Shavettes VS Straights

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Mike-R41, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. Mike-R41

    Mike-R41 Well-Known Member

    Pros & Cons

    Shavettes (Pro)

    You don’t have to hone.
    You don’t have to strop
    You can easily change the blade
    It’s smaller so it’s more maneuverable
    You can also fit a feather artist club blade in the scissor type ones… (and it works! )
    Doesn’t rust

    Shavettes (Con)
    Not getting the traditional experience
    I seriously can’t think of anything else

    Straight Razor (Pro)
    More traditional

    Straight Razor (Con)
    Takes a lot longer to learn
    You have to learn a lot more different skills
    Your form and technique have to be perfect or you can roll the edge
    It cost more to maintain
    They can rust if not oiled
    Glondus, b1hart and battle.munky like this.
  2. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    I would call it a con that shavettes produce a waste product, used blades, on a regular basis. There isn't a waste product with traditional straight razors, and they can easily last 100+ years if they're taken care of well.

    Also, it's been my limited experience that shavettes are considerably lighter weight, ergo they have less mass to carry through the shave, and thus require more effort from your hands to shave. Even a full hollow traditional razor has more heft to it, and therefore wants to cut hairs more readily. I've also heard, though I personally couldn't prove this for certain, that a properly honed and stropped traditional razor has a much keener edge than a manufactured DE or shavette blade. I haven't tried a bunch of different shavettes, but I started with them before graduating to traditional straights. I prefer the overall feel and experience of a traditional straight shave, and I don't mind the upkeep tasks. Frankly, the stropping and honing for many of us is an enjoyable part of owning straights, kind of meditative, if you will. And the idea of shaving with a razor that has been around for over 100 years is very appealing to many of us that are drawn to traditional shaving for the historical merit in the first place.

    As with all things, YMMV.
    Mike-R41, b1hart and battle.munky like this.
  3. battle.munky

    battle.munky Has the menthol.munky on his back!

    One huge thing that I find as a pro to straights that I absolutely do NOT find as a pro to shavettes is shave quality. A properly honed straight is the absolute most effortless comfortable shave I've ever had. I used shavettes for about 6 months and never once had an experience I would call anywhere close to as effortlessly comfortable.

    I do like shavettes but I think they are the Toyota compared to the Lexus. Same church, different pew.
    Mike-R41, Herm2502, b1hart and 2 others like this.
  4. The Fox

    The Fox Well-Known Member

    Here's some more to add to your list.
    Shavette Con: Bland and boring product of industrialization
    Straight Pro: Beautiful product of old fashioned craftsmanship.
    Straight Pro: The first three things on you "straight con" list can actually be enjoyable learning those skills. So they could be "pros."
    Straight Pro: If you didn't spend that money on straight razors, you'd probably just spend it on something stupid anyway.
  5. IAmTheJody

    IAmTheJody Gillette-i Master Staff Member

    Essence by Tedalus shavette. Bland and boring is a personal observation but certainly not a general con.
    PLANofMAN, battle.munky and b1hart like this.
  6. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    I've seen that one before, and while I agree that it isn't bland or boring, I would also say that it isn't what I'm looking for in a razor. Too modern for my taste. Much like the silly so-called traditional straights that you see all over eBay that are styled after Sweeny Todd and such, where the blade is ridiculously oversized, over-wrought, and purely for show with no practical usefulness. I love a good 8/8 chopper, but not one made to look like a silly movie prop. There is a subtle elegance to the curves of a mid 19th century wedge ground Wade and Butcher or Wostenholm, and it totally shows up the imitators for what they are.
    PLANofMAN, battle.munky and b1hart like this.
  7. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    battle.munky likes this.
  8. b1hart

    b1hart Speed Racer

    I'm the slow/backwards learner on this one. First shaves with a Feather AC DX....disastrous. Lost the fight, flew the white flag, thought about throwing it on a BST.

    Moved to a couple more traditional straights, a Puma and a Henkels....much better results.

    ~2 months later of open edge shaving I revisited the AC DX, but using AC 'guard' blades by Feather and Kai. Only a couple minor issues. Now....I've removed the scales on it, turned it into a 'kamisori style' setup, wrapped the bare handle (covering the scales pivot hole). Almost always use Feather Pro blades, and shave with it once a week. In fact, it's almost a 'safety' razor to me now I use it so often, even foregoing a mirror when camping a couple times.

