Mantic59’s New Razor Blade Search Begins

blade

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.

Methodology

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:

MBxFUac

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:

personna blade

And here’s a shot of the Studio blade:

studio dorco 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”
  • Crystal
  • Derby
  • Feather
  • Merkur
  • Personna “Blue”
  • Personna “Lab Blue”
  • Personna “Red”
  • Polsilver “Super Iridium
  • Polsilver (Brown)
  • Studio
  • SuperMax
  • Wilkinson (US)

 

mantic59 mantic59 (546 Posts)

also known as "Mantic59." Shave tutor and sharpologist.


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Comments

  1. marmotte27 says:

    Any news on this (it’s the middle of may….)?

  2. Any updates on this? I’ve been looking forward to the results.

    • I am adding some additional content and views from the scanning electron microscope. It has taken a little more time than I anticipated. I hope to have something ready by early May.

      • It’s July 12,2014. Any updates? My battery’s almost dead, keyboard flashing in and out so have to stop searching. Been at this since September 11, 2013?

        • June

        • As a matter of fact I have my final session at the scanning electron microscope next week! Final/summary article to follow shortly thereafter.

          • This is indeed good news. Timing is perfect as I’m not always online and just happened to follow through today. Thanks, Mark! I’ll be sure to check it out using my PC instead of this finicky phone. √

          • Neil K. says:

            Hey Mantic! Are you almost done?! Please I beg of you I’ve been waiting sooo long and I have been holding off my ordering of new razors just waiting for this!

            Thanks!!

          • Tentatively I have a post about Feather blades at the end of the week and a final article coming next week.

  3. Could you let us know where & when your results will be available please Mantic?

  4. Hello Mantic !
    If you like maybe you could test also the “bic chrome platinum” blades.
    I get very good shaves with a cheap price.
    Maybe you could explain by your analysis how they get this possible.
    Thanks.
    Waltz

  5. scott scmitz says:

    Hi Mantic,
    Is there a difference in personna blue’s? I ask only because I can get them for you tomorrow. The only thing is, these say made in the USA. There is a barber supply right next to where I work and I buy 100 packs from the. Though Feather seems quite a bit sharper to me, these blades tend to last longer and are extremely smooth. Let me know if you would like, and if so, where to send them.
    Be Well
    Scotty

  6. Late to this party, but another vote for the Gillette 7 0’Clock black “Super Platinum” from India. For me they seem every bit as sharp and smooth as a Super Iridium, while being a bit more reasonably priced. Would also interesting to see a microscopic shoot out between these and their blue Russian counterparts, which IMHO don’t feel as smooth as the Indian produced blades.

  7. Bassopotamus says:

    I worry a bit about the long term availability of DE blades as they seem to be an obsolete technology from a mass market perspective. There seems to be a DE renaissance afoot in the us, but the market is tiny compared to the past where basically every man used them. I get the sense that some of the supply comes from countries and regions (Russia, Turkey, etc) where
    More men wet shave.

    It is analogous, I think, to the market for vacuum tubes. In the 50s and 60s, they were ubiquitous in American electronics. Today, they are only relevant in a few niche markets (guitar amps, audiophile stereo gear), which makes the supply a bit unstable. When I started
    Playing, you could only get leftover tubes from American manufacturers, or new ones from former soviet block countries, where there were still many people with old consumer electronics. I think a few years ago, an American company did start making tubes again, but more or less a a boutique company

    I hope that there are enough wet shavers to support a variety of blade manufcturers for Tera to come

  8. Is all a journey (imo).
    I’ve found that astra platinum or shark chrome seem to suit me.
    I

  9. I personally loved the Gillette Blue Silver, Gillette 7 0’Clock Super Stainless (Green) and Nacet Platinum. They seem to cut perfect in an aggressive razor like a slant. For milder razors I’ve found that Feather and Gillette 7 O’Clock Sharp Edge (Yellow) work fantastic since they’re more aggressive blades.

    • I agree that the marriage of razor and blade should be one of opposites. I get a BBS with a Feather in my travel Weishi, but a Feather in my EJ89l is likely to leave me with a serious razor burn and nicks. I cannot get a decent shave with a Merkur blade in my Weishi, yet I get a BBS from a Merkur blade in my Edwin Jagger!!! Everyones beard and mileage vary but for me an aggressive blade in a tame razor and a less aggressive blade in a more aggressive razor yield identical results.

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