09-13-2012, 07:40 AM
#1
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I am looking to build a very small rotation of straight razors (and a couple or three safety razor backups/travel) over the next year and I would like some advice.

I don't shave everyday anymore. Sometimes I usually skip one day, and I have been know to shave only 2-3 times a week. It seems that a straight would be a good choice. Any disagreements?

I spoke with someone who told me that new straights simply aren't as good as restored vintage razors. He told me that those that sell new straight razors have a vested interest in them, so they will tell me that the new razors are just as good. Yet, this person sells restored razors, so he also has a vested interest that might bias his opinion.

What do you guys think? New or restored vintage? I would happily own a mix, but I don't want to waste my money. I really plan on these lasting my lifetime.

Thanks.

Own: iKon S3S, Weber ARC, and Schick M-handle injector

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 09-13-2012, 08:41 AM
#2
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I have both vintage and new straights in my collection. Either way will work. If you buy a new straight from a reputable vendor you will need it honed. Some vendors offer honing with your purchase. A new razor with a factory edge won't shave well, if at all. AVOID those cool looking junkers sold on ebay! The things won't hone up to a shaving edge. There are usually razors offered on forum BST that are shave ready. Shave ready is a variable term but most who sell will stand behind the sale. You'll have to decide between stainless and carbon. My personal choice is carbon steel. The carbon steel just seems to be a more comfortable shave for me. I do keep a stainless straight for camping and travel use. Happy Shopping!

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 09-13-2012, 10:06 AM
#3
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MsBlackwolf,
Are you saying that the razors sold on eBay are simply not capable of taking a hone, or that it is difficult to find an decent condition razor on eBay? I have been looking at a few kamisori since I am a bit of a Japanophile. Any advice on those?

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 09-13-2012, 10:12 AM
#4
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Unless the Kamisori is a copy, they are fine, fine razors.

As to your original question. Yes and no. The low end new razors from Dovo & TI aren't that good. But if you buy the flagship razors, they're better. Just as good as vintage razors.

The thing with vintage razors is that there were surely mediocre razors back then, as there are now. It's just that people just used them up and discarded them. It was only the truly prized posessions that lasted. So, for the most part, what's left is the cream of the crop.

If you buy restored, you get more value for your dollar as the high end new razors are 200+. Might as well go custom at that point IMO.

Robert Williams starts at around 300 last I checked. Very basic though.

That said, in answer to your very last sentence, even the Dovo Best will last you a lifetime.

Personally, if I were to buy a bunch of straights, I would buy vintage or new custom. The flagship pieces from Dovo & TI just aren't worth it. In fact, neither are their low end models. You can get just as good if not better shave from a Gold Dollar. Dovo's look a lot better though. Don't get me wrong. Oh, and the GD should be professionally honed because they are crap from the factory. Anyway, my opinion.

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 09-13-2012, 10:13 AM
#5
  • MickToley
  • Hi, I'm Mike and I'm a shave soap addict
  • Brooklyn, NY
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I think she is talking about straights like this one, you want to stay clear of those. Vintage razors are nice and you can find some really good ones there on the bay.

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 09-13-2012, 11:33 AM
#6
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(09-13-2012, 10:13 AM)MickToley Wrote: I think she is talking about straights like this one, you want to stay clear of those. Vintage razors are nice and you can find some really good ones there on the bay.
Yep, that's what I'm talking about. There are plenty of decent vintage straights up for bids on ebay.

(09-13-2012, 10:06 AM)lamewing Wrote: MsBlackwolf,
Are you saying that the razors sold on eBay are simply not capable of taking a hone, or that it is difficult to find an decent condition razor on eBay? I have been looking at a few kamisori since I am a bit of a Japanophile. Any advice on those?

As mentioned by asharperrazor, these have a good reputation if not a knock-off.

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 09-13-2012, 11:59 AM
#7
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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If you shave only now and then a straight will be great, you can take of a months growth in one pass. It's difficult giving advice what to buy, personally I don't like Dovo but others do.

