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 affordable and accessible, too. Here is the basics of what has been discussed so far: GDCarrington - "The questions for a producer would be: Is there enough interest and would the producer be able to be offset in the the added cost of the hone mechanism versus standard DE razors? Especially since the hone was designed for Carbon Blades and not Stainless. Can cost structure be made attractive enough price wise, and have enough units sold, to meet economies of scale so they are not "stuck" with honing razors with less than necessary sales to support the line from the producer's point of view?" gorgo - "...Y'know, the more I think of it since posting it before...it could be a relatively simple design problem to figure out a way to make a high quality razor that takes the (virtually) only two remaining wetshaving blade styles, which together must equal over 99% of the traditional wetshaving market..." PLANofMAN - "I'm still trying to figure out how a SE blade could work in a design like this along with a DE blade. The flex of the DE is one of the reasons this razor is so effective, but SE blades are thick enough not to need the added rigidity provided by a curved silhouette. I think the best approach would be to market this kind of razor as a replacement SE razor with more blade options. It already provides a SE type shave, but with a bit more flexibility, both in the shave and in the blade choice. I've been giving some thought to a modern redesigned shake sharp...I agree with what others have said, that the sharpening feature is largely useless to the modern shaver. If we took that feature out and replaced it with a dual adjustment system, one that lets you adjust both blade exposure and blade gap, you would truly have a razor for the masses, especially if you were also able to adjust handle length by removing sections of the handle. I think it is doable, and would be a fairly simple build, easy to clean, with a minimum of moving parts. The trickiest part would be the cap." gorgo - "Shave-wise, what would be the advantage of being able to adjust gap and exposure? Wouldn't adjusting one (gap probably would be easiest) have essentially the same effect?" PLANofMAN - "I don't think so. Or rather I do think so, but I also think that being able to adjust exposure would also change the characteristics of the shave. With minimal gap and large exposure, you would have a razor that is mild, but produces loud feedback. Large gap and large exposure would give you a super agressive razor, while the opposite would give you an extremely quiet, very mild razor. Think about it for a bit. Every razor that you've ever used has shaved just a tad bit differently, usually because of the combination of blade gap and exposure. The curve of the blade has a bit to do with it as well, but I feel that the curvature of the 2nd generation shake sharps is already optimal." gorgo - "Okay, I think I see where you're going with that. I know you realize that it would make for some complicated (possibly unprecedentedly complex for a razor) design and manufacturing, though, to have both, and you know what that means...added expense. Not trying to be a wet blanket; just pointing out the kind of things I know you want to hear if you ever seriously pursue this. Also...just a thought...since pretty much everyone who is into wetshaving is primarily into DE, and if you're going to eliminate the hone, would your design have to be mono-edged as well? Again, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket at all so don't misread me, but the hone IS the sole reason the S.S. resembled an SE -- because they couldn't engineer a honing mechanism that would sharpen both edges of a DE at one time. So...question: Since adjustable DE technology and designs have been refined to the point where they are widely duplicated - butterfly doors and all - is it possibly to engineer a razor that does most of what you want BUT will hone both edges of a blade as well? Perhaps a hone on a lockable, bi-directional rocker arm inside the blade tray? I mention this possibility only because you said the bakelite one does sharpen stainless pretty well, so why not make it a selling point again? Short of that, how about a DE design that incorporates both gap and exposure adjustments? Yeah it's derivative but the technology already exists, it works, and it still sells. Adding an adjustable-length handle should be simple..."