Later On

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

Perfect shave with new Standard Razor

with 18 comments

SOTD 5 Dec 2013

UPDATE: I was wrong about the handle: the threaded stud is in fact threaded on both ends: it can be screwed out of the cap and also screwed out of the handle. When the stud is left in the cap, unscrewing the handle from it, the Standard handle can easily be swapped with other razor handles: the tapped part is a standard size. I will be putting a little LocTite on the threads that go into the cap so that the stud will, in effect, become part of the cap, as is traditional.

An absolutely perfect BBS result—and a very pleasant shave—with my new Standard Razor. I do think that’s an odd name for the product: I like to use “standard” to refer to… well, standards, and this razor has some distinctive non-standard features.

But let us begin at the beginning. After the usual pre-shave beard wash at the sink, I worked up an instant lather from the Los Angeles Shaving Soap Company’s Vanilla/Eucalyptus/Mint shaving soap, and I do like the fragrance. (Vanilla—that pretty much brings me in). The lather was  quite good—dense and admirable—and I used the Astra Superior Platinum blade that came with the razor.

Aside: At one time the consensus was that one should never use the blade shipped with this razor. This was based on an assumption that the loose blade would become terribly damaged in shipment. That never made much sense to me, and with an increasing number of razors accompanied by a pack of blades, the idea seems to have withered: no one wants to throw away a full pack, and if blades are not protected in the pack, what’s the point of ordering them on-line? They should be purchased then directly at the plant, as they come off the assembly line, to avoid damage. But we don’t do that because in fact wrapped blades are pretty secure against damage.

I think what was happening is this: in those days, the Merkur 34C was the overwhelming choice of a new razor. (Secondhand/vintage razors do not come with a complimentary blade, so the issue arises only for new razors.) And indeed many found that the loose blade included gave a terrible shave. The simple explanation, however, is not that the blade was damaged, it’s that Merkur blades work well for very few. The majority of shavers find Merkur blades pretty bad in shaving performance.

It was, I believe, a hasty generalization from the poor performance of Merkur blades for most shavers . /aside

I did three passes with no problems at all and achieved a perfect BBS result. A splash of Stetson Sierra, and the weekend’s in sight.

Now, some comments on the non-standard aspects of the razor.

First, it’s made of aluminum. Because aluminum is a superior heat conductor, I worried that the razor would feel hot on my face after being rinsed in hot water. Not so: it feels no different than any of my other razors. Theory crumbles beneath the weight of experience.

Second, the head is slightly wider so that you do not feel the ends of the blade protruding from the head. I like this treatment since my fingertips don’t get gouged when I change the blade (as with three-piece razors where the ends of the blade protrude: the Gillette NEW, the Sodial, et al.). Like most (all?) of the iKon razors, the ends of the head are perfectly smooth even when the razor’s loaded with a blade. (I think the original idea was to let the blade’s ends protrude to make it easier to remove the blade from the cap, but blade removal really isn’t a problem with the wider head, and the feel when assembling or disassembling the razor is much improved without the blade’s ends sticking out.)

Third, the handle is a smooth rod with no finial knob of any sort. Almost all razor handles end with some sort of knob, which proves quite useful in the ATG pass. When I took the razor from the package, the smoothness initially worried me: it seemed smoother, because of its very fine texture, than a polished handle (e.g., the Edwin Jagger chrome-plated razor, whose handle is smooth and polished—the Standard handle is smooth with a very slight texture that makes it feel slipperier than the EJ in the grip of a dry hand). But in fact the handle’s smoothness did not turn out to be a problem: it was easy to hold once wet, and I never noticed any slipperiness during the shave. If it had turned out to be slippery, it wouldn’t really be a problem: brushing one’s wet fingers over an alum block provides a totally secure grip.

And the lack of a terminating knob on the handle also proved to be no problem in practice. Certainly the handle had a different feel from the typical razor handle—dare I say it had a nonstandard feel?—but it was easy to grip throughout the shave, including the ATG pass.

It’s worth noting that my worries (i.e., expectations regarding the experience) were groundless. I’ve learned that that is often the case with expectations, good or bad, regarding future experiences.

