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Zamac heads

I thought that Tech's were made of plated brass, not Zamac --

. . . I was wrong ?

. Charles
He says his Tech is 1964. So definitely a ZAMAK top cap and a brass or stainless steel bottom plate.
Those Techs are pretty well made.
Now on the whole to ZAMAK or not to ZAMAK thing.
There are different grades of ZAMAK. I don't exactly remember the designation, but some are better than the others. The 60s-70s Techs are made of one of the better grades for sure. I remember reported cases of 22-23 years of daily shaving with a Tech before the plating starts peeling. Even then it was only a 1-2 mm spot and the razor was still usable.
It all depends on how you care about the razor, but also how often you unscrew the head (those threads are plated too, right?), what is the place you store it while not in use, and how often you use it. Let's not forget a razor needs cleaning.
With the ZAMAK razors made in the last 20-25 years some users have reported even 15 years of use before deterioration. But most of them didn't use the razor every day. I've had a DE89 screw snap in ~8 years and that's not even with everyday use (Yes, I was young and stupid, and tightened it as much as I could).
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
My primary razor is made with this stuff. I don't care whether the head lasts me four years or four decades, as it gives me my best shaves, and that's what's most important to me.

I have had to replace the top cap once so far, and keep two spare top caps and one spare baseplate in the drawer for when needed. I will continue to keep replacing parts as needed, with no remorse or frustration. The shave I get today, is currently relevant to me. What I might need to buy in a decade or two, is not relevant to me today at all.
 
The only issue I've ever had with ZAMAK razors has been the threads on an EJ DE89. Edwin Jagger was very good about it and replaced two different caps for me. One lasted 6-7 years of daily shaving, the other less than half of that. From a cost standpoint, therefore, I can't say anything bad about it. My third and would-be current DE89 got lost in our move this past summer. If I decide to replace it, I'll probably go with the Muhle R89. My OCD gets triggered by watching those ZAMAK threads start to deteriorate long before the threads actually fail. I just wish that Edwin Jagger would follow Muhle's lead and replace the Zamak post with a brass one.
 
Congrats on the Piccolo purchase! I recently bought one and am loving it. It made me regret not getting one earlier. Also, either I got lucky or the blade alignment issues have been resolved with the newer razors as my Piccolo has no such problem.
Thank you very much I to was worried about the blade alignment but I read it here or saw on YouTube that the v2 had the fatip logo stamped on the base plate and also if you held the razor head in the palm of your hand with a towel and screwed the handle on that way it would also help with the alignment issues. Lucky I just screw my together as normal.
 
Thank you very much I to was worried about the blade alignment but I read it here or saw on YouTube that the v2 had the fatip logo stamped on the base plate and also if you held the razor head in the palm of your hand with a towel and screwed the handle on that way it would also help with the alignment issues. Lucky I just screw my together as normal.
With my 3-piece razors, I always screw the heads in with the cap side down and spin the handle on to the cap. I do that because I apply a drop of oil to the cap screw as a bit of (unnecessary?) protection. 🙂
 
He says his Tech is 1964. So definitely a ZAMAK top cap and a brass or stainless steel bottom plate.
Those Techs are pretty well made.
Now on the whole to ZAMAK or not to ZAMAK thing.
There are different grades of ZAMAK. I don't exactly remember the designation, but some are better than the others. The 60s-70s Techs are made of one of the better grades for sure. I remember reported cases of 22-23 years of daily shaving with a Tech before the plating starts peeling. Even then it was only a 1-2 mm spot and the razor was still usable.
It all depends on how you care about the razor, but also how often you unscrew the head (those threads are plated too, right?), what is the place you store it while not in use, and how often you use it. Let's not forget a razor needs cleaning.
With the ZAMAK razors made in the last 20-25 years some users have reported even 15 years of use before deterioration. But most of them didn't use the razor every day. I've had a DE89 screw snap in ~8 years and that's not even with everyday use (Yes, I was young and stupid, and tightened it as much as I could).
This won't be my daily driver and cleaned and put away in my bedside drawer wrapped in a cloth. It will only come out for special occasions. Hopefully it'll last me quite a few years
 
@Dave himself

I wouldn't worry too much about the zamac/zamak horror stories; yes it can go wrong but I have also seen rusting stainless razors (when that hype started some makers used the HSS tools that pressed particles in the stainless steel and they started corroding) and falling apart aluminium ones. Even when the plating of zamak heads worns off they don't fall apart right away.

I have a Lord L6, bought in '08 and this has been my most used razor since. The head is zamak, it was sold for about $5 and made in Egypt. For one reason or another I don't think premium grade zamak has been used nor the best possible plating process, or the best cleaning/preparation process (more important than the grade of zamak used for longevity of the razor). The razor is doing just fine, it has dropped a few times, lost a little of the outer plating but is showing no sign of deterioration at all.

