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Second Razor Review: The Goodfella

First, I'd like to thank all of you for sticking with me through the whole razor odyssey. I plan for this to be the last shaving-themed post, although the topic may come up again in the future.

Last time I reviewed the Azor, a cartridge razor from England (The U.K. The mother country. Across the pond. Old blighty. Tea town.) Today, I'm reviewing a totally different animal. The Goodfella, a deluxe safety razor made and supplied to me for review free of charge by Kiwishaver LTD, from New Zealand.

It is an extremely attractive piece of equipment. My first impression upon opening it was that it was surprisingly small, but small is not a bad thing. (Bet you're surprised to hear an American say that.)

The Goodfella claims no revolutionary technological advances. They don't say they've reinvented anything. Your grandfather could pick up the Goodfella and feel right at home with it. What the Goodfella does promise is a beautiful object, expertly crafted from the finest materials, that you will use every day, like an Eames chair, or an engraved revolver. (Bet you're not surprised to hear an American say that.)

As you can see, I was sent the two-tone model. It has a chrome handle and a satin-black head. It looks great. Makes the rest of my bathroom look shabby in comparison. Looking at the pictures on Kiwishaver's website, I feared the "G" logo on the head would be overbearing, but that's not the case in person. Like the other safety razors I've used, you load fresh blades into the Goodfella by unscrewing and dismantling it. The pieces fit tightly and reassemble solidly. The whole razor has that reassuring heft that only a device machined out of solid metal can provide. Kiwishaver offers a lifetime guarantee on the Goodfella, which shows a certain amount of confidence in their product.

As for using the Goodfella, it's a safety razor. An attractive safety razor, but a safety razor nonetheless. Using it is exactly like using any other safety razor, only better looking. As with all safety razors, if you put in the effort to learn the techniques needed, it will remove hair from your face just as quickly and effectively as a cartridge razor (if not more so). I'm not there yet. I'm getting great shaves out of this thing, but it is taking more time and care than a cartridge razor did. More practice is needed.

So, let's break it down into pros and cons.

The Pros:
High quality
Inexpensive refill blades
Lifetime guarantee

The Cons:
The handle is polished chrome with a few ridges to keep it from slipping. Seems like it could get kinda slick, but it hasn't so far, so take that for what it's worth.
The price

Oh, I hadn't mentioned the price yet? Right now they have a promotion where you get the Goodfella, twenty-five blades and two samples of Primal Earth Shave gel for ... $90 USD. Before the promotion, the price for the Goodfella and a five pack of blades was ... $90 USD.

The Goodfella is a beautifully made, high-quality item with a very practical use. It's designed to be the last razor you'll ever buy. One hundred years from now, your grandson may well find a Goodfella in an antique store, or a box in his attic, and if he does he'll be able to put a blade in it and start using it as if it was brand new.

You have to ask yourself if that's worth $90 to you.

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Reader Comments (27)

I don't shave, but if I did, I'd want to use that.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjay

Actually having now read some more about all this "shaving" business, I am thinking I kind of want to give it a try. This one shave has lasted me for like... 12 years........

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjay

Since I've been commenting on these shaving posts anyway . . .

This certainly looks like a good double edged razor. If I had a blog which inspired manufacturers to send me free stuff, I'd give it a shot. As it is, after looking at their site . . . erm. Double edged razors don't have to be quite that pricey, although you tend to make it back on the cheaper blades.

I use a Merkur which cost me a little over $30. Merkur and Parker are two modern brands that both make excellent razors. You can get decent models for between maybe $20 and $35, although they do make more expensive premium models. Also you may find an old Gillette that's still usable or there are some cheapo brands which may not be as good.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMP

I haven't tried the Goodfella, but I've been trusting my face to the Merkur 197 for years now. The Merkur range of safety razors works great, handles great (the damn things are milled from stainless steel) and they're cheaper than the Goodfella (available in the US from shavemac.com). It's oldschool German engineering. For your face. Also, if you can, try to get Merkur blades; the quality of your blades is incredibly important when using a DE razor, and most blades are really disappointing. The Merkur blades are the best I've used, though I've heard that there are Israeli blades that are even better.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrabbitambulance

I'm a big fan of safety razors, myself. I have a merkur, but as you point out, as long as they're well constructed, they're all much of a muchness. About the only variation is that some of the more expensive ones have 'butterfly' fittings and let you replace the blade without disassembling the razor.

I didn't find that it took me long to get used to a safety razor. I certainly didn't cut myself much at all, on account of being too paranoid and careful until I got used to it (at which point I got careless enough to give myself the odd nick).

I have to ask - have you tried a badger hair brush with proper shave cream yet? I would more willingly give up the safety razor than my brush and cream.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNick Johnson

You had me right up to the point of the price. Now the name makes a lot more sense. Does the owner of the company also have a sanitation business on the side?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterty

Now if only I knew the best razor I could find at CVS or Giant.

Kiwishaver? They shave kiwi birds?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterClassic Steve

I have to say I'm afraid of safety razors. I really fear that sharp corner.

On a related, but different topic. As regards conditioner as a beard conditioner, I'm wondering if you would use hair conditioner as a replacement for shaving cream? Or is it merely a pre-shave conditioner?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

I've noticed that posts I make from my work computers seem not to get posted. Not sure if there's a reason for that. This one is being sent from home.

Yes, after looking at the link for the manufacturer's site, this looks like an excellent safety razor. It is worth while spending a little extra even on such a simple thing as one of these razors to get decent quality. There are some cheapo brands which won't give a good shave because of alignment issues, or the angle or exposure of the blade.

On the other hand, you don't have to spend *this* much extra unless you want to. There are plenty of good models by Parker and Merkur in the $20 to $35 range. Or you can find lots of the old Gillettes in usable condition.

I notice they sell Derby blades, which is a good brand, but you can get them a lot cheaper. I just bought 100 for $14.99.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMP

Damn, and I just bought an Azor on the strength of your review! Well, that and it was half price in the supermarket.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWilf

Are murderous thugs really what you want to associate your razor with?

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

It's a beautiful razor, though a bit expensive for my blood... Amazon US ( Clicking through the link above) has quite a few for $25-35 dollars as MP mentioned. I'd also reccomend a sampler of blades brands - there is a good deal of variation between blades in terms of coatings and edges, and what works well for one face may not be good for another...I learned that the hard way after shaving with one brand for a few months before trying another that shaved smoother and gentler for my fair hair.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

"Safety"? shudder. I have moles on my face, no way am I putting a naked blade any where near it, I'll end up looking like something out of Hellraiser.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter9Squirrels

@rabbitambulance ...I haven’t tried the Goodfella, but I’ve been trusting my face to the Merkur for 197 years now...

At least, that's what I saw the first time!

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrankenLooper

@MP ...I notice they sell Derby blades, which is a good brand, but you can get them a lot cheaper. I just bought 100 for $14.99...

Sharp edges oxidize over time, and dull without even being used. I suppose that you could store the package of 100 in a jar of olive oil. Yea, I'm sure that'd work. :-|

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrankenLooper

I just wonder why they call it a "safety" razor when it looks like the most terrifying thing I'd want to drag across my throat... A damn old fashioned straight razor looks safer. That being said, I'll probably try it out anyway.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteven M.

The Goodfella looks very much like the old safety razor I took to Air Force Boot Camp, and subsequently stashed in my luggage for the next 6 weeks. I could never have gotten it clean enough to pass an inspection. I went back to using it at Tech School, don't remember exactly why or when I quit using it.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlackkllab

Hey, for you shaved head types: Check this out. Most convenient I've seen.


October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChad

FrankenLooper, thanks, but 100 packs of most blades actually come as a box with 20 individually sealed 5 packs. No more likely to be corroded as I open each pack than if they'd been sitting in a warehouse for several months.

The main problem with ordering in large quantities is being sure that this is really the brand you want.

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMP

Shaving is for pussys.

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergoosemonster

I, like a previous commenter, got a Merkur from classicshaving.com for about $30, and it looks pretty much identical to this $90 thing. I paid $8 for 100 Derby blades (and got 5 free bluebird blades!). I don't think the lifetime warranty is worth $60, it's not like there's any moving parts that are going to go wrong.

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRavenBlack

[...] Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer: Your all-inclusive guide to a … [...]

The head looks a lot like my Gillette that was made in 1916 (model 102), but my handle is knurled, with the unscrewing part on the handle end. You can find 'em on ebay pretty cheap. I bought about a dozen different styles of old razors when I got into safety razors to try them all out, and ended up liking the oldest one the best. For those who are unfamiliar with this style, the "teeth" actually protect your skin from over-aggressive shaving, and allow me to shave quite rapidly while still half asleep.

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBourbonman

$90 for a razor and a heap of blades? Heck, I paid $130 for my Dovo Inox. (Of course it's all blade, but still.)

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWarren

Have you ever heard of the rolling razor? It's an interesting looking device that you might want to check out. I'd love to know how well it works.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKau

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