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Theory: razor + blade pairing matters

I know it's been discussed before. What I'm interested in discussing are the actual results achieved by testing, not speculation.

I apologize in advance if my testing methods are not scientific enough to convince you. It's great if you disagree, please share your experiences.

I will be explaining my experiences, so obviously YMMV applies here. I am intentionally omitting "IMO" and "IME" because I find those annoying to repeat with every statement.

I can achieve a fantastic shave with any of my 3 favorite DE razors: Blackland Dart machined, Henson TI +++, Karve CB OC-E. Assuming the same software and technique, and the lather is good consistency, sometimes I get unexplainable micro nicks.

I don't know why it took me this long to figure this out, but here is the scenarios which i am using to prove my theory:

Shaving with a Blackland Dart and Gillette Nacet I have negative irritation. Meaning the look and feel of the skin after the shave is better than it was before the shave.

Everything the same except use a Gillette Rubie, and I get random micro nicks.

The blade was not defective, because I used the same blade through a rotation of all my razors, and the results were consistent/repeatable.

Let's use that as a baseline.


NacetRubie
Dartgreatbad
Hensongoodgood
Karvegoodgood

Looking at that above chart, you might conclude that the problem is the Dart, and somehow it's just not as good as the other razors. I would disagree. The best shaves I can achieve are using the Dart + Nacet. The Dart + Nacet results in a better shave than what is achievable with any other combination I've tried so far.

The geometry of the Dart is a little unusual. I initially bought it because I though it had a rigid design. It doesn't, it's an optical illusion. The baseplate does not clamp the blade near the cutting edge.

The Karve and the Henson have a very rigid design. The Henson even more than the Karve because it bends the blade to an extreme somewhat close to the cutting edge. I think the bend is what gives it an advantage.

So I am convinced that Nacet blades are great in all razors, especially in razors that do not have a rigid design.

And Rubie are great in razors that do have a rigid design, but bad in razors that no not have a rigid design.

My conclusion is that the problem isn't the razor or the blade, but the pairing of the two together. It's either a good combination or it isn't.

I suspect everyone will have different results with the blades, but my unproven speculation is that for every shaver there is a combination that will work better than others. The only way to find what works best is by experimenting, in a somewhat scientific manner, and avoid stubbornness and snobbery.

I know some members have experimented with pairing razors and blades. I'm curious... have you come to any specific conclusions you can share? Any specific razor + blade combination that stands out from the rest, either good or bad? What's that one pairing that is noteworthy better or worse than all the rest?
 
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Experimenting is what I do. Not with every shave but I try to somewhat science what I can out of my shave. As to your question I have come to the following (and for all intends and purposes I will stick to your scorecard):

RazorKCG PlatinumDorco ST300HQTiger PlatinumDorco Titan
King C GilletteGreatGreatBad
Fatip Piccolo GentileGreatGreatGreatGreat
Fatip Piccolo OriginaleGreatGoodGreatGood

Regarding the KCG Blades, I have read reviews and rumors that these might be rebranded Nacets in support of your statement above. I have not tried the Titan in a KCG razor yet so therefore no score there.

I could attest that there are some shades of great and although the KCG Platinum is top of my list, the Dorco Titan is gaining in. I have had nothing but comfortable shaves with that blade since I started using it this week. The Tiger Platinum is also a great blade if you use it straight into a Fatip. It is not comfortable in a KCG, but also not comfortable in a Fatip once it has been in a KCG. I attribute that to blade chatter damaging the edge. You can still have some mileage on that blade, but less shaves and less comfortable.

I fully support the idea that rigid blade clamping is preferable for blade and therefore shave performance.

Best,

Guido.
 
I don't have the range of razors that some have, but my observation with a limited number and using multiple blades is that good blades (Polsilver/Wizamet, Kai, Perma-sharp, GSB, Timor, Personna IR, etc) all work equally well in the razors I most frequently use (Gillette Slim and Wunderbar). Perhaps I just got lucky with those razors; in any event, I'm pleased that I am not Goldilocksing endless combinations in search of the perfect pairing.
 
You are right. After more than a decade in traditional shaving I tried most blades available at online stores (surely a few dozens of different blades) paired with other few dozens of DE razors, a BAD blade (a blade that doesn't cut the hair properly or that do a painful job) is a very rare thing. Probably is a fake one or from a small manufacturer hidden in some country with old machinery.

A few bad ones I remember are chinese faked bought from DX.COM and Serbian MEM blades. Old Supermax Stainless (non Super) are on the border, a few razors can give me a decent shave with these blades.

On most cases of "bad blade" probably just the combination isn't working.

A third variable is probably thickness of you facial hair.

Of course there are some that are better (smooth, sharper, consistent, lasting and different combination of these attributes) than others.
 
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In some cases, yes. Some razors seem to be more picky about the blades I'm using than others, but those razors are only a few. Nacet for instance is my universal all around blade that works in all of my razors, while blades like Feather and BIC Chrome Platinum are reserved for only a select few razors. My general rule with the blades is that a blade either works for me or it doesn't.

