What am I looking for in a second hand straight?

Jun 9, 2016
Courtesy of Paste and Cut, I've found that some of my hometown's antique shops keep a pretty good stock of straight razors for sale. As such, I'm looking to get one, however, I know nothing about anything when it comes to cut-throat razors. Is there anything that I should be looking out for, good or bad in a second-hand blade?


Active Member
2017 Sabbatical Fail
2018 Charity Auction Winner
Jun 11, 2016
calling @Substance

In short,

very little to no rust on the blade
The blade needs to be flat, slight smiles are ok,
none of them are sharp, you need to send it to a professional to sharpen, or an experienced amateur.

very deep rabbit hole
Nov 1, 2018
Where are you located? What price are they asking? You might get a better price on Ebay. I picked one up for 99c and it is a good shaver and it had no rust and had been used very little. That’s usually not the case. You might be better off grabbing a blade that’s already sharp. johnmrson on eBay knows his stuff and has razors for sale often and they are shave ready. His last sale was a Le Jaguar 6/8 straight razor - shave ready for USD 38 and yes he is local, based up in Queensland currently.
Jun 18, 2016
Gladstone, Queenslads, Australia
G’day @ollietwo
try target minimal hone wear,
avoid rust and pitting especially near the edge as this will usually run deeper resulting in a loss of blade height,
straight scales are preferred but slightly warped horn scales can be corrected with a bit of heat
good steel is best as scales can always be replaced but factor this into the purchase, if a rare blade At the right price, the purchase may be worth it


from Lanolin
Feb 7, 2019
@ollietwo you could take some pics and post them for feedback.
Aussie history, Wade & Butcher, Sheffield or Solingen are all popular, or the pretty boys etched, gold, filigree.
Lots of experienced members on the forum can provide expert advice.
Jun 9, 2016
Cheers for the help guys. I'm still looking - mum seems to think that she has her Dad's straight stashed somewhere at her place. I'll wait to see if that turns up. Either way @Substance I'll be getting you to restore it. (y)(y)
Jun 14, 2020
Ballarat, Vic
Drop my 5c

1. Geometry. You want spine parallel to edge, otherwise it's an eternal pain to keep straight
2. Smile/frown. Slight smile is fine, any frown is not. Try to find image of new condition and see if it had any smile initially. If it didn't (and it's not a chinese razor), might hint to a problems with pt 1.
3. Cracks in the edge. Definitely a no-go, it might be way deeper than it looks.
4. Chips in the edge. Generally workable if not too deep, but easier to avoid
5. Pitting corrosion. Normally don't affect function unless close to edge (or absolutely massive), but you won't be able to get rid of it realistically.
5.5 Surface rust is normally not very hard to get rid of, but be aware if its too much of it.
6. Edge - generally not a problem if it is parallel to spine, but might take more sharpening than you'd want. Be wary of non-uniform wear, normally sharpening strip on the spine should be more or less same width along the length
7. Wear on spine. Obviously, shouldn't be boxcutter-thin. :)