Karve razor by Christopher Bradley: First impressions....

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Str8on2, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Well, thanks to the B/S/T (DFS) and a great forum member I was able to pick up a Karve CB razor with the C & D plates paired with a 3” handle. Big thank you to gregcss for getting it to me pronto. [​IMG]

    I ordered one back on June 3rd but, with the delays and knowing that I probably would not see my razor for at least another month, I jumped at the opportunity in acquiring one. The one I ordered will come with the E & F plates with the 3.5” handle. Whenever that is. For now I’m thrilled and excited to have gotten this one and try it out.

    So the kit came in yesterday and I had already shaved the night before with the Brass General that produced an excellent, BBS shave. I didn’t have my usual stubble after 10-12 hours as the shave was that close but, I was on my way to the regular 5 O’Clock shadow right about 7-8pm and decided to give it a go with the Karve. Actually I just had the itch to try it out and couldn’t wait until Sunday mornings shave.

    As everyone else has stated here and elsewhere once or a thousand times before, the build quality, fitment and preciseness is absolutely magnificent. The handle has excellent texture with great feel and it would be hard to believe that someone could say that the razor is difficult to hold when water or lather is running off of it. The knurling is that good. Installing the blade between the blade tabs is secure and precise once it’s locked in and tightened down with the smooth handle action turning onto the top cap screw stud. One of the smoothest actions I’ve felt. Quality workmanship here Gents, plain and simple with high attention to detail.

    So, how was the shave? Very good, thank you. I went with the D plate for the trial run and a used Gillette SP 7 O’Clock (6-7 shaves on it) blade that produced a smooth, comfortable 3 pass shave without a single issue. Like I said before, I had very light stubble from the previous shave but, the Karve went through the stubble with a shave that was effortless and honestly I was done in 2 passes. I just threw in a 3rd pass for a very, very light touch up around Sir Adam’s Apple that the Karve cleaned up nicely. Through out the whole shave I felt that the razor was properly balanced and weighted with excellent maneuverability anywhere on my face and neck and was easy and intuitive in getting the right angle from stroke 1 on. I can’t tell you about the upper lip area or stache as I’ve always maintained a stache for the past 10 years. But I can’t see anyone having an issue with the razor head as it does have a slim profile for getting underneath the nose and cleaning this area up.

    How does it compare shave quality wise? I really hate doing comparisons between razors. I’d rather say similar too because shave feel in terms of mildness, aggressiveness, efficiency and smoothness varies for every single individual. What it feels like to me is a cleaner, smoother feeling Rockwell 6s/6c with a bit more efficiency. I have both of those razors and the Karve shaves similarly close to an R5 plate only somehow smoother, light blade feel yet deceptively efficient. It reminds me also of another brass razor that is smooth, mild and deceptively efficient. Yup, the Brass General that I shaved with a couple of days ago. Also similar in shave feel to the Rex Ambassador when dialed in between 2-3, perhaps closer to 2.

    It’s only one shave with it but, it was a very good shave. I’m going to get a full weeks worth in with each of the plates, C&D respectively. I see good shaves ahead......

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  2. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Great review of a great razor. It seems like the Karve razor is very well liked among DE shavers world wide at the moment.
  3. LatherShaves

    LatherShaves New Member

    I absolutely love mine!

  4. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree. I really don't buy much into the hype and when individuals say it's the greatest razor ever made. There's always a bit of embellishments into those reviews and proclamations.
    I always prefer to purchase if I can and make my own conclusions.

    But, I have to say this Karve razor has been a very nice surprise and dare I say "lived up to its hype" somewhat. 2 shaves in and nothing but a very smooth shave with just the right amount of efficiency. That's just been with the D plate, I just might try the C and see how that works out. Truthfully, I'm really looking forward to receiving the E & F plates as the reviews on those have been quite good.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  5. ugadawg

    ugadawg Well-Known Member

    I just received my razor with the D plate last weekend. I only shaved with it twice before trading the D plate for the F plate. I think the D plate did ok efficiency wise, but there isn't any blade feel, so I had trouble with it. I tend to apply too much pressure if I can't feel the blade. I'm hoping the F plate works better for me because I really like the feel of the razor in my hand.
  6. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Got on with my 3rd shave with the Karve and 1st with the C plate. The first 2 shaves with the D plate were actually quite good using a Gillette SP 7 O’Clock and a fresh Derby Premium respectively. Both smooth, comfy and relatively efficient enough for me. Both shaves were with barely a full days growth. So, today was with the C and I had a full 24 hours + of facial hair to work with. Why the C? Just had to give a shot and see whether it would cut the mustard.

