Q: Who sells shave ready razors? Why don’t you have any razors for sale?
If we look at the straight razor retailer market as a whole, you will find that in fact, very few retailers have the ability, nor do they offer shave ready straight razors. While they may be advertised as sharp, there is a difference between factory sharpened and shave ready. The wet shaving community defines shave ready as at a minimum sharpened on an 8k stone by a skilled hand. A factory edge may or may not be at this point, but the edge can be much better. A few retailers either sharpen their own razors in-house or send it out to someone for sharpening. The rest simply rely upon the factory which is hit or miss. In the case of Fromm and that other brand whose name escapes me (also from Solingen, but not Dovo) the result is disastrous.
Simply perusing the internet, you’ll find that the biggest names don’t offer shave ready razors. I am willing to surmise that most Americans buy their razor from Art of Shaving, the Knife Center, or their local cutlery store. Then, they try to shave with it, find out that the edge is mediocre and learning to shave with a straight razor is hard, and quit. The good news is that there are still a few stores out there who advertise shave ready razors. If your in the market for a new razor, Classic Shaving, Straight Razor Designs, Hart Steel, and Vintage Blades LLC all advertise shave ready razors. In the EU, you have The Invisible Edge and Rasurpur. Doing a google search reveals that Classic Edge also offers shave ready razors. That said, I’ve never heard of them until just now. Of course, they can’t spell professionally, but I’ll cut them some slack for at least offering the service. And that is all the retailers in the US I know about.
Now, if your in the market for a vintage razor, there are several people selling shave ready vintage blades. That said, I have no personal experience with any of them. As for why I don’t have any razors listed on this website, its because I sell my restored straight razors through Razor Emporium. In addition, there are always the for sale sections of straight razor forums.
Related Q: Do I need to buy a shave ready razor?
This answer is more nuanced. If you can help it, I highly suggest buying a shave ready razor. Learning to shave with a straight razor is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to wonder if your blade is sharp enough. Buying shave ready will eliminate that variable from the equation. Now, that said, the truth is that Dovo and Thiers Issard try to make sure their razors are shave ready from the factory, finishing their razors by hand on wetstones.
While they may do their best, they are still mass manufacturing straight razors. Mistakes happen. In addition, while the razor may be shave ready from the factory and packed in oil, it could be months or years before the razor finally gets to your door. Keep in mind that they have to be shipped over a large ocean filled with salt water. Not the most hospitable environment for your straight razor.
While the journey seems perilous modern technology and transport is at hand to make sure the razors survive the trip in their original condition. Nothing can be done about a razor being in storage for two years, the edge is not likely to be as good as when it was fresh. But for the most part, its unlikely you’ll get such a razor. In addition, the razor should still be sharp.
If you have questions about whether your new razor should be sharpened, we’ve answered that.
For the most part, Dovo, TI, and Wacker razors are sharp enough to shave. I personally would refinish the edge, but I’ve got a lot of stones and skill at my disposal. Yet, that should not dissuade you from purchasing a non-shave ready Dovo, TI, or Wacker (you shouldn’t buy a non-shave ready Fromm or Mehaz or Gold Dollar or anything from Pakistan) (actually you shouldn’t buy anything from Pakistan).
If you do buy a non-shave ready razor, the worst case scenario is that the razor was sharp, but not quite shave ready. You got to use it a couple of times. And now you know what the difference between shave ready and not really is. This is actually a good benchmark to have as you now know when you need to re-sharpen the razor.
Of course, if you can find the same razor for the same price and shave ready, buy that razor. There shouldn’t be any question. But if the price difference is more than $20 (cost of our re-honing and two way shipping), then you might want to weigh your options.