The Dorco PL602 double-edge safety razor is a plastic, two-piece, inexpensive razor made in Vietnam for Dorco, a South Korean company. The razor is packaged with two Dorco Platinum ST300 blades, which are also made in Vietnam.
Dorco PL602 Mass and Length Measurements
Back on July 30th, I posted photos, along with mass and length measurements, of the Dorco PL602:
Mass and length measurements have been redone today, without a blade, since I have a second Dorco PL602 and now have a digital caliper for making better length measurements. Mass was measured with a calibrated scale having a 0.01 g resolution. Lengths were measured with a calibrated digital caliper having a 0.01 mm resolution. Center of mass was measured by carefully balancing the razor on a relatively thin edge of folded paper, noting the critical location, and measuring it with the caliper. Here are the new measurements:
|Length||110.23 mm (4.34 in.)|
|Handle Length||84.62 mm (3.33 in.)|
|Center of Mass from Top||37.71 mm (1.48 in.)|
Dorco PL602 Photo Analysis Measurements
Now, on to the photo analysis. Before getting into the details, I'm going to tabulate the results here:
|Blade||Wilkinson Sword, 22.00 mm wide, 0.098 mm thick|
|Blade Angle||22.8 deg|
|Handle Angle||46.8 deg|
|Blade Exposure||0.03 mm|
|Guard Span||1.11 mm|
|Cap Span||1.72 mm|
|Blade Gap||0.69 mm|
|Blade Reveal||1.22 mm|
Symmetric Blade Reveal, but Uneven Blade Exposure
The first thing that should be noted is how the Dorco PL602 loads a blade. The top cap unscrews from the base-plate-handle combination piece by turning the handle. The Dorco PL602 was certainly designed well to automatically load any blade symmetrically without any need, or access, in fact, for manual adjustments with the blade tabs; there are small tightly fitting support pieces that first hold the blade in position on the base plate, and then the blade is further loaded symmetrically and held in place by a centrally located support piece on the top cap when the top cap is screwed into position. As shown below, the Dorco PL602 generally loads a blade with pretty symmetric blade reveal, but the blade exposure is generally uneven across the cutting edges due to a little rise in the middle, which I believe has been mentioned here before by someone else or others.
Modification to See Down Blade Edge
The analysis that follows neglects the imperfection in blade exposure and simply uses a close-up photo that was taken down one blade edge. Naturally, the Dorco PL602 has views down the cutting edges blocked by protruding corners on the top cap and base plate. Since the razor is made of plastic, it was quick and easy to sand down some of the material to access the view down one blade edge from one side. This enabled me to take a close-up photo with minimal modification to the Dorco PL602 so as to minimize the risk of affecting measurements. This composite picture shows the original razor, the corners sanded down on the top cap and base plate, and how this modification unblocked the view down a blade edge:
Photo Analysis Picture
With the blade edge unblocked, I took a good close-up picture with my digital camera down the blade edge, as best as I could manage. This process takes some time and patience, but I've gotten the hang of it. (I'd rather not delve into the many details right now.) After taking the photo, it has sat on my computer for almost a month until now, when I finally got around to analyzing it. When I took the photo, I didn't have a caliper or micrometer. Now, I have both, and as I have documented here in a different thread, I can use my caliper with a fixture that I made to make very accurate blade width measurements. I am grateful that the Wilkinson Sword blade that I chose for the photo did indeed have a precise 22.00 mm width, along with a good thickness of 0.098 mm, the latter having been measured with my micrometer. Blades have different widths and thicknesses from brand to brand and sample to sample, and since blade width affects blade exposure, guard span, etc., it is important to measure the width and thickness of the particular blade used in the photo analysis for a razor. Preferably, I want the blade width and thickness to be the nominal 22 mm and 0.1 mm, respectively, which is pretty much accomplished in this case. Here is the photo analysis picture:
How Do Dimensions Relate to Razor Performance?
Relating dimensions to razor performance, here are my overall thoughts:
- The very low blade angle of 22.8 deg makes the Dorco PL602 milder and less efficient, since a typical blade angle of around 30 deg would have been more aggressive and efficient
- The very high handle angle of 46.8 deg, significantly greater than the nominal 30 deg or so, makes shaving with the Dorco PL602 somewhat awkward or less natural
- The neutral blade exposure of 0.03 mm and fairly average or less average guard span of 1.11 mm, for a blade with a precise 22 mm width, really help make the Dorco PL602 feel smoother by facilitating less feeling of the blade against the skin
Measured Handle Angle Made Better Shave!
Before doing my photo analysis, I had tried the Dorco PL602 a few times and, with my tough hair, I found the Dorco PL602 to be frustratingly inefficient and unable to provide a decent shave, leaving long stubble in some areas, such as on the neck and above the lip, even with proper preparation, good lather, a very sharp blade (Astra Superior Platinum, KAI Stainless Steel, Feather Hi-Stainless), and added pressure with buffing in an ATG pass. I learned to apply more pressure with this plastic razor, as others have learned, but even then, the razor could not come close to providing a decent shave. More pressure resulted in more friction, irritation, and frustration.
