Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Carbon steel

with 5 comments

Today I tried the first of the two types of carbon steel blades I got for the GEM G-Bar. Why carbon steel? Based on a comment from Steven (and thanks for the pointer), I read this note, which makes the case that carbon steel blades are sharper:

The GEM Scientific Razor Blades are fabricated from carbon steel, not stainless steel. The reason for this is very simple: One can achieve a sharper (smaller radius of curvature at the) edge with carbon steel than with stainless steel, and the GEM Scientific Razor Blades are the sharpest edges we can offer. In addition, they are not coated with oil or anything else to protect the edge and increase corrosion resistance. This does mean that the blades will rust easily if exposed to a moist environment. It also means that they will not contaminate the material being cut, a feature of great importance for many scientific and other technical applications. For those not familiar with razor blade technology, the ease of cutting of stainless steel blades is achieved by coating the cutting edge, not by the sharpness of the blade.

For kitchen knives, I know that carbon steel sharpens more easily than stainless and to a sharper edge, but also dulls more quickly—the compensating factor being the ease of sharpening. Professional meat cutters, I’ve read, use carbon steel and simply have a sharpening steel (to restore the edge) hanging from their belt: cut, cut, cut, steel; cut, cut, cut, steel—easy and practiced, much like a billiard player’s using the chalk between shots.

At any rate, I ordered carbon steel blades from Ted Pella (the site above requires a $50 minimum order). Steven pointed out that Ted Pella actually seems to have two different types of carbon-steel blades. Today, I used this one.

But first, of course, the prep. I used D.R. Harris Arlington shaving soap in the wooden bowl. I am greatly impressed by the D.R. Harris soaps. Great stuff—I think their soap is even superior to their shaving cream. I used the Rooney Style 3 Small Super Silvertip, and got a very nice lather very quickly.

Then, with the Gem G-Bar loaded with the carbon steel blade…. [to be continued]

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2007 at 7:09 am

Posted in Shaving

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Couldn’t resist. Sorry.

    The shave I got was quite smooth, though the blade didn’t seem sharper—but the original note mentions that the stainless blades are Teflon coated and so cut more smoothly. In any event, the proof of the pudding, as it were, is in the shave, and this is my typical exceptional shave.

    I used the Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood aftershave. Wonderful stuff. Fantastic aroma. I feel like a suave and debonair guy.

    Hoping you are the same,
    I remain,
    Your faithful correspondent,



    25 May 2007 at 7:11 am

  2. I noticed the Feather brand carbon steel DE blades on the Ted Pella link there… anybody ever use those? They look to be the same color as the old Gillette Blue Blades. I use the regular feather DE’s mostly and occasionally a derby or IP if my skin needs a break… but always curious to try new blades!



    25 May 2007 at 7:54 am

  3. I’ve also been tempted to try them, the more so after reading the linked note above about carbon steel. But guys on the SMF forum have said that they’re pretty rough—I assume because they’re uncoated. Still…

    If you break down and try them, post a note.



    25 May 2007 at 8:14 am

  4. You’re enabling my RBAD…



    25 May 2007 at 9:37 am

  5. Well, now it’s a research project, and we’ll need a report. 🙂



    25 May 2007 at 9:46 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: