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"Degree of blade waviness" a huge factor in smoothness?

TL;DR version
Depending on the razor, the actual exposed edge of a DE blade may be held perfectly flat or a series of "waves" may be introduced. It is my hypothesis that this is a vastly overlooked feature of razors that contributes a lot to smoothness/roughness of the way the razor FEELS when you shave. I wonder whether others have thought about this or checked into this with their DE razors?

Full version
A lot of bandwidth has been devoted to blade rigidity on this board, and rightly so. I feel like it's important. But I think I stumbled upon another thing to think about, and that it the waviness of the DE blade edge when the blade is in the razor and it's tightened down and ready to go.

Talk about blade waviness has been limited principally to a shortcoming of the old Weber razor and some of the iKon Deluxe OC models, both of which were quite a while ago. Newbies here probably don't even remember those discussions.

So here's how I came upon it, and what I think about it. After you load up a razor, if you hold it a certain way with good lighting, there should come a point where you can see reflected light along the entire blade edge (if your razor has a SERIOUS wavy blade problem, you might not be able to do even this, but most razors you can). If you then move the razor very slightly you can watch the reflection disappear and turn to darkness. If the blade is held completely without any waviness this happens completely seamlessly and smoothly. If there are waves in the blade edge, you will see little chunks that are dark while other parts are still reflecting light. Depending on how much wave is in the blade, these can be large or small, and they can be few or many.

I really love my British flat-bottom New. On a whim I checked it in the light the other day. One side was completely pure, the other had the tiniest bit of waviness. This got me to thinking, so I pulled out ALL my DEs, loaded them up with the same blade, and went through the entire process from start to finish with each of them.

I was kind of astounded to see what I found. I had, I believe, four razors that held the blade completely flat on both sides. Maybe not a coincidence that they are my smoothest razors? I had several that had a tiny bit of waviness, and then I had two or three that showed quite a bit of waviness. Maybe not a coincidence that those were all my least-favorite razors?

There are a lot of things that contribute to a "smooth" or "comfortable" feel of a razor as you are shaving with it. One of the most underrated, in my opinion, is the shape of the safety bar or the smoothness of the comb (for OC razors). Blade rigidity may also play a role. But now I am thinking that the waviness of the blade (or lack thereof) may be a MAJOR contributing factor, just based on my experiences with these razors.

Am I the only person who has ever thought about this? Maybe some of you (if you can understand what I am saying) can take a look at your smoothest and least smooth razors and see whether what I found holds true for you, too?
 
I always check how the edge looks and correct the cap/plate, if needed. If it can’t be straightened, it’s a pass.
 
I always check how the edge looks and correct the cap/plate, if needed. If it can’t be straightened, it’s a pass.
It seems that nobody knows what I am talking about. I am not talking about getting the blade to sit straight in the razor. I am talking, literally, about little bends or waves that are in the razor blade along the sharp side of the blade that can't be seen when looking at the razor unless you hold it up so that light reflects directly off the surface of the blade.

I think since people don't look for these, they assume the blade edge isn't warped or bent, but I was surprised to find that most of my razors warped/bent/waved the blade at least a little. I only had a few that did not.

I really feel like this virtually unnoticeable feature has a fairly big impact on how smoothly a razor shaves.
 
Hmm, I checked a blade in a few different razors but wasn't able to detect any waviness. It's possible the razors I own don't produce "waves", but I'm also wondering if this needs ambient light (rather than a point source, i.e. my bathroom light) to really see it.
 
I had one of those wavy blade Webers. It was definitely a rough shaver. Once I figured out what caused it and was able to correct it, it did shave much smoother. Still wasn't one of my favorites and when the prices on them shot up, I sold it off. I haven't noticed any of my other razors with anywhere near the same degree of waviness but I'll take a more careful look at some of them.
 
