Page 1 of 1

Damascus for a straight razor?

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:36 pm
by Bill_K

I've been tossing around the idea of buying myself a straight razor with Damascus steel. What are your thoughts? Is it a good steel or just eye candy? Should I look for a specific width or grind?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Re: Damascus for a straight razor?

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:23 pm
by drmoss_ca
There are many many versions of damascus steel used in straight razors, so you'll have to give some thought to what you're looking for. There's pre-made billets of Swedish stainless damascus as used by Maestro Livi, all the way to traditionally made carbon steel damascus as made by Tim Zowada, and all sorts in between.
Such razors will cost you more and may be prettier, but generally they don't shave any different. Some of the handmade steels are treated hard enough that they are difficult to sharpen, but when they get there they are wonderful. As for width or grind, that would be a matter of your preference. Buying them is a form of madness for collectors, but there really isn't any guarantee of a better shave.

Re: Damascus for a straight razor?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:23 am
by Brutus
As far as my two Damascus Livis go, they are certainly unique, made to order with more manual work than other razors that I own, but they are also among my least impressive shaving instruments.

As someone who looks at a straight razor most and foremost as a shaving tool that needs to do a job, these Livis may be pretty to look at but leave a lot to be desired as shaving tools.

I paid a considerable premium for the looks, but would have been better advised to spend that money on two quality Austs.

That dampened my enthusiasm for Damascus razors in general, and cured me once and for all of my desire to add any more Livis to my collection in particular, even though some of his earlier work (my Livis are all post 2015) seems to have been excellent.


Re: Damascus for a straight razor?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:27 am
by Brutus
Double post - contents removed

Re: Damascus for a straight razor?

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:45 am
by drmoss_ca
My Livis are from ~2005 - 2010. I have no complaints about them, although they aren't the easiest blades to sharpen. That stainless steel is tough in the technical sense. I have read mutterings that the Maestro has passed on the blade-making to his (?)son, and that more practice and experience is needed for the new pair of hands to achieve the same results. I have no idea if that is true, or whether it's just internet gossip. What I do know is this: Livi stainless damascus blades from the era above can get sharp enough to be around 90% of the sharpness of my best carbon steel damascus razors, and they can maintain that edge for months with minimal deterioration. Combine that with the fact they won't rust and you have a perfect solution for travel razors.