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The Tilted Picnic Slant Circus, Year 2

Last year I grabbed up a box full of some slant razors and did a shave-off comparo, using each razor for two weeks (6 shaves for me; one blade). By the time I was done, I was ready to be done. :001_rolle But I had a few weeks of excellent shaves out of it, so the effort wasn't wasted. I was thinking I'd just let it sit for a while, but I have a few more slants and wanted to go through them. So who's on deck?

RazoRock Wunderbar (w/serial)
RazoRock Stealth V3 Stainless
iKon Shavecraft 102
Fasan Double Slant
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements El Fantasma
Peroni
Windrose Helical
Windrose Tilted


Also I'm doing more than one thing with this year's circus. @Chan Eil Whiskers and @Tanuki and I have been talking about RazoRock Wunderbaren and Stealths -- so the first two razors I use will also contribute to that discussion. Last year I had one tilted slant, PAA Bakelite Alpha Ecliptic, and it didn't make it past the first shave. Not wanting to tar all tilted slants with the same brush, I decided to include some this year. I may or may not do all the tilted slants consecutively.

I've had my eye on the development work for the newest slant, the Above The Tie X1, but I'm still on the fence about it. I'll see what I can work out. If I can land one, even a loaner, I'll add it to the mix.

So how's this gonna go down? I'll post up a few observations about the razor on the first shave, then updates each time. Whenever I reach the end of the list, which could be a while, I'll go back and gather some of the observations together.

Same soap, my standard blade (Astra SP), and the same head. :) Should be fun!

Oh, and "Tilted Picnic"? Well...:blushing:...I misremembered the lyrics to an old Lord Buckley riff. Some of the things we did back in those days were a little hard on the memory. Oh well, it still amuses me and since it's the name now, I'll just relax with it.

O.H.
 
Maybe adding my favorite: iKon X3 :001_smile. For me it was my RAD-killer. I have paired it with a lightweight aluminum handle and I like this combination.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
I know there are various ways of making a slant be a slant, but I've not sorted them out. A primer on which is which would be useful.

I have a few slants.
  • Wunderbar
  • FOCS (2)
  • Stealth
  • PBOCS
  • El Fantasma
  • The blue one which is just like El Fantasma
  • iKon X3
  • ATT OC (think it's called S2)
  • Maybe ones I'm disremembering at the moment
No idea which fall into which categories or even what the categories of slants are, but I like slants.

At present I'm doing the Fixed Four with the Wunderbar.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
I know there are various ways of making a slant be a slant, but I've not sorted them out. A primer on which is which would be useful.
Basically two ways.
1. The ones where the head is tilted on the handle, which causes the diagonal cut. Examples of this type are the Walbusch B3 and B5, the PAA Alpha Ecliptic and the iKon 102.
With this type, when you shave with one side of the head the cut is / and when you turn the razor around the cut is \.
2. The ones with a torqued or twisted head. Examples of this type are the Merkur 37c, the Wunderbar, Fasan.
With this type, when you shave with one side of the head, the cut is \ and when you turn the razor around the cut remains \.
There are variations on a theme here, for instance Valencia that closely follows the original slant patent so the cutting edge has a curve, or ATT where the cutting edge is straight.
Razors with their head on a balljoint, like the Peroni or the Pacific function like type 1.
There's also a number of curved razors, where the cutting edge basically has a frown: the ends are lower than the middle. You don't want that with a straight but with a DE it has less problems. Examples of this type are a lot of women's armpit razors, one side of the Lady Pomco, and the Ssseygus Zeppelin.
 
Maybe adding my favorite: iKon X3 :001_smile.
I did that one last year in the first Tilted Picnic. I put all those over on the Brotherhood of Slant Shavers subforum.

I'm putting it up on the DE sub this year because I can put them all under one thread, and while my slanted brethren "get it" I also want to be more interactive with the folks who are just discovering slants.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic, Year 2. Round One, First Shave: RazoRock Wunderbar

IMG_0503[1].JPG

"On the road again; the life I love is makin' lather with my friends..."

Even though I used this razor in last year's review, I brought it back as a useful baseline comparison to the RazoRock Stealth Slant that will be along in a couple of weeks. Plus, a year on and some things have changed, and new guys are discovering this excellent razor.

