Can a straight razor last a lifetime?

Discussion in 'General Straight Razor Talk' started by rb120134, Jun 14, 2019.

    Can a straight razor last a lifetime? I red somewhere that oxygen in the long time can cause rust on a Carbon steel blade? Can straight razors last a lifetime with honing every now and then when the razor is not shave sharp enough? And how do you store a straight razor so it lasts as long as possible? I know you need to dry a razor carefully, especially Carbon steel, and can the razor last a lifetime if you store it dry and away from humidity? Or will the oxygen cause problems in the long run?
  1. I have a Boker straight from 1893. It has plenty of hone wear, but it shaves like a dream.

    True, anything made from steel can rust. But if a straight is cared for and stored properly, it won't rust.

    If a blade is used properly, refreshed with paste now and then, and honed when necessary, it can still last a lifetime when under the care of an experienced honemeister. The honemeister will know how to keep the edge keen, while minimizing wear.

    So I am a solid YES.
  2. And how do I store the straight razor properly? Oiled with camilla oil? I wanna keep the razor myself my whole life.
  3. Old guides say strop before and after use and wipe on a thin coat of mineral oil before putting it away.
  4. Then it can last a lifetime?
  5. Unless you are honing every day or chip it, yes.
  6. I believe a good quality straight razor, properly taken care of, used regularly and not abused can last a lifetime. I also believe if you have a few and rotate among them (and take proper care of them) they can last even longer...a few lifetimes.
  7. Chan Eil Whiskers

    Chan Eil Whiskers Contributor

    I strop before each use and after each use.


    I store my straights in cases like this. According to the vendor (Superior Shave) razors put in these cases should not have any oil on them unless the oil is Ballistol or something similar which lets water evaporate. I follow Jarrod's advice on that matter.

    Can one straight razor properly cared for last a lifetime? I think that's shortchanging the razor's potential. How 'bout several lifetimes?

    There are undoubtedly numerous ways of ruining a razor or shortening its lifespan. There are also various ways of properly caring for and storing razors.

    Fredericks Celebrated Razor.480.6-12-19.JPG

    I don't know the history of this Fredericks Celebrated Razor. It's new to me, and was honed today, but it was made before 1892 and still has a long life ahead of it I believe. In the photo it hadn't been cleaned up any. Now it has, but it still looks old and a bit funky. I like the look of it and mostly care about how it shaves, but I won't know that until tomorrow at the earliest.

    Happy shaves,

  8. I recently scored a straight from between 1920 and 1940. It looks new. For three years now I have stored my straights in a dry place without oil on blade. So far it's been working. I believe the edge is more likely to rust unnoticed. Stropping is best before storage. Some of my straights from the 1800 s were a little beat up with rust but were easily cleaned and honed. I'd say a straight can last a couple of lifetimes. A friend has straight that is mid 1800 and looks like new.
  9. Polarbeard

    Polarbeard Contributor Ambassador

    Unless you plan to live more than 150 years or so the answer is yes. I've got some razors of about that age that still looks like new. Just store them in a dry place and take care of them.
  10. Not oil! The best to preserve the steel pf the Straight razor is Renaissance Wax


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  11. Considering all of the fine vintage straight razors we use on this forum and those up for sale on the auction and market place sites, I’ll say that a well cared for straight razor will last several lifetimes.
  12. Like any tool, the answer depends on the user and how they choose to maintain.

    I have a 1830-45 Wade and Butcher that shaves .

    The use of oil seems silly. Just treat the edge well and dry post use.
  13. Properly cared for, used well, used often... Your grandkids' kids could still enjoy their usage.
  14. Yes, disused is the father of destruction.
  15. Sure there are a bunch of nice razors still around from a long time ago. Those same razors were also probably sitting for a long time and not being used daily. To many variables for different people to really say. I think if you use one straight razor that was 5/8-6/8 and used it everyday that it probably wouldn't last a lifetime. My uneducated guess would be like 5-15 years lifespan for a daily shaver.

    Factors that have negative impact on a razor
    bad technique stropping (shorter edge life)
    damage to edge from any accidents (I have slightly dinked a razor or two on the faucet before)
    how long razor is on hones (unskilled or new person will probably remove a lot more steel than needed)
    lazy/bad razor care (ex. razor forming on edge because you didn't do a great job drying the razor one day)
    dropping a razor and how it lands

    I believe the daily shaver will fall victim to some of those factors at sometime in its life, no one is perfect. I have some razors that I like just because of their shaving ability. These razors can also be easily replaced so I am not going to treat them like a 400$+ heirloom.

    However there are some factors that can go into extending a razors life.
    You probably won't shave everyday
    You will probably end up buying more than 1 straight out of curiosity (more razors in the rotation the longer each of those razors will last)
    You probably won't shave with your nice heirloom worthy straight razor as often as a random daily shaver
    you probably aren't going to learn how to hone on your nice razor
    Steel will probably last a very long time if stored and cared for correctly
    Scales can always be replaced (Might not always be able to get original or exact same scales but something that can get the job done will always be available)

    Can sort of think of the razors like cars. You have the daily beaters, weekend fun cars, and the collector ones used only on occasion. I suggest you get 2-3 razors for your daily shaving if you have a nice one you want to last/pass down.
  16. 20190119_132941.jpg
    Late 1700's. I think its lasted a life time or three or four or...
  17. As you said, “uneducated “ stemming from inexperience.

    Knives are used forever if used appropriately.

    The edge of a razor is polished with little metal loss. My concern is clumsy over honing from modern screw uppers , or those who like to hone vs those who use a blade for a reason.
  18. Yes. ^^
  19. Yep, a well maintained razor will outlast any of us. To me, that is part of the appeal. :)

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