In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
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TRBeck
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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by TRBeck » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:44 am

Two shaves in with the v3A from Maggard.

It is certainly more aggressive than the standard DE89 head, and I do like the closeness I get on my neck as a result. The chin is not really much of an improvement. Perhaps more time with it would yield a different result.

That said, the finish is not great. There's a bit of blade play, and there's a tiny gap between the handle and razor head when it's screwed down tight. I don't dislike the gunmetal finish, but I would prefer chrome to match my razor handle, and in the end, I suspect this thing will be gone from the den soon.

Red Tip incoming and then I am probably done chasing razors for a while again...unless an aluminum General is available after we move and get settled :roll: :lol:
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by Gene » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:10 am

Tim - PM heading your way.
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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by TRBeck » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:20 am

:D

I dropped the Barley. The head snapped off.

:D

Well, here we are. I'm using a Red Tip, and the shaves are excellent. I cleaned up my grandfather's slim adjustable and discovered that it does have some rust and cosmetic issues, but moreover, the shaves with it are not as smooth as I'd hoped. I have a $12 vintage SE for a change of pace.

But I want something in current production. Back to the Rockwell or the Mergress. I will buy one of the two in the near future. Wish I'd given the Rockwell a longer trial last year, but I was preparing to move, so shedding gear was a necessity.

I'm not sure if I'll go US-made and steel with a slightly bulkier head or elegant and chrome-finished but spendier and slightly less durable (or is it?). Either way, if I get north of 2000 shaves on it as I did with the Barley Chrome 89, the razor will be a fine value, and of course, one could get thousands more without a freak accident (I think I've dropped the Barley a dozen times or so without an issue...and then...).

Colonial hasn't made a new batch of Generals in ages, and I'm not looking to go north of $135 for a shaving tool. We'll see what develops.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by CMur12 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:58 pm

Hi Tim -

If you're going to drop you razor, I would recommend you stick with stainless steel. 8)

Beyond that, the Rockwell and the Mergress are my favorite razors. I use the Mergress at its lowest setting, which is both mild and efficient. I use the Rockwell on plate 2, which is also both mild and efficient. Between these two, I like the Rockwell a little better because of its simpler three-piece design and easier knock-down for cleaning.

I recently bought a Supply Injector-type razor, which is a lovely, hefty tool. I am having difficulty adapting to the very different approach/angle of an Injector razor and I think that even the "sensitive" plate is a little aggressive for me.

Good luck with your search, Tim.

- Murray
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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by TRBeck » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:40 pm

CMur12 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:58 pm
Hi Tim -

If you're going to drop you razor, I would recommend you stick with stainless steel. 8)

Touche.

I am mostly looking at maneuverability at this point. I recall a bit of a bulky head on the Rockwell, maybe not as easy to get under the nose as with the light and lithe DE89. Then again, I never did give it much of a run. It was such a hectic time, and all my experiences in the months before the move are too compressed to see clearly in hindsight.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by TRBeck » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:02 pm

In the end, I'm sticking with ordinary...ish.

I ordered a Chatsworth, which is the 89 head on a slightly upscaled faux-ivory handle. I had one way back when and enjoyed it, and I decided it's a minor upgrade in aesthetics and price while still giving me a razor that just works. I still have the vintage Gillettes and can go looking if I get bored down the road. Triple digits is just a tough barrier for me. I could buy another Chatsworth when this one is done for and still come in below the cost of the Mergress and just barely over that of the Rockwell.

I'll handle with care and probably get a couple thousand shaves or more out of the razor, as I did with the Barley Chrome 89.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by CMur12 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:37 pm

Hi Tim -

Congratulations on finding the tool that gives you satisfying ergonomics and performance.

I have tried a lot of razors, too, and it took me a long time to find the ones that are just right for me. The solution is sometimes elusive and can require a long search.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by brothers » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:21 pm

CMur12 wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:37 pm
Hi Tim -

Congratulations on finding the tool that gives you satisfying ergonomics and performance.

