Straight razor kits by Cut Throat Club offer an easier way to get started with a straight razor. Each kit comes with a curated set of everything needed to get started, including a razor, strop, shave cream, brush, and more.
Straight Razor Kits And “The Odds Of Success”
Straight Razor Kit is a surprisingly popular query in the internet search engines: according to Semrush, a leading keyword research and online ranking site, the term gets well over 4000 queries each month (just in the U.S.).
But most of the results for that query leave much to be desired. Just try the query yourself and look at the first page or two of results:
After a set of ads, and the inevitable Amazon product listing, there are a couple results for the “best” straight razor (no kit). That’s followed by results that are kits, but it seems like each kit has a “weak link” that makes the kit less effective: a “white label” razor of unknown brand or origin…or an inexpensive shave soap that may not make the best lather necessary for shaving with a straight razor… or a cheap brush….
I think if a shaver (or someone giving a gift to a shaver) wants their best chance at success in learning to use a straight razor, a set of products with well-known characteristics is a good idea.
Cut Throat Club Straight Razor Kit
I’ve been getting the itch to try using a straight razor again (after several false starts) but I want to create an “environment” that would offer me my best chance at success at doing it this time, removing as many variables as I can.
Obviously the primary consideration is the razor itself. A little while back I asked some straight razor experts what kind of razor they would recommend. Click/tap here for the full article but distilling all the information boiled down to this:
- Blade size: 5/8 or 6/8
- Blade point: rounded
- Blade metallurgy: carbon steel
- Blade grind: full hollow
- “Shave ready”
from one of these brands:
- Ralf Aust
- Thiers Issard
By coincidence, at the same time I was considering all this, Cut Throat Club out of Australia (they also ship to North America and the UK) happened to contact Sharpologist about some information and cooperative opportunities.
While I was browsing around their website gathering background information I saw their “Cellidor” straight razor kit and it immediately piqued my interest: here was a curated kit of brand-name products with well-established quality and performance characteristics:
- A Dovo straight razor with specifications recommended by experts.
- A razor strop from Dovo, including a balm to maintain the strop.
- A very popular, well-known, and well-performing shave cream.
- A shave brush with quality characteristics, from an established brand.
- An alum block from an established brand, to address the inevitable “oops” moments while learning how to use a straight razor.
I asked if I could try the kit and they sent me one. It arrived in a well-packed box that could even be used as a gift presentation box. Let me go into a little more discussion of each element. Descriptions from Cut Throat Club website are in italics, followed by my comments.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shave Cream
Taylor of Old Bond Street is one of the wet shaving world’s premier soap manufacturers. Opening in 1854 by Jeremiah Taylor, he quickly gained renown for his botanical extracts. The TOBS brand epitomizes classic British style and understated elegance, reliability and quality. The Taylor Of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream is a classic masculine scent with a nutty essence of natural almond oil. Rich in essential oils creating a uniquely smooth and creamy lather whilst protecting and moisturizing the skin to give a better shave.
Taylor of Old Bond Street (TOBS) Sandalwood shave cream is a very popular shave cream–possibly the best-selling traditional shave cream judging by the numbers from Amazon and other wet shaving retailers.
TOBS Sandalwood delivers a fast, voluminous lather, even in my “hard” water, looking like a heavy meringue. For me both lubrication/glide and protection/cushion are top-shelf. In fact I have to be careful I don’t make too thick of a lather or else my shave isn’t as close as it could be when I use a safety razor. When I use a straight razor I intentionally make a slightly thicker lather for a bit of extra “insurance.”
Post-shave moisturization is solid as well.
Cyril R Salter Pure Badger Hair Shaving Brush
This Germany made shaving brush is made from Pure Badger hair and is great for creating a thick lather from any shaving soap or cream. This is one of our most affordable shaving brushes and is ideal for a beginner getting started in the world of wet shaving. This brush has stiff bristles and is particularly suited to building a lather from a soap puck.
I’ve said before that Cyril Salter is the “youngster” of the traditional English wet shaving brands, having been around since “only” the 1940’s. While best-known for their shave creams they also have a number of other products, including this shave brush.
While this is not the largest, most luxurious brush on the market, it is certainly better than the boar or early-generation synthetic brushes that many other straight razor kits come with.
Specs aren’t listed (on either the Cut Throat Shaving or Cyril Salter websites) but my “kitchen counter” measurements say the loft is about 47mm, the knot is about 25mm, and the handle is about 50mm.
In use I find the brush pretty good: perhaps a bit small for those with meaty hands but on the other hand smaller brushes offer more control than larger brushes.
Dovo Two-Side Leather and Fabric Hanging Strop
The key to maintaining a straight razor is to keep it sharp. Every stroke of a razor begins to blunt the edge and over time this can result in less than optimum performance. As a razor becomes blunter it can take more effort and more strokes to get the desired shave which is when cuts become more likely.
