Hand Tools

Subject:
it's worth a giggle for me...

David Weaver
...as I've looked at razor edges for a long time. You can see the defects in them if you're going to have a shaving issue. If there's no rounding or defects (softer blades will round some on the linen, more than those at a higher temper) in the edge, the shave will be superb. Once you get a straight razor in a position where the edge is robust from the linen, it's a matter of several hundred shaves, perhaps up to 350 or 400 where you get a clean shave and the amount of honing needed to bring the razor back for another round is a couple of minutes on a fine stone only.

But, when you get a stainless steel razor blade (that probably has to be tempered a little soft so that nobody breaks it getting it in and out of a razor), then denting will be an issue. The edge on a SR is about 16-18 degrees. Some people try to bolster weak edges by taping the spine on a razor increasing that angle. Two pieces of electrical tape is enough to make a razor feel dull even when it's sharp, and then edge life is short as the thickness of the edge behind the apex is enough thicker that it's problematic. Or, in short, to get a good shave, you're always pushing the limits on angles.

The end around on a disposable razor is to coat the blades with something hard, which is also very slick (and that slickness makes a dulling razor feel sharper than it is. It's uncanny that even on a straight razor, if the grind is fat and the bevel is wide because of it (the bevel size is determined by the thickness of the grind, there's only one angle involved - think primary on a thick chisel vs. a very thin one), there is a lot of extra friction in the shave. Chromium and platinum smooth hard slick coatings are genius.

But, what's left is a blade that nicks and dents and if you hone the dents out, you cannot replace the coating.

I've got pictures of all of this stuff, of course, as last year, I chased the bevel back on a used dual edge razor blade until it held up in shaving. It felt dull then still shaved, but needed pressure that a new blade doesn't.

Without stropping and linen (which is a smaller scale unicorning, I guess, much less of the apex), I don't know that a harder DE blade would actually hold up that well, but they could be a lot better than they are now....less for cost (astras still are about 12 cents a week for shaving if you shave every day) and more for consistency of sharpness for folks with sensitive skin.

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