I have tried a lot of razors, too, and it took me a long time to find the ones that are just right for me. The solution is sometimes elusive and can require a long search.

- Murray
Agreed! The time it took to locate the one for me was well spent.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 9 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General V2 by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by mikeny278 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:01 pm

Wholeheartedly agree with this post. Finally perfected my shaves when I started using the same razor for an extended amount of time, and that was with a Merkur HD. When I want to "change it up," I go to a Feather Popular. Have tried all kinds of razors, but when I started using one razor, one or two creams, and one blade type for an extended period of time it finally just all clicked. I suppose some experimenting at first was necessary, especially with razor blades, but my recommendation would be to pick one razor that is middle of the road (not mild, not aggressive) and just learn on it. When one gets irritation from a certain setup, instead of trying to find a milder or more efficient razor, or a sharper and smoother blade, sometimes you just need to get better with prep and technique, and/or let your face irritation subside before shaving again. I wish I followed this advice 10 years ago and tried some of the razors I did after I really knew how to shave with a DE. Looking back, some of the razors that did not work for me were probably not the razor's fault but my own! But now that the Merkur HD/Feather Popular work so well for me, I don't have much interest in all of these new (or old) razors...
TRBeck wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:47 pm
As far as I can tell, I got my Edwin Jagger Barley Chrome razor in November 2011. Given missed shaves here and there, a dozen or so efforts with a straight, and a few dalliances with single-edge razors, I would estimate I've got about 1800 shaves on it. At the time, I paid south of $40 for this simple variant of the very basic "89" double-edge razor. I get a very clean, close cut with Personna Medical Prep blades, Polsliver Iridiums, and Gillette Silver Blues using this razor, even as some coarser hairs creep into my beard with age.

I have not been a big forum participant in recent years, and I guess while I was preoccupied with other things, boutique DEs (and, to a slightly lesser extent, SEs) sort of blew up. I see stainless this and titanium that everywhere I look, with prices well into the three-digit range. I don't want to criticize anyone's choices there, and I have tried a couple of them to see what the fuss was about. But for me, the general conclusion I came to after several shaves was, "Huh." Not bad, not great. Functional, felt good in the hand, worked fine, but...

I think it's easy when you're new to this hobby to get caught up in the bling of high-end brushes and fancy soaps and Penhaligon's. I know I did, and sometimes I still do. But man, the one thing I was told by dozens of guys here was to just get a good Superspeed or Merkur or Gilette Tech, learn some technique, and enjoy the shaves. And I did. I experimented with Red Tips (!) and Black Beauties (!!) and the Progess (!!!), and they are all excellent tools. None of them were any better as instruments than the EJ 89 or that first flare-tip Superspeed I had a decade ago. Oh, sure, I preferred the balance of this one or the look of that one or the weight of this head, but in the end, I got good shaves because I learned how to use the razor I had in my hand, not because I bought a different one.

Sometimes you read about these "pot metal" razors having QC issues, heads breaking off when one goes to rinse the razor or whatever. Maybe that happens. But I've used this thing with no particularly special care and have yet to get more than a couple of light scratches on it. It is simply an excellent tool for the job. Some expensive brushes feel better on the face, some look better, some build lather more readily. When it comes to DEs, other than a nicer handle, none of these seem to be improvements so much as they are variants.

Again, I don’t want to criticize anyone’s choices. Buy what you want and use what you like. Just to say, though, I think new guys in particular chase their tails enough trying every product out there instead of settling down. And now they can drop $300 on a DE “system” of interchangeable heads and handles only to find that they still have to shave themselves, and no razor can do it for them.

I may buy a backup of this Barley Chrome razor at some point, but I doubt it. I imagine it will last indefinitely. At some point I may replace it with my late grandfather’s Gillette slim adjustable, which was given to me when he died earlier this year. If I do, though, I’ll be replacing one quotidian razor with another, an ordinary piece of shave equipment made for everyman, and made to endure for a lifetime or longer. And I’ll keep getting great shaves.
Mike

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by CMur12 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:01 pm

Mike, I agree with the one razor/one blade/one soap or cream approach, but I would start with a milder razor. I have enough experience at this point to know that a Merkur HD is much too aggressive for me, regardless of technique. (I believe I tried a Merkur razor with a fixed head early on and gave up on it very quickly.) I used a very mild Weishi and Gillette Tech for several years before moving on to razors that shaved a tiny bit closer (Mergress/Progress on lowest setting or Rockwell on plate 2).

