Experiences with Valet Autostrop: Tried it? Like it? Which Blade works best for you?

Discussion in 'Single Edged Razors' started by Ray Todd, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. I've been inflicted with a serious case of SE related RAD over the last month or so. Among other things you could call me...I guess you can now add LOSER to the list! Anyway, I finally got some Feather single edge blades from RBM and gave the Autostrop a roll. The one I used was the Model C I think.... it's the one with the blade holder that does not have a swing open door. I don't usually have a problem laughing at my own dumb mistakes, so I will have to admit that I've had the Valet for about 3 years, and for a long time I thought the thing was missing a piece somewhere and couldn't figure out how in the world it would hold any blade. :confused1 After deciding recently that I couldn't stand not knowing how it worked, and zooming into the instructions in a bunch of listings on the bay, I finally figured it out and bought some Feather blades. What an awesome awesome shave.

    I was worried that I was going to get the same shave I've had several times from DE Feather blades. I've had more luck as my technique gets better, but several times I've used the DE Feathers and was impressed at how easily they cut through my stubble and how smooth and slick they felt and how comfortable they were, and then when I turned back to the mirror after looking down to grab my brush or something I'd realize that I'd sliced my face to ribbons and I had weepers everywhere!

    The SE Feathers were very sharp, but more forgiving, and were a great match for the Valet and my technique.

    Hoping to start a little discussion on the Autostrops and other shavers' experiences with them. Thoughts on how the different models compare? Any differences in them besides the different style blade holders? I'm particularly curious if anyone has tried an NOS Valet blade. If so, did you strop it first? Has anybody else noticed that the Feather blades don't quite match the pattern in the little tabs on the blade holders of some of the later models? It looks like it wouldn't be difficult to modify the Feathers to fit, but I haven't tried it yet.
  2. I have Feather blades in my Valet but as I have only used it once I'm not going to be a lot of help.
    I found it to be more aggressive than my GEM 1912 but not so bad I peeled my skin off. The razor does shave very close and I found I had yo be very careful with it.
    Planning to use it on SE Sunday this week.
    I have a whole bunch of used Valet blades but they are all blunt and I don't have the skills to get them shave sharp.

    Attached Files:

  3. Yep, I think that's the same blade holder as mine has. You just work the back of the blade carefully into the holder and the tabs on the back corners kind of lock it into place. You doooo have to be careful with these things I'll agree with you there! I've got a few Valet blades with the glue still sealed on the wrappers, so I assume that they're sharp. It's a little hard to tell if they have corrosion on the edge until you try them....but after I finish getting some use out of the Feather I've got loaded now I think I'll just try and see what it's like.
  4. The Feathers are definitely sharp, but they don't last real long for me considering their price. I prefer popping the spine off of a standard SE blade and using it in the early models.
  5. I got a NOS blade with my razor and so I hd to try it out ... Ouch I'll stick to the Feathers and as I only plan on using it on SE Sundays the price doesn't bother me too much.
    I'm not sure mine is early enough for the spine removal trick but I'll have a look.
    As you have started this thread i might have to try the razor tonight
  6. I use mine with the Feather blades I bought from Razor Blades & More and I love it. It's an aggressive razor, but if you're careful you can get an extremely close shave without cuts and nicks... just respect it and go slow until you get the right angle, etc. Cool looking old razor... gears and everything, great for a man, right?? :thumbup:
  7. I have used a Valet with the Feather blade too. Got very good results. My son has used his Valet set with the NOS Valet blades. He stropped them and got very good shaves..so much so I bought 7 boxes of NOS Valet blades from a fellow B&Ber to give him, and I will give them a go too.
  8. Very agressive razor- but really a good razor. They call it an auto strop for a reason. Especially with old NOS Valet blades- you have to use the strop! If you don't have one- search the bay and try to find one. You can also look up how to use it properly on Utube.
  9. I tried it this morning and found it was a bit too aggressive for me, I only shaved the easy bits with it before deciding it was not safe and went back to my trusty Gillette Rocket.
    I will give it another try sometime maybe this SE Sunday but if I get the same feelng again it's PIF time and I will stick to my GEM 1912 for Sundays.
  10. I've had good results with both the Feather SE blades from Razor Blades and More and the de-spined regular SE blades. Of the de-spined blades I had the best luck with the carbon steel ones, that could actually be stropped.
  11. +1

    I have dabbled with a Valet here, and there. Probably about 10 shaves total. The shave is very similar to my Gem Push Button, but likely quite a bit more aggressive.

    I traded my Valet away, the deciding factor for me, was that the expensive Feather blades were only good for two shaves each: the third shave they would pull, and tug something awful. In the long run, I decided the Valet was simply too expensive to use.
  12. I have three of the earlier ones and as Tom mentioned above, they can use de-spined SE blades. I have had excellent results with that rig.

    I have had a hard time getting a comfortable shave with the MMs, but no problem getting a close, comfortable shave with the Valet.
  13. Had another shave with the Valet this morning and got a good smooth shave with little irritation.
    It's a good razor and I plan to use it more often now that I have figured out how to use it. The best thing about it is how it looks, very old fashioned and mechanical with those gears and stuff.
  14. Thanks to a great friend, I received an Autostrop with 5 Feather blades and will be giving it an inaugural run tomorrow morning. I cannot wait. I got the blade loaded without incident so there's one step out of the way
  15. Just be careful of the blade angle and use no pressure at all and you will be sweet. It's a great little razor and now that i know you can take the spines off standard SE blades and use them I plan on using it more, those Feathers are expensive.
  16. 3 passes, no trouble, smooth and easy. This is a great little razor.
  17. You do have to watch the angle, but it's pretty easy to do since the blade is just sort of poking right out of all those gears at you where you can see it! :)
  18. Great thread. I just received two autostrops from ebay, they were just too neat looking to pass on, I mean really they have gears. To my suprise one is NOS. It still has the Cardboard blade blank in the razor and the paper band around the Strop, instructions and 5 unopened blades. The blade box had been opened but I am assuming that was by a previous owner checking the contents. The box is a bit beat up, but usable. The other is in very good condition and I am kind of itching to give it a try.
  19. nice score on the NOS valet.

    I just got one from the 'bay m'self, it's beautiful razor (year the gears are cool), strop in immaculate condition, 2 blades, instructions and just the tiniest plating wear. onyl the box looks like it's as old as it is.

    alas, it looks like an aggressive beast! May just keep it for collection, much rather use a DE or a straight - though one day I'll likely get bored and have to give it a try :)
  20. Not trying to hijack, I just know nothing about the only valet I own, tried a de-spined pella and it didn't work. Any ideas?

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