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Chinese thin-spined razor ID?

I spotted this new-to-me straight which the seller advertises as having a "thin blade" and a maximum width of 4 millimeters at the spine. It's been around for a while, it would seem, but not many appear to have bought it. I could only find an individual review of it on AX (and in French), and it isn't positive, at all.

Though pictures can sometimes be misleading, it doesn't look like GD and Titans, so I was wondering if anyone has already wasted a tenner to find out what it is?

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I suspect it is a RSO. Not sure how thick 4 sillymeters is but that sounds too thin to have a proper bevel angle. Let's see... .50 cal is 12.7mm so 1" is 25.4mm.... so the 4mm spine is about 0.15748031496062992" or a hair over 5/32". The general rule of thumb is don't try to make a stock-removal razor with a blade width of over 4x the material thickness so this razor should be about 5/8 for a proper bevel angle and it looks more like 6/8. You will likely have trouble honing this and keeping a good edge on it even if the steel is good and the heat treating is good. But maybe not. You could give it a go, and tape the spine (after actually measuring the bevel angle, of course!) and see how it comes out.

The grinding looks to be very inexpertly done, if I may be so bold as to make that assumption just from looking at one picture. Notice how the backbone gets closer to the edge nearer the toe compared to the heel, and gets thinner as it goes. At least judging by the reflection in the pic. This is of course not unexpected. Also notice that it is not pinned with razor pins but with pocketknife pins. Warning sign. OTOH, only ten bucks? May as well take one for the team and try it out!
 
Thank you for the valuable input.

I almost pulled the trigger on it, as the seller is one I've already bought from, so I was hoping for it to be an actual razor.

However, it looks like your assessment is spot on, on all accounts.

I haven't honed anything yet, so I'm guessing it's a better idea for me to stick with a known quantity, like a GD or Titan.

If you don't mind my asking, how can I tell the difference between pocket knife and razor's pins?
Is the vertical profile thinning from heel to toe always a bad thing ?
 
Reminds me of the first that I bought, an RSO (razor shaped object). The spine was so thin that the bevel angle was less than 10deg.

Not wanting to be a waster, I bread-knifed that RSO down to a 3/8 blade, reset the bevel and honed it to a bevel angle of about 16° with a near-widge grind. I then gave it to one of my girlfriends (a beautician) who uses it in her work for eyebrows and such.
 
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If you don't mind my asking, how can I tell the difference between pocket knife and razor's pins?
Is the vertical profile thinning from heel to toe always a bad thing ?
By pocket-knife pins, I'm assuming that @Slash McCoy is referring to the pin diameter, although he is only observing the pin-head diameter.

As for the vertical profile thinning from heel to toe, it is not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. It depends on what you prefer to shave with. If the spine thickness is constant throughout its length, the bevel angle will be more obtuse as you get further from the heel.
 
By pocket-knife pins, I'm assuming that @Slash McCoy is referring to the pin diameter, although he is only observing the pin-head diameter.

As for the vertical profile thinning from heel to toe, it is not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. It depends on what you prefer to shave with. If the spine thickness is constant throughout its length, the bevel angle will be more obtuse as you get further from the heel.
So the pivot hole in the razor is the normal standard 1/16"? Seems like an awful waste of time and resources to countersink and add a big ginormous head on the pin, then grind it down flush. Certainly makes rescaling or tightening a chore. When I see stuff done that is not standard straight razor stuff, it always rings my alarm bells. The ordinary hollowground straight razor hasn't changed in design in 100 years and there are very good reasons for that. Every detail has been thought out, and every alternative has been tried. When you have people, some of them women, designing and making a product and calling it a straight razor and obviously do not even shave with one, they will come up with a lot of great ideas that make perfect sense to someone else who doesn't shave with a straight razor, but not to more discerning shavers. Oh, and same goes for Gold Dollars. I like the old standard models only because I have learned that they can be made to shave pretty good and they are easily modified if you are picky and don't like the cheesy scales or heavy geometry, and the price is right. When you can buy something that you can turn into a pretty good shaver in a half hour, and it only costs $4 or less, shipped, well, I can forgive a lot. IF it will shave. The razor in question here appears to be too acute, a fundamental flaw. I would not expect it to hone or shave particularly well.

