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Phoenixkh: An Old Man's Continuum....

Reading disclaimer: YMMV - these are my personal opinions and views and cannot be seen as representative for the B&B community.

So now we have that out of the way, let's see - and indeed if we are on to something we can start a thread. Or we could anyway.

I will start with potentially the heaviest one so we have done the heavy lifting upfront.

When you search the forum, there are actually just two pages of threads with holy grail in the title - apparently that's how rare they are. But maybe I have a different take on things:

A holy grail razor is the razor (cumulative criteria):
  1. you always wanted
  2. you now have
  3. you use the most out of all your razors
  4. you find aesthetically pleasing in design, and
  5. that delivers the shave you are after

My logic is that if there is a razor in your collection that gives you the shave you want every time and therefore you use it the most, then apparently your grail razor is staring you in the face. And also there would be no real need in getting the next big thing because you are already getting the results you want. Obviously there is no ban on buying new razors and therefore there can come a time when a new holy grail enters the scene - or maybe you have two equally well shaving razors.

When do you know you have a holy grail razor: go inside and check your emotions. If you are totally at ease and feel relaxed you are done. If there is anxiety left or some unlabeled feeling your unconscious is telling you that you have not found your grail razor yet.

For me there are three razors that qualify in this category: Timeless Ti95 SC, Mühle R41 and Fatip Piccolo OC. Looking at my shaving journal the Fatip would be the current champion as that one checks all abovementioned boxes. However, the R41 and Timeless are relatively recent additions to my collection. Based on shaving experience I estimate the Timeless to be used more often than the Fatip - so as it stands I would go with the Timeless on this one.

Reading disclaimer 1: YMMV
Reading disclaimer 2: read disclaimer 1

Looking forward to your views Kim.

Cheers,

Guido.
 
Reading disclaimer: YMMV - these are my personal opinions and views and cannot be seen as representative for the B&B community.

So now we have that out of the way, let's see - and indeed if we are on to something we can start a thread. Or we could anyway.

I will start with potentially the heaviest one so we have done the heavy lifting upfront.

When you search the forum, there are actually just two pages of threads with holy grail in the title - apparently that's how rare they are. But maybe I have a different take on things:

A holy grail razor is the razor (cumulative criteria):
  1. you always wanted
  2. you now have
  3. you use the most out of all your razors
  4. you find aesthetically pleasing in design, and
  5. that delivers the shave you are after

My logic is that if there is a razor in your collection that gives you the shave you want every time and therefore you use it the most, then apparently your grail razor is staring you in the face. And also there would be no real need in getting the next big thing because you are already getting the results you want. Obviously there is no ban on buying new razors and therefore there can come a time when a new holy grail enters the scene - or maybe you have two equally well shaving razors.

When do you know you have a holy grail razor: go inside and check your emotions. If you are totally at ease and feel relaxed you are done. If there is anxiety left or some unlabeled feeling your unconscious is telling you that you have not found your grail razor yet.

For me there are three razors that qualify in this category: Timeless Ti95 SC, Mühle R41 and Fatip Piccolo OC. Looking at my shaving journal the Fatip would be the current champion as that one checks all abovementioned boxes. However, the R41 and Timeless are relatively recent additions to my collection. Based on shaving experience I estimate the Timeless to be used more often than the Fatip - so as it stands I would go with the Timeless on this one.

Reading disclaimer 1: YMMV
Reading disclaimer 2: read disclaimer 1

Looking forward to your views Kim.

Cheers,

Guido.
That's awesome that you put all of this together. Now we have a logical criteria to follow in terms of "Holy grail". It's a term that I've seen used loosely but what you've come up with gives it real meaning. So I will volunteer my 3 (right now)
In no particular order since all 3 check all the boxes:
-ATT X1 slant
-Tatara Nodachi
-Executive Outlaw standard
None of my vintage qualify since none meet every criteria!
As for the Fatip's:
I bought all the variations and only kept the Classic open comb Grande (non-slant). Amazing for a razor that costs about 20 bucks!
They're truly the best bang for the buck among all razors. (In my opinion).
LRod
 
Thanks Larry @LRod - and which of your three meets criteria number 3 best?

Guido

Ps: still coping with you parting with all your Fatips! You were on a roll a while back!! Even the FOCS went out the door - well I guess my Piccolo should be happy it’s still in the collection!
 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I had an odd experience in my DE razor search. When we were in Bali, we went to a jewelry store and found a couple of very unique items for my wife. I had budgeted for it, thankfully, but we found one expensive piece that we ended up splitting the cost out of our slush funds. But I did spend quite a bit out of our "general fund" as well.

Because of that, and perhaps because I was on some pain killers from dental surgery... I ended up buying several DE razors while we were there. When I got home, I had several DE razors waiting for me, including the Blutt BR-1 with two base plates. After using it with both plates, I got the smoothest, closest shave I've ever had with the more efficient 1.20 base plate.

