Service Review: Delta Echo Razor Razor Restoration

Posted: September 19, 2017 in Shaving Articles
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If you’re a vintage razor fan, now and then you’ll find one that is the exact model you want, but there’s a hitch. Yeah. It’s all beat to hell, and looks like it’s ready for the trash can. Many of these razors are old. Fifty years old, or more. Beyond that, they were consumer items that weren’t that expensive when purchased. For instance, the vaunted Gillette Fatboy was only a few bucks when it came out in the late 50’s. As a result, many owners didn’t take very good care of them. In fact, some treated them in a way that our hygienic current era would look at as a health hazard. Shrug. Things become collectible because people treat their stuff like rental cars.

So where does that leave us, when we have an otherwise-desirable piece, but it’s seen better days?

If you have a little patience, sure, you can rehabilitate them to some extent. Sometimes, stuff that you can do as an average duffer at home will get the razor up and running, and even get it most of the way toward looking sweet again. That’s actually one of the joys of yard sale or antique store finds. The challenge of cleaning off the gunk and polishing away the verdigris.

You can’t altogether turn back the clock, however. There’s only so much you can accomplish with elbow grease, solvents, and polish. Actual physical damage, pitted finish, and so forth will always tell the sordid tales of yesteryear.

Lucky for us, there are a few services out there that will take an old razor, even one that looks like a total derelict, and tune it up for you. They’ll do the things that we may be unable or unwilling to do. The things we don’t have the time, mechanical acumen, or possibly equipment to accomplish.

One of those services is called Delta Echo Razor Works. You can buy a razor straight from them (depending on what they have in stock), or you can send a razor to them, pay the cost, and they’ll fix it up.

Here’s what they do:

1) They disassemble and clean up the razor, killing off all the accumulated grunge of the ages. Yeah. Even inside the mechanisms, such as they are.

2) They strip down the coating to make the piece ready for “a new coat of paint”… (As it were.)

3) They coat the razor with a type of hard-shelled coating that is usually used on firearms. I’m not sure if it is Dura-Coat, specifically, but it is something along those lines. Essentially, it’s a sort of finish that will withstand extreme rigors. There are a number of different color schemes available, from quite subtle to highly colorful.

4) After the coating is cured, they reassemble and re-tune the razor, setting the blade gap and alignment.

Depending upon the design of the razor in question, the complexity and resultant cost of the operation can vary quite a bit. With a standard 3-piece razor, it’s all pretty simple. An adjustable Gillette? Not so much.

I sent my F2 Fatboy, which had iffy alignment, less-than-perfect adjustment, and a lot of cosmetic damage, to Delta Echo. I ordered the Ink Edition colors (as seen above), and waited about two months. Currently, (Summer ’17) that’s about what to expect in terms of interval.

Here’s what happened:

Delta Echo fixed everything with my razor.

The finish looks great. It is a slightly matte finish, with just a hint of texture. The character of the coating seemed to fill in virtually every battle scar on the old veteran.

The movement of all the parts is smooth, the blade gap is even and correct, and the alignment of the razor is right on. The coating lends a slightly different feel, both in tactility and in sound when the moving parts rub together. This has no negative impact on the glide of the razor when in use, however.

After having used the razor as my primary for weeks, I can tell you that it performs great, and is easy-care in terms of keeping it clean. Unlike some paints, the rubbing alcohol I use to clean off the soap scum doesn’t seem to have any negative reaction to the Dura-Coat type finish.

Would I recommend this treatment to others?

Yes – if you’re willing to sink that kind of cash into a vintage razor. (Many new razors can also be sent in to have this treatment done to them, if you like the snazzy colors, but would prefer a new-made base razor. Please check with Delta Echo for models they are able to work on.)

You can buy a really nice razor, like a Rockwell 6S for the same cost as the refinish. That’s if you have the razor already. It’s more if you want Delta Echo to furnish the donor. Probably not the thing to do if you are a shaver on an extremely tight budget.  On the other hand, if you have a vintage razor much in need of refinishing, it is less than the services that replate razors with precious metal. It also, of course, lets you have fun with exciting color schemes and so forth.

So, it’s expensive. Cheaper than some other options, but expensive.

What do you get?

The exact razor that you want, in perfect running order. The qualities that allow the coating to survive the impact, heat, chemical solvents, and general abuse of a firearm should make it survive just fine on a razor. Unless your razor lives a highly interesting life, it shouldn’t encounter anywhere near the same rigors that a gun would.

I’m super pleased with the service. If you have the patience to wait for the turnaround and the cost doesn’t deter you, I’d recommend it highly.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

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