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Tatara Masamune vs Rockwell 6s :: Initial Thoughts & Considerations

I recently acquired a Tatara Masamune razor off the BST forum (thanks, @Calm_Shaver!). It came with the Nodachi top-cap and both the Masamune and Nodachi baseplates. While I’ve been quite satisfied with my Rockwell 6S, I got the itch to try something else and the Masamune seemed to tick all my preferential boxes. I decided to take the plunge and make the purchase. Specifically, I’m using the Nodachi top-cap and the milder, Masamune baseplate. What follows are my initial impressions... Emphasis on "initial".. :blush:

After opening the box and handling the razor for the first time, I’ll admit to being impressed with the fit and finish; both are top notch. Every edge is smooth and there’s not a single machining mark or mold line to be found… Anywhere. Screwing the razor together, sans blade, feels smooth and tight. After popping in a blade and reassembling I can’t help but notice how everything locks up with the last few turns… Like a bank vault closing. So yeah, first impressions are good. Is my heart beating out of my chest, or my jaw dropping in absolute astonishment? No. But it is an impressively finished razor with blade clamping that is equally impressive and I want to give credit where I feel it’s due. I also notice the handle on the Tatara is a little thinner than on my Rockwell and that has me paying more attention to how it feels in my oversized, Midwestern mitt’s. After handling it for a few minutes I’m thinking the thinner head might make the Tatara a bit nimbler than my 6S and I’m no longer thinking so much about the thinner handle.
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Shave #1: Mirroring my usual shave set-up for my first shave with this razor, I select Stirling Orange Chill, my Simpsons Trafalgar T3 and a Gillette Platinum blade (second shave on this blade). I’m going to cut right to the chase here: This shave did not go well... AT ALL. The shave both felt, and sounded, like a putty knife being dragged across 80 grit sandpaper. I power through one WTG pass, rinse my face, clean up and put everything away. I’m convinced this was either a horrible blade choice, that my technique is wrong for this razor, that this razor simply isn’t for me, or some combination thereof. Whatever the cause, I’m done shaving for today. Full stop. My face is feeling “warm” from the shave and I hate that. Some Nivea Sensitive ASB helps but doesn’t entirely knock out the heat. It’s a mild irritation, but noticeable, nonetheless. I decide to skip shaving entirely the following morning, which is typical for me; I’m more of an every-other-day sort of shaver.

Shave #2: For this shave I’m sticking with Stirling Orange Chill but changing to a fresh Astra Stainless Steel blade (the sharpest blade I have in my current inventory), and I’ll be using the Trafalgar T3 again. This shave goes much better right from the start. I paid a lot more attention to trying to find and use the suggested 24 degree shaving angle while using zero pressure. Immediately I notice how much smoother and quieter the shave is going on this WTG pass. Feeling relieved, and a bit more confident, I lather up for pass two (XTG). This pass also goes extremely well. Maintaining the right angle is proving a little tricky but when I find it, I know it immediately. It’s not that it’s particularly hard to find the right angle, it’s just not the angle I’m used to using. I had the most trouble with blade angle on the underside of my chin and jawline but can tell this is a learning curve sort of thing and nothing more. Shaving the area under my nose goes well and I’m starting to better appreciate how the Tatara handles; it’s different than what I’m used to, but I think I’m starting to “get” this razor to some degree. I do a little buffing on my chin to wrap up and, not wanting to tempt fate, end the shave at this point. After letting my face dry out for a few minutes, and without having applied any aftershave, I’m struck by just how good the shave is. Wow it’s good. I typically avoid using phrases like BBS, DCS, etc. to describe a shave so suffice it to say, this was a really, really good two-pass shave for me. I’m suitably impressed. Later, I find a couple spots I missed, or where I lost the correct angle, but I’m nit-picking at this point and, in all honesty, they’re spots I frequently miss with my 6S as well. I skip shaving the following morning and shave the day after, per usual for me.

Shave #3: Today I’m shaving with Southern Witchcraft’s Necromantic, the same Astra Stainless Steel blade (shave #2 for this blade) and the aforementioned T3. I’ve already decided to do a full three-pass shave this morning. Cutting to the chase once again, this shave was marvelous. I had a little trouble maintaining the shaving angle, particularly on the ATG pass, but I’m getting better. Using nothing more than the weight of the razor, all three passes felt effortless and considerably smoother. I’m not convinced the Astra SS is “the” blade for this razor, but I’m seeing the potential and thinking of trying a Gillette Nacet to see how it fares with the Tatara.

And finally, a note on the dimpled, “golf ball” texturing on the handle: I think it’s great, personally. I tend to get a lot of soap on my fingers as I shave (I need to work on rinsing my razor more frequently) but not once have I felt as though I did not have an entirely secure grip, quite the opposite in fact. In my admittedly limited experience, the dimpling works. I won’t pretend to know how it manages to feel as “sticky” in the hand as is does, but… It does. I can appreciate the aesthetic is probably not to everyone’s taste, but personally, I like it.

