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Thread: Renren Razor - a study of silk purses and sows ears

  1. #1
    Junior Member SimonG's Avatar
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    Default Renren Razor - a study of silk purses and sows ears

    A guy I'd previously done some honing for sent me a 'Renren' razor asking for it to be made shave ready. I'd never come across them so did a google search as well as an SRP search and found nothing on honing or shaving with them, which is rare (plenty of places selling them though - http://www.dxmall.com/p/renren-rr130...-silver-247613). So I thought I'd share my experience so there is at least something said about these.

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    First impression was this is a straight razor styled pocket knife . The scales are thick but not unattractive, of an average quality of workmanship, pinning was ok and the jimps on the underside of the tang were quite good. The real issues lay in the blade grind. There's a slight hollow grind to the blade but the cutting edge was formed by a 15 bevel much like a kitchen knife. Also there was no edge to the spine with which to set the bevel angle, so basically a knife blade. Also the thinnest section of the blade (right above the bevel) would've been close to 1mm thick (1/25"). But he was pretty keen for me to try honing it despite my warnings, so I figured I'd see just how hard it was to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. At least I'd get something to write a review on - time to hit the stones.

    With 3 layers of electrical tape and 40 minutes on a Norton 220k stone I was getting nowhere - my hope that the steel was of a low enough quality that the original bevel could quickly be removed came to nothing. Also the bevel was over 3mm high which is ridiculously big for a straight razor. But rather than give up (or spend the next week honing) I decided to add a couple more layers of tape and continue. The next 30 minutes was basically a series of repeating the last sentence until I had a bevel that would shave arm hair (just), a spine with 10 layers of tape on it, and a well worn patience. But the bevel was set and it was finally time to move on. After working through the 1000, 4000 and 8000 Norton stones plus some stropping with pastes the edge was about as good as I could expect. And surprisingly it did pass the HHT easily. To be honest I didn't have the guts to try shaving with it in case the edge gave up the ghost half way through and I had to repeat the process to be able to send it back to the guy. But I'll ask for feedback on how it shaves and post the response.

    So the initial impression was spot on - it just isn't a straight razor. I for one would happily recommend it to be added to the list of no-go razors here on SRP. On the other hand if you have a couple of hours to spare it does make a pretty pocket-knife that will get sharp.

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    Geezer (05-10-2014), gssixgun (05-10-2014), Hart (05-10-2014), Neil Miller (03-10-2015), RaffaeleT (09-23-2014), Redcane (03-10-2015), sharptonn (05-10-2014), Substance (03-10-2015), usakiwi (03-10-2015)

  3. #2
    " Atta Boy!!" sharptonn's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that. Looks to be another "rebrand'. Hopefully this thread will keep newer shavers from tossing money down the drain.
    Look at the Movember auctions in the BST!
    Buy and/or sell for a good cause!
    http://straightrazorplace.com/movember-auctions/

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  5. #3
    Member usakiwi's Avatar
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    i recently purchased this razor in a set on eBay it said shave ready and did shave my face as i'm a beginner to straight razor shaving and it was cheap.. too cheap... i noticed after trying to shave my full face with it even after a tree pass shave it wasn't any better than just shaving once... i agree that this brand needs to be added to the no-go razors on here.
    i checked on the list before i bought my razor to see if i should buy it. didn't see it on there so i thought that it was a cheap but usable razor i was going to learn to shave with it then spend some more money on a better quality blade like a dovo. now all i have is a razor to learn to hone on.lol to anyone who is reading this DON'T I REPEAT DON'T BUY THIS RAZOR unless u want a paper weight.

  6. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    It comes from Guangdong, China via Alibaba International Commerce Site www.aliexpress.com):

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    Cost (if five or more are bought) is 16.10 USD plus shipping.

    There are so many like it now it's shocking - and a damn shame that they can't be banned for not being fit for purpose.

    They all look very similar, so they must share a common heritage - China is my guess. The blades are very similar, be it the Imperial, the Titan, the Master USA, the Candure London, the titanium rainbow-hued Hawk, the Haryali etc, etc.

    A worrying trend is that some razors seem to bear different brand names now, too. Take this Titan:

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    and compare it to this A. P. Donovan:

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    They are slightly better than the other offenders, and if you can manage to get an edge that does not micro-chip they both give an OK (ie not good or great) shave. You might think thats OK, only 15 - 25 GBP but hold on a minute - these last two cost more than 100, sometimes 140 GBP.

    That is not a great deal for an average razor...

    Regards,
    Neil
    rolodave, BobH and usakiwi like this.

  7. #5
    Senior Member DireStraights's Avatar
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    The Titan are upscaled Gold Dollars. They can take and come with a good edge but not worth the money IMO. You can get a decent vintage for the same price.

  8. #6
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by DireStraights View Post
    The Titan are upscaled Gold Dollars. They can take and come with a good edge but not worth the money IMO. You can get a decent vintage for the same price.
    You can indeed get a decent vintage 'proper' straight razor for the same price as the Titan (bereft of the kit I found that was around 100 or more, the razor alone can be had for 30), but the A. P. Donovan is a different kettle of fish entirely, price-wise - you can get 3 or 4 decent vintage 'proper' straight razors for that price.

    The scales may look good, but close up they are a cheapish looking plastic, rather thick and kind of 'clumsy' looking - in my eyes at least, but then again I am used to seeing thousands of vintage 'proper' razors.

    As for Gold Dollars, there is a huge thread on this forum dedicated to them. I see them somewhat akin to going to a tailor's shop to get a pair of trousers, being given a parcel and after unwrapping it at home finding a pattern, cloth, needle and thread. You can't wear them straight away, you have to be a bit of a sewing technician, and they may or may not be suitable to wear once you have finished.

    Give me a ready made pair I can try on any day....

    Regards,
    Neil
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