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Straight vs. Shavette
11-08-2012, 12:09 PM
Post: #1
Straight vs. Shavette
Traditional straight razors are honed, stropped, sharpened and have upkeep. Disposable blade straight razors have those same things going for them except for a big one; the blades are thrown away after some use. Shavettes like the Parker SR1 have blades that are locked into itself the same way a DE does. After the blade starts to tug or other noticable qualities become apparent you just toss the blade and throw in a new one, no stropping or honing needed.

Myself and another TSN member were discussing this and neither of us have any experience with straights, though I have some Soldiers (myself included) interested in trying them. We can only assume that since a shavette uses a disposable blade, such as a DE razor, that it also shaves differently than a traditional straight.

What are the differences between the two? Pros and cons? One sings different? It would almost make sense to say the shave results with a shavette would almost be the same as a DE since they use the same blades. Does your pre/post prep need to be changed at all? Do the two still cut at the same angles? Would it be recommended to go from a shavette to traditional straight after a while or are the two so vastly different it's inadvisable?
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11-08-2012, 12:21 PM (This post was last modified: 11-08-2012 12:24 PM by DoubleB.)
Post: #2
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
To me, straights are way more forgiving then shavettes.
Also, I like the weight of a straight more then a shavette. Next to that I like the singing of the full hollows more.

And last but not least. The whole ritual of stropping, honing, touching up, testing your edge..it's part of the shave.

On the practical side; I'm suggesting you guys in the military don't have alot of space to store strops, hones and those kind of things. A shavette would be the solution. As you've said before, most straights hold a DE blade (DE blade gets snapped in half).

Difference in shaves? For me; yes!

Shavettes are less forgiving, as I said before, but second to that I find that shavettes tend to need a lesser angle (15-20 degrees) then a straight (30 degree angle). Also, with a shavette you need to use less pressure.

I like my lather a bit wetter when I shave with a straight. You don't want dry lather with a straight as the blade will skip during the pass and will feel very dull, while it's not.

Some people use shavettes first and go to straights afterwards. Some like to start off with straights immediatly. Only one way to find out I guess.

Note that my above obeservations are my observations. Maybe some other guys who chime in will have different opinions!
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11-08-2012, 12:43 PM
Post: #3
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
The blade on the shavette is going to be much sharper than a straight and the angle will vary slightly. Of the shavettes I've tried I enjoyed the Parker over the Dovo but enjoyed a CJB Disposable Blade and a Feather AC over the Parker or the Dovo. The blades and initial setup cost of a CJB and Feather are higher but they feel closer to a real straight than the Parker or Dovo.
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11-08-2012, 01:24 PM
Post: #4
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
Double D is absolutely in line with my position.

A shavette is just much more user friendly in terms of maintenance. That's why DE's killed the straight razor. Not because they gave a better shave, but because they're lazier.

The difference is readily apparent. A good honing will impart a mirror finished edge that will glide through hairs like a hot knife through butter. Conversely a crummy job will suck.

A DE blade does the same job, 100% of the time. You know exactly what to expect. Is it the best? Absolutely not. But it works and it works reliably.

The truth about DE blade honing is that it actually isn't very refined. Modern DE blades have a double bevel and aren't taken to a very high grit. Instead, manufacturers rely upon a teflon coating to make the cutting easier. In the past, they used higher grits. Vintage DE blades and current models made in the same fashion are excellent.

Anyway, back to the point. Once the teflon wears off, the blade is basically done. That's why some blades only last a couple of shaves. Other blades are honed better and will last longer.
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11-08-2012, 01:26 PM
Post: #5
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
Shavette are less forgiving because of the thinner sharper edge but give great results. Straights are more forgiving and easier to use because of the length and thickness of the edge. The big thing with shavettes is the corners of the blades can cause a lot of havoc too. It's funny my Dad's favorite DE was a Gillette Tech with the blade guards cut off. I guess he was into shavettes before they were available.
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11-08-2012, 02:29 PM
Post: #6
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
Robbin, I can really appreciate the way you think. Sometimes I forget about where I am and what I'm doing in a sense. To me it's a job but I suppose to some people it's much more and I can understand that. I think a part of it stems that it took so much for me to come back into the Army. It took a lot of work, a lot of calls, a ton of paperwork and even me voluntarily demoting myself to get back in. It's been a long journey. While here I also only think of the next 12 hours in front of me; it's much easier than thinking of the next 7 months.

I'm also glad you mentioned thee small things such as lather consistencies and how you like it. I would of never thought of such things.

Lee I had no idea of teflon coating and the such. I see that we have YouTube videos posted of "How It's Made" but it lacked to mention any teflon coating of the sort. Any where to find more information about that?

Dan, thanks for the input. I will let these Soldiers know when it comes time about the corners of the blades.
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11-08-2012, 02:54 PM
Post: #7
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
The teflon coating isn't something advertised. For obvious reasons they keep it under wraps. I think in the past they advertised it.

Also IIRC in the How it's made, you can see them getting sprayed and theres some description of protective coating or whatnot. That's the teflon.

See these SEM photos. Much rougher than a straight, but it cuts hair fine. Biggrin

http://imgur.com/a/JQxQV

Anyway, just my opinion. Each manufacturer has different standards. I'm sure there must be a few that do things the old way.
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11-08-2012, 03:38 PM (This post was last modified: 11-08-2012 03:39 PM by Captain Capsize.)
Post: #8
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
I cut myself more in a week with a shavette than the past year with a real straight.

In all fairness I was starting out when I had the shavette and lacked experience but it is not as forgiving, believe me.
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11-08-2012, 03:53 PM
Post: #9
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
(11-08-2012 03:38 PM)Captain Capsize Wrote:  I cut myself more in a week with a shavette than the past year with a real straight.

In all fairness I was starting out when I had the shavette and lacked experience but it is not as forgiving, believe me.

I don't have any personal experience with either but this is the same kind of experience I was reading about on the straight razor forum when I was recently looking into it. I came away with the impression that it's worth the extra effort to do the straight razor rather than the shavette. There were a lot of very positive references to the "Sight Unseen" straight razor packages Larry of Whippeddog.com sells. He also has a smaller "travel" strop.
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11-08-2012, 07:03 PM
Post: #10
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
I tried the Parker with DE blades and the Weck that looks like a straight but uses long Personna single edge blades stiffer and longer than the DE blades and the CJB(Feather clone). I had a hard time with all of them. I cut myself often. I found it hard to keep the correct angle. Dangerous around the mouth and under the nose.

So I bought a straight and had much better success. Still nick myself, but I'm not a bloody mess like I was with the shavettes. On the other hand some people seem to have an immediate knack for the shavettes, just not me.

As to honing, you can get one honed and then refresh the edge every now and then with CrOx. If you want to hone, you can use lapping film, easy peasy....unless you're trying to hone a large wedge.
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11-09-2012, 08:28 AM
Post: #11
RE: Straight vs. Shavette
The shavettes are great for teaching 'no pressure.' I started with a Parker shavette and cut myself up so bad it scared me away for almost a year. Then I picked it up again and approached it with a lot more respect, and got close, but harsh shaves. Switching to a regular straight let me control how I wanted the edge, so I backed down on sharpness a little and the irritation went away.

That said, I still won't shave with a shavette again.
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