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Around The World In 80 Blades - a shaving journal

Dorco Titan (Vietnam) Round two​

RazoRock German 37 / PAA Double Open Comb​

A detour: I will be away from home for a while coming up, so I thought since I’ll have some version of the travel kit with me then, I would use a couple of my non-travel razors while I’m still at home.

It was a very enjoyable shave! First and second passes felt very efficient but not dangerous, smooth and precise. Third pass with the DOC was similar, no weepers and no irritation, just good clean glide.

I can’t quite call it a BBS since there is still a bit of friction against the grain in the tricky zones, but all in all a perfectly enjoyable experience and result. I can’t really complain about this blade, it’s not mind-blowing but it’s certainly friendly!

Round three: the Two Caesars treatment – Roman Empire Shaving ‘Augustus’ and ‘Caesar’


“All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?” (Monty Python, ‘Life of Brian’)

Well, these two razors don’t really have much to do with the Romans beyond the name, but they have given me some outrageously good shaves considering what they cost, and this was no exception. Once again, they seem to pair perfectly with the Dorco blades (well, the ones I’ve tried anyway) and they seem to bring out the best in each other.

So yes: smooth sailing from start to finish, no weepers, no irritation or alum sting, and a close but comfortable result. Just shy of BBS, but absolutely in the Zone of Deep Satisfaction. Excellent!

Round four: Ming Shi 2000S

Another hilarious distracted moment: I literally forgot that this was an adjustable razor! So I got through almost the whole shave before I remembered and thought to check where it was set. Turns out it was 3, so that’s OK. A bit on the mild side, but not useless.

So, mild razor, mild blade… comfortable shave! Not, again, the closest ever, but an easy, bloodless and irritation-free DFS is nothing to sneeze at. Not much else to report! I’ll likely move along now, but this has been an easy blade to like, as long as one isn’t chasing a BBS result.

Blade #23: Dorco Prime Platinum (Vietnam)​

Round one: RES Caesar

So, I moved on, but not very far… In fact, I didn’t even leave the factory!

Still, they make a number of blades, so I’m intrigued to see if there’s much of a difference between these and the Titan or, indeed, the Korean-made 300..

Initial impressions: yes! This blade looked quite different, with a kind of sepia color to it, and only single-wrapped in waxed paper emblazoned with ‘prime’ branding.

How does it shave? Quite nicely, at least judging by the first foray! It seems a little sharper out of the gate than its brethren, but still quite smooth and the first pass was very satisfying. Same on the second, this is looking good!

Third pass left me with a couple of low-key weepers, but a result that passes my threshold for BBS, and despite a little alum sting, very comfortable into the bargain!


Round two: Fatip Storto Piccolo (F.O.C.S.)

Hmmmmm. Well, I can’t say I’m as happy with this second attempt as I was with the first. I don’t know whether it’s just a poor fit with the razor or whether something else is afoot, but this was far from an enjoyable experience overall.

Initially it seemed to be going well, the first pass felt efficient but smooth at first – that thing where you have to check to make sure it’s doing anything because it feels like nothing. But then it started to feel tuggy, and at the end of the first pass there were already a couple of spots of blood, and I began to worry.

The second pass did little to reassure me, though it was getting the job done – I felt like I was under attack. I’m not used to that with the F.O.C.S., though it’s not the mildest razor I have or anything. By the end of the third pass I had quite a few weepers, despite holding back a little. The result was not-quite-BBS even though it could have been, but I wasn’t enjoying the experience and didn’t want to make it worse.

A lot of alum sting, some redness and irritation that lasted a lot longer than I wanted it to, and I’m left questioning whether I feel like trying another round with this blade, because sometimes it’s just not worth it. First shave good, second shave terrible, what to do?

Dorco Prime Platinum (Vietnam) – Round 3​

Ming Shi 2000S, RES Augustus


Oh what the heck. I think pretty much every blade deserves a second chance, and only one has really made me regret it, the truly terrible Tatra Carbon Steel.

This blade may not be great, but it’s nowhere near that bad. And you never know, sometimes a change of razor can bring about surprises like this one from a few blades back!

And in fact, this was a very satisfying shave. There were signs of the slight tugginess in tough areas on the first pass, like I noticed last round, but no weepers, and no irritation.

The Ming Shi (set to 4 as this is by no means an especially sharp blade) appointed itself rather well, as it often does, and the Augustus on the third pass reminded me why it’s one of the better finishers in my modest dugout.

I’m going to go ahead and call it a BBS – just over the threshold, and there was some alum sting, but no blood and no redness or razor burn, so this blade clears the bar on its last attempt (why do I use so many sporting metaphors, I wonder?) and while I likely won’t seek it out, I would probably use it again if another happens to cross my path.

But, it is still time to move along. Where to? Hmmmm….

