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Help me understand razor comfort

Theoretically, if I could know the blade gap, the blade angle, blade exposure, blade clamp/rigidity, blade reveal, and blade angle, as well as the safety bar/comb dimensions and finish, I should be able to compare razors and know which is best.

Hi Dan,

I had a similar fascination last year about soaps. I experimented with a few hundred combinations of soap, water, brush, lathering methods trying to find the most yogurty, high sheen, low bubble, stringy, lather possible.

By the end of the experiment, I concluded that ALL soaps/creams perform equally with the right amount of water.

Not long after, I made the following conclusions:

1. Brush makes no difference
2. All soaps are equal
3. All razors are just blade holders

With razors, it's generally about finding the right angle/pressure sweetspot, when that happens, they all shave the same. Buy the one that looks the best.
 
You might want to look at
tl;dr there is consensus on part of the required data, but measuring the data is on another level of difficulty.
 
I think, that to understand razor comfort, one would have to firstly define "comfort". Despite the stickies and wiki pages, you can pick any thread and within a few posts you will find different understandings of a singular term. This can make getting an answer to a fair simple question quite challenging.

So, back to razor comfort, is it no tugging or no skin irritation or how it feels to hold the razor? You will find posts with all of these and more being the understanding of that one word.

I agree that there must be geometric parameters that should be quantifiable and these should be able to weed out razors that definitely won't come close to what you are looking for, particularly of you know the same parameters of an existing razor and know what is lacking for you. Unfortunately, I don't believe that these parameters are published and this is largely why we are in this YMMV and give it a try area.

Iirc , initially the research results back in the beginning, was that to cut a hair most efficiently , a sharp blade had to be introduced at 30 degrees and the hair well hydrated. My problem with this, is that information is missing. Most notably, the angle of the bevel on the blade used at that time. If having the body of the blade at 30 degrees on that blade meant that the bevel was flush against the skin, then we need to know the bevel angles on different blades, this, in my opinion, explains why some blades work better in certain razors. Clearly, the amount if bend also alters how the bevel sits on the skin, so amount of bend would also be a parameter we need to know.

Sorry for the long reply.
 
Tl;Dr version. Most efficient way to cut a well hydrated hair requires a razor and blade combination where, when locked and loaded, the bevel on the blade is parallel to the shave plane. This ensures maximum surface area of the blade to glide on lather while presenting the cutting edge to the hair flush with the skin surface. Unfortunately the bevel angle and shave plane details are not published resulting in having to use a trial and error approach to get the correct combination.
 
Blade angle, blade exposure, blade gap, blade support/clamping all play a role and blade type, width, and edge grind and angle also play roles. However, blade type and etc. we can control. We need more published information on Blade angle of the razor, exposure, gap, and support, as well as shaving angle. If we could quantify those, we would be on to something. Maybe we can start a chart?
 
Blade angle, blade exposure, blade gap, blade support/clamping all play a role and blade type, width, and edge grind and angle also play roles. However, blade type and etc. we can control. We need more published information on Blade angle of the razor, exposure, gap, and support, as well as shaving angle. If we could quantify those, we would be on to something. Maybe we can start a chart?
Not rocket science, at least for me. Pick a razor, try a bunch of blades, find one that gives the most comfortable shave, while being the most efficient. Not buying 10-15 razors just to move on to the next, when half the razors you bought do just about the same thing. I know that some of you are collectors of the hardware of the past. I admire that, but, finding your daily driver can't be that hard. All this talk about blade exposure, angle, etc., etc. Find something that gives a decent shave, as blades are the biggest differential in the whole equation, try different ones, and stick with that. I love all things DE, just not going to analyze it to death. You guys enjoy your journey...
 
Not rocket science, at least for me. Pick a razor, try a bunch of blades, find one that gives the most comfortable shave, while being the most efficient. Not buying 10-15 razors just to move on to the next, when half the razors you bought do just about the same thing. I know that some of you are collectors of the hardware of the past. I admire that, but, finding your daily driver can't be that hard. All this talk about blade exposure, angle, etc., etc. Find something that gives a decent shave, as blades are the biggest differential in the whole equation, try different ones, and stick with that. I love all things DE, just not going to analyze it to death. You guys enjoy your journey...
A touch of rocket science would help in buying that one that works decently first time.
 
This is much better info than most pity they still do not take the bevel on the blade into account, you can see in the pic that the bevel is not parallel with the shave plane, so effectively, that is scraping, not cutting the hair. Pics may be for illustrative purposes and not 100 percent accurate though. Good on them for not keeping their info a secret.
 
… blade gap is way overrated as a metric for razor performance. Comparing razors by gap is only meaningful if all other parameters are the same; in other words, if comparing otherwise geometrically identical plates and caps….

+3! Yes indeed! Blade gap is only one parameter, and not the most important IMO! :thumbup1::thumbup1:
 
I Think we can over think something and shaving is a natural feel & technique that is left up to the operator. I have over 50 razors and it took a little while to use every one to their potential by cheating sometimes with a different blade or going from shallow angle to neutral or steep. I always start a new razor with shallow angle (riding the cap) and adjust accordingly is the best and safest method to enjoy the shave. All I do is listen for the scrapping to start and the angle is found.
blade-angle (2).jpg

Have some great shaves!
 
