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September is SABREtember! - Shavettes & Barber Razors (1st-30th Sept 23)


You have enjoyed Decemboar. Now, with moderator approval, I offer you SABREtember!

What is SABRE?

SABRE stands for Shavette and Barber Razor Enthusiasts. There is a long running thread in the Clubs and Brotherhoods section that was started by @TheVez2 a decade ago, where devotees of these much maligned and misunderstood shaving tools share their enthusiasm.

What is SABREtember?

Simple – for the month of September you are encouraged to use, enjoy, and perhaps even master your shavettes and barber razors! Post your SOTD, discuss your progress with developing your shaving technique, share advice, discuss blade options and the lesser known shavette formats, or simply give us a review of your favourite shavette – all that good stuff! If you have ever thought about taking the plunge into the world of open blade shaving, this is your opportunity. Too much hassle for weekdays? No problem, join in on your days off when you have time to focus on your shave.

Aren’t shavettes cheap and nasty excuses for straight razors?

No! At least, they don’t have to be. Sure, you can get a functional shavette for not very much money but you can also pay top dollar for some very attractive high-end razors. Feeling flush? A nice Feather AC razor or a Tedalus Essence will set you back a pretty penny. There’s a shavette for every budget. Turkish barbers give their customers excellent shaves using Sedef shavettes, which you can pick up for just a couple of bucks on eBay. If they can do it, why can’t you?

But aren’t shavettes harsh, unforgiving and difficult to use?

They will find weaknesses in your technique, but with a bit of practice you can get excellent results with a shavette. It isn’t as hard as you think it is. As for being harsh? Well, it’s all down to practice. I now get less irritation from shavette shaves than from my DE razors. Blades that seem too mild in a DE razor can turn out to be nice and comfortable in a shavette, so why not use up that stack of unloved blades you are sitting on – stick them in a shavette!

Are shavettes a good “gateway” to traditional straight shaving?

Yes and no. Many of the techniques you learn to shave with a shavette will transfer to a straight razor, but they are fundamentally different animals – not least because using a traditional straight involves a whole lot of additional skills related to razor maintenance and care.

Okay, I’m in. Where do I start?

I am not an expert but I can make some suggestions. Most folks will probably want to try something that uses blades they already have, which means a ½ DE shavette or a Chinese clone of a more expensive AC razor.

Some people say AC razors are better because they are more like a “real straight”. I would say that neither option is much like a traditional straight – each is its own thing, so go with whatever tickles your fancy.

Here are some choices to consider:

Cheap ½ DE razors from eBay like this or this. Some people will prefer the heft of the metal “teardrop” scales. I prefer the plastic scaled razor as it is better balanced, but it’s very much YMMV. If you can’t get a Sanguine brand one, look for plastic scales with three rivets, a white spacer, and a flat spine that has a little step just before the pivot. You can find the same razor under different brands or no brand at all, sometimes for just a couple of bucks. In the USA, I understand the Spilo Magic Razor is another good option for a cheapie that is readily available at a store called “Sally Beauty”, but I couldn’t find a picture of one!

Parker ½ DE razors are probably available from your preferred shaving supplier. Push fit or swingback style – either is good. My push-fit shaves great. I would say they are worth the extra few bucks over the Sanguine.

The Italian Universal & Vanta ½ or full DE razors might be an option if you are in Europe. The Universal shavettes especially are said to be well worth the small premium over Parkers in terms of build quality. The downside for those outside the EU is that the shipping costs more than the razor.

The Kure Nai GF35 is an Aliexpress clone of an AC razor, adapted for ½ DE. There is also a kamisori version. They are great little shavers and well-liked by those that own them – probably easier for beginners than a swingback style shavette.

Lots of other options are available - as long as you avoid the ones that look like they were designed to appeal to mall ninjas, you won’t go far wrong…and some of them are okay too!

For AC Blades, you can easily find Chinese copies of Feather SS, Feather RG and Kai Captain and Kai Luffy razors. The build quality isn’t up there with the Japanese originals, but they shave just fine.

