Paul Broadwith, from the UK, asks:
“I have a Parker Model 91R razor and I have a question about razor in general – what exactly is the difference? When you buy a razor, the blade is the most important part. With the double edged razors you can buy different blades so I’m thinking that the actual razor itself is less important but there are a loads to choose from so I am missing something. I know some of the Merkur razors have mechanics where you can angle them which I think would be a good place to start, but I can’t see what the other razors offer over what I have. So what is the difference, what should I be looking for and what will give me the best shave?”
I’ll try to answer you question succinctly, because the nuances and differences of razors could easily fill the chapter (or two) of a book. However, in brief the biggest difference you will find between razors is the “mildness” or “aggressiveness” expressed in the differing blade exposures. Typically the more acute the angle the more “aggressive” it feels to the face. The adjustable razors on the market are built with mechanics to change the exposure gap customizing your razor and shave. The rest of the razors that are manufactured have just one blade gap setting. This is the major difference in razors. The rest of what separates razors apart from each other are just different options in physical characteristics such as handle length, weight, handle diameter, finish and other options. Look for what feels most comfortable starting with the blade then to each razor based on your own personal preferences until you find your ideal razor. (which for me at this point in time is the Merkur Futur) Best wishes on finding your ideal shaving equipment!
Do you have any burning questions you would like ask our wet shaving expert Aaron Wolfenbarger? CLICK HERE TO ASK AARON YOUR QUESTION
“I bought a Parker 82R Super HeavyWeight Butterfly Open Safety Razor along with Feather Hi-Stainless Double Edged Razor Blades and to be completely honest have stopped using it after about 6 or more shaves due to the amount of cuts under neck and at corner of mouth. Am I using the correct blade? Why is this happening (I was so disappointed I now use a 150.00 Braun series 9 electric but would love to have carried on using a proper razor, and have always been a wet shaver since 16 so 24 yrs now,” asks Paul Ewing, from the UK.
Thanks for your question! If you are relatively new to wet shaving I suspect the Feather blades are the culprit. The Parker is a good razor, but the Feathers are extremely sharp and have the reputation of being called “ninjas” on wetshaving forums because of their sharpness. They are great blades but can very unforgiving especially to the beginner. I suggest finding some other blades such as Derbys, Gillettes, or Israelis to use for now. Once you have more experience under your belt revisit the Feathers, they might become your favorite blade!
Do you have any burning questions you would like ask our wet shaving expert Aaron Wolfenbarger? CLICK HERE TO ASK AARON YOUR QUESTION
My New Year started off beautifully. I woke up suddenly around 9am, entangled with my loved one, and had the startling and somewhat shocking revelation that I was completely hangover-free. I hopped out of bed, had a cup of coffee and some toast, and set about deciding what my first shave of 2011 should look like.
Nick from The Shaving Shack had recently sent me a box containing the Bluebeards Revenge Scimitar double-edged razor and a tub of the Bluebeards Revenge post-shave balm. This, then, was the way to go. I knew a review needed to be written, a beard needed to be shaved, and… Well, it was time to get moving.
My initial impression of the razor was that it was similar in nature to most other higher-end modern razors (see Merkur as a fine example). It displays the Jolly Rodger skull-and-crossbones proudly on the top piece, echoing the “Bluebeard” pirate theme that runs throughout their product line. The fit and finish were absolutely perfect, and the heft and balance of the razor definitely felt great. Perhaps my only complaint – out of the box – was that the grip was a touch slick.
After a hot shower, I popped a fresh Japanese Feather blade in, lathered up with Truefitt & Hill’s Lavender cream (which has quickly become my standard go-to luxury shave cream) and set to work. The razor was just slightly more aggressive in feel than my trusty vintage Gillette Superspeed. I’d put it close to setting 4 or 5 on the Gillette Fatboy adjustable, though very smooth and forgiving at the same time. It made short work of my beard and left me feeling quite happy with the results in 3 standard passes.
I finished up with a thorough rinse and a shot of witch hazel, and then opened up the tub of balm. The consistency was quite thick, so I popped a finger in, grabbed a dollop, and rubbed it in quickly. The first thing I noticed about the balm was that it burned as though it was an aftershave splash, which of course screams “alcohol!” to me. I’m not normally a huge fan of alcohol in my balms – if I want it, I’ll use a splash. In this case, however, it works. I was a little surprised, to be honest, just how WELL it worked. The balm absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling fresh and moisturized without even a hint of oil or shine. The scent of the balm was pleasant as well, a nice classic barbershop style, though it lingers much too long for my taste.
I continued to use the two items every day until this morning, and the only change in my technique has been a switch to Art of Shaving’s excellent lemon shave cream. The razor has completely knocked every other double-edge out of rotation. My Superspeed, Fat Boy, the uber-1970′s Krona, even my Merkur slant – they’re all sitting unused in my medicine cabinet. I’ve not touched the other shave balms I’ve accumulated over the last few years at all lately, and even with daily use for over a month I’m still not even 1/4 of my way through the tub of aftershave balm.
My only suggestion for a change is that Bluebeard should release a completely unscented version of the shave balm. Otherwise, I’m extremely impressed with both products and would heavily recommend them to anyone entering the wetshaving world.
We recently sent out a Parker 98R safety razor to Mike Sandoval, who writes for leading US wet shaving website Shaving101.com.
Mike had politely told us before we sent him the 98R that he had already tested the Parker 91R and had given it a “less-than-favorable” review.
