This guide has been put together in partnership with Dovo and aims to provide information on how to properly maintain your straight razor so that it lasts for years to come.
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR CUT THROAT RAZOR
The razor consists of a blade with tang and two handles. Razors have a hollow grinding depending on their strength. Flat ground (A) to ½ and ¾ hollow ground (C) to full hollow ground (B). Blades vary in size from 3/8” to 6/8” – this is the length of the blade from top to bottom, e.g 4/8” = 13 mm.
½ to full hollow ground razors are great, thanks to their flexibility, for shaving contours – deep cheeks, upper lip, chin and neck.
Usually flat razors have a French point, but most ½ hollow ground to full hollow ground razors have a round point, and a double-stabilising piece (see sketch page I, point 7) which creates the passage from the tang to the blade. Expensive razors are hollow ground before the point then they get thicker again (see sketch page I, point 8), hence have a stronger body. Special razors, e.g. with a square point (contrary to a round point) and concave mirror (instead of a double-stabilising piece) are made mainly for international markets.
The core material used for quality straight razors is steel with a carbon content of over 0.6% which increase in hardness, elasticity and resistance to wear as they are hardened and manufactured correctly. The advantage of stain resistant steels, known as “stainless steel”, is that they require less care.
The initial forging is made from a small piece of steel, the width is between 20 and 25 mm, the thickness between 5 and 6 mm. The heated steel is then hot forged under the presser of a hammer in the forging die. The excess burrs are removed, then the tang is rolled, the hole for the screw is drilled, and the trade mark is stamped.
The hardening of the forging is critical and depending on the quality of the steel it's heated up to around 1300°C and then chilled in special oil. The temperature limits are often crucial, and sometimes the top secret of a skilled hardener. After that the steel undergoes an additional heating process between 200°C and 400°C to obtain a more ductile material. An additional ice treatment, for example of the famous DOVO razor No. 41, at temperatures of -40°C, leads to a further material compression of chromium steels. Constant inspections throughout this process assure the highest quality.
Hollow grinding is made on special machines in about 15 manufacturing steps, the diameter of the grinding stone is relevant for the desired hollowness. Then tang and back are ground and polished (to buff), the hollow side is polished, the back is polished, and the hollow side is blue polished, the result of which is a proportionate matt finish.
Decoration etching and gold etching are then made before the razors are mounted. Mounting involves the two halves of the handle (mostly horn, Mother of Pearl or tortoise shell imitation celluloid handles) joining together by means of a German Silver nail, so that the razor can be easily closed. Each razor will then be sharpened and examined by skilled workmen. Polishing of the handle, as well as greasing, cleaning, and packing in sheaths are the final work steps.
CARE OF THE RAZOR
All razors should be washed with clear water after use, and then be carefully dried. If you don't intend to use the razor for a while, it's recommended that you oil it. Also, the razor mustn't be stored in a humid place. With that in mind we actually recommend storing the razor away from the bathroom.
While flat razors are stropped with razor strops where the razors can be pushed, 1⁄2 or full hollow ground razors are sharpened with a razor strop which can be hung up, made of fine cowhide or the smooth Russian type leather, sometimes equipped with a hemp tube on the back side which serves to set up the sharp edge in the direction away from the razor.
The application of leather balm will keep the leather smooth and avoids cracks in the leather. Stropping should take place BEFORE every shave, never during or after, and done in a plane angle with the back of the razor on the razor strop; it should be held away from the body in the direction to draw. When changing the direction, the razor should be turned over the back (see sketch), and then again be drawn in direction of your body. When the razors cutting edge becomes dull and does not cut any longer, then it will need to be rehoned. We recommend getting a professional to do this unless you are experienced or willing to take the risk. Please note if you do get your razor sharpened by someone else, it'll void the warranty with Dovo as they won't be able to inspect it. There's more information on the warranty and Dovo's sharpening service at the end of this article.
A well looked after razor needs to be accompanied by a good quality shaving brush and soap for a comfortable shave.
When using your razor for the first time, you should start with the easy and soft parts of the face and should hold the opened razor with thumb and 3 fingers, so that the opened handle shows away from the face, as shown in the sketch.
The smooth skin which has been prepared with a good shaving soap, has to be stretched, and then you should – with an angle of approx. 30° - first shave down with the razor, and after this shave up. If you hold the razor too flat, it will tear the stubble. If you hold it too steep, it will cut the skin. Always shave in the direction of the cutting edge, never lateral (danger to be hurt). Always shave even and hold the razor more steep when shaving dimples and upper lip.
Should the razor have been damaged by falling to the ground, or when closing, it should not be used any longer (for danger of cutting yourself), sharpening will do no good in this case, only regrinding by an export or Dovo may help.
PROBLEMS WITH YOUR DOVO
If you have experience any problems with your Dovo please read and follow the instructions below.
Dovo Implied Warranty and Guarantee
DOVO and MERKUR products are subject to implied warranty (currently 2 years from date of purchase as per the sales receipt which must be present in copy). The handling of the claim is carried out by Groom Manifest after a preliminary assessment. For observation of the deadline, please enclose the sales receipt showing the date of purchase. Justified claims will be handled as quick as possible.
The implied warranty covers material and production defects only. Normal wear and tear, abuse, misuse or problems due to wrong or insufficient handling and/or maintenance ARE NOT COVERED which includes damages due to application not according to the intended use (e.g. twisted tips, broken off pieces, corrosion). Please note, honing the razor will void the warranty so please stick to stropping.
If your razor requires sharpening, we can send it back to Dovo. To make this process as easy as possible, please send the razor back to us using the returns label provided. We will then take care of the process and ensure the razor is delivered back to you. There is a fee of £25 for this service which includes the return postage.
All razors should be sent with the original receipt to our head office: Groom Manifest Ltd, 62 Burley Hill Industrial Estate, Burley Road, Leeds, LS4 2PU - Please ensure you send via a tracked service to ensure safe transit of your razor.
We hope this short guide has helped you become acquainted with your new straight razor, as always if you have any questions regarding the above please feel free to contact us via email@example.com or call 0800 689 4395.