The fourth non-standard feature has a bit more impact. One advantage of the three-piece design (in addition to its simplicity and sturdiness) is that you can swap handles from one three-piece razor to another. Indeed, some vendors sell razor handles separately:

And, of course, you can use the handle from any three-piece razor—e.g., a Gillette Tech or NEW or whatever—except with the Standard Razor, which has a nonstandard handle attachment:

Standard razor

The standard (small-s) way to attach the handle is that the cap has a threaded center stud that extends through a hole in the baseplate, and the handle is tapped with matching threads. NoHelmet, of Wicked_Edge, notes:

Two different thread pitches are the most common [for razor handles]. They are 10-32 (US) and M5x.8 (Metric). If the handle is tapped to M5, practically any head will work with it. This isn’t always true when trying to use a 10-32 (such as all vintage Gillettes) handle on a newer M5 head. The pitches are very similar, but M5 is ever so slightly larger.

As you can see, in the so-called Standard Razor, the threaded stud extends from the handle, not the cap, and the diameter of that stud is significantly smaller than is standard among three-piece razors. [WRONG, wrong, wrong: the threaded stud is a separate piece that is threaded on both ends and can also be unscrewed from the handle—and at that point, any standard (small-s) razor handle can be used with the Standard. I only recently learned this, and I will use some LocTite on the threads that go into the cap so the stud will become permanently attached to the cap, making the handle completely interchangeable with other razor handles. 12 Aug 2014. – LG]

Regarding the threaded stud: before receiving the razor, I had concerns about threaded aluminum parts (cf. the Mühle aluminum travel brushes—I recommend the nickel-plated brass version since the aluminum threads of the others tend to strip over time). But in the Standard handle the threaded stud is not aluminum: it appears to be stainless steel (which is why it can be of a small diameter and still be strong). The tapped stud in the cap appears to be aluminum, but this aluminum alloy seems to be quite strong—aircraft aluminum—and I do not foresee any problems at all with the threaded connection: another worry proved baseless in practice. [Someone pointed out that aluminum-on-aluminum threads are prone to galling. -LG]

It works perfectly well, but you are not going to use this handle in another razor, nor another razor’s handle with this head. (This discussion illustrates why calling the entire razor a “handle” is confusing—and what do those who call the razor a “handle” call the handle?  /pet peeve)

The fit, finish, and workmanship is excellent throughout. Although the razor is sold at StandardRazors.com, I did note that my order acknowledgement came from Associated-Works.com, “a Los Angeles-based Product Design Consultancy.” That doubtless accounts for the slick, minimalist design (and the non-standard aspects of the razor).

Overall, I would rate it as an excellent razor, with quality like that of the Weber or other premium razors, but going a somewhat different direction.

UPDATE: One reader wrote to suggest that the exposed blade tabs (the part of the DE blade that protrudes from the end of razors such as the Edwin Jagger, Gillette NEW, and the like) actually serve a function beyond facilitating blade removal. He points out:

[Having the blade tabs exposed] allows for minor adjustments of the blade which I find necessary with DE blades and razors.  I find the iKon slant really difficult to load the blade straight, takes me 3-5 times usually, exposed blade tabs would make this so much easier just to wiggle the blade into the right space.  The only design where I find the blade tabs covered to be useful is when the top cap has the blade-holding tabs in the corner like the OSS and Feather AS-D2.

I find that not all DE blades are 100% exactly the same, there are some slight variations that sometimes require the blade to be wiggled or adjusted slightly.  Notice how small the posts on the iKon slant are versus the slots in the DE blade.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 December 2013 at 8:09 am

Posted in Shaving

18 Responses

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  1. “I worried that the razor would feel hot on my face after being rinsed in hot water. Not so: it feels no different than any of my other razors. Theory crumbles beneath experience.”
    —-

    Chris Date – a database maven, heavily bearded at the time – used a phrase at a presentation I attended some years back that stuck for me (though maybe I’ve mangled the exact words over time):

    “The difference between theory and practice is somewhat greater in practice than it is in theory.”

    I think Yogi Berra – a baseball maven, clean-shaven in the photos I’ve seen – came up with it originally … supposedly he said that “in theory there is not much difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.”

    Either way … hope all is going well with you.

    With kind regards,
    JoshInCA

    JoshInCA

    5 December 2013 at 5:20 pm

  2. I do prefer razors with the blade ends fully enclosed. How would you rate this razor on your “comfort” scale? Also your comments on the blade gap/opening. Nice review.