I wasn't talking about the spine, but about the backbone. That's the thickened part of the blade between the heart of the hollowgrind and the bevel. Some razors don't have one. Those that do should have one that is consistent in thickness and distance from the edge, all up and down the blade.

I am kind of sort of actually hoping that someone will have a go at it, though. Empirical testing is a lot more reliable than looking at a picture on the internet.
 
This one reminds me of one I bought a while back with the intention of stealing the scales, which were nice enough in a wood that was marketed as being ebony. For the price, I figured I had nothing to lose as ebony scales go for a lot more than the razor did.
The blade came sharp. About as sharp as when you set the bevel. It would shave hair on my arm. I am not sure if it would have been sharp enough for a proper shave. I somewhat doubt it, but I did not try, nor tried to hone it to see if I could get it to pass HHT. Now this ended up not being worth it as I could not unpin the scales without damaging them. The pin were made in a very strong steal that defeated my attempts.
 
With the Chinese cheapie being ruled out for the time being, I gave eBay a whirl and found out that I can part with 50 Euros (or more...) in exchange for vintage razors that look worse than a Gold Dollar. Meaning, I would rather catch a sale on an entry level Boker or Dovo, and at least be sure to get a razor with no funny history. That would cost me a little more than a tenner, though.

Now, a stock GD is not to be regarded as a good starting point for a beginner honer, because of the specifics of its geometry is my understanding.

What new, inexpensive razor options does that leave me with?
 
Don't knock the Gold Dollar SR's. Some (experienced) honers have difficulty dealing with blades that have a vertical stabiliser at the blade's shoulder. I believe that this is because they are just not use to honing such SR's. I learned to hone only with blades that have a vertical stabiliser at the blade's shoulder and have no problems. I can now easily hone blades with and without stabilisers.

At the ten quid mark you are rather limited but I would suggest a Gold Dollar 208 (which has a stabiliser) or P81 (without stabiliser). My recommendation out of those two is the 208, then you will later not be limited to only knowing how to hone blades without stabilisers.

I first learned my honing skills on a Titan ACRM-2 T.H.60 but that is a bit over ten quid new.
 
I will be posting a new youtube in a few days showing one way to deal with intrusive stabilizers. Meanwhile, don't give up on fleabay and especially don't give up on the BST forum. The good deals don't last long but they do turn up. As for honing your first razor, definitely send it out. Don't try to do this yourself. Learn to shave first, then learn to hone. It is much less frustrating that way. If you can get your hands on a shave ready razor, made so by a member or by someone who the membership will vouch for, then you will find the way much easier.
 
@Slash McCoy the OP is based in the EU which kind of limits him with BST offers as most are not willing to ship outside of CONUS. Having a 10 quid budget also limits him in what he can buy.

I agree that starting with a truly shave-ready is the best way to go but sometimes that is just not possible (like it was not possible for me) - for various reasons.
 
No worries, I've got the shaving covered; I have several Artist Club-style razors, and a modded GD66, courtesy of a very generous fellow board member, a razor that I've been really liking thus far.

My budget isn't strictly capped, however I'm assuming my first honing job might go sideways, and throwing away a Boker would be a pity.

Flip-side, since I don't see myself get into modding any time soon, I was hoping to be able and get something with a more standard bevel angle than the thick shouldered GDs, hence my interest in the razor I was asking about originally.
 
@Slash McCoy the OP is based in the EU which kind of limits him with BST offers as most are not willing to ship outside of CONUS. Having a 10 quid budget also limits him in what he can buy.

I agree that starting with a truly shave-ready is the best way to go but sometimes that is just not possible (like it was not possible for me) - for various reasons.
Ah well yeah that budget is going to be tough to meet but if he doesn't get a shave ready razor, I don't see how he is going to hone it and still come in under budget.
 
@Furex thanks for clarifying your situation. I have a Gold Dollar 208 (new in box) sitting in front of me now. I measured it and it has a factory-edge bevel angle of 17.74 degrees and a blade width of 21.5mm (27/32" for @Slash McCoy ). This bevel angle is quite acceptable for a standard high carbon steel straight razor.

The 208 has a stabiliser very similar to the blade shown in your original post. I find that the 208 is very easy to bevel-set and hone to shave ready. You should be able to buy one for under 10 quid plus shipping/taxes. It would make an ideal SR for you to learn honing on.

