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Let’s talk Tanifuji

Hello All

I’ve decided to get my first Japanese made straight razor
and I think it’s gonna be a Tanifuji. There seems to be a somewhat bewildering variety so can we please talk about the various makes and models.

It’s my understanding that Tanifuji made not just there own branded razors but also manufactured for Spaulding and
Cape (what I believe to be the Nichiri house brand) but what others did they produce for?

I’ve often heard of Tanifuji being made from extremely hard steel. Is this true of all razors they made or only specific models?

Is a Tanifuji Swedish steel comparable to say Heljestrand?

1000, 2000, 1978, 650 etc, etc,
etc. What does any of it indicate?

Are there models/brands/era of manufacture that I should stay away from or are they universally excellent?

What other Japanese brands are notable?



Thanks for sharing your knowledge
 
Tanifuji is an excellent choice. He made razors for Nichiri as the Cape Swedish Steel series and those razors are excellent choices. I have a Cape 1000min my collection that actually has Tanifuji stamps on it. I don’t think that there is a comprehensive resource for what the numbers mean, but a Cape 2000 is a little more hollow and lighter than a Cape 1000, both 13/16 about half hollow. The Spalding and Maxfli seem to be 6/8 razors and are a little heavier grind than the Cape 1000/2000. The 5000 is stainless, same shape an size as the Spalding/Maxfli. The other Cape numbers may relate to the width, shape, scales, or maybe even the customer. I have both a Cape 1372 and a 500 whose blades are visually identical.

The Swedish Steel is harder than many other non-Japanese brands but similar in hardness to other Japanese brands. Their hardness is similar to Swedish brands. The grinds of most all Japanese razors will be heavier than full hollow Swedish razors, but similar if you get a half hollow or 1/4 hollow Swedish brand.

I do not believe that it is permitted to link to a blog, but a very iseful one for Tanifuji razors can be found if you search for ‘Fikira Tanifuji’. It has a very useful catalog of stamps and models. Tanifuji is also thought to have had links to Perfect Works, a stamp that you’ll find on many non-Tanifuji branded Japanese razors. I have a Shell 92 stamped Perfect Works on the pile side tang that is just superb.

I’ll try to post some images later.
 
Custom scale work on all are by Alfredo

Image 1, Cape 2000 13/16 in honey horn. These are a little more hollow and much harder to find than the 1000, and not that much different other than being lighter.

Image 2, 13/16 Tanifuji Favorit 3000 in ivory and a Favorit 6000 covered tang in black horn. These are a little more hollow than the 1000.

Image 3, Tanifuji 926 Silver Steel in ivory and black horn. The one in black horn is 13/16, the one in ivory slightly narrower though both were new when I got them. They’ll hold the finest edge.

Image 4, 6/8+ Tanifuji Spalding, these are a little heavier grind.

Image 5, top left clockwise, Tanifuji BaBa, very similar to Cape 1000, Cape 2000 in stock scales, Shell 92 Silver Steel, stamped Perfect Works on the pile side tang, can’t tell it from a Tanifuji by quality, fit, or finish, Tanifuji 5000 stainless MaxFli

Image 6, Cape 1000 13/16 half hollow in lava Kirinite. Cape 1000 is an excellent razor, easy to find. Stiff and thinly ground.


D28AE9BE-E5E4-4D19-A1D7-90A7EB9F2B32.jpeg B8F9EC15-0FD3-4FBE-B741-9D850F489A2C.jpeg 600CA926-9FE3-43D2-ADB3-3313744C4D1D.jpeg 6B43191C-B2A1-4D91-A559-895813D48DF4.jpeg 2B6741C5-9174-4EF9-9995-365785A7F987.jpeg B153EA01-9B3B-42AB-8A40-12F57FABC97F.jpeg
 
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Spalding and Cape are Tanifuji? I have passed on those, on fleabay. Too bad I didnt know at the time. The one branded Tanifuji I have shaved with was very nice and was not hard to hone at all.
 
Yep, the Spaldings and MaxFli are stamped Tanifuji. There have been some questions about Tanifuji making the Cape Swedish Steel series, but Japanese vendors advertise them as Tanifuji, and I’ve seen two Cape 1000 Swedish Steel with Tanifuji stamps, and I own one of them. The scales are different on the Tanifuji stamped razors from the usual Cape 1000 razors, and I do not believe the scales on this one are original, they’re too small. Maybe prototypes?

