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Personna 74

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.

Personna 74

Postby BeatlesFan » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:32 am

Today I opened a NIB pack of vintage Personna 74 "Tungsten" blades.

I'm guessing that these would have been manufactured in the 1970s.

First impressions: The packaging is a problem. The blade would not slide out no matter what I did. I ended up having to break the case to retrieve my first blade. Possibly the blades would have slid out more easily "back in the day" but were now too embedded in there. Anyway, I've never been a huge fan of those sliding gizmos, and this was the worst yet.

Once opened (thanks to some heavy equipment from the toolbox on my workbench), the blades appeared to be in perfect shape. No rust or visible deterioration. So I loaded one up in my 1948 Gillette U.S. Aristocrat, prepped, and shaved.

The shave quality was outstanding. As good as anything I've ever used, and better than almost anything else. Maybe Gordon is right, and vintage blades from the "Golden Age" really were/are superior to currently manufactured stuff.

After a good, careful shave: No nicks, cuts, tugging, or irritation. And a DFS. Maybe not BBS, but then I wasn't going for that. It just glided through the whiskers with no drama and no damage to my face at all.

Very impressed. Recommended without reservation, if you can find any. (Except for the bad packaging!)
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Postby Ouchmychin » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:44 am

I found a supplier on ebay and haven't opened the boxes yet. He limits you to 2 cartridges. I got two a year ago and the mechanism worked flawlessly. Not sure what happened to yours. I would suggest next time grab the WD-40 and give it a spray first. It shoud loosen up the thing after a sit. My impression is that the Schick razor and 74 blade gives the best shave of all my razors. It lasts better than the DEs in my colledtion too and that includes Feather, 7 O'clocls, Super Irridiums and a hand full of others.
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Postby paddy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:44 am

there have been folks singing the praises of these particular blades for a quite a few years now. the ebay prices reflect that. one of their best qualities is their longevity. they are very, very good blades, but not THE best vintage blade that i have tried.
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Postby Shave4Fun » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:21 am

I had an old pkg like that and soaked it in mineral oil. They came right out.
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Postby desertbadger » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:20 pm

I keep a couple magazines of vintage blades in a small container filled with jojoba oil. A little messy the first time it's used, but the blades slide out just like they're supposed to.

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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:00 pm

Hiya,

Well, I think those Personna74 injector blades may be just a little too sharp for comfort. In my case, I find em to be more unforgiving that I prefer with a blade that sharp. I'll normally use either an old Personna Super Stainless(sharp but forgiving), or Gillette Platinum Plus (really sharp and slightly forgiving).

Now the Personna74 DE blade is something else. That thing is a blast to s shave with.........sharp as hell but with a little bit of wiggle room if needed. Very smooth and fun blade.

Martin

Last two pics are the Gillettes I found at a flea market. You can see on the key they're dated 1970....cute eh? Now those blades are right up there with the 74s for sharpness, but with a smidge more of a forgiving nature.


Image
Image

Image
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:06 pm

I understand the attraction to using anything vintage, but I have a question. First some background.

I have some modern, really excellent blades that I decided are my best blades. I mean they are fantastic! I can't imagine a better blade or a finer shave coming from any blade.

Now the question. I know that the vintage blades demand a premium 'cause they aren't being made anymore and the supply is finite. Are they worth the price based on far superior performance or are they marginally better, and the rest of the justification of the price is nostalgia?

Hey, I use razors from 100 years ago so I understand the nostalgia effect. I'm not trying to start trouble, I'm just curious because some vintage blades are available as I write. I was learning to blade shave during the years those blades were made, and I didn't think they were special, but I was learning and gave it up pretty quick too from lack of knowledge and anyone to teach me.

Thanks!
Brian

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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:22 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:I understand the attraction to using anything vintage, but I have a question. First some background.

I have some modern, really excellent blades that I decided are my best blades. I mean they are fantastic! I can't imagine a better blade or a finer shave coming from any blade.

