Later On

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

In defense of the slant

with 2 comments

Some have gone to fairly extreme lengths (including ignoring actual reports from slant users) to deny that the slant of the blade reduces cutting resistance because of the shearing action. The argument, so far as I can tell, is “It doesn’t make sense to me that such a slight slant would have a noticeable effect.” (Cf. Aristotle’s position that “It doesn’t make sense to me that a heavy body and a lighter body would fall at the same rate. It’s obvious that the heavier will fall faster, because it’s heavier.“)

But Leibniz noted, “Nature works by degrees,” i.e., without discontinuities in the derivative (no jumps—he didn’t know about catastrophe theory).

In my own experience there is a highly noticeable difference in cutting resistance between cutting a carrot with pure compressive force (pushing knife straight down through the carrot) and cutting a carrot with even the slightest horizontal motion (to provide a shearing action) while pushing down. Just a tiny horizontal motion makes an easily noticed improvement in cutting ease. So it seems reasonable to me that just a small slant of the blade makes a noticeable difference for those whose stubble offers much cutting resistance at all. The notion that shearing action will kick in only once you reach a certain angle makes no sense to me, given the argument preceding. Moreover, as I note, the only reason that a slight slant would not make a difference is because they don’t see how it could. That is not sufficiently convincing to me that I will ignore my own direct experience. (I’m not saying slants work for everyone, of course, and indeed if the objectors could detect the improvement, they would not object. But slants do work for many.)

UPDATE: I now see this in a new light. See this thread, and particularly this comment and my response to it.

In meme terms, the bar guard is just a meme-mutation of the comb guard, so they are different alleles, as indeed are other ways of typing razors: adjustables vs. not, three-piece vs. not, slant vs. not, comfortable vs. not, and efficient vs. not. It’s only the last two—more specifically, razors that are both comfortable and efficient—that are of any real interest. The current slants fall in that group for me, but so does the Baby Smooth, the Wolfman, the Above the Tie R1, the iKon Shavecraft #101, and others. Some are comb guard, some are bar guard. Some are slants, some are not. With the exception of the Merkur 37C, they’re all three-piece, but that’s the logical mode for a start-up to use.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 December 2015 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Shaving

2 Responses

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  1. I went from not needing a slant to using one 3/7 days a week. Try one you’ll like it!


    31 December 2015 at 3:57 pm

  2. I second Larry’s comment. Since getting an Ikon 102 slant I’ve used nothing else, No need! The slant with the correct choice of blade delivers the best shave I can get – and I’ve tried many variations in my shaving life.

    Chris R

    31 December 2015 at 6:25 pm

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