Blade #24: Gillette Super Thin Platinum (Thailand)​

Fatip Storto Piccolo (F.O.C.S.)

I’m not at all sure whether this blade is made in Thailand or not, but it’s clearly marketed there, and does seem different than either Chinese or Russian made Gillette blades I’ve used. It’s double-wrapped, with a printed paper outer (with marketing about a non-DE razor on the inside, oddly) and a waxed inner. Four fairly big dots of what seems to be a kind of gum or glue hold the blade in place.

I have spent some time in Thailand and have many fond memories; it was the first place I really travelled on my own. I spent my 20th birthday there, exploring caves and riding elephants and floating down muddy rivers on bamboo rafts. It’s a place with deep, fascinating history, glorious food, and wondrous and diverse natural and cultural beauty.

And this is a very sharp razor blade! I loaded it into the Fatip and noticed immediately that the first pass was cutting closer and gliding smoother than anything I’ve used recently. I ended up, however, with a tiny nick on the chin, likely a blemish that the FOCS decapitated as it sometimes does with a sharp blade.

The second pass brought me very close to BBS, but left a couple more weepers – maybe I’m off my game, or I’ve become accustomed to milder blades, but this was not pretty. A bit embarrassing, to be honest!

By the end of the third pass I had the closest shave I’ve had in quite some time, but also (for lack of a better word) the bloodiest. Quite a bit of alum sting, and while the result was certainly satisfying, it was not without a bit of lingering irritation. I’m going to have to be a bit more careful with this one, and maybe try a milder razor for the next at-bat!

Round 2: RES Augustus, Caesar


Once again, to give a blade that got off to a bit of a bad start a second chance, I decided to try my Two Caesars treatment which has worked so well in the past. And once again, yowza, what a difference!

This was every bit as close as the first outing, but with none of the trauma – a bloodless BBS (well, very nearly; a couple of the trouble spots from last time were a tiny bit problematic, but really minor in the grand scheme of things) that was pretty much immediately comfortable.

It’s really hard to feel like I should spend real money for a more ‘serious’ razor when the cheapest ones I have routinely give me the best shaves! (but that’s not to say I never will)

Anyway, the Gillette Super Thin turns out not to be a bust after all, just a bad fit for the F.O.C.S. (and/or a bad fit for how I handled it). It’s actually a good, sharp, and fairly smooth operator! I will give it another shot with something else, and then it’s time to hit the road again – both physically and metaphorically!

Gillette Super Thin Platinum (Thailand)​

Round 3: RazoRock German 37, Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements DOC


Well if I needed a reminder that the (slightly) more expensive razors in my kit can still compete, this was it. (And yes, I’m aware that there are razors on the market that cost 10 and even 20 times more than these – they are still in the ‘budget’ zone for most people).

But I digress… We’re all about the blades here, and I have to say I was so happy with this shave (smooth, comfortable, bloodless BBS!) That I can’t quite bear to move on from the Super Thin just yet.

(It’s also occurred to me that it might be made in India as Gillette also seems to have manufacturing there. And of course we’ll be revisiting this theme before too long!)

However, I am traveling again for the next few weeks, back to Canada for family reasons, so I’ll be restricted to the travel kit for a while. However, who knows, it might experience another growth spurt!

Round 4: Ming Shi 2000S / RES Caesar

I’m glad I gave this blade another kick at the can, because this was a straight-up 10 out of 10 shave. I set the MIng Shi to 3, erring on safe side as the blade is pretty sharp, and it did well there until I got to the chin zone where I felt like it was starting to struggle so I upped it to 4, where I left it for the second, excellent pass.

Switching (as I so often do) to the Caesar for the final pass including buffing and detailing, and ended up with an absolutely glorious BBS result. Not a drop of blood, virtually no alum sting at all, and instant comfort. Pretty good for a 4th shave on a blade I didn’t expect much from!

So once again I’m tempted to hang around a bit longer. I’ll see what my instincts tell me when it comes time for the next shave!

Blade #25: A Best (Bangladesh)​


Round 1: Roman Empire Shaving Caesar

This is the first of what will be a number of blades from Samah Razor Blades Industries Limited (SRBIL), based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and established in 1962. I don’t know a lot more about the company than that, and I’ve never been to Bangladesh, so there’s not much more to say by way of preamble!

My first shave on this blade was on a fairly special day, the day of my father’s funeral and reception, and as I was giving the eulogy address (and seeing lots of family and old family friends) I was really hoping for a good shave.

I’m not at home so only have my travel kit to work with, but it held up its end of the bargain pretty well. And so did the blade! I found this a really enjoyable shave, close and comfortable, and the blade delivers a great combination of sharp and smooth.

I don’t know if all these Samah blades are the same but sold under different brands, or whether there are large or small differences between them, but for a first encounter, this augurs well!

