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Karve Overlander Review – Built for Comfort

I have the stainless steel model with the 4” Overlander handle which weighs in at a meaty 113g. Everything about the razor says “sturdy” and “generous”. The handle has a nice girth at 12mm and the knurling makes it easy to grip and hard to slip. I have big hands, and including the head the overall length is 4.325” (109.85mm), which makes it feel like I’m holding a solid work tool.

The Overlander is easy to use and safe as can be. I’ve never had the feeling it will bite me, and to date I don’t think it’s given me a single nick or weeper. Part of the reason is the base plate which is broad at 24mm from safety bar to safety bar, with a wide and flat top-cap with a width of 20mm, all of which makes the head of the Overlander easy to ride. The blade gap of 0.73mm is squarely in the mild-zone, not far from the Merkur 34C at 0.71mm, making it fairly easy to catch the blade from a wide range of angles. Interestingly, the blade exposure of 0.07mm is higher than either my Atelier Durdan Le Maurice, Lambda Athena, or Timeless 0.95, yet it is by far the mildest of the group with the least blade feel.

Razor
Weight (g)
Gap (mm)
Exposure (mm)
Efficiency Rating with Wizamet
Aggression level
Karve Overlander (SS)
113
0.73
0.07
DFS/DFS+
Ultra Mild
Atelier Durdan Le Maurice (SS)
96
1.4
0.05
DFS+
Moderate/High
Lambda Athena
105
0.34
0.0
BBS/BBS-
Mild
Timeless Ti95
66.8
0.95
0.0508
BBS
Moderate
Blackland Blackbird Ti
54
0.58
0.101
BBS+
High

The workmanship is among the best-in-class, with engravings even on the inside of the top cap. The bead blasting covers any machine markings giving it a uniform matte finish which is both beautiful and feels good on the skin, without creating much drag. The blade clamping can only be described as “solid”, and if there is any blade chatter, I haven’t felt it.

To create a level playing field across my razors, when testing for efficiency I use a Wizamet Super Iridium, which is an easy-to-use, high quality blade with moderate-high sharpness. Among my top-5 razors (listed above) the Overlander was consistently the most comfortable, but also the least efficient. Aggression is a term which is thrown around a lot but means different things to different people. In this case, I’m using it to mean the combination of blade feel, irritation level, and risk of nicks or weepers. For me, I rate the Overlander as “Ultra Mild”. You truly get the feeling that it simply can’t hurt you, and when finished there is no irritation at all. Conversely, as to efficiency with the Wizamet I never achieved what I felt was a true BBS, at least not compared to what I can achieve with the Ti95 or TiBird. Of note, with a Nacet the Overlander’s efficiency jumps a half step to what I would consider a BBS-. As to ratings, I get it, this is all completely subjective, but herein is part of the fun of wet shaving. YMMV.

In conclusion, the Karve Overlander is a fine razor, a thing of beauty, and fun to use. I’m glad it’s part of my collection. Thank you Chris at Karve. Happy shaving!
 

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I have the stainless steel model with the 4” Overlander handle which weighs in at a meaty 113g. Everything about the razor says “sturdy” and “generous”. The handle has a nice girth at 12mm and the knurling makes it easy to grip and hard to slip. I have big hands, and including the head the overall length is 4.325” (109.85mm), which makes it feel like I’m holding a solid work tool.

The Overlander is easy to use and safe as can be. I’ve never had the feeling it will bite me, and to date I don’t think it’s given me a single nick or weeper. Part of the reason is the base plate which is broad at 24mm from safety bar to safety bar, with a wide and flat top-cap with a width of 20mm, all of which makes the head of the Overlander easy to ride. The blade gap of 0.73mm is squarely in the mild-zone, not far from the Merkur 34C at 0.71mm, making it fairly easy to catch the blade from a wide range of angles. Interestingly, the blade exposure of 0.07mm is higher than either my Atelier Durdan Le Maurice, Lambda Athena, or Timeless 0.95, yet it is by far the mildest of the group with the least blade feel.

