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Thread: Project: "Shave with Eight SE hoe razors in a row"

  1. #1
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    Default Project: "Shave with Eight SE hoe razors in a row"

    What's a hoe razor?
    Popular around the end of the 1800's and up to, roughly, the 1930's the hoe/wedge razors is as close as you can get to shaving with a straight razor - without actually using one.
    It seems like the French in particular took to this type of shaving but variations on these razors can be found in many corners of the wetshaving world.
    It's argued that Samuel Henson (England) designed the very first 'hoe razor' as early as 1847.

    There were a number of designs but some things are common across them all;
    - they use a multi-use, removable wedge blade, and
    - the blade is honed and stropped just like a straight razor.

    *Note: The term 'wedge blade' is used as an umbrella term for all blades of this type even though I know it's a bit of a simplistic term.

    These hoe razors introduced a number of inventions that later got adopted into other shaving tools such as the ability to adjust blade exposure and angle.

    I personally find the design very visually appealing and some of these razors are near pieces of art. That, and these things were made to last!

    My hoe razor 'collection'
    I've happened to accumulate some really nice SE hoe razors over the year - eight of them to be precise:

    Top row: L'Essor (France), Louis (France), Le Coq (France)
    Middle row: Le Touriste (France), Le Coq (France), Roger (France)
    Front row: Tip Top (France), Rapide (Germany)

    As you can tell - mostly Frenchies.

    The 'sad' thing is I have actually never shaved with one the way they were designed to be used - using an original 80+ year old blade that is honed and stropped.

    That is - until today

    For the next 12 days or so (I will skip a day here and there as I normally do) I will use one of these razors and see how well they perform and how feasible it would be, for me at least, to have one as my daily razor.

    Thanks to gssixgun / Glen I have a freshly honed and stropped wedge blade in my possession so there is no excuse not to - that I am really curious about how they will perform.



    I haven't worked out the order of how I will go through the eight razors but I'm sure that will just resolve itself as I go along.

    For those curious about this, if there are any of you, I'll be posting photos and shave reports here for each razor as I go along.
    If anyone is interested I can also post a video showing how I strop the blade.

    What's a comparison w/out a grid? Nothing I tell you!
    So, here it is, I'll fill it out as I go along over these two weeks:

    And that's that.

    More to follow
    Last edited by Darkbulb; 06-22-2015 at 06:37 AM.

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    Senior Member Tarkus's Avatar
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    Wow that's an impressive collection. I'm always impressed by the engineering that goes into those S.E.'s and D.E's.
    Form, function, and tons of beauty.
    Thanks for sharing.
    sharptonn, BobH and Darkbulb like this.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I don't have any of the SEs that are in your impressive collection but from the ones I have used I think you will be in for a pleasant surprise. They are a unique experience and are well built. Looking forward to your comments.

    Bob
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    After listening to someone talk ever wonder who ties their shoe laces?

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    Shave Report #1: L'Essor
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    I was too curious about trying out the blade so I started out already today

    One of the first SE Hoe razors I ever bought was the French L'Essor so I thought it was appropriate to start with that one - that and because I've been dying to try it out ever since I got it.
    I think it's one of the most visually appealing razors I have and when you pick it up it has that immediate wow-factor in how it feels. Solid, heavy and just pure quality through and through.

    I did a write-up of the razor some time ago here over on TSD for anyone curious to learn a bit more about it - and see a few more pictures of course.

    I had almost two days of growth so the blade and razor had a bit of work cut out for them (no pun intended).

    Since the blade arrived honed and stropped I skipped the stropping part today - but will do so prior to next use.

    The gear of choice for my SOTD:
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    Put the Rex blade in that gssixgun / Glen had honed and off to the den.
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    Lathered up my now instant soap-favorite i Coloniali Mango and went to work....

    Right away I could feel this was very, very different than shaving with a modern blade. There was something more 'solid' about it. Very much like a straight razor in a way.
    I tried to put these pre-conceived notions out of my mind and just focus on how the shave it self felt.
    It felt great.
    Glen did an absolutely stellar work on bringing an edge to this blade. It felt 'buttery'.

    There was quite a bit of audible feedback - just enough to let me know that I was angling the razor correctly or not.

    I finished my first pass, WTG, and rinsed off my face. My cheeks were as smooth as when I used a straight razor - I actually audibly said "Wow"

    One of the things I am not able to do yet with a straight razor is to shave around my mouth - with the hoe razor I felt more confident doing that even though in many ways I'm using a very similar blade to that on a straight razor. I think because of the familiarity of the shape of the razor and that it felt easier to maneuver.

    I completed my second pass, ATG, and was extremely pleased with the result - a very, very close and smooth shave.

    I had such a great time shaving today with this thing that I can't wait to strop the blade and plop it into the next razor!

    Based on my one shave, if you have/get a chance to try one of these - do it!


    Stay tuned for seven more razors........

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    You know, if Buck Rogers used a razor I bet it would look like one of these old SEs.

    Bob
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    After listening to someone talk ever wonder who ties their shoe laces?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobH View Post
    You know, if Buck Rogers used a razor I bet it would look like one of these old SEs.

    Bob

    I'm going to take that as an endorsement to use these razors as I loved Buck Rogers
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    At this point in time... gssixgun's Avatar
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    I am very very Happy the edge turned out well. not my area of expertise, and no test shave so I was flying blind

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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    I am very very Happy the edge turned out well. not my area of expertise, and no test shave so I was flying blind

    You did a fantastic job Glen - it was like cutting through butter with it
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    Quote Originally Posted by gssixgun View Post
    I am very very Happy the edge turned out well. not my area of expertise, and no test shave so I was flying blind

    I also meant to ask - was it much different than honing and stropping a straight razor (size aside)?

  12. #10
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    More like a Kamisori not the ratios, but the feel of it in the hands
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