There are a couple of vintage razors, part of a lot, that had some zinc-rot when they came in and one of those is my holiday razor for over a decade now and it looks just as good (or bad actually) as the day it came in. Kept it cause it shaves so good.

I also have two 1964 Techs on the way (guess why? :biggrin1:) and I do not worry one bit.

I've seen people on here that say zamac heads only last about 8

I don't know who came up with this or why but stated like this it is simply BS.
 
I don't know who came up with this or why but stated like this it is simply BS.

Thanks for putting me straight i was really hoping to pass this razor down to 1 of my sons. You've took some of the worry of my mind im a lot happier now ;)
 
In my limited experience with Zamak razors drying the thread is most important. I usually put a very small amount of grease on the thread once in a while. It’s the area most likely to loose some plating due to metal-metal abrasion. Once the Zn alloy is exposed, galvanic action will cause corrosion of the threads. This is exacerbated if a wet thread is in contact with say a brass or steel handle with moisture trapped in the gaps. Once corrosion starts it will work its way under the plating. You often see a rosette of corrosion where the thread stub joins the head. If it gets bad then the weakened thread is more likely to break off. All this said, I’ve had quite old Zamak razors such as Apollos in excellent condition. Almost all slants are cast since it’s a hard shape to machine. There’s no reason why they won’t last a long time with some care.
You've hit the nail on the head here.

One of the things that makes the problem worse is that we often consider it "premium" to have a plated brass handle when, ironically, it would actually be better to make the handle out of the same Zamak as the head (see Rockwell 2C). This would reduce the amount of galvanic action in less than optimal situations.
 
I have a Merkur Progress where the plating had chipped off at the hole where the thread stem enters.

There is no zinc rot or worsening damage in that area (it's not spreading at all).

From my understanding, zinc rot is not an inherent problem with ZAMAK itself, it was due to impurities in the alloy, which I believe is not an issue from the 60's onwards.

I also believe the broken thread stems on a few EJ/Muhle razors was not due to being ZAMAK, but actually due to poor production techniques.

You can see similar issues even on the earlier versions of the Muhle Rocca, which is stainless steel and still suffered from broken blade posts!
 
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I also believe the broken thread stems on a few EJ/Muhle razors was not due to being ZAMAK, but actually due to poor production techniques.
That is my understanding as wel. Besides demand was way too much to handle for Mühle when they launched their 'own' razors while they didn't have their final design ready yet. It was still in progress so in fact they started sales too soon.
 
I have a Merkur Progress where the plating had chipped off at the hole where the thread stem enters.

There is no zinc rot or worsening damage in that area (it's not spreading at all).

From my understanding, zinc rot is not an inherent problem with ZAMAK itself, it was due to impurities in the alloy, which I believe is not an issue from the 60's onwards.

I also believe the broken thread stems on a few EJ/Muhle razors was not due to being ZAMAK, but actually due to poor production techniques.

You can see similar issues even on the earlier versions of the Muhle Rocca, which is stainless steel and still suffered from broken blade posts!
I think the problem with Zamac is when you do get a chip of coating comes off over time that folks do not clean their razor after use and leave it for the next shave with just a quick rinse. I clean my razor after every shave and just give the threaded a quick blow of air and dry with towel all parts and have not had any issues to speak of. Its when you leave every thing wet and the corrosion has a chance to spread more than likely are my thoughts.
 
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I think the problem with Zamac is when you do get a chip of coating comes off over time that folks do not clean their razor after use and leave it for the next shave with just a quick rinse. I clean my razor after every shave and just give the threaded a quick blow of air and dry with towel all parts and have not had any issues to speak of. Its when you leave every thing wet and the corrosion has a chance to spread more than likely are my thoughts.

I'm one of those people that don't baby my razors because I see them as tools.

I rinse the razor, wipe the outside with a towel but don't open the head, or remove the blade etc.

Despite this, the chipped area on my progress is not deteriorating or spreading.
(It was my fault it chipped due to mishandling)

I like to think ZAMAC has advanced over the last several decades and is generally not prone to zinc rot due to impurities.
 
I'm one of those people that don't baby my razors because I see them as tools.

I rinse the razor, wipe the outside with a towel but don't open the head, or remove the blade etc.

Despite this, the chipped area on my progress is not deteriorating or spreading.
(It was my fault it chipped due to mishandling)

I like to think ZAMAC has advanced over the last several decades and is generally not prone to zinc rot due to impurities.
Very possible with better knowledge they have tested products what manufactures want over the decades.
 
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