Round two: RES Augustus

Another super shave! Seemed a tad bit more aggressive than in the Ceasar but nothing untoward. Enjoyable shave, bloodless BBS result, no alum sting, instant comfort. Great stuff!

Round 3: Ming Shi 2000S

Ten out of ten, third straight excellent shave with this blade. Things were busy for a bit and I had 4 days growth on before this but the Ming Shi on 5 didn’t flinch and mowed through it with ease. I used the Caesar for the last pass as I find the MS hard to detail with, but in general it was just a great shave with a great result. Excelsior!

Round 4: Two Caesars (RES Augustus, Caesar)

Last time out with this excellent blade, and it didn’t disappoint – however, it’s showing signs of tiring out, and while I did manage a BBS result, there were some tiny weepers and a bit of irritation. No styptic required, but a bit of alum sting – nothing bad enough to taint my overall very positive impressions however!

Now let’s see if Samah’s other offerings are up to the same high standards…

Blade #26: Loi Titan​


Round 1: Ming Shi 2000S​

As mentioned, there is every possibility in the world that this blade is identical to the A Best, but I can’t be sure. In any case it feels much the same, which is to say, excellent! It says Titanium on it, but in truth I have no idea if any actual titanium was used in its production.

I would say the result was a whisker off of BBS (see what I did there?) but that may only be because the Ming Shi (which I set to a moderate 4 throughout this shave) seems not quite as good for buffing as the RES razors.

However, it was still a very close shave and absolutely comfortable throughout – not a drop of blood and virtually no alum sting at all, which is a pretty excellent result!

Round 2: RazoRock Old Type, ‘Bamboo’ handle​

I took advantage of being in Canada, along with one of Italian Barber’s periodic sales, to add a few RazoRock toys to my collection, including this razor and what I hope to make my new travel brush, the Amici Noir synthetic. They arrived by post yesterday, so let’s get into it!

I’ve heard a few things about this copy of, or perhaps more correctly tribute to, the classic Gillette Old Type… firstly that beyond the basic look of it, a straight open comb, it bears little resemblance to its forebear, which I will have to take on faith as I don’t have an original for comparison.

I’ve also heard, however, that it’s rather an overlooked gem, and delivers a good, mild but efficient shave, and that much I can confirm! With the Loi installed, it gave a very gentle but surprisingly clean first pass, and the second across the grain was just as impressive.

It’s better for detailing than the Ming Shi, with a small-ish head that fits neatly under the nose, and perhaps a little better for buffing too, though I still feel like this is a tiny bit short of a BBS result. Maybe the Loi is a bit less precise than the A Best? Maybe because it’s “Swiss Quality” as opposed to “Swiss Steel”? Who can say?

Anyway, a good shave is a good shave, and this definitely made the grade.

I can however give an easy judgment on the Amici brush – it’s much, much better than my previous travel brush, which I will now retire (it was embarrassingly cheap, though the Amici on sale wasn’t much more TBH). It’s just as soft as my home brush, with a little less backbone, perhaps not surprising given its significantly smaller knot; it holds a bit less foam too, likely for the same reason. But still: a travel brush I can work with, so that’s a win!

I also like the Bamboo-style handle, which gives me (for a very nice price) another stainless steel option, so there will likely be more handle-swapping experimentation in the coming episodes!

Round 3: RazoRock MJ-90A​

Another razor picked up on sale from Italian Barber, this one is an interesting hybrid: a CNC-milled aluminum head, ostensibly base on a DE89/R89 (with ‘improvements’!), mounted on a halo-style stainless steel handle (similar to, but not quite the same as, those available in RR’s usual range).

I don’t have an original 89 razor to compare it to, but I have a number of other copies including the King C. Gillette which appears to be made by Mühle and for all intents and purposes identical. This one *looks*, at first blush considerably more aggressive than any of them, with a wide blade gap and lots of visible blade.

However, the actual blade exposure looks about neutral to me, and the shave is accordingly fairly mild, though quite efficient. In fact, all in all and based on this first outing with it, I feel like it’s a rather nice razor and I was able to find the sweet spot quite easily.

I was concerned that it would be tricky to get to the detail zones under the nose, because of the fully covered blade tabs, given that that’s my experience with the chunky head on the Ming Shi (Futur copy), but that wasn’t the case – it was just fine. Blade alignment was also a non-issue, as the tolerances do seem in fact very tight; anyway the whole thing fits together very precisely, which is satisfying.

I also *really* like the handle on this one, even more at first blush than I did the bamboo. I expected it to feel unbalanced, with the light aluminum head overpowered by the weight of the handle, but in use it felt just fine to me. I find it very nice in the hand and pleasantly grippy, in a different way than the knurling on the ‘HD’ one that came with my 37 slant.

