El Cubano DOC Safety Razor - Havana Bronze & Bock Gold Gun Kote
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Cigars and Razors just seem to go together, many a SOTD photo features both and it seems more and more tobacconists are carrying shaving gear nowadays too...can't explain it, but it works as a crossover. Enter The El Cubano, effectively killing two birds w/ one stone; Meaning you get to check off two boxes on your man card, "Cigar" and "Safety Razor".
Havana Bronze, accented in Bock Gold
The Cubans give credit for the creation of the cigar band to Gustave Bock, a European immigrant, who ordered a paper band with his signature placed around ever cigar his company produced.
What is Gun Kote?
Gun Kote is a hard, abrasion resistant coating which meets and exceeds all military and aerospace specifications for protective coatings. Using both metallized and non-metallized pigments to achieve a beautiful finish. With a pencil hardness of >9H, the coating will flex with a 180 degree bend. Gun Kote is formulated to provide excellent impact resistance, lubricity, heat dissipation, chemical and corrosion resistance, durability and scratch resistance. The cured coating will not attract dirt or debris. Gun Kote can be used for a variety of applications including, but not limited to: Aerospace, Military and Law Enforcement, Firearms, Motorcycles, Automotive and Industrial and commercial applications.
The El Cubano is the product of a long over due collaboration between PAA and Delta Echo! Jay and I have been talking about doing something like this for awhile but both of us being very time poor, never had a chance to get down to it...until now.
We are very excited for this opportunity to work with the current best name in Gun kote and absolutely love the job Jay did with our DOC...nailed it.
So we got that going on.
NOTE ON USE: As with any new to you razor you will need to Learn It. By this I mean the proper angle. This will come from use, you will actual detect this audibly as well as the blade bites into the hair. Another common mistake is over-tightening the handle...don't do this, it will practically close the blade gap. Rather tighten the handle snuggly as with all 3-piece razors. These tips will aid you in a great DOC Shave!
Now the Classic DOC Specs:
Looks agressive, no? Looks can be deceiving.
Ready yourself for a smooth, BBS shave gents. The head cap on The Phoenix starts where every other OC stops and with good reason. The OC reservoirs on the head catches excess lather and water keeping the razor constantly lubricated during the shave. This action also makes this razor, I believe, the worlds best buffing razor! If you are a fan of our classic Symmetry and Name Taker knurling you are going to love the grip on this handle as well, especially you shower shavers!
Being a collector of vintage razors I have seen a lot of oddities from yesteryear, some great concepts and designs that never really "blew up". I blame this mostly on Gillette's aggressive marketing back in the day. If they couldn't buy out a small razor company, they would bury it. And that's what we have here...
The Phoenix Dbl OC is based on the classic Self Lubricating Grand Razor, a masterpiece in both design and concept! It is one of my favorite razors of all time, and again, I don't think it was ever fully evolved or explored after it disappeared into wet shaving history...until now!
I took the basic design tweaked it and made some slight alterations, removed the dip in the center of the head cap, added a tad more weight to the handle for consistent fulcrum, and hit it with our special brand of knurling. *Also unlike it's GRANDfather, this razor head will fit on a number of standard handles[see update below]! A perfect razor for the collector and a perfect razor for your daily driver!
I am very proud of this one and could not be happier in my effort to bring this baby back to the future!
FIND DE Blades HERE!
*There actually were a few models of Grand Razors that do fit standard handles, mea culpa.
Classic 3 Piece Design
Blades Not Included
Handle Weight: 36 grams
Gun kote Coating Finish - Plated Brass
Head: Gun kote Finish Plated Zinc Alloy
" A revolutionary razor. You have bridged the gap between double-edge and straight razor shaving…the ease and safety of double edges with the closeness and precision of a straight. The razor made my beard ‘feel’ tougher, but I immediately knew during my first shave with it that meant that I was FINALLY getting down all the way and surprisingly, with no nicks or even razor burn… the alum was cool-as-ice afterwards. I hope you weren’t counting on me sending this back…it’s staying right here and will become my daily shaver. Now all I need to figure out is what to do with all of the stainless steel…any idea as to scrap prices ?"
