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Does size really matter?

I just answered a PM regarding 7/8 razors and the lack of blanks for 7/8 thumb notch razors in Solingen. Personally I’d be willing to pay a pretty penny for a 7/8 thumb notch razor made by Aust or Wacker. I like all of my modern 7/8 razors regardless of maker (Aust and Thiers Issard), but personally I find it hard to understand why large razors are so extremely popular. For one the size makes them unwieldy. I can’t subscribe to the point that the added weight means that you don’t need to add pressure when shaving. I mean you don’t need to add any pressure when shaving with a 4/8 razor either.

An argument that I can understand though is that the size gives them a menacing look, especially if they are close to wedge and have patina after having been used for a century or more.

I guess that my lack of understanding for popularity of really large razors can be due to cultural differences. Being a Swede very much means having the mindset of an engineer and often being absurdly practical and totally missing out on the meaning or use of extravagance. Swedish straight razors are a good example; well made of high quality steel, but lacking any kind of gold etching and rarely larger than 5/8.

I’d like to exemplify my reasoning with a joke I was told by other Swedes after that my family moved back to Sweden in the 1970’s:

A Swedish businessman is on his first business trip to the USA. The plane lands in New York at an airport the size of a city. After getting his luggage he gets a cab the size of a delivery van. When getting into New York he there are high rising buildings large enough to house the population of a Swedish city. He checks into his hotel and gets a room the size of an apartment. Being tired after the journey he lays down on the bed large enough for a family. When rested he goes down to the hotel restaurant and orders a steak and a beer. The steak is so large that it’s barely room for it on the plate and the beer glass is five times the size of a Swedish beer. Since he’s well mannered he eats and drinks it all. Feeling drunk and overstuffed he pays the check, tips the waiter and decides to go to the men’s room. Being drunk he takes the wrong turn, stumbles and falls into the hotel pool. The hotel guests can hear his high pitched desperate screams:

Don’t flush, please whatever you do don’t flush!
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
It is the natural human reaction, that bigger must be better.

Same reason people want the fastest car, the loudest stereo, the most powerful gun...

Personally I think that impulse comes from trying to overcompensate for something else...
 
Well, I guess my line of reasoning was twofold. Given similar spine widths, the edge would be sharper. A wider blade can hold more soap prior to rinsing.

I guess I feel that a larger blade is easier to steady and less likely to flip in my grip, but that could very well be all in my head.


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Legion

Moderator Emeritus
As razors evolved, the majority of them gravitated to 5-6/8, and I think there is a reason for that. Big choppers are fun to use, but I don’t think they are the most efficient or easiest.

No reason to not own one, because they are cool. But IMO you should not buy one because you think it might shave better than a smaller blade.
 
TI make a 7/8 thumb notch model which is quite nice and it doeasn’t feel all that large because it’s full hollow (light) and the edge is a little shorter.

Be glad that he didn’t go to Texas, lol. There is (or was) a steakhouse in Amarillo called ‘The Big Cowboy’ IIRC, and they serve a 72 ounce/6 pound (about 2.7 kilo) steak. If you can eat it all, it’s free. No one has a road map because you can see further than you can drive in a day.....

Merry Christmas Arne!
 
Good joke. Made me smile

I feel like dorko made plenty of thumbnotched in that size. I have a herder that size with a thumbnotch.

As razors evolved, the majority of them gravitated to 5-6/8, and I think there is a reason for that.
i am guessing efficient use of material and sales probably drove the 5/8s size. And since 5/8s was comfortable (enough) it probably stuck.

To create a razor 7/8s vs 5/8s would require around double the material right?

is there an old catalogue that shows prices of 7/8s? I normally see 5/8s and smaller.

Did grind wheel size have any play in it? Was it more available, easier, faster than 7/8s full hollow? I feel like that may not be true given the large amount of full hollows vs 1/4 or maybe the argument is slightly different for larger blades.

as an aside i have a less than enjoyable time holding the more narrow shanked blades. If i had no real choice after buying one in early 1900s i guess i would get used to it and wouldnt know better (for the most part).
 
I’ll have to mic them and see.
iirc, one or 2 custom razor manufacturer was making larger blades from too thin blanks and the requiring use of tape to get to the right angle. There was a bunch of speculation that they were sourcing inappropriate raw materials for whatever reason.

but your vintage pieces will definitely have an oem wider spine. It would be interesting to see vintage 7/8s with narrow spine because it would stand out significantly from the shank width. And the edge support still stands regardless of razor size.

the framebacks would be one example where the shank could be thin though. But the frame would increase the spine width obviously.
 
