05-17-2015, 07:36 AM
#1
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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As the title suggest, Filarmonica Vs Friodur.

If you have had experience with these two brands, do you prefer one over the other?

Filarmonica: Which ones in this line do you prefer?

Friodur: Which ones in this line do you prefer?

I'm really not interested in comparing these to other brands, just these two brands.

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 05-17-2015, 08:23 AM
#2
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Take my 2 cents with a grain of salt: I don't like hollow grinds very much.

Filarmonicas feel a bit better on the face to me.  They feel a little stiffer and beefier.  Still great feedback from the hollow grind, but the Friodurs tend to have a more "paper-thin" feel towards the edge that I don't like much.  Both take great edges, both are well-ground and aesthetically nice.

I've tried a Doble Temple 14 and a Novodur 14 from Fili, both were good, but I sold both on account of my preference for quarter to half hollow ranges.

I've tried a few Henckels, but I can't remember the specific models, two were Zwillingswerk, three were not, but all were very well-made.

My advice would be to try a Filarmonica in the sizing you prefer.  I think they do best with natural edges like a coticule which tones down some of that extra "aggressiveness" from the grind characteristics.  There's honestly not a huge world of difference between the lines they offer from what I understand and I couldn't find any from the ones I had.

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 05-17-2015, 08:31 AM
#3
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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I really like the edges that Friodurs take. I have a 17, 472, and an 11v near wedge. Very nice razors that can be had relatively cheap and in very nice condition. 

I am actively looking for the right Fili for me. 

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 05-17-2015, 08:39 AM
#4
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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I have one Filli in a small size and one Friodur in a small size, both being very hollow ground. Between the two I like the Friodur better. The Filli feels light and the scales look and feel cheap compared to the Friodur. I would buy another Friodur but a Filli, for what they want for one, not so much.

Bob

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 05-17-2015, 09:17 PM
#5
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I've owned many Henckels 7/8, 6/8, and 5/8 and they are good razors but I would never sell my Early Filarmonica Especial my best shaver and my favourite razor.

[Image: DSC_1231_zpshow9vdsl.jpg~original]

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 05-18-2015, 02:59 AM
#6
  • Macko
  • Senior Member
  • Virginia
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I have 2 Henckels 17's, a stainless (Friodur), and a carbon model.  Amazing shavers, the balance is impeccable, and they hold their edge forever, particularly the Friodur.  I also have a Fili 14 Doble Temple, which to me is in a class all its own.  Henckels and Fili, that's some pretty tall cotton, can't go wrong with either brand, IMO.

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 05-18-2015, 06:22 AM
#7
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Of the FIlly's, I've only ever had Filarmonica DT's (12, 13 and 14). They were pretty nice razors. I've also had about 3 Henckels Friodurs (from 5/8" to almost 8/8"). They were also rather nice. 

I preferred the edge from the Filly's, but neither they nor the Henckels Friodurs really stuck out from the pack. In fact, I prefer regular Henckels carbon steel razors. They take a very nice edge (among the best) and they also are generally cheaper than the Friodurs. 

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 05-18-2015, 10:32 PM
#8
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Both are excellent brands. For size the most common Filarmonicas are #13 (6/8 to 13/16"), Friodur vary from 5/8 to 8/8. Friodurs are cheaper than Filarmonica except for the Anniversary ones especially the Gold washed model. Those two can take some awesome edges.

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 05-18-2015, 10:48 PM
#9
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(05-17-2015, 08:23 AM)explodyii Wrote: Take my 2 cents with a grain of salt: I don't like hollow grinds very much.

Filarmonicas feel a bit better on the face to me.  They feel a little stiffer and beefier.  Still great feedback from the hollow grind, but the Friodurs tend to have a more "paper-thin" feel towards the edge that I don't like much.  Both take great edges, both are well-ground and aesthetically nice.

I've tried a Doble Temple 14 and a Novodur 14 from Fili, both were good, but I sold both on account of my preference for quarter to half hollow ranges.