- Murray
mikeny278 wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:01 pm
Wholeheartedly agree with this post. Finally perfected my shaves when I started using the same razor for an extended amount of time, and that was with a Merkur HD. When I want to "change it up," I go to a Feather Popular. Have tried all kinds of razors, but when I started using one razor, one or two creams, and one blade type for an extended period of time it finally just all clicked. I suppose some experimenting at first was necessary, especially with razor blades, but my recommendation would be to pick one razor that is middle of the road (not mild, not aggressive) and just learn on it. When one gets irritation from a certain setup, instead of trying to find a milder or more efficient razor, or a sharper and smoother blade, sometimes you just need to get better with prep and technique, and/or let your face irritation subside before shaving again. I wish I followed this advice 10 years ago and tried some of the razors I did after I really knew how to shave with a DE. Looking back, some of the razors that did not work for me were probably not the razor's fault but my own! But now that the Merkur HD/Feather Popular work so well for me, I don't have much interest in all of these new (or old) razors...

TRBeck wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:47 pm
As far as I can tell, I got my Edwin Jagger Barley Chrome razor in November 2011. Given missed shaves here and there, a dozen or so efforts with a straight, and a few dalliances with single-edge razors, I would estimate I've got about 1800 shaves on it. At the time, I paid south of $40 for this simple variant of the very basic "89" double-edge razor. I get a very clean, close cut with Personna Medical Prep blades, Polsliver Iridiums, and Gillette Silver Blues using this razor, even as some coarser hairs creep into my beard with age.

I have not been a big forum participant in recent years, and I guess while I was preoccupied with other things, boutique DEs (and, to a slightly lesser extent, SEs) sort of blew up. I see stainless this and titanium that everywhere I look, with prices well into the three-digit range. I don't want to criticize anyone's choices there, and I have tried a couple of them to see what the fuss was about. But for me, the general conclusion I came to after several shaves was, "Huh." Not bad, not great. Functional, felt good in the hand, worked fine, but...

I think it's easy when you're new to this hobby to get caught up in the bling of high-end brushes and fancy soaps and Penhaligon's. I know I did, and sometimes I still do. But man, the one thing I was told by dozens of guys here was to just get a good Superspeed or Merkur or Gilette Tech, learn some technique, and enjoy the shaves. And I did. I experimented with Red Tips (!) and Black Beauties (!!) and the Progess (!!!), and they are all excellent tools. None of them were any better as instruments than the EJ 89 or that first flare-tip Superspeed I had a decade ago. Oh, sure, I preferred the balance of this one or the look of that one or the weight of this head, but in the end, I got good shaves because I learned how to use the razor I had in my hand, not because I bought a different one.

Sometimes you read about these "pot metal" razors having QC issues, heads breaking off when one goes to rinse the razor or whatever. Maybe that happens. But I've used this thing with no particularly special care and have yet to get more than a couple of light scratches on it. It is simply an excellent tool for the job. Some expensive brushes feel better on the face, some look better, some build lather more readily. When it comes to DEs, other than a nicer handle, none of these seem to be improvements so much as they are variants.

Again, I don’t want to criticize anyone’s choices. Buy what you want and use what you like. Just to say, though, I think new guys in particular chase their tails enough trying every product out there instead of settling down. And now they can drop $300 on a DE “system” of interchangeable heads and handles only to find that they still have to shave themselves, and no razor can do it for them.

I may buy a backup of this Barley Chrome razor at some point, but I doubt it. I imagine it will last indefinitely. At some point I may replace it with my late grandfather’s Gillette slim adjustable, which was given to me when he died earlier this year. If I do, though, I’ll be replacing one quotidian razor with another, an ordinary piece of shave equipment made for everyman, and made to endure for a lifetime or longer. And I’ll keep getting great shaves.
Give me Soap or give me death!

