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cut-throat razors and beyond...

Killer Kamisoricut-throat razor noun [C] UK (US straight razor)

a type of old-fashioned razor with a long blade that folds out from the handle

(Definition of cut-throat razor noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

42 or, money can't buy me skills

July 20, 2010 — R

Relaxing. Satisfying. Enjoyable. If you have been using electric or cartridge razors so far, chances are you will not associate these attributes with shaving. For many, shaving is a daily chore. For us, straight shaving has turned this chore into a pleasurable experience. But before you grab your credit card and buy yourself straight shaving equipment, you may want to peruse this article. In it, I will try to dispel some popular myths; give some basic advice on which equipment to buy; and introduce you to some further internet resources in the hope that they will help you to make your first steps easier.

Dispelling some myths or, why less is more

If you have browsed this or other forums already, chances are you will think that unless you start with a whole array of expensive pieces of equipment, you are bound to fail. This is simply wrong. Let me try to explain why. Read more »

Shaving on a budget - is it really worth it?

June 12, 2010 — R

Logic dictates that using a straight razor is the cheapest method of shaving. In the long run. If you stick to the basic setup of razor + strop + brush + shaving cream + after shave + some sharpening device. Let me show you a simple example whose prices in USD are rough estimates at the time of writing (2010-06-12) that shows that cartridge razors like a Gillette Fusion will be several times as expensive as a straight or safety razor, while delivering inferior results. Read more »

Recommended straight shaving related sites on the internet

June 9, 2010 — R

Shaving with a straight razor can be a daunting challenge. More so if you are a beginner. The information available has become almost too much. And often, it is very hard to tell truth from fiction, or fact from fad. This article is aimed at beginners who are looking for reliable, up-to-date, objective information. I am writing it from the perspective of a person interested in, but not enthusiastic about, straight razors. I am also writing this with a track record of two and a half years of research, and field (or, rather, face) testing. Read more »

Review of the Revisor "Revisor Extra" 8/8 straight razor

June 3, 2010 — R

Another day, another Revisor. A lot of people are looking for 8/8 fully hollow ground blades. There are only two manufacturers still in business who produce them: Wacker, and, since recently, Revisor. Wacker razors are known to be excellent, but not too much is known about the Revisors (or "Die Revisoren" as we call them in Deutschland). Thomas Kronenberg, Revisor's CEO kindly helped Lynn and me to a couple of them, and I own another: Revisor "5-0003" 5/8 and Revisor Seemann 6/8 with thumb notch scored 99 and 91% on Straight Razor Place, respectively, placing them firmly in the top league of current production razors (if you  believe my ratings, of course).  

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Review of the Heinrich L. Thäter "Series 4125/3" 28mm Finest Badger Silver Tip shaving brush

May 19, 2010 — R

I first came across Heinrich L. Thäter shaving brushes during a visit to The Different Scent. I was hooked immediately, and not just because of my previous Simpson disaster (cf Simpson's Commodore X3 Best Badger "Summer Coat Edition"). It took me many, many months to get Lynn to finally order one. The rest is history, and SRD now carry a good number of Thäter brushes.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Herr Schuldes, CEO of Thäter shaving brushes, to have made this possible. I had the distinct  pleasure of talking to him, and he was extremely pleasant to deal with: knowledgeable, dedicated to his craft, and extremely helpful, too. 

But I digress. This is, after all, a review. So, let's hear what the  vendor has to say first:

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Shaving cream review: KD Creations' "Lemongrass"

May 4, 2010 — R

Well now, I have reviewed most creams from well known manufacturers. I have also reviewed two artisan products. One was ridiculously overpriced given its abysmal performance, the other was just overpriced. Karen (CarrieM) and I have been talking about lemongrass scented products for  almost a year now. The first sample I received was good, but contained  different ingredients. In short, it was not ready for prime time. Since  then, Karen has changed the formula, and here is the result... Read more »

Two interesting old books on razors and honing

May 4, 2010 — R

I found these two books on razors and honing via the Straight Razor Place.

Review of the Revisor "5-0003" 5/8

April 26, 2010 — R

Until fairly recently, if you wanted to buy a new  production razor, you had a choice between Thiers Issard and Dovo. TI  has a long history of duds, and I have never found one I really liked  (with the exception of the 1/4 hollow Grelot that Obie now owns). Those  of you who are interested in watches will probably know Glashütte, Saxony. One of the companies there did  something incredibly clever. They used the knowledge of the old watchmakers to produce new watches. Similarly, there are still some  elderly gentlemen around in Solingen (Heribert Wacker being the most well known, probably) who learnt the trade while razors were still being produced in larger quantities in Solingen.   
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Stretching and Blade Angle

February 11, 2010 — Obie

Sometimes facial hair grows in such a jumble of confused paths and detours that shaving with a straight razor feels like driving zigzag in rush hour traffic.

Since any attempt to reason with the unruly stubble is like trying to serve a bloody prime rib to a vegetarian, shaving it off requires an arsenal of well-tested manoeuvres in skin stretching and razor angle. In recent weeks, I have improvised a number of such moves to finally defeat the patches of revolutionary fuzz that have plagued me since I shaved with Louis XIV.
Tiny bushes of stubborn hair on my neck, for instance, sweep in a wild burst of misdirection without any obvious reason or logic. They jolly well go wherever they please despite my frustration. Some go this way, some that way. Hello . . . ? Trying to get a good shave down there without cutting your throat makes avoiding a heart attack a miracle.

All this has been cause to scratch my head occasionally and wonder why anyone in his or her right mind would choose a straight razor instead of taking the easy route and chugging along on a plastic cartridge razor. Well, that blasphemous thought has lasted about as long as a wet sneeze.

As if the mischievous neck were not bad enough, I also have a sliver of ornery stubble on the right side of my cheek which arcs like a scimitar northward from about the middle of the jaw to just below the sideburn. I’ve asked the Universe about the reason for such infraction on my Hollywood face, especially since most of the hair on the right cheek heads southward in a civil manner. Thus far all I have from the said Universe is an invisible shrug. Like that really helps. Could be because I generally sleep on my right side. Then again, that might make too much sense for the Universe. Read more »

Bringing old razors back to life

February 9, 2010 — R

Straight razors are usually made of carbon steel, and therefore attract rust easily. Even if they are made from stainless steel, that only means they will rust more slowly. But rust they will. Rust is the nemesis of every straight shaver, and can be a death warrant for a straight razor. Rust falls into several categories, from red to black to what we refer to as "devil's spit", which is a deep, black pitting that is almost impossible to remove.

When buying used vintage razors, detecting damage caused by rust can be a daunting challenge. The images provided by sellers who do not know what to look for in a razor are often lacking the necessary detail. Moreover, someone without the required background knowledge is likely to under estimate the extent of damage caused by rust. What looks like superficial rust to the untrained eye can be a fatal damage to the edge of a razor, with the edge area usually being the crucial factor when restoring a razor. Rust damage to areas like the spine or tang can be removed without impeding the functionality of a razor.

Below is a particularly beautiful restore by Max Sprecher, one of the senior moderators are The Straight Razor Place. The razor is an Otto Deutsch "Hans". You can see the rust in the left picture, and some residual pitting in the right picture. The razor being a full hollow grind, removing the pits would have rendered the blade too thin. Read more »