Which blade is sharpest?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Leisureguy, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. Leisureguy

    Leisureguy Read My Blog

    Well, if we pool our nickels and rent one of these, we can settle that question. I suspect, though, that even if we can objectively rank blades in terms of sharpness, that will provide little information about a ranking of "goodness" for any individual shaver.

    So far as I can tell, "sharpness" is just one part of the equation, and perhaps not the most important part (once a certain level of sharpness is achieved). The blade must also fit in with the full mix: the individual shaver's prep, beard, skin, razor, technique, and the like. This could be why a blade that's truly the best I've found (for me) can be the absolute worst blade as experienced by another shaver.

    I'm reminded of a study done by Don Hoyt years and years ago when he and I worked at The American College Testing Program (ACT). He was looking at the correlation between GPA in college (and grad school) and subsequent real-life success, "success" being defined in various ways depending on profession: income level, number of patents, rank in organization, patient survival rates, patient satisfaction, how many colleagues would refer family members to you for treatment, and so forth. He looked at many, many studies, and none found any correlation except one study at AT&T which found that managers with higher GPAs were more successful than managers with lower GPAs---but they refused to release the data so that Hoyt could evaluate the study.

    Now a certain level of GPA is required, or the individual flunks out and doesn't even get into the profession. But once that level is reached, the correlation ends---you have no idea whether the surgeon with a C average is going to be better or worse (or the same) as the surgeon with an A average. You might as well pick by eye color as by GPA.

    So it may be with blade sharpness: once a level of sharpness is reached, other factors come into play, with many of the factors being the characteristics of the shaver. (Of course, the blade also has other characteristics rather than sharpness: the type of coating(s) used, the quality of the steel, the thickness of the blade, the width of the blade, etc.)
  2. Sejanus

    Sejanus New Member

    I agree with what you are saying. The same can apply to a lot of different items that have quality control.

    The best and most expensive steak in the world can be completely destroyed and become inedible if you do not cook it correctly. In other words the tools and supplies can be amazing but unless there is someone behind them that knows what they are doing then it is all for nothing.
  3. hyperwarp

    hyperwarp New Member

    So if I wuz 2 buy me one of them there machines, that the ol'Ham-meister found, I cud, after reading the instructions real gud, be a :roflProfessional Blade Tester:rofl too.

    Then I cud write Authoritative Blade Reviews on the InnerNeck and make big
    bux, enuf 2 quite my "day job". 'N any Blade Company that wuzn't paying me off real big, I'd slam their butts fer sure.

    Wen, not if, I due go :DPRO:D 'n write up some InnerNeck site Revue's u guyz better
    agree with me or u jez' 'n Id'jit cuz I'm a Professionelle Blade Reviewr 'n yer not cuz I got me one'a them there fancy dancy Machines 'n read the instruction (or had SWMBO reed'em 2 me cuz sumtimez I don't read 2 gud):rofl 'n u don't have no machine like I do.

    Any opinions/experiences u have :eek:Don't Count:eek: fer nuttin' cuz them's
    just SUBJECTIVE cuz yer so Poor 'n Ignant that u can't afford one'a them there Blade Tester Machines like I'm gittin' me.

    I'm gonna be the PRO 'n u'all better not disagree w/my professional judgements or I'll ::banBan::ban yer buttz jizz as soon as Trader Joe (a notorious Shave Pornographer btw) or Queen of Blades ( a notorious beauty
    and intellilectuel of the fine artz of shavin') let's me be a MODERATOR.

    When I'm a moderator, I'll ::banBan::ban all yer u l'il guyz if'n ya disagree w/anythang I say. What I sez GOES, I'm going PRO 'n U don't Matter 'n U don't Count fer nuthin'

    YMMV ...but U better have enjoyed This Post and learned from it 'n if'n ya
    din't better just Shut Da'F up 'n learn yer place.

