2.22.2013

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor

Overview
The Dovo "Best Quality" is an entry-level straight razor made by DOVO, an independent German company founded in 1906 based in Solingen. Given this is a German-made straight razor, "entry-level" comes with a rather high standard of quality.

"Best Quality" razors come in two sizes (5/8" and 6/8"), two grinds (full-hallow, half-hallow) and three colors (black, white, blonde). All are made from carbon steel and rounded at the toe. Each is relatively plain-looking with a very basic plastic handle, but they shave wonderfully. It's a good beginner's straight razor, which is why I choose it.

Full disclosure: I really have no credibility to write a sound product review on this razor. This is my first straight razor and I'm still new to the game (only 27 shaves completed) so I have nothing to compare this to.

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor | Image Credit: Traditional Shaving




Design

As stated, this is an entry level straight razor. Thus, you won't find ebony wood, ivory or gold plating here. But that stuff doesn't matter in one's first straight razor - it's about getting comfortable and learning how to effectively wield the most manly of grooming instruments.

I find the blade design a nice touch, branded with its place of birth (Solingen) and the model (Best Quality), and the brand (DOVO) along the tang. All of the specs on this straight are perfect for beginners: 5/8" size coupled with a half-hallow grind finished off with a round point. Size refers to the height of the razor, or the distance between the spine and the edge. If this terminology is confusing, check out my post on the anatomy of a straight razor. Not sure I see myself straying from the 5/8" size in the future. In terms of the grind, common perception seems to be that half-hallow is easier for beginners to learn on because such a grind is not as particular about the angle at which the blade approaches the skin. A full-hallow, on the other hand, is a bit lighter and more flexible compared to the half-hallow. It sounds like many migrate to a full-hallow grind once they have more experience. The round point finish is just plain safer for a beginner than going with pretty much any other option (square/spike, barber's notch, Spanish, French/Irish). I guess this choice really depends on how much you value your jugular. Plastic handle definitely feels cheap, but again, it's an entry level so get over it. I do like the black color, especially compared to the mustard-like "blonde" alternative.

Below are some photos I took using an iPhone 4S of my Dovo. In retrospect these photos are kind of terrible - I don't know what I was thinking shooting these on that nasty brown carpet in our apartment. No editing has been done to the below. I may re-photograph my straight after I hone for the first time and re-post.

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor with Silicone Treated Sleeve

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor Size Comparison to Pencil

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor Open

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor Close-Up
Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor Blade


Function
Overall, this is a fairly easy razor to hold and manipulate. The tail is a good size for stabilizing overall operations while shaving. It's fairly forgiving on the angle you approach the skin. Sliding a piece of folded tissue through the handle to dry off any water is a breeze, and it works the linen and leather sides of the strop nicely, though I still need to hone. Having no context at all for any other straight, I nevertheless feel very good about my choice in a beginner's straight razor.


Sources
Dovo Best Quality Straight Razors by The Superior Shave
DOVO Solingen by Wikipedia

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