Other options that might be of interest are barber razors that use different blade formats, such as hair shaper blades or cabinet blades. Here be dragons! A good place to find these are Aliexpress (there are cheap copies of Jaguar/Tondeo hair shapers for just a couple of bucks with Chinese blades that are apparently quite decent) and your local hairdressing supply store.

In the states, the Weck hair shaper is a popular option, and similar types of razor are still sold today in barber supply stores (AMA seems to be the main brand in Europe). With these razors, the difficult bit can be finding a supply of blades, but they are out there. Again, check barber supply stores rather than wet shaving suppliers. Personna and Feather both make blades that fit various types of hair shapers. I believe there is also a brand called Fromm that might be available to folks in the States but have no personal experience with these razors. Govern yourself accordingly!

What are you waiting for? Let’s see those SABREs!

If you are in, holla below. My intention is to do the whole month using nothing but SABRE appropriate razors!
I'm in. I use shavettes all the time anyway.

Awesome, I was beginning to think Sabretember might be even less appealing to people than I realised! I too have been using nothing else for the past few weeks, and I am getting consistently great shaves.

Here's my stable for Sabretember...and I might be expecting one...*cough* or two additions to arrive over the next few weeks. :whistling:


Dave himself

Wee Words of Wisdom
It's a beautiful shaver for me, and being a push and load means there's no messing about with the blade. Another thing is I've never had to cut a blade with this razor. Snapped in half blades load easily.

Edit. The razor I'm really looking forward to trying is the Type 77. The blades are longer than the AC blades, so it should be interesting 😉.
Interested in your results, particularly your thoughts on the Rhino blades. I have my eye on some of those type 77 razors, particularly a teardrop swingback variant...but YABS (yet another blade system).

At the moment I am sticking with 1/2 DE for my planned acquisitions, but I am considering picking up an AC RG clone to see if I like that better than the Kai Captain clone...mostly because I have a load of AC blades to use.

I really am a lost cause.
Just recording those who have said they are in, and giving this thread a bump so folks see it. Good to have some regular SABREs on board but it would be great to see some new or occassional shavette users getting involved too:

1) @Goblin
2) @kingfisher
3) @Dave himself
4) @Doc Dan
5) @madmedic
6) @APBinNCA

If you need to grab a cheap shavette to participate you have plenty of time! :biggrin1:
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All I can promise is to come crash your party at least twice on a weekend, take it or leave it! :c6:

That's grand. I know not everyone will have the time or inclination to do every shave with a SABR. Weekend particpation is definitely welcomed!

I think that's all the regular SABRE participants accounted for. Now we need some new blood (both figuratively and, perhaps, literally!) 🩸🩸🩸 🤣

No, really folks it's fine.

REVEALED: The Big Secret Shavette Users Don't Want You To Know!

...they aren't that hard to use.


Head Cheese Head Chef
Ok, I'm in.

1) @Goblin
2) @kingfisher
3) @Dave himself
4) @Doc Dan
5) @madmedic
6) @APBinNCA
7) @Chef455

I won't be shaving 100% with a shavette, but I'll shoot for 50% or better. Feather Artist Club SS is my shavette of choice. I also own a random shavette that I'll use once or twice. Perhaps I'll include it in a PIF at the end of the month.

Looking forward to it. These razors often get overlooked in my den because they take more effort. It's high time I buckled down and improved my technique.

Happy shaves!!
I'll shoot for 50% or better.

That's an admirable goal. Welcome aboard! :thumbup:

the blades can be snapped in the same way as a 'normal' DE blade and used with no issues.

I did wonder about that. I am done with orders for now but next time the ShAD strikes I will order one via the slow boat. I think you can get a swingback type 77 razor and 40 blades for about £5. That's 320 shaves! Can't be bad!
I started early. I got out a tub of Proraso Green and overloaded my 26mm APSC G5A brush and covered my face in cool lather. Then, having put a new Wismet blade in my Parker PTW, I proceeded to wipe off two day's growth. I had a little stinging from the mentholated witch hazel, but I got a clear BBS shave. I wasn't shooting for that as Proraso doesn't have enough cushion and residual slickness for me, but over loading really helped. I just wanted a good shave.
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