I also have a personal slush fund, if you will. I still have quite a bit of cash in there, so based on the performance of the Blutt BR-1, I started paying a bit closer attention to the second tier razors, based on price. I ended up with 3 of these.

All four of them give me outstanding, close, long lasting, smooth, comfortable shaves and for now, I have no desire to buy any other razors, though our youngest son is going to give me a Merkur Progress adjustable for Christmas.

My Holy Grail Razors, in order of purchase.

1. Blutt BR-1 1.20
2. ATT X1 AC Slant
3. Rocnel Elite
4. Lamda Athena

The last two were almost impulse buys. Lamda just happened to have a few show up on their website so even though I had emailed Theo and asked him to put me on the list, I went ahead and ordered it. I've seen people rave about the Rocnel Sailor since I joined B&B in March. The price is pretty steep for a single razor so I haven't pursued it. They are released in batches like the Athena and Ares. But low and behold, Rocnel made some Elite razors for the first time since 2019 and had made some improvements. @Mr. Shavington posted a review of his Elite and since I seem to like the same things he likes in a razor, I ordered my Elite.

As you said, Guido, razors that get a lot of use and for me, are interchangeable. I can get the same end results from all 4 of them, with the same amount of effort on my part even though I have to make small adjustments with each of them, as you'd expect. I have wondered, is there one of the 4 that had I just used it for a few months and gotten 100% comfortable with it if I would have purchased the other three.... I know I would have wanted the Blutt because I had taken my time selecting that one from a long list of candidates. I had planned to buy it next year. Then the ATT X1 came to my attention. Since I've had such good luck with the Claymore Evo and the X1 was a half a step or so up in efficiency, I felt I really wanted to try it and I'm so glad I did.

That leaves the Athena and the Elite....They are both produced in small batches and in the case of the Elite, they aren't a model offered regularly. With them, it was pretty much.... take a chance and hope they are a good match. Again, @Mr. Shavington has both and is getting great shaves from them both. The Elite is tied with the other 3.

I really don't have a favorite among those 4. That may develop over time, but at the moment, I feel good when I pick any of them and use it.

I have a few more in house that I need to try though all of them are in the mid price range. I'm sort of choosing that order now. After I've used all of my razors and have ranked them after repeated uses, I might sell a few off. I don't have any definite plans to do that, however. I don't have a "no more than X number of razors at one time" goal. I'm usually not a multiple tool guy. In other areas, I tend to settle on one thing I love. I use the same Yeti coffee mug every day. I used the same hammer for general carpenter work every day, one block plane, etc. But I'm finding, each razor is so different, even though they perform the same task, each one gives off its own unique sound when I shave.. each of them feels a bit different, every shave is interesting and engaging. As a result, I find myself liking the variety and I didn't really expect that. At my age, it's nice to have a few surprises... the pleasant ones, show up every so often.
 
Thanks Larry @LRod - and which of your three meets criteria number 3 best?

Guido

Ps: still coping with you parting with all your Fatips! You were on a roll a while back!! Even the FOCS went out the door - well I guess my Piccolo should be happy it’s still in the collection!
That's tough to answer!
I've had those 3 about the same amount of time and it was recent. And I love the 3! So I've been using them equally!
Give me a month and I guess I could have an answer.
 
I just think a really perfect shave is a delight and it makes me happy all day. If you manage to find a razor or two that enable you to get that perfectly smooth and long-lasting shave, with no irritation, consistently, then that’s the grail. Another criterion would be ‘feel’, since part of the pleasure of shaving is the way the shave feels and the way the razor feels in my hand - shaving is a tactile thing.

I find the way a razor looks doesn’t matter to me much compared to those things - cabinet candy isn’t satisfying if I don’t look forward to the shave as much.

A lot of people think you can only call something a grail if it requires a difficult search to find. I would say finding a razor that meets all those criteria is certainly a challenging, personal quest.
 
Thanks Larry @LRod - and which of your three meets criteria number 3 best?

Guido

Ps: still coping with you parting with all your Fatips! You were on a roll a while back!! Even the FOCS went out the door - well I guess my Piccolo should be happy it’s still in the collection!
My goal with the Fatip's was to try them all. And they were cheap enough that I was able to get them all within the same couple of weeks. The slants never did it for me! I never got a smooth shave (Nothing like the X1, 37C or Hoffritz!). And the closed comb was missing the efficiency. And the Piccolo handle was way too small for me. So the one that got to stay was the Nickel classic open comb grande!
 
I just think a really perfect shave is a delight and it makes me happy all day. If you manage to find a razor or two that enable you to get that perfectly smooth and long-lasting shave, with no irritation, consistently, then that’s the grail. Another criterion would be ‘feel’, since part of the pleasure of shaving is the way the shave feels and the way the razor feels in my hand - shaving is a tactile thing.

