• Beginners Tips: October 2014

    I was asked if I might like to provide an article for
    our October Beginners Tips section and I would like to thank
    James for the opportunity.

    I would like to discuss the definition of an acronym and a word that
    are used commonly on our forum. The acronym is NOS or New Old Stock and the word
    is “linen”. The definitions of both of these have become generic and a bit misleading in a many cases. I think it is important that we understand what this means, in a literal sense, when used on our forum where wet shaving topics are primary.
    When talking about hanging razor strops the word linen is and has been used to describe all manner of secondary strop materials be they nylon, cotton, heavy twill, canvas and so on. By definition and for our purposes linen strop material “is fabric made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of the stalks of the flax plant, or Linum Usitatissimum, one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history”. Real linen for
    use as a secondary straight razor strop is limited in availability on the market with
    only a few custom strop makers offering it. I have to assume the majority of linen
    cloth production goes to clothing, table cloths, napkins and of course fine paper among
    other uses. For our use here it should be noted that natural linen strops have a very devoted following and, of course, this and all things wet shaving are very subjective.

    Generally speaking NOS should represent an item that has recently been discovered and is new and is unused and is in original packaging unopened. For our use items could be razors, soaps and creams, aftershaves and hones.

    It is very important that, our new to wet shaving members, know that NOS does not mean an item is in perfect condition. Many of us have seen NOS razor blade stocks
    that have surfaced for any number of reasons. They may be in the hands of
    dealers and been finish scaled and offered for sale, however, the blades may
    show the toll that long term storage may take on them especially if the storage
    was not done properly or they may be beautiful perfect blades. Just a few years ago a seller offered NOS “PleZall” brand straight razors which were available in master units. As I recall the individual straights were in their boxes which were sealed in cellophane overwrap. The seller made buyers aware that the purchase was a crapshoot. The scales for this model razor were celluloid and when the box’s were opened many of the razor blades had turned to rusted powder in their paper wraps save a bit of the spines left. NOS they were but useless they were as well, except for harvesting the scales which were in pretty good condition. I have seen straight razors offered as NOS when they had clearly been out of their original packaging and had problems that only honing and use could have caused. I have seen favored soaps available as NOS that were dried out and worthless strictly due to age and they had not been opened.

    As to a linen strop take a look at the picture below. This is the quality natural linen fabric that Mr. Neil Miller offers his customers as secondary strop material.

    To quickly summarize about NOS, should you see a straight razor for sale where the solicitation says “near NOS” know it is a sales tactic and the seller may not be aware that the acronym is not used properly. On the other hand NOS straight razors may well be perfect in everyway with factory honing only, and all packaging shown to include the box, internal wrapping if any, and outer wrapping if any as shown in the picture above of a Japanese western style “Cape Kennedy” model straight razor. For any of our members
    who may be in doubt about a razor purchase you need only to ask your question on our
    Forum and you will get help.
    Jimbo, gugi, JimmyHAD and 26 others like this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Beginners Tips - October 2014 started by lz6 View original post