sharpen. As mentioned previously, their edge retention is actually higher, but certainly not in a way that would be immediately noticeable to a beginner.
 
Personally, I would try to buy a 6/8 round point Solingen vintage by a less known brand. They can easily be had for less than $50 in good to excellent condition if you avoid the typical pitfalls (fanboy brands, "professional honing" markups by amateurs, or aftermarket costume scales). This article might make for an interesting read. Especially the part about not buying from eBay. 

Good luck,
Robin
This was very helpful.

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 04-16-2015, 11:50 AM
#10
  • geezer
  • Senior Member
  • Menomonie, Western WI
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The reason for Stainless being different to hone is that those steels are very "tough" tha means they have a resiliance to scratching or grinding. They take more pressure to hone at the beginning and some pressure later. When properly honed they shave as well as any other good razor.
~Richard

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 05-15-2015, 10:51 PM
#11
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Great recommendations above. If I had to begin all over I'd go with a properly honed half hollow or heavier grind from a reputable brand. I prefer vintage straights over modern ones. 6/8 or 13/16 in size.

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