PAA Bakelite Slant: Silver Star and Astra Compared

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by NDM63, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Blade Comparison Test: Silver Star (from Lord of Egypt) and Astra Super Platinum

    Each blade in a PAA Bakelite Slant.



    The PAA Bakelite Slant is an interesting and increasingly popular slant bar razor. However, it appears to be one of those razors that's a little blade fussy. So I've been testing a series of blades in it. I do the same shave prep, shave one half or my face with one blade, the other half with the other blade.



    The Blades:

    I've recently become quite fond of this blade. Another fan of the PAA Bakelite slant has described it at some length. In my RR Wunderbar slant it's wonderfully smooth and efficient. Would it outperform the Astra in the PAA Bakelite slant?



    I've used the Astra SP for a few years, and in every razor I have own, at different times. It's always a solid, reliable blade. Not always the sharpest, or longest lasting but very smooth. It's also invariable cheap to buy.



    Shave Prep:

    I always wash my face and soften my beard with two washes in very warm water with a glycerin soap. Then I use a pre-shave oil. For all my tests, for consistency, I use an Arko shave stick and my Stirling Kong synthetic brush.



    The Shave:

    Both blades on a three pass (WTG, XTG and ATG) shave produced a decent shave. Nothing like as close, comfortable and efficient as my darling RR Wunderbar, but then PAA Bakelite slant is a $20 razor.

    I found that the Silver Star was very, very good but the Astra was just a shade more comfortable to use.

    Both blades worked well on all passes, but I once again found the Astra just a tiny bit smoother.

    I'm not saying the Astra SP is always a better blade. However, if you use the PAA Bakelite slant I think you will find it pairs with the Astra SP very well. This combination of low cost, the Astra blades are cheap and readily available, and the PAA Bakelite Slant is only $19.95, may make this a strong contender as a low cost, lightweight travel razor.
     
  2. matwho

    matwho Steward Contributor

    Nice review. I have found that the Astra SP blade works the best for me with the PAA Bakelite Slant also. I tried other blades and the shave seemed very rough then I tried the Astra and I couldn't believe how close and smooth the shave was.
     
  3. Yes, I keep finding the same thing. It's almost mysterious how much this balde and razor like each other. Any idea whym or what the characteristic is of the Astra that makes this so?
     
  4. matwho

    matwho Steward Contributor

    It's one of the mysteries of shaving. :detective:
     
  5. 1Cal

    1Cal Contributor

    I wonder if our resident blade geek @ShavingByTheNumbers could throw some light on the subject.
    :001_unsur Are you there Grant?
     
  6. I'm here. :001_smile I haven't finished making measurements of the Astra SP due to the addition of mass measurements, so I bought a couple extra packs to measure and take care of that, but I have measured the other dimensions. I've measured 24 Astra SP samples so far, so I can safely give you good thickness and width measurements. The Astra SP has an average thickness of 0.090 mm, which is within the normal range for blades, but on the low end, and an average width of 21.94 mm, which is slightly below my current running average across different blades. With the possible exception of a little more blade flexibility that some users might like with the Astra SP in the PAA Bakelite Slant due to the blade thickness being on the thinner side, I don't think that we can attribute the Astra SPs nice qualities to anything special with respect to dimensions. If we look at our ShaveWiki table for blades, we find that it's considered one of the smoother blades with a user rating for smoothness of 8.4. Sharpness comes in at 7.7, which is not our lowest or highest rating so far among blades. I'm willing to bet that there are other blades that are just as good or better than the Astra SP with the PAA Bakelite Slant, but the Astra SP is such a popular blade that it gets a lot of attention. It's not fair to others. :001_rolle
     
  7. Any suggestion from your research as to which blades may provide similar results in the PAA Bakelite slant? Thanks in advance.
     
  8. I'll try. We only have six blades right now in the Comprehensive DE Razor Blade Data Table, and blade measurements are yet to come with more blades, too, in the future. The closest blade in that table with respect to dimensions and user ratings is the Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Stainless. User ratings are similar, and even though I haven't reported measurements yet, the thickness and width are similar to the Astra SP. The Gillette blade might be similar in the PAA Bakelite Slant.
     
  9. matwho

    matwho Steward Contributor

    The Astra blades work great for me but I haven't tried the 7 O'clock Super Stainless. I have some so I will try one tomorrow and report back how it shaves in the PAA Slant. Polsilver SI blades are what I use in most razors but they were very harsh in the PAA along with Feathers.
     
