The Fine Accoutrements Aluminum Slant is the second slant razor from Mr. Fine. The first razor was the Fine Superlite Slant, which we reviewed a year ago. Now he’s back, with a new version of the same idea, that’s better in every way.
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about this razor: Mantic59 wrote about it using a pre-release sample. I’ve been shaving for an extended period of time using a normal release sample, and think it’s time to add my impressions to Mantic’s. Mantic’s main note was that it requires a very light touch and a less-than-super-efficient blade in it to deliver a good experience.
I differ a little bit from that experience; using a wide range of blades (Feather, Nacet, Polsilver SI, Voskhod, Derby) I find it performs equally well with all of them, and it’s very forgiving of occasional sloppy technique, while delivering an excellent shave. This is in contrast to the former Fine Superlite Slant, which troubled me for a year… requiring that aforementioned ‘very light touch’ and only working well with a Derby Extra blade in the end. To be clear: the aluminum slant is not the same as the plastic razor from a year ago.
But how did we get here? For both Mr. Fine razors, the goal was to aim at replicating the experience of the much lauded Bakelite slant. The white Bakelite is something of a legend, for a plastic razor that now sells for above 200 USD, if you can find one. I borrowed one from a good friend and compared it with the original Superlite Slant and the Fine Aluminum slant. The white Bakelite works very efficiently, but feels on the threshold of being a little bite-y. It’s easy to see the love people have for it, and why it’s been the model for many modern razors, including the RazoRock Stealth Slant, the iKon X3, the Fine Superlite, and the Fine aluminum slant we’re discussing here. The Stealth Slant attempted to copy the exact shape of the bakelite slant, including the box area below the base plate. It was a bit milder than the bakelite. If the goal is an exact copy, that wasn’t it. The iKon X3 followed the shape, but similarly is a different feeling razor. It’s a bit of a legend, and each maker keeps coming up with different attempts to try and replicate that certain feel, that specific shave. Even when the goal is a little different, the shape seems to keep cropping up – The Wunderbar slant razor also was heavily influenced by it, but opted to go in the more aggressive direction.
The Superlite slant shaves very nearly just like the original, but only for me when using that Derby Extra blade, and none other. I have no idea why that blade is the only one I can use successfully in that razor. The Aluminum Slant works reliably well across a variety of blades. The Fine Aluminum slant shaves every bit as efficiently as the original, but with less threat of getting nicked and with a wide variety of blades.
It’s fair to say that I started out a few years ago unconvinced of the benefits of slant razors. I was fairly confident that the slant stroke imparted no real benefit. When that proved to be false, I practiced using a slant stroke with non-slant razors by holding the handle at an angle. And that might have been enough, except that there’s a perceptible benefit to using the Fine Aluminum Slant that I wouldn’t have guessed. I’m pleasantly surprised by it.
The Fine Aluminum Slant delivers a shave experience very similar to the vaunted Bakelite slant. It’s every bit as close, and less eager to bite, making it a razor that has displaced a decent number of others as one of my go-to, desert island razors. Is it a razor I can recommend to new beginners? I think I can. The impediment is the price: $125 USD. It’s absolutely reasonable for the precision machined aluminum, but it’s probably more than a beginner might be willing to spend. Even so, if you’re experienced and inclined to try at this budget level, definitely put the Fine Slant on your list.
Do you have the Fine Aluminum Slant razor? What do you think of it? Leave a comment below!