It’s a sad sight: an empty bulk box of razor blades. Like most everyone who gets into double edge shaving, I tried a number of blade brands (and if you haven’t, you should!) and found a favorite. In my case they were the Israeli-made Personna “blue label” blades. I bought a box of 100 off of the ‘Bay a few years ago and I finally ran out of them recently. Unfortunately I discovered they were not available anymore, at least in that form. Supposedly the Crystal brand is the same thing but I have decided that maybe it is time to revisit blades to see if I can discover a new favorite(s). So, with the help of John at West Coast Shaving (the original “blade sampler guy!”), I’ll be looking at how about 15 different brands of razor blades perform for me.
I’m going to tackle finding a new blade in a new way I hope you will find interesting. Since blades seem to perform differently with different razors (which makes sense, since razor specifications may have different blade exposures) I will be testing with three different razors: a Merkur Heavy Duty (HD/24C), because they’re so enormously popular; a Parker 92R, because it is a good entry level “value” razor; and a Merkur Progress adjustable razor, since that is my own person favorite razor and I know it’s characteristics very well. I will put a new blade of the same brand in each razor and shave at least three days with each. I will periodically post my observations with the blade/razor pair here on Sharpologist.
A Blade Close Up
Coincidentally, I recently got access to a scanning electron microscope:
I will be looking at blades when they are new and after I have used them to see if I can correlate any visual characteristics of a blade to the shave it gives me and will include that in the evaluation post.
I had my first session with the scanning electron microscope recently. The operator and I “got our bearings” by just looking at a couple samples, one of my last Israeli-made Personna’s and a Studio blade from Walgreens (I believe made by Dorco). Here is a side shot of the Personna blade edge:
And here’s a shot of the Studio blade:
Visually, they’re very different. But will that correlate to the shave? I’m going to find out.
Some of you may be wondering about variations within blades of the same brand. I was concerned too, but after viewing this video on how blades are made I think I can be reasonably confident of the consistancy within each brand:
Brands I will be looking at:
- 7 o’ Clock “Yellow”
- Astra “Blue”
- Astra “Green”
- Personna “Blue”
- Personna “Lab Blue”
- Personna “Red”
- Polsilver “Super Iridium
- Polsilver (Brown)
- Wilkinson (US)