So off went the 98R by plane across the pond…
The US wet shaving guru started off his 98R review by saying: “When unpacking the razor, I was most surprised by the weight of the 98R. The handle and cutting head weigh in at approximately 4.3 ounces (121 grams), making this one monster of a razor.
“The handle design is a variation of Merkur’s barber-pole style and has a one-direction spiral-knurling pattern instead of the diamond pattern found on the Merkur. The knurling is cut deep and uniformly, and it provides a good grip surface on the handle.”
He went on to add: “The chrome plating on the razor and cutting head is applied well with no noticeable spots of uneven coating. The two-piece cutting head itself lined up properly when loading a blade and reassembling the razor, leaving an even blade exposure on each side of the cutting head.”
Mike explained that he thought the cutting action of the razor felt a bit more aggressive than he expected due to its heavy feel in hand, but added that the 98R delivered a “solid shaving performance”.
In conclusion, Mike said he found the Parker 98R to be well made and a fair alternative to the more expensive Merkur 38C, adding it is a “good value razor for the budget conscious wet shaver”.
You can read the full Shaving101.com review by clicking here.
It has recently been reported that British supermarket giant Asda is to significantly reduce the cost of its Gillette razors by up to 40 percent.
And while this is an admirable move at last for those who use the brand’s shaving products, especially when you think of how cheap it is to actually make these blades, the fact still remains that razors which utilise disposable cartridges such as Mach 3 and Fusion still do not provide value for money for the country’s men.
The company has decided to finally act against widespread anger from guys who have been complaining about the cost of shaving products over the past few years. Therefore, it is no surprise then that many of these men are turning back towards retro wet shaving products like double edged razors.
Even though the cost of replacement cartridges may be dropping, by over a third, by at least one supermarket, the truth is, Gillette razor blades will still end up being more costly in the long run. As Britain’s men of shaving age are waking up to the thought that double edged razors are not just a traditional shaving product confined to the distant past, but make for a luxurious and much more enjoyable experience, people are growing tired of the gimmick which Gillette started when replacement razors were first introduced.
Marketing can only get you so far, and now men are beginning to take a stand against the rising cost of shaving products from the likes of Gillette and aren’t prepared to shell out a small fortune on blades which only cost about 5 pence to manufacture (with a 4,000 percent mark-up).
They may have been clever in getting top sports stars like Roger Federer and Thierry Henry to promote their shaving products, but this latest move by Asda only goes to show that while the blanket pricing from Gillette may be over, the damage has already been done. For those switching to the affordable yet luxurious world of double edged shaving, all we can do is welcome you to the real men’s club.
These days, while you are watching anything on TV it is almost impossible to escape from the latest ads describing how great the ‘new’ electric razor blades actually are. These models are so much better than the last, apparently, and will give you the best shave possible. That is, if you believe all the hype.
There is so much money to be made from getting males who are old enough to shave to spend their hard earned cash on the latest all singing and all dancing electric razors. Not only do they cost a packet in the first place, you have to spend a fortune each year on expensive replacement blades.
Therefore, it is no wonder to learn that many blokes are not taken in by this clever marketing but judge their razor solely on results. It is no secret that the old ways are usually the best. Sure, you can always claim to improve on shaving products, but at the end of the day the quality of the shave speaks for itself.
If you need reminding of the benefits of using double edged razors, then firstly, there is the amount of money to be saved. Just by switching from a Mach3 or Fusion model to a double edged razor you will start to notice the extra cash you have in your wallet, which you can put to good use.
The main reason that these razors are superior is the effectiveness and closeness of the shave, with less irritation of the skin. Electric razors pull on your facial hair, leave more stubble and are decidedly uncomfortable to use. It is also a myth that electric razors are faster to use too.
Double edge razors are surprisingly easy to use and the investment in these decent razors is certainly worth it in the long run, as real men can testify. Indeed, many men have tried out these electric gimmicks and have now gone back to a traditional, manual razor.
1. Chrome Plating
The chrome plating is typically not the same thickness all over the razor due to the curving surfaces, so this might lead to slight differences in the blade gap on one side of the razor head versus the other.
2. Razor blade cutout tolerances
You also have to factor in the tolerances built into where the cutouts of the razor blade sit (see picture below). If you place a razor blade on to the head and see how much wriggle room there is you’ll see that it is quite a feat for it to naturally rest perfectly aligned.
3. Hand assembled tolerances
Double edged razors are assembled by hand so there will always be tolerances that do not influence the function of the razor, nor its performance.
Is this a problem?
No. These razors have been hand built for many years using the same casts so these tolerances have always been there. Some people have the expectation that it should be the same as the mass made plastic Gillettes you find in supermarkets, which are of course, manufactured using precision machinery. Although the function is the same, they can’t really be compared because the production methods are different. As an analogy, think about the individually assembled coachbuilt cars versus the typical robot built modern cars. Both drive perfectly well but the coachbuilt cars will have more production ”quirks”!
On a functional level it does not present a problem when shaving as the blade never actually sits perfectly square onto the face as the skin is not flat and unyielding.
So, I know its not a problem but even so I’d like to straighten it, what should I do?
Simply take the time to load and straighten the blade before you clamp it down.
Take this razor as an example. As you can see it appears not to sit flush when I let the blade rest in it’s default position. However, after tweaking the razor blade before I clamp it down, I am able to get it as straight as it can be.