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What is the advantage of a 3 piece razor vs a TTO razor

I got the King Gillette razor for Xmas. I tighten it until it gets resistance and then just a bit more.

I'm wondering what the advantages of a 2- or 3-piece razor over the TTO razors are.
All the plusses and minuses for each have been covered pretty much so it comes down to preference. I can appreciate both: from a design perspective, 2 & 3 piece razors are simplicity and form-fit-function at its most basic level, nothing wasted, but from a mechanical perspective, TTOs (and especially adjustables) are just plain cool (as long as kept in good working order). I'll reach for either on any given occasion, but 2/3 piece open combs are great for mowing down longer growth without clogging, and TTOs are great for everyday comfort when growth is less.

As for the King Gillette: I've only seen pictures of them--but 2 or 3 local Walgreen stores have had the empty boxes on the shelf (including last night); making it "the most stolen DE Razor" in my area. I grabbed the last 10 pack of King Gillette Razor Blades on the shelf (discontinued/discounted to $2.00). I handed the empty razor box (with blades in it) to the cashier, noting that the blades were still there. I hoped she might throw the blades in for free/discount, considering I was buying the other blades, but no dice. At .20 cents a blade, I figured why not, but does anyone have an impression on if the King Gillette blades are any good?
 
The advantage of TTO razors when they came out was that it was easier to dry carbon steel blades.

Now nearly all DE blades are stainless steel. So....
 
I got the King Gillette razor for Xmas. I tighten it until it gets resistance and then just a bit more.

I'm wondering what the advantages of a 2- or 3-piece razor over the TTO razors are.
An advantage on paper would be a more rigid blade but this also depends on design. My best all around shaver though is a TTO Super 84. It feels just as smooth as my Old Types but this might be tough for me to gauge as I don’t have sensitive skin.

I guess another advantage would be they are less prone to breaks/bends after a fall.
 
All the plusses and minuses for each have been covered pretty much so it comes down to preference. I can appreciate both: from a design perspective, 2 & 3 piece razors are simplicity and form-fit-function at its most basic level, nothing wasted, but from a mechanical perspective, TTOs (and especially adjustables) are just plain cool (as long as kept in good working order). I'll reach for either on any given occasion, but 2/3 piece open combs are great for mowing down longer growth without clogging, and TTOs are great for everyday comfort when growth is less.

As for the King Gillette: I've only seen pictures of them--but 2 or 3 local Walgreen stores have had the empty boxes on the shelf (including last night); making it "the most stolen DE Razor" in my area. I grabbed the last 10 pack of King Gillette Razor Blades on the shelf (discontinued/discounted to $2.00). I handed the empty razor box (with blades in it) to the cashier, noting that the blades were still there. I hoped she might throw the blades in for free/discount, considering I was buying the other blades, but no dice. At .20 cents a blade, I figured why not, but does anyone have an impression on if the King Gillette blades are any good?
KCG blades are pricey but can be worth it as long as you don’t toss your blades after a couple of shaves. I got 33 no tug shaves after my first and just stopped counting with subsequent ones. I am still in that 10 pack from a year ago. They are very smooth. One thing I noticed is that they are prone to tea stains after a few weeks because of that fancy script but I never had stains on the actual blade edges.
 
It is ill considered, if not truly unwise, to force a modern perspective on historical developments.

3 piece razors (and ASR/Gems) evolved from the straight, for matters of convenience, and the TTO was a logical progression.

Prior to WWI, most people in the world would live and die within about 25 miles of where they were born. You had a home, probably with your parents and eventually children & grandchildren, and domestic tools were fairly set in location and were very durable. Straight razors make total sense if 1) more men shave periodically rather than daily or every other day, or 2) they are used in comparatively high-volume settings, e.g., village barbershops.

WWI brought daily shaving to a huge number of men, and it was as much a coping mechanism as a practical necessity- in a world gone mad, this is one thing over which I have total control. The 3 piece razor was easily packed, and brought sharp blades that could be carried with minimal concern of breakage. No special care, no strop, easy for the Quartermaster to keep you supplied and equally, easier for any travelling man to carry.