    I'm go'in PRO on u rank Am's 'n then theyz gonna let me Moderate :roflfer sure :rofl!!!
  4. Will

    Will Nevermind

    Stranger things have happend Hyper, they let me in the War Room. :whacky084
  5. peacefrog

    peacefrog Jet Setter

    I have a feeling that sharpness, beyond some minimum point, isn't necessarily better. I'm just speculating here, but I'd guess you'd see more nicks and cuts (as many people experience with Feathers), less durability, perhaps more blade deflection, more variation in manufacturing, higher price, etc.
  6. Will

    Will Nevermind

    This is where YMMV really comes into play.

    When I try new blades I feel Like Goldielocks, always looking for the blade that is JUST RIGHT!
  7. Leisureguy

    Leisureguy Read My Blog

    Doc, your post reminded me of John Steinbeck's looking for the perfect pencil. (He wrote on lined tablets with a pencil.) In one of his books, writing about writing a novel, he said that he finally found the perfect pencil---not too soft, not too hard, point didn't break, wrote smoothly, etc. The next day, he started writing with the pencil, and it was terrible: point kept snapping, point dug into the paper because the lead was too hard, etc. Same pencil. He belatedly realized that the biggest variable was not the pencil, but himself. :)
  8. Will

    Will Nevermind

    SO you are saying if I put my mind to it, I can shave with a Ronco Knife? ;)
  9. Sejanus

    Sejanus New Member

    Only if you fooled the knife into thinking your face was a tomato..:rofl
  10. Will

    Will Nevermind


    That is the angle I was going for. ::
  11. OldSaw

    OldSaw Active Member

    But how much? I find it hard to believe that there could be a wide margin among blades. Most agree that certain blades are sharper, or smoother, or last longer and the YMMV is usually not extreme, even though the user may not like the result.

    For instance, Feather blades generally tend to be rated as very sharp even by those that don't like them. The YMMV is usually whether or not the individual user can tolerate them, not that they left stubble behind. Also, most people who have tried corking blades tend to like the result and the YMMV is usually more about noticing an improvement rather than "it ruined my blade".
  12. TraderJoe

    TraderJoe Pink Floid


    Ok. :D

    Here's another exmple - Merkur blades tear me up and don't do anything toward BBS, but there are some people they work very well for.
  13. Leisureguy

    Leisureguy Read My Blog

    Well, to pick an example at random, the Treet Blue Special has been acclaimed as sharp and smooth by various shavers, and as terribly dull and wretched by others. Both groups are simply stating their own experience, but those experiences range from one end of the spectrum to the other. I don't understand why this should be, but it clearly happens.
  14. peacefrog

    peacefrog Jet Setter

    Could different razors account for this? My HD (the only razor with which I have experience) bends the blade as it's screwed down. I assume all razors do this. But razors probably do this to varying degrees, so that the angle of attack would be different for different razors. Seems like that could change the perceived sharpness. Also the amount of blade exposure could impart different characteristics to different blades. Lots of variable going on.
  15. Leisureguy

    Leisureguy Read My Blog

    Different razors, different beards, different skins, different prep, different techniques, and so on. For example, a shaver may have developed a technique that works well with his current blade (and all the other variables), but a change in blade exposes a flaw in the technique, which means the blade is bad---or the blade may really be bad. It's very hard to know, which is why no firm rule or ranking seems possible.
  16. hyperwarp

    hyperwarp New Member

    Some young Pup could probably work all this up into a nice Master's Thesis if
    they were so inclined...

    LOL...I'm thinking good ol'Gareth Probert over in Angleterre...Sharp young feller, exploring the good things in life....Gareth, U owe me !!!!
  17. I find the razor & blade match very important. I can get a good shave out of any blade I like, but a great shave if it's in the right razor.

    Wilkinson (German) > Gillette Aristocrat

    Gillette Silver Blue > Merkur Progress

    Trig Stainless or Feather > Feather Popular


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