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Bakelite appeal?

I think I might just like shiny things. I know several of you guys love and collect these type of razors. To be honest I have never used one so you you guys help me see the appeal.
 
While I prefer metal razors, I have come to appreciate bakelite recently. My first two bakelite razors were the Merkur 45 and PAA BOCS. Both I immediately changed out the handles to mostly to add more weight and something longer to grip. I enjoyed shaving with the heads though because the bakelite made it glide better and was more maneuverable because of the light weight. My recent binge in vintage razors and slants just moved my appreciation of bakelites to a higher level. One thing that I have found recently is that it helps you to remember to use no pressure as you will get immediate feedback if you press even the slightest and it also forces you to find the correct angle so the head glides over your face. Use too much pressure or the wrong angle, and the light head will start to give a rough shave. I still prefer a slightly longer and heavier handle with the bakelites, but for the slants and diagonals, I am finding that the light and short handles help in controlling the razor.

Anyway, too much talk. Go out and get a Merkur 45 or a PAA BOCS and find out for yourself.
 
I have both Merkur 45 and PAA BOCS. My first bakelite, PAA BOCS opened my eyes. Earlier I appreciated heavy razors, but I noticed that I get a lot less pressure with a bakelite, as I do not need to lift the razor. Many times the razors own weight is actually too much pressure and I end up lifting the razor. With a bakelite this is never a problem.

I think we all have the problem that we associate lightweight with disposable stuff and heavy stuff with quality. The weight just does not mirror this in shave quality. A lightweight DE might give better shave than a heavy razor, all depending on the circumstances.
 
Bakelite has several things I find appealing. It's a heavier plastic with a more substantial feel. It's one of the very first thermosetting plastics. It can be formed into intricate shapes and will not have mold lines like other plastics. It's strong and stands up to abuse well. It does not get as slippery as metal when wet or soapy.

In all, it is a pretty nice material for a razor.
 

Rhody

I'm a Lumberjack.
I have the Phoenix open comb slant and only just used it. I've since gotten comfortable with longer handles and heavier weight. So that was a downside. But overall it was much more aggressive for me. It was only $20 I think. Sorry I'm not doing a good job of selling you on these. Ymwv.
 
To be honest I have never used one so you you guys help me see the appeal.
When shaving with a metal razor, which is much heavier than a flyweight Bakelite razor, the sensation I get is that I'm holding something, a tool, to shave with.

A Bakelite razor feels like I'm holding nothing and becomes an extension of my hand.
 
Having tried several, I'm not a fan of Bakelite (or other plastic) razors. They tend to skip/chatter over my beard, and I ask myself, "Why would I want to use a plastic razor if there are alternatives?" Maybe if I were on an extended backpacking trip or other situation where ounces mattered. Happily that's not the case in my daily shave emporium.

Bakelite is a better form of plastic, you say?

Oh, that's nice, I say.
 
A Bakelite razor feels like I'm holding nothing and becomes an extension of my hand.

I’d agree with this statement, but I’ve only had a few Bakelite shaves so I’m still not sure if I like the feeling. Side note, Hancock doesn’t need an extension of the hand to shave - super powers would be nice.

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The only (I think they are Bakelite) one I really want is a military tech but that is mostly because I was a soldier and like memorabilia from wwII.

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Really the big advantage is that they will never rust or suffer from plating loss. Ive owned a few bakelite razors and theyre fine. The big downfall for me is that they are so light that you have to be careful to not use pressure.
 
One has to get used to the weight indeed. Or rather to the lack of weight!
But once used to it, it's not a problem. On the contrary: light-weighted razors are nimble.
Other than its mechanical properties, I find bakelite such a beautiful material. :001_wub:
 
Not many choices out there. That's why you don't see much people using. Also Bakelite reminds some people of cartridge and disposable razors. Not many DE converts like to be reminded of that.
 

ajkel64

The Aussie Basshole
I just used a 7 O'clock Bakelite razor for a week and it was adequate. Yes the weight or lack there of can be an issue but it shaved me fine. I did make some errors and required a styptic pencil for the first time in ages but it was operator error not the razor.
 
Not many choices out there. That's why you don't see much people using. Also Bakelite reminds some people of cartridge and disposable razors. Not many DE converts like to be reminded of that.
Celluloid and Bakelite are both plastic and for me that's where the similarity ends. Bakelite pieces lasts for years as with old radios and telephones. I would never associate Bakelite razors, like those from PAA, with disposable razors.
 
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