    Many great comments and thoughts already posted.
  9. b1hart

    b1hart Speed Racer

    The Essence by Tedalus, kind of in the same mindset....maybe if I see one cross a BST sometime down the road. Still have a couple shavettes on the 'want to try' list....lurk the BSTs for those as well.

    But, I do like both vintage and modern straights (even those 8/8 or larger, or those movie props).
  10. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    Here are my thoughts:
    Feather AC: Excellent, close shave without the maintenance of a straight. Since I have both, I can say that the Shavette shave is just as easy to attain.
    Con: Feather blades are uber-sharp and I can get cuts.
    Traditional Straights
    Pros: Nostalgic; easier to use than a Shavette.
    Cons: Maintenance...plenty. Now, that in and of itself doesn't bother me, but if you want the straight experience without the extra work, the folding AC is the way to go. Just my humble opinion.
  11. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    I would agree with your conclusions. I don't have a Feather shavette, so I couldn't speak to that, but there is something to the whole being ready to go without any prep work, at least some of the time. I just haven't felt compelled to pick my shavette up in years because the traditional razors work for me better than any other method I've used.
    Primotenore and battle.munky like this.
  12. Mike-R41

    Mike-R41 Well-Known Member

    Yeah I just bought some naniwa stones
    I got the 12K , 8K, 3K-5K combination and a 1K looking Foward to learning!!

    also got a loop and a Crome ox bar and put that on the inside of my cotton webbing part of my strop.

    I only have 2 straights. A theirs-Issard and a gold dollar. I think I’m just going to practice on my gold dollar. Maby kill the edge and try and bring it back this way when my good razor is ready I won’t mess it up haha
    battle.munky likes this.
  13. Tedolph

    Tedolph Well-Known Member

    My barber uses a shavette to shave my neck. It is way rougher than my straight.

    Also, my advice is leave the Gold Dollar alone if it has been properly honed. My GD 208 hasn't been honed in about 8 years, just maintained.

    There is no reason to "ruin" anything.
  14. The Fox

    The Fox Well-Known Member

    Are there any antique shops near you? And hopefully not too high class where they filter out the cheap stuff. I've seen old straight razors in antique shops go for $10-20 that where plain, generic and dull... But serviceable (that is, no cracks or chips out of the blade) and would be good to practice honing. At worst, your out a few bucks. And if you can take an old razor not fit to use and get it to the point of giving a good shave, it's a good feeling.

    I was the guy who told you that a bunch of you're straight razor "cons" were actually "pros." Obviously, it's not for everyone, but this is exactly why a lot of people are into classic straights. And the fact that you bought honing stones (which aren't cheap unless you stole them!) tells me you're going down the same path.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
  15. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    I agree with you, in general. And I agree that the Essence is modern in appearance. At the same time, I would argue that it's sweeping lines are as elegant and timeless in its own way as that of a Mercedes 300SL gullwing. It could seamlessly fit into any era.
    It doesn't feel large to me, but I wear size XL men's gloves. When installed, a Feather AC blade runs edge to edge, so no useless farkelry here.

    *A farkel is a useless shiny bit of something added to a vehicle. It serves no useful purpose other than to look cool.
    An extreme example would be a lifted jeep with oversized off road tires, driven by a suburban soccer mom only in the city.

    Edit: I do agree that a shavette is a less green option than a straight razor. However, the blades can be recycled, so there is that.

    Edit 2: would love to see a "retro" Essence, styled like this Wade & Butcher:
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
    Hembree and Edison Carter like this.
  16. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Typical Shavette cons.
    Wider than a straight razor, forcing a limited angle range.
    Allows the blade to flex within the holder
    Cheap construction
    Poor finish

    To me the difference between a straight razor and a shavette style razor is that the edge flexes on a straight, but the spine is rigid. With a shavette, the opposite is true, the spine flexes but the blade edge does not.

    Some shavettes address some of these concerns. Some more than others.
    jgreenepa, Hembree and Tedolph like this.

Share This Page