The Damascene: $30,000 worth of straight razor

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Ever since I gave myself a Brazilian smile while missing all four follicles of my lanugo-ish preteen moustache, I have eschewed the grand pomp of the straight razor. Why risk a sink full of ears and a mirror drenched in arterial spray when the Gillette Fusion is the greatest shaving instrument ever created by man? But this $30,000 straight razor is still a lusty instrument: dubbed the Damascene, the steel has been folded 128 times in the same arcane fashion used to forge Escalibur, as described by Sir Thomas Mallory in La Morte D’Arthur.

The World’s Most Expensive Razor for $30,000 [Luxist]

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22 Responses to The Damascene: $30,000 worth of straight razor

  1. Anonymous says:

    don’t believe the Merkur hype. i don’t believe these folks have actually tried the micro-pulsing Gillette Fusion razor. i’ve tried them all, and nothing beats the Fusion. if you want an indulgent shave, go to a professional. otherwise you’re just fooling yerself.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Diluted. I’ve replaced aerosol cans and disposable razors with a Merkur double edge razor, a good shaving soap and a pure badger shaving brush. Three simple elements that are not only able to give me a better shave, but that put together create a moment to unwind and do something for myself that I can enjoy and feel good about.

  3. Dean says:

    Sweeney Todd would have a field day with that one.

  4. hohum says:

    Fourth (Fifth? Sixth? I think I lost count) on a DE… Merkur Vision w/ Personna blades… But I echo the sentiments that using decent shave soap is way more important than which sharp thing you’re actually hacking away at your face with… While not as pleasant, I can get a good solid shave from my girlfriend’s Venus or whatever it is, so long as I’m not using aerosol junk…

  5. Ernunnos says:

    I bought a straight razor a number of years ago after getting sick of paying for blades. Still works, only ever cut myself very slightly twice, neither worse than any nick I’ve ever gotten with a “safety” razor. Only thing I buy now is more goats-milk soap. I’ll never go back.

  6. OM says:

    …And if you go to Avalon, the Lady of the Lake will stick an arm up out of the water and actually shave you while you wait!

  7. EyeSpy Guy says:

    I own four straight razors and a collection of antique Dual Edge and Gem safety razors.

    I say without fear of contradiction that the straights give the best shave. There are a number of reasons for it, but one of the most pertinent is the sound. Shaving with a straight razor gives a much superior audible feedback, you can tell how well your blade is cutting and how many (short) passes to make. Also shaving around my Van Dike is easy.

    Straight razors are not for everyone. To use the stones and the strop takes considerable practice. Also you are using a piece of metal that is only one crystal thick at the cutting edge. It is very delicate and smacking the blade on the tap will take you an hour or two to fix. However, a good Straight Razor lasts a lifetime, with proper care and feeding.

    But each to their own. I’m sure Gillette (who makes tens of millions of dollars a year) knows much more about shaving than I do.

  8. Diluted says:

    I just wanted to say I take issue with your assessment of the Gillette Fusion… I am also afraid of straight razors, but the shave I get from a Merkur double edge safety razor, some old fashioned shaving cream and a badger hair brush is far superior to any I ever got from a multi-bladed disposable razor, including the Fusion, and on top of that, blades are usually only about $.20 each.

  9. Halloween Jack says:

    You don’t use a blade like this on yourself, mister, oh no.

  10. controlbroke says:

    if it isn’t nanotubular I refuse to be impressed

  11. zuzu says:

    I have eschewed the grand pomp of the straight razor. Why risk a sink full of ears and a mirror drenched in arterial spray when the Gillette Fusion is the greatest shaving instrument ever created by man?

    According to the same person too fumble-thumbed to use chopsticks.

    As for the Merkur, it was on Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools:

    Even before Gillette announced its over-the-top Mach 5 blade, I made the switch from my Gillette Mach 3 shaving razor (using a standard from-a-can shaving cream) to this “classic” safety razor (with a badger hair brush and good shaving soap) and am amazed at the difference. I switched after years of razor burn and irritation, and after reading an article and visiting a website devoted to classic shaving. This Merkur razor hefts nicely in your hand, and delivers an amazingly close shave without irritation. I believe the safety razor causes less irritation than the Mach 3, because of the quality of the safety razor blade itself. I think that the marketing strategy of the Mach 3 is to dazzle the user with 3 blades, implying that three blades is three times as effective as one blade.

  12. MarlboroTestMonkey7 says:

    HEY, thanks for spoiling the end of La Morte D’Arthur! What a disgraceful end for such an illustrious character.

  13. Enochrewt says:

    Friends,
    You shall drip rubies,
    You’ll soon drip precious…
    Rubies…

    AT LAST, MY ARM IS COMPLETE AGAIN.

  14. dculberson says:

    I don’t doubt that a Merkur is better than a disposable razor, but a lot of the difference might be the shaving soap. I use a disposable razor on the rare occasions that I shave; usually I sport a 3/4″ beard. But I use Neutrogena shaving cream which is miles beyond anything else I’ve tried. I used to get razor burn and irritation pretty badly (especially since long-unshaven skin is very sensitive) but now don’t get any.

    I’m seriously considering a Merkur if/when I do go clean shaven again.

  15. Scuba SM says:

    I second Diluted. I also use a Merkur double edged safety razor, and I’ve been extremely impressed with it over the past year and a half. Blades are insanely cheap, and the closeness of the shave is incredible. It’s turned shaving from a daily chore to a daily indulgence, with the old fashioned shaving soap and badger hair brush.

    Give it a shot.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Besides the traditional confusion between damascus steel and pattern welding, the rose pattern’s not optimal for producing an exemplary razor anyway.

    http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/9809/Verhoeven-9809.html

    Haunt the local junk stores until you find a 150 year old soligen blued-steel straight-razor with bone handles for a dollar. They turn up reasonably often when Grandpa’s stuff gets cleared out of the attic.

    –Charlie

  17. semiotix says:

    I plan to use this $30,000 razor to re-enact the relevant scene from Reservoir Dogs. Big deal, you say, but what will really make it impressive is the extremely danceable rendition of “Stuck In The Middle With You” coming through my $8,000 speaker wire.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The steel hasn’t been folded 128 times. It has been folded 7 times to create 128 layers. I seem to remember from some show on educational TV that the steel in a Samurai sword is folded 16 times.

  19. m00nch1ld says:

    I didn’t know that many people use Merkur razors. I do too. Get an old Gilette with an adjustable distance between blade and thingy.

  20. dpompian says:

    # 17 is correct. 7 folds will yield 128 layers. 128 folds will yield
    approximately 17,141,180,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 layers.

    It reminds me of the old riddle: Would you rather I give you a million dollars or a penny today, two pennies tomorrow, four pennies the next day and so on for a month? If you take option 2 you’ll be happy you did. Especially if it’s January.

  21. liatach says:

    Though i’m not actually that interested in this absurdly overpriced shaving implement.
    I’m with #16 Ernunnos on straight razors, bought one years and years ago as a student who couldn’t afford blades for my gillette and was insulted by wasteful cheap disposables.
    I also have only ever cut myself two or three times and not only was it no worse than a modern safety razor it was better, as in, it was a very fine little cut not a scrape off of my top layers of skin, it stopped bleeding almost instantly and barely stung at all.
    I highly recommend them. though shaving under the chin gets your heart going the first few times.

  22. Enochrewt says:

    Ok, I just bit on a Merkur razor. Mostly because I’m sick of paying $30 for a new set of cartridges that last me a month.

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