Razor
Weight (g)
Gap (mm)
Exposure (mm)
Efficiency Rating with Wizamet
Aggression level
Karve Overlander (SS)
113
0.73
0.07
DFS/DFS+
Ultra Mild
Atelier Durdan Le Maurice (SS)
96
1.4
0.05
DFS+
Moderate/High
Lambda Athena
105
0.34
0.0
BBS/BBS-
Mild
Timeless Ti95
66.8
0.95
0.0508
BBS
Moderate
Blackland Blackbird Ti
54
0.58
0.101
BBS+
High

The workmanship is among the best-in-class, with engravings even on the inside of the top cap. The bead blasting covers any machine markings giving it a uniform matte finish which is both beautiful and feels good on the skin, without creating much drag. The blade clamping can only be described as “solid”, and if there is any blade chatter, I haven’t felt it.

To create a level playing field across my razors, when testing for efficiency I use a Wizamet Super Iridium, which is an easy-to-use, high quality blade with moderate-high sharpness. Among my top-5 razors (listed above) the Overlander was consistently the most comfortable, but also the least efficient. Aggression is a term which is thrown around a lot but means different things to different people. In this case, I’m using it to mean the combination of blade feel, irritation level, and risk of nicks or weepers. For me, I rate the Overlander as “Ultra Mild”. You truly get the feeling that it simply can’t hurt you, and when finished there is no irritation at all. Conversely, as to efficiency with the Wizamet I never achieved what I felt was a true BBS, at least not compared to what I can achieve with the Ti95 or TiBird. Of note, with a Nacet the Overlander’s efficiency jumps a half step to what I would consider a BBS-. As to ratings, I get it, this is all completely subjective, but herein is part of the fun of wet shaving. YMMV.

In conclusion, the Karve Overlander is a fine razor, a thing of beauty, and fun to use. I’m glad it’s part of my collection. Thank you Chris at Karve. Happy shaving!
Very helpful. I have the Overlander and am deciding between the Blackbird and Athena next. My main other razor is a Gamechanger .84 and .76. Given that I can get some irritation w the Gamechanger, your review is def pushing me towards the Athena. Thx.
 
Very helpful. I have the Overlander and am deciding between the Blackbird and Athena next. My main other razor is a Gamechanger .84 and .76. Given that I can get some irritation w the Gamechanger, your review is def pushing me towards the Athena. Thx.
The Athena is somewhat of a singularity among razors. It's small blade gap at 0.34mm and zero blade exposure make it mild and easy to use. Yet the efficiency is magically very high. I think it has something to do with the curvature of the head which according to their own disclosures puts the blade angle at 30 degrees (relative to the razor head), which somehow makes it cut very close. The weight and shape of the razor also make it comfortable and fun to use, and of course aesthetically it's a work of art. You absolutely can't go wrong with the Athena. I think some of our friends and fellow razor cognoscenti would agree, @walpan, @Phoenixkh, @Mr. Shavington, @Lambda Razors.
 
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I really want to get an Overlander. I just have not pulled the trigger due to the long wait times with zero communication I frequently read about with Karve. That's more of a 'me' problem though-I'm impatient and worry too much lol. Plus I have a 6s which pretty much killed my RAD. Great write up though.
 
I really want to get an Overlander. I just have not pulled the trigger due to the long wait times with zero communication I frequently read about with Karve. That's more of a 'me' problem though-I'm impatient and worry too much lol. Plus I have a 6s which pretty much killed my RAD. Great write up though.
There's no denying it, the wait times are long. I added an order for a stand about a week after ordering the razor. That was on May 17th and so far there has been no movement at all on the order. Good things take time though. It's worth the wait :shaving:
 
As I said before met Chris of Karve @ AZ Shave Meetup.

I asked him about Razors, Machining, etc.

My take away is he is all about each Razor leaving shop being his, his best, no blend sold, blemish are in recycle bin.

His weakness is replying to emails, because he is busy build, designing, and doing Quality Control.

He said he is not good at correspondence.
 
I really want to get an Overlander. I just have not pulled the trigger due to the long wait times with zero communication I frequently read about with Karve. That's more of a 'me' problem though-I'm impatient and worry too much lol. Plus I have a 6s which pretty much killed my RAD. Great write up though.
FWIW, if you don't want to buy directly from Karve, Razor Emporium lists the stainless steel Overlander for sale. I don't know what their turnaround is.
 
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Interestingly, the blade exposure of 0.07mm is higher than either my Atelier Durdan Le Maurice, Lambda Athena, or Timeless 0.95, yet it is by far the mildest of the group with the least blade feel.