I admit to a personal bias here: I think this strop is too small.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s made well, it’s two sided (more on that later), and it should be fine for most anyone.
But I think it’s really a “travel” strop: about 12 inches long and 1.75 inches wide.
The 12 inch “draw” is fine but the short width will require the shaver to strop in an “X” pattern.
Admittedly that’s not a deal-breaker, and the typical straight razor shaver will probably have to learn the X-pattern stropping technique at some point anyway. But for the best odds of success at stropping I would prefer a full-width strop.
On the other hand, unlike many other “beginner” strops, this strop has two materials to strop onto: a fabric side and a leather side. The idea is to strop with the fabric side first to clean the blade edge then use the leather side to realign (not sharpen) the blade edge.
Dovo Stropping Balm
Keeping your razor sharp with a strop is the basis of straight razor maintenance, but over time the leather strop itself can dry out and form cracks. These cracks then prevent the strop from giving the razor a smooth surface and can result in poor sharpening and blunt edges. Using a stropping balm regularly will keep your strop soft and smooth and will ensure your straight razor stays as sharp as possible. Simply smear a small amount of balm from this 50 ml tub on your strop before every use. A little goes a long way.
I’ve never seen this included in a straight razor kit but I think including it is a great idea!
As Cut Throat Club writes above, keeping the leather side of the strop supple and smooth will improve the consistency of the blade edge, though I don’t think you need to apply it before every use–once every couple of weeks should be fine as far as I know.
Apply a tiny bit of the balm (like they said, a little goes a long way) onto a lint-free towel and thoroughly massage it in. Then use a clean part of the towel to sort of “buff” it into the leather–you want to avoid having residue (of any kind!). The strop should be as clean as possible before a blade touches it.
Omega Alum Stick
This is a fairly typical alum block for closing up nicks on the skin from shaving. Click/tap here to read all about alum blocks.
Beginners Cut Throat Razor – Dovo ‘Cellidor’ Best Quality
You don’t need to be a barber to give yourself a professional shave with the Dovo Solingen Cellidor Cut Throat Razor. Whether you are new to the art of wet shaving or you just appreciate a great shave, this entry-level Dovo Cut Throat Razor will allow you to get that fresh-from-the-barber look in the comfort of your own home. Whilst labelled entry level at Dovo this razor is far superior to cheaper variants found online (usually produced in China)
- 5/8″ Blade
- Round Point
- Carbon Steel Blade
- Black Plastic Handle
OK, finally “the meat of the matter!”
As Cut Throat Club mentions, this is an “entry level” straight razor. It’s not fancy by any stretch. But it’s a well-known and well-understood razor in design and construction.
And there are a few construction details that rise above other less expensive entry level straight razors. The “shank” or “tang”–the small area between the blade and the handle, where the razor rests a finger or two for balance–is textured for a more secure grip.
The end of the razor’s blade (the “point”) is rounded for a (relatively) safer shave around detail areas. Most other entry level straight razors also have rounded points but this Dovo has a noticeably “curvier” (is that a word?) point compared to other straight razors I have.
As for the metallurgy of the blade itself, it has a good “temper.” Many inexpensive straight razors use a “softer” metal that can’t hold a sharpened edge.
The “Shave Ready” Question
It is essential for the straight razor beginner to have a blade that is “shave ready.” Most entry level straight razors may be sharp enough to cut but not necessarily sharp enough to shave with.
Cut Throat Club’s web page does not mention if the razor is “shave ready” so I inquired. Their response:
“Yes the blade is shave ready, Interestingly I was chatting with the new CEO of Dovo on Tuesday and he confirmed that since he bought the business (in the past 2 years) he’s ensured all the Dovo Razors are manufactured shave ready. Apparently the previous owners did at one time send out a batch of razors to distributers which where not shave ready and so have gained a bit of a reputation. All our stock from Dovo is newly manufactured and so can confirm are shave ready.”
The truth is I was a little skeptical. I had read many blog and forum comments about Dovo razors not being “shave ready” and certainly most of the wet shaving vendors who sell straight razors suggest spending a bit of extra money to have a razor professionally “honed” (sharpened or re-sharpened).
So I approached my first shave with the Dovo Cellidor straight razor with a little trepidation.
But, to my pleasant surprise (and relief) it seems to shave just fine (given my relative inexperience with straight razor shaving)!
Summing Up: My Experience With The Cut Throat Club “Cellidor” Straight Razor Kit
The Dovo Cellidor Straight Razor Kit by Cut Throat Club is a great option for those looking for an affordable and quality straight razor kit. The kit includes all of the necessary components to get started, with a set of established products curated to remove as many of the shaving variables as possible so the shaver can concentrate on their technique. The Cellidor steel provides a sharp and durable edge, making it perfect for beginners or experienced users alike.
Cut Throat Club also offers several other straight razor kits including a lower cost “beginners” kit and a more upscale kit with products like a Dovo “Bismarck” razor and a larger shave brush.