Recently, we had the opportunity to review a prototype razor, machined from stainless steel (316L grade). So far, that sounds fairly normal, but this one is from a new manufacturer to safety razors, and it’s worth looking at more closely…
The Barbaros TR-1 is a new stainless steel razor, made in Turkey. The person behind this razor is one of a few new offerings coming from Turkey in recent months.
The Barbaros TR-1 aims to deliver a high quality razor, one that will be easy to find the correct angle with, at a price that is comparable or better than some of the other stainless steel offerings on the market.
What’s different about it
So far, this sounds a lot like any steel DE razor. A few things have been done differently. Let’s start with the handle. The handle is an authorized version of Triad’s Helix Twist handle. Triad is a one-man custom handle shop in Texas, and when Barbaros started work on its razors, they contacted Triad to ask permission to use the design. Triad handles are sought after and in short supply at this time, so the Barbaros is one way to get a sense of what the design feels like. These aren’t the same, however: A Triad Helix Twist is grippy, with the twist flutes more pointed, where the Barbaros is polished smooth. In the hand, it feels slippery, and looks gorgeous. However slippery it feels, when I shaved with it, it never was a problem. In the same way that a PILS handle isn’t slippery in use, this wasn’t either.
The base plate is similar to an Above the Tie in construction. It has no material removed from the bottom of the base plate. Like a Wolfman, the cap uses two ribs to align the blade, and the recesses for the two ribs do not pass all the way through the baseplate.
The top cap uses alignment ribs, similar to the iKon steel top cap, Wolfman, or Fendrihan. It’s not the same as these, mind you. The top cap has a little play between the ribs and the recesses for them, but it always aligns correctly when tightened down. The blade aligns on the ribs with very little play, and works just fine.
This is in contrast to the Dorco PL-602 plastic razor uses oversize ribs and the blade is forced to spread and align perfectly every time, or the Wolfman, where the ribs are slightly oversized, and the ribs are polished to just fit the base plate. It’s unreasonable to expect the Barbaros to have that kind of precision to fit, because this is a production line razor, rather than a hand-finished, polished-to-fit affair like a Wolfman.
What problem is it solving
If you wanted a stainless steel razor, with a hefty stainless steel handle, that aligns well and shaves somewhere more than mild, but not wildly aggressive, the Barbaros would be a very good choice. It’s efficient, able to mow through days of stubble without complaint, and has less blade feel than the Above the Tie R1. It’s about equivalent to a PL-602 with the handle loosened 1/4 turn, which is to say, very efficient, with a modicum of blade feel.
How did it shave
The Barbaros shaves very well. It’s not the most mild of razors, and has a modicum of blade feel. It’s easy to find the correct angle, and gave a satisfying shave, without nicks or weepers. The first pass cleaned up most of the stubble, and the other two passes made the shave nearly perfect. I could have skipped the third pass and been completely presentable.
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating. We’re really in a great moment in this traditional shaving revival, where it seems almost every week there’s news of a new razor made of high quality materials and precision engineering. The Barbaros is just one of these, but it’s definitely worth your consideration. It joins the Wolfman and Above the Tie in the class of razors that are machined from stainless steel, rather than sintered or metal injection into a mold, the handle is a great design used with the approval of the original handle designer, and it’s just hard to go wrong.
Barbaros TR-1 is available from barbarosrazors.com for $160 USD, until June 5th 2016.