I've shaved with lots of straights and even among the same models there are differences. Really exceptional shavers are few, good shavers are plenty IMO. It's mostly the honing that makes the difference. And the stropping in the beginning is very important, when just starting out it's not uncommon to dull a razor after a few shaves just by stropping incorrectly.

Is there no member living in your area that is willing to loan you a razor so you can see if it's something that you like doing?

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 09-13-2012, 04:28 PM
#8
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(09-13-2012, 11:59 AM)Snuff Wrote: If you shave only now and then a straight will be great, you can take of a months growth in one pass. It's difficult giving advice what to buy, personally I don't like Dovo but others do.

I've shaved with lots of straights and even among the same models there are differences. Really exceptional shavers are few, good shavers are plenty IMO. It's mostly the honing that makes the difference. And the stropping in the beginning is very important, when just starting out it's not uncommon to dull a razor after a few shaves just by stropping incorrectly.

Is there no member living in your area that is willing to loan you a razor so you can see if it's something that you like doing?
IMO...it makes all the difference. Doesn't matter what the razor cost, what brand, what type blade...if it's not honed to perfection it's not going to shave.

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 09-13-2012, 04:43 PM
#9
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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By and large I agree with what Lee is saying, but I'd like to add that I think there are some very good blades still being made today. Would I recommend the cheapest ones? Absolutely not. But I wouldn't say that all vintage razors are better. They are certainly cheaper in the vast majority of cases, but not always better. I think some of them are better, but they aren't cheap either.

TI and Dovo, among others, still make great blades. I have a couple Dovos and TIs, as well as a Hart. They are all great. But your average run of the mill vintage razor is by far and away the better bang for the buck.

In this hobby, personal preference is all that really matters. Some like new, some like vintage. Some like 3/8, some like 10/8. Some like Sheffield Steel, some like Solingen Steel. Nobody is wrong or right, its just what works for you

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 09-14-2012, 07:35 PM
#10
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Great advice, here. If you can find a decently priced straight that has been honed very well from someone you trust, then go for it.

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 09-16-2012, 09:52 AM
#11
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Actually. .having tried three Hart's, I'd have to say that unless you're really into heavy grind razors, they're overrated and waaaayyyyy overpriced.

The Dovos are good value for money, as are most vintage blades.

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 09-16-2012, 10:06 AM
#12
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Yohann is correct.

The Harts are purposefully crudely finished. The scales are just junk. No matter how you put it, they're made cheaply. The blade is great quality, but it is not finished to the same degree as the basic Dovo. Nor is it meant to be. It's supposed to have that ruddy American grit to it. And it does. The scales are still incredibly under impressive.

$250 for a good blade? No thank you. I'll just pay Mr. Williams the same or similar for the same or better.

I don't know if I agree about the Dovos having worked with so many Gold Dollars. I cannot exactly find anything wrong with the 208's or 300's to tell people not to buy one. The only flaw is that the factory honing is crap and you should not attempt to sharpen one without the proper tools and experience. But, once sharpened, they are fantastic for the price.

PITA to sharpen though. I describe the process more as putting the initial factory edge on the razor as opposed to tweaking the Dovo/TI factory edge.

That said, I'd love to own a Bergischer Lowe or similar from Dovo. Spartacus or similar from TI. Probably not going to as I don't need any more razors.

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 09-16-2012, 10:41 AM
#13
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You do get a better razor for much cheaper by going vintage and they don't have to be "restored" to shave well, just honed. You can clean off rust yourself and even buy some lapping film and hone it yourself or get a shave ready vintage. The restore buffs off the elaborate etchings and oxidation and pitting and micro-chipped edges and such and slaps on some new scales. If the scales aren't split at the pivot pin, you do not have to have new scales. You do not have to buy a restored razor or buy a new razor to have a wonderful razor (vintage) for a nice price.

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 09-16-2012, 03:06 PM
#14
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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I don't worry about things like new or vintage. If you have an interest in a razor pursue it. My personal "prejudice" would be for vintage but only slightly. Also, I'm not too interested in custom razors. The only real advise I can give you is don't get hung up on the quantity of razors you have. It's better to have quality and that could be a $20 hardware straight that shaves like a dream. It's your hobby, enjoy it however you want.

