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FatherAlabaster

Vintage Razors

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This is kind of a weird thing for me to have developed an interest in, but I've recently found a lot of enjoyment in shaving with vintage (I daresay "antique") razors. I started off with a ubiquitous Gillette double-edged design that was pretty common from the 40s through the 70s, but quickly gravitated towards older single-edged razors. They're really cool little gadgets with some beautiful design elements; I'm a little bit amazed at how well they're engineered, considering that the ones in my collection are anywhere from 70 to 100 years old and they still work properly and mostly look great; and coolest of all, they're cheap. Like, really cheap. Blades are around twenty cents each, and most of the razors themselves can be had for $10 or less if you look around a bit on ebay. Even those shitty razor delivery clubs can't compete.

My two favorites for daily use have become the Gem "Clog-Pruf", a chrome-plated brass design from the 1940s (this photo is from the internet but mine is identical):

vTFBIAG.jpg

 

...and the Ever-Ready 1914 (or 24/14 - so called for its patent date), also brass but plated with nickel:

Razor558-EverReady-1914-Ex.jpg

 

On the other hand, one of the closest, but least pleasurable, shaves I've had was courtesy of this monstrosity - the Valet Auto-Strop "VB1", which is the only one of these I've actually cut myself with (this photo isn't mine, and it's of the mechanically identical "B1" that didn't have the word "Valet" on it):

autostrop22.JPG

____

I was initially skeptical (and a little intimidated about the prospect of carving my face off), but there are no downsides here. It's honestly great. Closer shaves, less irritation, better-looking face, less money spent, and a cool hobby with a completely tangible connection to bygone times. Anyone else experimented with old-school wet shaving?

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What an unusual an unexpected thread. This definitely interests me, as a lover or historical paraphernalia. 

Today's shavers/razors seem really inadequate. Sure, I look great all the time, but that is despite the razors, not because of them. 

Maybe I'll get my hands on a few of these too. 

What sort of shaving cream/soap do you use? Are you going historical there too? 

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19 hours ago, Requiem said:

What an unusual an unexpected thread. This definitely interests me, as a lover or historical paraphernalia. 

Today's shavers/razors seem really inadequate. Sure, I look great all the time, but that is despite the razors, not because of them. 

Maybe I'll get my hands on a few of these too. 

What sort of shaving cream/soap do you use? Are you going historical there too? 

I am, actually - my interest in all this was piqued by some products at a local shop that makes all their own creams, soaps, cleaning products, etc. I went in to ask about shave soap and wound up buying a razor. The rest is history. Here's a shot of my shaving shelf, with a boar's hair brush and one of their two shaving soaps: 

rm6jf8M_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&f

Both of their soaps are good. One of them is slicker and more rich, very nice to shave with but doesn't rinse off easily; the other is easier to use and rinse off, but isn't as cushy and comfy. They seem to last forever; I've had both of them for a couple months now and I have plenty left. Unfortunately, since I haven't tried any of the more widely available brands, I wouldn't know what to recommend.

The razors also work fine with any decent modern shaving cream. No matter what you use, it's important to prep by washing your face and neck with hot water first, and make sure you reapply whatever you're using in between each pass. Dry shaving isn't pleasant.

If you're curious, those razors, from left to right, are: Valet VB1 (demanding, unpleasant, highly effective); Valet VC1 (looks similar but doesn't get anywhere near as close, making it kind of useless for me); Gem Micromatic "Bullet Tip" (my first single-edge razor, very easy to use but also not so close); Gem Micromatic "Clog-Pruf" (the best balance I've found between ease of use and efficiency, close yet enjoyable); Gem Micromatic "Open Comb" (the oldest and closest-shaving of the Micromatic line, takes a bit more attention to use); and the Ever-Ready 1914 (in terms of comfort and effectiveness, this may be the best of the bunch, but it also takes a more careful hand, and getting the blade in and out is a bit annoying). 

For sheer steampunk aesthetics, I'd love to get my hands on one of these, which @Requiem would probably dig for its exceeding Britishness - the Wilkinson Sword Empire:

harris5-18dfzhj.png

It came with its own weird sharpening system and a blade for each day of the week. You can still find them in good shape online, but they're pretty expensive.

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