Dovo Straight Razors: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
I’m a big fan of new production Dovo straight razors and work with them a lot. I settled on Dovo for two primary reasons. First, all of their razors are the same quality for shaving performance. Performance of my Dovo Best is the same as my Bergischer Lowe. Pricing differences are due to finish and scale material. Of course, they sell different types of blades and men will have preferred blades based on these differences.
The second big reason I like new Dovo’s is that they are properly honed before leaving the factory. Of all the blades I’ve worked with, all but one fit my definition of shave-ready with stropping on balsa w/ stropping paste and regular stropping.
Quality straight razors are hand-made, requiring great skill; especially for full-hollow blades. Buying a blade that is already honed culls many of the problem razors before landing on your door step.
Most of their razors a satin-finish on the blade as opposed to being polished. Tangs/tails aren’t polished either, though blades with gold plating in these areas seem to be smoother.
The problem with gold plating on the tang and tail is that it always comes off over time. Personally, I don’t like gold plating on the face of the blade because it will come off as well.
It’s somewhat surprising that the straight razor industry hasn’t moved to stainless steel in the same way that culinary knives have. Dovo told me that they have done focus/shaving groups and that men don’t notice a difference between carbon and stainless steel.
All their razors I’ve worked with have the same level of sharpness, with one exception. Their Prima Silver Steel blade seems to get sharper, which isn’t surprising as sharpness is one of the qualities of silver steel. I test the sharpness of blades I can’t shave with using a human hair. All of the blades pass this test by cutting the hair with a very minor catch. The Prima is the only blade I’ve ever tested that cut the hair with no catch at all. I doubt most folks would notice a difference in the shave due to this.
Most of their razors are 5/8, full-hollow. Full-hollow blades deliver a closer shave due to metal flexibility when compared to flatter grinds. They are also more likely to cause nicks.
The Bismarck is a very popular 6/8 shoulder-less model. The purpose of the shoulder is to add stability. The lack of shoulder probably leads to the blade being more flexible, thus allowing closer shaves
The only aspect of Dovo products that I don’t like are the scales. Their scales are flat, like most modern scales. They are also 1/8” thick. Thick, flat scales feel clumsy to me. I can go with flat scales if they are really thin, though not 1/8”.
Having said that, Dovo puts their focus on the quality of the blade, which is exactly where it should be.
Have a great shave,