Before I go too much farther, I guess I should say a couple things. These reviews are almost entirely subjective, so "YMMV" is the word of the day. I shave for fun, at least partially. That means if I'm not having fun I will start to ask why. In the past that has led me to set a razor aside because I just don't want to deal with it. If I happen to do that with one of your favourite razors, it just means *I* didn't like it and does not mean I'm also criticizing anyone who likes it. But at the same time I'm not afraid to face up to a learning curve and give respect to a razor that may challenge me a bit.

As this one does. I mean, the ATT S2 is without question my Grail Razor. It's always perfect, even when I'm not. So why even consider a "lesser" razor? Because what really blows my kilt up is learning things. I've learned things from the WB that the S2 didn't teach.

My digital scale tells me the razor with Radio Knob handle comes in at 108 grams. For some guys that's a real tank. For me, right in the sweet spot. The handle itself is 85 mm long, again right in my sweet spot. By design, a bit of extra mass at the bottom end nicely balances the head, leaving the razor with a neutral feel in my hands. Thus endeth quantitative statistics, for the most part.

The WB has a reputation for being both rewarding of attention and being a little bitchy if you're not paying attention. Very few who take it up keep all their blood inside, but like a mosquito it's helpful to remember it doesn't want much. For me, taking on the task of shaving mindfully in the face of a (usually) minor mishap may not leave me feeling 10 feet tall and bulletproof, but it at least leads me to think I'm 5 feet 10 and able to laugh off a spitwad. I will freely admit I've used razors that were much more prone to want their pound of flesh; the WB isn't a pussycat but it is a trained tiger.

What I really like about razors in this mass is that they pretty much drive themselves WTG. I can concentrate on not adding pressure. I generally do a 2-pass shave with most razors, particularly moderns. ATG is smooth with the WB because of that mass, even though I'm pulling it up against gravity. Newton said, "A body in motion tends to remain in motion" and that pretty much describes it.

The WB is a helical or "double" slant -- that is to say the blade itself is both curved like in a regular DE and twisted to add even more rigidity. If you take a 3x5 notecard and twist it gently, you'll see how it all happens. The other sort of slant is the "tilted" slant in which the whole head is attached to the handle at an angle. The blade in a tilted slant is held just like the blade in a regular DE. My personal preference leans toward helical slants; part of this year's task is to try on a few quality tilted slants as well. @efsk has a good explanation up a little from here. You want to know anything about slants, Richard's your guy.

Three-day hair this morning. The WB smoothly and firmly ploughed through it all, leaving a nice shiny smooth skin behind. No nicks! The Razor-Fu is strong in this one..

O.H.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Basically two ways.
1. The ones where the head is tilted on the handle, which causes the diagonal cut. Examples of this type are the Walbusch B3 and B5, the PAA Alpha Ecliptic and the iKon 102.
With this type, when you shave with one side of the head the cut is / and when you turn the razor around the cut is \.
2. The ones with a torqued or twisted head. Examples of this type are the Merkur 37c, the Wunderbar, Fasan.
With this type, when you shave with one side of the head, the cut is \ and when you turn the razor around the cut remains \.
There are variations on a theme here, for instance Valencia that closely follows the original slant patent so the cutting edge has a curve, or ATT where the cutting edge is straight.
Razors with their head on a balljoint, like the Peroni or the Pacific function like type 1.
There's also a number of curved razors, where the cutting edge basically has a frown: the ends are lower than th
e middle. You don't want that with a straight but with a DE it has less problems. Examples of this type are a lot of women's armpit razors, one side of the Lady Pomco, and the Ssseygus Zeppelin.
I'm sure that makes sense to somebody, and probably should to me, but it really doesn't. When I look at the few slants I have I see they're not all the same, but the differences as explained are very unclear to me.

I'm pretty sure the ATT is an atypical slant and much different from the Wunderbar, but I've not got it sorted out. None of that being the fault of those who've offered primers and explanations. It's not clicked for me, not yet.

Maybe none of mine far into the first category as described above which would be a problem as I try to understand the categories.

In any case, thanks for the information. Perhaps it will click later.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
The Tilted Picnic, Year 2. Round One, First Shave: RazoRock Wunderbar

View attachment 1234015

"On the road again; the life I love is makin' lather with my friends..."

