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Thread: Bought a cheap Chinese razor off eBay as a starter, now what?

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    Default Bought a cheap Chinese razor off eBay as a starter, now what?

    Was 'gifted' with a very thick beard and grew up hating shaving. As I'm sure you all can relate, I tried all kinds of cassette razors and electrics and never found relief. I basically resigned myself to the #1 clip trimmed beard forever. A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across wet shaving as a new possible solution. I got excited!

    Being the... 'thrifty', 'smart' shopper I am (lol), I did a bit of online research. The research centred primarily around youtube, as I was also interested in doing some advance research on stropping, etc. and I'm a visual learner. In my travels, I found many people giving advice on buying a 'cheap starter' razor. 'Don't buy a new Cadillac for your first car', they said. So, naturally, I went shopping on 'the Bay' and bought myself a stainless Chinese razor (not a Golden Dollar, but close) for $20 (pictured). A strop for $2.50 and a Badger hair brush for $10. Thrifty shopper's victory, what a bargain.

    After a long, anxious wait for everything to arrive on a slow boat from China (literally)... everything arrived today. I located a local guy to me to get my razor shave ready. In our email exchange he asked about my razor... this is where I learned the err of my ways. He was very honest and helpful- gave me some advice instead of just taking my money. He explained the metallurgy of these razors and made what seems like a sound recommendation to either get a Norton 4/8 and invest some time into trying to get it usable myself or shell out some more cash on a new razor. His parting advice was the best- he referred me to this forum. I wish I found it before I spent money.

    So, long rambling back story out of the way (sorry), here's my question forum: Let's say I've got $50-$75 to spend to 'get started'. What should my next move be? As with any art form or hobby, I expect to make more investments down the road... but I want to get shaving (and have a good experience doing it) with this next investment.


    • I could blow the money on the Norton stone, learn the art of honing (while learning all the other beginner stuff) on this razor?
    • I've read a lot (here) about how it's important to start with a professionally honed razor. Do I pay for a hone on this thing anyways?
    • Do I throw out the Chinese razor, shell out money on a new one and $25 or so on the hone?


    Now that I think of it, those options don't even factor in this cheapo strop. That might factor in with the decision- will it work for now? or is it throw away too? At $2.50 investment I'm less concerned about having to toss that.

    I've read some of the threads about the GD's and I don't want to inadvertently stir up that debate! Just looking for advice from experience. Cheapest, smartest place to put my money so I can get shaving.

    Thanks for the help- and sorry for the long-ish post.

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  2. #2
    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Here's my two cents worth:

    Keep the Chinese razor as an letter opener!

    Hang onto the strop (any strop 'may' be better than no strop at all!!

    Send me a PM and I'll do what I can to get you in touch with a member who can provide you at a very reasonable price a truly shave ready beginner's level razor!!!!!
    Our house is as Neil left it- an Aladdin’s cave of ‘stuff’
    Kim x

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    Quote Originally Posted by RickN604 View Post
    Was 'gifted' with a very thick beard and grew up hating shaving. As I'm sure you all can relate, I tried all kinds of cassette razors and electrics and never found relief. I basically resigned myself to the #1 clip trimmed beard forever. A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across wet shaving as a new possible solution. I got excited!

    Being the... 'thrifty', 'smart' shopper I am (lol), I did a bit of online research. The research centred primarily around youtube, as I was also interested in doing some advance research on stropping, etc. and I'm a visual learner. In my travels, I found many people giving advice on buying a 'cheap starter' razor. 'Don't buy a new Cadillac for your first car', they said. So, naturally, I went shopping on 'the Bay' and bought myself a stainless Chinese razor (not a Golden Dollar, but close) for $20 (pictured). A strop for $2.50 and a Badger hair brush for $10. Thrifty shopper's victory, what a bargain.

    After a long, anxious wait for everything to arrive on a slow boat from China (literally)... everything arrived today. I located a local guy to me to get my razor shave ready. In our email exchange he asked about my razor... this is where I learned the err of my ways. He was very honest and helpful- gave me some advice instead of just taking my money. He explained the metallurgy of these razors and made what seems like a sound recommendation to either get a Norton 4/8 and invest some time into trying to get it usable myself or shell out some more cash on a new razor. His parting advice was the best- he referred me to this forum. I wish I found it before I spent money.

