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Shavette And Barber Razor Enthusiast (SABRE) group

Are you a Shavette And Barber Razor Enthusiast (SABRE)?

Do you own and use a “Shavette”? If so this group is for you. Use this thread to post pics, reviews, and your experiences with those replaceable blade straight razors.

Are you curious about shavettes? Then read this thread and post questions to learn more.


My background:
After using only DE/SE/Inj for a year or so, I started shaving with a straight razor. Then when I got sent to Afghanistan on Deployment, I decided to leave my straight at home and only take my DE and SE razors. A little while into my deployment I missed using a straight so I ordered a Parker shavette. It took me a while to get used to it, and there was a bit of blood at first, but once I got it dialed in I got good shaves from it. Then I discovered the Weck Sextoblade. After trying that shavette out, I never looked back. I have been collecting and trying out different shavette systems ever since.


“What is a shavette?”
Shavette is actually a registered trademark of the Dovo company. The Dovo Shavette is a disposable blade straight razor. But, just like the name Kleenex is used to refer to other brands of facial tissues, the name Shavette has been used to describe other brands of disposable blade straight razors, in the wet-shaving world. But maybe you know them by another name? Shavettes are also called: disposable blade straight razors, replaceable blade straight razors, disposable straight razors, barber razors, no-sharpen straight razors, no-honing straight razors, etc. Terminology is subjective. I personally like the term Barber Razor, but Shavette is much more universal. The SABRE name was proposed by B&B member “mjclark”, and I think it is very fitting for all users of this type of razor. For the sake of simplicity though, I’ll be using the term “shavette” in my post.

Here is the article on “shavettes” or “disposable straights” from the B&B Wiki: http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Shavette

Many people first look at the shavette as an inexpensive foray into the world of straight razor shaving. I often see posts about this with folks asking if this is a good way about it. As a “sometimes” straight razor user, and an almost full-time shavette user (currently), I have some thoughts on this. My opinions, however, may differ greatly from a die-hard straight user. Some folks love them, some folks hate them. As with everything here, it’s YMMV for sure!

Do shavettes approximate the look, feel, and shave of a straight razor? 90% of the time my answer would be “No”. Some shavettes are better than others in this regard. I will try to highlight this when I write about the individual razors. This isn’t to say that I can’t get as good of a shave from a shavette. But it can definitely give you a taste of what straight razor shaving is all about. You will learn how to hold the razor (with either hand), how to stretch the skin. These are common to both methods. You could also learn very quickly, why these are not called “Safety Razors”, so just be careful. Most of the time when I cut myself, it is because I lost focus, or my mind drifted and I wasn’t paying close enough attention to my stroke.

If I learn on a shavette, can I go directly to straight razor shaving? The learning curve is definitely different on each. Consider a shavette that uses a DE blade. A DE blade is thinner and sharper than a straight’s edge. The shavette is therefore less smooth of a shave and far less forgiving of improper technique. The weight of the shavette and the thickness of the spine are also factors that are going to make you change the way you hold the razor. The angle used, the speed, pressure, and the feel in your hand are all going to be different. In most cases, if not all, shaving with a true straight razor is far easier.

Can you get a good, close, and comfortable shave from a shavette?
Absolutely! If you take your time learning, and don’t rush, getting great shaves from a shavette is easy. Just remember that the technique is different from a real straight.

There are many different types of shavettes, using all different types of blades. I’ll break them out and discuss them by category and blade type.


Multi-blade shavettes


DOVO Shavette
Country of Origin: Germany
Cost: $25-$35
The DOVO Shavette is actually a shaving system. It has interchangeable plastic blade holders that allow different types of blades to be used: 1/2 DE blades, hair shapers, and Merkur long DE blades. There are different models with either metal or plastic “scales” and brushed or polished handles. Some will only come with the ½ DE holder, some will come with a couple holders. Additional holders can be purchased separately.

My Views: The Dovo Shavette is very light and almost feels cheap in your hand. The balance and feel in your hand is nothing like a real straight. The think the plastic blade holder is a downfall, because after extended use, I could see it cracking at the hinge. Despite that, the DOVO Shavette gives me very good shaves. It has a very smooth feel on my face and I have never cut myself with it. I would recommend this as a shaver, but not if you wanted something to replicate a real straight.

Dovo Shavette



Half-DE blade shavettes
This is the most common type of shavette you will see, and is usually the least expensive. There are many different brands available, from all over the world. I’ll discuss a few of them here.

Parker Barber Razor
Country of Origin: India
Cost: $15-$25
Parker is the best known brand of ½ DE shavettes. They are relatively inexpensive and widely available. They make two different blade loading styles: SR and PT.

