The recently released Rex Envoy is the answer to many wet shaver requests to have a razor that performs much like its big brother predecessor “The Ambassador” but without the adjustment feature.
Personally, I usually steer away from adjustable razors because I seldom use the adjustment feature. Once I find a setting, I like I usually stick to that which almost defeats the purpose of owning one.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing adjustable out there, and I hope one day I will change my approach, but until then my heart is with those that don’t adjust.
When I heard that Rex was coming out with a three-piece non-adjustable razor, I was very intrigued. I made sure to pick up one.
Before I get into the actual review let me take a moment to discuss the company and the person behind the Envoy.
About Rex Supply/Razor Emporium:
[Ed. note: West Coast Shaving links are affiliate.]
The Rex Supply Company was established in 2016 with the release of the Ambassador, an adjustable safety razor that is made in the USA. It’s owned by Matt Pisarcik who also owns and operates Razor Emporium a wet shaving business that specializes in the repair/restoration of safety/straight razors as well as selling artisan goods from their own label/and others.
After several years of working with other razors Matt decided to create his own. He utilized his knowledge from repairing/restoring thousands to release his very own double edge adjustable safety razor.
Sometime after the release of the Ambassador, Matt received requests to make a non-adjustable three piece razor with a similar design. After some research and development, the Envoy was born.
In addition to the Ambassador and the Envoy, Rex also produces a stainless-steel razor stand and black walnut travel case that is compatible with both razors and are readily available on the website.
It’s important to mention that while Razor Emporium and Rex Supply are separate businesses but owned by the same person so feel free to visit the brick and mortar shop or drop a line to both companies with any inquiries.
The Envoy is a classic style 3-piece double edge safety razor that consists of 316L stainless steel. It’s 3.5 inches long, weighs 106 grams and is 100% made in the USA.
I’m one of those guys who is really interested in what makes up a razor, especially when it comes to stainless steel. 316L is resistant to corrosion due to its low carbon content and is usually used in marine applications. Many higher end razors such as Wolfman and Carbon Shaving use this type of steel as it generally can be polished to an almost mirror-like finish.
I was impressed to see that the Rex is built of 316L knowing that they could have gone with a cheaper alternative metal and kept the MSRP the same.
At 106 grams, the Envoy is on the heavier side. The razor is built for those who appreciate the Ambassador so keeping the weight around the same is a very smart move. This keeps the feel of the razor similar with a lower price. (*Note: heavier weight does not necessarily mean the razor is higher quality)
Under initial observation, the Envoy has a very industrial look and feel to it. The finish is matted clean and smooth but not polished. The weight as previously mentioned gives the razor a good heft and is well balanced when picked up. The knurling (or grip) on the handle is very deep and when picked up creates a strong grip so the user does not drop it if their hands get slippery.
The handle is unique as it screws down into the baseplate leaving it flush. This locks it into place and prevents it from getting loose. If you’re looking to use a custom handle, you may have to pass with the Envoy or find one with a similar design.
Just like the Ambassador, the Envoy has a date code and unique serial number so you can find out exactly when it was made. I love this concept and wish more makers would follow suit as it just adds to the uniqueness and gives a personal touch to each razor.
Conversation with Matt of Rex:
Shortly after the release I caught up with Matt of Rex Supply Co. via phone and we discussed the Envoy and the company. We had a great discussion, and I could feel his passion about his work at Razor Emporium which in turn is the reason for the creation of the Rex Brand.
To summarize our conversation, the Envoy was built for those who prefer a non-adjustable design but still wanted to experience similar characteristics of the Ambassador. The aggression level was set to the most common setting used by owners of the Ambassador: setting 3. No additional plates with different blade gaps will be produced as the Ambassador serves this function.
The Envoy is a razor built so everyone can enjoy it, including those who love custom big dollar razors and those who are just taking the plunge into traditional wet shaving. When I asked if anything new is on the horizon for the Rex brand Matt explained a new concept he’s been working on and we should see it later this year! It sounds interesting but I’m sworn to secrecy.
*Disclaimer: The following interpretation of this razor is based solely on the author and his opinion. Please remember that YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) with this and any razor.
As previously mentioned, the Envoy is designed so all wet shavers can enjoy it. It is not too aggressive for the beginner and is still plenty fun for more advanced wet shavers.
Whenever I shave with a new razor, I follow the same regiment. I always start with a with the grain pass (WTG) followed by relathering and an against the grain (ATG) pass. Although many wet shavers do enjoy a three pass (WTG, XTG (across the grain), ATG) shave I find I get the best results with two passes.
Upon my first with the grain (wtg) pass I picked up the razor and felt the weight in my hand. It felt solid and strong. The knurling on the handle is very functional and will not slip from your hands no matter how soapy your hands get. The grip does feel a little industrial, like holding a wrench or a ratchet (which is not a pro nor con just an observation).
Shaving with the grain is effortless. I let the razor’s weight guide me and I used little if any pressure on my entire face. Mild but very efficient. Against the grain the same, a very efficient shave. The weight of the razor does make shaving ATG feel more aggressive than it really is, so I used virtually no pressure and found it to be comfortable. I will mention that even a little pressure changed the shave dramatically. Lighter the touch the smoother the shave.
If I could add/change anything with the Envoy I would probably have a polished version and would offer a less aggressive knurling pattern for the handle. Otherwise this razor is fully functional and well-built.
The MSRP of the Envoy is $125. Add another $150 for the black walnut case and the stainless-steel razor stand. The Envoy (and Ambassador, along with the accessories) are also available from West Coast Shaving.
The Envoy is a razor designed for both razor enthusiasts and beginners alike. It’s composed of quality materials and is fun to shave with. The individual serial numbers and date codes a nice touch and will help with identification years to come.
About the Author:
Joe Borrelli is a long-time wet shaving enthusiast and collector. He hosts the Wet Shaving News/Talk Podcast , runs his own self-funded website http://shavestraightandsafe.com/ and operates a YouTube channel to help inform the community of new information involving the wet shaving world. Joe holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University, and currently works for the nation’s largest wine/spirits/beer retailer. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Linda & son Anthony, reading, writing, outdoor activities and collecting wet shaving apparel. Joe has also written several dozen articles for online publications such as Sharpologist and How to Grow a Mustache. Find out more about Joe here.