They call it the Russian "Ideal" but is it really?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Misphit, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Misphit

    Misphit Rest In Peace

    Thanks to this thread by GDCarrington and his experience with the Russian Bear razor I became interested in snagging one for myself so I ran over and hit eBay in hopes of finding one. What I found instead was a razor touted as a "USSR RAZOR analog Gillette Fatboy Razor model 1958" that looked similar but had black plastic under the head like later model Black Beauties. The description has been updated to "RUSSIAN DOUBLE-EDGE ADJUSTABLE SAFETY RAZOR 'IDEAL' WITH CASE" since then but it is the same razor. It finally came after three weeks of waiting and I happily posted pictures in this thread and enjoyed many inquiries as to there I purchased it from. Well it has been a week and I have used it every day since so I thought I would share my thoughts.

    The Razor:


    As you can see the razor, center, is based on the Black Beauty 109 mm and not the Fat Boy of any year. The handle and tip are distinctly BB inspired and is even roughly the same length.


    The numbering on the adjustment knob is red and really washed out on some of the numbers. These razors were evidently mass produced and the paint wasn't high on the quality control priority list. There is a marked difference on how clean the Gillettes are in comparison. The weight is nice and it feels a little more solid than my Black Beauty 109 and the knurling on the handle is very good with wet hands. The smaller adjuster knob allows me to choke up more in tight areas and is appealing also.


    The shave:

    Excited I grabbed the razor and the Sputnik blades it came with and loaded it up for the first shave on setting three and nearly ripped my face off. Out came the Sputnik and in went a Personna Red which I have had success with before. I gave a tentative swipe and sighed in relief because it was much better smooth an no irritation. Then I flipped it to the other edge and enjoyed the pain of a nice quarter inc cut on my cheek. Ouch! Looking down I noticed that the blade does not seat evenly in the head. No matter how I try and adjust it while tightening it won't stay even.


    I thought this would be a deal breaker but it turned out by modifying my technique (odd how that pops up so often) I was able to get a pretty good shave and have been using it ever since. Not sure if it will be a 30 day razor at this point but we shall see. The Ideal isn't my favorite razor that I own, but I am not willing to give up on it just yet. Therefore, in true RAD form I ordered a second Ideal to see if it is a common issue or if I just happened to get a flawed one. I really enjoy the look and feel of this razor and am willing to sacrifice the first one as a unique display item if the second one turns out to be a keeper. If not, with the price of Russian blades I will consider them free razors that I received with my latest blade purchases.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  2. PatrickA51

    PatrickA51 Well-Known Member

    Great report, very well written. Thank you for posting it.
  3. Latherette

    Latherette Active Member

    I also got one of these - and a similar experience: The two sides of the razor are very different in alignment. In fact, the bar is bent in a totally different shape on one side. I will post a picture of the alignment when I get back home tonight.

    The "ideal" works fine, but I would advise that you, if you choose to purchase one, place some kind of indicator on the side of the razor you prefer to use.

    The box, however, is quite nice and fits the black beauty :)
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  4. gwsmallwood

    gwsmallwood Well-Known Member

    So you're saying it's not terrible, but in no way Ideal?

  5. SDK

    SDK it's his fault

    Thanks for the great review Jim :happy088:

    I have one of these on the way, and will add my experiences when I get my hands on it....
    Misphit likes this.
  6. mikewood

    mikewood Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the review!
    Do yo think it can bent back into alignment?
    Misphit likes this.
  7. SDK

    SDK it's his fault

    I have read other accounts of the Ideal where the owners did a bit of detail work with a file and needle nosed pliers. It apparently turns the razor into a winner if done carefully....
  8. Omaney

    Omaney Well-Known Member

    I'd be pretty cranky if I needed to do any finishing work on a razor in which I paid. Now a freebie, no problemo.
    Misphit and SDK like this.
  9. SDK

    SDK it's his fault

    I would also add, for anyone thinking about trying one...

    The Russian seller also has great deals on razor blades and will combine shipping with the razor. My order consisted of:

    Razor, Case and 5 Sputnik blades- $25 shipped
    120 Blade pack of Ladas, Volkshod, Sputnik and Rapira blades- $7 shipped

    That's $32 total for an adjustable razor, case and 125 good blades!

    It's pretty much a free razor that way, as the blades and case are a good deal for $32
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  10. SDK

    SDK it's his fault

    See my above post. Pretty close to a freebie, and worth it if I get a good adjustable razor out of the deal. After reading the reviews I am optimistic, but it never hurts to hedge your bets when possible...
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
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  11. Latherette

    Latherette Active Member

    Picture taken as straight-on as I could.... I am not sure I want to experiment with correcting it, it may be bad finish, but it is built like a tank :)


    But it is fine for my Black Beauty:
    Misphit likes this.
  12. Misphit

    Misphit Rest In Peace

    Essentially correct and not a razor for a new shaver unless they want to be thrown head first into the technique pool.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  13. GDCarrington

    GDCarrington Burma Shave

    Excellent report!

    It sounds as if the Ideal is not quite as Ideal as it should be.

    I see two quick and critical differences between the "Konsul" a.k.a. Russian Bear and the "Ideal" razors as both are presented.

    The first is the back plate. The "Konsul" has a metal backplate versus "Ideal" backplate which is plastic.

    The second is the case. The "Konsul" was a more expensive razor to produce along the lines of the Aristocrat of the 1960s with the case to prove it. The Ideal is the unit using lower production cost with the case also bearing this out.

    I would agree that for most beginners either razor is not a candidate for a 30 day rule. If you master the Slim, then the Konsul is a little more complicated and the transition is a breeze (if you keep the settings low) but finding a Konsul is not as easy as finding the more problematic Ideals.
    Misphit likes this.
  14. DEfettish

    DEfettish Well-Known Member

    Nice review. I was thinking about trying one of these, but now I am not so sure.

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