Even though I used this razor in last year's review, I brought it back as a useful baseline comparison to the RazoRock Stealth Slant that will be along in a couple of weeks. Plus, a year on and some things have changed, and new guys are discovering this excellent razor.

Before I go too much farther, I guess I should say a couple things. These reviews are almost entirely subjective, so "YMMV" is the word of the day. I shave for fun, at least partially. That means if I'm not having fun I will start to ask why. In the past that has led me to set a razor aside because I just don't want to deal with it. If I happen to do that with one of your favourite razors, it just means *I* didn't like it and does not mean I'm also criticizing anyone who likes it. But at the same time I'm not afraid to face up to a learning curve and give respect to a razor that may challenge me a bit.

As this one does. I mean, the ATT S2 is without question my Grail Razor. It's always perfect, even when I'm not. So why even consider a "lesser" razor? Because what really blows my kilt up is learning things. I've learned things from the WB that the S2 didn't teach.

My digital scale tells me the razor with Radio Knob handle comes in at 108 grams. For some guys that's a real tank. For me, right in the sweet spot. The handle itself is 85 mm long, again right in my sweet spot. By design, a bit of extra mass at the bottom end nicely balances the head, leaving the razor with a neutral feel in my hands. Thus endeth quantitative statistics, for the most part.

The WB has a reputation for being both rewarding of attention and being a little bitchy if you're not paying attention. Very few who take it up keep all their blood inside, but like a mosquito it's helpful to remember it doesn't want much. For me, taking on the task of shaving mindfully in the face of a (usually) minor mishap may not leave me feeling 10 feet tall and bulletproof, but it at least leads me to think I'm 5 feet 10 and able to laugh off a spitwad. I will freely admit I've used razors that were much more prone to want their pound of flesh; the WB isn't a pussycat but it is a trained tiger.

What I really like about razors in this mass is that they pretty much drive themselves WTG. I can concentrate on not adding pressure. I generally do a 2-pass shave with most razors, particularly moderns. ATG is smooth with the WB because of that mass, even though I'm pulling it up against gravity. Newton said, "A body in motion tends to remain in motion" and that pretty much describes it.

The WB is a helical or "double" slant -- that is to say the blade itself is both curved like in a regular DE and twisted to add even more rigidity. If you take a 3x5 notecard and twist it gently, you'll see how it all happens. The other sort of slant is the "tilted" slant in which the whole head is attached to the handle at an angle. The blade in a tilted slant is held just like the blade in a regular DE. My personal preference leans toward helical slants; part of this year's task is to try on a few quality tilted slants as well. @efsk has a good explanation up a little from here. You want to know anything about slants, Richard's your guy.

Three-day hair this morning. The WB smoothly and firmly ploughed through it all, leaving a nice shiny smooth skin behind. No nicks! The Razor-Fu is strong in this one..

O.H.
Lovely review of the Wunderbar.

Particularly the part about its blood requirement being like a mosquito. It will bite in my experience of it, but the bites are very minor especially as compared with some razors I'm not prone to using.

I think maybe I understand what you're saying about the double slant/helical/note card twist vs the tilted slant. I'll look at some of my razors with a note card in hand once I find a note card and have time. I'll also then review what Richard said and try to integrate the explanations.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Last year I grabbed up a box full of some slant razors and did a shave-off comparo, using each razor for two weeks (6 shaves for me; one blade). By the time I was done, I was ready to be done. :001_rolle But I had a few weeks of excellent shaves out of it, so the effort wasn't wasted. I was thinking I'd just let it sit for a while, but I have a few more slants and wanted to go through them. So who's on deck?

RazoRock Wunderbar (w/serial)
RazoRock Stealth V3 Stainless
iKon Shavecraft 102
Fasan Double Slant
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements El Fantasma
Peroni
Windrose Helical
Windrose Tilted


Also I'm doing more than one thing with this year's circus. @Chan Eil Whiskers and @Tanuki and I have been talking about RazoRock Wunderbaren and Stealths -- so the first two razors I use will also contribute to that discussion. Last year I had one tilted slant, PAA Bakelite Alpha Ecliptic, and it didn't make it past the first shave. Not wanting to tar all tilted slants with the same brush, I decided to include some this year. I may or may not do all the tilted slants consecutively.

