As noted by Pat Covert in the April 2016 issue of BLADE®, there was a time in this great country when all men used straight razors to shave because, well, they had no other choice! Today, though, shaving with a straight razor has been experiencing a revival in an age when five-blade handhelds and multi-head electric shavers are the norm.
Two of the latest straight razors include Boker’s “The Celebrated Ebony” (left) and knifemaker Tom Krein’s model in orange-and-black-layered G-10.
According to Wikipedia, narrow-bladed folding straight razors were listed by a Sheffield, England, manufacturer in 1680. By 1740, Benjamin Huntsman was making straight razors complete with decorated handles and hollow-ground blades made from cast steel, using a process he himself invented. Think about that. Straight razors have been in use, uninterrupted, for nearly 350 years—and no doubt much longer in terms of those who made them earlier.
Larry “The Hammer” Harley forged the wootz damascus blade and handle of his straight razor. A special heat-bluing technique provides the color. A mammoth bone spacer adds the final touch. (SharpByCoop image)
Shaving with a straight razor takes both skill and time when most people get their news lightning-fast off a handheld device—and the rat race shows no sign of waning. So, why would you want to take the time to meticulously shave your face or trim your beard?