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Gold Dollar 74

Item Description

Let's take a look at the GD, shall we?

The QC from the factory is a bit lax, so the outline will vary from piece to piece, all are about 13/16 to 7/8 width:
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Tip outline, and edge outline vary.

The biggest issue is usually that the heel of the razor is difficult to make contact with the hone due to that extremely large heel stabilizer and thick shoulder on the spine bevel. Some bulk removal of material is usually required to get that sorted out.

Outline is one thing, the next is the tang of the razor. 8 out of ten of them will have a tang that is not in-line with the body of the blade. This isn't really an issue unless you plan on re-scaling them.

Which leads us to the scales.....

CHEAP, lightweight plastic scales, more often than not come very loose. Some simple re-peening tightens them up, no problem. They are then at least serviceable for protecting the blade.

That's the ugly bits about these razors.

Let's take a look at the grind:

Here's a cross section from a diced up GD:
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Hollow, but not full hollow or singing by any means. Nice thick spine adds some heft.

Here is where it falls on the grind chart:
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It is my opinion that this is one of the highlights of these razors, as I have never had a warped blade yet (sample size~50 so far).

Marker test shows good contact except for smile at toe and heel. This is fresh out of the box:
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With this one you can see the issue with the edge at the heel:
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So, how about the edge?

Well, when they come off the assembly line in Shanghai, they look something like this (all scope pics at ~400x):

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None too pretty! I wouldn't let that thing near my face!:scared:

But, after some time on the hones, these razors hone up quite fine. Here is the finished edge on the very same razor as pictured above, finished to 0.1um diamond lapping film.
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Well, Seraphim, pics are all well and good, but you don't shave with pics, do you?

Nope, I don't shave with pics, but I do like to find out empirically what is going on, not simply going on my own opinion. I like shaving with very sharp razors.

Here is a shot of a HHT hair cleaved by the edge shown above:
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The hair cleaved without any *ping* or *pop*, nice, silent cut-in-two HHT. Nice clean cut. Does the same to the whiskers on your face:wink2:


My review:

Hard to assign numerical values to this razor. At first glance, I'd give the razor a 1 for craftsmanship, because, let's face it, it's not very refined AT ALL.
Yet, they did get the important bits right- the grind has always been well done, and as mentioned, I have never had a warped blade yet. Important part #2 is that they can indeed hone up as well as most any other razor if you take the time to do so. Once honed, I have recieved many a close and comfortable shave from these razors.

You can buy them on EBay for ~$13 or so. Just be aware that they come with lots of warts and faults at that price point. None of which cannot be overcome, but be prepared to invest some sweat equity in getting it in good shaving shape. So how do you assign a "value" rating in that regard? Sure, $13 sounds like the deal of the decade, yet you will also need some proper tools (hones, hammers, buzzsaws, etc.:001_rolle) to get it into top notch shape. So is that a good deal, or not? You will have to decide that for yourself.

I have been more than happy with the GDs I have used.
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Latest reviews

I wanted to chip in with my thoughts on this razor, i have been using this in my rotation for a few months now, and over all quite happy with the razor, i got 2 of these for under $15 shipped to the uk, cant say that about many razors today, ok they are not the most well crafted razor around, the heel on the one i honed was way off and the handle is so thin you can see through it, but it does the job, i failed to get a good edge on this razor when i used by niwania stones, but hit the jackpot when i got my coti, though it did take me longer than with other razors i have honed, and so far a few strokes on my chrox strop has kept it sharp, it does give a good shave and i am happy with the shaves i get from the razor, and for the price cant really be faulted, i know there has been some issues with the quality of some of these razors, but the one i have honed and used so far is good, i am now thinking of getting another gd, but a different model type.
Price
5.00 star(s)
Lasting Edge
3.00 star(s)
Craftsmanship
3.00 star(s)
Easy to Sharpen
3.00 star(s)
Easy to Maintain
3.00 star(s)
Shaving Smoothness
3.00 star(s)
For what you pay- one came along as a practice blade with a coticule I bought off the B/S/T and I have since bought three of these on EBay from Mr. Parko for a total of about $30 including shipping from Hong Kong- this razor is a clear 10.

Craftsmanship is quite weak- scales are light and cheesy and finish work is sloppy. Factory bevel is very ragged and needs to be reset, at least on the two I have honed so far. The basic grind is good and the blades are flat- a 3.

Ease of sharpening would be an 8, if I did not have to spend a while filing off a heel spur and reshaping the stabilizer end a bit- so a 4. The steel is easy to work with and does take a nice edge.

I used a GD model #108 exclusively on a recent 17 day trip to visit relatives. Edge needed a light touch up after about 10 days on a barbers hone. So I found it lasted a bit less than some of my other blades, but I think the steel is quite soft on these razors. I rate it a 6.

Quality of shave- here the razor did really remarkably well. Consistent good, smooth shaves. The blade is half hollow, or so, has some heft and shaves easily. Rates an 8 in my book. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Maintenance- the soft steel may require a bit more in the way of touch-ups, and it does seem to stain quickly. I was on the east coast for the hot, humid weather and the steel picked up some spotting and even a tiny bit of rust after just a few days. Easy enough to clean off, but I think that some aspect of this steel lends itself to easy staining. I would be interested in other opinions on this. So, I give it a 7.

I like these blades. I do not sell them and do not intend to. What I like is their utility. There is no luxury, no feel of fine craftsmanship, no history, nothing really special- except that they give a nice shave at a very reasonable price. Yes, there is some sweat equity in getting the heel and stabilizers right. But, I learned some things about the geometry of a razor that I otherwise might not have, so there was a plus to that as well.

I am no expert, but I found the razors to be relatively easy to put a good edge on, the steel to be easy to work and the shave was better than I thought it would be. As to many years of use, I cannot yet comment. But, for the few months I have owned and used a GD, it has been a good product.

The GD is not in the same league as vintage Sheffield blades, of which I own a few, nor some of the nice old Henkels I enjoy. But, for my family visitation trip the GD did the job and did it well. I think of these as really nice entry level blades, as well as blades that can be left in places for future trips without much bother.
Price
5.00 star(s)
Lasting Edge
3.00 star(s)
Craftsmanship
1.00 star(s)
Easy to Sharpen
2.00 star(s)
Easy to Maintain
3.00 star(s)
Shaving Smoothness
4.00 star(s)
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Reactions: Zig the Pirate
Of course he also happens to sell Gold Dollars, so take that for what it's worth.

Item information

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Seraphim
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Reviews
7
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