In any case, returning at last to the blade… the Loi appointed itself well again, delivering a comfortable, bloodless BBS with very little fuss. It may not be a blade to shout from the mountaintops about, but it’s really a fine performer!

Loi Titan, continued...​


Round 4: RazoRock Teck II​

Another new acquisition, the Teck II is a rebranded Baili BD191, and competes at the very lowest point on the market, which is to say it’s cheap as chips. On price alone, it gives the Roman Empire Shaving razors a run for their money, and it offers similarly remarkable fit and finish for the price.

It’s quite different than RES’ own Tech copy, the Augustus, which is much lighter and less substantial. The blade ends are also covered, as is often the case with RR, and here again it works rather well. The blade is held in place in an odd way, with 4 square tabs in the corners rather than poses or rails; they do a great job and the blade felt secure and well aligned.

It doesn’t, however, come with RES’ generous assortment of included blades; just a 5 pack of Derbys like all the RazoRock offerings. I have more Derbys now than I know what to do with! (Speaking of which, yes, we’ll get there eventually, but not today…)

The handle on this thing is weird: long, heavy, smooth and somewhat pear-shaped and bulbous. It looks stylish enough, but otherwise it’s hard to see the rationale, and indeed I found it slippery in use – though not so much that it ruined the shave, which was actually quite wonderful!

The Teck II is very mild, but somehow – at least in the company of such a fine blade as the Loi – it gets the job done, and this was a very satisfying and trouble-free BBS shave. No irritation or alum sting, just close and comfortable, like it should be. I’m impressed!

Round 5: RazoRock SLOC (self lubricating open comb)​

This is the last of my sale acquisitions, and it’s RR’s version of the same razor that inspired the Phoenix DOC, the Grand Shave King Self Lubricating Razor. This is the original SLOC made of Zamak, not the stainless steel SLOC II.

I got it without a handle, just the head components, which were silly cheap and of course it fits standard handles – of which I have more than a few at this point. Today I’m trying it with the Bamboo style to see how that feels.

What can I say? Another wonderful shave, maybe the closest yet with this superb blade, but still perfectly comfortable. The blade tabs on this razor are uncovered, unlike the last two, but as usual this doesn’t bother me at all.

I’ve read a few reviews that say this razor is nothing like the DOC but in all honestly, it doesn’t seem so very different to me. It’s a good buffing razor, maybe a tad bigger and heavier overall (especially with this handle!) but otherwise a similar, and similarly enjoyable shave!

Once I’m back at home I will do a back to back test, with the same handle for good measure…

Round 6: RES Caesar (with RazoRock Halo handle)​

Since I’m enjoying this blade so much, and since it’s my last day and therefore last shave in Canada before heading home, I thought I’d give it one more kick at the can. I know the Caesar head will give a solid result with such a nice blade, but I thought it would be fun to try it with one of the new handles.

It was a very good match all around! I like the handle a bit more than the gunmental-finish one that came with the razor, which is nicely balanced and grippy enough but has a strange kind of ‘stickiness’ about it which, while not unpleasant, does feel a bit cheap somehow. The stainless handle is heavier and feels more precise in the hand.

I can feel that the blade is not quite at its very sharpest anymore, and it took a little work to get to BBS; I got there with a little buffing, but in truth there was a tiny bit more irritation that I’ve had with the Loi up to now, and I don’t put that down to the razor.

However: all things considered, a fine shave, a good sendoff for the Loi, a pleasant way to close out what has been a very intense, transformative, and memorable chapter in my life.

Time to move on, in many ways… (though we’re not done with Bangladesh yet!)

Blade #27: Champion Platinum​


Round 1: Fatip Open Comb Slant (F.O.C.S.)

The third blade from Samah Industries (Bangladesh), and again quite possibly identical to the others, is the Champion Platinum. This is my first shave back at home after a month away, so it’s also something of a reunion with my home kit; even though I’ve got my travel setup dialed in to a pretty decent level at this point, it’s nice to use some of the things I’ve missed, and the FOCS is one of them.

Another is my Fendrihan brush, which is just that tiny bit more luxurious, and my Mühle Sea Buckthorn soap and Lime Ach Brito pre-soap are nice to reconnect with as well. The Speick does a creditable job, but this is just a tad creamier and the subtle fruity aromas add something as well.

What can I say about this shave? It was simply outstanding, even in the context of some pretty fine sessions of late. Again, I’ve seen people talk about ‘two-pass BBS’ with the FOCS and a good blade, and this was about as close as I can imagine to that – on 3 days’ growth, yet! – but I went the extra distance and on the third pass achieved a gloriously close, and yet still quite comfortable, result.