  10. matwho

    matwho Steward Contributor

    I used the Gillette 7 O'clock Super Stainless in the PAA bakelite slant this morning and I think @ShavingByTheNumbers is correct. The shave was as smooth and close as the Astra SP. The whole finding the right blade for a razor might instead be finding the right size blade for a razor. If @ShavingByTheNumbers includes blade sizes in his data table then I think you would be able to try blades of the same size and get the same results. If users reported which blades worked best in which razors and the results showed that the best blades for an individual razor were approximately the same size then you could have an accurate chart for which blades are best for which razor.
     
  11. This is excellent! We are reducing this to measurement and science. Me like! Did you use the green or yellow Seven O'Clock and are they the same?!
     
  12. @matwho: YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!! :thumbup: You took the words right out of my mouth. What you wrote is what I was thinking, but I didn't want to get ahead of myself. The database is just in its early stages. There's a lot of data to be collected and published. I haven't yet published any dimensions yet, but I'll get there. Columns for blade width, thickness, etc., have been ready and waiting for quite a while now.

    You are the first test case for using data (user ratings and measured dimensions) from the Comprehensive DE Razor Blade Data Table in trying to find the most similar blade to another, and I'm really happy that it worked! It's amazing! I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. I'm so happy that it worked for you. Thanks so much for getting back to us on your experiment. :thumbup1: I can only hope that we have more successful cases like yours in the future. :001_smile
     
  13. This is really good!! I've written quite a number of blade test reviews in specific razors so this is fascinating. Yet some razors just don't seem blade fussy. For example, almost anything I load in my Mergress, Wunderbar ,and Ikon X3, my Schone Italian seem to work Why do you think this is?
     
  14. The Gillette 7 O'Clock Super Stainless (green) is the one that @matwho used based on my recommendation. I haven't measured any Gillette 7 O'Clock SharpEdge (yellow) blade samples yet. That will come one day, along with gathering user ratings for the blade.
     
  15. What about the edge itself, under a microscope? For example, the Croma can produce good shaves in my Mergress. In my Futur it became so uncomfortable after one shave that I threw it out!
     
  16. matwho

    matwho Steward Contributor

    @ShavingByTheNumbers I was a little skeptical about all of the sharpness and longevity data because it was all based on opinions based on using a blade in many different razors. I think that your study of a blades dimension and how it performs in certain razors will become your most useful data. Thank you for undertaking this task.
     
  17. Yes three cheers to that, I appreciate it too!
     
  18. I'm glad that you find this fascinating. I do, too! :001_smile Regarding your question, I'm guessing that one of these two scenarios is happening for you:
    1. Those razors have large enough blade spans such that changes in blade exposure (due to changes in blade width) are tolerated well by your face, which doesn't care too much about blade span from the safety guard
    2. Those razors have small enough blade spans such that changes in blade exposure (due to changes in blade width) cause potentially larger performance differences, but your face prefers the smaller blade spans and can tolerate the larger or smaller blade exposures with the smaller blade spans
    Those are my best guesses. I might be way off the mark.

    @matwho brought up the issue of correlating blades to razors, which I thought about, too, but I hadn't figured how to address the issue to my satisfaction in the comprehensive blade table. My really long-term thinking is to keep going with blade ratings and dimensions and eventually get back to razor geometry analysis with respect to blade exposure, span, etc., which is where I started with all of this. The razor-blade combination is what matters, as you know so well, and it should matter differently to different guys. Some guys might like more or less blade exposure (due to blade width) or even blade flex (due to blade thickness) compared to other guys using the same razor, and some guys might prefer razors with smaller guard spans with blades causing a particular range of blade exposure (due to blade width), but no one has the information to figure this stuff out. That's where my blade measurements, user ratings surveys, and photo analysis come in.
     
  19. Thanks! :001_smile
     
  20. You're welcome, @matwho. I'm always glad to win over skeptics. I anticipated that this would happen in time, not for you in particular, but in general. As more data is collected and we have more success stories, more guys will start using the comprehensive blade table. When someone uses the table on his own because it has my published dimensions and our B&B user ratings, I'll be really happy to hear that, especially if the table helps him solve his problem. Our experiment here has been a great success, but I had to offer the recommendation because the blade dimensions aren't published yet. When guys start using the table on their own because the information is there for a lot of blades, then I'll know that the table has "made it".
     

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