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Dorco PL602 Plastic Safety Razor - Photo Analysis and Review

Dorco PL602


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.

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Dorco PL602 Mass and Length Measurements


Back on July 30th, I posted photos, along with mass and length measurements, of the Dorco PL602:

[thread]497045[/thread]

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:

RazorDorco PL602
Mass12.03 g
Length110.23 mm (4.34 in.)
Handle Length84.62 mm (3.33 in.)
Center of Mass from Top37.71 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:

RazorDorco PL602
BladeWilkinson Sword, 22.00 mm wide, 0.098 mm thick
Blade Angle22.8 deg
Handle Angle46.8 deg
Blade Exposure0.03 mm
Guard Span1.11 mm
Cap Span1.72 mm
Blade Gap0.69 mm
Blade Reveal1.22 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.

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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:

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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:

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How Do Dimensions Relate to Razor Performance?


Relating dimensions to razor performance, here are my overall thoughts:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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!
 
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Great post! I'm loving the photo analysis and discussion on how the razor performance relates to the design. Looking forward to more of these reviews, especially when or if you get to my current favorite, the R41. The good news there is that razor makes short work of even the toughest stubble. I appreciate all the analytical work!
 
Great post! I'm loving the photo analysis and discussion on how the razor performance relates to the design. Looking forward to more of these reviews, especially when or if you get to my current favorite, the R41. The good news there is that razor makes short work of even the toughest stubble. I appreciate all the analytical work!

Thanks! I'm going to keep the analyses coming. I'm sure that I'll make my way to the R41. I want to stick with more popular and established razors, and the R41 is one of those, but my face might not be ready for it. :w00t:
 
Wonderful post! Thank you! :thumbup:

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad that guys appreciate my neuroses. :001_smile I'm always trying to improve my posting style. Section headings really worked to help tell the story here and make the post more readable. I'm still not happy with inserting pictures, though. My pictures are posted somewhere else on the Internet and referenced here without any loading to B&B. They then end up filling the entire page width because of their large size. Could you or someone else show me how to fix a width to an inserted picture that is being grabbed from outside of B&B?
 
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Thank You for the great review.:thumbup1: I have shaved with this razor about a dozen times & it does an OK job on my beard. I just loaded a blade & got my magnifying glass to inspect it. You are right that the blades bends up a slight amount in the middle. This phenomenon does not seem to affect the shave for me at least but, is something to be aware of.
 
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Thank You for the great review.:thumbup1: I have shaved with this razor about a dozen times & it does an OK job on my beard. I just loaded a blade & got my magnifying glass to inspect it. You are right that the blades bends up a slight amount in the middle. This phenomenon does not seem to affect the shave for me at least but, is something to be aware of.

My pleasure, fast shaver! When you shaved with the Dorco PL602, do you think that you tried its handle angle of over 45 degrees? The proper handle angle really improved my shave with this razor, but the shave was still lacking. Yeah, it does okay for me, too. I'm glad that you noticed the slight bend in the middle of the edges. This appears to be a consistent design (or possibly manufacturing) issue from one razor sample to another. I agree with you that it doesn't appear to affect the shave.
 
With the Plastic Dorco or any other razor, I place it perpendicular on my face & slowly increase the angle until it starts cutting the beard. Nick shaves on youtube does the same thing in some of his video's. It works out fine for me in finding the correct cutting angle.
 
With the Plastic Dorco or any other razor, I place it perpendicular on my face & slowly increase the angle until it starts cutting the beard. Nick shaves on youtube does the same thing in some of his video's. It works out fine for me in finding the correct cutting angle.

Nick makes great videos! I've seen him do what you described and do yourself. I should apply that technique for finding the angle, but I guess that I haven't had much use for it yet because the PAA DOC has such a negative blade exposure and I hardly used the Dorco PL602. This newbie needs practice! My handle angle with the PAA DOC has been fine, but I was quite off with the Dorco PL602. If I had done the angle-finding technique that you described, I'm sure that I would have liked the Dorco more than I did when I first tried it. Thanks for the tip! :001_smile
 
No problem.! :thumbup1: I am glad I could help. You might need a more aggressive razor. The Lord L6 is slightly more aggressive than the Gillette Tech but, it gives me a fine shave when I use light pressure. Its around 10 bucks on the Bay shipped.! The blade gap is even on both sides & the blade is straight across.
 
I've heard about the Lord L6. I'm sure that I'll get to that someday, especially with a $10 total price tag! Plus, as you pointed out, the blade is symmetrically loaded. It's more aggressive than the EJ DE89, right? I have the EJ DE89 head (in the form of the EJ Kelvin razor), so this will be my first big razor shift, presuming that I like it better than the PAA DOC Satin.
 
I have an EJ DE89 & its more aggressive than the Lord L6 which I also have IMO. There is also the Lord Tech which is a little milder than the Lord L6 from the Canadian guy for around the same price shipped.! He only sells the latest 2015 production models.
 