The SR is the original, and I believe it just stands for Straight Razor. The SR1, SRB, and SRW models are available with different color scales: silver(hollow stainless steel I believe), black, and white (respectively). The SR2 (chrome effect scales) has been discontinued. In the SR models the blade arm splits in two and the blade is positioned in-between the two halves. Then a locking clip holds the two halves together, preventing the blade from sliding around.

The PT is the newest version and refers to the Push Type blade loading. It has a metal blade holder that slides out of the blade arm. After the blade is inserted in the holder, it is pushed back into the razor. Currently two versions are made: PTB and PTW (black and white scales, respectively)

My Views: The Parker is a good razor. The blade arm is skinnier than the spine/tang of a real straight. This makes the shaving angle tricky to adjust to. I recommend a very shallow angle (flat against face) to start. It also makes holding it a pain, until you get used to it. The PT style razors have a wider tang which makes them easier to hold and has a more natural shaving angle. I don’t prefer the loading method of the PT, it feels cheap, but I do like shaving with the PT better than the SR. The Parker’s all come with a few Shark blades that have already been cut in half. Convenient, yes, but they tore me up. Once I changed to a milder blade (Personna), I had a much better shaving experience. A lot of people complain about the shaves they get from the Parkers. Some of the problem is definitely technique, but I think a lot of it also has to do with using the Shark blades. If you get a Parker, I’d suggest using whatever blade you like using in your DE to start (the milder/smoother the better), and experiment from there.

Parker SRB and PTB (modified Spider-Man scales for the Pimp a Shavette contest



Sanguine
Country of Origin: UK (Made in China?)
Price: $5-$15
The Sanguine razors are quite common on eBay. The blade loads exactly the same as in the Parker SR. The shape of the blade arm is the main difference and varies among the different models. The scales are also different in the different models. It is available as: Sanguine, Sanguine X-D20 (AKA CoolCut), CoolCut 2, CoolCut 2t (tribal design), CoolCut 4, CoolBlade R1, CoolBlade R2. The CoolBlades are relatively new and have plastic blade arms with a different (push type) loading system.

My Views:I have yet to purchase a Sanguine, but they are on my list. Based on how they look, I’d say they are on par with the Parkers, but can be obtained for less money. Go for it!

Some other brands of ½ DE shavettes are Magic, Diane, TRI, Focus, Majestic, etc. There is a good review of some of them here: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/155175-My-review-of-the-DE-shavette-world!

Olympic Trading Co and Majestic shavettes



Full DE shavettes
Country of Origin: Italy
These are uncommon, but they are out there. Sourcing them in the US is difficult. Shavettes I have seen so far include Daune, Universal, and the Vanta RA111 by Bolzano.
The Daune is all plastic and both edges of the DE blade are exposed (like the Durham Duplex). It is apparently used by a lot of barbers in Italy.
I own a Universal. I love it. It is designed exactly like the Parker SR, except the blade arm is wide enough for the entire DE blade. This gives the razor a nice hefty feel. It does have the same problem as the Parker in that it is too narrow to hold comfortably. But the shave is great.
The Vanta RA111 I’ve only seen one picture of, and I’m not sure how exactly the blade is loaded, but it looks somewhat similar to the Universal.

Universal



Hair Shapers
These are shavettes that use Hair Shaper blades. It is basically a longer, and more narrow, SE blade. Blades are available from Beauty Supply stores. Choices are limited, but good brands include Pro-Mate, Personna, and Fromm.

Weck Sextoblade
Country of Origin: USA
Cost: $5-$30 (via eBay)
These are vintage razors, patented in 1909. They are relatively easy to find on eBay and can sometimes be found in the wild. Weck Sextoblades came with different styles of safety guards (both open comb and closed bar) making it essentially a Safety Straight Razor. It can be used without the attachment, and often times the attachment is no longer with the razor when you find one. Due to several factors, I find the Weck Sexctoblade to be a very close approximation of using a real straight razor. It has the same weight and feel in your hand, the hair shaper blade is wider and thicker than a DE blade making it a bit milder and closer to the edge of a straight, and the spine is wider giving it a more natural grip and blade angle. The Weck Sextoblade came in many different styles (Identified by letter: Styles AA, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H) but most of the difference in styles were in the cases or sets they came in. The differences in the razors were very slight. Some vintage Sextoblade blades can still be found.

My Views: Best bang for the buck. This is the closest you will come to using an actual straight razor, and still spend less than a straight razor. I think the ones with plastic scales are perfect. But some people like the Stainless Steel (medical) scales. I find them a bit too heavy to be comfortable. This is the razor that got me hooked on shavettes and I have several of them. But don’t just take my word for it. I created a Weck Sextoblade pass a while pack, and I consolidated the reviews of it here: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/339934-Weck-Sextoblade-Pass-The-Reviews?

Weck Sextoblades (Stainless Steel, Trade Sample, Black scales, Yellow scales)



Weck Bantam
The Weck Bantam is identical to the Weck Sextoblade, except that the tang is shorter. This can make holding it tricky, especially if you have larger hands. For me it works, and I keep one in my travel/gym kit.



Weck Bantams (Stainless Steel and Iced scales)



Weck Hair Shaper
The Weck Hair Shaper is the same size and design as the Weck Bantam. The difference is in the guard. The Hair Shaper guard goes over the end of the blade making blade contact impossible except through the teeth of the open comb. Good for cutting hair, bad for shaving. Just remove the guard though, and you are good to go to have a great shave.

Weck Hair Shapers (Stainless Steel and Acrylic scales)


Modern Hair Shapers are available from Beauty Supply stores. Many brands are available including Personna, Fromm, Marianna, etc.


Durham Duplex
Country of Origin: USA
Cost: $5-$30 (via eBay)
These are vintage razors, patented in 1907. They are very easy to find on eBay and can often be found in the wild. There are 3 versions that I am aware of: Durham Demonstrator, Durham Duplex, and Durham Domino. Despite having a different name on them, the razors are identical. The Demonstrator had cheaper scales that were not meant to be used long term. It was basically a sample. I’m not sure what is different about the Domino, maybe just the set it came in. The Durham razors took proprietary Durham Duplex blades, which are similar to DE blades but are longer and thicker. The Durham razors have a built in open comb safety guard, on both sides, and both sides of the blade are exposed. You are forced to use the safety guard, since there is no way to use the razor without it attached. Some sets also came with a stropping attachment, allowing you to strop your blade.

Many people dismiss these razors or feel that they are junk because unless you got one with some vintage blades it was almost impossible to find new blades for it. Some folks attempted to use carpet blades with limited success. They are the right size/shape, but as you’d expect, not as sharp. There are also some blades available that are sold as dog hair trimmers, which are terribly expensive, and again not sharp enough to get a good shave. But there is hope! Personna makes a Pathology Blade that is an exact match. I have used one and it works great.

My Views: The Durham Duplex gives a good shave. Switching from one side of your face to the other is a bit awkward, since you have to flip the razor and the scales over. The downside to the blades is there are limited sources and I’ve never seen them sold in less than a whole box of 100. Definitely a unique razor. Definitely try it out if you can find one with original blades.

Durham Domino, Demonstrator, and Duplex. Along with box of blades and stropper attachment.



Injector blade shavettes
These shavettes take injector style blades. There are two different sizes of injector blades. The standard injector blades that most of us are used to are the ones that fit Schick, Personna, or Gillette injector razors. Schick and Personna still make these blades, as well as a few other brands. The other type of injector blades are the ones that come out of Japan. They are larger, and you may know them if you use the Cobra Classic razor.


Monsieur Charles
Country of Origin (Japan)
Cost: ~$30
This is the only example of a shavette that takes standard Schick injectors that I have seen, but there are other brands out there: Mr. C, Dorco, Hess Ezy. The one odd thing about the Monsieur Charles, as you can see from the picture below, is that it is designed to look exactly like a straight razor right down to the length of the apparent “blade”. However an injector blade is not that long. So it is slightly deceiving when you use it, since only the last 2/3rds of the “blade” are doing the actual shaving.

My Views: Those who use injectors know, that these blades are great. Using them in a shavette is no different. I was absolutely amazed with my first shave with this razor. It shaved closer than any other shavette I have used in a long time. 1 pass was almost all I needed. 2 passes was near BBS. Definitely a new favorite of mine.

Monsieur Charles



Feather/Kai injectors
Country of Origin: Japan
These are the high-end razors of the shavette world. These razors are well designed/engineered and built. They use Feather or Kai brand injector style blades. The blades come in different varieties aggressive/mild/guard and cost an average of $1 apiece. But these blades are very sharp, work very well, and last a while compared to DE blades.

Feather Artist Club
Cost: $95-$315
Three different models available: SS (~$100), RG (~$150), and DX (~$250). All are available as a folder or kamisori style and have various colors or types of scales. So what’s the difference? The DX is the original and arguably the best. Those who have used all models say the DX style provides the best shaving angle. The DX is made of stainless steel. The RG is the same design as the DX, but it is made out of chromium plated brass. The RG model has been discontinued by Feather, but there are a few still available. The SS is the new “entry level” model. Also made out of stainless steel, but designed to be less expensive than the DX.

My Views: I have an SS and I absolutely love it. The scales have a modern look, and “feel” cheap, but it is made out of a temperature resistant resin which allows it to be heat sanitized in a barbershop setting. It shaves great, and the razor handles and feels very close to a real straight razor. If you have the money to spend on it, you will not be sorry.

Feather Artist Club SS



Kai Captain
Cost: $130-$200
Two different models: KAI Captain (~$130) and Kai Captain Excelcia(~$200). Both are available as a folder or kamisori style. The KAI Captain has black plastic scales while the Kai Captain Excelcia has more modern looking metal scales, and (probably) a slightly better blade holder.

CJB
Country of Origin: Korea
Cost: ~$30 (Check B&B B/S/T)
This is a Korean knock-off of the kamisori style Feather Artist Club. These come with Dorco blades, but are compatable with the Feather and Kai blades. The CJBs get good reviews here, but just be careful if you plan do rescale or do any restoration on them. The plating is pretty thin. I believe it may be brass underneath.



That wraps up the shavettes that I have and a few others that I am aware of. Please share your shavettes and let us know if there are others out there!

And if you are a SABRE... add it to your signature! :thumbup1:

 
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Mike H

Moderator Emeritus
Excellent work KJ.

The CJB is a real sleeper IMO, shaves just like the Feather AC for 1/3 the cost. The Sextoblade is also one of my favorites.
I just received the Universal from Doc, and looking forward to trying it out.
 
Like many others, I got into shavettes as a small-investment way of trying straights. The Sextoblade was my tool of choice. After a few months of shaving with it a couple of times a week, it's here to stay. And while I've never lost the urge to get a traditional straight, the realities of honing and stropping mean it's unlikely to happen.

Here's my small collection. My Weck has just recently been joined by a pair of hair shapers, a Dubl Duck and a Burmax. I was surprised to see how much smaller they were than the Weck. I think that the size difference and subsequent awkward grip contributed to the nice slice I gave myself with the Dubl Duck Friday night. More practice is definitely required. Top to bottom: Weck, Dubl Duck, Burmax.

$IMAG1078.jpg
 
Great to be in SABRE! Shavettes/barber razors tick a lot of boxes for me and I really appreciate that there is now a thread dedicated to them.
I like that they really reward good technique, give a super close shave and allow experimentation with lots of different blades.

I started out with a very cheap Pakistani Maqsood which takes half-de blades- it's cheap and cheerful, weighs 40g and delivers a great shave:

$IMG01217-20130806-1640.jpg

Then along came the Sanguine Coolcut4- it looks great and it weighs 60g. The extra weight and the completely flat scales cause it to twist in my hand so I have to apply more force with my grip and wrist to keep the correct blade angle, but again a great shave:

$IMG01227-20130808-1847.jpg

Then temjeito very generously PIF'd me a Parker SR1- it weighs 40g and is the most comfortable and easy of the lot.
On the box it says "Parker's barber razor- craftsmanship tradition of shaving couture" :wink2: :

$IMG01237-20130814-0943.jpg

These three are all great, but I definitely like the Parker best for comfort and smoothness.
What i hadn't realised before was that the shavettes vary in blade exposure which equates to aggressiveness- the Coolcut4 has a much bigger blade exposure than the Parker, and this seems to make quite a lot of difference.
Also, the weight of the handle greatly affects the comfort in the hand and the extra weight of the Coolcut makes it a bit more demanding.

I've got a Durham Duplex coming in the post and I'm excited from what I hear about it. Good tip about the pathology blades for it- I wonder if I can get something like that in UK?

The other one I've got my eye in is a Sibel IN hair shaper from France- it takes the long single edge blades and when I next get paid I'm gonna get one!
Ah-ha SABRE! I've already developed ShAD, or should that be BRAD? :lol:
 
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Started out experimenting with Dovo Shavette and then bought a Parker SR1 and finally tried a Feather RG folder. I quickly sold the 1/2 blade razors. I now have a DX (kamasori style) and love the shaves I get with the Feather razors.

Ronnie
 
Very nice post on this. Good info. and I'm sure a lot of work went into it. I have all the Feathers, all the Kai's, and 4 different models of the Parkers. All I use are disposable blade straights, and me favorites are my Kai's.:thumbup1:
 
Excellent information for all SABREs, new and old!
I really like the look of the Wecks, but it seems like getting hold of blades is a bit tricky from here in Japan.
In the meantime I love my Kai Captain Standard and Excelia models (folding). They both feel great and deliver great shaves.

