I’m a bit of a razor snob. Actually, I’m probably a bit of an everything snob.
I prefer vintage razors to new ones, but only if they’re in mint condition. I’m still a little grossed out by the thought of sharing decades of DNA with the previous owner(s), so when I buy a razor, I aim for the best. In fact, with the exception of the Injector E in my bathroom, every one of my 12 (yikes!) razors looks just as new as my Merkur Slant.
That’s why I’m sure I overpay for old razors, and it’s also why I’ve overlooked perfectly good, weathered razors. In fact, I already knew about Razor Emporium before they approached us to advertise on Sharpologist. I knew a little about the process of replating. I simply didn’t have any gross old razors to try it with.But Mantic came to my rescue when Razor Emporium offered me the chance to review their “Revamp” service, which was unconnected to the small sponsorship package they purchased. Like every vendor who sends us free stuff, we promise honest editorial consideration.
Turns out Razor Emporium didn’t have much to worry about.
Mantic mailed me the grimiest razor I’ve ever seen. He didn’t know what it was, beyond “Old Gillette.” Turns out it was a 1930s vintage Gillette Short Comb NEW razor. There’s no amount of scrubbing that I would ever do to touch this razor to my face.
So, right after the new year, I put it in a box and mailed it to Razor Emporium’s Phoenix office. I told them to pick whatever finish they thought looked best, and in 60 days, the razor arrived back at my office.
Wow. Just wow.
Unless you were looking for defects, this specimen appeared brand new. Shinier, I’m sure, than when it rolled off the production line. If I looked as close as I could without a magnifying glass, I could see just the tiniest amount of brown when the handle met the bottom piece of the razor head. There also was maybe a two millimeter line on the top of the head. The new plating is just eight micro-inches thicker than the original. It came completely sanitized and shave-ready.
But this is splitting hairs, pardon the pun. The razor was now beyond mint condition. Gleaming in rhodium, this 80-year-old tool looked stunning. It simply sparkled. With care, it will now last another 80 years.
How did it shave? Great, of course. Even with the open comb, it felt mild to me, like my Edwin Jagger DE89. The only odd thing I noticed was that after being out of town for a week, the Feather blade inside it had rusted, leaving rust on the razor, too. I’ve never seen that before, but the rust wiped off easily.
A lot went into this, of course. Razor Emporium didn’t just clean and replate the razor, they also bent it back into shape where needed. They can work with almost all completely metal razors, so that excludes razors with bakelite, black or colored tips.
Granted, the wait time was long. Two months is a long time for anything, and Razor Emporium told me they had just switched replating shops, so new orders will be completed more quickly. And it’s not cheap – this process would have cost $79, although silver and nickel are only $55. But cheap and value aren’t always the same thing.
Is it worth it? Depends, but probably. If you just stumbled across your grandfather’s razor, or you want to go vintage but are a bit of a germaphobe – and you have a little patience … absolutely.
I’ve now seen it first-hand. Razor Emporium will make your grungy old razor look better than new.