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Preview: On the razor's edge

On the razor's edge

This blog is a spin-off from my website that is mainly about the use and care of straight razors, together with associated products. The site also features vintage straight razors for sale and othe shaving ephemera. Enjoy!

Updated: 2014-10-05T00:36:51.312+00:00


New Website


Just a short note to tell everyone that my new website, Dovo Razors UK, is due for opening within the next day or two. It features only razors and accessories from Dovo, one of the best razor manufacturers in the world. Check it out here!

Guest article


Straight Razors - Do You Know What That Handle Is Made From?The material that the handles of a straight razor are made from can greatly affect its value - but how do you tell what it is? The following article gives some hints and tips.Straight razor collecting is a branch of knife collecting and is popular amongst collectors due to its relatively low outlay. Still, there are some straight razors whose value is increased greatly simply due to the material the handles (called scales) are made from. Learning to identify these materials is not easy and even seasoned collectors are sometimes hard-put to define the material exactly. The following is a basic primer in identifying common scale materials.Ivory. The single most prized scale material, although some would argue for Mother-of-Pearl. Ivory is commonly thought to come from the tusks of elephants. Whilst this is true, there are other sources of ivory, including walruses, whales, hippopotamus and wild boar. All ivory is suitable for inlay and, to a less degree, carving. All ivory is a very dense material that displays a glowing finish when polished. It has often been imitated (due to its cost) and can be difficult to identify. Some points to look out for in the identification of ivory razor scales include: Thinness of the scale - ivory scales are normally about half the thickness of imitation ivory. Look on the inner side of the scale - ivory was sawn to shape and very often the saw marks were left intact - not the case with an imitation. Elephant ivory has a very fine 'grain' that runs the length of the handle - any cracks (usually at the fixing pins) will always run with the grain. Ivory will scrape when tested wih a sharp knife - not curl. The ultimate ivory test is the 'hot pin' test. Hold the point of a hot pin to some inconspicuous area - imitation ivory will melt instantly, ivory will not.Buffalo Horn. Most horn scales are made from the horns of the Asian Water Buffalo and can easily be confused with high-grade plastic. Colours vary from shiny black to yellow and even a greenish shade. Some are translucent, allowing light to pass through. If the material shows white streaks then it may well be cow horn. Horn may have designs impressed into it, or may be carved, both of which add to its artistic value and the overall value of the razor. Horn will react in the same way as ivory to the hot pin test; that is, it will not melt.Mother-of-Pearl. Sometimes called just 'Pearl', this substance derives from the interior of a shellfish. For a complete scale, a very large shell is required. This means that usually the scales were made of pieces - this is no detriment to their worth but a single-piece scale is highly prized. Mother-of-Pearl has an iridescent sheen to it when held to the light that no imitation has ever equalled and for this reason it is quite easy to identify. This material is also fragile - don't drop it!Abalone. This comes from the same source as Mother-of-Pearl, but the species of shellfish is different, giving a deeper colour to the finished scale. Abalone is very rarely seen as a full scale - more often it is used as an inlay for decorative purposes. It, too, has never been successfully imitated and, once seen, is unmistakeable. As brittle as Mother-of-Pearl, it should be handled carefully.Bone. This material is probably the most versatile natural material for making razor scales. Tough and durable, it can be carved or just polished to a satin sheen. When aged, the pores are often apparent, helping to distinguish it from ivory. Any cracks in a bone scale generally do not run with the grain, again helping to tell it apart from ivory. Bone mellows nicely with age but does not have the creamy, milky appearance of ivory. It too will stand the hot pin test.Tortoise Shell. This product is mis-named, as almost all this material come from the shell of the hawksbill turtle. It is polished to semitransparency, when its mottling becomes evident. With age it may well change to a dark red-brown colour. This has always been a rare scale mater[...]

Men's grooming? Phooey!


My better half pointed at the TV screen the other day. 'Look!' She said. 'They're at it again!'

'It' happened to be a page on QVC, as she was having her daily fix. 'It' was about men's grooming - skincare products, shaving stuff - you know. I enquired tacitly if she would prefer men rough and unsavoury. 'Of course not!' came the reply. 'But QVC's for women!'

I give up.

Stright razor v electric - hard to choose?


I've got to say that, although I prefer my straight razor, there are times when my Remington electric is a godsend. This morning, for instance. At the moment I have a bug that started yesterday - you know, the type that makes you woozy and shiver a lot. I took one look at the Kropp and thought 'don't fancy exfoliating my face to a depth of half in inch' so grabbed the electric. Told you I'm not a purist! So - the moral of this story is if your hand shakes use anything but your flatty!



Well I tried out my No. 2 special this morning and my, how close a shave was that! I think the trick is definitely to get the stropping right before use - my old strop looks like it's been varnished it's so polished. I prefer a hanging strop - anybody use the flat strops on board? Are they any good?



Heck I forgot to mention that I have an eBay shop! See it online - - for some tasty bits of very sharp steel!



Hello there and welcome to the blog for The Invisible Edge. An odd name for what is, admittedly, a niche collector's site. So let's spell it out. The Invisible Edge specialises in straight razors. Yup, that's right - Sweeney Todd stuff. Cut throats. That's not to say that people that collect these items are strange, any more than it would be true to say that people who collect model cars are very small! No - this is just a blog for those who appreciate the craftmanship and sheer elegance of these items of men's grooming. Take a look at my website at and you'll see what I mean!