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The Great Rigid Blade Experiment

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
Don't think of it as physically coming off the cap. Rather as a wave going through the blade, maybe causing increased & decreased pressure, maybe causing almost microscopic localized separations. Either way, I'd think it would act as if it wasn't rigid. And either way should be enough to produce sound. Maybe there wouldn't be any sound at all at 20N, at least none caused by that part of the blade, corresponding to a highly rigid state. And maybe even at 1N the sound only ever comes from the part that sticks out, but I doubt that.

High speed cameras? Fourier transform of the sound? A fourier transform converts from amplitude to frequency, so we can see the set of frequencies at each point in time. From there we might be able to figure out which piece of metal is vibrating. There's software that can do the transform on a WAV file.
Steve, did you see Esox's trademarked green squiggle line affair a few pages back? The concept there was that the blade is loaded towards the cap, but so heavily that it effectively pivots around the lip of the cap, taking pressure off the back edge of the support face. I wouldn't say that was likely on the Jagger, but I haven't seen enough other razors first hand to say that it might not be a potential culprit on some razors.
 
So is this an accurate summary of the final conclusion (if there was one):
Most of the forces & direction of travel cause the blade to go toward the top cap, with the exception of minute vibration causing it to go towards the baseplate during that moment of flex?
 
So is this an accurate summary of the final conclusion (if there was one):
Most of the forces & direction of travel cause the blade to go toward the top cap, with the exception of minute vibration causing it to go towards the baseplate during that moment of flex?
The Gents sure can get scientific at times and that's OK, your conclusion is accurate I believe, if you want to make the blade rigid just but a shim underneath to knock down vibration and also stop flexing by making it rigid is my suggestion. Merry Christmas to all and do not drink and drive!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Contributor
So is this an accurate summary of the final conclusion (if there was one):
Most of the forces & direction of travel cause the blade to go toward the top cap, with the exception of minute vibration causing it to go towards the baseplate during that moment of flex?
Yeah, most forces shove the blade into the cap. The forces shoving it away, and the effect of the vibration, weren't subject to much agreement. My take is that the forces shoving it away were pretty insignificant to the ones shoving it towards, but that wasn't necessairly shared amongst others.

There's also the issue that every razor flexes the blades to a different extent, and clamps in a different way. I reckon that such as the Edwin Jagger head is rigid under spring tension, but others feel it must be clamped to be rigid.

To complicate it further, I don't think there's full agreement as to where the blade flexes - whether it's at the blade's full thickness or just deflection of the edge.

Short of setting up a specific laboratory where we all agree the validity of methods used, and data sources referred to, I don't think we ever would all fall into agreement.

Long story short, the most accurate conclusion is that an agreement wasn't reached. In one way shaving is very simple, but the more you simplify it, the more it gets complicated :D There have been attempts to establish this and other things "scientifically", but the truth of the matter is that there are too many variables, and there is no one answer or formula that works for everyone.

Personally I believe that you can't reduce this down to "facts", as the formula and results are different for every single one of us - and that's ok. There is only ONE universal constant in the shaving world, and that is that your mileage may (and probably will) vary.
 
So, YMMV is the conclusion?

Some the arguments here make sense, while others wax theoretical. But the major "rigid" arguments don't make sense to me. Like most of us in this forum, you were probably weaned on cartridges, where you could use pressure and easily ignore proper setup.

But if you don't moisten your beard enough, or use blunt blades, or apply too much pressure...yeah, you're going to experience blade "flexing." I guess I have decent technique, because flexing isn't remotely a problem for me.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
So, YMMV is the conclusion?

Some the arguments here make sense, while others wax theoretical. But the major "rigid" arguments don't make sense to me. Like most of us in this forum, you were probably weaned on cartridges, where you could use pressure and easily ignore proper setup.

But if you don't moisten your beard enough, or use blunt blades, or apply too much pressure...yeah, you're going to experience blade "flexing." I guess I have decent technique, because flexing isn't remotely a problem for me.

Not for me. I think I've typed 'YMMV' twice (three times now) in all the time I've been on this forum, and then only as an example as to why I dont use it lol.

It all comes down to your beard. How thick, dense and coarse it is along with, I believe, your hairs composition. We're all different.

