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Around The World In 80 Blades - a shaving journal

Rise Classic, Continued​

Round 3: RazoRock German 37 slant (Bamboo handle), PAA DOC​


It’s time for another outing with the dynamic duo that I started this whole crazy thing off with! Back to the Fendrihan’s brush and my mix of pre-shave soaps, and a new after-shave balsam from down under (actually it seems to be made in Denmark but the brand is Australian Bodycare, so make of that what you will). It’s made with tea tree oil and purportedly helps reduce red spots, which is a thing I struggle with sometimes, so let’s see.

Once again the slant, at bat first, reminds me of just how efficiently it can scythe through 2 days’ growth. It’s a rather satisfying first pass, and if I were in a hurry and needed a quick one-and-done that would pass muster, this is one of the ones I’d be reaching for.

The Rise performed excellently (well, I could say it Rose to the occasion!), with no hint of the tugginess around the chin that I noticed last time with the Old Type, so it would seem that’s nothing to do with the blade after all. Second pass, much the same, just getting it done with no fuss and no trouble.

Switching to the DOC for the final pass… I have to say that once again I notice that it’s not the gentlest or smoothest glide across the skin, it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it doesn’t bite and it does what it’s supposed to, with no blood and no lingering irritation, so that’s good. A good razor for a day I need something bracing to help get me going, perhaps; not so much for when I’m after a smoother ride. Mental note.

I think I’ll give the Rise one more shot… but I’m going to give that its own installment, for reasons that will become clear shortly!

Rise Classic, Continued​

Round 4: 1930’s Gillette New LC (ball end handle)​


As mentioned in the ‘Razor Acquisition’ thread, this razor was another birthday splurge… and as my new pride and joy, immediately moves into pole position in the fleet. It’s not a flawless collector’s piece, being replated (in gold) and with a glued handle, but for me it’s something just a little bit special and for now (and for the foreseeable future) the closest thing I have.

But it won’t be sitting on the shelf, that’s for sure! I bought it to use it.

So how was its maiden voyage? I considered waiting and starting out with a fresh blade, but since I’ve got one on the go that I’m happy with and I know can turn in a solid performance, and I don’t think it’s on the way out yet by any means, I decided to give the Rise the honour.

And I have to say: wow. Just wow.

Immediate impression on the first pass: This is efficient. It’s also not particularly aggressive, though more so than many in my little fleet. But certainly still on the mild side of the street in the grand scheme. It’s not a super smooth glide, it has ‘face feel’ if that’s a thing, but not uncomfortable either. But it gets the job done!

2nd and third passes were better still; I’ve read a few reviews that say things like ‘Gillette could have quit while they were ahead with these, they are close to shaving perfection’… and I think I get the idea (I’ve heard the SC is even more sublime, but one step at a time!).

The handle is perhaps the only thing I could imagine taking issue with – it’s not especially grippy, with that subtle knurling texture. Not super slippy either, but while I think a thick heavy handle would overpower it, I think maybe it errs on the slight side just a hair. Maybe it can be filled for a bit more heft… Or I’ll try it with the fat handle from the Tech (not that that’s any heavier, but it’s a bit more substantial and grippy).

Overall though: First time out, a 90-year old razor (or nearly so anyway) with a blade on its 4th outing, and an easy, comfortable, bloodless BBS result.

That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

Rise Classic, Continued​

Round 5: RazoRock SLOC​


After some interruptions to the posting schedule – things got busy for a bit! – I have a bit of catchup to play…

Wrapping up our coverage of the Rise Classic (Bangladesh?), let’s revisit this wonderful self-lubricating open-comb, with the RR Halo handle – which I find matches it rather well visually, and they are currently paired on my display shelf. Let’s see if they work well together in action!

Unsurprisingly, they do. I find the Halo such a nice, precise thing to hold, with a comforting heft and excellent grip. And the SLOC did not disappoint – it didn’t balk at three days’ growth, and while the blade (5 shaves in) did exhibit a bit of the tugginess I experienced before around the chin and, this time, the moustache zone, it got the job done.

Later passes were smooth and pleasurable, and the result is completely satisfying. I think this will be the swan song for the blade and while it’s not the very sharpest I’ve used, it’s appointed itself well and I would use it again (and I do have another in the stack somewhere, so that will probably happen at some point!).

