The world or razors and shaving is an old one. Probably one of the oldest really, you can find out how old in this blog post! But despite being that old it’s still a pretty confusing subject. There’s a lot options and terminology that confuses newcomers and dab hands alike. We’d like to clear that up a bit! Here’s the main differences between the 3 main types of straight razor available on the market today: cut-throat, replaceable blade or Kamisori.
The cut-throat razor, which is the common term for a straight razor, were the most commonly available before the 20th century. Cut-throats have a blade sharpened on one edge. The blade can be made of either high carbon steel, which is slower to hone and strop, and holds an edge longer. Or stainless steel, which hones and strops quickly but has a less durable edge. Carbon steel is the most prevalent in the industry.
Our razor, the Dark Stag Stainless Steel Cut Throat Razor, is made with stainless steel to keep up with the fast-paced modern barbershop.
The blade of cut-throat razors rotate on a pin through its tang between 2 protective pieces called scales. This ensures that when the blade is folded into the scales, the blade is protected from damage. And that the barber doesn’t lose a finger.
Handle scales have been made with a wide variety of different materials. Ivory (now illegal, except for fossil ivory), mother-of-pearl, plastic… the list goes on. Ours is made with a beautiful, high-quality wood.
Replaceable Blade Razor
The replaceable blade razor is a tool of many names, commonly known as the disposable blade straight razor, shavette, etc. This variety of names is the leading cause of confusion among new barbers and hobbyists.
The replaceable blade is visually very similar to cut-throats, the identifying feature is that they don’t have an edge. Instead they have a holder for the replaceable blades. Removing the necessity for honing, stropping and getting the edge resharpened every few months.
Legislation in the majority of US states, the UK and a number of other countries means that replaceable blade razors are usually the only option available to barbers. Most outright ban their use commercially, but some only require a license.
The Dark Stag Premium Straight Razor is the furthest step away from the traditional design of classic cut-throats. It is constructed entirely from stainless steel, from ‘blade’ to scales!
The word Kamisori is actually the Japanese word for “razor” Anglicised (かみそり), which tells you how common this style is in Asia.
What is a kamisorir exactly? The kamisori razor dates back to more than eight hundred years ago, where it was used by Buddhist monks to shave their heads as a symbol of Buddhist faith. The most glaringly obvious difference in eastern and western razors is the lack of scales (handle) for the blade to fold in to. This can make storing them and their portability a bit of a issue, but as long as this is thought of in advance it holds no major disadvantage. The blade of a kamisori is also shorter, an authentic one never exceeds two inches. The blade is also uniquely shaped for a more effective sharpening.
As the Japanese borders gradually opened to the rest of the world, western style razors were introduced to the people. This has not majorly impacted their sale there though. The Kamisori is still the most preferred shaving tool in Japan today.
We at Dark Stag saw the potential for this design, both with regular shaving, but also exceptional detailing and created our Kamisori Razor. Instead of limiting customers and forcing them to exclusively use one brand of blades, we have made sure that the razor can take any standard double edge blade. This makes the tool highly economical, both in terms of money and time, with its rapid 2-second blade change!
Which is best?
It’s a tough call. If you prefer the classic look and feel then we recommend the cut-throat. If you’re a barber and still want to preserve the age-old barber aesthetic, then we recommend a replaceable blade.
But if you are looking to revolutionise your shaving experience, in the home or in the shop, then we recommend the Dark Stag Kamisori Razor. Change the way you shave.