How much rigidity one needs no one else can say, but it sure cant hurt.

Shave ATG with this,

images.jpg

then with this,

IMG_2118.JPG

and see if you cant tell the difference. I would think the difference would be instantly noticeable.
 
I think I understand what you're saying. We've all experienced "pulling" on your beard while shaving, and it makes sense that the amount of beard and its toughness can be big factors. The pics of the two razors definitely show that beard "pulling" is real, and can't be argued away.

I deal with the "pulling" issue by using milder razors (like the Gillette Aristocrat Jr), using meticulous prep, shaving without pressure, and tossing blades when they start to pull. But for some men, that "pulling" sensation can be uncomfortable or even painful, and I imagine that different razor is the best option.
 
The issue with non-rigidly clamped blades is vibration, not deflection. A blade vibrating in and out against your face is going to take micro-slices of skin off most likely. And the whole edge may not be moving at the same time, it could easily "ripple" as it vibrates.

Modern razor blades are very thin, and will move a whole lot more than you might think when un-supported for several millimeters even when firmly clamped.

This is a different issue than a blade not clamped at all -- if you've ever had a Gillette Adjustable with a gummed up spring you know what I'm talking about. Amazingly rough shaves. Ditto for an Old type with a bent cap or baseplate, or dents on the corners of the cap.

My take on "pulling" is that the edge is not in contact with the skin, resulting in splitting of the hairs rather than clipping them off at the skin. Usually results from incorrect razor angle to the skin. A new blade with teflon coating doesn't pull as much when it is splitting hair as when the teflon is worn off.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
I think I understand what you're saying. We've all experienced "pulling" on your beard while shaving, and it makes sense that the amount of beard and its toughness can be big factors. The pics of the two razors definitely show that beard "pulling" is real, and can't be argued away.

I deal with the "pulling" issue by using milder razors (like the Gillette Aristocrat Jr), using meticulous prep, shaving without pressure, and tossing blades when they start to pull. But for some men, that "pulling" sensation can be uncomfortable or even painful, and I imagine that different razor is the best option.

Tugging can be from many things, but most likely the wrong angle and/or a poor blade choice.

As rigidity increase, tugging can also increase with a poor blade choice. As a less supported blade flexes, it stores spring energy, spring wrap, or whats commonly known to drag racers as wheel hop. Imagine the blade doing what the tires are in the video below.


That mechanical advantage of stored spring energy can help a lesser blade cut easier. As that mechanical advantage is removed, the harder time the blade has to cut and the more tugging that might take place. This is why its important to match your blade choices to you.

I also think of blade flex, or the amount of blade flex, to a cars suspension. A less rigid design as a softer more forgiving suspension which will give a softer ride. A more rigid design, a stiffer suspension, like in a race car. You feel every little bump in the road because there is such little flex.

Finding the happy middle ground for each of us is the challenge. I like F1 cars. :)
 
I think you are confusing edge displacement with edge vibration. In your example video, you are seeing undamped vibration and the wheel "hops", slamming the tire into the pavement then allowing it to leap back up (the result of the spring action of the gas in the tire, actually, which is damped only by the stiffness of the tire sidewall).

Imagine the edge of a razor blade doing the same thing, only instead of pavement that very sharp edge is digging into your skin.....

The longer the distance between the edge and the clamping area, the larger the amplitude of the vibration of the edge will be for the same applied transient force (that is, the snap back when cutting a hair).

This is another reason for careful angle control -- if the cutting force is directed into the blade rather than at an angle to the centerline, the transient force generated by cutting the hairs will not displace the edge very much -- the steel is very close to incompressable. At a steeper or shallower angle, the transient force is more against the side of the bevel, pushing the edge into or away from the skin. When the blade exits the hair, it will spring back almost as far as it was pushed away, and can take a tiny divot of skin out. This vibration is local, not the whole edge.

The force required to deflect the blade is proportional to the length of the blade free to move, so blades with lots of free length are more likely to vibrate and the vibrations will have greater amplitude (and probably lower frequency, but we are reaching the limits of my knowledge of materials science here).