No blood, minimal alum sting, maybe a half-shade off of BBS but well clear of the DFS mark. Good stuff.

Next stop: India! A place near and dear to my heart, and home to a whole slew of interesting blades!

Blade #30: Supermax Blue Diamond (India)​

Round 1: Gillette Tech, fat handle, 1940-ish (‘pre-war’)​


Ah, India. The most fascinating, challenging, beguiling, infuriating, transformational place I’ve ever travelled.

Mind you, I haven’t been there for over 30 years so it may have changed a bit. Well, I imagine some places have changed a lot, some not so much, and I’d wager some hardly at all.

India is quite simply a world unto itself.

I don’t know if that extends to the razor blades made there, but some of them have a very good reputation, and I haven’t tried any of them yet, so let’s dig in! I thought the Supermax Blue Diamond, one I’ve seen mentioned as a favorite blade once or twice, would be a good place to start.

It’s produced by Vidyut Metallics Ltd, who say they are the world’s second-biggest manufacturer of razor blades in the world (we’ll meet the biggest, at least according to them, soon as well!). I guess that’s a good thing?

Packaging: double-wrapped, printed outer (and this time it’s unequivocally Made In India!) and waxed inner, no glue or wax dots that I can see. Ink printed blade.

This was an unusual shave for me: I am not normally a daily shaver, but despite having only a day’s growth on I felt like it, as I’ll be back on stage tonight after a while away. Plus I got a haircut this morning so I thought I’d finish the job!
And for a while, I thought this might be the shave to convert me – the first pass with the Tech was gloriously smooth, second about the same.

Maybe if I’d quit after two passes that might have been the case – it was an easy two-pass DFS, but being slightly obsessive as usual I pushed through for a third pass, and while it wasn’t bad, it was not quite as smooth as the first two, and left me with a bit of irritation and a couple of tiny weepers on the neck… so I’m afraid I can’t call it a perfect shave.

Still, the first pass was smooth enough to tantalize, and maybe another razor will bring the best out of the Blue Diamond. I am optimistic!

Supermax Blue Diamond, continued​


Round 2: 1930’s Gillette New LC (ball end handle)​

I couldn’t resist taking this razor out for another spin. And I have Ferris Bueller in my mind: “I love this razor, it’s… so choice! If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up!”

(OK I paraphrased a bit, but the sentiment is there; I wish I had a *really* rare and expensive razor to say it about, but it’s true nevertheless!)

I’m getting the hang of the handle, and the razor was as, ermm, ‘choice’ as the first session – perhaps a little more so, as I think this is a sharper blade than the Rise. Sharp enough that I ended up with a weeper or two on the neck again after the third pass, but nothing too dramatic. And the result was a close and satisfying shave!

I think the Blue Diamond is a sharp blade that needs some caution and a gentle touch… Let me see, what should I try it in next?

Round 3: RazoRock M90a, KCG​

What can I say? Another perfect shave!

Seriously, this was a standout. The M90a is, as previously noted, certainly visibly more aggressive tham the KCG and the RES Caesar, my other 89 clones, and to me it feels it too. (I’ve also realized that my mystery Maxon razor, whose handle the RR is currently mounted on, appears to be a clone of it, with the same wide blade gap).

But with the Blue Diamond installed, it mowed happily through the first pass, with plenty of audio feedback and blade feel but no irritation, and the second pass was efficient and clean.

I decided, since last time I didn’t feel great about it as a finishing razor, to switch to the slightly milder King C Gillette for the last pass, and it performed wonderfully, leaving me with a bloodless BBS, instantly comfortable and with virtually no album sting.

Three shaves in, I feel like this blade is just hitting its sweet spot!

Supermax Blue Diamond, wrap-up​


Round 4: RazoRock SLOC (bamboo handle)​

Gosh I like this razor. A lot.

So much so that I feel like the stainless steel update has to be on the short list of things I might consider down the road (of it becomes available again!). I know the Game Changer series gets all the attention, but if the SLOC II is anything like this but built for the long haul, it might be close to perfection for me (given I’m not likely to be springing for a Wolfman or the like anytime soon).

For now, I’ll just enjoy brilliant shaves with this one – like today’s!

