The Self Lubricating Razors Thread

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by PLANofMAN, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Photo credit: J. Phillip Faranda
    Now that there are numerous models of 'self lubricating razors,' I thought there ought to be a thread devoted to discussing this unique subset of modern and vintage open comb razors.

    They are characterized by having a slotted top cap. The slots may or may not line up with the teeth of the baseplate. The purpose of the slots is to serve the same function as lubricating strips on a modern cartridge razor, only without the sluglike slime trail.

    @John Ruschmeyer helpfully posted the following:

    According to the original patent:

    "My invention relates to a new and useful improvement in a safety razor, and has for its object the provision of a safety razor so constructed and arranged that when dipped in water or placed in a running stream of water, it will retain a quantity of the water and release the same when the cutting edge of the blade is placed against the face.

    It is another object of the invention to provide a safety razor so constructed and arranged that it may moisten the lather immediately preceding the cutting blade as it is drawn over the face.

    Another object of the invention is the provision of a safety razor having a back plate provided at its opposite edges with transversely directed longitudinally spaced apart slots of such a width as to provide water receiving and retaining spaces so that as the razor is drawn over the face in the shaving operation, the water retained in the slots will flow onto the face and serve moistening purposes."

    The original self lubricating razor is the "Grand Shave King Self Lubricating razor." This razor was released in three different models, dates of manufacture are uncertain, but the patent for them was applied for in 1944, and granted in 1945. Due to their somewhat fragile nature and brass and aluminum construction, not many have survived to present day. 10 years ago, they were rare finds and often sold for $80-100 at a time when the Gillette Fatboy was $25-35. Currently, most are in the hands of collectors and on the rare occasion one does come up for auction, prices can reach upwards of $300.

    Luckily, in recent years, there have been a whole slew of modern reproductions. The first and most well known of these was put out as a homage by Pheonix Artisan Accoutrements called the Double Open Comb razor, but most people shorten it to DOC.

    The DOC model had a zinc alloy head, brass handle and was chrome plated. Quality control issues with the plating meant that the shiny chrome version was discontinued. It was replaced with a satin finish chrome version which was also discontinued. After several slight tweaks to the design, the current version is nickel plated. This is considered an excellent starter razor for those new to wet shaving, due to it's ease of use, comfort and mildness. It was introduced in 2013, and with a few periods of unavailability, has remained in production. A variant called the "Flight," combines the original DOC head with a two-piece 'travel' handle.

    After the success of the original DOC, the DOC Evolution was introduced. More aggressive than it's cheaper cousin, this razor is fully machined from 304 stainless, and is designed for the experienced wet shaver seeking a more aggressive and efficient shave. It was produced from 2015-2016.

    The demise of the Evolution was caused by the release of the DOC Ascension. Originally CNC machined from 7075 aluminum, it is now also made from 316L stainless steel. Moving away from the original DOC's bulldog style handle, the Ascension comes with a Gillette Ball End style handle, what PAA calls a "bomb tip" handle. The cap assembly is more curved than previous models, which they claim makes the razor adjustable (tighten or loosen handle to change aggressiveness, much like the Gillette Old Type razors). This razor is available in a machined copper/silver alloy as well.

    Occasionally, PAA releases limited edition finishes on these razors, notably the Grackle (cerakote/DLC black) and the Red & Black (anodized red & black).

    The Australian company Yaqi is also a manufacturer/importer of self lubricating razors. Their heads are chrome plated zinc.

    The Yaqi SRH-12 Mellon is similar to PAA's original DOC razor, and is quite mild.

    For those who don't want YAQI branding on the top cap, the same razor head (with 4 stainless handle choices) is sold through Italian Barber as the SLOC (Self Lubricating Open Comb) razor.

    The Yaqi SRH-77 is a slant, bar guard version. It's one of the more aggressive self lubricating razor designs.

    The Yaqi Grill is an odd duck, and is included as a courtesy. It's an "open comb" design, according to the manufacturer. I think it's a hybrid bar guard design, similar to the R-41, Occam's SS DE, or the Apollo Red Ring. According to Yaqi, it's a very aggressive razor, but I have been unable to find any reviews to confirm this.