    Shave was quite good with a smooth feel and very comfortable with barely any blade feel at all but, it did cut the whiskers. Only thing was that it took me a complete full 3 passes plus some touch ups and slight buffing which gave me a very, very tiny bit of irritation along my jawline and neck. But I attained a BBS finish albeit at the cost of slight discomfort, nothing that the splashes couldn’t take care of which they did in 10-15 mins. helping subside the slight irritation.

    The C plate did the job but it took some work to get there and it helped in bringing along the shave irritation bullies to the party uninvited. Mental note that if using the C plate in the future, it’s a good candidate for a Kai blade. Next shave I’m going to go 3-4 days hopefully without a shave and put the D plate to the test. I’ll keep a Kai ready just in case the Derby Premium isn’t up to the task. Will report back by the end of the week....

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  7. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    I’ve had a Karve razor in the 3” handle with the C & D plates and they have shaved fairly well. For anyone that enjoys a bit of a mild, smooth but with decent efficiency, these 2 will work for you with the D being a nice step up. Now, I received my 3.5” handle with the E & F plates and I got around to trying the E plate in tonight’s shave. Very good smoothness with a slight bump in blade feel and efficiency, but nothing to be scared of honestly. It was a very satisfying 2.5 pass shave that left no doubt that the Karve by CB is a serious contender. I feel as though the Karve with the E plate is what the Rockwell 6s should have been with the R6 plate.

    Like I said previously, if you like a more milder shave the C & D plate would be an excellent combo for everyday shaving. Let me put it this way. If your a Rockwell 6s/6c fan you will get the feel of an R3,R4 plate with the Karve C plate, only smoother and slightly more efficient. With the Karve D plate you would get an R5 to R6 feel on the 6s but, again smoother and I feel just as efficient if not more so. The Karve E takes the 6s out of the equation in efficiency yet still shaves as smooth as the the 6s with the R6 plate. Might be confusing but, that’s as best as I can explain it.

    Overall the shave was fantastic as the 3.5” handle made a big difference for me. It felt better balanced in my hands and my fingers were properly spaced and just felt more comfortable for me. This is an excellent shave system that is meticulously made with precision that is as close to perfection imho. For the $$$ it’s a real steal for the quality that one is getting. Prices will be going up Gents and if you can jump on one now I’d highly recommend and urge you to pick your handle length and base plates and just wait for some really great and enjoyable shaves.....

  8. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    My post from another forum. I left it as is....

    From my last shave with the Karve and E plate, I decided to give myself a couple of days of growth and see how the F plate would fair. I used the same Astra SP blade with one shave on it and got set up. I wasn’t expecting equal smoothness to the D or E plate and honestly I wanted a step up in efficiency and blade feel and wouldn’t mind sacrificing a bit of smoothness to get it.

    Well, I got what I wanted and in spades. Yet, to me the F plate still gave me a relatively smooth feeling shave that was comfortable and easy to manage with sound technique. No, you don’t need Ikon Tech touch or technique, far from it but, you still have to show a tad of awareness cause if you slip up, it can bite a bit. I was actually quite surprised and pleased at the amount of hair it removed on the first pass alone. Like I said very good efficient feel with a nice forward blade feel to it. Not aggressive gents, just nice blade feel and a nice sounding cutting action.

