First straight razor Part 1: Difference between a Straight Razor and a Shavette

Categories:razors, reviews, shaving
Chadg

My straight razor shaving introduction

After years of looking at straight razors, reading about straight razors and watching countless videos on honing, stropping, different straight razor models and what not, it was time to add one (or a few)  to my shavng collection.  A few guys know me for my double edge razors (hence www.oldfashionedman.com).

I have been shaving awhile with my Parker SR1 which is a disposable blade straight razor.  It acts as a straight razor style blade holder that take either a havled double edge razor blade or a half blade.  The SR1 mimics the shaving style and feel of a straight razor – minus the weight.

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Customer order: Parker SR1 with a shave brush and bowl

Difference between a Straight Razor and a Shavette

Initially I wanted to create a table but I feel lengthier paragraph explanations are better.

Initial cost

The total investment of a straight razor system is far higher than getting a shavette because aside from the cost of the razor itself you need other items such as a good strop, pastes, oil and hones to maintain your razor.  With a shavette all you need is a blade.

Maintenance

With a shavette you pop in a blade and throw it out when it gets dull.  A straight razor requires far more dedication from you, you will need to strop the blade on your leather strop before every use to get it to shave readiness.  Over time not even stropping will get your straight razor sharp again and so you can either have the razor rehoned professionally if good services exist in your area or hone it yourself.  Honing or sharpening is not the easiest skill to acquire, I have liked knives for many years and never could get a hair splitting edge with one, even with my Spyderco Sharpmaker.

Convenience

Shavettes win here, I doubt anyone wants to take an extended trip and pack their razor, strop and hones.

Feel

Jumping ahead of my series, they do not feel the same, they do not weigh the same, most are not the same dimensions – blade length are different.   They act differently.

Shave Quality and Ease

I will update this in the future.  But I have read that shavettes are far more difficult because of the points of a double edge blade (depends on the blade) and a commercial blade is far sharper than any straight razor.

Truth be told, I rather enjoy shaving with my Parker SR1.  I have not yet actually shaved with my straight razors so I will get back to you whether the technique and experience is the same.

 In summary

I had always been a bit hesitant to take on straight razors, for one, straight razor shaving is a very large commitment.

  1. You need a larger monetary investment, you need to buy a straight razor, a leather strop, abrasive pastes and honing stones.
  2. You need a lot more time for the preparation of your straight razor which means stropping it before every use.
  3. You need more time each time you put away your straight razor, after every use you need to dry it thoroughly, oil it and ensure you leave it in a humidity free environment lest rust sets in.  Most straight razors are carbon steel which has many advantages over stainless except for resistance to rust.
  4. You will need to invest time into acquiring certain skills which can be rather difficult such as stropping and honing a blade.

Part 2 coming up!

If you want more reading on all about straight razors read this on Badgerandblade.

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