Iwasaki Tamahagane Western Straight Razor - NOS ~ Private Reserve
Forged by the Legendary blade maker Shigeyoshi Iwasaki himself. This is one of my NOS Iwasaki Razors.I have only ever seen 2 NOS ones, and I own them both. I have one son, so I only to keep one. My personal Iwasaki Razor is a restored one, and you only need one...
A word of caution; as this is a razor you only need one of. (If I had to shave with only one straight razor it would be my Iwasaki Tamahagane.) As such, it may appear to make sense at the time to tell your wife when purchasing one should you get the chance "Well, it's the only razor I'll ever need" to justify the expense, but don't. She may remind you that you said that should you somehow manage to find 2 NOS ones later. And it's true, you only need one. ;-) A simple "Because I want it" is the smart bet. (besides you've also likely heard speculation that a single straight edge and some quality stone is technically more than a lifetime of shaves. I have, I just wouldn't know and I don't know any other shavers that know that from experience either.)
The special tamahagane used to make this blade took Iwasaki san 10 years to develop, as the 60-62 HRC of Katana blades wasn't high enough for edge retention of a razor. Not by Iwasaki's standards. The blade edge on this razor is hardened to a stupefying 67 HRC (steel 'should' be brittle and shatter at this hardness when thinned to a razors edge. However from experience with my personal used one and my Iwasaki Tamahagane Kamisori and from other lucky Iwasaki owners- they don't. The forging and metallurgic control Iwasaki San had over steel was simply perfect)
Unfortunately, When sanjo forge was moved years ago the equipment used to make the Tamahagane was damaged beyond repair and plans were never enacted to rebuild. Sadly Iwasaki san is a bit senile at 82 years of age and I believe and agree with the estimations of others that another Iwasaki Tamahagane razor will never be made. Neither the Kamisori or the far rarer western straight. If you cannot afford a Tamahagane Iwasaki, don't despair. His Apprentice and successor Ryoichi Mizuochi makes limited runs of Traditional Kamisori from Swedish steel, which while not Tamahagane, are impeccably forged and take the next keenest edges. I have several new ones that I will be adding to the site and they are much more attainably priced. I have one in my rotation at all times myself.
This one is NOS and MINT. It is gently set atop one of my favorite kiita for composition only. (they do look beautiful together don't they?) It has never been honed and is astounding. It is not shave ready, and I know from experience in honing my own Tamahagane Iwasakis and others that the honing takes much longer than a traditional high quality razor like say a Dorko, or Dovo Puma or other german steel which go up to 64/65 HRC and are very hard steels themselves. Iwasaki is on another level entirely. As such, honing one of these is it's own reward and it takes time. So does dulling it, it holds its edge above all.
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