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A Buyer’s Guide for Sweeny Todd Fans

Whether you need to keep your spec-ops beard under control or finally have the huevos to ditch your comb-over and rock the Mike Seeklander look, it’s time to invest in some real shaving kit. If you’ve read the how-to article in the preceding pages and are looking to buy a straight razor, be quick because they’re flying off the shelves like .22 LR ammo.

“Demand is so high that there are six-month-plus backorders for most straight razors these days,” says John Koontz of WestCoastShaving.com. “When we get some in, they are sold out in a few hours.” He adds that straight razors have made a comeback something fierce because customers have realized the benefits:

Economical: Over the long run, investing in a straight razor is cheaper than buying Gillette cartridges.

Go Green: “It’s the most environmentally friendly of all shaving,” Koontz says, because you’re not tossing disposables or using electricity with an electric razor.

Efficient: “If you know how to use one,” he says, “the shave is second to none.”

With that in mind, we’ve put a spotlight on some straight razors that come highly recommended by Koontz and other shaving experts. They range from reasonably priced production models to ornate custom one-offs that cost as much as a Kimber 1911.

*Note: Blade width refers to length between edge and spine.

boker-edelweiss

Make:
Boker
Model:
Edelweiss
Blade Width:
0.625 inch
Blade Material:
carbon steel
MSRP:
$130
URL:
www.westcoastshaving.com
Notes:
Boker is known internationally for all sorts of pocket knives and fixed blades. In the shaving world, it’s a top brand for straight razors. The Edelweiss is one of its most popular models, thanks to a sharp blade and a classic bone handle.

boker-silver-steel-tortoise

Make:
Boker
Model:
Silver Steel Tortoise
Blade Width:
0.75 inch
Blade Material:
carbon steel
MSRP:
$150
URL:
www.westcoastshaving.com
Notes:
As a throwback to straight razors of the 1900s, its name comes from an era when blades contained silver. The handle harkens back to the traditional tortoise shell look, while the blade has a full-hollow ground for a thin, sharp (though delicate) edge.

dovo-best-quality-full-hollow

Make:
Dovo
Model:
Best Quality (Full-Hollow)
Blade Width:
0.625 inch
Blade Material:
carbon steel
MSRP:
$115
URL:
www.royalshave.com
Notes:
The Dovo brand is repeatedly mentioned by shaving experts because of its craftsmanship and durability. No surprise, then, that this full-hollowed blade is top rated for its no-nonsense performance. Handles available in black, blond, or white.

dovo-best-quality-half-hollow

Make:
Dovo
Model:
Best Quality (Half-Hollow)
Blade Width:
0.625 inch
Blade Material:
carbon steel
MSRP:
$115
URL:
www.royalshave.com
Notes:
This half-hollow blade is not as thin (re: sharp) as the full-hollow version, providing easier control and a more forgiving shave. It’s well suited for both newbies and veterans. Handles also come in black, blond, or white.

dylan-farnham-the-stone-age-straight-razor

Make:
Dylan Farnham Custom
Model:
The Stone-Age Straight Razor
Blade Width:
1 to 1¼ inch
Blade Material:
O-1 tool steel
MSRP:
Sold for $680
URL:
www.classicshaving.com
Notes:
Dylan Farnham is a knifemaker who creates amazingly imaginative custom straight razors in very limited runs for ClassicShaving.com. Though the sold-out Stone Age isn’t available anymore, we had to share it with you. It’s as much art as it is a tool, and you can expect more crazy-intricate designs to come in the future.

dylan-farnham-custom-the-45

Make:
Dylan Farnham Custom
Model:
The 45
Blade Width:
1 to 1¼ inch
Blade Material:
O-1 tool steel
MSRP:
Sold for $1,250
URL:
www.classicshaving.com
Notes:
Old-school aesthetics meets modern technology. This features a marbled patina on its laser-like O-1 blade, a fractured stone pattern on the top of the tang and tail, and a handle made of G-10 and copper. The steel spacer pin features a .45 Colt rim, to boot. It’s staggeringly expensive and equally awesome — pass this one down to your son, if you can find one for sale.

thiers-issard-singing-straight-razor

Make:
Thiers Issard
Model:
Singing Straight Razor
Blade Width:
0.75 inch
Blade Material:
C135 steel
MSRP:
$180
URL:
www.fendrihan.com
Notes:
Razors by Thiers Issard are wildly popular and often sell out because of their smooth shaves, elegant designs, and durable construction. This particular model comes pre-sharpened and in a protective black leather case.

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