26B3EC5B-30B7-4326-89FC-8CC18A12A76D.jpeg FABDF339-E72A-4696-BDC3-2DABD6952B44.jpeg
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
12-21-19.White-Tanifuiji.Valobra.DB.HA.AP-Gel.Kit.JPG

I have several Tanifuji and Tanifuji made razors, including this one I shaved with yesterday. I don't know much about them, but I know they can be honed to a very very sharp edge. In my experience with them which is far from vast, honing them is not terribly easy. I think the steel is hard. However, this one has a great edge now. Perhaps not the most comfortable and forgiving of edges but very sharp.

12-18-19.Kikuboshi.MdC.AP.Gel.640.Kit..JPG

I have about eight good Japanese razors and like them all. This one may be my favorite. It was honed by the vendor and has a nice edge.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I’d put Tanifuji nearly at the top of the steel-hardness pile, with only select other Japanese blades being harder IME.

You can’t go wrong with one, and if I were into really stiff 1/2 hollows I’d probably own 90% Tanifujis with the rest being other Japanese brands.
 
Custom scale work on all are by Alfredo

Image 1, Cape 2000 13/16 in honey horn. These are a little more hollow and much harder to find than the 1000, and not that much different other than being lighter.

Image 2, 13/16 Tanifuji Favorit 3000 in ivory and a Favorit 6000 covered tang in black horn. These are a little more hollow than the 1000.

Image 3, Tanifuji 926 Silver Steel in ivory and black horn. The one in black horn is 13/16, the one in ivory slightly narrower though both were new when I got them. They’ll hold the finest edge.

Image 4, 6/8+ Tanifuji Spalding, these are a little heavier grind.

Image 5, top left clockwise, Tanifuji BaBa, very similar to Cape 1000, Cape 2000 in stock scales, Shell 92 Silver Steel, stamped Perfect Works on the pile side tang, can’t tell it from a Tanifuji by quality, fit, or finish, Tanifuji 5000 stainless MaxFli

Image 6, Cape 1000 13/16 half hollow in lava Kirinite. Cape 1000 is an excellent razor, easy to find. Stiff and thinly ground.


View attachment 1045846 View attachment 1045847 View attachment 1045848 View attachment 1045849 View attachment 1045850 View attachment 1045858
That's an incredible collection. I'm drooling over those Spaldings.
 
Custom scale work on all are by Alfredo
Custom scale work on all are by Alfredo

Image 1, Cape 2000 13/16 in honey horn. These are a little more hollow and much harder to find than the 1000, and not that much different other than being lighter.

Image 2, 13/16 Tanifuji Favorit 3000 in ivory and a Favorit 6000 covered tang in black horn. These are a little more hollow than the 1000.

Image 3, Tanifuji 926 Silver Steel in ivory and black horn. The one in black horn is 13/16, the one in ivory slightly narrower though both were new when I got them. They’ll hold the finest edge.

Image 4, 6/8+ Tanifuji Spalding, these are a little heavier grind.

Image 5, top left clockwise, Tanifuji BaBa, very similar to Cape 1000, Cape 2000 in stock scales, Shell 92 Silver Steel, stamped Perfect Works on the pile side tang, can’t tell it from a Tanifuji by quality, fit, or finish, Tanifuji 5000 stainless MaxFli

Image 6, Cape 1000 13/16 half hollow in lava Kirinite. Cape 1000 is an excellent razor, easy to find. Stiff and thinly ground.


View attachment 1045846 View attachment 1045847 View attachment 1045848 View attachment 1045849 View attachment 1045850 View attachment 1045858

Image 1, Cape 2000 13/16 in honey horn. These are a little more hollow and much harder to find than the 1000, and not that much different other than being lighter.

Image 2, 13/16 Tanifuji Favorit 3000 in ivory and a Favorit 6000 covered tang in black horn. These are a little more hollow than the 1000.

Image 3, Tanifuji 926 Silver Steel in ivory and black horn. The one in black horn is 13/16, the one in ivory slightly narrower though both were new when I got them. They’ll hold the finest edge.

Image 4, 6/8+ Tanifuji Spalding, these are a little heavier grind.