I think the Blue Diamond might be past its peak of sharpness so it took a little doing to reach BBS but the process was so smooth and comfortable, with no blood, no discomfort, no alum sting… The kind of shave you wish you could give a cartridge holdout and say, See? This is what you’re missing!

Not sure yet whether I’ll take the Blue Diamond out for one more spin before meeting one of its siblings…

Round 5: Fatip Storto​

Of course I did, and the F.O.C.S. seemed like a good candidate for getting the most out of a blade that’s might not be quite as sharp as it once was (though it’s a long way from done, and I could push all these blades much further than I am… but I’ll never finish this journey at this rate! Mike’s to go before I sleep… )

And so it proved to be! It’s really such a great razor, and where with a fresh and very sharp blade it can be dangerous, here it just calmly and efficiently did its thing, no questions asked.

I did end up with a small weeper on the neck but otherwise, all smooth sailing, close and comfortable, BBS with no alum sting. Just a great shave. I’ll have to remember that for when it comes down to trying to get the most out of a Derby or the like!

And I’ll remember the Blue Diamond too - a great blade, sharp and smooth!

Blade # 31: Supermax Super Stainless​

Round 1: RazoRock Teck II (Halo handle)​


Time for a new, but also not so very new, blade! (I mean, it’s new, but it’s a close relative of the last one)

Packaging and everything else very similar to it’s sibling, but let’s see how the shave compares!

I’m trying the Teck II with a different handle, so as to have something concrete to compare the elongated pear Baili made for it… I think I prefer it with more grip, so that’s a win.

This is not a razor – at least not with this blade – for people who want a lot of blade feel or feedback. It’s so smooth it’s hard not to wonder if it’s doing anything – but it is!

This may not be the closest or most efficient first pass I’ve ever had, though it’s not bad at all – but I’d say it’s one of the smoothest! Unbelievable glide.

And so it continues, I hardly feel it doing its thing but it’s getting it done, and the result – again maybe not the closest of my life – is pure comfort. It’s really rather remarkable. How can scraping a very sharp blade across your face be this smooth?

Mysteriously, a couple of weepers appear on my neck, but I don’t feel them at all, there’s very little alum sting, and they clear up instantly. Not a problem!

Might have to see how this does with a slightly more aggressive razor!
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Supermax Super Stainless, wrap-up​


Round 2: RR Old Type (HD handle)​

(Also, RR ‘Amici’ brush for a change and a splash of Hallowe’en colour!)​

So here we go! Not that this ‘Old Type’ is *especially* aggressive or anything, but it sure has a lot more ‘face feel’ and feedback than the Teck II (well OK, pretty much anything does!)

It’s reasonably efficient, gets the job done, and not a drop of blood in sight (which is nice). I remember this razor being a tad smoother last time out, and while it delivered a nice close BBS, I do have a bit of alum sting and some lingering ‘scraped’ feeling – nothing extreme or even unpleasant, but I’m a lot more aware of just having shaved than I was with the Teck II on this blade. So maybe it’s not the perfect fit…

It’s certainly still a good shave, no major complaints! But it will probably inform my choice of razor for the next round.

Round 3: RR German 37 slant, PAA DOC​

I am happy to report a return to form for this tried-and-true combo! Based on tips from @thombrogan (at Badger and Blade), I consciously tried to use the slant at a slightly steeper angle and with a bit less pressure, and the result was a fine performance on the first two passes.

It also seems to like this blade! Perhaps a slightly more aggressive razor and a bit less pressure is the way to go with the Super Stainless; it’s a hair less sharp than the Blue Diamond, but still turns in a good shave with the right razor.

The DOC therefore had to work a little harder to get me to BBS on the last pass (in fact, I gave it a 4th quick one to tidy up loose ends) but we got there, without a drop of blood, and without much discomfort either… nice!

Round 4: Ming Shi 2000S, Gillette Tech​

I realized I hadn’t had the Ming Shi out for a while (it’s been living in the travel bag), and I thought it might be a good fit for this blade – only one way to find out for sure!

Set to 4, fairly moderate, and with a lather that ended up a bit thicker than usual, it was a smooth and fairly effective first pass. I tried to get a bit more water into the brush to open up the soap a bit for a second pass on 5, which took me down to DFS but I once again noted that, with the big head geometry and fully covered blade tabs of the Ming Shi, it’s tough to get really close under the nose.

