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Thread: Darwin Deluxe SE

  1. #1
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    Default Darwin Deluxe SE

    Hi! I'm new around here, and as well as straights my other great shaving love is wedge blade safetys like the Wilkinson Empire and Rolls razor. I also have the complete range of Valets but the jewel in the crown is the Darwin Deluxe.
    So by way of introduction, here it is:
    The Rolls is certainly a clever piece of design but the Darwin is a masterpiece of British instrument making:

    The heavy bulldog handle has a screw thread which attaches to the blade holder frame in two ways - in line for storage and perpendicular for shaving.

    And in a stroke of genius the handle also screws into the side of the blade making it easy to hone and allowing the blade to be inserted and withdrawn in the stropping mechanism and frame without having to touch it.

    The blade has a small grub screw in its centre and adjusting this screw alters the blade gap in the spring loaded frame, and consequently the aggressiveness of the razor.
    And the tiny screwdriver necessary for this adjustment is stored in the base of the handle.

    The stropping mechanism is similar to the Rolls in both action (you pull the end of the case in and out) and sound, but the blade clips in to a holder so there no potentially damaging spike like the Rolls.
    And there's no hone - instead there's a two sided strop, fine for daily maintenance and coarse for touching up the edge when necessary.
    The strop can be slid out and reversed by releasing a clip at the end of the case.
    I pasted my strop with feox for daily use and 0.25u diamond for touch ups and, as with the Rolls, this works very well.

    There's a spare blade holder in the lid of the case and the two blades that came with my set both had feathered edges so it took a lot of work to get to the good steel, but it was certainly worth the effort and the way the handle inserts into the side of the blades made honing them very easy.
    After setting the bevel on a coarse synthetic, I took the blades through a progression of Welsh slates then finished on 0.3u lapping film before stropping in the case, first on diamond and then on feox.

    With the blade mounted in the frame, the Darwin looks like it comes from another planet.
    And how does it shave?

    Set on maximum blade gap, the end result was very similar to the Rolls, i.e. magnificent, but the more developed blade guard and heavy chunky handle made for a much smoother shaving experience.
    All in all, this might very well be the most astonishing safety razor there ever was

    Last edited by mjclark; 08-07-2014 at 09:15 PM.
    Geezer, BobH, Grazor and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
    NZ's okayest dad 1997 Grazor's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Land of the long white cloud
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    Nice. I have always wondered how good they were. A lot less common than the rolls too.
    Geezer likes this.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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    Nice Darwin and yes they do shave well. I must have missed the handle in the blade for honing bit so thanks for mentioning it.

    Geezer likes this.
    Life is a terminal illness in the end

  4. #4
    Senior Member Walterbowens's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
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    Very cool razor!!
    We have no control of what other people do or say to us, but we have control to how we REACT !! GOD BLESS

  5. #5
    Senior Member TrilliumLT's Avatar
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    Everett, Ontario
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    Funny this thread popped up. I was out hunting today and came across one in good shape. I passed on it but if some wants to know its super secret location in the Great Toronto Area i would share it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    I found one for a pittance a while back and it needed some TLC but a new strop and cleaning, made it a great shaver after the blade was honed and stropped. Probably pass it to the heirs.
    They are definitely worth a fair double Rolls price found locally.
    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
    - Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
    Senior Member guitstik's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
    Eads, TN
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    Dammit, another freaking razor to add to my list of wants.
    SRP. Where the Wits aren't always as sharp as the Razors

  8. #8
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    Aug 2014
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
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    Hmmm, seems like the season to be finding these Darwins. I don't collect razor's just about everything else so my wife says. I pick up razors for a friend of mine who collects. I was in our one and only antique/vintage collectables store in town and found these. I bought the Darwin for $50, seem to be all
    Name:  DarwinPage2-1.jpg
Views: 477
Size:  45.9 KBName:  Razors.jpg
Views: 555
Size:  32.3 KB there, both blades, strop but no instructions or box. If anyone has the instructions in pdf form that they would like to share that would be great. I also included patent drawings I found on the web. Very cool design and razor. I might not be able to part with it.
    I am not sure if the Darwin is the De-lux or Universal. I do think the case is stainless steel because a magnet will not stick to it, I read that Universal are chrome plate and a magnet is attracted while stainless steel will not and that was what the De-lux case was made of, stainless steel. Is there any other was to tell the delux from an universal?
    Last edited by Landshark; 08-09-2014 at 06:26 AM.
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