Help Please: First Vintage DE Razor.

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by TheBurgh, Jun 29, 2022.

  1. TheBurgh

    TheBurgh Active Member

    I would like to acquire one (RAD may follow) vintage DE razor without thoroughly researching the field. (Honestly, this apparently lazy request is quite contrary to my obsessive compulsive history of endless research prior to an acquisition.) Hoping you fine folks here would lend your extensive expertise and generosity in helping to kickstart my newest shaving hobby interest.

    A few parameters which I think may help:
    1. Lowest profile head depth, the lower the better.
    2. Mild to mild+. (I favor The Winning Razor and Karve Overlander in moderns.)
    3. Heavier weight.
    4. SB.
    5. Condition: Pristine or revamped.
    6. Could be adjustable, subject to #1, above.
    7. Budget? No, but depends on meeting above criteria.
    8. Have I forgotten anything?

    Which brands/models come closest? Are there better and worse places to be searching? What are the hidden pitfalls?

    Thanks for reading and helping if you can
    brit, Ijustmissedthe50s and jimjo1031 like this.
  2. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    I'm sure you'll get some excellent replies. But using these parameters, thin profile and on the heavy side. I'd pick a Gillette WW II tech head, on a heavy handle.
  3. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    The Merkur Progress has been around for fifty or sixty years. In terms of cars, that could be considered "vintage" although you can still buy them new.

    Normally, I would suggest seeking out a Muhle R41 from 2011, and while not a vintage razor itself, the R41 closed the doors on my RAD pretty much forever.

    I have bought a few razors here and there, mostly to chase razors that I gave away that I should have kept, but even having done so, I don't use them.

    The Progress on the other hand, can be quite a handful to shave with, if it is slammed wide open. Dial it all the way back and it is quite tame.
    IAmTheJody, brit, Aztecmike and 4 others like this.
  4. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    Gillette NEW with the bar handle filled with lead rod for weight. Short or long comb, either one, no real difference.
    lightcs1776, brit, Aztecmike and 4 others like this.
  5. jay_gatz

    jay_gatz Well-Known Member

    For mild, narrow head profile, I’m going to second a fat handled tech. Try to find one with the triangular slots in the base plate. I have a revamped one, as well as a pristine one.
    brit, Aztecmike, Herm2502 and 2 others like this.

    RFBNEW Well-Known Member

    Some razors(except forementioned Tech) fit part of your category.

    1. Eclipse Red Ring

    Maybe not heavy enough for you. But vintage razors are generally light. It is very hard to find a vintage razor over 90~100g.

    2. Berkeley Shave Selector

    It is more light. but it is adjustable.

    3. Olaf Rasmussen

    Maybe lowest proflie razor you can find. Not that mild though.

    4. Cooper Monobilt

    This one may fit your category most but it is OC razor.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2022
    brit, Aztecmike, Herm2502 and 4 others like this.
  7. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector

    Article Team
    The Cooper MonoBilt was the first razor that popped into my mind as well.

    As is I would recommend a Tech razor, with a stainless handle from Italian barber. Since you would just need the head, any inexpensive Gillette travel tech will work.
    Aztecmike, Herm2502, TheBurgh and 3 others like this.
  8. jay_gatz

    jay_gatz Well-Known Member

    OP should have had "easily obtainable" as one of his pre-requisites...just buy a fat handled tech and start shaving. Everything else will work itself out, and be aware, this rabbit hole is deep, so you WILL be buying more razors. Bwaahaahaa...
  9. Aztecmike

    Aztecmike George

    I would suggest a schick "Krona" type DE razor. It should satisfy all the OP's criteria except maybe heavier weight, but they are heavy enough for the job & plenty of nice ones can be found at very affordable prices. l4POkLy.jpg
  10. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector

    Article Team
    What's the reasoning behind lowest profile head depth? I've never found the head thickness to be a major issue in any properly designed razor. For that matter, open combs can be very mild razors, despite reputations for being aggressive. Most thin headed "vintage" razors are open comb. And that was one of the exclusions.

    Also, research on vintage razors was easier 10 years ago. There was less information then, but much less SOTD posts cluttering up the search results.