    I can’t compare the Karve with some of the Higher end razors such as a Timeless .95 SB/OC, Charcoal Goods L2 or L3 or any Wolfman in .80/.86 gaps for I don’t have either one of those. Plus the Gents that have posted prior to me here have given excellent renderings with the razors I’ve mentioned on comparison values to the Karve. I don’t have a high end DE to compare it to besides a Dart & Blackbird and a Rex Ambassador. The first 2 Blackland razors I get a bit more in blade feel and efficiency with just a whisker less smoothness compared to the Karve. With the Rex I get a bit less blade feel, but almost if not equally smooth to the Karve. Actually, the only razor that I have that actually feels like the Karve “F” in both efficiency and smoothness is an SE, the Cobra Classic. The Cobra feels like it hugs my face more but, they are very similar in feel and shave action.

    To sum it up, it’s just an excellent shave system with perhaps the best bang pound for pound for your hard earned $$$. It stacks up very well with any razor I have in my den regardless of format, including straights. I’m going to put in a full months work of shaves just to fiddle with it a bit but, I know the outcome. It’s a hell of a razor.....

  9. Rhody

    Rhody Well-Known Member

    Fantastic review and impressions!

    Can you compare the dart to a specific karve plate?

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  10. Zed117

    Zed117 Well-Known Member

    Great info. I own a Rex and 6s, so that comparison is useful. Sounds like C plate would be right up my alley then.
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  11. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Another fantastic shave today with the Karve armed with the F guard plate. Just an incredibly efficient and relatively smooth shaver that left me with my jaw dropping to the sink and faceturbating constantly. Light touch, good, smooth consistent strokes and this razor leaves no doubt that it wants to be your top of the shelf shaver on a daily basis. To be honest, it’s putting up a good argument with superb results backing it up.

    If your a fan of the R41, Ikon Tech, PAA DOC SS, Blackbird SB/OC and any of the more efficient razors from the big boys such as Timeless, Charcoal Goods, Wolfman and the like, this razor is a must on the razor bucket list. I know, there are those that can’t stand the smell of Brass and the reaction to their skin types, that’s a given. But seriously, the Karve stands tall with all of the razors mentioned above. And if we were to talk $$$ to performance ratio, the Karve smokes all of them, hands down. End of discussion, I’m done here........




  12. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

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  13. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    Sorry for the delay, I missed seeing this post somehow. Comparable to the Blackland Dart? I would have to say no. The Dart feels a bit more efficient while the Karve is still a bit smoother with the F guard plate.
    Douglas Carey, Screwtape and Rhody like this.
  14. brit

    brit in a box

    which plate is similar in feel to a gillette slim on 3-5? interested in purchasing one. thank you in advance.
    Douglas Carey likes this.
  15. Str8on2

    Str8on2 Well-Known Member

    That’s a tough call. I own plates C-F, and they all feel more efficient than the Slim between 3-5. The C would be closest to the 5 on the Slim in my estimation. Perhaps a B guard would be closer to what you are looking for as I am assuming you prefer a bit milder shave. But, the C is amazingly smooth with hardly any blade feel and yet still brings some decent efficiency to the table. Hopefully someone with a Karve and B plate can chime in with their thoughts on it. Sorry, as I’m afraid I didn’t help much in what you needed to hear...
  16. brit

    brit in a box

    thank for the info. i do like a milder shave and most of my vintage gillettes range between 3-6,adjustables not included. a b and c plate would probably work great.thanks again ,gary.
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  17. dmshaver

    dmshaver Well-Known Member

    I enjoy reading these reviews. It’s a razor that has quickly gained a lot of attention and praise. Thank you.
    Douglas Carey, Str8on2 and brit like this.
  18. SpeedyPC

    SpeedyPC Well-Known Member

    I'm enjoying my Karve razor using the D base plate, it's super smooth.

    I'm going to use the D base for a while before I move up to the next E base plate soon

    HURRY UP!!! we all want a stainless steel version so bloody BAD!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  19. LatherShaves

    LatherShaves New Member

    Thank you!
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  20. shaveking

    shaveking New Member

    first shave with 3" karve c plate and zorrick blade --also a 1st. great shave, bbs 2 pass with no irritation. I've been using the game changer(.68) timeless .38 and rockwell 6c.
    great shaves from each, but the karve has them beat. i know it's only the 1st shave, but i've been wet shaving with d.e. razors for 40+ years.

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