My personal experience is that finding the angle of the razor handle that gets the blade very close to ideal cutting angle gives me the most comfortable, least irritating shave and longest blade life. Very short strokes help to, as that gives the least time during which the blade is vibrating.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
Imagine the edge of a razor blade doing the same thing, only instead of pavement that very sharp edge is digging into your skin.....
Thats exactly why I used that analogy. If the blade can vibrate or flex it will, given enough resistance against it. Even with my Fatip Grande, which is a very rigid design but also has generous blade exposure. The thinness and flexibility of DE blades will allow the very edge to flex, dig in, lift and tug the hair then cut it under force of tension instead of cleanly slicing. The result of that over the swirls on my neck is, at best, irritation. At worst, weepers. If I shave slowly enough I can even hear a tiny 'ping' as the edge springs back into shape.

Because it is such a rigid design I can stop that with a shallow enough angle. This is why I use it extremely shallow, pushing the cap into my skin. The red line in the picture below being the level of my skin.

IMG_2182 (2).JPG

Used at that angle, the blade doesnt flex, it just cleanly cuts the hairs.

My made in Canada Gillette Old Type, below with a blade loaded, has zero blade gap and is the most rigid DE I've used.

Canadian.jpg

When the handle is tightened, the cap forces the blade against the teeth of the comb. The tops of those teeth in the comb are flat. Because it has literally no blade gap and so rigidly holds the blade, its a very unforgiving razor that gives no warning, at all, of blood appearing if I make a simple mistake.

By contrast, an EJ/Merkur below showing where and how the blade can and will flex if enough resistance is met. I've had it happen with my Gillette NEW LC, which is a considerably more rigid design than the EJ/Merkur.

dHfO7igl1.jpg

If enough resistance is met at the edge, something has to give. With unsupported designs, its the blade that will finally flex and 'give' resulting in irritation or worse. I believe this a reason why so many have issues shaving ATG. Its simply not a rigid enough design.

That most likely wont be the case for everyone and the only place thats an issue for me is over my swirls. My NEW LC was great everywhere else, but as soon as it hit my swirls, it just skipped right over them. My R41 does the same and if I miss the angle, just a tiny bit even WTG on my cheeks, it will flex and skip. I use it just slightly shallower than the design angle and its okay WTG, XTG and ATG its difficult.

Again, the red line being the level of my skin.

r41angle.jpg

Because it lacks so much baseplate support, I need to go over my swirls in five different directions to whittle them down slowly enough so the blade doesnt flex. With my NEW SC, Old Types, Grande and MMOC, its two directions. The difference being baseplate support stopping the flex where the squiggly green line is.
 
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I don't deny that your shave - and your shaving needs - work better when blade vibrations are minimized; that is, the blade is "clamped down." I'm pretty sure that most of us here have experienced those vibrations. For me, it happens when my beard is dry (not enough prep); in this situation, the blade can cause irritation that gets worse with each pass.

My requirements aren't as severe as yours. I find I can pretty much avoid the vibrations with two minutes of prep, light shaving, and newish blades.

I particularly liked your explanation on the Canada Old Type.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
I don't deny that your shave - and your shaving needs - work better when blade vibrations are minimized; that is, the blade is "clamped down." I'm pretty sure that most of us here have experienced those vibrations. For me, it happens when my beard is dry (not enough prep); in this situation, the blade can cause irritation that gets worse with each pass.

My requirements aren't as severe as yours. I find I can pretty much avoid the vibrations with two minutes of prep, light shaving, and newish blades.

I particularly liked your explanation on the Canada Old Type.

Whether one needs a more rigid design, only they can say. I do believe however that a more rigid design leads to a smoother, more effective and easier shave.

Rigid designs also increase a blades effectiveness. Derby Extra has been in my top 3 blades for the last 18 months or more. Its always been the first blade I tried in a new razor and has never failed me, until I got my R41.

R41, Common Bar handle - Derby Extra.

Stirling Island Man.

Maggard synthetic.

49 hours since last shave.

Starting with the typical 3 pass shave, first pass N-S WTG/XTG. Second pass S-N XTG/ATG. Third pass and all cleanups done directly ATG.

Like I said in my first shave with my Grande and a Derby Extra, as soon as the razor moved I knew.

