My review of Fromm’s offering to new straight razor users can be summed up in two words: “Why bother?”
But, it’s made in Germany, so it must be good right?
No. The “made in Germany” mark is not regulated. The European Union only requires that the final manufacturing step be performed in the country of origin.
But, what about all my German cutlery? It’s very good stuff!
Of course. But it’s marked “Made in Solingen”. The Solingen brand is highly regulated. Quoting from Solingenmade.com:
- during all the key manufacturing stages have been processed and finished within the industrial boundaries of Solingen (which, for these purposes, includes not just Solingen but also the neighbouring town of Haan) and,
- in terms of their raw materials and manufacture, be suitable for the purpose for which products of that type are made. This means that even cutlery which is manufactured within Solingen’s town boundary is not entitled to bear the name Solingen if it does not conform to the required quality standards
Now, don’t get me wrong, these razors are generally well made and fully functional. However, they come from the factory very dull. You can’t even make the argument that it is possible to shave with these razors out of the box. Unlike Dovo (whose razors are always sharp, but sometimes hit or miss as to shave ready sharp), Fromm razors are not shave ready sharp out of the box. So, unless you sharpen it yourself, that is another $15-20 to tack onto the total price. So, points are deducted for that.
And let’s not forget that this razor is $60!!!
The Master Grind
Let’s talk about the grind. Having had a few dozen pass through my hands, the grind is…worse than a Gold Dollar 208. And that is not a very rousing endorsement of this razor, to say the least. The master grind is the only grinding that really matters. The master grind is the actual hollowing out of the faces of the razor. If the grind is off or the razor warped, you end up with a knife rather than a razor. Unfortunately, the master grind is not as consistent as Dovo (which is not known for being 100% great) and of lower consistency than Gold Dollar 208, 300, 800/200. Yes, a $15 razor has a better master grind than a $60 razor.
You can see more evidence of Fromm’s grinding issues in the customer photos in this amazon listing.
Fit & Finish
Moving on to the fit & finish of the razor, the Fromm actually does quite well. Compared to a Dovo Best, the Fromm holds its own quite well. The finish of the blade is even and the satin-like finish is even. The shoulder bolsters are ground evenly. The tang is blued. The polish is decent. The scales are plastic, but what do you expect for $65. Even the razor coffin is pretty attractive.
The scales are mediocre. They’re made from flimsy ABS plastic and don’t even have the decency of having a third pin to help stiffen the scales. But, they work.
Sadly, although the Fromm straight razor looks decent, it’s all form, and not much substance. The steel the factory uses is not as good as Dovo steel nor is it as good as the alloy used by Gold Dollar. I would classify the steel as adequate. Nothing to write home about, but it’s not defective either. It takes an edge and holds it well enough, but you can buy better. You can even buy better for less money.
In conclusion, I cannot recommend this razor. They are competing with Dovo at a lower price point, but offers a much lower quality product. While it may look pretty, it doesn’t deliver in performance. You are better off spending the extra $10. Factoring in the cost of sharpening this razor, and you aren’t saving anything by choosing a Fromm razor.
There’s a reason I don’t carry the Fromm razor. I most certainly could stock it. The wholesale price is quite good. But the blade is bad. Save your money and move up to a Dovo, down to a Gold Dollar 208, or horizontally to a Gold Dollar 800. You’ll be much happier. I’d throw in a GD300, but the scales are… purple.