by PLANofMAN at 10:41 PM
(33,933 Views / 3 Likes)
Has the world really seen the best razor designs have to offer? I’ve thought for a long time about the need for true innovation, even in a market that is as codified as the traditional wet shaver’s razor.

Drawing of King Gillette's original razor patent (source: Wikipedia)

Year after year, I see “new” razors coming to market, but they all borrow from the tried and true 3 piece razor designs that Gillette perfected almost a century ago. The few twist-to-open designs are virtually reproductions of Gillette Super Speeds. The only company offering anything like true innovation is Merkur, with their Futar and Vision models. Merkur seems content to rest on their laurels and we haven’t seen anything new from them in a while.

Above the Tie has probably come closest to innovation, with their interchangeable base plate designs, but they too fall short in that their razor is just another 3 piece design. There are many reasons to follow the 3 piece design. It is simply easier to manufacture. It is less prone to suffer mechanical failure. It is cheaper to produce.

You are probably wondering where I’m going with this. Those who have followed the recent conversation in the Shake Sharp thread will have some idea. I have a vision of a new razor design, loosely based off of the Shake Sharp’s design principles, and borrowing from other razor designs, some successful, others less so.

On the market right now are a variety of designs, all with pros and cons.

The Slant. The slant is an interesting razor concept, one that is based off of a shaving technique called the Gillette Slide. The advantages to a slant are mostly directly related to the rigidity of the flexed blade rather than the “slant” itself. By its nature, one end of the blade’s edge is always going to be more aggressive than the other.
The Adjustable. A proven design. The butterfly style doors, adjustment knob, and locking twist are all familiar to users of vintage DE razors. If this design was so successful, why is Merkur the only one making them now? The answer to that is complicated. It would be an expensive razor to produce, and why would anyone buy one when literally thousands of vintage ones are readily available in antique stores, garage sales and internet auction sites.
The Three Piece. For such a simple razor design, the three piece razor has dominated the new razor market. There are a thousand variations by hundreds of manufacturers over the years.
Open and Closed Comb. Combs add or detract from the aesthetics of a razor. I find a combed razor to be more attractive than a plain razor bar guard, but truth be told, the benefits of a comb over a bar guard are largely in the eye of the beholder. Combs have enjoyed a reputation for being more aggressive, and some are. The truth is that razors with combs can be just as mild as any other razor.

Some of the topics discussed have been going with a mono-edge design (where only one edge of a DE blade is exposed), incorporating self-sharpening features using modern ceramic hones, having a sectional handle (to allow you to set your own handle length, without having to buy multiple handles) and most recently, a dual adjustment system, that would let you set your own blade gap and blade exposure preferences.

Personally, I would like to see a mono-edge design on the market, simply because there hasn’t been a new Single Edge razor design (excepting injectors and the cobra) on the market in over 50 years. According to Waits Compendium, the last of the GEM SE razors was the GEM Push Button razor of the 1950's. The last ASR SE was Star Cadet of the 1940's. I think that a mono-edge razor using DE blades would extend the life of the blades because the blade wouldn’t get tossed until both edges were dull. I would like to see it come with two blade inserts, so that one could also use SE or injector blades.

I welcome comments and thoughts on this subject, and perhaps collectively we can figure out what a perfect razor should have and maybe we can start a co-op and have it built. If that ever happens, I think it would be fitting to call it TSD’s Razor. If it was ever sold for profit, I would like to see it sold through the TSD shop, with all profits going to TSD and TSD administrators.

This is a hypothetical situation. What if we as a forum, had the opportunity to create and build a modern DE razor that borrowed from razor designs that were not so mainstream as the generic TTO and 3 piece razors. What features would you want included? What materials used in it's manufacture?

I know this is doable, I myself own razors with most of those features. The trick is, how many features can we realistically include in one razor to keep both cost and weight down? How do we make it sturdy enough for a lifetime's use, and how do we make it easy to clean?

I would love to see a new razor design that would revolutionize wet shaving and razor design for years to come! I'd like to see it be...
by PLANofMAN at 4:17 PM
(18,031 Views / 4 Likes)
Help fight cancer with F@H. Join Team TSD today!

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Erikredd Millionaire's Club Member

Many forums are dedicated supporters of Folding@Home. Perhaps it is time that The Shave Den become one of them. For those who are not familiar with Folding@Home, it is a project created by Vejay Pande and is run by Stanford University. Folding@Home is one of the largest supercomputers in the world, and is composed entirely of personal computers run by volunteers like you and me.

Folding@Home is dedicated to discovering and understanding treatments and causes of Cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, and several other studies. Folding@Home makes use of the background processes of your computer, and does not affect normal use.

If we get enough interest, I would like to talk to the forum admins about creating a Folding@Home Shave Den Team, perhaps with a contributor tag under your forum user name. This would be another way we could all give back to those who have helped us before. Post in this thread if you are interested in doing something like this.

For myself, I have been a Folding@Home member for over three years, and I'm sure that other members of this forum are also contributors working quietly behind the scenes.