So I switched to the Tech to see how it fared. I have to say this is the second shave with the oldtimer that left me feeling a bit more raw than I would like; again the blade had to work pretty hard to get the chin and cheeks smooth, and the result – while certainly close and satisfying – feels a bit scraped.

A reasonable last outing for the Super Stainless, but I think I’ll call time on it and hope the next one is a bit sharper and/or smoother (I’ve certainly used blades that manage both – including the Blue Diamond!).

Blade #32: Supermax Sunrise​

Round 1: Gillette New Long Comb (1930s)​


That feeling when… you crack open a new blade you’ve never tried before, and the shave is… perfect!
(OK, not quite perfect in the end, but we’ll get to that…)

I got this blade as a NOS (New Old Stock) from TryABlade, it seems to be another Vidyut blade but perhaps a discontinued brand? Razor Blades Club does not carry it, in any case, despite their otherwise comprehensive list of SuperMax products.

It’s a lovely colorful paper wrapper, with a waxed paper inner and a single, inoffensive spot of wax holding it all together. The blade itself just says ‘SuperMax Super Stainless’ (the previous one said ‘Super Stainless Blue’) so no further clues there.

Loaded up in the New LC, the first pass was a delight, smooth and efficient. Once again I’m noticing the trails of lather left behind as I shave, more so even than the DOC or SLOC which are apparently designed for it. Not sure if it makes a difference, but there it is.

The second pass was equally precise and comfortable, supporting evidence for my opening sentence above… but the third, against the grain pass was not quite so smooth, and left me with a few weepers and a bit of razor burn and redness after the fact. This settled down fairly quickly and left me with a wonderfully close shave, but I can’t ignore it – it’s something that’s happened with the Tech as well, and I’m a bit concerned – perhaps I need to address something in my ATG technique.

Anyway, I don’t fault the blade for it – yet -as the first passes were excellent, so I’ll try it in something else and see how it goes!.

SuperMax Sunrise, continued​

Round 2: RR M90a (KCG handle), RES Caesar​


Going about as far as I can from a vintage razor, the M90a is milled aluminum, and feels very modern. For a changeup I decided to try it on the KCG handle, just on a whim, and it actually worked out pretty well – not quite as heavy as the stainless steel handles I have, so the balance with the light head was quite good. It also looks quite sleek and contemporary, if one cares about such things.

The blade comported itself rather well this time out – efficient on the first two passes with the RR, and then smooth and comfortable on the ATG pass when I brought the Caesar out of its hiding place in the travel bag – I don’t know why, maybe to balance the black-head-on-chrome-handle of the first passes with a chrome head on a dark handle. Or something. I’m all about the balance.

Anyway, as it so often has been, the milder head was a joy for finishing up, and left me much more immediately comfortable than the last outing – not an unwelcome change. It wasn’t without a drop of blood – there was exactly one, in fact – but I have no complaints! A good blade, which likely has another shave or two in it… and who knows, maybe another special appearance?

Another (SuperMax) Sunrise​

Round 3: Leresche 51 (I think?)​


Something old, something new (well, old-made-new-again, as best I could), something found on eBay for a song, in pretty rough shape, that turned out to be a sought-after rarity that cleaned up rather nicely? Yes indeed. And while it’s far from a perfectly-preserved collector’s piece, it’s certainly got a vibe to it! Further details in RAD thread...

First impressions, meaning literally my first thought at the first stroke of the first pass: Wow. I think I see what the fuss is all about. It’s remarkably comfortable (superbly balanced with that nice hefty handle), and the shave is, as they say, smooth and efficient – especially for razor some 80-85 years old, that looked rather down-at-heel when I first unpacked it.

This continued pretty much throughout the shave. While a few tiny weepers appeared on the neck I can attribute these to lack of experience with the razor and hopefully I can get it dialed in with a bit more stick time. However, no razor burn, no irritation, just a delightful shave.

I am known to be a pretty optimistic person and the honeymoon thing is a factor, I tend to look at new experiences through rose-colored glasses rather than try to find the faults in them, so we’ll see if this initial impression holds down the road, but for now: I think the Leresche is a keeper!

