"Razor blades + Microscope", or "What does your blade really look like?", Episode 1 Dorco New Platinum ST300 Personna Platinum Chrome ("Red Box") - Dist. by ASR Crystal Super + Platinum ("Israeli Personna") Treet Blue Special, blued carbon steel (maroon/gold paper) Today I snapped some photos of four blades under two microscopic magnifications. Although this was just an initial hasty test, I think I got some good results. Unfortunately, a conventional 1000x power is designed for a very flat viewing section under oil immersion, and that's simply not going to work for razor blades. For the same reason, it's hard to get clear pictures with lower powers as well. I also didn't clean any of the lenses because honestly I didn't know this would work as well as it did, and I really had insufficient light so I'm going to try again soon. But anyway... on to the blades! Dorco New Platinum ST300 Just eyeballing this blade gives the impression that the slope is curved and the edge rounded. I seem to have misplaced the image of the low magnification, but the honed area has large uneven craters that look to me like air cavities, and the cutting edge has an uneven orange peel or shark skin texture. The Dorco 300's were the only blade of the 4 that showed these characteristics. It could have been a bad blade, so next time around I'll try another box. Under both magnifications, the blade still seems to have a rounded tapering and the edge is very hard to focus on. I would guess this is why these blades are so "forgiving" Personna Platinum Chrome ("Red Box") These are the blades supposedly produced at the same factory as the Crystal "Israeli Personna" blades. Mine appear to have the same packaging, stamping, and box numbering as the "eBay Red Box" blades. At 100x, one side of the blade looks like a 3-angle grind job, but the other appears to be 2 angles. Strange... maybe these are a bum batch. I'll do some more of these blades next time around. There are very clear striations from shaping the blade; sort of a brushed aluminum look Close up, the edge has a clearly chromatic surface (rainbow). I'd guess this is the coatings. The cutting edge appears to be relatively straight and even, with some areas where the edge is slightly receded. Better that protruding! Crystal Super + Platinum ("Israeli Personna") "Made in Israel" dispenser, white paper w/ blue printing. I'm pretty sure these are the real deal, and the microscope seems to agree. Deep striations like the "Red Box" blades, so they're not radically different. The closeup didn't come out well, but the blade was very similar to the "red box" Personnas.. just better. The edge was a bit finer, only a few receded areas, and a hell of a lot more coating. I like the way this looks! (aside from the striations) Treet Blue Special One of the few carbon steel blades I have, it was a sample so there's only one to look at. Fortunately, it looks great. Wide view shows much finer striations that the "red box" and Crystal (d/t being carbon steel?), a two angle grind, and a very fine edge. Closeup shows evenness that I would put on par with the Crystal, but the receded spots on the edge are not as wide. I don't know if these are coated, but I don't see anything on them. Carbon steel is prone to rust, unlike the stainless blades, but take care of these and you should get a damn fine shave. Supposedly you can even hone them because they're carbon steel. ---------- Well that's it for now. I'm pleased with the results of my makeshift experiement, so I think I'll charge the camera so I'm not in a hurry, clean the lenses, and have a go at it again sometime. In the future, I'll be testing packs of the following: · Personna "red box" re-test · Dorco re-test · Derby Extra (5 coating) · Iridium Super Extra Stainless (Gillete, St. Petersburg, Russia) · Sputnik (St. Petersburg, DuPont brand PTFE coating) · Wilkinson Sword Classic (black label, triple coated, not NOS) · Personna Super Platinum Chrome (top of the line, US, large dispenser) I also have single blades as free samples of: · Treet Classic (carbon steel, supposedly same as Blue Special) · Treet Trig Silver Edge (imported exclusively by B-----ria Italia?) · Polsilver ("Polish" Gillette, imported exclusively by B-----ria Italia?) · Treet Dura-Sharp Stainless (embellished packaging) · Super-Max Platinum (Indian made for UK market, platinum + teflon) · Vidyut Zorrik Super (Indian) · Gillette 7 O'clock (St. Petersburg, not Wilkinson 7AM) And of course if anyone wants anything else checked out, plese feel free to send me a couple of blades. Just PM me and I'll give you my address. I'd ask that you send two blades in case one is a dud, 3 if you really want to. Thanks for your time, and I hope some at least find this interesting if not informative. P.S. ImageShack is a PITA and mangles my filenames... is there another free alternative that lets me directly embed images?