Shavettes: The Truth About Disposable Straight Razors

Discussion in 'Articles' started by PLANofMAN, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    It helps to have good hand/eye coordination, a steady hand and a light touch. ;)
    Monkeylord likes this.
  2. vinthechin12

    vinthechin12 Active Member

    I agree. Two weeks is plenty long for a learning period. I have shaved 4 times with my Parker and feel comfortable with it in my hand. Remeber... VERY LIGHT. I read somewhere to imagine you are shaving a balloon.
  3. Monkeylord

    Monkeylord The Lather Lord

    When I look at myself in the mirror in the mornings I don't have to imagine a lot to see a balloon :D
    ohpaos, Bird Lives and PLANofMAN like this.
  4. vinthechin12

    vinthechin12 Active Member

    pfffffffff. Ain't nobody got time fo dat.

    Monkeylord likes this.
  5. vinthechin12

    vinthechin12 Active Member

    That one is a lot funnier. Sorry, but I had to post it.
    Marillonaire and PLANofMAN like this.
  6. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Here is a video on loading a blade into a typical shavette. The razor in the video is a Sanguine Cool Cut 4, which is what I have. The Parker also loads blades this way.
    Slipperyjoe likes this.
  7. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives Future Root Beer King of Turkey

    Ditto....only, it took me almost 6 weeks before I was getting great comfortable shaves with no irritation....I think Monkeylord is right on...Just stick with it...after a month I found every day I had a lighter touch and steeper angle...Now I'm really loving the Shavette shave....
  8. Weishi Warrior

    Weishi Warrior Well-Known Member

    I have a Parker shavette that I use everyday to even up my sideburns before shaving with a DE razor. It serves that function perfectly as you can place the blade exactly on your sideburn/skin line. Outside of that, I no longer try to shave with it, as it just doesn't give off that same sweet sound produced by a hollow straight!
  9. lindyhopper66

    lindyhopper66 Well-Known Member

    CJB and Sam Seong handles for the Feather, Kai and Dorco blades (that fit the Feather and Kai handles)are much cheaper yet work just as well as the expensive Feather and Kai. The Feather and Kai finish and workmanship is better and they look better, but the cheaper handles work just as well.
    ohpaos likes this.
  10. ohpaos

    ohpaos Smiley Provider

    I'm very happy with my CJB, using either the Kai mild blades w/ guards or Feather Professional unguarded blades. You're right that it won't win any awards for craftsmanship. I'm intrigued by the Sam Seong, which looks to be better made. The chrome plated head & silicone grip make it an attractive mid-priced option btwn the CJB & Feather ACs. Not much has been written about the Sam Seong, so I was pleased to read your positive experience with it in another thread.

    Schick made a short-lived fixed-handle disposable blade holder called the "Proline" for the Japanese market & also very basic plastic folder marketed to hair stylists. I'm a big Schick (injector) fan, so I have some Proline blades en route to try with the CJB :)
  11. Lavachild

    Lavachild Active Member

    Thanks for this info. I have been using a straight only, but for some reason saw a shavette and bought it on impulse.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  12. LGBLST2013

    LGBLST2013 New Member

    Great article! Learning something new every day.
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  13. lindyhopper66

    lindyhopper66 Well-Known Member

    I have tried 3 different blades in my Sam Seong (Feather DX knockoff), so far. Kai Sharp is good, Dorco rough and not a good shave at all and Feather Professional Super, a superior shave. I haven't tried the Feather Professional, but I think the difference between the pro and the pro super is the super edge is further exposed. Super sharp and smooth. Almost makes me take a holiday from my straights. An easy 2 pass BBS shave. Nice and delicate feel like my Bartmann 15/16 full hollow.
    Terry and PLANofMAN like this.
  14. Slipperyjoe

    Slipperyjoe Rusty Metal Tetanus

    Very informative..:happy088:
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  15. jabberwock

    jabberwock Well-Known Member

    Now that I have actually used a replaceable blade straight razor I have to say that I can see myself becoming a major proponent of these razors. This article is a good start, but I really think that there needs to be a lot more information out there for new and potential replaceable blade straight razor users. These razors seem to find their way into the hands of the general public more than true straight razors. I see tons of folks attempting to use these razors without a proper understanding of what they are doing. We need to do some public service announcements and maybe a "Shavette Awareness Day" to help educate the masses.
    johnus and PLANofMAN like this.
  16. Marillonaire

    Marillonaire Member

    Great Article, thank you and I have enjoyed the responses too. I use a Dovo Shavette and can reiterate that it does take a lighter touch, and it does take a little getting used to. I agree with the author when he says a steady hand and a light touch is required. I love shaving with my Shavette and I recently got bought a new one by the Boss when in Taylor's of Old Bond Street, which is actually in Jermyn Street London. They didn't have the blades but luckily I have a local supplier in Glasgow. It is a different type of shaving but once you get into it, it's a really rewarding shave. I only use my Shavette at weekends and us my DE Merkur Progress during the week. "The end justify's the means"
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  17. mld202

    mld202 Member

    Wow really informative article answered questions I didn't even know I had, thanks
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  18. JRod22

