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Types of Metals Used for Straight Razors

There are basically 3 types of steel used for straight razor blade manufacturing.  Carbon steel, Stainless steel and Damascus.  Listed below you can find the pros and cons to all. 

Some will talk about the “feel” of each blade, but we will not go over that as feel can be subjective.

Because of the way Damascus steel is manufactured, it is not ideal for straight razor shaving.  Things that might make Damascus good for knife manufacturing does not apply to straight razor manufacturing. However, it does remain popular.  In some rare cases you can find a Damascus razor with a carbon steel edge welded on.  This type of razor can give you the look of Damascus with the performance of a carbon blade.

 Carbon Steel Blade:

Pros

  • Easier to hone
  • More give to the blade (depending on the grind)
  • Less expensive
  • Readily available
  • Wider selection

Cons

  • Easily stains and rusts without proper maintenance
  • Does not hold its edge as long as stainless

*It is not hard to properly maintain a carbon blade. That does not change the fact if it is not properly cared for, it will rust. Taking the time to dry the carbon steel will go a long way to preventing rust, also using a little razor oil from time to time, will help keep the blade from deteriorating.

 Stainless Steel Blade:

Pros

  • Holds its edge longer
  • Does not stain or rust as easily

Cons

  • Harder to hone
  • More expensive
  • Less of a selection

Damascus Steel Blade:

Pros

  • Aesthetics (subjective but I needed a pro)

Cons

  • Folded steel can give imperfections on the blade edge
  • Use of both hard and soft mettles
  • Expensive

* Some Damascus can be made of higher quality hard metals.  However, in order to achieve that high contrast striped look we all associate with Damascus, a softer, non-ideal steel like nickel must be used and then etched away.

  There are many types of carbon steel used in the manufacturing of Straight Razors.  Here are a few:

  • O1
  • 1055
  • 1060
  • 1070
  • 1080
  • 1095
  • 5160


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