Round 4: Rinse and repeat (Leresche 51, again!)​

… because I just couldn’t resist taking it out for another spin. I’ve realized I’m far more invested in this razor, having resurrected it so to speak, than in any of the new or new-to-me razors I have. This is something I need to explore further – it brings another level to the experience for sure!

Anyway, this shave was even more perfect than the last – no blood whatsoever, no alum sting, and even smoother and more comfortable! Again, I don’t want to let my shiny-toy excitement (well, actually it’s still not as shiny as it could be, but this is my first restoration project after all) overpower all rationality, but I have to say, I’m well pleased!

Blade #33: Dollar​


Round 1: Fatip Open Comb Slant​

If I had a dollar for every new blade I’ve tried on this journey so far, I’d have… well, 33 dollars. And counting. And co-incidentally, that’s exactly what I paid for today’s featured razor, at current exchange rates!

How do you follow up a classic like the Leresche? With a modern classic, like the FOCS! And I have to say, it certainly delivered the goods today!

This was a straight up magnificent shave, the kind of experience I wish I could magically give my friends who are skeptical about this strange hobby of mine. The sheer satisfaction of a smooth, effortless, bloodless BBS result like this is worth the time it takes. Joyous!

Dollar is another Vidyut blade (the last, for now), and once again I am impressed. The packaging, with a big shiny dollar sign, wouldn’t normally attract me, but after this first shave, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again. And of course I will use it again, in about 2 days!

Round 2: Gillette Slim, 1963​

Another little restoration project (this one was not in bad shape, just needed cleaning/sterilization, a bit of lubrication and polish), this is *almost but not quite* the “Bond Razor” – it’s early by a year, but maybe as a prototype device this one still has some hidden espionage-related features I’ve yet to discover.

(for those not up on the lore, the Slim was featured in the 1964 James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’, in an early example of paid product-placement)

Anyway, yes, it’s a Slim, my first TTO razor (not counting the Wilkinson Sword I seem to remember using for a while as a teenager, many moons ago and lost now in the mists of time) and an adjustable to boot. The Slim is the replacement / upgrade – depending on who you ask – of the legendary Fatboy. The latter tends to command higher prices due to scarcity, but lots of people like the Slim even more.

Loading up the Dollar for its sophomore effort, I set the Slim to 7 for the first pass to cut down the weeds, 5 for the second (XTG), and 3 for the final ATG pass and cleanup. Perhaps I’ll try it on 9 at some point, to see what its maximum aggression is like; it seemed imprudent on a first date though.

So, how did it go? Let’s just say, if on your very first shave with it, a razor gives you a perfect, effortless, insta-comfort BBS with not a drop of blood or a hint of irritation… that razor is probably a keeper! I believe this is the start of a wonderful friendship… wait, wrong movie…

Anyway, the Dollar delivered (wait for it) bang-for-the-buck once again, no complaints at all. I’ll have to ponder what to try it in next!

Blade #33: Dollar, continued​


Round 3: RazoRock SLOC (HD handle)​

Given that I know this razor pretty well at this point, and know that I quite like it… and given that the blade has been a solid performer over two wonderful shaves so far, I was pretty confident going into this one.

And lo and behold, it was superb! Quel surprise! No blood, no irritation, smooth easy BBS result. How boring! :cool:

OK, it was a tiny bit less of a clouds-parting-angels-singing experience than the last one, but I suspect part of that was not knowing what to expect from the Slim, daring to go in with my hopes fairly high, and then having them unequivocally exceeded. So the only reason my enthusiasm might be very slightly less today is that I knew it would be very good… and it was.

Anyway. A great shave, a great razor (the HD handle is beefy and grippy, what’s not to like?), and still a very very good blade. Onwards and upwards!

Round 4: Gillette Flare-tip Rocket, early 1960’s (?)​

This razor came as a bonus with the Slim, and cleaned up so well that it might as well be brand new. Amazingly well made! It seems to be a slightly later model, with a lower profile head and American-style crimped end plates.

I was expecting it to be mild and smooth, and, well, it is! Very much so, but still seems quite capable. What’s not to like? Well, if you really want to feel the blade, or really need a long and/or heavy handle, then I guess this is not going to be your favorite.