No blood, thankfully; there was a little alum sting, as one might expect, but nothing untoward… and while I’m on the subject I have to mention that I slightly prefer my home alum block from Proraso (which is ‘naked’ and kind of rectangular) over my travel stick from Omega (round on top, with a plastic handle and travel case). Whether there’s any difference between the alum itself I can’t say, but the rectangular shape feels better on my face.

Once again, these Samah blades are definitely ticking all the boxes for me and I’ll be a little sad to leave them behind – but I can take comfort in the fact that I can look forward to a few more perfect shaves before it’s time to move on!

Round 2: RazoRock German 37 Slant

Sticking with the same kit but switching out the razor, I thought I’d revisit this old friend but with a new handle, the RR halo which came with the 90a and has quickly become one of my favorites.

The first pass was absolutely fantastic; I think this razor with a good blade like the Champion has to be among my favorite first-pass shavers. Second pretty much in line with that, and quite a decent shave had I stopped there.

Unfortunately, I did not repeat my usual habit of switching out to something milder for the third pass, and this shave reminded me of why I generally do that, and will *always* do it in future: the third pass was on the rough side and left me feeling a bit raw and scraped.

A few tiny weepers on the neck confirmed that this slant just doesn’t work for me as a final-pass razor, even with a blade that gave me such a lovely smooth experience a couple of days ago with the Fatip. Some alum (and a bit of sting!) and the weepers were sorted, but that sand-blasted feeling lingered for a while – and that’s just not cricket!

But the blade definitely deserves another look, if only to verify that it’s the razor’s fault!


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
Please heal quickly. Also, the RazoRock “German” 37 tends to be gentler at a steeper angle and with less pressure at every angle (though I do misuse the poor wonder and spill my blood with it, too, due to carelessness on my part).
Please heal quickly. Also, the RazoRock “German” 37 tends to be gentler at a steeper angle and with less pressure at every angle (though I do misuse the poor wonder and spill my blood with it, too, due to carelessness on my part).
Good tips, I'll keep them in mind next time. I haven't given up on it or anything! And it wasn't so terrible, I was just a bit disappointed as I hadn't had a rough shave in a while. I do have the feeling that my tastes overall, as this journey progresses and my knowledge and skills gradually develop, are by and large leaning towards the mild-razor-sharp-blade side, as opposed to the other way around...

Champion Platinum, continued​


Round 3: PAA DOC​

(Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Double Open Comb)

I promised a head-to-head between this razor and the RazoRock SLOC, so here we go! I’m using the RR HD handle and the same brush and soap etc for both, to level the playing field.

I’ve noted this before, but I’ll say it again: this is not my favorite razor for a full shave, as its teeth are on the abrasive side, so it doesn’t have the smooth glide that some others have, and while it’s not a showstopper, I do notice it.

Furthermore: I managed to give myself a proper nick right by my left ear, a slip with the blade tab; perhaps I’ve been too cavalier recently talking about how uncovered tabs are never a problem for me. They were a problem today!

Then another small nick on the other cheek, on the second pass, and both needed styptic. But once again, on the finishing pass, the DOC reminded me of where it shines.

Somehow, it’s like the opposite of the 37 slant for me: where the slant is glorious for two passes and then turns on me on the 3d, the DOC is just the opposite, a bit weak for a full shave but fabulous as a finisher. No wonder I developed the habit of using them together! I think, once again, I’ll go back to that in future.

But the blade? Well, hard to say but the result of this one (aside from the two nicks) was a nice, comfortable BBS with virtually no alum sting or irritation, so I think it’s still holding up its corner of the tent, and we’ll see how it fares next time out with the SLOC!

Round 4: RazoRock SLOC​

(Self Lubricating Open Comb)

Well, this was educational! The SLOC once again knocked it out of the park. I hate to say it PAA, but I think this is simply a better razor than the DOC – at least for me. With the same handle (RazoRock HD), the same blade, the same brush and soap and everything, this was just a much better shave from start to finish.

Looking more carefully at the two heads side by side, they are in fact pretty much precisely the same size, and the tooth spacing on the combs looks identical. The only visible difference from the outside is the curvature, which seems more pronounced on the DOC. Inside, the DOC holds the blade with bar tabs, the SLOC with more conventional posts. I slightly prefer the longer tabs, and I don’t know why they seem so rare, but both systems get the job done – the blade is easy to align and feels secure.

But in use… the SLOC doesn’t have that rough feeling about it for the first couple of passes, and finishes just as elegantly. The result: a perfect, bloodless BBS with no alum sting and instant comfort, on the Champion’s 4th outing. Impressive!

I feel like the SLOC is rapidly becoming one of my favorite razors, just as these Samah blades have established themselves among my preferred blades!

Champion Platinum, last round​

RazoRock Old Type​


I was in a bit of a hurry for this shave, which is something I try to avoid but you know, life is imperfect. I decided I only had time for two passes, but I kind of wanted to make them count.

