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Around The World In 80 Blades

Hello and happy new year!

I'm tobias tinker, a Canadian musician living in Germany and a fairly recent convert to DE shaving. While wet-shaving is not new to me, the wide wonderful world of DE razors and blades is a fairly recent discovery, and I'm the kind of person who *gets into things* when I get into them.

I'm posting here for the first time, after lurking for a while, to begin a little project I'm calling Around The World In 80 Blades (hence the handle). This is a way of documenting my personal journey and having a bit of fun with it. I am not trying to position myself as an expert reviewer, this is just my journey and my experience. It's meant to be fun, not authoritative.

Why 80 Blades?

As a jazz musician living in a rather small apartment with my family, I don't have the resources to build, nor the space to store, a large collection of razors, soaps, brushes and accoutrements.

But blades? Blades are small, and cheap, and yes, there's a wondrous assortment of them on the market, from all over the world.

So I thought, why not take a trip around the world, from the comfort of my bathroom sink? And explore a bit of the history and culture around this stuff along the way? I have so much to learn...

And then of course as soon as my brain made the connection with the classic Jules Verne novel (Around the World in 80 Days), and it didn't seem like 500 people had already done it, I knew I had to make the commitment. I will not be doing this in 80 days, of course; more likely 80 weeks in fact (I plan to use each blade for at least a week or so). But I'll do my best to stick with it for at least one time around the globe, with stops in all the places blades are made, or at least as many as I can find!

So today, to ring in a new year, I will set off on my journey. And I will start with a blade from where I live, in Germany - but also where my shaving journey began: with the ubiquitous Wilkinson Sword blade. The first DE blade I ever used, many years ago in Canada before cartridges swept the shaving world, and the first I tried when, more recently, I decided to abandon that grievous folly and embrace traditional safety-razor shaving again.

So, onwards and upwards... I'll post the reviews in Blade Reviews, where you can find more nerdy details about my rather modest setup and very limited experience, in case anyone's interested... otherwise, have a great day and, hopefully, a better year than the last two!
 
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ajkel64

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Welcome to the forum from Australia Tobias. If you like you can document your journey in the Diaries and Journals Forum. It is open for all of us to document our progress if we so desire.
 
Welcome to the madhouse, Tobias. :thumbup:

If you'd like to consider extending your journey to 80 years, check out THIS thread. :wink2:
So much to learn! I know I've been tossing them far too soon, but it's mostly because I'm always curious to try the next one. Haven't reached the point of being curious about how long I can push one, but I'll put it on the list of things I intend to become curious about... ;)
 
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Welcome to the forum from Australia Tobias. If you like you can document your journey in the Diaries and Journals Forum. It is open for all of us to document our progress if we so desire.
Thanks! I started a thread there already!
 
Welcome from Vienna 👋

Would you like to give us a glimpse of which blades/manufacturers you want to visit in your journey?
I've been considering whether and how much to plan the journey in advance, as well as whether to make that plan public or keep each new step a surprise (not that I am imagining a vast audience waiting on the edge of their seats to see what happens next!). And finally, whether to stick rigorously to the plan or allow for changes of itinerary along the way (which tends to be more the way I like to travel in the real world).

For the moment, I have a vague outline but haven't gone so far as to map every step of the way yet. The general idea is to to make it a mix of the more obvious and essential classics and some more obscure ones. I've equipped myself with a one-of-everything pack from RBC which gives me a pool of 150 to draw from, plus a couple I have in stock that aren't on that list. I'm hoping to add a few NOS blades to that to add some history to the geography, but I don't have huge heaps of cash to spend so that will probably be a limiting factor...
 
It is too bad your journey did not begin a few decades ago as there were many blades made in countries where there are no longer blade factories. However, you might still be able to find some vintage blades made before the factories closed. One of the more recent closures was the Edgewell/Personna factory in Nazareth, Israel where Personna Platinum "Israeli Reds". Although some older blades might still be available, the blades are now made in Germany in the same factory that makes Wilkinson Sword Classic blades. Of course, the Wilkinson Sword blades were originally made in UK, but no longer.

Another quirk of the blade manufacturing business is that there is a Gillette Branded Wilkinson Sword blade that is made in either India or China. IMHO, it is a decent blade, but not as sharp as the Classics from Germany.
 
It is too bad your journey did not begin a few decades ago as there were many blades made in countries where there are no longer blade factories. However, you might still be able to find some vintage blades made before the factories closed. One of the more recent closures was the Edgewell/Personna factory in Nazareth, Israel where Personna Platinum "Israeli Reds". Although some older blades might still be available, the blades are now made in Germany in the same factory that makes Wilkinson Sword Classic blades. Of course, the Wilkinson Sword blades were originally made in UK, but no longer.

Another quirk of the blade manufacturing business is that there is a Gillette Branded Wilkinson Sword blade that is made in either India or China. IMHO, it is a decent blade, but not as sharp as the Classics from Germany.
For sure... unfortunately I was lost in the wasteland of cartridge shaving for much of the last 3 decades.

I have tried the German Personna Platinum, which seemed a fine enough blade to me, though my process and technique have evolved somewhat since then so it's due for another round at some point. RBC lists a whole raft of Personna-made blades as being from, or in any case related in some way to, Israel - Eddison, Tomy, Kristall, Royal, Viking's Sword... I'm not sure how many of these may have been produced there, if any, or whether they are NOS or new and produced elsewhere (China? India?) or some combination thereof. They do differentiate between a German Personna Platinum and an Israeli one, for what that's worth, and they also carry both an Indian-made Gillette Wilkinson Sword and a Chinese-made one. It's a tangled web, this blade business!

The Wilkinson Sword brand has quite the back-story, as you point out, and I will mention that in my next post on the Journal thread, partly because it raises an interesting question - where should a brand whose history is deeply entwined with one place but is now produced in another, be placed? I guess the answer is, it doesn't really matter, since this is my little virtual journey I can pretty much make and break the 'rules' as it suits my storytelling purpose...

:straight:
 
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