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07-25-2007, 02:19 PM #1
First Shave With Shavette - Review
There's been a lot of interest here about the Dovo Shavette, I just got one yesterday (great deal on a lightly used one) and used it this morning so thought I would write a mini-review/first impression.
For reference, I shave with all types of razors - straights (everything from 5/8 full hollows to a Chandler 8/8+ wedge - I prefer heavier straights generally), DEs, injectors, cartridge razors (I can hear the collective "GASP" from all you die-hards!), and have a Feather AC that I use with the super-pro blades.
Onto the review:
1) Weight - lighther than a Feather AC, but heavier than plastic-handled shavettes/shavette-style razors.
2) Quality - Seems good, if utilitarian - the "scales" are stamped metal and seem durable, but nothing to write home about.
3) Ergonomics - feels good in the hand, nicely balanced, some thumb jimps that help a little, but not much, the razor is very manoeverable.
4) Blade Holder - this is the only component that I think could cause problems - its basically a hinged sleeve of red plastic with some tabs to hold the 1/2 DE blade in place. This is less durable than the integral sliding metal sleeves I've seen in other shavette-style razors and I'm surprised Dovo would use this sort of thing in its products. However, I haven't heard any specific criticisms of this, but it just seems less durable (ie., plastic hinge breaking, wear possibly resulting in a loose fit, etc. However, if you get a couple of years out of one, that's not so bad for something that costs just a couple of bucks
My razor (again, bought used) left some slight gaps in the holder when inserted into the handle, but this was easily fixed by LIGHTLY crimping the edge of the holder (if you do this, cover the holder with a dishtowel or other soft material to prevent scratching the finish on the crome. With this done, the tolerances were closed up and everything fit as it should.
I used a 1/2 Feather for my shave and breaking a DE is a piece of cake (you simply bend the still-wrapped DE blade in half until it snaps - if you can't manage to break a DE in half, put it into the holder and get the loaded holder into the handle without cutting yourself, you have no business using a straight!
The one thing I noticed right away was that the blade holder actually acts as a bit of a guard that prevents the leading corner of the blade from cutting you - this is actually a nice feature as its the leading corner that you're most likely to nick yourself with (think of a very sharp spike).
The stainless version has more weight than other shavette-style razors I've used and this makes for a light, but balanced razor (but much lighter than the Feather AC).
The DE is a little shorter than the Feather blades, while this resultes in a few more strokes, its not a big deal. People use DE's all the time and this isn't a reason not to use one of these razors with the 1/2 DE.
The Shavette is so light and agile, I found myself shaving a little more quickly than I would with a straight or Feather, this resulted in a little bit of razor burn, so I would advise you to make sure you keep it nice and slow. Also, the Feather blades are every bit as sharp as the blades used in the Feather straights, so the same caution applies here (note - I'm not a huge fan of the Feather DE blades as I find them a litte to sharp and will have to try the Shavette out with a Derby, which I find to be the best blade for me).
As I said, the Shavette is quite light (think 4/8 full-hollow), so the mass of the razor doesn't help get throught the tough spots - as someone used to wedgier straights, this resulted in me using a little more pressure than I would normally, which also contributed to the slight case of burn I got. So the lesson here is that you still need to use a light touch - espeicially since (for most of us) a DE is sharper than our straights - espeicially the first couple of shaves.
You get much more feedback than you do with the Feather AC, which I think has similar characteristics to a heavier/wedgier straight.
Bottom line, I got a nice smooth shave with a couple of nicks and a little razor burn. The same thing happened when I used my Feather AC the first couple of times and I think that with proper blade selection and practice, the Shavette is something I will use occasionally - especially when I'm in a rush and/or don't feel like stropping.
So, overall here are my conclusions:
1) The Dovo stainless Shavette, while very different than the Feather AC, rivals the Feather in terms of performance and ease of use.
There is no doubt, that with practices and good blade selection, you can get great results with the Shavette - many people have gotten awesome barber shop shaves with these things, which supports the view that these are good shaving tools.
2) The Shavette would make an ideal travel razor (I don't care what anyone says, I'm not packing a straight and strop for an overnight trip - also if you want to travel carry-on only, a straight or Feather isn't an option) for the following reasons:
a) its cheap, so if something happens to it, you're not out too much coin;
b) you can get decent DE blades almost anywhere - which means that you can take the Shavette (unloaded) in your carry-on and pick up a pack of blades at your destination - which is not possible with the Feather.
If you do want to use a Shavette as a travel razor, you should use it occasionally at home to get comfortable with it and should try it with the sort of blades you're likely to be able to find on the road. Its pretty risky to get used to the Shavette with a Feather/Derby/IP or other specialty blade and then use a CVS blade in your hotel room before the big meeting.
3) The Shavette would be as good a way as any for someone to see whether straight shaving is for them. Except for the fact that there's no Pro-guard blade option which there is for the Feather, the Shavette is an affordable, easy to use, effective straight.
In fact I think it would be better than a Feather because its lighter and you get better feedback with the Shavette. The Feather is quite heavy and you often don't realize you've cut yourself until after the fact, with the Shavette, you get a little more advance warning that things may be going off of the rails.
Also, the fact that the holder guards the leading corner is a big advantage over other shavette-style razors and, to a lesser extent, even the Feather AC (the blades for which are slightly rounded at the corners).
Also, the Shavette is much cheaper than the Feather AC, as are the blades. Also for DE users, the Shavette is a more "logical" step to straights, as they have tons of DE blades hanging around - further lowing the cost of experimentation.
Overall, I give the Shavette a "thumbs up" and think that people considering "going straight" via a disposable razor should include the Dovo stainless Shavette as an alternative to the Feather AC.
07-25-2007, 04:23 PM #2
Wow... what an excellent review. That answers a lot of questions... Now I'm really looking forward to receiving mine from grunion. Thanks for the review!!!
- Ken -
07-25-2007, 05:40 PM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
- Long Island, NY USA
I'd like to add that you can buy the black blade holder which holds longer single-edged blades (I use Fromm Hair Shaper #106). The blades last quite a few shaves, I've gotten at least 10 from the current blade and my beard's pretty thick. I tell you I think shavettes benefit from a slightly dulled blade compared to a brand new one. They cut into skin awful easy.
Also, razor burn is more likely with any DE or single blade compared to a straight, I find. The straights may not be quite as sharp, but they're easier on the face, IMO.
I would prefer a slightly thinner blade holder, as I normally like to put the straight against my face at a lower angle for the first pass.
Overall I do like mine, too.