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Well I am starting this blog to record my return to an older type of shaving . Like most of us I at present use the ubiquitous supermarket disposable razors , and have done so for , well I don't really know how long . When did these disposable and cartridge type of razors come about ? I guess I have been shaving regularly since I was around 16 which ,as I was born in 1953 , make it around 1969 when I started . I have a memory a very faint one I admit , to having a razor that twisted to open and receive a double edge blade of the kind that came in little rectangular boxes . I remember that the  blades came wrapped in paper and the used blades were posted into a slot in the back of the box . Now that is all I actually remember of these things and as soon as the more modern types , disposables came out I started using them. Well you would wouldn't you how many teenagers want to do things as their Fathers do most of us wanted to look modern I guess , well I did anyway .

So where is all this rambling leading to , I am glad you asked !  As I am getting somewhat better at sharpening knives My poor weak mind seems to be taken with the idea of buying a straight razor from an antiques centre ,something from the 1880's to around the demise of the Old Queen , in 1901 I think . I admit that I only knew the date of Queen Victoria's death from watching my favourite John Wayne film The Shootist . So the thought of going from a modern razor to an inexpertly sharpened cutthroat  is for me a daunting prospect and unusually good sense has prevailed and instead of leaping straight back to the end of the nineteenth century perhaps the 1950's may be a better place to start .

I have now checked out a few video's on YouTube and have found that the razors that I remember from my youth are indeed called DE or double edge . In fact this whole retro shaving lark is alive and kicking without me knowing anything about it . Youtube is awash with helpful young fellows scraping the whiskers off their finely honed chins with razors that they certainly don't remember from the first time round . Mind you I have learned an awful lot more about shaving than my Father ever taught me ,I guess it must have been him that showed me the ropes though I don't remember the lesson .

So I now have an Edwin Jagger DE89 razor and am waiting for those fine folks at Amazon to deliver the rest of the not inconsiderable amount of gear that it seems I must have . A styptic pencil ,what a word from the dawn of history , anyway I have forgotten to order one so in the short term things may get bloody !! The razor looks nice and I am thinking that it is probably of a lot higher quality than I would have had in the late sixties. I would likely have had an old one of my Dad's to start .

I hope to return to this blog in the future , blood loss allowing , and record my return journey to the shavings of my youth and hopefully back in time to the days of the Old Queen and a wonderful straight razor . Got to get through my lack of a styptic pencil first , can't imagine what a young girl in the chemist will think if I ask for one of those .

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Tags: ., DE, Ramblings, Razors, Shaving, Time, Travel

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Comment by John Bamford on December 27, 2016 at 11:32

Thanks Allan you are becoming my go to guy for information on our mutual differences if you know what I mean .

You would have little trouble with razor sharpening if you were to turn your hand to it . The angle is built in as long as the razor is in good nick . All you really need is a bunch , or even two stones, that are fine enough and a light touch . The light touch can be tricky when you are used to sharpening knives , on a razor you are not really going to take off a lot of steel  and the old ones aren't using any super steel anyway . Then get stropping on a leather and the job is a good one , it just gets better from there really .

I have said it before but knives are rather more complicated ,  different uses , different steels , varied angles etc etc  !!

Comment by allanm on December 27, 2016 at 10:37

Definitely a nice looking tin John - and a good looking razor. I hope that in time my sharpening skills could come closer to what your's have clearly become. I know I'm becoming better, and a lot of that has to do with understanding the importance of the angle, and honing. But I'm far from true razor sharpening capability.

I know the term Boxing Day from the African colonies, but I suspect many American's don't though many do. It seems that it is known as Boxing Day in Canada as well, but not generally here. I'm not sure we even have a formal name for the 26th - it's just another day, unless as in this case, Christmas falls on a Sunday, at which time we generally have the Monday off as our paid "Christmas holiday"

Many companies here only have 10 paid holidays in addition to vacation, or "leave". The company I work for only pays 9 days along with vacation days. And while many days are common to almost everyone, Christmas, new year, Thanksgiving, Independence day etc., many others are not. For example, some companies choose Martin Luther King day as one of their 10 paid days off.

Comment by John Bamford on December 27, 2016 at 10:24

Today I have had a break from those lovely old ivory handled Sheffield razors . It didn't involve a different town as I tried the first straight razor that I ever bought , a Kropp  1920/30's somewhere around then I would have thought . Whatever the date it is a fine razor and I was lucky to get such a fine razor to start with, particularly as all I was looking for was an old razor to play around with and try my hand at sharpening . There was no reason at the time to think that I was going to start collecting razors let alone actually using one !  Those old guys sure could make a good razor , this one is very finely hollow ground . In some ways the complete opposite to those old razors that I am so fond of from the mid 1800's which are sturdy fellows indeed . The Kropp is such a fine blade that you can feel it bend in contact with your face , razors like this are noisier though , sort of hissing and vibrating as they cut through the whiskers . The sturdier old ones are silent as they move over your face which I do have a fondness for .