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 09-19-2012, 06:22 PM
#15
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Thanks for all the great information. I have tried using a couple of DE razors and I just cannot seem to get the hang of it. I used a feather SS yesterday and while it was a slow process (first time) it seemed much more natural than using a DE razor. Time to look for a real straight razor to shave with. Oh, for the record, I am not looking for a hobby, just a reliable tool I can used every few days.

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 09-24-2012, 10:10 AM
#16
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Truthfully vintage vs. new doesn't really matter when it comes to the shave itself.
Certain names will cost more but that doesn't really relate to a better shave.
It comes down more to what/which grind/size works best for you.
Some like extra hollow grinds, some like the weight of heavier grinds. Some prefer 5/8-6/8, some prefer 7/8-8/8, ect..
My personal opinion is to get a few different sizes / grinds / origins (ie: German,US,ect...)
Once you've shaved with a few different types it's easier to pick which seems to work best for you.
While your in the learning curve I would try to keep the cost of the razor down as low as you can. You never know, you may get a month or two into it and decide it not what you thought. If that's the case, it stings a lot less if you only have a $50-100 invested instead of $500-1000 Smile

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 12-07-2012, 03:06 PM
#17
  • Cobre
  • Member
  • Vancouver, Canada
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If you buy fro Ebay, make sure you read up on what to look for in the pictures, like a frowning blade, chips, cracks, etc

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 12-09-2012, 06:05 AM
#18
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I don't know if this will help but this is what I did...........
Around 18 months a go I decided that I wanted to learn how to shave with a straight razor. So I thought buy the best I can so I will not have to buy it again (and of course being the best I could afford it would make things easier?)
So I got a Dovo Bismarck from a good retailer in the UK shave ready of course, a shave ready Wapi (vintage), an very good Neil Miller strop, oil and paste. Cost well in excess of £200.00.
A few shaves in I had nicked the strop in a few places (not good on an expensive strop) and the razor was not keeping its edge due to my poor technique. So off to Neil went the razor and I paid to get it sorted out...............I guess by now you can see where this is going.
Well to keep it short after a couple of months I decided that it was not working for me and sold everything making a loss on my original purchase.
I am just about to go down the path of learning again, but this time I got advise from a very good friend of mine on a UK forum who only uses straight razors and Neil Miller as well.
So my "new" straight is a No 7 C.V. Heljestrand shave ready cost £20.00 delivered and a starter strop kit from Neil.
The razor is not a looker by any means but is a very good shaver and the strop kit will do its job (anything from Neil will be good......Biggrin)
Not sure which side of the pond you are but I have seen a few places in the USA where you can get a cheap but serviceable starter kit from so maybe try one of those 1st and if you do nick the strop (and you probably will), or you find it too much maintenance and is not for you then the outlay is not so bad.
Also remember it takes a fair while to master the art of using a straight so be patient as you will still be using your DE to get to the difficult parts for a while. Of course we are all different so your experience may be different.
Good luck with your journey and I hope it works for you (and me also !!).

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 12-11-2012, 09:13 PM
#19
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I started buying straight razors this past summer and currently have 2 new and 9 used / vintage from eBay. The first razor I got, a new mid level Dovo, I'm giving away as a Christmas present. The other new was close to $300 (Wacker) and is amazing.

With the used blades, I have been really happy spending $30-$75 on average. As mentioned, I look out for chips and any warping. I also have been partial to blades made in Solingin & Sheffield. Also prefer carbon vs stainless. As a result, I have $40 vintage blades that performs at the same level as the $300 new ... when both are properly honed / stropped.

Speaking of which, knowing someone that has experience honing has been the biggest help. With most of the blades, even those that were described as "shave ready" I needed some help getting them keen enough to shave (comfortably).

Lastly, I really like historic aspect of shaving with the vintage blades.

Good luck!

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 12-12-2012, 09:38 AM
#20
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I am new to this board & I have a Vintage Puma-Inox No 63 6/8 from the 1900's that is in mint condition complete with the box it originally came in

I also have a King Cutter Str Edge from the same era

Can you tell me please where on this site I would post this?

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