~Damon Stathatos, Old Town Shaving
"At last! I've been shaving with the Phoenix for several months now and can finally give my assessment...
I am not a fan of aggressive razors. Luckily--despite the fact that upward of 50% of the blade is exposed through this double-open-comb design--THIS IS NOT AN AGGRESSIVE RAZOR.
When it arrived in the mail, my first thought was, "Uh oh. Here goes another one of Doug's famous super-aggressive shaves." I had tried the Symmetry Open Comb and it is WAY beyond my comfort level for aggressiveness. This razor does not shave like the Symmetry OC. In fact, this razor does not shave like any other DE razor I have ever shaved with!
The best way I can describe it is that it sucks the hair right out from under the lather, leaving the lather practically untouched! Refer to the attached photo of my neck. See all those rows of lather? That's what is left behind when you take a stroke with this razor. The effect is you can pretty much do two complete facial passes with a single lather. This spells bad news for all youz guys with massive soap collections. You ain't NEVER gonna get through all that soap while using this razor. If soap were gasoline (and if you've got a CtW puck, your soap actually IS gasoline!), this razor would be a Prius. This razor's gas mileage is so good in fact, Doug may have just put his soap-making out of business!
One thing I have found out is that angle on this razor is SUPER important, more so than any other DE razor I've used. I've found that a pretty steep angle will keep that blade positioned to mow down stubble with wonderful smoothness. Flatten out the angle and essentially I'm just raking my face with the OC base plate (not comfortable or effective). In other words, keep that angle steep and you will prosper with this razor.
Summary: the Phoenix razor is totally unique in my DE experience and is a total winner. And, as always, Doug is charging far too little for this gem."
~Ryan Steven Green, Moustache & Blade Podcast
"This is a very interesting razor, I'll elaborate more below.
For those that are not aware, this razor is based on the Grand Shave King Self Lubricating Razor. We rarely see them in shave of the day pictures as they are quite rare.
This razor has a retail price of under $35, which puts it in the same price range of the Parker 26c, Merkur 41R (1904 Open Comb), and the Merkur 15c Open Comb.
Fit and finish is really top notch, way better than any Merkur that I have owned, and on par with the Parker 26c, which I've stated has as good plating as Edwin Jagger and Mühle.
It is about the same size as the Merkur 11C HD, slight longer than the 1904, but with a much gripper handle.
On initial inspection the geometry of the head looks very similar to the 1904 except the top cap features an open comb design. Once you load the blade you can can visibly see it thanks to that open comb top cap. That alone gives it a "cool" factor.
I took Douglas' advice and did two passes and buffed. I'll admit that I stopped buffing long ago when I stopped chasing BBS, I really was not looking forward to buffing, but figured why not, I'll try it.
How can I say this....I had fun. Really, I had fun shaving, it has been a long time since I've had fun shaving as the thrill of the hobby that you have as a n00b has been gone for years. But this was really a fun shave.
I was going to swap out the handle with my UFO or one of the Matador Stainless Steel handles, as I like very heavy razors, but I'm really glad that I didn't. The handle weight is perfect for what this razor is designed to do, give you an easy shave.
The razor easily zips around your face and sings to you while doing it! Audio feedback is about the same you hear from the iKon slant, less than what you hear from some of the SE's.
So overall all I give this a thumbs up and have moved it into my rotation razor rack. Very nice work by Douglas on bringing this to market.
So is this razor for you? I cannot answer that. If you like the R41 as a daily driver, I'd probably say no. If you like Techs to EJ's, I'd say yes. If you are expecting the quality of a Mongoose or Above The Tie, I'd say get real, this a a $35 razor. If you find the quality of Edwin Jagger or Mühle acceptable, then you'll have no problem with the quality on this.
While this looks like it would be crazy aggressive, it's a lamb in wolves clothing. Although it's mild thanks to the effectiveness of this razor it provides an über close shave."