I've tried a few Henckels, but I can't remember the specific models, two were Zwillingswerk, three were not, but all were very well-made.

My advice would be to try a Filarmonica in the sizing you prefer.  I think they do best with natural edges like a coticule which tones down some of that extra "aggressiveness" from the grind characteristics.  There's honestly not a huge world of difference between the lines they offer from what I understand and I couldn't find any from the ones I had.

Filarmonica and Friodur have 1/4 hollow models:

Here is a Filarmonica Medallion Taurino #13 1/4 hollow

[Image: IMG_9902_zpswqgtbhxg.jpg]

Friodur 1/4 hollow

[Image: IMG_5506_zpsacyvur4o.jpg]
[Image: IMG_5504_zpstysik1nd.jpg]

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 05-19-2015, 03:37 AM
#10
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(05-18-2015, 10:48 PM)mainaman Wrote: Filarmonica and Friodur have 1/4 hollow models:

Here is a Filarmonica Medallion Taurino #13 1/4 hollow



Friodur 1/4 hollow

Mother of god...  I haven't seen a grinds like that on either brand.  I'll need to pay closer attention to those that I see! 

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 05-19-2015, 04:08 AM
#11
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(05-19-2015, 03:37 AM)explodyii Wrote:
(05-18-2015, 10:48 PM)mainaman Wrote: Filarmonica and Friodur have 1/4 hollow models:

Here is a Filarmonica Medallion Taurino #13 1/4 hollow



Friodur 1/4 hollow

Mother of god...  I haven't seen a grinds like that on either brand.  I'll need to pay closer attention to those that I see! 

I may be wrong here, but I have seen these only from Japan. Seems that there are some variations just for their market.

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 05-20-2015, 01:34 PM
#12
  • RobinK
  • I like things that work.
  • Munich, Germany
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Without comparing them to any other brand, I would recommend buying neither. Here is why...

Friodur razors are hit and miss. If you can get a vintage one, fine. Mass production has its advantages, and Henckels Zwillingswerk were one of the biggest manufacturers in Solingen. The surviving razors are very consistent in quality and not known to disappoint without excelling in either craftsmanship or design. There are some notable exceptions, though, mostly masterpieces or limited anniversary editions, but you will be extremely hard pressed to find one.

Several years ago, at least two caches with thousands of half finished blanks were found and sold. Many of them, mostly 6/8 round point Friodurs, popped up on eBay (typically retailing for approx USD100) in batches of ten or twenty. Others were fit with tasteless scales and sold through a US retailer, the going rate being approx USD200. They are said to have been finished by an unknown Hungarian grinder. Compare an Aust to a Dovo, keeping in mind that both use the same blanks, and you will get the idea what the difference in performance is. Also, lots of 7/8 and 8/8 Friodurs appeared in the market at about the same time. I bought mine for €50 and €75 respectively. They shave, but the finish is borderline atrocious.

Filarmonica razors were an insider tip for many years. Mass produced with tasteless scales but good steel and grinds, they used to sell for 2/3 the price of comparable Solingen razors, and quite rightly so. Their current prices bear absolutely no relationship to their rarity (they are far easier to come by than, say, a vintage LE Friodur) or performance. Getting one is simply a matter of money. There are a few dozen of them in the market at any given time. Not to forget that the ones worth having were made in the 30s and 40s, with the latest models actually being bad razors, easily identifiable their modern font logos.

I have tried a few. Good razors. The old ones can easily vie with their Solingen contemporaries. The newer ones not so much. The latest I would take for free. But, as I said, prices are utterly ridiculous, especially given the fact that the scales are among the worst and most tasteless in the market. If you have friends in Latin America, make the look out for one locally. They were exported by the tens of thousands, and many are still around. Like buying Swedish razors in Sweden, good deals can be had if you are patient.