I guess what some may be wondering is, do I prefer the Tatara over my Rockwell 6S? I will say there’s a LOT to like about the Tatara; a whole heck of a lot. But I can say the same of my 6S, too. In all honesty I don’t think it would be fair to make a decision with only half a dozen passes under my belt with an entirely new razor; I need time to dial in my technique and find a blade I feel really brings out the best the Tatara has to offer. So, all that being said, I’m going to kick this down the road and say the jury hasn’t yet returned a verdict yet. Things are looking very, very good for the Tatara, though.

So, those are my initial impressions. I may update this post as time goes on and, in the meantime, I’ll be experimenting and looking for my Goldilocks blade. Wish me luck.

Cheers!
 
Congrats, that’s an awesome find on BST. I’ve had my Masamune (standard sb plate and top cap) for a couple of weeks now and I really like it. Very smooth and comfortable shaves. So far I’ve only tried it with the supplied feather blades, which work well for me but I can’t get more then 3 good shaves off a feather. I have an assortment of other blades I’ll be trying it with over the coming weeks. I briefly considered a 6s and a few others but I’m glad I got this one.
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Interesting info about the Masamune! I will be getting a Nodachi, both cap and plate. Somehow another razor always comes in between.

The 6S is very much guiding one to the right angle. The Masamune apparently not as much.

This reminds me of my first Blackbird OC shave. This razor wants one to ride the cap, but I am used to the bar, so... I needed and and 3rd shave to get used to the different angle and style of shaving.

In case you get some more razors in future, there are also razors devoid of and kind of feedback, or some that favor short over long strokes and so on.

Enjoy your Masamune! I wish they would make polished or shiny finished versions of their razors as well.
 
Thank you for your post. :thumbup:

I have two Tatara razors, a Masamune Nodachi and a Muramasa Adjustable, and both are exquisitely finished razors that are a pleasure to use. The Nodachi has a longer handle and costs less (with Tatara razors it does not feel right to use the word ‘cheaper’) than the shorter handle Muramasa Adjustable and is therefore a slightly more ergonomic fit for my paws.

The Masamune Nodachi is a fantastic razor, but, after using Mühle open combs for years, I did not find the Nodachi open comb version any more aggressive than the closed comb one.

That got me thinking, and I believe it is due to the identical blade gap and blade exposure of the open. and closed comb plates.
As Mühle open combs, which have become the de facto standard for open combs, have a more generous blade gap and exposure than their closed comb ones, this may explain which people sometimes associate open comb with aggressive.
Someone posted that he gets more ‘blade feel’ with the open comb, after which I went back and used the open comb caps again for about two weeks, but I did not notice any difference in the results, comfort or closeness of the shave. As I like the solid feel of the closed comb Nodachi, I went back to these plates.

I like my two Tataras not only because they exude an air of quality and solidity, but also because they give me as close shaves as the best of my straights, something the Mühle R41 could never quite achieve.



B.
 
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The Tatara is a very well made instrument that shaves as well as it looks. Enjoy.
100%. Everyone keep in mind these razors are CNC machined to extremely tight tolerances from high grade stainless steel and hand finished. They are, in my opinion, a step above something like Rockwell which is made with a metal injection mould process and relatively mass produced. In terms of quality of design and quality of manufacturing I would put Tatara up there with the best of them. Nice to see their products getting lots of attention on the forums lately
 
@Wogus I hope you enjoy the Tatara for many many years & in good health! I really enjoyed reading your very detailed review . That’s awesome that the Tatara worked out with the right choice of blade! Congrats!
 
I have the Tatara Masamune OC in black. An excellent razor that pairs up very well with Feather blades. Craftsmanship is top-notch, balance and manoeuvrability are superb and it's one of my final 6.
 
I had my second shave today with my Masamune and astra sp blade. For some reason with the astra I get lit up with irritation after the shave, but it feels smooth and nice while I’m shaving. Really weird. The shave was heavenly with feather no issues at all. Anyone else have problems with Masamune and Astra SP? Will continue trying others. I have Astra SS, Gillette Silver Blues, Platinums, and Nacets, BIC CP, Derby Extra, Tiger Platinums, and Kai to work through.
 
For some reason with the astra I get lit up with irritation after the shave, but it feels smooth and nice while I’m shaving. Really weird.
Not with the Masamune, but I experienced a similar wonderfully nice shave, during the night and next morning skin on fire on the neck, with a Dorco Titan. Some blades just don't work in some razors.
 