I have a Pearl open comb TTO that has this affliction. If I tighten it down too hard it is easy to see the waves in the blade. If I back off a bit the blade is flat. The same effect can be seen using the spacer from a Russion twin DE blade razor. The spacer has ripples and when using a single blade it will produce the same distortion in the blade. Modern blades are thinner than carbon blades from the early years of the DE. I suspect this has a lot to do with it.
 
It seems that nobody knows what I am talking about. I am not talking about getting the blade to sit straight in the razor. I am talking, literally, about little bends or waves that are in the razor blade along the sharp side of the blade that can't be seen when looking at the razor unless you hold it up so that light reflects directly off the surface of the blade.

I think since people don't look for these, they assume the blade edge isn't warped or bent, but I was surprised to find that most of my razors warped/bent/waved the blade at least a little. I only had a few that did not.

I really feel like this virtually unnoticeable feature has a fairly big impact on how smoothly a razor shaves.
Sorry, I've never seen this myself although I can't say I've inspected the blade that closely. I look for an even reveal on both sides but that's it. Is it possible to take pictures of this? I think it would really help the rest of us understand what you are seeing.
 
Sorry, I've never seen this myself although I can't say I've inspected the blade that closely. I look for an even reveal on both sides but that's it. Is it possible to take pictures of this? I think it would really help the rest of us understand what you are seeing.
I wish I could, but it is very subtle and I doubt I could capture it properly.
 
It seems that nobody knows what I am talking about. I am not talking about getting the blade to sit straight in the razor. I am talking, literally, about little bends or waves that are in the razor blade along the sharp side of the blade that can't be seen when looking at the razor unless you hold it up so that light reflects directly off the surface of the blade.

I think since people don't look for these, they assume the blade edge isn't warped or bent, but I was surprised to find that most of my razors warped/bent/waved the blade at least a little. I only had a few that did not.

I really feel like this virtually unnoticeable feature has a fairly big impact on how smoothly a razor shaves.
We talk about the same thing.
 
I will have to examine my razors now, but honestly, no idea what you are talking about.
So I rather have never taken note of this, and haven't actually experienced it so far... but I should have, after some 35+ razors, soooo...

... (4-5 minute later)... not really, I inspected Blackbird, Envoy, Stando Chors, GC 84, Wunderbar and R41. The loaded blades are dry, I only keep the currently used blade somewhat after use in the razor I am using atm. So no worries, I am not rusting my beauties.

Well, sorry to say, I tried and can't find/see it! 😕
 
I know what you mean. I realized this first on a stainless steel razor and the reason was that there was a hair between blade and cap. After this point I'm always looking on the blade and how it appears. Sometimes tightening the handle too much causes such waves. But I did not so far tried to see this in combination to the fact if I like the razor or not... I will do the next days.

Thanks.

Sami
 
This is a very interesting thread and intuitively it makes sense that if a blade edge is not completely level along its length then this would cause a feeling of roughness and an uneven cut, which may require additional passes. It is interesting to me because I am curious to understand why different razors give such different shaves, when a razor is really just a blade holder and it is the blade itself that shaves the hair. It has to be about how the razors hold the blade differently that causes much of this difference. Plus, to a greater or lesser extent, factors like materials, weight, etc.

Anyway I took a few of my razors that have blades loaded and I do see what you mean when I look along the blade edge from a low angle and catch the light just right to illuminate the edge evenly. My Blackland Tradere OC, Timeless Ti Slim and Tatara Nodachi were all perfectly level. My Blackland SS Blackbird has quite visible waves along the blade length, which only partly went away when I loosened the cap a little. My Blackland Blackbird Brass also had some waves, but much less than the SS razor.

How do these observations correlate to my perception of the razors’ smoothness? I think fairly well. It’s a small sample and this can only be one potential factor, but my Tradere OC is the razor I feel is most surprisingly smooth for the very high efficiency it has. I feel my Timeless Slim is smooth considering the amount of blade exposure. My Blackbird SS, which has the waviest blade, feels rougher than those other razors. It gives such a close shave that I am very happy with it - but the Tradere gives me equal results with much more smoothness. I also feel my Brass Blackbird is noticeably smoother than the SS one, and this shows waves but less so than the SS one. The Brass might also contribute to the smoothness, though. But so far all of these observations seem to align quite well with the OP’s hypothesis.