The '20s and '30s saw more travel, more social mobility and greater levels of disposable income AND the idea that a clean-shaven man was not an anarchist, ruffian, or masher, and was most likely calm, responsible and professional (look at ads of the period).

TTOs were the next logical evolution. Less chance of a snapped neck (tubular construction), no pieces to lose, and easier blade changes. You can see the effect of travel style on design in the decreasing blade exposure on American Gillettes- its easier to shave in a train car, airport bathroom, or on the roadside (think Kirby vacuum sales) with a SuperSpeed than a New. You'll look clean and professional, and not like you're just learning to perform an essential masculine task.

Marketing hyped the clean-shaven man and his safety razor, but it certainly did not create him.😉
 
I have a nylon washer in there as well to help with preserving the plating and helping the setting stick. This idea was first put out by Gillette (minus the washer) in the advertisements so this is how the razor was intended to be used.
I've never encountered this concept before but I'm intrigued. Having trouble visualizing it though. Do you have any pics/diagrams to help illustrate this by chance?
 
I've never encountered this concept before but I'm intrigued. Having trouble visualizing it though. Do you have any pics/diagrams to help illustrate this by chance?
I think the washer is simply to preserve plating but almost any three piece can be made more aggressive by loosening the cap slightly and in early Gillette instructions this advice can be seen, here is an example, note the final sentence:

g1.jpg

Loosening too much can be dangerous and can cause the blade to be insecure and the advice was eventually dropped as far as I know although it was I believe included with some TTO razors. Using a shim would enable the cap to be loosened so the blade gap increases but can provide some extra blade stability. That is my understanding and I could be totally wrong. I regularly loosen and tighten my three piece razors during my shave and I also occasionally use a vintage shim.
 
I've never encountered this concept before but I'm intrigued. Having trouble visualizing it though. Do you have any pics/diagrams to help illustrate this by chance?
I borrowed a picture from another website.↓
The biggest purpose of using washer is to avoid scratches on the bottom of the plate. Especially when using zamak razors, we hope to keep the chrome plating to avoid corrosion.
If users of expensive stainless or titanium razors, they want to keep the razor as beautiful as possible; at the same time, washer helps to reduce the entry of moisture from the gap into the handle.

29m7H2M.jpg kYME49v.jpg

In addition, razors that use the resistance of the washer to produce adjustments are still visible today, such as "phoenix twist-adjustable".↓
They mainly release the elasticity of the blade by loosening the handle and change the angle of the blade to achieve different aggressiveness.
But I personally do not prefer this adjustment mode.
 
This idea of adjusting the blade exposure by loosening the handle was part of the original Gillette patent. They included this suggestion with the instructions for the first Gillette razor that was sold (to satisfy the patent office?). Is this the document that was attached?

I read that this instruction was dropped thereafter. If it ever worked, it would have been with the thicker original blades, which applied more tension and didn't vibrate as much as modern very thin blades.

The Old Type razors had an indentation that fits a M5 washer perfectly. Perhaps this was one of the reasons behind it. (The New Type do not.)

More fundamentally, a washer, especially a modern nylon one (did they have rubber washers back then?) would help keeping the handle closed with less pressure. Gillette may have been worried about users over-tightening the handle for several reasons, given the relatively soft brass. I can't help wondering if the problem with the tubes splitting was exacerbated by over-tightening the handle?

Tip: Tighten these old razors using the neck of the handle, rather than the tube.

Tip: I always leave the handle loose after shaving, so I only tighten it just before the next day's shave, and then only minimally -- on any razor. This is especially important with zamak (aka pot metal) razors.

However, if you want to try this adjustable blade gap idea with a three-piece razor, perhaps an O-ring between the handle and head would work better at maintaining intermediate screw tension than a washer.