I've had my eye on the development work for the newest slant, the Above The Tie X1, but I'm still on the fence about it. I'll see what I can work out. If I can land one, even a loaner, I'll add it to the mix.

So how's this gonna go down? I'll post up a few observations about the razor on the first shave, then updates each time. Whenever I reach the end of the list, which could be a while, I'll go back and gather some of the observations together.

Same soap, my standard blade (Astra SP), and the same head. :) Should be fun!

Oh, and "Tilted Picnic"? Well...:blushing:...I misremembered the lyrics to an old Lord Buckley riff. Some of the things we did back in those days were a little hard on the memory. Oh well, it still amuses me and since it's the name now, I'll just relax with it.

O.H.
IMHO, slant deign in general is a failed attempt at recreating the Gillette Slide motion.

Blades are not meant to be diagonal and twisted instead of straight and flat.

I'd much rather gently slide any razor I happen to be using, in parallel with the primary WTG/XTG/ATG motion, then use a slant.

I know YMMV and all... so enjoy your journey. Me... not in.

:straight: :straight: :straight:
 
I'm pretty sure the ATT is an atypical slant and much different from the Wunderbar, but I've not got it sorted out.
They're both helical, or torqued slants. The ATT just less so than the Wunderbar.

I think maybe I understand what you're saying about the double slant/helical/note card twist vs the tilted slant. I'll look at some of my razors with a note card in hand once I find a note card and have time. I'll also then review what Richard said and try to integrate the explanations.
Take a banknote. Hold it flat, on the short sides, fingers bottom, thumb top, thumb flat on the note. turn your left hand towards you so the thumb will point up a bit more, the right hand away from you so the thumb will point down. Just a bit will do. See what happens to the paper and how that corresponds to the Wunderbar.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
They're both helical, or torqued slants. The ATT just less so than the Wunderbar.


Take a banknote. Hold it flat, on the short sides, fingers bottom, thumb top, thumb flat on the note. turn your left hand towards you so the thumb will point up a bit more, the right hand away from you so the thumb will point down. Just a bit will do. See what happens to the paper and how that corresponds to the Wunderbar.


Yes. Makes sense. I can see what's going on with the helical, torqued slants, at least to the degree it can be seen twisting paper and cardboard.

I did not know the ATT S2 was helical (and it must be only to a tiny degree).

Thanks for the tips and the model.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Hi Jim,

This may help; or it may not. :) At least you'll have better-informed confusion! It's always a good time to answer a question.

IMG_0504[1].JPG

Top to bottom: iKon 102 Shavecraft tilted slant, Peroni ball-joint set as tilted slant, PAA El Fantasma helical slant.

With the iKon you can see that if you look from one side of the razor the head goes "/" and if you turn the razor around and look at the other side it will now go "\". (Remember bad ASCII art on the discussion forums in the early '90s? Squint.)

The Peroni has a ball-joint at the top of the handle so it can be set at any angle, or left straight of course. No matter what angle, though, it's always going to be a tilted slant.

The "ElF" is modeled on the second iteration of the Fasan Double Slant. In Fasan's nomenclature, a "double slant" is a razor that slants two different ways when viewed from the side, as opposed to the iKon 102 which Fasan would have called a "single slant" because the edges slant the same way when viewed from the side. I should also note that such terminology is somewhat outdated though still historically significant. If you look from the side at a helical slant, the edges make a shallow "X."

Today we use the terms "tilted slant" and "helical slant" as more accurately descriptive. Both iterations tilt the edge for a smoother cut. The main difference is that a tilted slant is essentially a regular DE head mounted at an angle and only curves the blade like a regular DE head. The helical slant adds a twist, literally, as you can see by looking at the ElF.

Does it work? I think so. I have a feeling, at least with many of the moderns, that the gain in efficiency is due as much to the slant architecture as it is to many of the moderns being more aggressive designs. Finding a mild slant takes some effort.

O.H.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Mild is a word I don't understand unless it's defined in context.

I use mild to mean comfortable shaving, not prone to biting, smooth on the skin.

I use efficient to mean efficient (and don't use aggressive to mean efficient, nor do I use mild to mean inefficient).

I use aggressive to mean rough feeling during the shave, or, more often, to mean prone to jumping up out of nowhere and biting me.