I find the way a razor looks doesn’t matter to me much compared to those things - cabinet candy isn’t satisfying if I don’t look forward to the shave as much.

A lot of people think you can only call something a grail if it requires a difficult search to find. I would say finding a razor that meets all those criteria is certainly a challenging, personal quest.
We are thinking the exact same thing here. Love it!

Which would you consider your grail razor (at the moment) with these descriptions you gave?

Guido
 
We are thinking the exact same thing here. Love it!

Which would you consider your grail razor (at the moment) with these descriptions you gave?

Guido
My grail razor list is rather similar to Kim’s, since we’re shave brothers. But these are the ones I get perfect shaves from, without irritation, consistently, and I also enjoy handling and the feel of the shave:

Lambda Athena
Lambda Ares
Wolfman WR2 1.55 gap
Rocnel Sailor
Karve Overlander
Rocnel Elite
Blutt BR-1 1.20 gap

That’s in approximate order of preference right now, but they’re all so close in performance and they have different feels, so I can’t really rank them very meaningfully. I’d just say there’s a gulf between these and any other razors that I have.

The Wolfman is a very different razor to the others. Much more blade feel and not mild, but with a steep angle and a light touch I get completely reliable and gentle shaves with supreme ease. It’s very impressive. But I think finding the right gap that suits you is important - I have a WR2 1.35 which I don’t like anywhere near as much - so it can be an expensive trial and error thing. The Rocnel Sailor is a beast too, and heavy, but you can set it to shave the way you want and it is great at all settings.

I just received the ATT X1 that you guys are raving about, but I haven’t had a chance to shave with it yet. Maybe it will also be up there but I can’t say.

Honestly, this is a ton of grail razors and more than anyone needs. From now on I’m expecting to maybe buy a WR2 1.65 too, and I’d like to try a 0.95, at the opposite end. And I would buy anything that Lambda releases in future, though it’ll be a while before he needs to make another razor. Apart from that I think I’m done. My wife says I’m done, anyway.
 
My wife says I’m done, anyway.
I feel utterly connected brother!

And what a great line up! Lambda’s certainly fit the bill in the feel/design/looks category. And with the box to boot where other may only have plastic or cardboard. And you have both - lucky you. The Wolfman is a beauty too - but as you say you need to get it right. Although I imagine they pass on rather easy on the BST.

Guido
 
I feel utterly connected brother!

And what a great line up! Lambda’s certainly fit the bill in the feel/design/looks category. And with the box to boot where other may only have plastic or cardboard. And you have both - lucky you. The Wolfman is a beauty too - but as you say you need to get it right. Although I imagine they pass on rather easy on the BST.

Guido
Yeah. I would normally dislike getting a box with a razor - they take up space but you feel you can’t throw them away. But the Lambdas are special enough that I think the box is justified. Theo told me the box is important to him - he doesn’t want his razors to be like other razors, and the box is one of several ways he does that.

Wolfmans used to be easy to sell on without a loss, but I don’t think that’s true any more. There are so many other desired razors now, and the Wolfman options list is long enough that people now see more value in waiting a few months to get one the way they want. The last year or so I’ve noticed that used Wolfmans don’t usually sell fast, and they only sell with a chunky discount - 10-20%, it seems to me, even if the condition is perfect.
 
Wolfmans don’t usually sell fast, and they only sell with a chunky discount - 10-20%
:eek2: - that makes for a serious discount if you turn out to have the wrong setup.

Wouldn’t it be great if such razor companies had a try & but rather than scratch & dent.

Cheers,

Guido
 
:eek2: - that makes for a serious discount if you turn out to have the wrong setup.

Wouldn’t it be great if such razor companies had a try & but rather than scratch & dent.

Cheers,

Guido
Or even if you could buy different base plates separately. But Wolfman plates and caps are bespoke made so that they fit together perfectly as a unit, so supposedly you can’t interchange plates and get an optimal fit. Though I’m not sure if anyone has tested that out.

If you pick certain options you can easily pay well over $1,000 for a Wolfman now. Originally they were $150, I believe, and that’s why the waiting list used to be so long and people flipped them for a profit.

A Lambda Athena for $200 is where the smart money goes today, I believe. Just as beautifully polished and just as desirable as a Wolfman, a lot of us think. Not a cheap razor, for sure, but tremendous value in the current high end razor market.
 
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Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
Guido, I don't know what hints I managed to hide from myself in my list. The first "perfect" shave for me was the Blutt BR-1 1.20. I had used the Blutt with the .86 base plate and it was extremely nice, but when I tried the 1.20, that extra efficiency was something I had not experienced previously. So that was the start. I had a similar experience with the ATT X1 because I had used my Claymore Evo AC for 5 months straight and that slight extra bump was amazing. I noticed it on the first stroke.