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by TRBeck » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:10 am

Murray, I hear you. I actually have very fond memories of my Merkur 1904 and my old ball-end Tech. They shaved nicely, and I probably dialed in my technique better because of how mild the razors were. No relying on huge blade exposure to do the work. In all honesty, I could probably be getting great shaves with either of them right now, if perhaps just slightly less close than my preferred razor(s).
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by brothers » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:01 pm

Same here. If not for SMF I would still be perfectly happy with my old Schick Krona and the Wilkinson sword grocery store blades, not to mention the canned shaving cream. I would have remained oblivious, and never known the difference.
Gary

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by CMur12 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:11 pm

TRBeck wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:10 am
Murray, I hear you. I actually have very fond memories of my Merkur 1904 and my old ball-end Tech. They shaved nicely, and I probably dialed in my technique better because of how mild the razors were. No relying on huge blade exposure to do the work. In all honesty, I could probably be getting great shaves with either of them right now, if perhaps just slightly less close than my preferred razor(s).
Tim, I think an advantage of a really mild razor for learning is that, with the narrow blade gap, it either cuts (whiskers) or it doesn't. There is no risk of scraping. With more aggressive razors and the wider blade gap, if the angle isn't right, you risk scraping the skin (and not cutting whiskers). The correct blade angle is less obvious.

You could learn on either one, provided your skin is tough enough, but my skin has always been too sensitive for even a moderate razor (which is what I consider a Merkur with fixed head). The Edwin Jaggers are slightly to the mild side of moderate, in my opinion, but still too aggressive for me for regular use.

(Remember when we used to consider a Tech mild and a Super Speed moderate?)

- Murray
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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by TRBeck » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:29 am

Murray, you're spot on with the scraping vs. cutting thing. I probably would've roughed myself up pretty badly with a Merkur HD in the early days. Now I could use most any razor, although I still prefer moderate to aggressive. And I still think first of my old ball-end Tech when I hear "mild." After acquiring the Chatsworth, I used it a few times and then picked up the Red Tip again. Officially it was an aggressive razor in its day, but it's not much different to a standard Superspeed, and it's easy to handle. Certainly not aggressive by modern standards; moderate at most. I'm really enjoying it.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by John Rose » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:17 am

Fendrihan makes a number of razors with heads that greatly resemble the EJ / Muhle heads, priced at CAD$28 to $32.
They say that they have a "chrome plated brass head and handle", which is not bad for the price. It has to be an improvement over chrome-plated zamak. One reviewer said his felt similar to the EJ DE89 head.
Image
That one is the "Steeles" model.
The others have different handles but look like they have the same head, and are also named after streets in Toronto - "Bay", "Cannon", "Dixon".
Oh... I see now that they're much heavier than the EJs and Muhles.

I almost bought the "Steeles" model, but I was lured away by the faux ivory handle of the EJ DE87.
Which I take care not to drop.
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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by John Rose » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:28 am

CMur12 wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:11 pm
[snip]
The Edwin Jaggers are slightly to the mild side of moderate, in my opinion, but still too aggressive for me for regular use.
[snip]
:-k
I think I know what you mean.
My EJ DE87 has comparatively little blade feel, yet it gives as close a shave as my more aggressive-feeling razors.
Because of the reduced blade feel, I'm also more likely to get careless with it and give myself a nick. #-o
I still like using it though.
Don't chase the BBS.
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Re: In Praise of the Ordinary Razor

Post by CMur12 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:35 pm

Hi John -

I think the EJ is a well designed, effective razor and a good value suited to the needs of most shavers. I used them for awhile and I think I have three of them, but I found other razors that were milder and better suited to my skin, while still shaving efficiently, so I moved on.

Now I use a Rockwell on plate 2 or, less frequently now, a Mergress on the lowest setting. These two razors meet my needs better than any other razor I have tried, and I have tried quite a few of them.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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