To create a level playing field across my razors, when testing for efficiency I use a Wizamet Super Iridium, which is an easy-to-use, high quality blade with moderate-high sharpness. Among my top-5 razors (listed above) the Overlander was consistently the most comfortable, but also the least efficient. Aggression is a term which is thrown around a lot but means different things to different people. In this case, I’m using it to mean the combination of blade feel, irritation level, and risk of nicks or weepers. For me, I rate the Overlander as “Ultra Mild”. You truly get the feeling that it simply can’t hurt you, and when finished there is no irritation at all. Conversely, as to efficiency with the Wizamet I never achieved what I felt was a true BBS, at least not compared to what I can achieve with the Ti95 or TiBird. Of note, with a Nacet the Overlander’s efficiency jumps a half step to what I would consider a BBS-. As to ratings, I get it, this is all completely subjective, but herein is part of the fun of wet shaving. YMMV.

In conclusion, the Karve Overlander is a fine razor, a thing of beauty, and fun to use. I’m glad it’s part of my collection. Thank you Chris at Karve. Happy shaving!
Great review, and the Wizamet has found its way to my being my favorite blade (along with the Personna Platinum Chrome - the German "Israeli Red").

Loading a Nacet or Perma-Sharp into the Overlander brings its efficiency up to that of the Athena (when loaded with my Personna), so depending on how you want to bracket your efficiency, blade feel and such, blade tuning is real and you can have some flexibility.

Athena note: I sold mine. I loved it, but I couldn't use it as a daily driver. Since I shave every day, it had no place in my quiver. I've written elsewhere, that I found my comfort spiraled downward with the 2nd and especially the 3rd daily shave in a row with the Athena. I doubted myself, but over multiple trials, I found this to be the case for me.

This is obviously a YMMV thing, and if (for example) you love your Overlander with a Nacet or Perma-Sharp, then have at it with an Athena. I think you'll love it. That you call the Overlander "Ultra mild" would clue me in to this being the case for you. I'd call it "medium mild" to "mild medium", with the Masamune being slightly more mild than the Overlander.

The Athena is somewhat of a singularity among razors. It's small blade gap at 0.34mm and zero blade exposure make it mild and easy to use. Yet the efficiency is magically very high. I think it has something to do with the curvature of the head which according to their own disclosures puts the blade angle at 30 degrees (relative to the razor head), which somehow makes it cut very close. The weight and shape of the razor also make it comfortable and fun to use, and of course aesthetically it's a work of art. You absolutely can't go wrong with the Athena. I think some of our friends and fellow razor cognoscenti would agree, @walpan, @Phoenixkh, @Mr. Shavington, @Lambda Razors.
Yup, the Athena's measurements should teach us that the numbers are only rough guidelines, and that none of us are razor designers.

... Thom
 
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Great review, and the Wizamet has found its way to my being my favorite blade (along with the Personna Platinum Chrome - the German "Israeli Red").

Loading a Nacet or Perma-Sharp into the Overlander brings its efficiency up to that of the Athena (when loaded with my Personna), so depending on how you want to bracket your efficiency, blade feel and such, blade tuning is real and you can have some flexibility.

Athena note: I sold mine. I loved it, but I couldn't use it as a daily driver. Since I shave every day, it had no place in my quiver. I've written elsewhere, that I found my comfort spiraled downward with the 2nd and especially the 3rd daily shave in a row with the Athena. I doubted myself, but over multiple trials, I found this to be the case for me.

This is obviously a YMMV thing, and if (for example) you love your Overlander with a Nacet or Perma-Sharp, then have at it with an Athena. I think you'll love it. That you call the Overlander "Ultra mild" would clue me in to this being the case for you. I'd call it "medium mild" to "mild medium", with the Masamune being slightly more mild than the Overlander.


Yup, the Athena's measurements should teach us that the numbers are only rough guidelines, and that none of us are razor designers.

... Thom
Thanks Thom for the feedback and your thoughts. I’m curious, what’s your daily driver?
 
FWIW, if you don't want to buy directly from Karve, Razor Emporium lists the stainless steel Overlander for sale. I don't know what their turnaround is.
I ordered on Monday, and it is being delivered today.

I found a working coupon code for 15%. My logic was that they had just sold out of the brass version… and I wanted one…

I had been waiting for a Yates for over two months at that point… to be honest, I wanted to skip the line.
 
