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Definition of Terms

I'm getting wrapped around a definition and need some help untangling things.

That's the term we use to refer to changing the angle at which we hold the razor. I've seen people give the advice "steepen your angle" or "try a shallower angle." I know what the words mean, but the problem I'm having is that when I read the entire SE archive I found the terms being used both ways.

I can't be the only person having trouble with that, right? (crickets...)

So can we come to some agreement as to what's what? I propose the following:

The angle under discussion is the angle between the razor HANDLE and the shaving surface. Let's assume for now that a face is a basically vertical surface. When the handle is vertical and closer to parallell with the face, that is a "steeper" angle. Just like raising one end of a board makes a steeper ramp.

If the HANDLE is brought away from vertically parallel with the face, that would make the angle "shallower" in the sense that lowering one end of steep ramp makes a shallower ramp.

This also works considering the angle of attack of the BLADE: a shallower angle of attack is going to result from the handle coming away from parallel with the face, a steeper angle of attack will result from the handle being nearer the face.

Am I thinking about this all wrong? I'm sorry but when I see terms being used interchangeably I start to feel like one of them is wrong but I can't tell which from the context.

I spent too much time in school, I guess.

I admit it can be confusing, I always preferred the "ride the cap" or "ride the bar/comb" binomial, it´s more descriptive.

Using a shavette, I learned to lay the blade flat and raise slightly. This allows the edge to cut rather than scrap. This is the same or similar concept of laying the DE or GEM cap against the cheek.

Folks like audibles, but that means the edge is scraping and not cuttings

Ron R

That is a great graphic illustration of the blade in action, I do get more shaves with a SE blade that are .009 thousands of a inch thickness compared to DE blades that are around .0035 thousands of a inch thickness, I always thought it was because there was more material backing the edge also and maybe it does to a degree. Shearing instead of scrapping is a better technique IMO also as the illustration indicates.


For me angle was much easier to find when I stopped worrying about the angle of the handle and stated feeling the angle of the blade.
For me angle was much easier to find when I stopped worrying about the angle of the handle and stated feeling the angle of the blade.
Yes, and those razor blade holders that allow more blade feel make feeling the blade much easier.

Perhaps this is a good time to discuss why minimal pressure and a light touch allows for better use of the edge.
Mick's illustration fits well with my way of thinking which comes from woodworking. The low cutting angle models the idea of riding the bevel for a controlled cut, that is the heel of the bevel prevents the edge from freely penetrating the surface. So I follow the riding the cap with my razors to get as close to a tangent blade bevel. So the clear way of thinking is to regard the blade to the skin angle as most relevant.
Brother Hippie,

I believe riding the cap = shallow angle

I believe riding the safety bar = steep angle

Angle from what? an imaginary horizontal line. And the angle relates to the handle and its relationship to that imaginary horizontal line.

I agree the issue is confusing. Maybe people need to say, raise the handle or lower the handle. Everyone can relate to those instructions. Hope I didn't add to the confusion.