It tugged, considerably. No effortless full length strokes on this first pass. Two strokes over my cheek to my jawline and 4 strokes from my jawline to the base of my neck. Interestingly, as soon as the blade encountered my swirls, it skipped right over them, even leaving lather in the stubble. An adjustment in technique solved that however. I went a little shallower and increased the pressure considerably. That ended the skipping and minimized the tugging.

Rigidity doesnt make a shave more effective? I very much disagree.

Second pass S-N and still some very light tugging but not an issue and honestly, smooth sailing. Comfortable and easy. I buffed around my chin the same as always, a little over my swirls and even changed direction, painting lather with the comb and shaved over both swirls the opposite direction keeping to a shallow angle. No issues.

Third pass directly ATG, angle leaning more to neutral and steep than shallow now. Again no issues, nice smooth easy shave, very light buffing over my jawline both sides and my swirls again.

Wipe and check and not quite there yet, so I did one more clean up pass and finished with a very nice and comfortable BBS shave. No irritation or redness at all and my skin is cool and comfortable.

Now I'll say, Derby Extra is not a good match in this razor and using it has cemented what I've said numerous times about the many people that have tried them and dislike them. Use them in a rigid design! It makes a difference.

Using the same blade in my Grande its a 2 1/2 pass BBS. No tugging, no skipping. The difference in blade exposure between the two is minimal.



Not only does it make a difference with Derby Extra, but it does every other blade I've tried as well.

Rigidity
. Makes. A. Difference.
A Derby Extra in the R41 razor failed miserably. The same blade in my Grande gives a fantastic shave. The only difference is the rigidity of the blade given by the baseplate support, or lack thereof.

Conversely, Feather blades in it are, by far, the best blade. The difference is sharpness of the blade. The added sharpness counteracts the increased flex generated by a less sharp blade.

Theres a very clear and distinct trend I've noticed around the forum. Most, really the vast majority of DE users, despise Derby Extra blades, but look at the razors they're using them in and study their top blades. Most, by far, prefer Feather blades. This is why.

In a rigid design, Derby Extra is a very good blade. A Feather in my Grande is pretty good, but for me its too much of a good thing, sharpness.
 
Whether one needs a more rigid design, only they can say. I do believe however that a more rigid design leads to a smoother, more effective and easier shave.

Rigid designs also increase a blades effectiveness. Derby Extra has been in my top 3 blades for the last 18 months or more. Its always been the first blade I tried in a new razor and has never failed me, until I got my R41.



A Derby Extra in the R41 razor failed miserably. The same blade in my Grande gives a fantastic shave. The only difference is the rigidity of the blade given by the baseplate support, or lack thereof.

Conversely, Feather blades in it are, by far, the best blade. The difference is sharpness of the blade. The added sharpness counteracts the increased flex generated by a less sharp blade.

Theres a very clear and distinct trend I've noticed around the forum. Most, really the vast majority of DE users, despise Derby Extra blades, but look at the razors they're using them in and study their top blades. Most, by far, prefer Feather blades. This is why.

In a rigid design, Derby Extra is a very good blade. A Feather in my Grande is pretty good, but for me its too much of a good thing, sharpness.
Maybe I should try a derby in the NEW SC before it gets put on the BST...

I've been using the Feather Pro blades in my SS Colonial General. I never liked Feather DE blades. Too harsh and unforgiving. Give me a Gillette Yellow any day over a Feather. The Feather Pros in the General remind me of the Feather DEs: harsh, unforgiving. Oddly, they don't seem as sharp as the Prolines. Going to use the Feather in my RazoRock Hawk V2 and see if the milder hawk removes the harshness. Not holding my breath. It's 5 average to poor shaves with the Feather now, to 20+ great to excellent shaves on a single Proline. I'll give the Hawk a swing at the Feather but then it'll be on to the Kai Titan Mild Pinks. Those always worked better for me than the Feather Pros. I still have an injector of the Pros that I wanted to try to get through, should have just done Try A Blade. Hopefully the Kai Pinks will do well in the General. If not, I will just go back to my Prolines a very happy camper.

