Gonna try the R41 2011 steep angle approach. Any helpful hints?

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by Codfish, May 29, 2014.

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  1. I've written a fair amount about the 2011 and using a shallow blade angle, but I'm aware of a steep angle approach gaining popularity. As I recall, Geofatboy's videos were influential here.

    Some of us use the shallow angle approach. I'll explain why later. For now, I'm looking for last minute tips on the steep angle approach. Is there anything I should do or be aware of?
  2. First Codfish, you are a true expert. Have confidence and things will go well.

    You probably know most if not all of the following:

    Steep Angle R41 Tips

    1. When starting out steep angle use a soap with Kaolin clay that you know to be protective. Mike's or Napa Soap work great for me. With aggressive blade contact at crucial times the physics of clay trumps the chemistry of just soap for protection.
    2. Two passes only, true WTG, true XTG. Maybe some touch up.
    3. Whatever time you usually give lather to soften your beard, add at least another minute, being sure to hydrate it as lather dries on the face.
    4. When lathering linger over your traditional trouble areas.
    5. Hydrated lather only. Soap needs water to be slick. With the R41 sticky lather is a nick grenade.
    6. Slight but sufficient pressure is necessary to allow the comb to stretch and then roll the skin up toward the blade at the R41 2011's built-in angle.
    7. Think of the comb ahead of the blade needing some runway to get going.
    8. Steady moderate speed. Too fast and tugging will spike. Too slow and the skin tension the comb imparts will release before it reaches the blade.
    9. There IS a path and angle built into the R41. A shaver's job is to guide the razor so the razor can then properly guide the skin over the blade at its optimum angle.
    10. Fear not nor wander off in thought.
    11. Start out using a new blade every shave.
    12. Gauge your BBS an hour or two after your shave. Steep angle shave stubble takes time to recede.

    Have a great shave.
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  3. Peter_A

    Peter_A Contributor

    Use very short strokes.

    Edit: I just noticed that aimsport had responded while I was typing my response. +1, to everything that he said.
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  4. Nothing to add ... good luck, Jim.
  5. Fear not nor wander...that's good advice for the R41 and a lot of other things
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  6. Good luck, Jim! I have never had any luck with with either the '11 or '13 model trying either of the two techniques! :blush:
  7. I've only had luck with a shallow angle. Steep really rips my face up.

    Good luck!
  8. Thanks for the help guys. Tomorrow's the day.

    I'm sure you can understand and appreciate that there are generational differences at play here. Many of us older types learned about shaving from our dads and grand dads when straight razors, strops and shaving mugs were the tools of the day. Canned foam was an welcome innovation and the Track 2 cart was a revolution.

    Home workshops were common, and we learned to sharpen and use cutting tools. Whatever tool we used, all were used at blade angles of 45 degrees or less. This included razors. Gillette's engineers and the American Medical Association published a study that determined the best blade angle for DE shaving was between 22 and 42 degrees. Straight razor users were not surprised.

    All this is to say that wet shavers during the time from 1900 until 2010 learned a traditional style that we held close. It's so deeply a part of my experience that I have had no interest at all in trying a steep angle approach. In my mind, it's akin to using a cabinet scraper on the face. But I'm willing to try. I'll give it an honest two week trial, and approach it like I would any razor test.

    I'm down with the basics and the prep. No problem at all. The only question I have is--what is the recommended blade angle?
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  9. I never measured, nor I think it's easy to measure it, accurately at least. But ... I'll throw in my number ... I estimate the angle I use to be very close to 90° ... I'll say 75° :

    $Chapter 11_html_m5bf072ad.jpg
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  10. Look. It's just an aggressive DE razor. It's not the sword from Thor.
    Compared to a Feather Artist Club straight this is not that aggressive.
    Keep calm, battle on !
  11. I'm pretty sure Thor has a hammer and not a sword ...

    Welcome to B&B!
  12. Ummmm...believe me, I am not intimidated. I have had over 1,000 shaves with the various R41 versions. But I've never tried the steep angle. I want to understamd how it works. It the level of detail is too much--you can always move on.
  13. Thanks, Edgar. The image is super quality, and the angle is pretty much as I imagined. It's the same approach as chopping weeds with a garden hoe. Furniture scrapers us a 90 degree angle.
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  14. You're welcome Jim. And I want to thank you for doing this, and to make this very clear: in the end of this test, your opinion ( doesn't matter if positive or negative) will be welcomed and appreciated. :thumbup1:
  15. I used the steep angle this morning and got less than desirable results. That being said I'll stick to it for a couple of weeks to see if I improve.

    Since you referenced the cabinet scraper, it took me about a month of learning to sharper and burnish a scraper correctly, but the results are amazing - I rarely use sandpaper anymore.

    Attached Files:

  16. Edgar, thanks for the diagram. I have taken the liberty of adding a piece. The key piece of the R41 shave, I believe.

    I roughly sketched the comb in green over your image. The comb rolls the skin changing its angle of approach radically, so the blade does not actually cut at the original 75 degrees, but at a much more shallow angle. The skin rolls over the comb changing its angle. The skin is also stretched by the comb. Shallow angle shaving greatly diminishes the combs effectiveness. Steep angle shaving engages the comb's benefits.

  17. Yes, not that I didn't know, but I actually forgot the most important aspect, which is exactly the comb!

    Thank you! :thumbup1:
  18. August West

    August West Moderator Emeritus

    This thread reminds me of my all-time favorite bathroom graffiti.

  19. Fascinating. Subscribed. Good luck Codfish, will you post daily updates?
  20. :popc:
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