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New Dovo 5/8 Special Tortoise.. Shave Ready??

Hey guys I have an opportunity to get my first straight, a 5/8 Dovo Special tortoise and just want to know if these come shave ready new out of the sealed box. I have a Spyderco Sharpmaker with med/fine stones, and a double sided strop loaded with black/green compound. Will I only need to strop this new razor out of box or does a bevel/edge need to be set by a professional ?

Thanks for your help
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My understanding is that they are not shave ready from the factory.
Depending on who you buy it from, they might be able to hone it for you for an extra fee.

But it will need some work to get it shave ready.
personally..if it doesnt feel sharp as hek and melts away armhair..I would rehone it..i read some posts about TI razors not being 100% shave ready..odd..I know for that price

Mike H

Instagram Famous
I have had only one Dovo razor out of the box and it was pretty sharp. The others all came from Superior Shave and Jarrod hones everything before it goes out. You might try a few laps on your pasted stop and then a test shave to see how it goes. You will need to strop on plain leather before every shave.

Manufacturers' ideas of "shave ready", suppliers' ideas of "professionally honed", and a blade that is sharp to your satisfaction are three entirely different things.

I own 6 straights. One was a Gold Dollar honed by Seraphim, but of the more "accepted" offerings:

Boker Stainless 5/8
Dovo Bismark 6/8
Dovo Astrale 5/8
Wacker Gadsden 15/16
Dovo Pearlex Stainless 5/8

Only the Wacker and Pearlex arrived in a condition that could deliver ATG under my nose without pulling and weepers.
All except the Astrale would do it after I ran them through my progression (the Astrale has a warped blade)

I believe the "factory" edge is only honed to 4k, perhaps 6k. Supplier "professionally honed" might bring that up to 8k. "Shave ready"? Perhaps.... barely.
A business who is offering a honing service for $20 or less is not going to have an employee spend an hour or more working a blade through a progression to 12k and on to paste.
Dovos come from the factory with an edge put on them but it is not shave ready. You will need to send it off and get it properly honed.
You can shave with the edge from a factory Dovo, but it won't be a comfortable shave. If you're new to straights, it will probably put you off of them. Have a honemeister hone it for you.

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
So did you get the razor?

The Sharpmaker sounds like something good for pocketknives but terrible for razors. Essentially most of those gadgets are basically systems for maintaining a set angle between blade and stone. This makes it easy to put an extremely consistent bevel on knives or other edged tools, which is half the battle in getting a blade up to peak sharpness. A razor has its own sharpening guide built right into the blade. The spine (back) of the blade and the shaving edge of the blade rest on the honing surface together and it is the half thickness of the spine divided by the distance between the spine and the edge that determines the bevel. The spine must remain in contact with the stone or film at all times. Lifting the spine will roll the edge.

Ideally, the stones or other honing surfaces are wide enough for the entire edge to rest on, and long enough for a good stroke, say 8" or more. Unfortunately, many natural stones such as the Belgian Coticule are extraordinarily expensive in that size range. Many natural stones however have the ability to go from bevel setting to general finishing, using the proper techniques. Synthetic stones are much cheaper in larger sizes, but you must have a series of stones, what we call the progression, to sharpen a razor from scratch. Figure $150 or a bit more for a full set of the more popular synthetics, which would likely be a 220/1k Norton combo, (that one also works nicely for knives) a 4k/8k Norton combo, and a C12k, which is a Chinese natural stone of approximately 12k grit. You might also want a large, cheap carborundum stone for rough repairs, or a DMT diamond plate or two. The stones will have to be lapped before use, for best results. After any honing method using stones, you will want to give the blade a few laps on diamond or CrOx pasted strops before final honing on clean leather.

The new wave method of razor honing is much cheaper to get into, and gives very good results for newbies. This is honing with lapping film. Lapping film is sort of like extremely consistent grit plastic sandpaper. Its original use was for polishing critical surfaces like the ends of fiberoptic cables. The consistency and relatively low cost lends itself well to razor honing. Like sandpaper, film wears out. A piece typically is getting ready to toss after a dozen razors. More for diamond film, which is more expensive. The film is dampened and laid on a very hard, flat, smooth surface, like a heavy piece of glass or a marble floor tile or a sink cutout from a granite countertop. If the lapping plate is already very flat and smooth, it never needs lapping since it gets no wear. It is only the substrate for the film. Obviously, film must be used in progression, from coarse to finer grits, in the same manner as synthetic stones. For ordinary maintenance honing of a razor that has previously been properly honed, and has not been damaged, only one or two grades are needed. For the initial honing of a new razor or one of unknown history, a full progression is needed. The initial stage, setting the bevel, is often done on a synthetic stone, or wet/dry sandpaper laid on the lapping plate. Then a typical progression might be 15u or 12u, then 5u or 6u, then 3u, then 1u film. After regular honing on 1u, it is general practice to place a sheet of damp paper under the film for another 20 or 30 finishing laps. Then a couple dozen laps on the pasted strop and you have a honed razor. This is the easiest method to get professional or actually better than professional results. After about 3 honing sessions the beginner's edges should be indistinguishable from an accomplished honemeister's edges. Your first attempt should result in a decent shaving edge.