From what I can see on this and other forums, some folks are using between 5-10 different blades in different razors in order to get the best results possible. I suppose there's a bit of truth about the blade-razor pairing and if a person spends a bit more time, he might find the most optimal result. I don't have such patience and for me having a huge stock of 3-4 of my favorite blades is more than enough and I really don't see any point of having a few hundreds or even thousands of blades from 10 or more different brands or models. But that's just my take on this and if someone feels like that's the best way to go, then I wish him happy shaves. As always - YMMV.
 
Here’s my experience.

For the longest time, I always insisted on using Feather blades because they were considered the sharpest. Why would I want anything but the sharpest blade?

I flitted around with various razors using those Feather blades but no matter what equipment I used or what technique, I always wound up with the occasional nick or weeper and couldn’t understand why.

In my stubbornness, I kept using Feather blades with every razor I tried in search of the perfect combination. It wasn’t until I had spent way too much money on razors that I decided to try a different blade.

It wasn’t until after trying some personna blades that I realized the difference a blade could make. My shaves became more predictable and with fewer nicks and cuts.

I’d have never guessed in a million years how much of a difference a blade could make in the performance of a razor.

Lesson learned here 😉
 
The height of the bevel in combination with specific harmonic frequencies are what I have started to consider. Sharper blades will have a taller bevel honed thinner and therefor be more prone to deflection. How that vibration interacts with any given razor is going to produce thousands of possibilities. I know some people have mentioned blades that they feel vibrate(chatter) more and that they don't work well in poor clamping razors, but provide a sort of suspension in well clamped ones. I also suspect this is going to continue to be trial and error and that even with close up images we aren't going to be able to produce repeatable results(guessing).
 
Great thread (especially as I agree with the premise that it is the combination that really counts)!

For me, Nacets are great is most any of the ‘mild/moderate’ razors that I prefer!! :thumbup1::thumbup1:

Other blades, especially Feathers, are much more variable.
 
@bluesparkuk I know you're probably not even 1/4 of the way through testing all possible combinations of razor + blades as mentioned in your great thread:


You are probably the most dedicated member here that I know of for testing these parings. I am curious if you have any noteworthy best and/or worst combinations you've discovered so far that you can share here.
 
for all intends and purposes I will stick to your scorecard
Do you have any suggestions on how to rate the pairings? I kinda gave up using a number to represent the overall quality of the shave, because I didn't feel I could accurate rate them 1-10. Ex: what happens if I rate a shave a 10, then later achieve an even better shave. And what would a score of 1 mean exactly? So I just went with bad, good, great, maybe that's too simplistic.
 
That will of course always be a challenge, but too start things off may I suggest to use a 5 scale rating? Any type will do, 1-5 or from minus to plus, or five stars. And then see how we can take it from there.

If each and everyone of the combinations would then end up with a 5 (highest score) that would then indicate we need a new scale. And if we have a new scale (e.g. 1-10) e always have the possibility to recalculate the older ratings to the new scale.

Would that work?

Best,

Guido
 
The height of the bevel in combination with specific harmonic frequencies are what I have started to consider. Sharper blades will have a taller bevel honed thinner and therefor be more prone to deflection. How that vibration interacts with any given razor is going to produce thousands of possibilities. I know some people have mentioned blades that they feel vibrate(chatter) more and that they don't work well in poor clamping razors, but provide a sort of suspension in well clamped ones. I also suspect this is going to continue to be trial and error and that even with close up images we aren't going to be able to produce repeatable results(guessing).
Perhaps some blade manufacturers document the height of the bevel somewhere. If not, how could this be measured? Maybe a USB microscope and measure the distance in pixels once you get the image on a computer screen?

About the vibration/chatter, I was leaning toward the blade stiffness being a noteworthy factor. Not necessarily thickness, but how easily it bends. I have some ideas on how I can measure this with low precision, without requiring any special equipment, but I just haven't got around to it yet.
 
Nice write-up and cool ”experiment”. I tried pairing razors with optimal blades for a while but just gave up and settled for 3. 7 o’clock super stainless for a milder shave. Gillette platinum as a work horse and Nacet for those times when I want/need something sharper but without sacrificing smootheness.

Those 3 work in every razor I own and I can get a smoothe and irritation free shaves with all of them. Feathers never worked for me and voskhods are made for scraping paint. At least for me.
 
Perhaps some blade manufacturers document the height of the bevel somewhere. If not, how could this be measured? Maybe a USB microscope and measure the distance in pixels once you get the image on a computer screen?

About the vibration/chatter, I was leaning toward the blade stiffness being a noteworthy factor. Not necessarily thickness, but how easily it bends. I have some ideas on how I can measure this with low precision, without requiring any special equipment, but I just haven't got around to it yet.
I have kind of given up on getting actual measurements. It's technically possible, but I found visual observation(under magnification) sufficient to compare different bevels. I think an indirect approach of measuring effects to be more practical, I believe that is what you are talking about doing.
 
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