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I like big gaps and I cannot lie

My long time razor Ikon 102 Slant failed around Thanksgiving. I was changing the blade and the thread on the top cap broke off as I was tightening the handle. I had been using it for over 7 years, so I decided to try some different options. My findings are below, as always YMMV.

I can't find any info for the blade gap on the Ikon, but it is generally regarded as a mild razor. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I like big gaps.

First up was an ATT Slant S1. I started here because I loved the Ikon Slant. I immediately discovered that this this is a more typical "torqued" slant where the Ikon is a "tilted" slant. One of the main differences is that the slant is the same on the S1 no matter which side of the razor you use - \. The Ikon orientation is \ on one side and / on the other. See Feather AS-D2 vs Ikon 102 vs ATT S1 - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/feather-as-d2-vs-ikon-102-vs-att-s1.460906/post-7508050 for pics and details. Fit and finish is top notch. The only downside, for me, is that the blade tabs are exposed. The S1 gap is .61. My concern that it might be too aggressive was unfounded, though I did need to pay more attention to my technique. With an Astra SP, I was able to get a DFS with my usual WTG and XTG passes. Nothing to complain about, but nothing jumped out either. I grab the Ikon over the S1.

Next was the Rockwell 6S direct from Rockwell. This is a very well made razor package. I started with plate #2 (.35 gap) thinking this would be close to the Ikon. The shave was very smooth, but not very close. Moving to #4 (.61) was just as smooth and much closer. I've finally settled on #5 (.69) as the sweet spot. I shave my head and this razor is the smoothest I have tried on my scalp. It is almost impossible to nick myself, even in tough spots for other razors. I did try #6 (.79) this weekend and realized it is possible to nick myself. The only drawback for me is those exposed tabs.

Then I found a Blackbird Tradere OC on eBay. I was very excited about this one as I have been hunting an original for a while. I find the flat blade and the way the tabs are covered a very appealing design. I read a comment that this is as close as a safety razor gets to straight razor results. This takes fit and finish to another level. The OC is the more aggressive option. My first shave was not pleasant. Blade angle, balance point, everything was different than any other razor I have used. Did some research and found a comment that you don't want to see the rows from the OC in your lather. In other words, the OC guard should not touch the skin. My following shave was much better. I'm still finding the optimum shallow angle and the correct balance point. I think this razor will be for days when I can take my time. It's a bit too finicky for a quick shave.

I thought I was done at this point, but then a beautiful Charcoal Goods Gen2 Level 2 plated in rose gold showed up. A .86 blade gap, oh my! Again, my expectation of being too aggressive was wrong. This might be my favorite so far. The thing that jumped out to me was the feedback as it cuts. I can hear the hair being cut and even find the optimum blade angle based on that feedback. This razor is not as grab and go as the Ikon or the Rockwell nor as finicky as the Blackbird. It's the Goldilocks. I do have to pay attention to technique, but the feedback makes shaving quick and easy. BBS with WTG and ATG passes.
 
It sounds like you've come to the conclusion that blade gap isn't really related to aggressiveness. I agree. To me, blade exposure is the most important factor in aggressiveness but unfortunately it requires some specialized equipment to measure and most razor makers don't bother to do it. Blade gap on the other hand is easy to measure but doesn't really tell you much about how the razor will feel.
 
It sounds like you've come to the conclusion that blade gap isn't really related to aggressiveness. I agree. To me, blade exposure is the most important factor in aggressiveness but unfortunately it requires some specialized equipment to measure and most razor makers don't bother to do it. Blade gap on the other hand is easy to measure but doesn't really tell you much about how the razor will feel.

I would not go that far. I do notice that bigger gaps feel progressively more aggressive, but I do agree that there is more to it than just the gap.
 
Did someone say gaps? :)
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I think the gap > more aggressive thing can indeed only stand for comparisons working a certain design.

For example the Game Changer .68 and .84 and the Timeless .68 and .95.
Enter the Timeless Slim with a mere 0.5 gap being way more aggressive than both. Geometry and exposure are different and are way more decisive factors. Clamping/blade support is another one.

I personally love looking up large lather slits from below to read what blade is loaded in the head.

This sounds weird. 😅
 
I think the gap > more aggressive thing can indeed only stand for comparisons working a certain design.

For example the Game Changer .68 and .84 and the Timeless .68 and .95.
Enter the Timeless Slim with a mere 0.5 gap being way more aggressive than both. Geometry and exposure are different and are way more decisive factors. Clamping/blade support is another one.

I personally love looking up large lather slits from below to read what blade is loaded in the head.

This sounds weird. 😅

Yeah, there are plenty of factors at play here and it also depends on the user as well. I know people who rarely feel any blade chatter and for them that's nothing more than a myth. I personally don't mind it if it's barely noticeable like on my Merkur Progress and on some of my vintage Gillette razors, but the blade chatter on the MingShi 2000s and V1 Yaqi Katana was terrible and I sold them after only a few shaves, but some people like those razors.

My most favorite razors have a smooth bar even if they are open combs and the blade is exposed slightly behind the bar. Razors with such combos glide extremely well and provide very efficient, comfortable and smooth shaves.
 
I prefer higher gaps as well. Examples include Charcoal lvl 3 over 2, Timeless .95 over the .68, Wolfman higher gaps (the higher = preferred), & the Menlo Nealon. The higher efficiency with less passes is much preferred over milder razors that requires more passes. However milder razors have their place in being more comfortable when shaving ATG. And for this reason is why I use 2 razors often when shaving, thus resulting in attaining the best of both worlds.:thumbup:
 
I prefer higher gaps as well. Examples include Charcoal lvl 3 over 2, Timeless .95 over the .68, Wolfman higher gaps (the higher = preferred), & the Menlo Nealon. The higher efficiency with less passes is much preferred over milder razors that requires more passes. However milder razors have their place in being more comfortable when shaving ATG. And for this reason is why I use 2 razors often when shaving, thus resulting in attaining the best of both worlds.:thumbup:

I've done this also. First pass WTG using a more aggressive razor, then ATG with a milder razor.
 
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