Thinking About Buying a Straight Razor?
I really don’t know how to or where to buy a straight razor. I am intrigued by a straight razor as soon as I dived into the world of wet shaving. Surely, as my country is not fond of traditional wet shaving, I couldn’t find any new straight razor available to buy. I have to search the big World Wide Web to find an affordable straight razor. Of course, because I was going cheap, I found eBay as the cheapest place to find it.
Consequently, I found not that good of a razor. I bought four straight razors to be exact. It was cheap and has “historical” values. I was sold at the first word of VINTAGE.
Big mistakes on my part. I should study more about straight razors before making any moves. Lucky for you, you found me here. This will stop you from making the same mistakes as I did. You will not buy a straight razor with regrets as the baggage.
Before You Begin
Study, study, and more study. You need to learn everything you need to know about straight razors, especially where to buy a straight razor.
First, DO NOT BUY from eBay. That is the first mistake that you should avoid if you are a total newbie in this straight razor world. You do not know anything about buying a good straight razor. The seller (on eBay) may not know anything about a straight razor. The seller just found an antique razor and just want to sell it. You will get a bad razor most of the time and you don’t know what to do with it.
You need to get it professionally honed before you can use any of the vintage straight razors. There are many chips and damages to the razors. They may have rust deep inside the blade that brittles the razor. The last thing you want is an accident because of the blade loses its sturdiness. You cannot hone the razors yourself given the bad conditions of the razors. You should consult a good master honer.
Second, you should have a starter set. You cannot and should not buy only the straight razor. You need to buy at least a starter set. Check the basic equipment below.
Third, learn everything from watching a lot of shaving videos. There is a long and steep learning curve. You just cannot expect a good shave at your first try. Many shavers will advise you to get just an acceptable shave for your first shave. Do the clean pass with your safety razor.
Fourth, learn how to strop. You need to get a good strop. This will prolong your straight razor’s life. A good stropping will maintain your razor’s sharpness to half a year.
Lastly, you need to build a muscle memory. Be really gentle. Let the weight of the razor that moves you. Do not use pressure at all as pressure will sink the blade into your face. You do not want to scar your face, don’t you? If you are not brave enough to venture into this world, you should check the safety razor page.
You just need two items for your basic equipment. Without these 2 items, you should not pursue straight razor shavings at all.
- 1 or 2 straight razors. Once again, I warn you do not do the mistake that I did. DO NOT buy them from eBay. You really need to know where to buy a straight razor from a reputable seller. You want them to shave ready.
- A strop. A hanging strop or a paddle strop. Just choose your own style. But you should get a strop. This will help realign the indentations without removing any material from the blade. This is different from honing. A strop can help you get your straight razor sharp enough for 4-6 months. When the straight razor starts to bite you, it is time for another honing session.
Other basic equipment
- Get a good shaving soap or cream. A slick lather will help your shaving a lot!
- Get a good shaving brush.
- Get a shaving mug / bowl. But this is really optional. I prefer face lathering but you might want to learn to lather from a bowl.
Watch the Video
Part of your basic training is to watch good shaving videos. You will need to pay attention to what these people are saying. I give you 4 videos that were recommended to me by my friend, James.
Where to Buy a Straight Razor
Now that you already have the basic information (again, the B.A.S.I.C) you should choose your own razor. This is really a matter of personal preference. Nobody can make you choose what your razor should be.
There is a Gold Dollar straight razor. It is a Chinese brand. It is cheap but the quality is a bit lower than the good one. Mostly because you might end up with a not shave ready Gold Dollar. Yes. It comes out from the factory but might not shave ready. I think the problem lies within their Quality Control department.
I really recommend you to get a high-quality razor. It will come shave ready and you can use it immediately. You may want to check the top current manufacturers.
The top three current manufacturers are Dovo, Thiers-Issard, and Böker. They are well known for producing great razors for years. And I really mean years. Like over 100 years. If you like to have a different than a factory manufactured straight razor, you should check some professional straight-razor-smiths (Is that a word? I like to think so).
Dovo has been on the market since 1906. They ship to all over the world. The founders are Mr. Dorp and Mr. Voos. They first production was open razors. They expanded the production line to hair scissors. By the year 2003, Dovo returned to its root, a razor company. Shaving has become their main focus again.
Thiers-Issard was founded in 1884 by Pierre Thiers. He was a well-known blacksmith, producing straight razors of the best quality. When he created the company, he attached his wife’s name to the brand. This was to avoid confusions with other family names.
The chestnut tree logo shaving razor company has its history written since the 17th century. The company has survived WWI and WWII. It also has changed several ownerships. But the most important thing that remains to this day is they make a fine straight razor.
You can check some of the best selection from those manufacturers down below.
What is your experience? Where do you buy a straight razor from? What is your current razor? Your answers will help me and others when deciding to buy a straight razor.