#However, I find it hard not to like it, so stylish and svelte… I think it looks better than the Slim, and while it only has one setting (a pretty mild one at that) it does what it does very well.

I’m on the fence about whether to keep going with this blade or move on – it’s great, I’m a fan, but it’s also not especially exciting, and I’m beginning to feel the call of the road…

Dollar Platinum – the buck stops here​

Gillette Rocket HD 500​


Well, in these inflationary times we have to make each Dollar count, so I decided to give this fine blade one more outing. And what better way to do it than breaking in another rescue? In this case, a finely-crafted, made-in-England TTO.

These have the reputation of being perhaps the finest shavers in a very respectable family; this one is (I think) of a somewhat earlier vintage than my Flare-tip, perhaps mid-1950s? It feels very precise and balanced in the hand, let’s see how it shaves!

Very well indeed! A tiny bit more aggressive than the Flare, and commensurately more efficient, but still in the mild and smooth category for sure. It also makes a bit more noise doing its thing, where the Flare was pretty much silent. This one had to work a bit around the chin (at least with this 5-shaves-in blade, on 2 days’ growth) but it was never uncomfortable.

So, once again, after sleeping for who knows how long, with a bit of TLC this old-timer woke right up and happily delivered a delightfully close, BBS shave without a drop of blood or a hint of irritation.

Does anyone else catch themselves anthropomorphizing these wonderful old razors, like an adult version of Toy Story? Talking amongst themselves when the lights go out, hoping to be brought out to play by their beloved human?

Maybe it’s just me.
Does anyone else catch themselves anthropomorphizing these wonderful old razors, like an adult version of Toy Story? Talking amongst themselves when the lights go out, hoping to be brought out to play by their beloved human?

Maybe it’s just me.
I hadn’t

... now I want to make a short animated film about it! The beloved old standby (Woody, perhaps a vintage Slim); the flashy newcomer (Buzz, maybe a RazoRock Game Changer)...

Hmmm. :pipe:

Blade #34: Vi-John Super Platinum (India)​

And now for something completely different! Not a Vidyut blade, as far as I can tell, but that’s about all I can tell. Made in India by, well, Vi-John, whatever that means. I got it from Italian Barber in Toronto, along with a tuck of it’s Super Stainless sibling. It also proudly proclaims that it’s made by the maker of the world’s largest selling shaving cream! Social proof seems to be a big thing in India.

Anyway, it’s got Cryo-Tech! It has to be good, right? Well, let’s find out.


Round 1: RazoRock Old Type (Halo handle)​

This was one of those shaves I wasn’t entirely sure about during the process, but the result was so convincing that I have no choice but to give it full marks.

The Old Type is a solid performer, mild and easygoing, but there was something not quite right about it, and I still can’t put my finger on it. Might be the blade, which I wouldn’t put in the top drawer sharpness-wise but was definitely smooth enough and not unpleasant.

There was just something missing – a certain flow, perhaps. It wasn’t effortless and I didn’t quite get the same enjoyment from it somehow. I’m not going to rush to judgement, as it’s given me great shaves in the past, but I’ll have to pay special attention next time around.

However, as mentioned, the results were unequivocal: another very close, bloodless and irritation-free BBS. Took a bit of doing, sure, and it wasn’t a Perfect Experience, but if was still a very good shave at the end of the day. Which has to count for something!

I think I’ll try the blade with something a tiny bit more aggressive next…

Round 2: RazoRock M90a (929Shaving diamond handle)​

Well here’s something a little off the beaten path: this quirky, Darwin-inspired handle (at least, that’s what it reminds me of), made by 929shaving in Pakistan, caught my eye recently and eventually I gave in to curiosity. It is supposedly stainless steel, though I’m not sure how to verify that.

Anyway, it seems decently made, feels good in the hand, and looks quite good with the M90a head. They seem to balance each other nicely, and look quite snazzy together too! In, you know, a Techno-Gothic sort of way…

So, not a new razor per se but a new experience, and I like it – makes it feel a bit more manoeverable in the tricky areas, and I seem to be able to find the sweet spot of angle and pressure a little easier than when the light aluminum head was overbalanced with a big heavy handle. Nice!

The Vi-John seemed happier too on its second outing, maybe just a better fit with this setup. Anyway the shave was delightful, and I’m looking forward to the next round!
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