I had my second shave today with my Masamune and astra sp blade. For some reason with the astra I get lit up with irritation after the shave, but it feels smooth and nice while I’m shaving. Really weird. The shave was heavenly with feather no issues at all. Anyone else have problems with Masamune and Astra SP? Will continue trying others. I have Astra SS, Gillette Silver Blues, Platinums, and Nacets, BIC CP, Derby Extra, Tiger Platinums, and Kai to work through.
I've never used a Masamune, but if sharper blades are supposed to work better then I'd suggest you go straight to a BIC blade. They are sharper than the Feather after the first shave and last a bit longer. Kai blades are sharp but slightly wider. PersonalIy I dislike the Kai blades; the extra blade exposure seems to cause a few more nicks and cuts with the razors I own.
 
Had a great shave this morning using the Masamune and a Personna Crystal... That the Crystal gave such a great shave in this razor kind of surprised me because it's not a particularly sharp blade, relatively speaking. I did try a Nacet the other day and was less than thrilled. This does not really surprise me, though, because I've never really gotten along all that well with Nacet blades.
 
When I received my Masamune Nodachi from Tatara, it arrived with a few Feather blades, which is an indication as to which blades Tatara thinks work well with their razors.

I use Feathers, Astra Superior Platinum and Astra Superior Stainless blades in my Masamune Nodachi and Muramasa razors and they all work very well for me.
Feather are sharper, Astras seem to last a bit longer, but I usually replace a blade after one week’s worth of shaves anyway.


B.
 
When I received my Masamune Nodachi from Tatara, it arrived with a few Feather blades, which is an indication as to which blades Tatara thinks work well with their razors.

I use Feathers, Astra Superior Platinum and Astra Superior Stainless blades in my Masamune Nodachi and Muramasa razors and they all work very well for me.
Feather are sharper, Astras seem to last a bit longer, but I usually replace a blade after one week’s worth of shaves anyway.


B.
I have yet to try a Feather blade... I know I probably should, and I'll probably get around to it someday. The Astra Superior Stainless and the Crystal have, so far, proven to be quite good but I'm willing to keep poking around a bit more to see if something magical happens.

Gillette PermaSharps were suggested as well, but I'm not sure if the recommendation was for the 7 o'clock PermaSharp Stainless (the ones in the green box) or the ones pictured below, which are what I have and what I will be trying next:
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The Perma-Sharp in the gold box are made in Russia and are supposedly very sharp. I have never tried them myself. The 7 o'clock green are made in India. I like them, but I prefer the 7 o'clock yellow or black. Please give the gold ones a try and let us know what you think.
 
The Perma-Sharp in the gold box are made in Russia and are supposedly very sharp. I have never tried them myself. The 7 o'clock green are made in India. I like them, but I prefer the 7 o'clock yellow or black. Please give the gold ones a try and let us know what you think.
Just one shave to report using the PermaSharp "Gold", pictured above, but it was the best I've had yet with Masamune, and by a pretty wide margin. Based on this one shave I agree it's a very sharp blade. For me the smoothness was positively outstanding.

My only concern is, according to data from a certain website with razor blade sharpness measurments, this blade gets significantly sharper after the first use, so I'm hoping it doesn't get too sharp, and/or lose the smoothness I got on the first shave, with subsequent use. If I can consistently get three shaves out these blades as good as the first one, I think I'll be done looking for the blade that's "just right" for this razor. More would be better, but three is kind of a personal minimum.
 
Just one shave to report using the PermaSharp "Gold", pictured above, but it was the best I've had yet with Masamune, and by a pretty wide margin. Based on this one shave I agree it's a very sharp blade. For me the smoothness was positively outstanding.

My only concern is, according to data from a certain website with razor blade sharpness measurments, this blade gets significantly sharper after the first use, so I'm hoping it doesn't get too sharp, and/or lose the smoothness I got on the first shave, with subsequent use. If I can consistently get three shaves out these blades as good as the first one, I think I'll be done looking for the blade that's "just right" for this razor. More would be better, but three is kind of a personal minimum.
That's the problem if you push them, they become Nacets. If it doesn't work out and you want to stay in St Petersburg, try the Wizamets. I don't love them yet, but can recognise why other people do. Otherwise, Bic.
 
That's the problem if you push them, they become Nacets. If it doesn't work out and you want to stay in St Petersburg, try the Wizamets. I don't love them yet, but can recognise why other people do. Otherwise, Bic.
Not at all picky about where my blades come from, as long as they work for me. And while I did have a fling with Nacets a while back, I eventually determined they just weren't panning out for me and moved on. I did give them a shot in the Masamune but after one shave, I felt like history was repeating itself.

The Bic Chrome Platinum has been in the back of my mind for some time, I've just never actually pulled the trigger on any. Might be time to pop over to the Blade Exchange and see if the Bic is an option... 🤔

Thanks for the input!
 
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