08-21-2012, 01:23 AM
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I'm thinking of purchasing a Dovo special straight, with imitation tortoise shell scales, is this a worthwhile investment,do I need to buy hones, of can I get by with Strops and strop paste.

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 08-21-2012, 01:43 AM
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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I moved this one to the straight razors forum James. Hopefully you'll get a few more responses there.

116 3,804
 08-21-2012, 01:56 AM
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Well James if you are truly serious about taking up using a straight razor, then the answer to your question is yes, you will have to learn to maintain strop and eventually hone your razor, there's no getting away from the fact that it will become a lifestyle choice, but as most straight users will tell you the maintenance and all the things that come with using a straight razor is what we probably enjoy as much as the shaving aspect.


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 08-21-2012, 07:36 AM
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The answer depends. Are you absolutely sure you're going to stick with straight razor shaving? If so, then yes, it's a good investment. If the answer is no, then you're better off borrowing a razor or buying an inexpensive *shave ready* razor from a trusted source.

Pastes will take you a long time before you feel the need to rehone the razor. IMO, don't buy the hone, just use the pastes and send it out every other year or so. Much cheaper.

More info about buying your first straight razor here.

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 08-21-2012, 07:49 PM
  • Hanzo
  • Senior Member
  • Oakland, California
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My first straight was a DS 5/8, enjoyed using it. I currently have a DS 6/8 which, after a big sell-off of razors was only 1 of 2 stragith razors I kept for my once in a while straigt shave. Dovos have a good reputation but because they are not rare or too expensive they are taken for granted, but they are nice shavers and considering function and looks , a good buy.

The only thing I would buy is a DS 6/8, prehoned, and a quality strop. Thats all you need to get started and should be all you need for a long time.

Under no circumstances buy a hone . You don't need one until you learn appreciate and enjoy using your Special and decide you want to start honing , which is a skill, art, hobby all in itself. Occasional trips back to the honemeister will keep your razor tuned up and you can dedicated strop, linen component or simple balsa wood table top strop with chromium oxide paste to keep your razor sharp between trips back to the meister.

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 08-22-2012, 02:11 AM
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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(08-21-2012, 01:23 AM)James_hylton Wrote: I'm thinking of purchasing a Dovo special straight, with imitation tortoise shell scales, is this a worthwhile investment,do I need to buy hones, of can I get by with Strops and strop paste.

The world of straight razor shaving comes with a colorful ritual that you should embrace to fully enjoy. Eventually, for many of us, it also becomes a sweet obsession. It is also a world that requires patience and tenacity. Dedication. Experimentation. Improvisation. All of them. And time. But it is worth it.

Straight razor shaving requires skill. You have to learn that skill. That takes time and effort. If you are willing to accept the challenge, then, my friend, get started.
Remember also that every element of the straight razor shaving demands its own skill: shaving, stropping and honing.

In the beginning, however, honing should not be a concern. First learn how to use the straight razor and how to strop correctly. Honing will come later. Initially have your razor honed professionally so that you can concentrate on honing your skill as a straight razor shaver.

As for your first straight razor, yes, that Dovo Special is a good starter razor. A 5/8" blade is a good starter. You can also opt for a 6/8" razor. Buy a new razor or a good used vintage. The vintage razors are offered in the classified section of various shaving forums. On the other hand, go with the new one. Make sure it is shave ready. At all cost, in the beginning, stay off eBay for your razor, because you can end up with a lot of junk. You can score well on eBay, too, but wait till you know your way around the straight razor world.

Your first few shaves will probably be not the best. You'll complain your shave-ready is not sharp. Well, it is sharp in most cases. What's not sharp is your skill with it. That will come in time. This is the point where you stick with it and shave away. Good luck to you. We'll all help you and guide you.

Stay well,

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 08-22-2012, 12:41 PM
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I would disagree with the notion that newbies don't know what sharp is.

While every other month someone will crop up on the forums and unjustly complain about a razor not being sharp, and the culprit is really them, the vast majority of newbies either have no issues or the razor really was dull. At least in my experience.

When they complain about the razor leaving stubble behind because it's not sharp, well, that's a different story.

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 09-10-2012, 03:20 PM
  • P Funk
  • I can only carry 50 chickens at a time
  • Bay Area, NorCal
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I've recently started and picked up a shave ready second hand straight and also the 5/8's DS (honed) just like the one OP is thinking about and a strop.

I picked up 2 razors so I could compare/contrast and figure out what sharp/shave ready really is and if I was stropping correctly or close to it.

I like the Dovo but if I were do it differently, I would probably go with a 6/8 half hollow. My beard is thick and coarse so it's been a bit of a bear learning with razors on the smaller, lighter side. Though it is getting better each shave.

If you have software, brush, etc all you need to get started is a shave ready razor (preferably 2) and a strop. Don't worry about honing yet. Just take your stropping nice and slow, maintain the correct form and the edge should last for long enough for you to determine if you would want to continue down the straight razor path.

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 09-11-2012, 04:45 PM
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To be honest, I think the whole argument of 'heavy beard needs heavy straight' is inaccurate.

I have a rather heavy beard, with very thick hairs, and I like small 5/8" full-hollows. I'd say it was 'just me', but I personally know several other guys with heavy beards who also like small razors.

It comes down to experience. If you're able to shave properly with a straight, and you're able to maintain your razors in a shave-ready state, you'll be able to shave with a light razor. They're very nimble and a real pleasure to use.

I think a lot of newbies like heavy grind razors because the heavy razor can disguise a failing edge.

That said, everyone has their own tastes - some people just like heavy razors - nothing wrond with that. However, you shouldn't dismiss the smaller ones just yet.

Also, a 5/8" Special is a nice razor for the price. I prefer vintage blades, but my Dovo Specials were all pretty good.

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