Oh, rigidity. Right. So these are super rigid blades and the differences in how the bevel is cut and finished I think make the difference for me. As was noted above, rigidity makes blades more unforgiving. The bevel and finish on the blade edge has no room to flex and find it's optimal cutting angle. I've been learning via Jim's experience about how the bevel is extremely important to an edge. Certain bevel angles and edge grinds will work better for your beard. We can change that angle based on our shaving angle or by changing out the razor blade itself for any given razor. The SE platforms make a consistent shaving angle easy to maintain, but if the bevel angle and grind doesn't work for your beard you have little option to adjust that angle. The various coatings can mask issues with blade-beard compatibility initially. The factory coating doesn't last long, so the true test for me of how a blade performs is on shaves 4-6 when it is definitely gone. The coating should help it through the first few shaves. If it doesn't work on shaves 5 and 6, it isn't going to be a good blade for me.

In regard to bevel angles: for me, the angles used by Schick have always been better. Best cartridge I used? Schick quattro before they changed the angle when other gents complained. Wish I'd stockpiled those blades, excellent angle for me. It was a shaving revelation at the time. Now, I'm using Schick Chinese made injector blades or Prolines for nearly every shave. The personna injector blades don't work well for me, they are very harsh after shave 3 and just worsen from there. The Schicks stay good for me for over 10 shaves easily. Maybe if I had found some good Schick DE blades I would have stuck with DEs. Gillette doesn't get the right bevel angle for my beard usually. The Yellows and Polsilvers were better, but not perfect by a long shot.

So many variables in this wet shaving thing. Finding the perfect kit for each person is actually a nearly impossible task when you look at all of the variables involved. You would have to use the same shaving set up for one week to truly evaluate a blade based on its bevel and grind, and that's only if you found the best angle with that razor. And it would change with each razor. Good argument for what Rave does weekly or even Cal's Fixed Four.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
Maybe I should try a derby in the NEW SC before it gets put on the BST...
Rave's use of one on shave 6 with 72 hours growth below.

Today, I had a most excellent shave on day six of my Derby blade Joris combination. I mowed through 72 hours growth smooth and clean. There was absolutely no tugging with the Derby blade, and the result was bbs and dfs on my neck. There was little to no feedback when I applied aftershave splash.
He used that blade to 10 shaves;

What a great way to finish off the week. It was my best shave of the week. I finished day ten with my Derby Extra. There was still no tugging, and the result was a bbs and dfs on my neck. This is a long lasting shave as far as closeness. Yay! I shaved ten and out with this Derby Extra. :001_smile There is still life left in this blade, but my rule is ten and out.
They work, in the right razor. In my NEW SC I really liked Derby blades. This is why if I had to choose a single blade in all my DE razors, it would still be Derby Extra, as long as I'm not including the R41 haha.


So these are super rigid blades and the differences in how the bevel is cut and finished I think make the difference for me.
Yes! I've noticed the same Joel, between DE and GEM SE blades. As sharp as the PTFE are, and they're very sharp, the bevel angle is different. Combined with the thickness of the blades, its a fairly obvious difference to me between them and say, a Polsilver. A Polsilver seems to cut easier over my swirls, but the PTFE cuts with more authority because its so much stiffer. The PTFE will also tug slightly where the Polsilver wont because of the increased rigidity of the SE blade.
 

Raven Koenes

My precious!
Contributor
Rave's use of one on shave 6 with 72 hours growth below.



He used that blade to 10 shaves;
Yes, I did. My shaves were with a Derby Extra (pre-retool) in my Plisson Joris. My Joris has a refined Fatip Mk2 head, so it holds the blade rigid. It is a super smooth razor to begin with. I don't flip the blade during the week. I shave five day's straight and just wipe the razor dry after each use leaving the blade alone. On the weekends I disassemble the razor and deep clean it. I soaked the Derby Extra in Isopropyl Alcohol while I cleaned my razor. I patted the blade dry then flipped and loaded it. Day six with my Derby Extra on 72 hours of growth was surprisingly smooth and efficient. By day ten the Derby still had life in it. I could have gone through the same cleaning routine, flipped the blade, and gone on with it. I didn't because my OCD rotation schedule won't allow for that.
 
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