I've been studying up on straight razors a bit, and came across a few great videos showing the basics of testing your edge and honing it. I thought all of you considering the switch to a straight razor (or those new to it) would enjoy these.
One of the most frustrating things about any sharpened implement is getting it back to a razor edge. From a pocketknife to a straight razor to an ax, a fine edge is the key to a close shave.
The best book I've found by far is the Razor Edge Book of Sharpening. This book features practical information in a straight forward way, and will have you sharpening every blade in your house like a pro.
"Universally recognized as "The Bible of The Cutting Edge", this book belongs in the library of anyone who is serious about sharpening. Written by Guinness world record holder John Juranitch, it contains all the knowledge and insights gained during his more than 40 years in the sharpening industry.
The 145 page book is crammed with photos, illustrations and cutting edge secrets you won't find anywhere else. Its 14 chapters cover topics like how to choose a knife, sharpening theories and applications, steeling, using a hone and much, much more. You'll get answers to the most asked questions. You'll learn the truth about common myths like why you should never use oil on a hone. And you'll get the insights necessary to put a great edge on knives, axes, fish hooks, arrowheads, chain saws and other tools.
It's a history, a handbook, a reference manual that is the simplest, most complete way to give yourself a razor edge on sharpening."
Here's a video clip of the author shaving with an ax. Yes, an ax.
"Known for their luxury personal grooming products, Parisian company Hommage certainly lives up to their reputation with the Damascene Razor. The name comes from the Damascus steel used to make the blade. While the technique for making the True Damascus encountered during the Crusades has been lost since the 1700s, modern pattern welding techniques have produced similar blades. The 128 layers of steel in the Damascene Razor produce a rose and torsion pattern much like those seen in True Damascus blades."
The world is awash with cartridge razors and disposables, which have taken the lion's share of the market from safety razors and straight razors over the last 50 years or so. But it's not the only way men are shaving.
There is a growing movement of straight razor enthusiasts, and a site called Straight Razor Place has a great forum filled with advice on methods and purchasing tips for both the newbie and the seasoned shaver. It looks like there are thousands of registered users over there, and I just signed up so that I can glean the wisdom of those straight razor 'pros'.
I have to admit that I've used either an electric razor or cartridge razor for the 25 years of my shaving 'career', but I just ordered a Merkur safety razor for myself. I can foresee buying a straight razor in the near future as well (mostly because I really like rituals, and I think the old school methods of shaving are a great 'manly' thing to bring back).
My questions for all of you readers:
Do you use either a safety razor or straight razor? What converted you?
Please leave a comment, and if you Twitter, follow @ShavingStuff and take our Poll!
A couple month ago I received the Dad's Old Time Razor Set from the Nashville Knife Shop. At first I was psyched to try this set, which includes a badger brush, brush and razor stand, Muehle-Pinsel Shaving Soap with Aloe, and a safety razor and razor blade. As time went by I realized this set was going to expose me as a fraud. I have no experience shaving with a real razor. My life has been confined to cartridges and electronics. And any straight razor which has touched my face has been in the able hands of a trained professional.
Alas, I have not used the safety razor. But I have used everything else.
First off - badgers rule. Do yourself a favor and get a badger-hair brush. The one included in the set is awesome. The Nashville Knife Shop has several individual shaving brushes for you to choose from, ranging in price from $29.99 to $395.00. The low-end badger hair ones will work just fine for you.
Second, you're going to need a stand. Don't skimp out here and ignore this. You want your brush to dry upside down so that the water can fall out. The Nashville Knife Shop has brush stands from $3.95 to $24.95. Personal preference as to what you want. The $3.95 one looks, well, like it costs $3.95. I like the simplicity of this $19.95 one or this (pictured) $24.95 one which also has a slot for your razor.
Now, if you're a Gillette/Schick razor man, you can stop right here. But if you're old-school straight or "safety" razor, click on over the Nashville Knife Shop's razor selection and feast you eyes on these beauties. My advice if you're looking for a recommendation on a straight-razor or shaving soap is to head on over to LeisureGuy's guide to the gourmet shaving experience and see what he has to say. The man is a review machine. He puts me to shame.
On top of all of this, the Nashville Knife Shop also has knives. Who knew? Cutlery, sporting, hunting, even Swiss Army knives. If it needs cutting, you're sure to find a blade for the job.
Trying to figure out the perfect gift for a loved one this year? You've come to the right place. It's the 2006 ShavingStuff Holiday Guide, and it's jam-packed with home runs from the shaving world. Hey Santa - I've been good. Real good.
You may think you're bringing sexy back, but if you're bringing hairy back, you're bringing lonely back. Luckily there's a solution, aside from being mistaken for Azamat from the Borat movie. MANGROOMER Back Hair Shaver - $39.95
Last, but certainly not least, we have the category of pubic shaving. Men just love that extra optical inch provided by the BodyGroom, and women (and men) just love that smooth, clean... well... you know. Philips Norelco BG2020 Men's Bodygroom - $34.99 Seiko Cleancut - $53.25
Knife Maker Frank Warner recently started making straight razors, and they are a thing of beauty. "... spring steel, anodized titanium and presentation grade gold lip mother of pearl handles." Check out this page of straight razors to see what I'm talking about. They aren't cheap. The Gold Lip Straight Razor, which is the only one currently available, is $400. But here's why:
Frank performs nearly all production phases of his knives himself, from design to profiling, drilling, shaping, heat-treating, polishing and final sharpening. Occasionally he will engage the services of a jeweler or another knifemaker for assistance with tasks for which he lacks the proper tools or confident expertise. All of his knives come with a certificate of authenticity guaranteeing that they are one-of-a-kind custom handcrafted knives and a full 90-day warrantee against defects in materials and workmanship.