Now the question. I know that the vintage blades demand a premium 'cause they aren't being made anymore and the supply is finite. Are they worth the price based on far superior performance or are they marginally better, and the rest of the justification of the price is nostalgia?

Thanks!


Hi Brian,

When you say you've got some excellent modern blades, I'm guessing you're talking about DE blades and not injectors. There's lots of great DE blades in production, but not all that many companies making SE stuff. To my knowledge, there's no modern day injector blades being made that are anything special. Maybe the Chinese Schick blades are the best of a bad situation. That's the weak link to injectors...........finding and using the right blades.

Vintage blades are selling for the money they do because they can be lots better than a modern one. Not all old injector blades are wonderful, but there's a bunch out there for sure.

I go by how my razor/blade combo performs and I never use currently made blades in the Schick adjustable or any other injector. Yeah, there's that much of a difference.

Old DE (blue) blades made before stainless steel (early 1960s) will normally give people a rough ride. You'd never buy em to get a great shave from those. Usually they're mostl;y for display, although I've heard of some people doing ok with em.


Hope that helps,

Martin
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:26 pm

Yes, DE blades only. My question was regarding the Personna 74s and not injectors.
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Postby paddy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:26 pm

it's definitely not nostalgia. it's purely for performance that i have them for.

that said there are a few modern and current production blades that i rate highly and use from time to time as well.
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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:46 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:Yes, DE blades only. My question was regarding the Personna 74s and not injectors.


Ok..........what's your favorite blade or blades? You like a sharp or milder brand? Heh, doesn't matter much anyway for what I was gonna say.

There's at least three currently made blades I could use every day, and the Iridium has been in my rotation for maybe three years now or longer. It's my favorite go to blade and I'll still use em. There's also some vintage blades that are just a tad less wonderful, but still excellent. And then there a couple equally as good or maybe even better (as sharp or sharper) than the Iridium. The Personna74 is one of those DE blades. All these blades are more forgiving than a Feather, which is important to me.

I would bet money if you looked hard enough, you'd find at least one vintage blade to top what you're using now. Heh, gotta be motivated though.

So that's the deal as I see things,

Martin
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:47 pm

Martin, well, I don't think so... I've been testing blades for 10 months now, and have exhaustively tested at least 30 blades, and my standards are very high. Iridiums are good for me and made the cut. They were one of 3 that made it out of the 30 or so blades tested.

-----

OK, I'll give the ones for sale a try if they're still available and see if they give a shave that's 3x better (to justify the price) than the DE blades that are currently my best blades that I stock.

They have a heck of an act to follow though and I can't imagine it. It'll be kinda like having sex and a shave at the same time I guess. :)

Thanks guys.
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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:57 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:OK, I'll give the ones for sale a try if they're still available and see if they give a shave that's 3x better (to justify the price) than the DE blades that are currently my best blades.

They have a heck of an act to follow though and I can't imagine it. It'll be kinda like having sex and a shave at the same time I guess. :)

Thanks.


Maybe ask someone for a blade to try out before buying a bunch. Now most of the more popular vintage blades ar on the sharper side, so keep that in mind. I'd let you have a Personna74 except I'm totally out of the DE blades.

However, I do have something you may find amusing that aren't very pricy. My latest love affair has been with various vintage UK made Wilkinson blades. Yeah, you can read a bunch of stuff about em in the forum, and I found a couple that are real gems. I also have some nice old Gillettes you can sample as well.

I can send out a couple different types if you like and see what's up. I'm not saying they'll be better than what you've tried now, but you never know.

Use the pm feature if that interests you, and no problem if you'd rather skip it.

Martin
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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:04 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:Martin, well, I don't think so... I've been testing blades for 10 months now, and have exhaustively tested at least 30 blades, and my standards are very high. Iridiums are good for me and made the cut. They were one of 3 that made it out of the 30 or so blades tested.


Thanks guys.