    JRod22 Well-Known Member

    Here's a shavette comparison video I made a little while back. Thought I had posted it here, but I guess I made it for a similar thread.
    Astrobufff, PLANofMAN and macaronus like this.
  19. Marillonaire

    Marillonaire Member

    Thanks for the info, have a great shave!
    JRod22 likes this.
  20. Astrobufff

    Astrobufff New Member

    I had purchased a $1 shavette for my first experiments into "straight-like" shaving about six months back. I found it difficult to manipulate around curves due to the the flatness and slipperiness of the polished tang. The shavette used to rotate uncomfortably (sometimes without warning) between my fingers which could very easily prove lethal during a shave.

    I therefore cut a few grooves (jimps) (see Image) into the top and bottom edge in an attempt to improve grip. It helped marginally. But it was far from satisfactory.


    During one shave at that stage I managed a large nick on my left cheek, (largely due to my lack of control on presssure and angle) that has persisted as a scar till today. It is a painful reminder every day I shave, that I need to be meticulous and focussed, or to simply put down the razor till I manage compose myself. Women and children darting around in the foreground / background are an unwelcome distraction that can easily leave a mark in red, many a time.

    The shavette was put away for a few months since my newly acquired, shiny little toy had arrived in the form of a Merkur Futur. In time I had mastered it and was running it fully open at 6.5 using a Feather blade. I suddenly needed a new challenge in the form of a new skill to acquire. (We men shall always be boys, wont we?) So the shavette managed to see the light of day again.

    I have always been inspired by the Japanese Kamisori style designs, where there are no scales to interfere with your clear vision of the site of action, nor to physically interfere in the process. ( I do shave with my reading glasses on, and the scales don't like them since they always seem to block their path).

    The Inoue Tosuke design took my fancy. (See Image below)


    I therefore decided to alter my standard shavette further to make it easier to grip between the fingers and manoeuvre around the jawline using the Inoue Tosuke as a design inspiration.

    I drilled out the pin and removed the scales intact in case they would be needed in future.

    I took a knive with a suitable looking handle, and took an impression (mould) of it in Alginate. (The yellow / pink material that dentists use to take a mould of your teeth). Self polymerizing Acrylic resin was poured into the mould and the shavette set into it allowing for 1 1/2 " of tang length from the heel to be left exposed (Images 1, 2) to allow the flexing required to load and eject the blade. (The two halves were being permanently locked into place and shall not rotate anymore)

    Using my hand to grip the unfinished handle both ways, (i.e. thumb towards edge and index finger towards edge) the handle was marked and contoured with depressions for the thumb and fingers. (See Images)


    Finally I ground it smooth, sandpapered it and buffed it to a reasonable finish and shine.


    The handling has improved immensely. The shavette can be rotated between my thumb and fingers in a very controlled and reliable manner now without any signs of slipping. Time to test drive it.

    On my first attempt, I managed a BBS with a two pass on my cheeks and neck. I never expected to even attempt ATG much less complete it. This far exceeded my expectations with a shavette at this stage. My tail was up, a little prematurely though, as I moved to the more challenging sections of the face with my hands beginning to tremble a little.
    The chin experienced some tugging, and on persevering I managed a very small nick.
    Discretion being the better part of valour (especially with anything involving a sharp blade) I decided to quit for the day. I completed the chin and upper lip with my Merkur Futur set at 6.5 with an Astra Superior Platinum blade.

    I need to now find a suitable case for my baby. Currently I have to eject the blade when I need to put it away for the day.

    Personally I would recommend newbie shavette wannabes like me to use an aggressive DE razor like the Futur at full open (or a slant bar) for a couple of months to get the feel of an unprotected sharp blade on your skin and the pressure control required to achieve a nick-free BBS shave. This will make the transition to a shavette much easier.

    Straight razors are banned in India and hence it is unlikely that I shall be ever able to get one through Customs. Hence the shavette remains my only hope of "straight-like" shaving and I intend to make the most of it and definitely not quit my effort without a fair and extensive trial.

    These are my experiments that may or may not work for you. As is usual YMMV.


    This prototype was loaned out to two saloons to test-drive.

    Results were similar to mine. Good for the straight portions like the cheeks and the neck but nicks on the contoured portions like the chin.

    Reason : Lack of stability due to inadequate support for the little finger as provided by the tang in conventional western style straight razors and shavettes. Scything strokes were lacking control and balance hence the nicks.

    Back to the drawing board for strategic design changes to address those very flaws.
    Request your informed opinion and feedback.
    This is Version 2.

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
    Terry, Slow Joe, PLANofMAN and 3 others like this.

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