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Safety Razor Of the Week, 9/8-10/4 The J.A. Henckel Wotan

the angle is definitely different. the wire blade clamp is either barely off your face or gliding against it. not enough to interfere, but its there.
 
I have multiple Henckels Rapide razors and thought that the Wotan was the version with a cast metal blade top clamp rather than the common wire version. I have one with the cast clamp on the way so will see what the markings are when it arrives. I have a very early Scharff version too, pre lower blade stops. It's handle is the same as a presumably later version with blade stops. Both came in metal cases from Henckels and the razor with the blade stops is unmarked as far as ID stamps are concerned. I note that no two of my Henckels Rapide razors are identical in all respects so apparently Henckels was continuously making production changes to it.
 
The J.A. Henckel, Wotan 1909




Circa 1909


This week I would like to take a look at and discuss the J.A. Henckel, Wotan SE Safety Razor. Many of us have seen the str8's that were made by J.A. Henckels but how many of you have seen the safeties that were made? I have only seen pictures of 4 other sets and one in person.
I was not able to find hardly any information about these razor but I can safely say this is a rather unusual yet very interesting razor. When I first purchased this razor all I could think about was how barbaric it looked and how scary it would be to shave with something like this. I simply could not fathom the thought.




The history of the ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS brand begins on June 13, 1731 (under the Gemini star sign). It was on that day that knife-maker Peter Henckels from Solingen registered the "TWIN" symbol as his trademark with the Cutlers´ Guild of Solingen. This symbol, which is now well-known all over the world, is thus one of the oldest trademarks in the world.




Today´s name - ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS - was given to the Company by a descendant of Peter Henckels, Johann Abraham Henckels. As you can see (below) The company had a store located on 5th Ave, NYC in the early 1900's.




The Wotan is 11.5cm long, 4cm wide and weights in at 56 grams. It uses a single edge blade that is fitted to the razor face and tension is placed on the blade by spring-loaded clips on either side. The blade is held into place by a wire clip, hinging from the back that is tightened down by a turn-knob that puts pressure on the backbone of the blade.




How could I share my thoughts about this fine marvel without actually shaving with it? So this afternoon I dug out my hone and gave the blade a good working over until I had it shave ready.
My set comes with a honing/stropping handle, which I used to complete the job.
I stropped the blade as I would any of my str8’s and placed it in the razor.
This process was really the only drawback to this piece.

I proceeded to go through my prep, lathered up and gave it a go. I did my normal, three passes, wtg, xtg and atg. All went rather well save for under my nose which was difficult to reach do to the size and shape of the razor head.

I finished up to a passable, close clean shave with no nicks or irritation. Not BBS but that’s ok with me. This razor really surprised the heck out of me. I know I will be using it from time to time from now on. Here is my SOTD today.



If you find yourself with the chance to try one of these beauties, take it!

Any and all information about this razor is more than welcomed.

Back to Safety Razor of the Week.
I have an Ostaso which is outwardly a clone of this Henckels Wotan. The Ostaso has a removable handle with standard 5mm threads so can take other handles, which the Rapide cannot and without examining the Wotan I have no idea if it is like the Rapide or the Ostaso in this respect.
 
im probably gonna hate myself for this, but the allegro type E razor hone/stropper is meant for wedge blades. they dont come up too often though.
There are even a couple of Henckels models that included the Allegro sharpener as part of a factory cased Henckels Rapide set. I got one recently in close to unused shape and including four close to unused Henckels blades. The Model E also can sharpen Gem blades. My set even included a retailers brochure showing all the Henckels Rapide models available at the time. Unfortunately undated.
 
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