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Beginner's Straight Razor?

I've been wet shaving for about 6 years now (side note - holy crap... It was shortly after I met my wife and I didn't even realize it'd been that long). I'm thinking about making the switch from a DE to a straight razor. My big problem is cost - I don't wanna drop $200 and then realize I absolutely hate it. I've been poking around seeing if I can find a decent, yet cheap razor, and figured I'd ask the experts directly. I'm looking in the $75 and under club, which rules out most of the top-tier Solingens from what I can tell.

Some brands that have come up in my search that aren't on Straight Razor Place's list to avoid are:
Gold Dollar
Dovo
BOG

So my question is - For under $75, what are the best "shave-ready" (actual shave-ready, though) razors to get? I've heard good things about sight unseen from Whipped Dog, but was wondering if anyone had heard good things about Gold Dollar, BOG, or another low-cost option out there
 
I just ordered a GD 209 from Frank Misa over at StrikeGoldShave on Etsy. It's my first straight as well and I've heard very good things about his honing skills. There are a couple of YouTube vids that he has on his page that are testimonials of how well he can hone. His Gold Dollars are going for less than $30 depending on the model.
 
I would not hesitate to look at Gold Dollars, as long as the one you get has been honed by a reputable honemeister. My first straight was a GD66 that had its shoulders removed and was honed by doc226. I have a second GD66 that I modified the blade myself and the honing was again completed by doc226.

You will find a lot of love for Gold Dollars around here, with the caveat that they all need some attention before being ready to shave.
 
Awesome stuff, guys. I'd read some of the same stuff, but didn't know there were shops out there that sold pre-honed GDs. For $20, I think it's worth a shot.
 
Dovos are one of the best out there- you can pick one up from The Superior Shave Jarrod is a member here and a wealth of knowledge. Can't go wrong with a razor from him.
 
A truly enlightened choice would be the aforementioned Dovo from Superior Shave or a Ralf Aust from Straight Razor Design. Either will afford you decades of faithful service.
Gold Dollar razors are kind of like the East German Trabant of the shaving world. BOG I believe is a product owned, manufactured, and/or marketed by Classic Shaving a.k.a The Grooming Network. Much information can be found about these guys. Do some reading
 
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I'd say grab two gold dollars or sight unseens and get busy shaving. I'd also recommend getting the poor man's strop kit from Larry. once you figure out how to strop properly, you can upgrade from there.

having two is good because you use one until it needs a rehone, swap to the other while you send off the first. the poor man's strop has CrOx/FeOx covered balsa that'll let you touch up the blades between hones.
 
Likewise I was previously in that same place and wanted to try to get into straight shaving after some experience with DEs.

Was contemplating going cheap and good, and saw recommendations for Ralf Aust many times. However I was more keen on quarter to half hollow grinds as full hollows somehow just scared me. Lol

Ended up going for a hart due to a sale etc and pulled trigger in a bit of a hurry.

Came to me in pretty bad shape and definitely not shave ready which made me totally question my decision and wonder if I should have just gone with a Ralf Aust or since already at that 100plus price point to go up some and get a proper custom from Brian Brown or a koraat.

Anyway I managed to get mr harner to help me fix up, tidy up the grind, reset the bevel and edge on the straight and also rescale it. So effectively my hart is now in some ways a semi harner? Haha
 
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If you want a true shave ready for the lowest price possible just get a sight unseen form Larry at Whipped Dog Straight Razor Shaving Equipment, they're going for $43 now I think. I've purchased a few when I first started out and was not disappointed.

I'd say grab two gold dollars or sight unseens and get busy shaving. I'd also recommend getting the poor man's strop kit from Larry. once you figure out how to strop properly, you can upgrade from there.

having two is good because you use one until it needs a rehone, swap to the other while you send off the first. the poor man's strop has CrOx/FeOx covered balsa that'll let you touch up the blades between hones.

What they said. Good price. Good product.
 
I wanted to pop back on here. I ended up going with Frank Misa over on Etsy. Gold Dollars for about $25 that he personally hones. Had an issue with it shaving (it was tugging - not sure if it was user error or just wasn't sharp enough), and he offered to rehone it and comp me the shipping to get it back to him. So he rehoned it, tested it, and shipped it back to me (altogether I think like $30 through his shop) for free.

I'll end up finding out what the other guys are like if I get really into straights, but I can say this - Frank has grade-A customer service
 
Now you need a backup razor. Try a Whipped Dog. Larry gets pretty high marks around here. He has other stuff for cheap on his site, like cheap badger brushes and his famous Poor Man Strop Kit.

Nothing at all wrong with a properly honed Gold Dollar. In fact its main shortcoming, (very thick spine, therefore a very obtuse bevel angle) is actually sort of a good thing for a beginner, as it is not as quick to cut you if you make a mistake. OTOH, most any good vintage razor can be honed to a keener edge, but will be more likely to punish you for poor beginner technique. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Nobody ever died from a shaving cut. But a keener edge will teach you to stretch the skin, use light pressure, and a shallow shaving angle. In time you will probably notice a slight difference in shave quality, assuming both razors are honed to their fullest potential.

BTW, a lot of guys on this board like to modify their Gold Dollars to make them shave better or look better, or even both. The steel is pretty good, and a workover can turn it into something really special.
 
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