Trying the Amici brush for a change, I lathered up and loaded the Champion into the Old Type on the halo handle.
What a super razor! What a great blade! Very close to a BBS result in two passes under time pressure, with no blood or discomfort! Still loving the halo handle and it seems to suit the Old Type rather well.

One day I’ll have to try some of the original razors these RR copies are inspired by, but for now I’m happy to have a small fleet of different styles and feels to experiment with, at a more than reasonable price.

Time to move on to the next blade now – and maybe a couple more head to head razor comparisons!


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
I’ve wanted to have food made with BT Brinjal since it was introduced to Bangladeshi agriculture a few years back, but will enjoy the double edge razor blades for now. Though I do wonder if the blades have sold more since the crop’s introduction since it allows for less labor-intensive and less commodity-intensive farming thus affording more nights out for those involved.

Blade #28: Sharp 7am Plus Super Platinum​

Round 1: King C. Gillette (RR Bamboo handle)​


This is the first of another head-to-head pair, with another Samah blade in two DE/R89-style heads, both mounted on the RR Bamboo handle for consistency. I didn’t want to do this in a hurry, so I took my time and tried to get everything right. In this case, that means *both* Ach Brito and Ice Cube pre-soaps (in case you’re wondering why they don’t look used… I use them from the bottom so they look nice in pictures!)

The KCG is, at least to all appearances and according to what I’ve read, identical to the original R89 head except for the embossed logo inlay on the top cap. In a previous post I indicated that it is actually made by Mühle, but that seems to have been erroneous (I was confusing it with the Heritage); in fact it’s apparently made by Gillette in Shanghai, but the geometry is identical and the fit and finish are on point. I’ve used and enjoyed it before but always with its own handle, which I’m not a huge fan of – though of course it gets the job done.

What can I say? this was a glorious shave, with a satisfying BBS result. There were a few red spots on the neck from going so close with a fresh blade but they cleaned up easily and with no irritation, no alum sting and immediate comfort… what’s not to like?

With regards to the blade, once again I can’t find anything at all to complain about, it’s quite wonderful. At this point I’m tempted to go out and find the best deal I can on a 100 pack of literally any of these Samah blades, because I find them all simply excellent!

Round 2: RazoRock M90a​

Here we have, once again, RR’s milled-aluminum ‘upgrade’ to the 89 head geometry, with covered blade tabs (though in reality the KCG doesn’t leave as much exposed as other razors I have, like the PAA DOC that bit me the other day!) and a slightly more aggressive bottom plate (apparently the initial version, without the ‘a’ indication, was a little *too* mild for many people).

Same blade, same kit across the board. Same handle too, though for the picture I’ve got it on a black one that I think matches it quite nicely (borrowed from the ‘Maxon’, which I have realized at this point is in fact yet another Chinese-made 89 copy – as is, of course, the RES Caesar!). Anyway, let’s see how the RR stacks up to Gillette’s version!

First pass… fabulous! This anodized aluminum head has a different feel and, especially, a different *sound* to it than the other razors I own, and it’s not something I necessarily like or dislike – it feels very precise and controlled, but not quite so smooth as plated zamak or brass, which is basically what I’m used to at this point (not having any expensive stainless steel in the stable yet!)…

But yes, the first pass was satisfying, clean and confidence-inspiring. The blade is great, no issues there! Another fine Samah product, surprise surprise…

Second pass was equally good BUT I had some rough skin on the tender lower-neck area and managed to give myself a bit of a slice on a blemish, so that started to bleed and needed management. And from that point things took a bit of a downturn.

I’m not sure I love this as a finishing razor – it gets close, very close in fact, no trouble on that front… but it’s not the smoothest experience and I’m beginning to think this might take a place with the starters in the fleet, leaving the detail work for the finishers. I loved the first pass and, mostly, the second, but the third I wasn’t so sure about.
I can’t take issue with the end result – a couple of hours later, I’ve got myself a seriously smooth face… but it wasn’t my absolute favorite experience getting there. Not bad, but not perfect.

Where does that leave us? How does this stack up against the KCG (or, for that matter, the RES Ceasar)? Well… it’s not a slam dunk, anyway. I like the covered blade tabs, I like the precision… but the overall smoothness is missing somehow.
More data needed, as always, and there will be more opportunities for close study – but for now it’s time to change tack and have a look at this blade through a different lens!