First, as the person on the other end of the PM, thank you for asking this question and the great joke, @Polarbeard!

As an American who has been surrounded by bigger is better my entire life, I have asked myself this question many times about many things, including brushes not too long ago and now razors.

For brushes, I went from 21 to 24 to 27.5 inches, to more recently buying a few 22 mm Semogues that I just love to use. I still like my larger brushes, but 22 mm just seems to be the sweet spot for me.

I do wonder if the same thing will happen with razors but there is only one way to know, so (in the spirit of Badger & Blade) I will probably just need to buy a 7/8 next - perhaps a Ralf Aust.

And please do not take this mean that I will be shutting down my disposal service for unwanted 14 razors anytime soon :).
 
My favorite size is 7/8, but larger than that just feels stupid to me. I'd rather use a 5/8 than an 8/8.:confused1
can you elaborate on the qualities of “stupid” for discussion? I’m not offended, but its an interesting topic. I prefer 7/8s too but realized that recently i really like “smaller” 5/8 near wedges a lot, and it’s perhaps also the razor balance that plays a role for me.

I think comfort and exposure has a lot to do with it, as does shape and mass.
 
Size matters in that it’s personal preference to each individual. I have two 5/8s razors and the rest are larger...they all deliver fun and beautiful shaves.

However, my favorite razors are my Spanish 14s. I love the singing full hollow blades, and I admire the tremendous skill that it must have taken to get those full and extra full hollow grinds to be complete perfection.

While not a Spaniard, here is a pic of the grind on my Guillermo Hoppe 14...it’s one of my best!

Vr

Matt
ACE9934A-1853-40BE-9999-C7F75C999855.jpeg
 
Well, admittedly 'stupid' is a pretty strong description, but I do feel irrationally strongly about it. I don't mean that people who like larger razors are in any way not thinking correctly, just to me I find myself asking 'Why am I shaving with a snow shovel'? The odd part is how much I like the marginally smaller 7/8. I do like the lather holding ability of 7/8s, but enough is enough.
 
So i noticed i have 1 or 2 blade shapes that are always great regardless of size and 1 or 2 that i feel are just awkward.

Some of them have to do with shank width, thumbnotch and shank/spine shape.
Thumbnotchs to me are better in larger shanks, in too small a shank and i am losing dexterity of hold/roll balance. Could be my relative hand size, i have wider thumb print on my fingers than most, but normal fingers width for someone my height/weight. ( 5’11 200lbs. )
 
So i noticed i have 1 or 2 blade shapes that are always great regardless of size and 1 or 2 that i feel are just awkward.

Some of them have to do with shank width, thumbnotch and shank/spine shape.
Thumbnotchs to me are better in larger shanks, in too small a shank and i am losing dexterity of hold/roll balance. Could be my relative hand size, i have wider thumb print on my fingers than most, but normal fingers width for someone my height/weight. ( 5’11 200lbs. )
I have fairly small hands, but find wider thumbnotches to be best.


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For me, my favorite is 7/8, and have 3 or so of those, an 8/8 wedge, and a big 11/8 full hollow. My hands are rather large, and have arthritis and the larger blades are easier for me to handle steadily than a small 5/8 or 6/8. Also, the larger blades are more comfortable to shave with. I do occasionally pull out a 5/8 full hollow and try to shave with it. It's really so uncomfortable for me, both in holding and the feel on the face that I end up finishing my shave with another.
 

SliceOfLife

Contributor
It's rarity.

Lots of people, I'd go out on a limb and say by far and away the majority, prefer the common sizes 9/16-6/8". But there are thousands of those size razors for every 8/8" or bigger. So people post looking for and/or showing off the bigger (rarer) ones much more often.

I've heard a couple guys say they enjoy 8/8" or bigger daily... these are typically the guys who have spent hundreds of dollars on a modern custom in that size. Personally? I've got two NOS 8/8" or larger. They're fun here and there. Literally can not tell you the last time I used one of them.

Preference? I just want a razor that is sharp, takes a great edge and doesn't feel awkward in the shave. Most 4/8"-13/16" that weren't abused fit that. A few 7/8" do. And I'll go outside that range a bit, but I'd never choose that for my daily shave.
 
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