Yesterday being Boxing Day , do you call it that in the States ? , I tried out a rather nice shaving soap that I was gifted at Christmas . Beautiful scent and a marvellous lather as indeed it should be given the price . My everyday shave soap I buy by the kilo , being a thrifty northern type of person , I certainly couldn't afford to buy this stuff by the kilo

A very impressive tin wouldn't you say , the soap is just as good as the packaging suggests .However for those of us who like a bargain the other soap I got for Christmas was something of a bargain and almost as good a shave as it's more exclusive brethren . This was Vito's and as with Cella can be obtained in one kilo blocks , the stuff is soft enough to be able to pull pieces of to put in small containers .

That Vito's soap has a lovely smell and whereas I couldn't hope to describe the scent of the expensive soap Vito's is Almond pure and simple . The Cella in case anyone is interested smells of Almond mixed with Cherries and is close to edible .
Comment by John Bamford on November 25, 2016 at 12:33

Second shave with one of these old Sheffield razors , this time the second one I bought a Paragon . This was a revelation , I have heard people on the forums talking about how good the steel is on these older Sheffield razors . It certainly proved to be true today I had to stop shaving half way through to check that it was actually taking the whiskers off . This razor was so smooth I really couldn't feel if it was doing anything but it was !! 

Comment by John Bamford on November 22, 2016 at 6:39

A transatlantic shave this morning !

Also the first shave anyone has had with this John and William Ragg razor since it was made in around 1860 . I couldn't help wondering what the man who made this would have though if he had known that the first use would be in 2016 .  Course it is too late to tell him now as he would be 160 and if he is still alive is likely a touch deaf .

I took my little American razor with me to touch up some of the trickier bits around the chin etc.  The Clauss feels so tiny after using the Ragg for a while , so I thought I would take a picture to emphasise the difference . Course when you see the photo you can see no difference , it is all in the feel  !!

Anyway my thanks to whoever made this razor in Sheffield all those years ago , and at least I have used it before the next one arrives in the next day or two .

Comment by John Bamford on November 14, 2016 at 12:51

I do feel sorry for my hirsute friends , the poor fellows will never know the joy of applying a fabulous smelling lather from a wonderful soft badger brush . Nor will they ever feel the joy of using a vintage French razor that they have honed to as near perfection as makes no difference and then gliding it over their face to make a wonderful start to the day .  Then a little astringent sting from an alum block , then the soothing embrace of an aftershave lotion .  The best they can hope for is a cup of coffee .....a cup of coffee ,  not quite the same !!!

Of course as in most area's of life there can be one or two problems . Mostly the time , effort and expense of stones for honing the razors , the odd strop or two and a constant itch to check on eBay !

There is a lesser known stumbling block which seems to sneak up on a chap when he embarks on the wet shaving business . It comes down to a battle for space in the bathroom , my shaving kit used to be a throw away razor and little else . Not now alas , I have recently been ejected from Sue's area of the bathroom as she says I now have more "stuff" than she has .  I have had to get this to keep my shaving stuff on and it has almost filled up already , there is one or two items on there way as well !!


Comment by John Bamford on September 30, 2016 at 10:51

I sharpened that French frameback razor this week a lovely shave , I may want to get another one or two of those .  The guys on the forums say these razors "aren't for the novice" after using this one twice I don't know why . It seems pretty much like my other razors to use . A lovely smooth shave , as is the case with all of my vintage razors , the only one that has disappointed me has been the brand new Dovo that I bought , I want to like it but am unable to do so . It seems to be sharp enough , maybe the modern steel is just not as forgiving to sharpen .... that means I don't know what the problem is !!

Comment by D ale on September 9, 2016 at 20:50

The frameback is unique .. I don't believe I have one like that.

I think, John .. you are starting a collection


Comment by Jan Carter on September 9, 2016 at 19:33


I can't wait to see the new one, a frame lock razor sounds interesting.  I am so happy that this new passion is working out well for you.  A new sharpening technique, a new shaving ritual...oh the possibilities 

Comment by John Bamford on September 8, 2016 at 11:22

I have been using that Modoso for the last two days and it is a superb shaver , the firm that used to make them Dorko , were renown for their quality and the edge on this must be up to their best . It does give me an inordinate amount of pleasure picking a razor out of the box , which is the box my good friend Dale sent me a present in , knowing that they are all sharp and all with their own characteristics . You could of course manage with just the one razor , I was going to say  "just as you could manage with one knife" but of course most of us couldn't manage with just the one knife as there are too many different jobs that a knife is called on to do . So yes I could manage with the one razor and the first one that I bought a Kropp would do the job just fine , but there are so many razors for sale and at a reasonable price too .

You could say , of course , that this is a long drawn out way of saying that I have bought another one . Well it is another French razor as I am still in full on Gallic mode , though there are a few nice ones on eBay in the States that I am looking at though the postage and duty make it less appealing . 

Another excuse , reason , for my weakness is that this razor is a "frameback" and I don't have one , well I do now or will have very soon .

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