BTW, I wonder if the old thick, stiff blades would make modern razors shave better? Are there any modern blades that are significantly stiffer and/or thicker? I wonder if this would also help make blades that last longer?
 
Back in the day especially after WW1 the western world was in a fair bit of disarray. The economic situation was not good for many who returned from the war. Many of these returned soldiers had learnt the art of safety razor shaves in the forces. The idea of spending the hard earned on a number of razors was unthinkable. Some companies such as Gillette gave ideas on how to make a razor last. Gillette alway new the profit wasn’t in the razor but in the blade.

My grandfather would turn in his grave if he knew how much money I have spent on razors. Two world wars and the Great Depression taught him what austerity meant.
 
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I find the 1/16 turn on instructions for a NEW, with the slotted, less ridged Gaismanesque-patented blade very interesting in that the newer blades of the late 20s, early 30s with the slot are much more flexible than the older 3-hole blades, so I'm not sure how much adjustment a 1/16 turn would get you, but Gillette always one for offering options. As for washers, I've used #60 O-Rings for 3 piece Gillettes if needed for cushion, but they really come in handy for GEM and Ever-Ready SEs handles that have a male stud versus Gillette female connection. The #60 O-Ring fits tight around the mounting screw, takes up the space and allows the handle to tighten down securely to the head. The side benefit is that the rubber ring is ridged enough to stay in place without deforming, yet flexible enough to cushion the two pieces and avoid metal to metal contact and enough friction to keep the handle from loosening up. Also avoids over-tightening them.
handle fix.jpg handle O rings.jpg
 
Assuming everything is in good working order and that you like the handles, level of aggressiveness, stability of the blade, etc. of both, the TTO wins because it alone makes it easier to make a blade change, just like when it comes time for an oil change the Honda Civic cleans the clock of the Bugatti Veyron. I am a devotee of three piece razors. BTW the previous posts already nailed it.
 
Thanks for the info. I'm not sure I got the right size O-ring, but the selection here was limited.

A concern is that the O-ring might put stress on the zamak if tightened too much. On the other hand, an O-ring might provide some cushion against shock, if dropped. Thoughts? I still suggest storing the razor with the handle loosened.

As to the Gillette instructions on loosening the handle etc, if this was for the original, I presume it was a double ring, essentially the same as the later single ring, with the two-part handle, rather than the later Old Type.

You can loosen the handle on the single ring without fear of it coming off, and it seems to stay at the setting fairly well. When you are holding the handle, it is not affecting the turn of the handle on the post, like the regular Old Type, because it is tightened only by the rings at the bottom end of the handle.

Doing this with an open comb is a different concept from a closed comb, which has a gap. There is virtually no gap on the open comb Old Type. It is aggressive enough with the blade exposure and contact. I'm not interested in making it even more aggressive by opening the handle, thank you very much.

The vintage blades I have received with my eBay conquests seem quite stiff compared to modern blades. I think even blades in the 60s and 70s were stiffer.

That said, when I use the Old Type and the New Type, my mind turns to the question of whether users were trying to milk the blades as long as possible for financial reasons, as alluded to by Lefonque's comment.

The New Type long comb was designed before the Great Depression hit. But it seems its aggressiveness would help you to get more out of your blades, a concern in the Thirties. But I haven't used one long enough to know. The New Type do work extraordinarily well with my Sharp Swiss Titanium blades, so it might be quite awhile before I have to change one.

After the OC Old and New Types, closed comb razors seem boring, now.

- A side note likely to PO a lot of users here: I used a Gillette butterfly adjustable razor in the 60s when I was a kid, and hated it -- absolutely despised it. Some mornings my shower looked like a scene from Psycho. I asked my father how to use it, and he said to figure it out yourself. I still don't see any point to adjustable razors. The simple three-piece razor I had before that worked much better. Why do you need to adjust a razor? Just buy a razor with the level you want.

Now with a three-piece razor I clean and dry it after each use, and leave it ready for the next day's shave.