Since doing my photo analysis, I was surprised to learn about the very large handle angle of 46.8 deg. I knew that I had to revisit the Dorco PL602 because I had shaved with it as if the handle angle was the typical 30 deg or so. I'm still a newbie, so maybe those more experienced users who have used the Dorco PL602 were naturally increasing the handle angle, possibly without realizing it, but I was using a more typical handle angle and didn't realize that the Dorco PL602 needed much more. Breaking out the razor again, I loaded it with the somewhat used Polsilver Super Iridium blade that I've been shaving with recently, applied a really good lather to my properly wetted face, and gave it another try with three passes (WTG, XTG, ATG). Lo and behold, the razor worked better than before!
Okay Shave, but Still Friction Issues
Using appropriate handle angles around the desired 46.8 deg, the Dorco PL602 shaved much better than before when I was using incorrect handle angles around 30 deg, resulting in a possibly decent shave in that there were no large areas with long stubble left. The remaining stubble on my face could be felt in a lot of areas, but it was significantly shorter than before, and overall, the shave could do for the outside world, even if it looked like there might be a 5 o'clock shadow. This better shave was accomplished with more appropriately applied pressure compared to before when I was applying too much pressure, so this time, the drag was much better. Nevertheless, although in a much lesser amount, I still experienced some noticeable friction and stick-slip issues. The friction issues might have been caused by drying lather getting stuck in between the thin horizontal protruding lines on the safety guard/bar, but this suspicion is unconfirmed. Maybe the light weight of this plastic razor has more to do with it, since the same forces on a much heavier razor would not be felt nearly as much. (The same frictional and hair-cutting forces on a much heavier razor, having much more mass and mass moment of inertia, cause much less translational and rotational acceleration, which is why heavier razors move more smoothly against the skin than lighter razors.)
Dorco PL602 Might Be Too Inefficient for Tougher Hair
Reviews state that the Dorco PL602 (a) is designed very well, (b) is made consistently, (c) provides smooth, comfortable shaves, (d) works really well as a travel razor with respect to clearing TSA and being inexpensive, and (e) makes a good beginner's razor due to its price and performance. Based on my experience and the experience of others, as best as I can figure it, the Dorco PL602 apparently works well for those with hair that is soft to average in toughness, although the shave may not be BBS for those with average hair toughness, at least. Guys with tougher hair, such as myself, might find the Dorco PL602 lacking in performance. Still, the Dorco PL602 could be a good beginner's razor if someone has hair that is not too tough. The Dorco PL602 will never become a regular razor for me, but I would consider travelling with it.
Loosening the Handle and Shimming
Loosening the head slightly or adding a shim was suggested as ways to make this razor very efficient. However, I found that loosening the handle, even by a quarter turn, loosens the hold on the blade and allows the blade to move, throwing off the symmetric blade exposure in the process. Further, I discovered that a blade alignment issue creeps in with shimming, getting worse with more shims. When I tried shimming with this razor back when I was using the wrong handle angle for it, I felt that shimming with up to two shims was found to make little difference or make things worse. Given this and the lack of performance that I still get with the Dorco PL602 even after correcting my handle angle, I don't feel like experimenting further with the Dorco PL602 to find out if I might feel differently now about shimming with it.
Does It Not Clamp Enough on Blade?
This might sound odd, but I think that both the blade exposure and guard span of the Dorco PL602 are better than with the PAA DOC Satin, my current razor, and yet, the razor works worse than the PAA DOC. Neither is the optimum for my tough hair, but I think that the Dorco PL602 is on the right track. The Dorco PL602 definitely feels better against the skin, largely because of the smaller guard span and smoother safety guard profile, but there is more friction and stick-slip with the Dorco PL602 which should cause more irritation, as I believe I experienced. The plastic frame and light weight, in addition to the really low blade angle, probably contribute to the Dorco PL602's lack of performance compared to the PAA DOC, which is also lacking for me. It is possible that the main contributing factor to the Dorco PL602's lacking performance is that the plastic razor might not clamp down on the blade enough, resulting in too much blade chatter or blade deformation and a poor shave for my hair. I don't know.
Next Razor: EJ Kelvin with DE89 Head!
Well, that's it. I hope that I covered everything. It took a while to get here, but I delivered as I said I would. I still haven't even gotten around to opening the EJ Kelvin that's been sitting on my shelf for over a month! I will take pictures and measurements and do a photo analysis and review, probably all in one post. It won't be soon, though, but in the meantime, I'll keep going with other traditional shaving-related research and data collection. Keep your eyes out!