    Chris R

    5 December 2013 at 5:52 pm

  3. I found it very comfortable indeed once I became accustomed to the somewhat different feel of the handle. I would rate it as about a Weber (though with a different feel) in terms of comfort and efficiency.

    I don’t hold much stock in blade gap since so many other things affect the shave feel and performance: blade angle, set-back from guard, convexity and placement of the cap, slant of the blade (a slant and a straight bar may have the same gap, but will shave very differently).

    LeisureGuy

    5 December 2013 at 5:56 pm

  4. It would be interesting to do a direct comparison with other full blade enclosed razors with the same type of blade. Also a quick question do you find the Traders mild or aggressive? Is the angle you use it at different?

    Tony The Blade

    5 December 2013 at 10:47 pm

  5. The Tradere Open-Comb is too much for me, but I have the first version. I think he may have modified the head slightly to make it not so tricky/harsh. The Tradere Solid Bar is not bad, and I was say it was an efficient razor (aggressive in stubble removal, comfortable in use), though of course you will have to do some blade exploration and learn the razor. Still it fits well with the premium stainless razors.

    LeisureGuy

    6 December 2013 at 5:32 am

  6. Your experience is an important guide for we the inexperienced. Thank you. I owe my Weber, and Parker to your approval, and I love them both. I just ordered the Standard in black. Your opinion counts.

    Larry Isaacs

    9 March 2014 at 11:22 am

  7. Thanks, Larry, for your kind words. You may be interested in comments to the most recent few shaving posts, where I think I’ve figured out why some brushes seem to be lather-killers.

    LeisureGuy

    9 March 2014 at 11:54 am

  8. I like to baby all my razors, and the Standard will be no exception. Aluminum alloys are lightweight and strong, but anodizing aluminum does not increase the overall strength of an object. I plan on keeping my Standard in a cushioned box, and buffed with beeswax to fill all surface pores. Beeswax is tacky and should not make the handle slippery. I want to keep it away from my other razors. I can’t have my stainless steel or plated razors banging into an aluminum 21st Century whisker whip! Take care of your things, and they’ll take care of you.

    Larry Isaacs

    23 March 2014 at 4:50 am

  9. I haven’t taken any exceptional care of my Standard, though I don’t keep razors in my box: they lie on their sides on a bathroom shelf and counter, side by side. It’s quite a nice razor. The beeswax idea is interesting, but note that the wax will get hot as the razor is rinsed under hot water, which may make it melt.

    LeisureGuy

    23 March 2014 at 7:39 am

  10. Agree, the wax will melt, and I’ll reapply it. This will substitute my OCD for my RAD!

    Larry Isaacs

    23 March 2014 at 8:09 am

  11. I have been informed that almost all anodized aluminum objects are hot sealed. This means no special care is required.

    Larry Isaacs

    23 March 2014 at 3:10 pm

  12. It has similar blade exposure to Weber, but the shave is smoother! I think it might be curving the edge more sharply down than the Weber, like Fatboy v. Slim, with the same effect. First shave…like WOW!

    Larry Isaacs

    3 April 2014 at 12:35 pm

  13. Razor has definitely been sealed post anodizing. Looks like it was hot sealing with deionized water. This means it should require no special care, and should last forever with good care. Now I just have to figure out how far to screw in the handle without stripping the threads in the cap.

    Larry Isaacs

    4 April 2014 at 1:44 pm

  14. Thank heavens the threaded shaft isn’t aluminum.

    LeisureGuy

    4 April 2014 at 2:35 pm

  15. You can get the razor, 10 razors, shaving cream, an alum block, and a barber towel for $45. It’s the black razor. It’s $79 on standard razors website. https://www.bespokepost.com/r/49143e

    Stevzie

    28 July 2014 at 2:54 pm

  16. Thanks for the revised and helpful review. I think you meant to write that the stud with LocTite becomes in effect permanently ATTACHED to the razor’s cap, not “permanently attacked”. If they were bound together in matrimony, then “permanently attacked” might be the correct phrase…
    Best Regards.

    Jake

    28 August 2014 at 4:12 am

  17. Fixed. Thanks, Jake.

    LeisureGuy

    28 August 2014 at 4:54 am

  18. The majority of shavers find Merkur blades pretty bad in shaving … rrazora.wordpress.com

    karlisgarbersd6

    24 August 2015 at 11:45 am


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