Even film honing is best left for a bit later, though. While you are still learning to shave is not the time to be testing your first edge. Send it out, so you know what a decent edge is like. A pocketknife should shave arm hair, yet it won't give you a close, comfortable face shave. At this point, you don't really know what a shaving sharp edge is like. With an offer already of free honing, you can't go wrong. If you decide that straight shaving is for you, then I definitely encourage you to learn to hone your own razors. My suggestion is to get a second shave-ready razor (www.whippeddog.com is a good source for cheap vintage shave-ready razors) for your backup while you are learning to hone with your first razor. Probably you could start with just 1u film and pasted balsa for bringing your previously honed but usage dulled razor back to life. Then later you might want to try your hand at full honing of a new razor, and then maybe teach yourself to rescue ebay or flea market finds, with severe nicks or frowns in the edge.

For now, though, my rec is to send your new razor out and concentrate on a skill you must develop immediately, after your first shave: stropping. You will strop before each use of your razor. To prolong the time between honings, you will also want to strop on pasted balsa after every shave. A good size is 3" x 12". Paste one side with .5u diamond and the other with CrOx or .1u diamond. It only takes a little bit. Just rub it into the surface of the balsa. Strop normally, i.e. edge trailing, or you will immediately cut a chunk out of the balsa. (in honing, of course, the movement is edge leading) When you strop on leather, pull it very tight so it does not sag at all under the weight of the razor. That would round the edge. Pressure in all honing and stropping should be light, not much more than just the weight of the blade itself. You MUST keep the spine against the strop. To reverse direction at either end of the stroke, always and I do mean always, flip the EDGE outward, not the spine. This will help you to not massacre your strop. Start out with a cheap strop. The "Poor Man Strop Kit" from Larry at whippeddog is a good beginner strop due to the low price. If you slash it to ribbons while learning to strop, no big deal. It comes with a pasted balsa strop as well, though I prefer a bigger piece. Anyway, after you are good at stropping, you can and should upgrade, but the poor man will make you a good travel strop if you haven't hacked it up too badly.

A good upgrade strop would be the "Big Daddy" from www.starshaving.com but I understand that they are having personal difficulties and may not at this time be able to offer you the excellent service they are known for, so check with them before ordering from their online store. They also have the very cheap but quite good Frank Shaving badger brushes from China. Larry also has some inexpensive badger brushes. Sure, you could start with a boar brush, but I recommend badger, even black badger. The price difference is inconsequential unless you go for a more expensive brand. The badger holds water and soap better. Then of course you will want a mug (one from the kitchen will work, so long as it is microwave safe) and soap. I use VDH, about $1.87 per puck at walgreens or walmart. I recommend you get an alum block and a styptic pencil as well. The alum can be found at many healthfood stores or at Whole Foods, marketed as natural deoderant stone. Thai Crystal is the brand I use but they are about the same. Or order online from a shave supply vendor. You wet the alum and rub it all over your freshly shaven face. While you are at it, give the pits a quick rub, if you are tired of underarm deoderants that mask odor rather than prevent it. The styptic is used for immediate treatment of tiny shave cuts to stop bleeding. You will probably get plenty of these in your first month or so of straight shaving. Later, you may want to try other soaps, or some creams. Kiss My Face in Key Lime fragrance is excellent. Noxzema has a powerful menthol component that some folks like. Cella is well regarded and makes a particularly slick lather. Me, I just use my VDH mostly, and it works great for me.

While you are getting your gear together, spend some time reading the threads and the wiki. Straight shaving hasn't changed much in a couple hundered years, so read the old threads too. Start a new thread if there is something that is still unclear, or if you have any difficulties in your first shave. (Very likely.) You should have a pretty good handle on the basics in a couple of weeks so don't let the first shave discourage you.

Good Luck, and Happy Shaves
Slash, do you think you could have fleshed out your answer a little bit ? ;)

But seriously, God bless you for your detailed responses full of great info. You never half-*** a response and I have learned a ton from them.
Eneyman, I have that exact razor-----it's a great one, but does benefit from at least a little honing. I use my white (UF) Spyderco hone with a little water. Watch a few videos on SR honing, use a light touch in the 'X' pattern and there's no reason you can't hone it yourself! As long as you're using a light touch and keeping the spine and the edge BOTH in contact with the hone at all times, you'll be fine. You need to learn this skill anyway if you're going to be using a straight. Just watch as many videos/ask questions until you feel confident about doing it, but it's not difficult and not rocket science, even though some would like you to believe that. After you hone it, strop, shave, and see the difference!! Good Luck!

PS---One thing I like to do is VERY lightly hold the trailing edge against the hone with my fingertips just to ensure that I'm not either tilting or lifting the blade in any way! Just a brief lift of the spine can send you back to square one, so this ensures you're keeping the blade flat. Works great for me.
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Thanks guys, I had the new Dovo shipped to a fellow member who is honing it for me on his coticules. I will be picking up either a coticule or the norton 4k/8k in the future and appreciate all the help.
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