Interesting. Thanks, fast shaver. Maybe someday I'll have tried both the Lord L6 and the Lord Tech. I started with the PAA DOC Satin, but I'm moving on to more efficient razors. In doing so, I want to stick with more popular and established razors that have aggressiveness ratings in the B&B table so that I can experience them for myself, take mass and length measurements, do photo analysis down the blade edges, and use photo analysis data for improvement and validation of my aggressiveness model. I'm sure that the EJ DE89 will be more efficient than what I'm used to, and that's what I'm going for. The WTG pass does nothing for me with the PAA DOC. I generally go a two-pass shave, XTG and ATG, with the PAA DOC, and even then, the PAA DOC doesn't do much in the XTG pass for me, but I can't really get away with cutting out that pass before the ATG pass, which does the brunt of the work on my stubble. So, as you can see, I need to move on from the PAA DOC.
 
My story with the PL602: Over the course of the last several years, since mid-2012 according to my records, I sold anywhere from 700-1500 of them on ebay. It was one of the first items I listed on ebay when I started selling, and the one that lasted the longest. Everything else I sold came and went. Halfway through my tenure, every order came with a razor blade sampler attached to the back of it with whatever brands I had. If you bought one and there was a pack of random blades included, it probably came from me. In the beginning there was no competition and I thought I would sell a couple and that would be the end of it. Wet shaving wasn't very popular when I first listed them, I was still using personna pink disposables. Fast forward to last month: supply appears to have dried up with nothing foreseeable in the future. It was a nice run while it lasted, but appears to be over.

Is it a good razor though? Not really. It's plastic, light, difficult to clean, kind of a pain to load and there's better out there for the same price or less (Lord L6, RiMei, Yingjili). I was only paying about $1 a piece but I guess the average price online is somewhere around $4 now? Haven't really checked, I charged $5.00 when I carried them.
 
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My story with the PL602: Over the course of the last several years, since mid-2012 according to my records, I sold anywhere from 700-1500 of them on ebay. It was one of the first items I listed on ebay when I started selling, and the one that lasted the longest. Everything else I sold came and went. Halfway through my tenure, every order came with a razor blade sampler attached to the back of it with whatever brands I had. If you bought one and there was a pack of random blades included, it probably came from me. In the beginning there was no competition and I thought I would sell a couple and that would be the end of it. Wet shaving wasn't very popular when I first listed them, I was still using personna pink disposables. Fast forward to last month: supply appears to have dried up with nothing foreseeable in the future. It was a nice run while it lasted, but appears to be over.

Is it a good razor though? Not really. It's plastic, light, difficult to clean, kind of a pain to load and there's better out there for the same price or less (Lord L6, RiMei, Yingjili). I was only paying about $1 a piece but I guess the average price online is somewhere around $4 now? Haven't really checked, I charged $5.00 when I carried them.

Wow! That's a great history with the PL602! You were ahead of the curve. I got a lot of two PL602s for $5.18 with free shipping and no extra blades attached, so they came from someone else, but I believe that I could have gotten just one razor for around $5, which is why I paid a little extra for two of them. The PL602 does have its issues. I tried it because it was cheap, designed well, and was getting good reviews. Even though it might make a good travel razor, I'd rather travel with an inexpensive metal razor that costs more but works better than the PL602. The Lord L6 appears to be around $11.50 minimum right now online with the RiMei being under $9 and the Yingjili being less than $2 if you're willing to wait for its arrival from Hong Kong.
 
I got the Lord Tech from NTguy that sells 2015 production Lord Razors. The Razors have an even blade gap on both sides & provide an excellent shave. He lists them in Canadian & USA dollars. He will only charge your card in USA money if you order from the states. I have a Yingjili Razor on the way with the metal handle.:thumbup1:
 
I got the Lord Tech from NTguy that sells 2015 production Lord Razors. The Razors have an even blade gap on both sides & provide an excellent shave. He lists them in Canadian & USA dollars. He will only charge your card in USA money if you order from the states. I have a Yingjili Razor on the way with the metal handle.:thumbup1:

I'm going to have to buy the Lord L6, aren't I? :w00t: Is it important to get a 2015 model? Do newer or other models not have an even blade gap? There is a 2011 model at Amazon for a little more money. Do you know how they are different?
 
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Its probably not necessary but, I like to get the latest Lord model available. Some of the Ebay guys will sell New Old Stock in blades & Razors. I think only some Chinese Razors have uneven blade gaps that I have bought. The Concord Razor is an example of a strange uneven blade gap. It could have been just a bad one I got though. The Ebay dealer fixed it with a new Lord Razor to his credit. The newer Lord Razors have a better chrome job is all I can tell. Don't know about the 2011 model but, its most likely an even blade gap. Lord makes good Razors IMO.
 
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