Fine Accoutrements recently launched a new double edge safety razor, the DE5. Here are my experiences with the razor.
From the Fine Accoutrements website:
- 100% Solid Metal w/ a Stainless Steel Core
- Signature “Evolved” Open Comb Guard
- Includes Five FEATHER® Blades
- Gleaming Electroplated Chrome Finish
- Length 3.4″ (88 mm), Weight 3.4 oz (95.1 g)
- Razor Made in China / Blades Made in Japan
THE DIVIDING LINE
But beyond general workmanship, the guard design proved to be the biggest differentiator in shaving performance between these early luxury pieces and their newer counterparts. We continuously got better results with the original open-comb style razors over the now much more common safety bar style. So why was it abandoned? One word: Cost. The more intricate designs of open-comb razors are simply more expensive to produce, and the rest is history.
INNOVATIONS THAT MATTERED
(1) Sharper, more corrosion-resistant blades. The importance of great blades cannot be overstated. It’s simply not possible for a razor to get quality results without quality blades. That’s why we include world-renowned FEATHER® blades with every DE5.
(2) A built-in blade alignment bar. Consistent blade alignment is necessary for consistent shaving results, and it takes more than just two alignment pegs to get there. The DE5 features elongated keyhole slots to ensure “always-true” alignment between the cap, blade, and guard.
(3) “Turned-Down” guard teeth for more comfortable skin contact. The outward-pointing teeth on traditional open-comb razors presented a decidedly uncomfortable leading edge during shaving. The elongated and concave teeth on the DE5 provide all the performance with comfort to match.
In one more nod to tradition, we also brought back the long, characteristic “bullet” pegs featured on the underside of the caps of the earliest safety razors, which we found especially convenient for blade loading.
But we didn’t stop there! Despite preferring open-comb razors for performance, we found a tendency toward clogging that we could solve by connecting the backend of each tooth and opening a lather channel under the cap. Even better, this feature doubles as a long-term durability improvement, as bent teeth are a common problem with vintage open-comb razors.
To top it all off, we designed the entire razor around a solid stainless steel threaded post (with modern standard M5x0.8 sizing) built directly into the cap. As the most wear-heavy and drop-vulnerable feature of any safety razor, this thoughtful upgrade assures generational longevity.
My Experience With The Fine Accouterments De5 Safety Razor
Although the Fine DE5 is new and I have only been able to use it for a relatively short time, I think I can make some solid observations. [Note: I received a DE5 without cost to coincide with its launch but the opinions below are mine and have not been reviewed or approved by Fine Accouterments.]
The razor and blades come in a flap-opening box inside an outer sleeve. It may not be the most elegant presentation I have seen but I think it could work as a gift box in a pinch.
While the specs above give the DE5 a length of about 3.4 inches the handle itself is three inches. That’s about the minimum for comfort in my hands. The knurling is a mix of fluted and ribbed texturing. Personally I would prefer that the ribbing run the entire length of the handle but I find the DE5 reasonably secure in my hand.
Related Post: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Safety Razor Handle
The business end of the DE5, its head, is an interesting, solid design. Fine talks about it like a blend of old and new. Which is a lot of what traditional shaving is like these days, but here it’s distilled into a razor.
As Fine mentioned earlier, a common failure point in many three piece safety razors is the screw thread that attaches to the top cap. Fine uses stainless steel for the thread on the DE5. Stainless steel is much more durable than many of the more common alloys of many other razors. However, just as important as the material is how it is attached to the head. Only time will tell how this works out for the DE5.
The “turned down” guard teeth of the DE5 looks a bit like the guard of the Muhle R41, though less dramatic (in both looks and aggressiveness).
The head does note quite cover the blade’s side tabs. But the combination of the blade alignment bar and the long “bullet” pegs pretty much guarantee a dead-on, symmetrical blade edge alignment between sides.
While the Fine Accoutrements DE5 safety razor comes with Feather blades, my previous experience with those blades lead me to try a less “sharp” blade for my first shave with this razor. I loaded up one of my preferred “go to” blades, a Parker. The Parker blade is one of a handful of brands that are a good balance between “sharpness,” “smoothness,” and “forgiveness” for me (your experience will probably be different).
My first shave was not “baby’s butt smooth” (and rarely is with a razor on its first try) but solidly in the “darn fine shave” territory–there were some minor inconsistencies along the curves of my shave terrain. I found the razor’s hold angle range (the “sweet spot”) not particularly generous (probably the reason for the inconsistencies) but certainly acceptable. The handle texturing is good, and the balance and weight quite comfortable. I had one minor weeper on my chin that quickly cleared up on its own.
After the first couple shaves I decided to tempt fate with a Feather blade. As you might suspect, this resulted in a noticeably closer, more consistent shave…at the cost of more weepers for me.
My personal preference in razor aggressiveness is on the mild side, perhaps a 3.5 on a 1-10 scale. I think the aggressiveness of the DE5 is maybe just a touch higher than middle-of-the-road–perhaps a 6 on a 1-10 scale.
Although it isn’t mentioned anywhere in the documentation, I think the Fine Accoutrements DE5 double edge safety razor is aimed squarely at the Merkur 34C razor market. Although the DE5 is three piece and open comb (the 34C is two piece and closed comb) it is generally a similar size, weight, and balance–it feels about the same in my hand. And it is the same price as the 34C. It will be interesting to see whether it can achieve the same popularity and longevity as the 34C.