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Straight Razor 101

We're not sure if we owe the interest in straight razors to Sweeny Todd or to nostalgia for days gone by. No matter your reason for being here, we're ready to teach you more about the most asked about tool in the wild world of wet shaving.

1. GRIND

Describes the actual shape of the blade. Different grinds dictate how the blade sharpens or how sharp it can become.

2. BLADE WIDTH

Always measured in fractions, the blade width represents the space between the cutting edge of the blade and the rounded spine.

SLEEPER SOFA

3. BLADE MATERIAL

Carbon Steel vs. Stainless Steel is the name of the game. These two materials are similar, but have a few key differences that set them apart.

4. SCALE

The scale of the straight razor acts as the grip while shaving. It also contributes to the overall weight and durability of your shaving tool.

A Closer Look

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1
GRIND

Actual shapes of each straight razor blade is known as the grind.
Here is what you need to know:

Straight or Wedge: The blades are linear and have no concave to them. They are the thickest blades and are limited as to how far they can be sharpened.

Half Hollow: Slightly concave, these are considered the safe medium of straight razor blades. Their stiffness is suitable for most.

Full Hollow: The thinnest and most concave of straight razor blades are also the sharpest and thinnest. The use of these blades is recommended for experts exercising great caution.

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BLADE WIDTH

Sounds simple enough, right? Just a measurement of the space from the blades rounded spine to the sharp cutting edge. But what's the real difference between those fractions?

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BLADE MATERIAL

There are two main materials used to craft the blade of a straight razor:

Carbon Steel is the most economical and easiest to sharpen. We will mention that carbon steel is more prone to rust, meaning more care is required to keep the razor in tip-top shape.

Stainless Steel are generally more expensive and take experience to hone correctly. However, they are less prone to rust in moist environments.

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4
SCALE

The scale of a straight razor describes the handle or grip of the tool. There are several materials used to craft scales:

Celluloid Although the most inexpensive, these scales are lightweight and durable.

Wood scales are typically resin coated, making them resistant to moisture. This natural material provides an ideal balance between handle and blade for better control.

Horn or Bone are the most expensive scales available. Bone is naturally warp resistant lending to supreme durability. Horn requires consistent frequent maintenance to prevent warping or drying out. A shared advantage is no two scales of either material will be the same.

Exotic materials such as mother of pearl, Bakelite, tortoise-shell, and acrylic are sometimes used. Their cost and maintenance requirements vary.

Hanging Strops: A Straight Razors Best Friend

Loop or Hook

Hanging strops feature a metal loop or hook to be attached to an immovable object. This contributes to control and stability during the sharpening process.

Common Leather A: Latigo

One option for a sharpening material on a strop is Latigo leather. "Latigo" refers to the process of aluminum salting or oiling of the leather during the tanning process. This leaves the leather flexible, yet strong.

Common Leather B: Russian

Russian leather is treated with birch oil during the tanning process. This creates a unique texture, aroma, and color while requiring less "break in" time.

Lower Fabrics

A strop always features a second fabric layer to thoroughly clean the razors edge before using the leather side. Common fabrics are woven nylon, canvas, hemp, or cotton.

Loop or Hook

Hanging strops feature a metal loop or hook to be attached to an immovable object. This contributes to control and stability during the sharpening process.

Common Leather A: Latigo

One option for a sharpening material on a strop is Latigo leather. "Latigo" refers to the process of aluminum salting or oiling of the leather during the tanning process. This leaves the leather flexible, yet strong.

Common Leather B: Russian

Russian leather is treated with birch oil during the tanning process. This creates a unique texture, aroma, and color while requiring less "break in" time.

Lower Fabrics

A strop always features a second fabric layer to thoroughly clean the razors edge before using the leather side. Common fabrics are woven nylon, canvas, hemp, or cotton.

Explore Our Collection

With a wide selection of materials, grinds, and blade widths we're sure there is something for you!