Sharp 7am Plus Super Platinum, continued​

‘Pre-war’ Gillette Tech (U.S.A.), fat handle​


So, this has been a while coming, but better late than never I guess! I was planning the next few shaves out and thought I’d follow up the 89 shootout with a Tech clone shootout, and then I realized: I have never shaved with a real Tech… and also, I’ve never owned a vintage razor… and furthermore, my birthday is coming up, and I’ve had a pretty tough year…

So I looked around on eBay and found this lovely specimen gazing out of the screen at me temptingly… The asking price was pretty reasonable, but for the sake of playing the game I made a counter-offer that happened (with shipping) to come to exactly the amount I had in PayPal offhand, and it was accepted… so I’m now the proud owner of a razor roughly the same age as my late father! A few more details and pics in the acquisition thread

And I’m in a position to find out how a real Tech shaves – to give some perspective for the clone wars, if nothing else. At least, I’ll know how *this particular* Tech shaves – after a little research I have come to understand there’s quite a variety of them out there!

However, this is the one I have, for now. My understanding is that these pre-war models tend to be very slightly more aggressive than later incarnations, and possibly have very slightly less blade stability… but the differences are subtle. Some say they can’t feel the difference at all whereas some (of course) swear they can. Until such time as a ball-end post-war or an English flat-bottom falls in my lap, I won’t know for sure.

But I can compare it to the clones I have on hand, both of which I’ve been largely impressed by! Let the games begin (after sanitizing the razor, naturally)!

As I’ve been given to expect, it was a delight. Smooth and easy, but quite efficient first pass, a second pass that was easily close enough that I could have stopped there and had a nice DFS… and then a third pass with no blood, minimal irritation and a BBS result.

I had to be a little careful around the neck for the final round as it was still a bit tender from the last shave when things didn’t go quite as smoothly; even so, aside from a bit of alum sting, an auspicious beginning of what will hopefully be a beautiful friendship!

Oh, and the blade… yeah, we’ve established that I’m a big fan of these Samah blades. No change! It’s just about perfect! :straight:

Sharp 7am Plus Super Platinum – even yet still more!​

The (Tech) Clone Wars​


The two warriors, with the original for reference (and because it’s so pretty!)

Round 4: Roman Empire Shaving ‘Augustus’

Let’s start with some comparisons to the original, now that I have one on hand!
The Augustus seems to get the head geometry right, though the whole thing definitely feels a bit cheap – not in terms of the plating, but it’s really thin and remarkably light. Initially I thought it might be made of aluminum, but at this point I imagine it’s just very thin pot metal.

The shaving surface is clean and it seems to do a fine job of holding the blade in place – with 4 posts connecting the safety bar, it might even offer a bit more blade stability, though I don’t know how one might measure that. But the overall feel is not inspiring – not surprising, as of course it was very, very cheap. So it goes.

Anyway, on to the shave. This is not my first experience with it, and after a rocky start I have come around to it somewhat… but in relation to the real (vintage) Tech, what can I say that I haven’t said already?

It still gives a decent shave; I have it more or less dialled in, and it’s reliable and functional, but it’s just a bit… uninspiring. Now that I have some more perspective, it feels as cheap as it is. The original doesn’t; though definitely on the small and light side, it still feels somehow luxurious (despite being Gillette’s cheapest model back then – and the fact that it looks and feels as good as it does after 80-odd years is pretty amazing). Not so here.

The handle is particularly weak; it’s light, like the original’s, but doesn’t come off with the same refined balance. It’s also thin and not especially grippy, and lends to the overall feeling that, while it’s getting the job done (and a few hours later I’ve got a nice smooth BBS regardless!), it’s not doing it in much style.

I think at this point the Augustus will be relegated to travel duty, and maybe I’ll try it with a different handle. But, there are worse fates, and if it can give me a decent shave – and today’s is certainly that – without me being much bothered if it gets lost or broken on the road, well, I’ll take that!

The blade did its job perfectly well too, but I feel like maybe it’s getting a tiny bit tired – I felt like it was working a little harder than I’d like on the third pass. One more to go and then you can rest!

Round 5: RazoRock Teck II (RR HD handle)

As previously noted, this is a rebranded Baili BD191, made in China, and as also previously noted, it’s more of an ‘inspired by’ kind of tribute to the Tech than a copy per se. RazoRock implies in their marketing that it’s made to their specs, and maybe it is – in any case the ‘upgrades’ are in line with their general concept – covered blade tabs being the most obvious.

The corner tabs inside the cap to hold the blade in place, which I noticed last time out and wondered about, are (I have since become aware) very much a Tech thing; my original has them, though being an early model it doesn’t have corresponding slots in the base plate. The Augustus has these in fact, as well as minimal corner tabs that I never noticed before; the RR ones are much bigger and more noticeable because of the wider head to cover the blade tabs.

Again, the handle is a bit over the top but I’m giving it another spin. Trying to keep other variables the same for some degree of objectivity (though with 2 days between shaves it’s tricky!). Another difference I am noticing is that the cap on the Teck II is very thin, and the baseplate very thick, whereas on the original it’s just the opposite. I think I prefer a heavier cap, but I can’t objectively say how it affects performance.

