For generations, men traveled to a barber for a weekly or regular shave with a straight razor. The invention and mass production of disposable razor blades provided men the convenience of shaving from home without the stropping and honing that is required of straight razors. While most switched to safety razors or cartridge razors, many still prefer the traditional style of the straight edge razor. The Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor offers the convenience of disposable blades with the look and feel of the iconic straight razor.
Parker Safety Razors has manufactured razors since 1973 and offers a full line of safety razors and straight-edge barber razors with more artisticly designed handles than their German-made counterparts. More importantly, the razors are produced in India so they are offered at a much more affordable price point on the market. The brand lacks the flawless presentation of Edwin Jagger and precise engineering of iKon, but it offers attractive razors that perform incredibly well for the money.
The SR1 straight edge razor is no exception to this trend. The SR1 is a useful razor for men who want the feel and experience of a straight edge using a disposable blade that does not have to be stropped or honed. It is also a popular model for professional barbers who offer straight razor shaves to their customers, since health codes may prohibit a barber from using the same blade on more than one customer. The SR1 allows barbers the ability to easily change and discard a blade between clients with a razor that mimics the look and feel of a genuine straight.
The SR1 razor is constructed of steel throughout the blade and scales. Surprisingly it is still significantly lighter in weight than most traditional straight razors, but the thickness of the scales and shape and design of the blade holder give the SR1 a comfortable and well balanced feel. The body of the blade holder is made of two identical shaped pieces of metal that are held together tightly to secure the blade between them with two pins that align them and anchor the blade in place. The spine of the razor pivots upward and releases the tension on the two separate pieces of the blade assembly so that they can be separated for installing a new blade. Once the blade has been aligned on the two pins and the razor reassembled, the spine lock is pushed back down to secure the blade from moving. This assembly works very well for keeping the blade from moving and throughout my shaves with this razor, I never had any problems with it becoming misaligned or needing any readjustments.
The SR1 is designed to use one half blade, which can be purchased this way or you can break a standard double-edge blade in half. The easiest way to break a double edge blade is to leave the blade in its original paper wrapper, hold it in a thick towel or cloth and bend the blade in half lengthwise until it snaps. Double edge blades are very thin and will break cleanly and easily. Holding the wrapped blade in a towel helps to safeguard against any injury to your fingers while bending and breaking the blade. The pins in the razor are set at a standard width and will align with any popular brand of blade.
The SR1 is designed to feel natural in the hand to anyone who is familiar with shaving with a straight razor. The scales have a good thickness and provide a comfortable balance making the razor easy to hold and use. Because the cutting edge of a double edge blade is very thin and the razor feels lighter than my other straights, the only adjustment I make to my shaves is to be a bit more cautious with the amount of pressure I use against the skin. When used with short and light cutting strokes, the SR1 handles well and provides very close and comfortable shaves. Between passes the lather and stubble rinse away easily under hot running water making the SR1 very simple to keep clean. Since I am only using one edge of the disposable blade for each shave and cannot flip the blade between passes to distribute the wear between two cutting edges, I typically only use the blade for one or two shaves before discarding it.
For men who are straight shaving enthusiasts and enjoy the hobby of collecting and maintaining straight razors, the disposable blade design will never serve as a replacement. The SR1, however, is a good option for travelers who want to use a straight without having to pack a strop along as well. In addition, it is convenient and affordable for barbers who are restricted from using a regular straight razor. For only $22.88 from Super Safety Razors, the SR1 razor comes with five Shark brand half blades that are ready for use. The Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor is a great value for a disposable straight razor that is well made and easy to use.