So, if you really want either, you have the choice between unobtainable vintage Friodurs, amateur grind Friodurs, and overpriced fanboy razors in recycled popsicle stick scales.

And that is not even mentioning the funny stories I was told by retired Solingen craftsmen about Filarmonica razors being forged, ground, and etched in Solingen.

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 05-21-2015, 02:59 PM
#13
  • Attila
  • The Hungarian Blade
  • Vancouver, Canada
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I think the implication that Filarmonica razors were ever produced in Solingen is quite the assertion...  From what I have researched I have only ever read that they were produced in Spain, although at varying levels of quality as time went on as you already noted. 

I know they were using cheap Pakistani steel in the very last models to be produced that are not stamped with the Jose Monserrat POU stamp.  Those models are not worth owning.

I find the older model JMP stamped Filarmonica razors to be in a class all their own.  Having owned numerous examples of both the Friodur and Filarmonica razors I would not hesitate in saying the Filarmonicas are my favorite and what I still own.

That's one Hungarian's two cents worth, for what that's worth...  Wink

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 05-21-2015, 03:59 PM
#14
  • RobinK
  • I like things that work.
  • Munich, Germany
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It's not an assertion at all. It's what the locals will tell you of you go there. Whether you believe 80 year old craftsmen is up to you, of course.

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 05-21-2015, 04:31 PM
#15
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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(05-21-2015, 03:59 PM)RobinK Wrote: It's not an assertion at all. It's what the locals will tell you of you go there. Whether you believe 80 year old craftsmen is up to you, of course.

Then if 80 year old German craftsmen made them they must be pretty damn good. Smile

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 06-05-2015, 08:57 PM
#16
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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I have limited xperience with both brands, but would go for the Filarmonica between the two. The reason has nothing to do with the "business end", but rather the tang. I like a good sized, tall top-to-bottom tang, and most Henckels have rather narrow tangs, an almost square tang. There are a few with larger tangs apparently, but they are not as common. So just the feel of the razor in the hand. I get good edges off either.

To elaborate on RobinK's post of recommending neither, I'd have to agree to some extent. I am a fan of Japanese razors, and believe you'd have a hard time finding razors made of better steel and better ground. I believe the Filly is as good, but it's just one brand and one grind, while you can find superb examples of Japanese razors in whatever grind, shape, or steel you prefer that are the equal or better of either Filarmonica or Henckels.

Cheers, Steve

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 06-20-2015, 09:12 AM
#17
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Never shaved with a Filarmonica, but have used many Henckels and love them! The Friodur is an amazing performer in my opinion! 

[Image: tumblr_nlxgmyMVYJ1t1of01o1_540.jpg]

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 06-20-2015, 10:00 AM
#18
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First generation Filarmonca's are superb shavers including the scales with the metal inlay Lira possibly one of the finest razors ever produced, here's my early Filarmonica Especial pre 1940s came to me NOS 8/8 full hollow with original bakelite scales.


[Image: DSC_1361_zpssob57ce2.jpg~original]



Filarmonica date & model Info.

I found this piece of Info which I'm sure most Filarmonica owners and future owners will find of interest I know I do.

. First Generation: Jose Monserrat Pou's initial offerings - ~1915 - 1967.


Pre-1950 versions will NOT have "FABRICACION ESPAÑOLA / MADE IN SPAIN" stamped on the rear of the tang



Three main iterations of the "Especial" model (in order; transitional anomalies exist)
Tang shows curved Jose Monserrat Pou with stylized eagle (IMPERIAL brand), tall & vertical "14"
Tang shows IMPERIAL brand, straight Jose Monserrat Pou, short & horizontal "14" with lyre
Tang returns to curved Jose Monserrat Pou & tall/vertical "14", but with "FILARMONICA"
These would also have the 'musical' Especial/Filarmonica gold seal on the blade face
New white box with "Especial Para Barbas Duras" - the original EPBD