I'd say the FOCS is efficient and also mild. It's a slant of course. It's also easy to use.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
Mild is a word I don't understand unless it's defined in context.
Fair point. I'm using the word "mild" to mean that there's minimal blade feel, not much gap, and the razor feels very smooth on the skin. In that sense "mild" razors shave, but tend to leave a bit behind because they're not built to get real close. Or get close easily.

"Aggressive" razors, to me, are those that get nice and close in the final stages at the cost of being a bit (or much!) more prone to nick or cut.

Spoiler alert: the El Fantasma is a very mild razor. We'll discuss that in due time.

O.H.
 
The Tilted Picnic, Year 2. Round One, Shave No. 2: RazoRock Wunderbar

Compared to the barber straight shaves I've been having lately, the Wunderbar is a real speed merchant. This morning's shave was over and done so fast I didn't even get to finish my coffee before I was wiping up stray lather and rinsing things off.

I've made a couple of interesting observations. First, the slight tingle of trepidation that I expect when looking down the barrel of the Wunderbar for another shave just isn't there. The tingle was always because I knew I was stretching my technique a little with this razor. What changed? Well, it's the barber straights, I think. Being forced to push technique to a higher level paid off in building my confidence with the Wunderbar.

Not to the point of cockiness, one hopes. But now there's a sense that I can summon the necessary concentration to drive this thing competently.

The second observation gets to one of the consistent objections one hears to slant razors. "The edge presentation varies across the width of the razor! The angle changes from one side to the other!" The finer points of the objection obviously only apply to helical slants, as tilted slants present the edge just like non-slant DEs.

Yes. Yes, it does. There are slants that show that trait more than others, but it's there on all of helical slants (I imagine). For those to whom that's a problem, the message is "You do you, Brother, and rock it." It was a problem to me at first, too. I tend to look at things like that and ask myself, "What if that's a feature, not a bug?"

I'm sure there are guys who can shave with the same micrometrically-precise angle every single stroke. Congratulate yourselves. It's a rare skill because I can't do it. :lol: The Wunderbar has a nice range of shaving angles and it's actually fun to play with the angles and see how the sweet spot moves around. The advantage I see is that I am much more sensitive to shave angle and pressure than I used to be, and that plays back into all razors but especially to the barber straights.

Anyway, another excellent shave with an excellent razor.

O.H.
 
I've never used a slant although they look quite interesting. Would you say they are better or worse than a typical DE razor for shaving your head, barring the learning curve? I would like to find the smoothest, least irritating shave I can, especially if it helps me avoid going over certain spots 4 or 5 times.
 
I've never used a slant although they look quite interesting. Would you say they are better or worse than a typical DE razor for shaving your head, barring the learning curve? I would like to find the smoothest, least irritating shave I can, especially if it helps me avoid going over certain spots 4 or 5 times.
Back in the dim Pleistocene of the internet, in another discussion forum, I habitually used the silly phrase "Yimm-Vee and Phwoo, as always." Which is geek-speak for "YMMV" and "FWIW": Your Mileage May Vary and For What It's Worth. Never more true than now!

I personally prefer slants to regular DEs for head shaving. I've also learned how to get good shaves with Gem and AC blades in various presentations.

O.H.
 
Completely understand the YMMV statement, but thought I'd ask just in case. I guess my question is, does the slant have any design advantages when shaving your head over a normal safety razor, especially the back portion? For me, the hair always seems way harder to get a clean, BBS shave. There are some spots that seem like the razor just isn't good at cutting at, so I'm going WTG, XTG, and ATG several times each. I don't know if it's the shape of my head, the inability to shave in the same manner as the top or front of the head and face, or something else.
 
Any time I'm having trouble head-shaving it's because I need to change the blade. A new Nacet soon sorts that out.

An open comb might help if your hair has time to grow a bit between shaves and its blocking up the razor.
 
I've never used a slant although they look quite interesting. Would you say they are better or worse than a typical DE razor for shaving your head, barring the learning curve? I would like to find the smoothest, least irritating shave I can, especially if it helps me avoid going over certain spots 4 or 5 times.
My head-shaving son uses the relatively mild iKon X3 slant and Astra SP for his head shaves. The X3 is mounted on a Geisen&Forstoff short stainless handle.

He always loads a fresh Astra for a head shave, then gets a few face shaves out of the blade before his next head shave.
 
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