Shaving with the Valet Autostrop VC2

A little while ago I bought a Valet Autostrop, almost by accident.

Unlike some vintage razors, you can still get blades for the Valet. And since I consider myself a shaver and not a collector, I got some blades and gave the Valet a spin to see if it belongs in my rotation.

The jury is still out on that though. Yes, I have shaved with it for a week, but a few shaves isn’t enough to show me just how good the Valet is.

Of how bad, for that matter.

It is – mechanically speaking – a very interesting razor. The way it secures the blade is different. The way it aligns the blade is different – yet similar. And the blade itself is different too.

Then you have the whole “push lever to release blade holder so it swings freely”. It is there so you could strop the blade – hence the name Autostrop. The strop actually goes through the razor, and the blade swung in the right direction as you pulled the razor along the strop. The whole thing was highlighted in advertisements and animatronic displays.

Historically it is also an interesting razor. You could consider it an also-ran when compared to Gillette – but also compared to the GEMs and even Schick’s Injectors. It is more complicated than most other razors. The construction is mostly sheet metal. It requires it’s own blades. And yet it survived, unlike other also-rans like the Christy or the CURBO.

As mentioned, blades are still made for it – although you have a lot less choice in blades than you do for a DE or even an Injector blade. Some report using a de-spined GEM-blade in their Valets – I can see that in the early A, B, and VC1 perhaps… but in the VC2 and later you have to work around the alignment bumps. Bumps which, by the way, different between various models of the razor – but always lined up with part of the VALET name cut out in the blade.

As far as the shave goes… the Valet Autostrop VC2 is pretty middle of the road.

It is not great, but not terrible.

It don’t nip or scrape, but it is a bit on the mild side of things. Getting the angle right was a little tricky, until I realised that like my GEM razors you can simply place the top cap flat against the face. The left side blade stop has a small burr on it I probably ought to take a small file to. People tell me the FHS-10 blade dulls quickly, but I didn’t notice much degradation over the course of a week.

Will the Valet VC2 make it into my permament rotation? How long will the blade last me? I don’t know.

I don’t know yet, that is. I’m heading into the second week of shaving with it. There might be a third.

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