    My particular interest in this hobby is non-Gillette DE razor design prior to the modern era, and the more creative the design, the more interesting it is to me. The tiniest variation can completely alter the way a razor shaves.

    I think you are excluding many very good razors due to the number of exclusions and wants, some of which don't actually matter to the shave or face feel.

    If you asked for a handful of vintage razors that offered mild shaves from Gillette or other brands, without all the other stipulations, you would have gotten pretty much the same answers you have here. If you want to dabble in vintage, Gillette's are the easiest to find, and usually cheapest, depending on the model. A three piece Tech, a flare tip superspeed, a New long comb, and a Slim Adjustable will give you a nice selection of some of Gillette's milder old razors, with the new long comb being the most aggressive of the three non-adjustable razors.

    Another reason for mentioning the Cooper MonoBilt was that it was brass, but thickly chrome plated. Most MonoBilt razors still look pretty new, despite being 90 years old. If you are super fussy about "used" razors, the Tech will be the easiest and cheapest to find NOS (new old stock). The other razors I mentioned of Gillette's can also be found NOS, but those are far rarer, and thus more expensive. Replated and/or refurbished razors are more expensive than just finding one and sending it to be plated.

    The best place to find vintage razors is eBay. If you bid instead of BIN (buy it now), use Gixen or some other ebay sniper program. Plug in the max you are willing to pay, and the program will insert your bid in the final seconds of the auction. Keeps you from spending more than you are willing to, and keeps other people from nickel and diming your high bid into oblivion. You are literally throwing money away if you don't use one.

    The best place to find vintage European razors is Etsy. Just search for "Bohin razor" or "Leresche razor", and check the sellers until you find the ones who specialize in wet shaving. There's a few, and they are easy to find if you know how to look.

    To get you an easy start on Gillette razors, there aren't actually that many different types of Gillette heads on razors, so it is possible to "collect them all" if you go down that particular rabbit hole. Between U.S. Gillette and U.K. Gillette, there's probably about 50-100 distinct razor head profiles over the course of 100 years. Most of those are very similar to each other and can be grouped together. All in all, about 30 razors will cover every major advance Gillette made between 1920-1980 on two continents. (As long as you don't start chasing really rare razors)

    If anyone hasn't mentioned this to you yet, the British and U.S. Gillette companies might as well have been seperate companies. The razors range from near identical to very different, depending on the model. Where the models are nearly identical, the British razor will be the better made of the two, but a tad bit more aggressive, due to the usually heavier weight of the razor.

    It's really less of a rabbit hole than a sucking black hole. I've barely scratched the surface here.

    For a basic, but thorough overview of the various Gillette razors:
    He is one of the few people who have a encyclopedic knowledge of Gillette razors, and the only one of those I know of with a youtube channel.

    Have fun!
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2022
  11. jay_gatz

    jay_gatz Well-Known Member

    Great answer!
    brit likes this.
  12. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

  13. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    brit likes this.
  14. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Well on the heavy side you could look into a Stahly live blade razor. Added bonus is besides the weight they also vibrate when you find a working one.

    Slim head and some weight to it get a Gillette slim adjustable.
    Ijustmissedthe50s and brit like this.
  15. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Also as some have mentioned are vintage Merkur razors, besides those you can look into the vintage American import versions sold as Hoffritz razors.
    Ijustmissedthe50s and brit like this.
  16. Bax

    Bax Active Member

    My default would be any of the vintage TTO Gillettes. If it's your ONE vintage DE razor, it might as well be the standard by which all others are judged. Whether it's an old 1940's Super Speed or one of the later "flare tip" Super Speeds, they're all pretty much the same... it's kinda the "57 Chevy" of razors. They're pretty cheap and widely available. Plus the missile silo doors are cool. They're "bomb bay" doors if you hold the razor upside down. Double duty!
    - Bax
    Ijustmissedthe50s and brit like this.
  17. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Ijustmissedthe50s and brit like this.
  18. Bax

    Bax Active Member

  19. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    And Roger Moore as Bond used a Schick

  20. brit

    brit in a box

    i had an NOS one of those.:):eatdrink047:
    Enrico likes this.

Share This Page