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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 Jan Carter on August 28, 2016 at 13:54


I also am a sucker for the boxes but that is so much more!  What a wonderful example of what was needed in a travel kit.  Down to a small strop you could pack this up and go anywhere being perfectly groomed

Comment by John Bamford on August 28, 2016 at 8:17

I felt that today I should give the Modoso a more extensive test and see if my sharpening is up to the supposed quality of this make . Modoso are , or were , made by Dorko and on the web you can see some wonderful examples of both makes . Usually they seem to have extensive decoration on the blades and some rather nice gold wash as well as rather attractive scales . The one I bought had maybe been one of their less expensive models and it just had MoDoSo in gold on the blade , alas corrosion made it very difficult to save the gold and so I reluctantly took the decision to remove the gold along with the rust . It also came with Faux Tortoiseshell handle scales that looked okay on the pics but on closer inspection were hardly worth saving . All in all I was a little underwhelmed with the razor even though they do have a good reputation . I put standard Dovo scales on it cleaned it up , sharpened it and as I mentioned had a brief go with it yesterday .

Today I really wanted to use the Manufrance again but felt that I should use the Modoso and I must say that it was very impressive . I feel I must stress that I am still at the beginner stage at both sharpening and shaving but that razor really surprised me in the way it responded to my fumbling's . Once I felt that I had the angle correct the whiskers came off with such ease it really was a revelation . I think it is a very finely ground blade and seemed to benefit from a very shallow angle to the skin , and then it was sharp indeed . 

The angle of the razor to the skin is one of the many factors to get right for us beginners and I tend to experiment with different razors though I don't know enough at present to say any more about that .

The poor little modoso with only plain scales and no decoration performed very very well I was really impressed and may get to love it after all ! 

Comment by John Bamford on August 27, 2016 at 11:55

Oh yes of course the French razor is the rather curvy one on the right .

Comment by John Bamford on August 27, 2016 at 11:53

I think that it could be a distinct lack of sleep It could have been the alcohol except for the fact that I haven't had any alcohol for sometime now , well whatever it is I feel in a strange mood . Someone was arguing in the street outside my bedroom window at very early o'clock this morning before I could open the window and hurl curses at them they had gone and I had woken up . I have always found it strange that an otherwise comfortable bed that I am often reluctant to leave can transform into a slab of stone with iron pillows merely by the simple act of trying too hard to go back to sleep !!

At 5.30 there was nothing for it other than to get up drink tea and go out into a lovely warm , well warm for here, morning and sharpen the latest razors . 

Here they are a MoDoSo , not sure why it is spelled like that , and a ManuFrance and I have been wanting to try them all week . The Modoso came with damaged scales so I needed to fix that and I have managed to be too busy this week to get that done and do the sharpening .

Similar razors to the others you say , hah ! it's a poor parent that thinks his beloved children all look the same . Though to be honest my Mother , God Bless Her, did used to call me Rodger , Susan ,John . I never did know if this was done to save her having to remember who she was calling or as a scattergun approach so as to be sure that someone , anyone,  came when she called .

Well the sharpening seemed to go okay and hair came off my leg very readily , the left arm went bald a while ago so I am onto legs at present  . They both shaved well also I had to try them both though I was in the mood for the French fellow ,or Madame as it is such a good looker . It isn't such a fully hollowed razor for want of a more clumsy phrase as the Modoso or indeed most of my other razors . They do , or did , come in a bewildering variety of grinds though I doubt that most of the examples below are available now 

I can't tell from the image which grind the ManuFrance is but it is a rather thicker grind than I am accustomed to . As you will know I am very much a beginner at this and have only been straight razor shaving for a few months and I did read that beginners get on better with a less than full hollow grind. I don't know if this is true because I have fully hollow ground blades and like them fine , but this thicker one is very nice indeed .

Shaving with a thicker ground razor seems so quiet apart from anything else , the really thin one's vibrate and hiss quite a bit whereas this fuller figured French beauty glides silently . I was so taken with it that I gave up trying to compare the two newly sharpened razors and just enjoyed the Manufrance . I suppose that I should now buy some French shaving soap to go with it though with the amount of comments that followed buying a mere kilo of Italian soap perhaps it would be better left a while .

