10-05-2019, 07:42 PM
#1
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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I seek education. If this has been discussed before please share a link to the thread. If not, I welcome your erudite musings.

It seems most of the straight razors I see on various websites are made with carbon steel. Why not stainless? Is carbon steel able to hold a sharper edge longer than stainless? Does stainless steel not get as sharp as carbon? What’s the story?

Thanks for the info!

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 10-05-2019, 10:18 PM
#2
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Charlie,

You are correct stainless takes a great edge but to get to that edge takes a bit more work from the person honing the edge, I always tell guys that struggle honing stainless is to hone it like you hate it.

As far as preference of stainless over carbon or vice versa for me I prefer carbon as it’s a softer edge so to speak, I think a stainless edge for my taste is to aggressive especially if honed on a total synthetic progression so I stay with carbon with a natural finish on a JNAT 

Another reason some prefer stainless is it’s less prone to corrosion over carbon but if you take care of a carbon blade it will last a lifetime.

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 10-05-2019, 11:50 PM
#3
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Fact stainless steel is not harder than carbon steel, yes it's more abrasion and corrosion-resistant but not harder, when you look at the Rockwell scale you will see that many carbon steels are in the mid 60s some Iwasaki razors are 64 and 65+, for me the big difference I find with different steels is the grain certain steels seem smoother because the steel seems denser, I'm not sure if this makes much sense but it's something I notice while honing many different razors with many different steels, personally I prefer carbon over stainless, for knives I like ATS 34/154 CM  VG10 and D2 I always find these steels give up a very sharp and smooth edge.


[Image: Plqc6QP.jpg]

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 10-06-2019, 03:45 AM
#4
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Chaz,

I am not expert on metallurgy, but I have found the Henckels Friodur stainless razors to be superb shavers! The ones I have had, have all had excellent grinds, wicked sharp edges, and they felt very smooth on the face.

As far as carbon steel goes I love the current Wacker and Ralf Aust razors! In addition, I also enjoy pre-1890 Sheffield razors (mainly Wade & Butcher and Frederick Reynolds), and the vintage Swedish razors made by Heljestrand.

I don’t think that one could go wrong with any of them which are in great shape, and which come back from a honemeister.

Vr

Matt

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 10-06-2019, 06:23 AM
#5
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The face feel of stainless is not as smooth as carbon, ime, especially not before a few shaves but they are never as smooth as a mellow carbon blade.

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 10-06-2019, 07:01 AM
#6
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Any thoughts on 115CrV3 (silver steel)?


How does that behave while honing....are synthetics or naturals better to hone it?

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 10-06-2019, 07:23 AM
#7
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(10-06-2019, 07:01 AM)Tester28 Wrote: Any thoughts on 115CrV3 (silver steel)?


How does that behave while honing....are synthetics or naturals better to hone it?

It's tool steel used for razors and knives, can be hardened to Rockwell 64 HRC, it doesn't contain silver.

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 10-06-2019, 09:22 AM
#8
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Very interesting. I appreciate and relate to the comments many of you have made about face feel. In my wet shaving experience it would be similar to the difference in face feel between GEM, Injector and DE blades. There, my preference is for DE, then Injector and lastly GEM in terms of comfort. Perhaps that equates to what your collective feelings are relative to carbon vs. stainless straight razors. It is also quite interesting to learn of the differences in maintaining an edge. Fascinating, actually.

Thank you, everybody. I would love to read further comments, opinions and points of view. A rabbit hole recently appeared at the distant edge of my periphery...

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 10-06-2019, 01:21 PM
#9
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There’s no significant difference if any difference at all to levels of sharp and neither steel holds its edge longer than the other in my experience. That’s all relative to the ability level of the guy honing it. I think you need to try both and see what you like to shave with. I have, and I decided early on that I did not prefer a stainless razor and sold off two very nice Henckels Friodurs and never thought twice. Early carbon Henckels I prefer. Again, it’s what I prefer. Open your wallet and start experimenting, collecting, and you’ll be able to tell what suits your shaving preference and later on your honing preference.

~Royce

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 10-08-2019, 07:36 AM
#10
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Interesting that you bring up the disposable GEM blades to the conversation. After my experience with str8 razors, I went back to GEM blades to check the differences between metals in terms of how they feel while shaving. 
I tried 3 carbon brand names (Treet and Gem Blue Star come to mind) and the standard GEM coated stainless blades on 2-3 razors (Rapide style and tto's). Stainless was, to me, far superior. Also tried a carbon DE blade (Treet I believe), with no luck. Disposable carbon blades were always tuggy and not very sharp. My guess is these blades are not finished the same way as some stainless blades are, but I don't know. 

As for the str8 comparison I sent a small group of razors to Doc226, which includes a Friodur. I've done this more than once and the stainless blade always feels a little different, kind of crispy. That tends to go away after a few shaves but it always feels different than a carbon blade.

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 10-08-2019, 07:24 PM
#11
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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I tend to like very shave DE and SE blades, e.g. Feather, and actually enjoy the sharp feeling of a stainless blade. When I shave with a razor with a "softer" edge, I generally to to "kick it up a notch" to obtain that very sharp feeling that some people might find too harsh. I generally like the edge off a Suehiro 20K. Only occasionally will if feel that an edge is sharp but not smooth enough and take it to a Jnat. I tend to prefer the hardness found in Swedish steel and Japanese razors, and tend to avoid the soft feeling of a Sheffield. As with everything else in shaving, everyone has their preference in steels, grinds, size, and hones. I think it's what makes it all so much fun.

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 10-09-2019, 02:13 PM
#12
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Well said!!!

Vr

Matt

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 10-13-2019, 09:19 AM
#13
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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I’ve never found much difference that I could attribute to stainless vs non-stainless, really. Stainless is generally softer and more wear resistant than carbon as Jamie notes, but the Friodurs that I’ve owned hone and shave just like carbon. That’s not true of Puma Inox Frozensteel, or ice-hardened steel which is noticeably harder (as is the Filarmonica Sub Cero carbon). The Cryo steels seem a bit more picky about which jnat that they like, but that’s true of carbon or stainless.

I have a Friodur 72 in my travel kit along with the Puma Inox out of convenience, and I have no complaints. If I have the space/convenience of not throwing a damp brush in the kit I’d be equally happy with. Filarmonica or Tanifuji carbon, but it is nice to not have to worry about it when you’re on the move.

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