Well, I'd guess the SharpEdge also made the cut, if you're anything like me. My third favorite's a Feather.

Man, I can't tell you how many blades I've used over the years, but it's more than 30 I believe. Plus now I'm at the point where I can evaluate blades better than ever before, so I'm aware of the subtle tweaks in em.

I may be wrong but I think you'll be surprised at what else is out there.

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Postby paddy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:18 pm

brian, i would be willing to lay money that there will be at least one of the following five vintage blades which, when you try it, will outperform your current number one blade:

gillette platinum plus
gillette spoiler
wilkinson 'the blade' / super sword edge
personna 74
schick platinum

it's your job (duty?!) to find out which one is the golden ticket for you!
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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:23 pm

paddy wrote:brian, i would be willing to lay money that there will be at least one of the following five vintage blades which, when you try it, will outperform your current number one blade:

gillette platinum plus
gillette spoiler
wilkinson 'the blade' / super sword edge
personna 74
schick platinum

it's your job (duty?!) to find out which one is the golden ticket for you!


Yep, that's a nice selection you have there. I was gonna send him the Spoiler and Wilkinson Super Sword to sample. The Wilkinson's amazing and matter of fact it's in my razor right now.
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Postby Whistler » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:49 pm

In my slim adjustable also, it's so hard to explain something like this when the person has not sampled vintage blades for themself. Vintage blades are all I shave with these day's, I went the same route trying every blade out there, easily over 50 brands other than Swedes which are gone now and Super Iridium's I never found a blade that can match vintage blades that work for me. Either they were to sharp, to dull, or lasted for only a shave or two. Vintage I can get a weeks worth of shaves and I shave every day for two passes. Never found a current production blade that could match the longevity, comfort, and forgivness of vintage.
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:57 pm

Yes, the Gillette Yellows definitely made the cut. The 3rd , and they just squeaked by, were the Personna Med Preps. But they aren't in the same league as the other 2 IMO. They got in because they work for me in all of my razors, have longevity, and are made in USA, but I don't think they are as sharp or as smooth. But it's been months since I used one.

I'm about to drop the hammer on the 65 blades in the sell/trade section. I figure if I don't like them, I can sell what I don't use.

I wasn't trying to go there but I will be contacting those who suggested that. Thanks gents.
Brian

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Postby L. Martino » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:38 pm

Hiya,

Most vintage blades I've tried over the years have been good or better than good. Sure there's been some clunkers as well, but they only take a few strokes to figure out if they're worth a whole shave. Heh, those modern Black Beautys Leisureguy liked so much were ones I despised....lasted two downward strokes. He was always recommending shaving crap I never did like, but I still miss him posting.

So not all vintage blades are the same............just like currently made pieces. The thing is, there's maybe 6-8 vintage blades that get the best reviews and you may have to sample more than a few to find the exact match up. Yep, just like now in the real world. For example, I'm not a huge Spoiler fan...I think they're very good blades but not quite as good a fit as others. I was gonna include that type because of all the good press it gets. I mighta put a nice old Schick Super Stainless Platinum or another Gillette in there as a personal choice. I love some of those things.

Far as paying a bunch of cash for em.....personally I can't see it. Well, that's not true at all, only because I manage to find most blades for a reasonable price (74's excepted). There's still many good deals on old blades, but you gotta be selective and patient. Even a top blade (except the 74s) isn't gonna sell for more that a buck a blade. We're talking a few more pennies per shave here....why not go crazy...heh.

Lots of blades go for half a buck each in lot sizes, so it's good to know what to spend cash on in case something pops up. This is luckily a rabbit hole with some kinda bottom......I'm sure of it (nervous chuckle).

Martin

Yeah, many people mention how many more shaves they get, so that's something to consider. Still, it's not the main reason for buying em....it's how they shave.
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Postby ShadowsDad » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:07 pm

BeatlesFan, Sorry I hijacked your thread.

I'm starting another where this can continue.
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