As I was in a French mood I wandered over to Project Gutenberg and downloaded ,  Swann's Way by Marcel Proust . Whether it will get read is another thing but at least I now have the book and it is out of sight so I won't feel guilty if it is forgotten !!

Comment by John Bamford on August 20, 2016 at 4:06

Ah well I don't need to wait until next week to find out about the new razor , bought yesterday and delivered today amazing how things can work well one day and take forever the next  !

I have an unfeasibly romantic idea of France between the wars and I suspect but do not know that this razor comes from that period . It certainly is from France of that there is no doubt .

 It is a strange thing but I have little interest in old knives preferring to buy new ones , when it comes to razors however that is exactly the opposite . This one has a wonderful Gallic charm and was worth the £30/$40 I would think .

The box is in quite good condition , oh how I am a sucker for boxes !

Razor , strop in a case , stropping paste and instruction leaflet . 

The small strop has it's own little cover to stop getting strop paste on the inside of it's box .

I will have to learn to speak French now to understand the instructions !!

Comment by John Bamford on August 19, 2016 at 11:41

I have enough razors and do not need anymore , oh damn too late I thought I would have been outbid !!

It is a worry when no one else bids , it makes you think what did they all see that you didn't  ?    Ah well I will find out next week .

Comment by D ale on August 19, 2016 at 3:44


That is a very kind statement for you to make.

A statement that makes me smile .. makes me feel good.

... Which ...

Was the motivating reason for me making the initial offer.


It is genuinely a good feeling to know the razor will see active use.

..and , even better..

that it is performing a good job doing such.


A sincere "Thank You" for your last post !!!!


D ale

Comment by John Bamford on August 14, 2016 at 12:43

I have been using my newest working razor , I bought one this week but it needs a little work (new scales) before being usable , the Clauss a lot since I got it .  When I first sharpened it and used it I thought that it wasn't quite right so went back to the stones and tried again . It shaved fine then and I have used it pretty much all the time since then .As I am still very new to this business it may be that lack of experience causes these observations .

I have nine razors at the moment and have no intention of increasing that number , but then again you have heard that story before ! Of those nine two are without scales so that is seven usable razors and one I don't get on with so six razors all of which do a good job of shaving , at least by my standards .  

The razor that I was tending towards up until recently was my 4/8th's Osgar it seems to take a very good edge and shaves really well sharp enough for you to want to take care in using it . The Clauss has eclipsed that razor and I am reluctant to use any other now and the reason is very difficult for me to explain . The Osgar is sharp and feels sharp not only when I touch the edge with thumb , not a great habit but one that I find difficult to stop ,but also in use . It would have no hesitation in taking a piece of skin from you , though not in a malicious way just as a means to show who is the boss . The Clauss on the other hand seems not as sharp to the thumb , or is it that the edge is so very smooth , it glides over the skin with very little sensation  and appears to have not a trace of malice at all .

 I have tried comparing the grind of both razors and they are of course both hollow ground and look to my , weak , eyes to be around the same degree of hollowness .

They both leave the same smooth skin behind but one does it in a very friendly fashion with just no stress at all whereas the other , well it would bite you if you were careless . I don't know why this should be the case but I hope one day that I will .

Comment by allanm on August 10, 2016 at 12:02

You're right Jan, the belt did work fine. Even though I knew a few swipes over a leather strop/hone would help even without any rubbing compound, I was surprised just how much it helped with my old knife restoration. Just feeling the edge after the stone, and then feeling again after the belt, and it was still a wow what a difference moment.

Boots as an on the job alternate is a good idea too. I read once somebody wrote about using the top edge of a car window in "emergency" situations as well. I wouldn't like to do that too much, but maybe the glass can handle quite a bit of that.

Comment by Jan Carter on August 9, 2016 at 18:48


The belt may actually be working fine.   The idea is to remove any burrs left in the sharpening process.  I have seen Donnie use his leather work boots on a job site

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