    The Yaqi "Beast" is a community created frankenrazor, but one that has been cheerfully adopted by the manufacturer. It pairs the SRH-12 Mellon top cap with the SRH-04 (Yaqi's version of the DE-89) baseplate. Aggressive as the 2011 R-41, but just a tad less efficient, is how one user described it.

    Pearl (also sold in the U.S. as Cadet) had a DOC design on their website, the SSP-94 or SSP-95, depending on the choice of handle, but no longer. It appeared to be a copy of the PAA DOC. They still deserve a mention, since one of the more popular frankenrazor combinations is the Yaqi Mellon/IB SLOC top cap paired with the Pearl open comb baseplate. This ups the aggression of the Yaqi, while at the same time smooths out the Pearl. This combination is more aggressive and efficient than the Mellon/SLOC razor.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  2. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    The only ads I find for the GSK are a handful from 45-46.

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  3. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    I do believe that is the worst razor drawing I've ever seen. From the angle of the head, the handle should be pointing in the other direction.

    It's pretty well confirmed that the grand shave king razors were only around for about 3 years.
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  4. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Yes by '48 we're definitely seeing old stock clearance (January 48, Edmonton)


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  5. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    The Pearl DOC carried the model number SSP-94 or SSP-95, depending on handle. It looked to be a copy of the PAA.

    Sent from my iPhone using TappityTalk Pro
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  6. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Awesome! Added that info to the OP. :)
    brit likes this.
  7. Terry

    Terry Tool Admirer

    Fine thread sir!
    Thanks for starting one.

    20200111_162552.jpg Left to right.

    First, is the Yaqi Grill SRH039-C.
    You can only buy the head, or combo it with other razors. I bought only the head.
    It's very efficient (aggressive), it does compare to a R41 in closeness. I do find that it will give a more comfortable shave than the 41. Not sure it belongs in this class of blade holders. I think the open slots on the head is more for weight reduction.

    Second is the Yaqi Slant Open Comb SRH-77. Once again you can only buy the head or combo it with other razors. It does have some of the self lubricanting design on the head, but very little. It is also a very efficient (agressive) head. Comparable to the R41, makes a lot of noise as you use it. Very comfortable shave if you don't mind its chattering.

    Third is the PAA DOC. A very inefficient (mild) tool to say the least. Even with a feather blade, it doesn't shave overly close.

    Fourth is a Chinese knock off, cheap, inefficient and doesn't include a handle. It's comparable to the PAA DOC.

    Hope this helps.

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  8. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    So the Pearl razors are not listed on TBH, the only reason that I knew the model numbers is that I still have a saved eBay search from when I hoped that they would become available.

    The good news is that I was able to find pictures of the SSP-94M at & cartridges/razors & cartridges
    ssp-94mc_4_.jpg ssp-94mc_3_.jpg ssp-94mc_1_.jpg ssp-94mc_2_.jpg

    I'll leave it up to someone else to decide if there is/was a resemblance to the PAA DOC.
  9. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    The head at least, is visually identical to the Gen 1 PAA DOC.

    I decided to shave with my DOC today in honor of this thread. I'd say it's been about a year and half since I used it last.

    Razor: PAA DOC 1st gen razor
    Blade: Voskhod (I know, I don't like them)
    Soap: Barrister & Mann Cologne Russe
    Aftershave: B&M Cologne Russe
    Brush: New Forest Tubby 2

    The shave was quite good, despite using a despised Voskhod blade. This may be the only razor I don't mind using it in. Most shaves I do a single pass, with touch ups on my neck.

    The DOC is mild enough I opted for a full three pass shave, with a fourth full pass on my neck. No nicks (from the razor), no razor burn. Quite the closest shave I've had in a while. I did manage to nick my neck with the scissors while trimming my beard, an experience altogether new to me, and one I will endeavor to avoid in the future.

