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Shave Ready..A Treatise Sort Of

The term gets bantered about a lot. To say it is a subjective description of the condition of a razor’s edge is accurate. Essentially it is meant to define if a razor is up to the task of delivering a proper and adequate shave. But the question posed is, against what standard(s)?
How is the “ready factor” described?
Recently having the good fortune to have two brand new straights delivered still factory sealed it developed into an idea worth running with.
I only occasionally use a production razor right out of the box; I will take advantage of having it honed by the vendor. And there are some vendors out there who can put a screaming edge on a quality production blade. Jarrod at The Superior Shave and Matt of Griffin Shaving are two who quickly come to mind.
Then there are those craftsmen who are cranking out some fine equipment and have their honing game right on point. Ulrik Beyer (Koraat), Ertan Suer (Rasoir Sabre), Ralf Aust, Brian Brown, Tim Zowada, have made a top flight razor which all come with crazy sharp edges. Then we have guys like Alfredo Gil, master of the stones who is a true magician with any of a number of honing media.
With a totally subjective tone here, let's try and define "Shave Ready"
On a scale of 1-10 (really, really bad) to 10 (really, really good) let's evaluate in a somewhat different fashion.

1-2...rather like shaving with a bread knife or soup can lid. It may be said this would be a quality found with many of the razor-like things made in China or Pakistan. Shave ready if you do not mind multiple lacerations and high levels of discomfort. Shave ready for your average masochist perhaps. Not for most.

3-4-5...Production razors of moderate to high quality right out of the box. This can vary a lot. Dovo's have a reputation of being less than great without additional attention to the blade. The same is also attributed to Thiers Issard products. I can say the Dovo factory edge can be lacking, but not so much with T-I, Boker, Wacker, and a few other well known mass produced razors. After a proper sharpening, they all do a MUCH better job usually.

6-7-8-9...Here is where the artisan hand crafted razors shine. Right out of the box every razor I have ever used by makers like Aust, Suer, Beyer, and other guys previously mentioned (some of whom are seemingly out of the scene right now) have produced really fine, properly sharpened razors. They have acquitted themselves as purveyors of what I may define as true "shave ready" edges.

10-10+...Doc, Jarrod, Matt. All have a gift. Theirs is a true talent groundlings such as I can only acknowledge with a sense of awe. These are the masters who take "shave ready" to a level we mortals have difficulty comprehending. Yeah.....they're that good. Shave ready on steroids.

Hence, it may be said that a shave ready razor is what you prefer it to be. What sense of tactile comfort and efficiency of hair removal suits your needs? I suggest "shave ready" is what you want it to be.


Girls call me Makaluod
.... I suggest "shave ready" is what you want it to be.
That sir is most correct.

Whenever I read or hear the term "shave-ready", I automatically assume that it means to the author's standard. I think only once or twice have I shaved with someone else's edge that was what I wanted. All the others had to at least be put through a diamond pasted balsa strop progression to get the edge to my required keenness.

I judge an edge's performance on how well it shaves when doing my daily CdM. Elsewhere I can find it difficult to tell the difference. I am looking for keenness foremost but tempered with some comfort.


B&B's Dr. Doolittle.
Staff member
Shave ready means it will shave in the hand of an experienced shaver. Guys who shave off synths or pasted strops might find a dikuticot edge lacking in keeness, a coticule user might find a synth edge lacking in smoothness, a Feather AC guy might find all traditional straights too dull lol. However all of them would be able to get a decent shave off any of the edges.

I think the term “shave ready” is especially important for new shavers since trying to accomplish a newbie first shave with a factory Dovo edge might turn them off of straight shaving forever.

Ultimately, if the blade pulls and tugs painfully it’s not shave ready to me. So it’s either a 0, or a ten.

Now rating “shave ready edges”, that’s tricky ;).
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