Image 5, top left clockwise, Tanifuji BaBa, very similar to Cape 1000, Cape 2000 in stock scales, Shell 92 Silver Steel, stamped Perfect Works on the pile side tang, can’t tell it from a Tanifuji by quality, fit, or finish, Tanifuji 5000 stainless MaxFli

Image 6, Cape 1000 13/16 half hollow in lava Kirinite. Cape 1000 is an excellent razor, easy to find. Stiff and thinly ground.


View attachment 1045846 View attachment 1045847 View attachment 1045848 View attachment 1045849 View attachment 1045850 View attachment 1045858
That is an incredible collection of Tanifuji!!! I can’t wait to start mine!
 
It’s interesting, the ubiquitous square point on all those Tanifuji. And the more common heavier grinds compared to European makes. Though perhaps I shouldn’t compare contemporary western grind fashion with vintage Japanese grind fashion.
 
The Japanese preferred the heavier grinds, heavy black facial hair maybe. Most of the ones on the market today were post WWII razors so they are contemporaries of many later European razors in circulation. Europeans made heavy grind razors too of course, ‘Barbes tres dure’ and ‘Starken Bart’ were heavier types of razors supposedly for heavier beards. Japanese blades tend to be stiff, one that sings is uncommon. Regardless, they’re usually very thin at the edge, many with tiny bevels. They also had European razor models made for them. The Henckels ‘V’ series was I believe and a near wedge. Filarmonica also made a heavy grind for the Japanese market, you have to watch what you’re buying if you’re after a Filly coming out of Japan. The ‘standard’ or iconic Japanese razor is a 13/16 half hollow, maybe not so much different from many European razors other than they tended to be stiffer.

A couple of interesting observations are that I’ve never really seen a badly ground Japanese razor. Not one. They have artisan cultural values, and releasing a poorly ground razor was likely culturally similar to a Swiss train that’s 5 minutes late, and they almost always used very cheap plastic scales, none of them natural material. Scales were almost like afterthoughts on many of them, not exactly what you’d expect on some of the world’s finest steels made into some of the world’s finest ground blades.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
I think these are all my Japanese razors. I like them all...

7-5-19.Tanifuji.TwoRazors.Off-eBay.480.JPG


Spalding (Tanifuji).Red.640.7-11-19.JPG

Tanifuji&Spalding.Off-DCA.7-14-19.480.JPG

Neither of these red scaled razors are as sharp yet as I want them to be, but they will be. I have one red scaled Tanifuji and one red scaled Spalding and one white scaled Tanifuji.


H.Diamond.NoReflection.Nice.7-12-19.640.JPG

This one's an H. Diamond.


6-28-19.JapaneseRazors(2+1).480.JPG

Notice the bad grind in the top (black scales) razor. I've not yet attempted to fix it and am not sure if I can, but the razor was given to me at no charge by the vendor.


Kikuboshi.12-17-19.FromCoreyW.640.JPG

I like the shoulder-less Japanese razors apparently.

Merry Christmas and Happy shaves,

Jim
 
That’s not a bad grind Jim, that’s plain ol’ almost worn out. You see those by the scores on Japanese auctions.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
That’s not a bad grind Jim, that’s plain ol’ almost worn out. You see those by the scores on Japanese auctions.
Steve, if I took photos of both sides (which I should do soon) you'd see exactly what was done. It is clearly one of the biggest grinding or honing screwups imaginable. When you see it you'll see what I mean. You'll also be scratching your head because it's a true what were they thinking mistake, antithetical to measure twice, cut once.

It may be worn out, too, but I'll have to take more pictures to show what I'm talking about.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Jim:

Love the razor stands you show in your pictures. Where could a guy come by those?

Jeff
Jeff, I got mine from this eBay vendor, linked, but at a somewhat lower price. Guess it's supply and demand and/or exchange rates. Just checking the details of my order I received two of the stands for the quoted price.

12-28-19.Royal-Torrey-136.MdC.StirlFan.640.KitJPG.JPG

I use them only for taking photos. They've worked well for me. I'm glad I acquired 'em.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Filarmonica also made a heavy grind for the Japanese market, you have to watch what you’re buying if you’re after a Filly coming out of Japan
I’ve seen a pretty decent amount of filly’s be offered by Japanese vendors,
why are the suspect?

I can’t help but wonder if the heavier grinds and stiffer steels are about accommodating the typically very sharp edge that the presumed stone (that being a jnat) used to hone it can offer. Sort of as if the approach is that the razor is just a vessel for the edge.

In any case there are plenty of Japanese razors on the market and I’m zeroing in on a selection.
 
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