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Just a thought about Zamak

I've just had a shave with my 1964 ball end Tech witch has a cap made of Zamac. Now this got me thinking. I've no idea how much this razor was used or the quality of the pot metal used to make it.

But this razor is 58 years old. I was just wondering how much longer this razor will last if properly looked after. Before the Zamac cap gives up on it.

I've seen some of the photos of catastrophic Zamac failures on this sight after a few years of use by Zamac razors. So what are your gentlemens thoughts

Better quality of pot metal
Rarely used
Well looked after
Or maybe a combination of all the above.
 
Zamak's longevity is all about the plating and has little to do with the quality of the alloy itself. If the plating wears or chips, the Zamak will deteriorate rapidly. If the plating remains intact, the Zamak will remain intact too. Hard to say exactly why the plating of your razor has remained in such good condition, but that's why the part has endured.
 
I have no issues with Zamak, consider it an acceptable material for safety razors and believe that its widespread use came for valid reasons at a time when people were for cost reasons not thinking about stainless steel, let alone titanium.

Zamak carries some risks, but with appropriate quality control during production (e.g. elimination of impurities during casting and meticulous plating) and good care premature failures are rare and Zamak razors can last a long time.

This may, however, not be the case with all specimen and the choice of a reputable brand with good quality control is essential.


B.
 
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I've just had a shave with my 1964 ball end Tech witch has a cap made of Zamac. Now this got me thinking. I've no idea how much this razor was used or the quality of the pot metal used to make it.

But this razor is 58 years old. I was just wondering how much longer this razor will last if properly looked after. Before the Zamac cap gives up on it.

I've seen some of the photos of catastrophic Zamac failures on this sight after a few years of use by Zamac razors. So what are your gentlemens thoughts

Better quality of pot metal
Rarely used
Well looked after
Or maybe a combination of all the above.
Is it a faceted cap? I didn't know Gillette was producing Zamac/k caps so early on Techs. My newest one is a 1961. I also have a couple NDC ball end Techs. I thought the Zamac cap started with the faceted caps but don't know my Gillette history all that well.
 
Is it a faceted cap? I didn't know Gillette was producing Zamac/k caps so early on Techs. My newest one is a 1961. I also have a couple NDC ball end Techs. I thought the Zamac cap started with the faceted caps but don't know my Gillette history all that well.
I dont know what a faceted caps are. As far as I've been told 1964 was the first year they started using zamak.
 
I have no issues with Zamak, consider it an acceptable material for safety razors and believe that its widespread use came for valid reasons at a time when people were for cost reasons not thinking about stainless steel, let alone titanium.

Zamak carries some risks, but with appropriate quality control during production (e.g. elimination of impurities during casting and meticulous plating) and good care premature failures are rare and Zamak razors can last a long time.

This may, however, not be the case with all specimen and the choice of a reputable brand with good quality control is essential.


B.
I totally agree I think if the QC on on the razor is good Zamac razors could last longer than we think. At least that's what I hoping for as most of my razors are Zamac.
 
I dont know what a faceted caps are. As far as I've been told 1964 was the first year they started using zamak.
You can look them up on mr razor's site or google them. You might be right, I'm just curious. I also have some modern razors with zamac/k of which the oldest is a well-used EJ DE89 from 2011. Looks like new. But I also clean and dry my razors after each use, every time. That helps immeasurably in their longevity. Make sure the screw threads are clean of calcium or soap scum build up.
 
I've got a lot of razors and many with pot metal heads. Only has has ever failed on me and it's right at a very thin piece where I don't think it was ever properly plated.
 
You can look them up on mr razor's site or google them. You might be right, I'm just curious. I also have some modern razors with zamac/k of which the oldest is a well-used EJ DE89 from 2011. Looks like new. But I also clean and dry my razors after each use, every time. That helps immeasurably in their longevity. Make sure the screw threads are clean of calcium or soap scum build up.
It looks like it was 1964 though some are saying it was earlier than that.

I'm the same with all my razors cleaned with a babies toothbrush then dryed and left ready for the next shave with the blade removed and put back in its sleeve.
 
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I've got a lot of razors and many with pot metal heads. Only has has ever failed on me and it's right at a very thin piece where I don't think it was ever properly plated.
I've been lucky that all my zamak razors coatings have been very good. My Fatips are a different story but as they are brass I don't worry as much about how good the coatings are when I get them.
 
I read somewhere that Jagger now uses a brass screw connected to their zamac cap as does Muhle. Have no idea if that's true or not.
I've heard that somewhere as well.

I have a Yaqi Mellon Head which has a brass screw fitting.
 
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"Survivorship bias" probably applies here, because any vintage zamak razor that you can buy today was not made of bad alloy. All the bad ones perished, and you are only seeing the good stuff.

It isn't a case of "they knew how to make their zamak properly back then...".

I had a modern chromed-zinc hinge on a toilet lid fail, circa 2019, with "zamak rot".

Having removed it, replaced it with a good fitting, and stored it for non-urgent disposal, the decline was quite dramatic. It turned into a dirty-looking pile of grey dust (bigger than the rotted hinge) within about 8 weeks.

I had taken the horror stories about bad-alloy zamak with a pinch of salt, but I witnessed that one myself.
 

ERS4

My exploding razor knows secrets
Strongly agree with the "Survivorship bias".
Because the damaged ones have disappeared from the earth, so you only see the intact ones.

I'm sure there are more perfect vintage brass Techs than zamak (of course they are probably both common in the market since they are mass produced), and probably about the same price in antique stores or ebay, in that case I'd rather go for brass.

Climate is also an important factor.
I live in an tropical island country where humidity is often close to 90%, and areas close to the sea are more likely to have salt in the air; I'd rather choose something I know is more corrosion resistant rather than meticulously maintain plating or guess at alloy quality.
Here, even the paint on the tomica matchbox car in the display case can peel off by itself because of the humidity - I wouldn't soak matchbox car in the bathroom at all.
 
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Strongly agree with the "Survivorship bias".
Because the damaged ones have disappeared from the earth, so you only see the intact ones.

I'm sure there are more perfect vintage brass Techs than zamak (of course they are probably both common in the market since they are mass produced), and probably about the same price in antique stores or ebay, in that case I'd rather go for brass.

Climate is also an important factor.
I live in an tropical island country where humidity is often close to 90%, and areas close to the sea are more likely to have salt in the air; I'd rather choose something I know is more corrosion resistant rather than meticulously maintain plating or guess at alloy quality.
Here, even the paint on the tomica matchbox car in the display case can peel off by itself because of the humidity - I wouldn't soak matchbox car in the bathroom at all.
I would have rather have got a brass tech. Unfortunately 1964 is my birth year 😪.
 
Well looked after and good intact plating.

I went to coat the slide on an early Walther P22, thinking it was aluminum several years ago. Nope. "High quality, modern alloy" bubbled up and pitted like a syphilitic something or other when heated to 150*F for 15 minutes.

That was the slide, not the coating that pitted and bubbled. Walther offered to let me buy a new slide for $150 (on a $225 pistol).

Nop, nope, nopety nope-nope.
 
Zamak's longevity is all about the plating and has little to do with the quality of the alloy itself. If the plating wears or chips, the Zamak will deteriorate rapidly. If the plating remains intact, the Zamak will remain intact too. Hard to say exactly why the plating of your razor has remained in such good condition, but that's why the part has endured.

+1. This is also my understanding!

If the razor only lasts another 58 years I would say, ‘You got your money’s worth!’ :thumbup1::thumbup1:
 
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