Ask ASR: Should I Sharpen my New Razor?

Q: I have a new razor from Dovo/Thiers Issard/Wacker. It wasn’t advertised as “shave ready.” Do I need to sharpen it before I use it?

A: Like most things in life, the answer isn’t cut and dry. In the ideal situation, the razor would come to you shave ready. Some retailers do some extra steps to ensure the razor is sharp enough to shave before selling it to you, others rely upon the factory edge. This post is for those who have a factory edge.

Unfortunately, today’s manufacturers do not put a lot of effort into polishing the edge of their razors. After setting the bevel on a grindstone like wheel, the razor is quickly polished and finished right before being shipped out. You can see this in one of Dovo’s manufacturing videos. The end result for you is that the razor may or may not be comfortable to shave with. The edge isn’t close to our standards, but its shave-able.

So, what should you do? Assuming you already have the razor in your possession, I say try it first. Try to shave a small area before attempting a full shave. If you get satisfactory results, continue shaving for a few times and then ship it off to us for professional honing. This way, you’ll have both experience with a straight razor, immediate gratification, and a benchmark to determine when your razor is dulling. If the test patch isn’t comfortable, then finish up with your DE or cartridge and send us the razor. I recommend trying it because mailing a razor two ways takes about a week of just transit time.

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