Don't forget that one of the best ways to initially learn honing is here:
It is a long read but well worth the effort. Take notes as you go. If you follow the instructions to the letter, you will be producing shave-ready edges on your first or second go and it will not cost you an arm and a leg in equipment. Once you have mastered the "Method", you can then consider going down the natural whetstone rabbit hole.
 
Honing equipment and material... is that to be included in the budget?
Lucky me, I already have it.

I don't have a strict budget, I could buy an entry level Boker, but I don't want to ruin a good razor if my first hone job goes sideways.

The GD/GM range is so very confusing: both the P81 and SW10 lack a transverse stabilizer, which should make things easier, right?

Any idea what's the bevel angle on those?
 
Lucky me, I already have it.

I don't have a strict budget, I could buy an entry level Boker, but I don't want to ruin a good razor if my first hone job goes sideways.

The GD/GM range is so very confusing: both the P81 and SW10 lack a transverse stabilizer, which should make things easier, right?

Any idea what's the bevel angle on those?
I don't know SW10. P81 bevel angle is between 17.6 and 17.9 degrees. Not ideal, but not too bad. It is finer than the 66, which is right around or just under 18 degrees, and with a 66 I can get a near BBS in a single pass with almost 2 months growth on my face, in a bit over 10 minutes, without really trying. There is nothing stopping you from matching the very sharpest DE blade for sharpness, and exceeding all the rest, except your skill level and materials. It's on video, just search for it on the forum. The P81 is easier than the 66. I will not vouch for any GD model that I don't know, because they are putting out a lot of impossible crap these days in addition to the original product line. If it looks "kewl" a good rule of thumb is that it is garbage. Any numeric model number from 66 to 208, and maybe 300, all good. P81, good, too. W series, let me put it as delicately and nicely as I can... I don't like them. 400, 800, 900, overpriced. Stainless, but there is no reason why having a piece of steel that costs an extra $2 should make the razor cost an extra $30. My recommendation is stick with the P81, 208, or 66, in that order. Sometimes you can get lucky with a Gold Monkey 666 or 777. They are made by the same company, same factory. I think they are aimed more at the domestic Chinese market.
 
Thanks a bunch!

What's the difference between 208, 666 and 777 ?

Has GD made changes to productions runs of the P81 that you are aware?

I've seen a razor sold as a P81, but there is no "Gold Dollar 1996" stamp on the shank. In some pictures, there's a flowery logo on the face, along the text "Gold Dollar of classic quality" in a similar position and style as that shown in the SW60 pictures below. In others, the logo is missing and there's only the brand name. The scales are bright red plastic, close enough to the picture you have on your site.

I will not vouch for any GD model that I don't know, because they are putting out a lot of impossible crap these days in addition to the original product line.
Of course. The SW10 and 60 actually look tasteful for GD standards: I'll share some information just in case.

The head of the SW10/SW60 and P81 all look pretty similar to my eye. The scales are wood, and on the SW10 appear to have a rougher finish.

Unfortunately I couldn't find good pictures of the SW10.

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Scales will be a bit heavy, unbalancing the razor. Look at the thick flat metal spacer. At least the thick scales are not metal lined. Blade might be okay. Like I said I can't vouch for it and there are plenty of models that I know are okay. If you want to take one for the team then that's not a bad thing. Your review might be informative and helpful to others. If you want to just order one and only one razor and know that the razor you order is going to be usable, then my advice is to get a P81, 208, or 66. They are well known to me and to many other users.

If you do get a lesser known model, it might be helpful to take a couple of measurements after the razor is honed. Look at the spine of the razor, where the spine is worn flat from contact with the hone. Measure from the upper edge of this wear strip, i.e. the edge farthest from the shaving edge, to the shaving edge. Then at the same point along the blade, measure the thickness of the spine. We use those two measurements to calculate the bevel angle.

Though the balance of the razor might sound like a pretty minor thing, you may find that it actually is a big deal when you have the razor in your hand.

Not all Gold Dollars will have the same etch or stamp or silk screen logo. You can order from the factory with any logo you want stamped or etched on it, if you order a certain quantity, usually 1000 but sometimes 100. So some resellers will have product that is a little different.
 
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