What is a good straight razor starting kit for someone new?

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by 7055, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. 7055

    7055 Active Member

    Can somebody recommend a good kit that I can buy that is not to expensive for someone just starting out with straight razors?
  2. 7055

    7055 Active Member

    Also is it true that real straight razors give a different shave than straight razors with disposable blades?
  3. 7055

    7055 Active Member

  4. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    That kit is garbage (as best I can tell from a glance). The "razor" is most likely a knife that looks like a straight razor, and even if it is a razor, you will need to send it out to be honed and made shave ready. The reputable honers won't touch that razor, it would be a waste of their time and your money.

    Buy your kit from http://www.whippeddog.com the cost will be a bit more, but you will get something that will last you a lifetime.

    The razor: $41 It probably won't be pretty, but it will come shave ready.
    Brush and Soap set: $25 ($31 for silvertip badger)
    Poor Man's strop kit: $25 You will probably destroy your first strop though inexperience, so it's best to start out with one like this.

    So you are looking at $91 for a decent starter set. Believe it or not, that is actually a great deal. If you go the Chinese route, you will probably end up with a usable brush, a possibly usable strop (cross your fingers and pray that it isn't naugahyde) a box, and a garbage razor.

    No. They will both give you the same results. The technique for using each is a bit different though. A straight razor is more forgiving and is a bit easier to use than a shavette style razor, but the straight razor requires more maintenance than a disposable blade straight razor.
  5. Hanzo

    Hanzo Well-Known Member

    I agree with Ryan that the China kit is a no go but I can't recommend Whipped Dog either, read of a bit of disappointment with the condition of the razors buyers received. But the idea " its cheap , just as good and I don't know if I'll like straights anyway " is the reason many buy WD , not a good reason to me.

    To start with straights you need a good razor and strop , that's it. Stay away from Chinese and Pakistani razors and with noted brands for new razors like DOVO, Thiers Issard, Boker , Ralf Aust. A vintage razor could be a good choice depending on brand, condition, and source ,the crucial part for your razor is professional sharpening, called honing. The quality razor must be well honed by a capable hand, they exist in the wet shaving community.

    I would look at Gemstar Customs Damn Fine Shavers razors , aimed at beginners, for a low cost WELL honed vintage razor and maybe their bench strop, if you want to start with a low cost vintage razor and connect with equipment that will work. The owner , Glen , is a member here.

    If you want a LOW cost new straight razor I would suggest a Dovo Best Quality 6/8 , professionally honed(sharpened) and a nice beginner strop from a straight razor vendor like Straight Razor Designs .

    There is a difference in shaving between a traditional straight razor shaving and disposable straight razor like Shavettes. To me they are very different shaving experiences, with many arguing the superiority of one over another. IMHO the disposable straight like the Feather razor is sharper and can possibly give a closer shave but a traditional straight can give a possibly smoother more comfortable shave. But the experience of shaving with them seemed to me very different , like comparing apples and oranges, my experience.

  6. 7055

    7055 Active Member

    How often do you have to send them out to be honed? And do you have a link to the DOVO and Gemstars you are suggesting?
  7. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team

    A straight razor will need to be re-honed about once every year or two. Without proper stropping, a straight will need to be re-honed every month or two.

    I have dealt with Glen at gemstar customs on three seperate occasions. He does great work.

    The sight unseen razors from whipped dog are functionally sound, but may have pitting or other blemishes. You can do a search of the forums to see photos people have posted about their sight unseen deals.
    Hanzo likes this.
  8. Hanzo

    Hanzo Well-Known Member

    The shaving vendor , Straight Razor Designs is has Dovo Best Quality as out of stock, here the razors are professionally honed before being sent to you . Royal Shave , another vendor has them but without in house honing. You can have it honed by a honemeister , cost is usually $20 and turnaround time 1 week to 10 days.

  9. swarden43

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

    First, welcome to the Den.
    Be sure to sign up for the September Newbie Give-Away.

    I've worked with Glen at GemStar and will vouch for some outstanding work and service.
    As far as Whipped Dog, I've never heard a bad thing at all.

    And about editing, yeah, those of us running FireFox are having problems. Just click on MORE OPTIONS after you click the EDIT and that will allow you to make your changes/additions.
  10. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    Just to toss my 2 cents in, I just got my John Williams straight back from being honed by Larry (Whipped Dog) and he did a fantastic job. He's friendly and quick too. He had my razor honed and shipped back out to me in one day. I realize that isn't buying a sight unseen razor, but the deal with the sight unseens is that he will sell them cheap. If you want one that he has ensured to be in good condition, he sells those too, but for a little more.

    As to comparing DBSR's to SR's I would say this, the core skill of how you hold it, the angle you use, the strokes used to get a shave, in this respect, they are the same. DBSR's are lighter weight than SR's, which some people dislike. Personally, I find that this makes it easier to learn the correct way to hold the razor and maintain control of it when you are new to straight razor shaving. Once you have the techniques down, it is fairly easy to step up to a true straight. And really, the price is less of an issue once you've figured out how to use them when you look at how much you spend on cartridges these days. The last time I bought an electric razor, something I aim to never do again, I paid more for it (and the cheapest model at that) than I did for either of my vintage straights. My DBSR was something like $7 or $8, and I find it was worth the expense to start with it and learn the ropes before investing further in the straight razors.
  11. kcb5150

    kcb5150 Member

    Get a poor man's strop from whipped dog (I think they even sell blems for dirt cheap (that are just cosmetic and not functional in nature) and either a sight unseen vintage from them that is shave ready, or buy a shave ready gold dollar from someone who tweaks them to be honed properly. If you really want to be cheap, you can strop a blade on newspaper that is folded and draped over a towel rod.
  12. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    I bought the Poor Man Kit, and I have to say it is one of the best deals I have found in my shaving purchases, bar none. He uses English Bridle Leather for his strops and makes a simple but effective design that uses only the one peice of leather. He includes a hook to hang it from, neatsfoot oil to maintain it, a treated balsa strop and more compound to refresh the balsa. I wish he had been in the business 12 years ago when I first tried to get into this. I think I paid more for the lousy quality strop I got back then than I did for his whole kit. Also, his 2" measurement for the strop is more generous than other discount variety strops. I haven't pulled out the measuring tape, but I belive my PM is a half inch wider than the cheapie I was using.
  13. kcb5150

    kcb5150 Member

    I think a blem strop is literally $9 before shipping....
  14. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

    Shipping is included with Larry's pricing
    kcb5150 likes this.
  15. kcb5150

    kcb5150 Member

    He's awesome.. That's incredible value...
  16. Mr. Oldschool

    Mr. Oldschool Johnny Dangerously

  17. 7055

    7055 Active Member

    What shaving cream do you guys recommend for using straight razors?
  18. Kieran

    Kieran New Member

  19. 7055

    7055 Active Member

    Lol, this thread was from a long time ago, for the record, I've been using a Feather Artist Club straight for years now and like it.

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