Finally, and this definitely does affect the shave: this thing has TINY blade exposure. The blade edges are barely peeking out from under the cap. The original and the Augustus show considerably more blade, and they are both fairly mild shavers: correspondingly, this one is REALLY mild. Perhaps this is because it’s modelled after a later model Tech which are apparently a bit milder than the ‘pre-war’ version I have? There’s only one way to find out for sure…

Honestly I can see it being *too* mild for a lot of people, if you’re looking for more efficiency, more feel, whatever it might be – it’s not here. This is about as mild as I can imagine a razor being, and as a result to get to BBS it took more time, and a fair amount of buffing on the ATG third pass. But it’s smooth as silk, doesn’t draw blood, no alum sting, immediate comfort… I have to say I don’t mind it. I might not shave with it every day, but I prefer it to the Augustus and I think it will stay in rotation for a while – at least until I stumble across a post-war original!

And that handle? I actually think it’s growing on me!

The blade, unsurprisingly, held up its end of the bargain and made it easily through another wonderful shave. I could definitely push it further if I wanted but it might be time to set sail again soon!

Blade #29: Rise Classic (Bangladesh? India?)​


Round one: RazoRock ‘Old Type’ (HD handle)​

We have arrived at one of those blades I can’t seem to find a lot of information about. On RBC (Razor Blades Club) where I bought my sampler pack, it’s listed as being from India, made by Vidyut Metallics Ltd, who in turn seem to have at least their head office if not their manufacturing in Mumbai… but the blade packaging (paper) says Made in Bangladesh right on it, as you can see in the picture above if you look closely.

It’s double-wrapped, paper outer and thin waxed paper inner, with some minimal wax dots – thus different to the Samah blades, which all have the same printed single wrapping. Does Vidyut have a subsidiary manufacturer in Bangladesh? I found one business article from 2013 indicating that the company was “planning to establish manufacturing units in Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Mexico and Brazil, over the next two years”… and not much more.

So in the absence of further clarification, this will act as a bridge from Bangladesh to India; in any case, it’s the first blade for quite a while now that is apparently *not* made by Samah Industries (ciao for now, I’ll be back!).

As mentioned previously, the RR ‘Old Type’ razor doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with the original Gillette design, but since I don’t have an original for comparison I can’t really comment on the differences. There’s a review out there that does so, however.

What I can say is that I liked it the first time out, and I liked it again today! With the fresh blade (more on this in a moment) it mowed happily through 3 days’ growth on the first pass, making lots of noise but otherwise quite comfortable. Second pass was interesting – I had the impression it was doing what the SLOC and DOC are designed to do, self-lubricating by leaving trails of lather behind so repeated strokes stay smooth and easy.

But the real revelation was the third pass, which was wonderfully gentle but effective – it was as if the razor (and the blade) were automagically adapting for the purpose of each pass and delivering the perfect experience at every stage. It was a really excellent shave!

I need a couple more shaves to form a full opinion of the blade (more data needed!) but if this is any indication of the quality I can expect from the other Vidyut offerings in the pipeline, that’s something to look forward to! Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy this one in another razor or three…

Round two: Fatip Piccolo Storto (F.O.C.S.)​

I’ve been sick and laid up on the couch, so not shaving as often as usual, and once again had 3 days’ growth on when I finally felt well enough to confront a mirror. I figured the FOCS was a good candidate for attacking the thicket… and for a change of pace I used the RR Amici travel brush and stuck to the warm and cozy Ach Brito lime pre-shave soap as I felt a little tender for the full envigorating onslaught of the Ice Cube. They performed wonderfully, as usual!

The first pass was trouble-free other than a tiny bit of tugging on the stiffest hairs around the chin; the blade managed it, but they definitely put up a fight. Once that was done, everything else was smooth sailing!

I really like the Fatip and it’s given me some wonderful shaves, alongside a couple that were more rough around the edges… thankfully today was one of the former variety, quite marvelous in fact. I wish the handle were a tiny bit bigger and grippier, it’s not my favorite and while it suits the styling of the razor, I wonder if perhaps I might have been better off with the Grande handle. Perhaps. For the moment, since it’s not a standard thread, I’m stuck with the Piccolo. There are worse fates!

As for the blade: I think it might be a tiny bit smoother than the Samah offerings, as witnessed by the tugging in the first pass but also by how easy and smooth the rest of the shave was. It’s sharp enough, don’t get me wrong – this is a very enjoyable BBS result – but it was definitely on the comfortable side, with not a drop of blood, and I know the FOCS is capable of drawing blood with a sharp blade if I’m not very careful indeed.

All things considered, a fine pair of shaves, I think I’ll give the Rise a third look anyway. But I can’t tarry forever… India awaits!
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