The anomaly may be the Tatara Nodachi, which had no waves on the blade. I find this a relatively rough razor so far, particularly compared to its apparent efficiency, which is not especially high. It does have a lot of blade feel, though, and is the OC plate. There may be other reasons and I may not have found the right technique for this razor yet.

Hope some of this has contributed to this fascinating topic.
 
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Thanks for the responses so far. I can remember only three razors that had such pronounced wariness that it was widely discussed: some of the original Webers, some of the original iKon Deluxe OCs, and the Viking's Blade Emperor Meiji, which actually had a pronounced wide frown.
But other razors produce smaller perturbations in the blade edge that are not visible unless searched for by light reflection.
My Pils is one of my current razors that produces no waviness whatsoever, and it is obviously very similar to the Tradere. I find both of these razors to feel extremely smooth on the face.
It might not be anywhere near as important as blade exposure, blade rigidity, or safety bar design in terms of its effect on the feel of a shave, but I do think it plays a role.
If you have a razor that surprises you with its smoothness, I suspect it doesn't wave the blade at all. On the other hand, if you have a razor that you think, based on its design, ought to be smooth but for some reason feels a bit rough, take a look and see if it is producing these very small perturbations on the blade edge.
 
I know what you mean, but the last time I thought about this was with my Viking's Blade unsurprisingly. It gave me enough problems that this was the least of them. I guess I will go check it when I pull out a fresh blade Sat.
 
I checked with my Vikings Blade without re-reading any post first so I can post my observations.

The problem is clearly with the blade clamping, specifically the doors. They are not clamping evenly, I can see the pattern in the minerals left on the razor and by observing as I close the doors. The doors are uneven enough that at higher numbers, one corner of the blade has a higher gap than the other.

This leads to my second observation; at a certain number, the blade is sufficiently bent(tensioned) that the waviness becomes inconsequential. On The Emperor, that number is 4. This is also where the gap in the corners evens out. In the past, I would use number 5 and occasionally get poked. Not nicked, poked in the same way that a twisted slant will. With the higher gapped corner. I decided unconsciously to stop using razors that do this because it is too unpredictable.

Finally, I personally don't think I am that sensitive to blade waviness. DE blades are flexible enough that I suspect when I put it to my face it is mostly flat. This is because when I have a rolled edge, I can feel the irritation right away. If the waviness was irritating my skin, I would have stopped and looked at the blade edge.
 
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Amusing...

According to Vikings Blade, the bend in the blade when using the Crusader razor is a feature not a defect: :hand:
IMPORTANT NOTE about "bowing" blade: This razor has 2 symmetrical burrs on the door corners which slightly bow/bend the blade. NOT a defect. This is part of our new 2020 mold and has passed all QC standards. Razors made from this mold repeatedly give an excellent smooth shave and this has been confirmed by all our genuine beta testers, despite the bowing effect which might be misunderstood

FYI: I haven't found this statement on their website, just in the Amazon product description.
 
Amusing...

According to Vikings Blade, the bend in the blade when using the Crusader razor is a feature not a defect: :hand:


FYI: I haven't found this statement on their website, just in the Amazon product description.
Yeah, I think they thought it would be easier to claim they meant to do it than to take back all the defective razors. B&B member THall fixed mine for me. It was still too blade forward for my taste, so I moved it along, but it was definitely a much smoother shaver after he fixed the frown.
 
I was kind of astounded to see what I found. I had, I believe, four razors that held the blade completely flat on both sides. Maybe not a coincidence that they are my smoothest razors? I had several that had a tiny bit of waviness, and then I had two or three that showed quite a bit of waviness. Maybe not a coincidence that those were all my least-favorite razors?
Which ones? Name names.
:behead:
 
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