I have the stainless steel model with the 4” Overlander handle which weighs in at a meaty 113g. Everything about the razor says “sturdy” and “generous”. The handle has a nice girth at 12mm and the knurling makes it easy to grip and hard to slip. I have big hands, and including the head the overall length is 4.325” (109.85mm), which makes it feel like I’m holding a solid work tool.

The Overlander is easy to use and safe as can be. I’ve never had the feeling it will bite me, and to date I don’t think it’s given me a single nick or weeper. Part of the reason is the base plate which is broad at 24mm from safety bar to safety bar, with a wide and flat top-cap with a width of 20mm, all of which makes the head of the Overlander easy to ride. The blade gap of 0.73mm is squarely in the mild-zone, not far from the Merkur 34C at 0.71mm, making it fairly easy to catch the blade from a wide range of angles. Interestingly, the blade exposure of 0.07mm is higher than either my Atelier Durdan Le Maurice, Lambda Athena, or Timeless 0.95, yet it is by far the mildest of the group with the least blade feel.

Razor
Weight (g)
Gap (mm)
Exposure (mm)
Efficiency Rating with Wizamet
Aggression level
Karve Overlander (SS)
113
0.73
0.07
DFS/DFS+
Ultra Mild
Atelier Durdan Le Maurice (SS)
96
1.4
0.05
DFS+
Moderate/High
Lambda Athena
105
0.34
0.0
BBS/BBS-
Mild
Timeless Ti95
66.8
0.95
0.0508
BBS
Moderate
Blackland Blackbird Ti
54
0.58
0.101
BBS+
High

The workmanship is among the best-in-class, with engravings even on the inside of the top cap. The bead blasting covers any machine markings giving it a uniform matte finish which is both beautiful and feels good on the skin, without creating much drag. The blade clamping can only be described as “solid”, and if there is any blade chatter, I haven’t felt it.

To create a level playing field across my razors, when testing for efficiency I use a Wizamet Super Iridium, which is an easy-to-use, high quality blade with moderate-high sharpness. Among my top-5 razors (listed above) the Overlander was consistently the most comfortable, but also the least efficient. Aggression is a term which is thrown around a lot but means different things to different people. In this case, I’m using it to mean the combination of blade feel, irritation level, and risk of nicks or weepers. For me, I rate the Overlander as “Ultra Mild”. You truly get the feeling that it simply can’t hurt you, and when finished there is no irritation at all. Conversely, as to efficiency with the Wizamet I never achieved what I felt was a true BBS, at least not compared to what I can achieve with the Ti95 or TiBird. Of note, with a Nacet the Overlander’s efficiency jumps a half step to what I would consider a BBS-. As to ratings, I get it, this is all completely subjective, but herein is part of the fun of wet shaving. YMMV.

In conclusion, the Karve Overlander is a fine razor, a thing of beauty, and fun to use. I’m glad it’s part of my collection. Thank you Chris at Karve. Happy shaving!
I have the Overlander and like it but I am curious to hear why you keep it given how the Athena seems almost as mild but more efficient. If you had to keep only one of the above, curious which it would be and why.
 
I own a Overlander in aluminum, absolutely fantastic. Seems to shave around as well as the R89, while being milder, and much nicer on my sensitive skin. Working out blades for it now, seems that Feather/Kai are the best of what i've tested. Most of my irritation issues occur because of hair pulling. While i don't have a crazy amount of growth/coarse beard hairs, without a proper prep and sharp blades, my face feels very irritated and raw, even with the Overlander.
 
I have the Overlander and like it but I am curious to hear why you keep it given how the Athena seems almost as mild but more efficient. If you had to keep only one of the above, curious which it would be and why.
For me, the answer comes down to two metrics which you didn't mention, "consistency" and "ease of use". The Overlander is indeed less efficient, although by tuning your shave with sharper blade that gap can be narrowed to about half a step (BBS vs BBS-), and less aggressive (more comfortable). But in terms of consistency, I find the outcomes with the Overlander are much more predictable vs the Athena. In addition, the Overlander is simply easier to use, meaning it requires less concentration and effort. Therefore, while the Athena may win on efficiency and comfort alone, the Overlander's composite score is actually higher. I like both depending on the condition of my face and the mood I'm in.
 
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