Blade angle, blade exposure, blade gap, blade support/clamping all play a role and blade type, width, and edge grind and angle also play roles. However, blade type and etc. we can control. We need more published information on Blade angle of the razor, exposure, gap, and support, as well as shaving angle. If we could quantify those, we would be on to something. Maybe we can start a chart?
Yes, blade type we can control. My fave blade in Wilkinson Sword made in Germany. I also like Parker Platinums to a point. They are very audible, and I think they are not as thick as the Wilkies. Same razor, a Parker 91R, and both shave close, no irritation, but as the Parker gets down the road, say shave 3 thru 5, gets more audible. I can hear the stubble more clearly. The Wilkie not so much, no matter the number of shaves. So is that the fault of blade clamping, with maybe a thinner blade? Too much blade exposure? The blade obviously is chattering a bit, that is why I can hear it so plainly. Should I change the blade angle by maybe using a shim? I could drive myself to drink if I kept at this. Gets to a point where I just change the blade, possibly to a German Wilkie. Its just shaving...
 
Yes, blade type we can control. My fave blade in Wilkinson Sword made in Germany. I also like Parker Platinums to a point. They are very audible, and I think they are not as thick as the Wilkies. Same razor, a Parker 91R, and both shave close, no irritation, but as the Parker gets down the road, say shave 3 thru 5, gets more audible. I can hear the stubble more clearly. The Wilkie not so much, no matter the number of shaves. So is that the fault of blade clamping, with maybe a thinner blade? Too much blade exposure? The blade obviously is chattering a bit, that is why I can hear it so plainly. Should I change the blade angle by maybe using a shim? I could drive myself to drink if I kept at this. Gets to a point where I just change the blade, possibly to a German Wilkie. Its just shaving...
I don't know. I've read where some blades are slightly wider than others and that can lead to blade chatter. To me, if I am hearing the blade a lot it means the blade is perhaps moving/flexing and is not clamped well enough. I know I am spoiled, so I could be wrong. However, if I think about how other metal things sound off, it is always when the exposed parts are not supported. Think of a saw. You can make music with one, but if you clamp the spine all music stops. That is a poor example, I know. The Wilkinson may be thicker and so it is dampened and stronger towards the end of the blade.
 
I don't know. I've read where some blades are slightly wider than others and that can lead to blade chatter. To me, if I am hearing the blade a lot it means the blade is perhaps moving/flexing and is not clamped well enough. I know I am spoiled, so I could be wrong. However, if I think about how other metal things sound off, it is always when the exposed parts are not supported. Think of a saw. You can make music with one, but if you clamp the spine all music stops. That is a poor example, I know. The Wilkinson may be thicker and so it is dampened and stronger towards the end of the blade.
Somewhere in one of the forums, someone put a list of blades, and their thicknesses. I seem to remember the Wilkie being on the thicker side, compared to other blades. We're only talking 1000ths of an inch, but it mattters, I guess. Its just shaving, use what works...
 

Tirvine

ancient grey sweatophile
In my opinion the Y in YMMV is unique. Your beard, the contours of your face and neck, your approach to prep and lathering, your way of holding your razor, and your speed and length of stroke are going to impact how well you interface with any razor. You may narrow the properties of razors and blades and soaps that work better or worse. At the end of the search hopefully you find something that provides the shave you want. However, since YMMV, it may not deliver the perfect shave for others. So anybody who says to get some specific razor and pair it with some particular blade may be right for you or a total flop. So go get a ... and put a... in it and lather with... Satisfaction guaranteed!
 
I’m not sure if this is riddle is solvable. To add one more variable, different blades make razors behave differently as well. So again it’s simply trial and error until you find your magic combination.
Add pressure and technique. Long stokes, short strokes, ATG, WTG, XTG etc
Soap or cream quality slickness (Tallow vs vegan)
Lather quality / amount of water / type of water (hard / soft)
Surface finish of razors - some find that matte razors have a drag and not so smooth.
 
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Well, there's one way to tell historically, as far as the design of a razor. How long was it around? That's it. And I would put the historical boundary at somewhere around the 1960's or early '70's. Once, there were thousands of men (and women) - maybe millions - using bladed razors of all types. And many, er, unique versions. The razors that "survived," or that most people continued to use, were those that the majority of humans using razors preferred, for whatever reasons - comfort I expect being a significant one. The reason I set the boundary at the place I did is because that up to, and prior to that, using a bladed razor was how you removed the hair from your face, and the whole planet did it. Oh, there were cultures where a beard was desirable or even mandatory, but for those thousands (or millions) of humans that removed their facial hair (Romans included), using a blade was the way they did it. After that artificial boundary, having a beard, or not, became less important. Global marketing had a greater influence. Niche products popped up and abound today. More choices on whether to even use a blade (electric razors as one example) are available. On the forum we are a sophisticated group of handsome shavers, but a very small one. Collectively, we'd use anything (I not quite jest) no matter what it felt like. Individually, not so much. We are therefore not a very good touchstone. So as a thought exercise, I would submit the following for the Hall of Razor Fame and Comfort, at least as far as core design (and many, many clones) - tested on humans, certified Grade A:

- Any straight (I know, scary and hard to learn, but centuries of use)
- The Gibbs
- Almost any vintage Gillette
- The Progress

And I'm sure a host of others that I can't see mentally right now, and I'm sure forum historians can chime in, but that's the basic theory and methodology. YMMV. :cool:
 
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The general consensus of YMMV is true to a point, but with a caveat. I think that a lot of people don't take the time to get to know a razor well before making a decision on comfortable/not comfortable.

An example is the Tradere, both original and Blackland versions. Research shows a pretty even split of opinions. Having recently acquired one, it took me 3-4 shaves and experimenting with different blades to get a comfortable, smooth shave. Had I given up after 2 shaves or not changed from an Astra SP to a Personna Med Prep, I would have said that it is not a comfortable razor.

So comfort is personal, but also requires more than a couple of shaves with one blade.
 
Some examples of my previous post:


 
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