I also have a Parker SRB for travel and my poor RG (non-folding) sees no use at all!

I love the look and idea of that Charles Monsieur, but they look pricey on ebay, especially with shipping added in!

Thanks for the info TheVez2 :thumbup1:
 
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Mike H

Moderator Emeritus
The Weck takes a Fromm Hair Shaper Blade, available at most beauty supply stores.
The Mariana Mark IV Hair Shaper Blades also fit.

$31Tu7A3El1L.jpg
 
I love the Sextoblade I have. Had a CJB and wasn't too keen on it. I have a Feather RG kami that I rescaled and I'm warming up to it slowly. I don't use it enough really.
The Weck was a quick fit in my rotation though, it's a real nice shaver and the Fromm blades are very good for me.
 
Thanks for the great info, there where some that I didn't know existed. I'm a big fan of the blade holders, been using a DE since age 14, then got into straights and about two years ago I discovered the Feather RG, got it in a trade for a silver snuffbox. Really fell in love with the shaves I got and started using them almost exclusively.

These are the ones I have owned and tried:

Feather Artist Club RG Japanese Style


Feather Artist Club RG Folding


Feather Artist Club DX Japanese Style


Feather Artist Club DX Folding





KAI Captain Japanese Style


KAI Captain Folding


KAI Captain Excelia Japanese Style


KAI Captain Excelia Folding


Feather Artist Club SS Folding


Feather Artist Club SS Japanese Style


Did I say that I really love this razors? ;-)

My favorites among these are the Feather DX folding and non folding and the Kai Captain folding and non folding.
 
I actually bought a straight razor used from a member here after thinking that I needed to "move up" from my Weck Sexto blade. Big mistake, I should have (and did) stayed with the Sexto blade. I currently use the Personna blades in mine, is there a difference with the Fromm? Any opinions out there on what else to try in the Weck?

Thanks,

Frank
 
I actually bought a straight razor used from a member here after thinking that I needed to "move up" from my Weck Sexto blade. Big mistake, I should have (and did) stayed with the Sexto blade. I currently use the Personna blades in mine, is there a difference with the Fromm? Any opinions out there on what else to try in the Weck?

Thanks,

Frank
I think the Fromm hairshaper blades are a bit milder and longer lasting than the Personna. I have both, but rarely find myself reaching for the Personna. I always get weepers for the first couple of shaves and then it mellows out. The hairshapers from Fromm are my favorite by far.
 
I just received the Universal from Doc, and looking forward to trying it out.
I got my Universal from Doc as well. I'm so glad I snagged one before they were gone.

My Weck has just recently been joined by a pair of hair shapers, a Dubl Duck and a Burmax. I was surprised to see how much smaller they were than the Weck.
Cool, a couple brands I didn't know about. Neat to see Dubl Duck made them too. Since they are smaller than the Weck, they are probably meant to be hair shapers, or possibly travel razors.

What i hadn't realised before was that the shavettes vary in blade exposure which equates to aggressiveness- the Coolcut4 has a much bigger blade exposure than the Parker, and this seems to make quite a lot of difference.
Good point. I didn't touch on that at all. The Dovo has the least blade exposure of any of my shavettes, you can barely see it sticking out. That is why is gives such a smooth easy shave, and why I haven't received so much as a nick from it.

They are the right shape, and appear to be the right size. Worth a shot!

I really like the look of the Wecks, but it seems like getting hold of blades is a bit tricky from here in Japan.
PapaFish posted this pic in another Weck thread. It is a modern Weck Hair Shaper. As you can see it is made in Japan. Maybe there's hope?



What are the dimensions of the blades for the Wecks?
Roughly 2.25" X 0.5"

I currently use the Personna blades in mine, is there a difference with the Fromm? Any opinions out there on what else to try in the Weck?
I haven't noticed much difference, but I haven't really set out to compare them either. I belive most prefer the Fromm, which if memory serves tend to be a bit cheaper. I found this post from ladykate in another thread, discussing the Pro-Mate blades:
I've tried four different types of blades. Personna, Fromm, Pro-Mate and Brittny. I've also seen Vincent and Diane blades on eBay. Of the four I tried, the Pro-Mate is my favorite but it requires you squeeze the spine of the holder so it will fit nicely. I used a pair of Vice-Grips to squish it slightly. Once you get it to fit, they are milder than the others, quite a bit stiffer, and give a nice shave. The Personnas and Fromms are both good, too. The Brittny is dog poop.
 

Mike H

Moderator Emeritus
First shave with the Universal and I really enjoyed it. Although I will be installing new scales very soon.
 
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