The original "Doble Temple"
Tang similar to Especial with curved Jose Monserrat Pou, tall & vertical "14", and "FILARMONICA"
A different gold seal on the face, most notable attribute being the "JMP" initials in the center
Collectors will refer to this as a "JMP signature blade", the initials were later replaced by the lyre
See my earlier image for a pristine example; these are more rare and more highly valued by some
The rest of the gold seal might have been generic; I've found a Carl Friedrich Ern Crown & Shield with the same seal design



The "Medallon Taurino" limited edition, bullfighting series was introduced
They're just Doble Temple 13s with six bullfighting themes on the face
Banderillas, Capote, Estocada, Cogida, Muleta, and Rejoneo
Three total iterations found across three generations of Filarmonica (anyone up to collect all 18?)

The "Sub Cero" was a cryo-treated Doble Temple. Tang stamp conventions apply. It stuck around into the next generations.



2. Second Generation: I call it the "Filarmonica Aesthetic Period" - 1967-1979.

The company seems to have decided that pretty makes profit, and thus updated their look.
New scales (a few versions), gold seals, and tang stamps mark this era.
Tang stamps settled into a uniform style with small horizontal number, lyre, JMP, model, and Filarmonica

The Especial blossomed into the more ornate Especial Para Barbas Duras with laser etching and tang grommet.
The Doble Temple continued as the brand's steadfast workhorse, steady as she goes.
Four more models appeared
TRIDUR Especial Para Barbas Duras - Trivalent chromium coating for less corrosion. It's harder to hone until the outer coating is removed. Name is on the face, otherwise identical to the EPBD.
Novodur Para Profesionales - not much known, though the marketing goal is clear. Notable are the embossed scales from the EPBD, third pin in the scales, model on the tang, and gold seal similar to Sub Cero
Especial Para Corte de Pelo - narrow EPBDs made for hair cutting with attachment. "Corte Cabello" on the face.
INOX / INOXIDABLE - stainless steel Doble Temple. I don't like stainless, so not much to say there. Most were 3rd gen and don't bear JMP's name.



3. Third generation: Jose Monserrat Pou passed away sometime in the late '70s - early '80s. His son took over for a brief period, apparently continuing to sell out the old stock of materials. This is a murky period which I avoid. Straight razors were banned from Spanish barbershops in 1985 (Hepatitis & HIV?) and safety/cartridge razors had taken over worldwide, so the diminished demand (along with JMP's absence) had a direct affect on production. Many people have declared success with these razors, but they are considered hit or miss by collectors.


Key identifier is JMP's name having disappeared from the blades altogether
These are the razors you see in black "Sello Oro" boxes
Quality control was on the fritz with blade faces not matching tang stamps and other issues (lots of these on ebay from Japan)



4. Fourth generation: JMP's son died shortly after his father, then the daughter took over. The company closed a few years later in 1990.

Very hard, brittle steel sourced from Pakistan - takes an edge, but falls apart sooner than expected
No tang marks, only perfunctory "FILARMONICA -DOBLE TEMPLE-" etched on the face
Some have Sello Oro packaging or just plastic sleeves
Simply avoid these unless you're a collector



The first gen blades are considered by some to be the highest quality Filarmónica produced. I believe this is partially a matter of nostalgia, because when examining the first two generations historically & practically (on hones and face), there doesn't seem to be a difference between them with regard to steel and grinding. There is no reason that the earliest third gen razors shouldn't perform as well as previous generation blades, but any razor lacking Jose Monserrat Pou's name is a gamble. For those of you who got the good ones, congratulations! But caveat emptor to anyone on the hunt for a new Filarmónica.

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 06-20-2015, 10:03 AM
#19
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Thanks Jamie, you are always a wealth of knowledge.

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 06-20-2015, 11:26 AM
#20
  • Thug
  • Active Member
  • South Africa
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Thanks for the history lesson on Filarmonica Jamie.

So basically the best ones to purchase are those from the pre 67 era followed by the pre 79 with key identifying criteria being JMP's name stamped on the tang

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