I have similar shave experiences with the Elite and the Athena, but they both add a sound bonus... both are loud to me, in a very pleasing way. They each have a timbre signature, if you will. I just finished using the Athena and yes, I am excited about it, partially because I didn't expect it to have the same level of efficiency of the other three... but it certainly does.

So, you might be seeing something there that I don't recognize yet. They all look very nice now. I switched out the handles on the Blutt and the X1 to Ti Crown handles so they look elegant. The Elite and Athena have handles perfectly designed for them. I'd feel guilty even making an attempt to modify them. ;)
 
I used the same hammer for general carpenter work every day, one block plane, etc. But I'm finding, each razor is so different, even though they perform the same task, each one gives off its own unique sound when I shave.. each of them feels a bit different, every shave is interesting and engaging. As a result, I find myself liking the variety and I didn't really expect that. At my age, it's nice to have a few surprises... the pleasant ones, show up every so often.
Kim,

You would think that every 3/8" solid carbide insert boring bar would perform the same also. Especially ones that look identical and were produced by the same company, even the same model.
Nope, there is always a favorite boring bar, or turning tool. One that can be trusted on a tough job without question.

I engraved them and hid them from all the other machinists that were too lazy to find the best tool. Inserts, just like blades sometimes there is a dud in the box, which can really suck when the part you are machining costs over $7k when finished, and a bad tool puts it in the scrap barrel.

Yeah, I got my favorite razors too. The list? I'll get to it.

~doug~
 
It is Thanksgiving in the US and so hopefully everyone is enjoying time with loved ones. We do not have Thanksgiving per se in the Netherlands, but I do have a lot to be thankful of - including this little place called B&B and the friends I get to meet there. One of those friends happens to be the owner of this thread and so with much pleasure I continue our journey in razor definitions.

As always: reading disclaimer: YMMV - these are my personal opinions and views and cannot be seen as representative for the B&B community.

So now that's out of the way again, let's see what we think about Unicorn razors and Goldilocks razors. I think these to are related actually. There are subtleties to be found here are well


A Unicorn-in-want razor is the razor:
  1. you always wanted
  2. you do not currently have
  3. you find aesthetically pleasing in design, and
  4. requires extensive searching and seeking [therefore most likely a non-current model]
A Goldilocks-in-want razor is the razor:
  1. you really want
  2. you do not currently have
  3. you find aesthetically pleasing in design or peaks your curiosity, and
  4. requires a single purchase [therefore most likely a current model]
A Unicorn-in-have razor is the razor:
  1. you always wanted
  2. you do currently have
  3. you find aesthetically pleasing in design
  4. delivers the shave results you are after, and
  5. you use it less that a Holy Grail and more than a Goldilocks-in-have*
A Goldilocks-in-have razor is the razor:
  1. you really wanted
  2. you currently have
  3. you find aesthetically pleasing in design
  4. delivers the shave results you are after, and
  5. you use it less that a Holy Grail and more than a Rotation razor (see below)
After obtaining such a razor we refer back to the Holy Grail razor definition to check if a Unicorn and/or Goldilocks razor fits those criteria - i.e. a razor can shift categories. If not, a razor can stay stable and only shift from 'in-want' to 'in-have'.

*) I do realize that you may have a Unicorn-in-have razor that you intentionally shave less with, e.g. to preserve the razor or to save it for special occasions like a birth quarter razor.

With that in mind, there are two other categories to be defined as well obviously. These are the ones that currently came to my mind:

A Rotation razor is the razor:
  1. you have in your collection
  2. you find pleasing in design
  3. delivers at least decent shaving results, and
  4. you occassionally use and at least less than a Goldilocks-in-have razor, but more than a Pass-on razor
A Pass-on razor is the razor:
  1. you have in your collection
  2. you find pleasing in design
  3. delivers at least decent shaving results
  4. you rarely use and at least less than a Rotation razor
  5. would be ok with if it was not in your collection
The Pass-around razor could at first have been a Goldilocks razor that simply wasn't what you thought it would be. If you continue to use it with some regularity it would be a Rotation razor - otherwise it will become a Pass-on razor.

And then there is the Display razor, which is basically a razor you have, maybe even Unicorn status, but you do not use and only have for collection purposes.

I currently do not have Unicorn-in-want razors on my list and have one Unicorn-in-have razor. I have a couple of Goldilocks-in-want razors (and this list expands and shrinks periodically), such as the Karve CB, Mühle Rocca and Lambda's. My other razors fall into Goldilocks-in-have and Rotation razors. I have no Pass-on razors at the moment.

Reading disclaimer 1: YMMV
Reading disclaimer 2: read disclaimer 1

Looking forward to your views again everyone.

Cheers,

Guido.
 
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