    So, long rambling back story out of the way (sorry), here's my question forum: Let's say I've got $50-$75 to spend to 'get started'. What should my next move be? As with any art form or hobby, I expect to make more investments down the road... but I want to get shaving (and have a good experience doing it) with this next investment.


    • I could blow the money on the Norton stone, learn the art of honing (while learning all the other beginner stuff) on this razor?
    • I've read a lot (here) about how it's important to start with a professionally honed razor. Do I pay for a hone on this thing anyways?
    • Do I throw out the Chinese razor, shell out money on a new one and $25 or so on the hone?


    Now that I think of it, those options don't even factor in this cheapo strop. That might factor in with the decision- will it work for now? or is it throw away too? At $2.50 investment I'm less concerned about having to toss that.

    I've read some of the threads about the GD's and I don't want to inadvertently stir up that debate! Just looking for advice from experience. Cheapest, smartest place to put my money so I can get shaving.

    Thanks for the help- and sorry for the long-ish post.

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    I'd put all your purchases so far down to experience but wouldn't use any of them. Have a look at Whippeddog site. Get a sight unseen razor and poor man's strop. Leave the hone for now, but if you get in to SR shaving you will need one in the future.
    WadePatton and Jmchugh like this.

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    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    It's a total crap shoot with Chinese razors, some can be honed, many can't.

    I would also recommend Whipped dog or the classifieds on this site. If you get a shave ready razor you won't have to worry about honing for awhile

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    lobeless earcutter's Avatar
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    There are many ways to get started "on the cheap.". For example, you can strop with a newspaper or go buy some balsa and leather and make your own. You can buy a coti As a one hone For all LeVels kind of thing, and hope it works out for you... But its all pears before swine if you have bad steel.

    That's my take anyway. Some swear they get shaves off a Chinese razor...

    Anyway - congrats on taking the plunge!! Remember this though, there is no rushing the learning curve. Plan for the long haul and you'll be rewarded. I was on and off for about a year. Finally I swore no matter what, I would shave for a year straight, with a straight and bingo, it all came together!!

    All the best of luck! I look forward to hearing of your progress on the forums.
    Grazor likes this.
    David
    Need help in N.E. KS?

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    Some good advice already. You can shave with some Chinese razors, although that doesn't look like one of them, and they are not really to learn on. The best thing is you have found this website. Hang in there, find a good "shave ready" razor, and you will never look back.
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    Drove a '28 Ford, had payments on that ~ Stagger Lee.

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    The only Chinese razors I've been able to get an edge on are Gold Dollars and Titans. Looking at them, I reckon they come out of the same factory. They both have some pretty horrible grinding issues from the factory and need work before they can be honed. All the others are really just things that are razor shaped items but aren't razors.

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    In the past I had a couple of Chinese razors. My own experience with them has been you can make a half way decent razor out of one if you replace scales, do some shoulder and heel work. Why, go through all that, it isn't worth the time and effort spent on the modifications just to save a few bucks. Spend the few extra bucks a get a real razor, you'll thank yourself for it.

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    All the above advice is valid. My first regular straight shave was with a Chinese Gold Dollar #208 razor honed by a local honemeister. My 2nd cheap razor was a Whipped Dog sight-half-seen razor. Both of these razors turned out to be good shavers. Both are still in my rotation. You need to find out if the razor you bought can be honed to shave ready, then determine how well it can hold a good edge.

    If you got into straight shaving to save money then you may be disappointed because it becomes more of a hobby where cost becomes secondary to the Zen experience. Good shaves can come from relatively inexpensive equipment but I think the best reasons are the joy that comes from learning the skill of straight shaving and preserving the tradition handed to us by our fore-fathers. We get off the grid of being cartridge dependent so we can collect equipment that will last a lifetime and be fun using during our journey.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    the classifieds here can sometimes find a shave ready starter real reasonable .. if cudrunner cant help ,, but your budget would allow several ive seen lately on the classifieds,, good luck n have a bunch of fun tc
    Ever wonder why you never see a motorcycle in front of a Shrinks office? ,,,,, then you have never ridden one "

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