Competing blade theories - which is correct?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by dsharp, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. dsharp

    dsharp New Member

    Theory #1 - The sharper the blade the longer it will last because it dulls a little each time and therefore stays usable for more shaves.
    Theory #2 - The sharper the blade, the thinner the edge and it will deteriorate faster than a blade that starts off duller and thicker. The reasoning here is that the thinner one is more fragile and easier to break apart to an uneven edge in the way a very sharpened pencil will break easier than one that writes well, but isn't sharpened to such a delicate fine point.

    Which is it? Based on my verrrrry limited experience thus far I'm leaning to #2. In the end, I haven't found any of the four brands (Astra, Dorco, Wilkinson, Derby) I've become familiar with to date to be all that good after day #3 even if it remains somewhat usable in some cases. The sharpest seem to be the Wilkies and one of them only made it through two shaves well although the other Wilkies were decent enough through Day 3.

    Astra SP is my fave so far, and it's not really close. The contest, that is, not the shave!

    Edit to add: Should have been posted in Safety Razor section. Sorry about that.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
    RaZorBurn123 likes this.
  2. J.F. Martin

    J.F. Martin Active Member

    this a question you could devote many hours of discussion to, and there are more variables... but for the most part it's #2
  3. Mr. Shaverman

    Mr. Shaverman Well-Known Member


    For just about any type of blade: The less sharp it is, the longer it will hold that level of sharpness. The sharper it is, the quicker it dulls out.
  4. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    So the next question that comes to my mind is: if a thinner edge is sharper, but more fragile, is there a difference in durability of the edge based upon the overall thickness of the blade? A thick full wedge vs a full or extra hollow? :think002:
  5. fram773

    fram773 Well-Known Member

    I don't know... I think the Personna injector blades are sharper than the GEM (by Personna) blades and they still last longer.
  6. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Confused :)

    Straight Razors or DE's ????

    There is little after shaving correction available for a DE so it will have a different answer then a SR..

    Here is what my research has found over the years..

    The greatest enemy of the edge is Micro-corrosion this is also backed up by actual studies, not the beard

    The actual "Keeness" of the edges on both are very close, according to the Vorhaven paper about .31 Microns on the DE and about .32 Microns or a SR.
    Longevity goes to the SR only because of the use of a strop which removes the Micro-corrosion and re-aligns /fixes the dings in the edge from the beard...

    What I wrote above is provable by multiple papers and studies throughout the past it is not my opinion

    My opinion is that the strops "Burnish" a SR edge back into almost shape after each shave, the edge will hold until it can no longer be re-shaped, then it needs a more aggressive grit to re-fresh..
    For a DE I have no idea which lasts longer, but for a SR I don't think there is a quantifiable difference...
    GDCarrington, JoeB, gorgo2 and 2 others like this.
  7. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    My bad. I thought this was discussing straight razor blades since it is in the STRAIGHT RAZOR section.
    That's what I get for not reading all the initial post…

    You bring up good points about the benefit of stropping and edge longevity, Glen. It helps me to understand why some DE shavers are 'palm stroppers' with their blades.
    I'm not sure how truly effective the palm stropping is, but like most things shaving-related, it has its advocates…;)
    gorgo2 and gssixgun like this.
  8. ObiDon

    ObiDon member in questionable standing

    My go to blade is the Feather. Most will agree that it is the sharpest and is good for 1 shave or 2. I don't keep a blade after it has been used 1 time.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  9. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    If not both, then surely neither!

    Seriously though...I may be dead wrong but I lean toward #1. I can see the logic of #2 but if we're assuming both blades are used equally under identical conditions, a blade that starts out sharper is going to be sharper longer than the blade which starts out less-sharp, because no matter how quickly a sharper edge may degrade, it still has further to fall, so to speak, and the less-keen edge is degrading with use as well. The thing is, we're going to notice a sharper blade's degradation sooner than we will the less-keen blade's. We'll think the sharper one dulled faster when maybe it didn't - maybe it is now just as sharp as the other blade, not's just the difference in feel is much more noticeable. This kind of reminds me of the myth that hot water will freeze more rapidly than cooler water......but again, I may be wrong.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  10. david of central florida

    david of central florida Rhubarb Rubber

    I once read an advertisement. it was war time, someone(I think king Gillette) was admonishing the troops. to dry and store their blades after each use. that this would make them last longer and perform better.
    this supports what Glenn said. that corrosion is the killer of the keenness. thus rendering the blade not so good to use.
    whichever is true, I like sharp blades.
  11. JoeB

    JoeB Well-Known Member

    Corrosion, oxidation, technique, beard type, proper stropping, proper honing all factors in edge longevity.
    gssixgun likes this.
  12. Tomas Garcia

    Tomas Garcia Member

    Isn't that why that bakelight DE travel sharpener was made?
  13. SRNewb

    SRNewb Well-Known Member

    To me, the question is mute; I want my edge as sharp as I can get it. Period. When it needs refreshing or resharpening, again, I want it as sharp as I can get it. The amount of time between sharpenings will vary because of a ton of individual factors, but when that time comes, I want it as sharp as it can possibly be. MHO.
    And if by "wartime" WW II is what is meant, I think DE blades back then were carbon, not stainless. At least for the most part. That would go a long way towaards explaining "keep it clean and dry". Again, MHO.
    Bristle Me likes this.

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