New Release: Martinez Blades
Feast your eyes. . . on Martinez Blades. We’ve been searching a long time to find an artisan who is crafting straight razors. Blade making is an art – and almost a lost one at that. So, when we heard about Mike Martinez we were so excited about the tools he is bringing to the table. Meticulous research, testing, and design are displayed in his exceptional blades. We are delighted to offer you the absolute best in quality, craftsmanship, and form. Check out Mike and his blades.
Mike was first exposed to wet shaving during his time in the military. “I became interested in wet shaving during a deployment to Iraq in 2005. My roommate, Aaron Urquhart, shaved with a DE, cheap brush, Williams' puck and a mug. It had a hint of sophistication and elegance tempered with an inherent manly vibe. From that point forward, wet shaving became the only way to shave,” said Mike. And the strict requirements of the military meant frequent shaving was a must. But wet shaving wasn’t only helpful to Mike during his time in the military. It was also important as he got out as well. “Martinez blades started sometime around late 2009 when I left active duty service and needed something to help me acclimate to civilian life. Learning blade smithing became nearly an obsession that consumed my time almost exclusively. I spent years learning the fundamentals of metallurgy, playing with blade geometry, and studying popular vintage blades to see what made them stand out. For the first 4 years, every blade made in the shop, stayed in the shop as they slowly improved in quality. Often, I make a blade, try it for a while, study it and break it in order to test certain aspects of the steel quality. It wasn't until 2014 that I offered my first razor of which only a few were sold,” said Mike.
Now, the demand for his exceptional work goes beyond “a few” razors. Many wet shavers can’t wait to get their hands on his work. These blades are handmade, by Mike, from start to finish. And the designs are one of kind. “My blades are all unique in that they are handmade from start to finish in my shop. I do not outsource heat treat, honing, scales or grinding to anyone. Their style makes them different; the lines are complementary to one another and often the scales mimic the blade which is something you do not often see with custom made razors, much less production blades. I test each blade rigorously before it leaves the shop to assure that quality is met. The heat-treat in a blade is even more important than geometry in that geometry can be corrected but if the heat treat isn't right, you have no more than a letter opener. Over the past 6 years I've done quite a bit of testing and tweaking with the heat treat schedules used in my process. I've had help from some of the most knowledgeable and respected metallurgist in the smithing world to ensure that the steel is correct for its intended purpose,” said Mike.
But there was a time when Mike questioned whether he would continue to offer his gift to the world, until the wet shaving community reached out. “Due to a stressful divorce in 2015 I was ready to close down the shop on move on to something else, but a Facebook PM from Wesley Allen changed all of that. He contacted me to build a razor for a charity raffle for fellow wet shaver Chris Peace. Chris' youngest son, Abrahm, was born with a heart defect and many in the community rallied together to offer a bit of monetary assistance as a way to help, since we are all so spread out. I made an 8/8 wedge and Wesley dubbed it the Peace Maker after Chris' family name and it was such a big success that I had no choice to continue making them. Now, I have an updated model of the peace maker that I've renamed Abrahm Peace in honor of that tough-as-nails, young man,” said Mike.
Although Mike describes himself as "a pretty boring guy obsessed with making razors", we are blown away by Mike's work and think you will be, too. West Coast Shaving is the exclusive US online retailer of Mike’s amazing work.
Irish Grin blade
Images from @martinezblades on instagram