    One thing is clear to me. The PAA DOC is perhaps the greatest blade buffing razor ever made.
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  10. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    I have a Razorock SLOC(Yaqi Mellon head) and it is a great razor to use because it's so carefree a shave. I did some crude testing on the razor when I first received it a couple of years ago. I dunked a EJ DE 89 style razor in water and then shook off the water on the counter top & then dunked the Razorock SLOC in water and then shook off the water and it quite obvious that the SLOC held a lot more water(4X maybe). So when I shave with my SLOC I will dunk it more times than average than with other razors in the water. I think after applying the lather and gliding the saturated water razor across the skin it reactivates the slickness in the soap making the razor glide better and I rarely ever nick myself with the SLOC. People who use DOC think it traps the lather and reapply s it as you stroke it across your face - I not sold on that idea so much.
    Excellent buffing also with a DOC if you dunk the razor in the water and then apply the buffing maneuver , because the slickness in the soap is reactivated from the water that will protect your skin a little better IMO. So the ad verifies my thought's on how it works, Thanks to @jmudrick once again for his research as a (Keener razor Historian).
    Have some great shaves!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  11. Weasel640

    Weasel640 Well-Known Member

    I seem to recall, can't remember where I heard it... But I think that PAA has source some of there products from Pearl. They don't make these Razors in house, so in the way that the IB SlOC is the same as the Yaqi, I think the PAA DOC is the same as the Pearl.
    Terry likes this.
  12. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    I figured as much. It kind of makes me wonder what the terms of their contract are and whether that had anything to do with why Pearl pulled the razor.
    Terry likes this.
  13. Courierdog

    Courierdog New Member

    I have acquired and used every version and variant of the Self Lubricating Open Comb Razor, vintage and current.
    The following is my summary.
    Self Lubricating Open Comb Razors
    Observations of all variants of the Self Lubricating Open Comb Razor that requires careful attention.
    This applies to ALL SLOCR variants, Grand Shave King (GSK), Phoenix DOC, YAQI Mellon, RazorRock SLOC, or any Frankenstein version.
    For this of Explanation I will use the “SLOCR” meaning any version of Self Lubricating Open Comb Razor
    The Primary thing I learned while using a SLOCR:
    Shave Angle of the SLOCR is SUPER important, more so than any other DE razor I have used.
    I have found the
    Shave Angle of the SLOCR is Extremely Narrow.
    Shave Angle must be positioned perfectly to shave cleanly with any degree of smoothness.
    Go off the the
    Shave Angle in either direction and essentially you will not hear the Extremely Critical Blade Noise.
    Hearing the SLOCR Blade Noise is the key to maintaining the proper Shave Angle and Shave Efficiency.
    If the
    Shave Angle is too great you will be rubbing your face with the OC topcap.
    If the
    Shave Angle is to little you will be scratching your face with the OC baseplate teeth
    Neither action is
    Shave Effective.
    In other words, keep that
    Shave Angle so you can hear the Blade Noise on the beard and you will be very happy with this type of razor.
    Summary: the SLOCR is totally unique in my DE experience and is a total winner.
    The SLOCR in any configuration or manufacturer will provide an amazing shave.
    I recommend this type of razor to any and all who desire shave comfort and safety over absolute closeness.
    This razor is suitable for any available DE Razor Blade and will deliver an acceptable daily shave in a single pass without fuss and minimal risk. Any tool containing a blade does exhibit some risk.
    Thanks for Listening
  14. Courierdog

    Courierdog New Member

    Continuing the thread, and using a Topcap with the Mellon style or Open Comb Topcap.
    For instance:
    Pair a Muhle R41 Baseplate with a YAQI Mellon Topcap - Aggression softened by the Mellon Topcap
    Pair a Global Shave Club 41+ Tribute Baseplate with a YAQI Mellon Topcap - Aggression softened by the Mellon Topcap
    Pair a vintage Gillette Old Style Open Comb with a YAQI Mellon Topcap
    There are many other Three Pin Baseplate which can be used with the YAQI Mellon to great effect.
    Thanks for Listening

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