With a TTO, drying it on the spot is impossible. If it is warm and humid, you risk it harboring a staph infection. I don't think they are sanitary. But I'm prejudiced.
 
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Thanks for the info. I'm not sure I got the right size O-ring, but the selection here was limited.

A concern is that the O-ring might put stress on the zamak if tightened too much. On the other hand, an O-ring might provide some cushion against shock, if dropped. Thoughts? I still suggest storing the razor with the handle loosened.

As to the Gillette instructions on loosening the handle etc, if this was for the original, I presume it was a double ring, essentially the same as the later single ring, with the two-part handle, rather than the later Old Type.

You can loosen the handle on the single ring without fear of it coming off, and it seems to stay at the setting fairly well. When you are holding the handle, it is not affecting the turn of the handle on the post, like the regular Old Type, because it is tightened only by the rings at the bottom end of the handle.

Doing this with an open comb is a different concept from a closed comb, which has a gap. There is virtually no gap on the open comb Old Type. It is aggressive enough with the blade exposure and contact. I'm not interested in making it even more aggressive by opening the handle, thank you very much.

The vintage blades I have received with my eBay conquests seem quite stiff compared to modern blades. I think even blades in the 60s and 70s were stiffer.

That said, when I use the Old Type and the New Type, my mind turns to the question of whether users were trying to milk the blades as long as possible for financial reasons, as alluded to by Lefonque's comment.

The New Type long comb was designed before the Great Depression hit. But it seems its aggressiveness would help you to get more out of your blades, a concern in the Thirties. But I haven't used one long enough to know. The New Type do work extraordinarily well with my Sharp Swiss Titanium blades, so it might be quite awhile before I have to change one.

After the OC Old and New Types, closed comb razors seem boring, now.

- A side note likely to PO a lot of users here: I used a Gillette butterfly adjustable razor in the 60s when I was a kid, and hated it -- absolutely despised it. Some mornings my shower looked like a scene from Psycho. I asked my father how to use it, and he said to figure it out yourself. I still don't see any point to adjustable razors. The simple three-piece razor I had before that worked much better. Why do you need to adjust a razor? Just buy a razor with the level you want.

Now with a three-piece razor I clean and dry it after each use, and leave it ready for the next day's shave.

With a TTO, drying it on the spot is impossible. If it is warm and humid, you risk it harboring a staph infection. I don't think they are sanitary. But I'm prejudiced.
I share similarly unpleasant memories of Gillette TTOs in that era.
 
Why do you need to adjust a razor? Just buy a razor with the level you want.
For example, I usually prefer the feel of the blade after one week of use, so in the first week, I can balance this difference in perception by adjusting it, instead of deliberately reducing the sharpness of the blade by using a cork stopper.

In addition, I also use DE to shave my head, and my scalp needs more attention to details and angle changes than my face; at this time, it is relatively convenient if I can achieve different aggressiveness with a razor.

Of course, with the rotation, I often only use a three-piece DE to complete everything, but it takes a little more time and attention.

As a designer, I also appreciate the miracle of adjustable engineering.
 
TTOs by design aren't as easy to clean as a 3 piece DE, and stepping up from that would be a SE GEM/Ever-Ready 1912 or better yet a Lather Catcher with a SE blade, but for sanitary reasons I would imagine a straight would be hard to beat for cleaning as well. This has me thinking I should bypass the shave with a New Improved I had planned for tomorrow for a lather catcher shave...
 
For me, the biggest advantage of a 3-piece razor is being able to switch handles or heads whenever I so desire. I have a bamboo style handle that I love, but don't use the head (it's mild, and I've gone to a more aggressive head). I can just purchase a new head. This can save me lots of money or allow me to purchase several heads for the price of a whole razor. I could also mix and match my handles and heads to fit my mood if I wanted (I don't really do this, but it can be technically done).
 
Having used both as well as all of the excuses why one is better than the other...I've determined my favorite razor is a Red Tip purely for the coolness factor. That 50s vibe feels good.
 
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