Thursday, March 21, 2013

Classic Shaving: Straight Razors

This is part three of Hugh's look at the elements of classic shaving.

Let's not kid ourselves, the real interest in classic shaving lately has revolved around the straight razor.  It's dangerous and sexy and exciting, and if it's good enough for James Bond then why wouldn't you want to do it?  The fact that it also gives what devotees describe as the ultimate shave is simply a bonus.

A Bond Girl must have many skills.

There are multiple other reasons to jump into straight razor shaving:

- Using a single blade all but eliminates razor bumps, ingrown hairs and razorburn, problems exacerbated by multiple-blade razors. And they allow a level of precision that can be matched by no other shaving method.

- The up-front expense is larger, but you save in the long-haul: Disposable refill cartridges cost about $3 a head, and last about a week. That's $156 a year. You just paid for your straight razor, which can last for years and years with proper care.

- Disposable cartridges are not recyclable and produce a significant amount of waste.  How significant? 20 million American male shavers go through a five-pack of disposable blades every eight weeks or so. Each package weighs about two ounces. Multiply it out and you get... about ten thousand tons of waste each year.

- Giving yourself a straight razor shave requires just enough attention that it pushes mundane hassles out of your head and puts all your focus on the ritual at hand.  It's your daily moment of zen.

- A straight razor is what we like to call an "object of desire." The best ones are entirely hand-made by skilled craftspeople, and the variations and details of construction are quite fascinating.  It's really one of the most beautiful and interesting tools there is.

- Straight razor shaving is a skill. There's a learning curve, but once you've mastered it it can be a source of pride. Some might call it bragging. I do.

Hugh carries Dovo straight razors. Made in Solingen, Germany, they are among the finest available in the world.  The blades on the razors we stock are made of high-carbon steel, which allows a sharper edge, and are 5/8" half-hollow ground.

The "Classic" comes with a black cellidor handle (called "scales," also available in cream or white) and is $130.  Cellidor is an organic plastic that is warm to the touch and achieves a nice patina with use.  It's the same material used on Swiss army knives.


We also have the Dovo "Astrale" straight razor, which has an ebonywood handle as well as a spot for engraving initials. It is $175 and is an astoundingly handsome tool.


Your purchase of a straight razor at Hugh includes a bottle of paraffin oil, which you'll need to protect the blade ($15 purchased separately).  The hand-held leather strop from Streich Riemen is available for $90, and a chrome straight razor stand is $19.

There is a lot of information about the history and construction of straight razors out there - Wikipedia is a great starting point - as well as multiple guides on straight razor shaving (check out this illustrated how-to PDF). If you are remotely inclined to learn more it's pretty interesting stuff.

If you want to experience it in person, stop into Hugh. Aside from what we have in stock, we can special order other razors, strops and honing tools. We are here to make you happy - just ask!

1 comment:

Jennifer Anderson said...

This is really pretty cool place I like it because it has everything I want more on this blog soon.

Best Electric Shaver

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...