3pc DE Aggressive Razor Fundamentals - "Riding the cap"

Discussion in 'Shave School' started by Bama Samurai, Apr 27, 2016.


How do you like your razor?

  1. Mild and smooth

    62 vote(s)
  2. Aggressive and efficient

    43 vote(s)
  3. With two lumps and a biscuit...

    2 vote(s)
  4. Doesn't matter, Techniques Trump Tools!!!

    51 vote(s)
  1. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    A bit of an aside... I always find it interesting that the foreign (esp. German) versions of the Adjustable instructions include the blade angle diagram while the contemporary US versions do not. Is there a commentary in there somewhere on American shaving in the 60's and 70's?
    Draftetdan, Tdmsu, BigMike and 3 others like this.
  2. aqualung

    aqualung Active Member

    Great write up. Will be sure to refer to this when I start using a DS shaver.
    whiteboy_cannon and ob1page like this.
  3. DDuckyMark

    DDuckyMark Ducky Duck and the Hiding Bunch

    Riding the cap works well in SE and injector designs too.
  4. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Ryan... Once again you are the Man!
  5. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    I swear I will come back and finish this... Gonna do some late night TSD.
    BigMike, ob1page and PLAla like this.
  6. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Part Two: How We Ride


    Thanks to @PLANofMAN, we can look at two clear examples of razor geometry as the key factor in how aggressively a razor head cuts the beard. The idea we are going to consider for now--what role does the safety bar play in razor design? The answer is safety! In the above pic, it can be noticed that as the dial increases, the height of the curve increases, and this makes the razor "more aggressive." If the razor designers use the curve to adjust optimal shaving angle, the curve of the top cap in a three piece is what should be used to find the proper angle of attack for a shave stroke. Remember, the bar or comb is for safety, it's not for shaving! In fact, in both of the examples above, if the skin surface is resting against the edge of the curve, it almost takes the bar out of play.

    How to find the angle to "ride the cap":

    Turn off the water and fan, and listen for the sound of success.

    On a finely lathered face...place your three piece cap just below your sideburn. This will place the handle nearly parallel to the countertop. Then drop the razor handle slowly towards the floor, bringing the blade into light skin contact. The safety bar on the razor, especially aggressive ones, may not be touching your skin at this point. That's okay. Keep going. Slowly begin the stroke down the cheek. A low attack angle will make the razor glide easily, and it will make a sound and almost a sensation like each individual hair is being broken rapidly. Almost like soft crunchy Velcro sounds, but with glide.

    The benefits:

    Riding the cap will keep the bevel at skin level, slicing without the need for pressure. And by not scraping and rolling the edge of the DE blade, in theory will make a blade retain its sharpness by subjecting the bevel to less plastic deformation, but that's another topic. Mostly though, with any luck--razor burn, ingrown hair and weepers should be a thing of the past with a little practice. I use this technique on every DE to find the optimal angle, and have had success in almost every DE configuration. It provides a methodical starting point for any new razor that I might be trying,

    Other tips:

    Try alum! If it burns, your angle is too high, pressure too great or both. A good shave doesn't sting.

    Cold water shaves. Can't be worse than razor burn, right?

    Try Schick injectors. :)
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
    RetLEO-07, ninjack, opsimath and 17 others like this.
  7. Linuxguile

    Linuxguile dating an unusual aristocrat

    Had a most delightful shave finding the sweet spot of my red tip. And also a blade that was a little tuggy with the first shave felt much sharper!

    [​IMG] <br /><br />After my bad shave last time I decided to keep the same setup for today and try to redeem myself. Working from the top cap and slowly lowering the razor until I found that sweet angle that let the blade slice through the whiskers while hardly touching my skin. From there it was smooth as silk, no pressure, and surprisingly no tugging from the blade. Three passes and boy howdy! A fantastic BBS shave with no irritation that makes me completely forget about the last one! Happy shaves my friends!

    Sent from my Galaxy S6 using Tapatalk
    brit, ninjack, opsimath and 8 others like this.
  8. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    That is the type of report I live for! Nice work!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  9. ob1page

    ob1page Frozen in Phoenix

    Just a copy of my shave post with some parts deleted but it applies here:

    I switched back to the R41 tonight and worked on riding the cap. I did the left side of my face normally and the right side riding the cap. I must say there is a big difference in both feel and results. The razor slightly tugged on the left, no tugging on the right. I missed a couple spots on the left that I could have chased but didn't, I missed nothing on the right. First time using Florida Water tonight, I like the scent, it stung more on the left than the right. Thank you @Bama Samurai for posting about this.
    waffen, Tdmsu, Bama Samurai and 2 others like this.
  10. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Most Excellent! The r41 is an ideal example of this concept. Very glad to hear of positive results!

    Next level: all razors are the same....;)
    ob1page likes this.
  11. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Ben & Andrew:

    The next time you change blades, see if you can notice if this new technique extends blade life. Even an extra day over the course of a lifetime is a metric ton of blades!
    Key2Wellness, Linuxguile and ob1page like this.
  12. ob1page

    ob1page Frozen in Phoenix

    I was definitely using a bigger angle before than I should have. I wasn't getting tons of irritation before but the cologne test showed a difference
  13. ob1page

    ob1page Frozen in Phoenix

    I rode the cap tonight with a Derby. Good in that it didn't tug at all where before with a Derby it felt like it was ripping the hairs out. Bad was that the razor bit me above the lip and there is considerably more irritation compared to a GSB. All in all,I absolutely got a better shave tonight out of the Derby than ever before. 30 days of riding the cap I think will pay great rewards.
    Bubbablade, waffen, BigMike and 3 others like this.
  14. Tdmsu

    Tdmsu Well-Known Member

    I was thinking the same thing! I'll try this with my OCMM soon.
    Bama Samurai likes this.
  15. Linuxguile

    Linuxguile dating an unusual aristocrat

    Rode the cap to a great shave this morning. Though it's more or less automatic with an injector. This is the kind of shave I strive to have with a DE. 3 passes wtg, xtg, xtg and bbs with no irritation.

    Sent from my Galaxy S6 using Tapatalk
  16. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    You just experienced the difference in sharpness between these two blades. The irritation is likely the result of applying subconscious extra pressure, to make Derby results conform to GSB results. It's why I prefer Derby only in the most aggressive of razor heads.
  17. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    It should work really well with a thick SE blade!
  18. PLAla

    PLAla Bit Shy of a Full Puck

    Is the angle of the handle when riding the cap larger than 30 degrees? Or less than 30? I know it all depends on the razor type too. I have found I'm using maybe a 20-25 degree angle with DE. Perhaps I'm doing this backwards. I get pretty good shaves. I'm using the G1 right now and it's angle is really to find. The more I read this thread I think I may be way too shallow.
    Bama Samurai and ob1page like this.
  19. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    I think optimal angle of attack (blade against skin) is between 15-25 degrees, more shallow than usually stated by conventional wisdom. You're doing it right!
    Robyflexx and ob1page like this.
  20. Linuxguile

    Linuxguile dating an unusual aristocrat

    I just have to say, I've been getting the best shaves of my career thanks to your advice @Bama Samurai

    Sent from my Galaxy S6 using Tapatalk

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