Later On

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

Archive for September 7th, 2015

The making of an artisanal straight razor

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Straight razors have a couple of advantages over DE razors. Straight razors can (IMO) be quite beautiful—more beautiful than a DE razor—and an artisan can make a straight razor: I can’t imagine an artisanal DE razor (or blade, for that matter).

This video from Lewis Razors is a nicely paced documentary of creating a straight razor. His razors are sold by Straight Razor Designs.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2015 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Shaving

Perfect shave and thoughts on why a slant works

with 9 comments

SOTD 7 Sept 2015

Today is the 11th shave from the small sample of grated Meißner Tremonia’s Pots o’ Milk, which I mashd into the bottom of the bowl shown, and I think perhaps it has three shaves remaining.

The brush is Simpson’s Wee Scot, a marvelous little brush with ample capacity for a full shave. With a well-lathered beard, I set to work with the Merkur 37G slant and easily reached a BBS result.

For some reason, a few are reluctant to accept the efficacy of the slant design, despite a mountain of testimony from those whose experience with the slant is that it shaves more easily, encountering less cutting resistance, and more easily achieves a BBS result. Some don’t accept this because it doesn’t match their own experience—for example, one man said that, while the slant does cut more easily, he himself cannot get a BBS result, and so he believes that no one else can. This contradicts something that we know about shaving: the YMMV aspect, that something that works for one may not work for another. (It also contradicts the experience of those who, like myself, find that a slant more easily produces a BBS result than a regular razor.)

Others disbelieve the slant’s efficacy on the basis of theoretical objections. For example, if the slant’s angle is 4º, some would say that is no more an angle than one would unconsciously assume with a regular razor. But of course, if one unconsciously adopts a 4º angle (something I doubt: I’ve tried it and I don’t think it can happen without conscious effort), then the slant is at 8º, not 4º. So even if one unconsciously tilts the razor a bit, the slant is still favored because its blade is tilted more.

Another objection is that the efficacy of a cutting blade does not kick in unless the angle is greater. Apparently the thinking here is that tilting a blade will not affect cutting ease until some angle is reached—10º, for example—and then, abruptly, the cut becomes easier. But this is not the way things work. As Leibniz observes, nature works by degrees, and any slant will make some small improvement over a straight-on chop, with the improvement increasing as the slant increases. So it means, even theoretically, that a 4º slant will encounter less cutting resistance than a 0º slant. It doesn’t make sense that there be no improvement in slanting until some particular angle is reached, and then at that point improvement instantly emerges.

But don’t take my word for it. At some point get a slant and try it yourself. With any new razor it will be necessary to do some renewed blade exploration: a brand that’s best in one razor may not be best (or even good) in another.

A splash of Bulgari and packing day arrives: tomorrow is the big trip to Victoria for The Niece’s wedding.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2015 at 8:28 am

Posted in Shaving

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