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PAA “The Artifact” Razor – “Digging Up” A Design And Presenting A New Homage

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Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary by releasing a bakelite safety razor, “The Artifact.”  Here is my review of the PAA “The Artifact” razor.

Digging Up The Background Of The Artifact

[Note: PAA links are affiliate.]

From the PAA Website:

“Ten years of business, a milestone I am told, and if that be true let us erect one then! But rather than a piece of cold granite and an iron plaque, how about a razor? A razor made of bakelite, my favorite material as you know, and let’s make it an homage to something different, something classy and something, most importantly, mysterious! Gents & ladies, allow me to introduce you to The Artifact….”

“…Composed of a butterscotch Bakelite handle, 24 karat plated gold brass top cap, a unique tortoise shell bakelite bottom cap and a concept like no other!…”

“…The Artifact includes approximately 4 months worth of blades and a handsome, rugged travel and storage case w/ a 10th Anniversary buffing cloth! Also, no two Artifact is the same! Each contain a unique, creamy, tortoise shell bakelite bottom cap!”

paa the artifact safety razor case review


  • 3 Piece Safety Razor
  • Materials: Bakelite, Brass, 24k Gold
  • 1 Travel & Storage Case, Handsome Vegan Leather
  • 1 Microfiber Buffing Cloth
  • 3 5-Packs Strangelet DE Blades
  • Complete Razor Length: 95 mm (3.75″)
  • Weight: 31 grams

What Others Are Saying About The PAA Artifact Razor

As The Artifact is a new release from PAA there are only a few reviews of it right now.  Several “wet tubers,” wet shaving influencers on Youtube, received pre-launch razors:

My Experience With PAA’s “The Artifact” Razor

[Note: I received my The Artifact razor from PAA without cost.  However the views expressed here are my own and have not been reviewed or approved by PAA.]


I find the presentation of this razor quite nice: there’s a well-constructed, zippered storage case that contains the razor and blades.  Though quite a bit larger than containers for most “travel razors” (like PAA’s “The Agent” travel razor for example) I think there is plenty of padding to protect the bakelite “The Artifact” from rough-and-tumble handling.  Slots for three packs of razors are included and the rubbing cloth for the brass top cap can be neatly folded inside too.

Speaking of blades, I think the PAA “Strangelet” DE blades are decent, though of course “your mileage may vary” is the mantra of double edge blade choice.

The Razor

paa the artifact safety razor

Yes, The Artifact is quite light: as the specs above note it’s a mere 31 grams (a little over one ounce). However even at this light weight I find the balance of the razor very good: I prefer “top-heavy” razors, where the head does more of the work, and the brass top cap brings the center-of-gravity way up the handle.

Even though the length is listed as 95 mm (3.75 inches) it “looks” smaller in my hand to me for some reason.  I think it should be fine for most people though.

This is an open comb design.  Blade tabs extend from the sides just a bit.  Blade alignment and symmetry in the head is excellent.

The Shave

Let me say up front that I prefer heavyweight razors, so this part of my review will admittedly be a bit biased.

This is one of the lightest safety razor I have used (the Merkur Bakelite–no longer produced–at 15 grams claims the “lightest” spot for me) and that combined with the smooth handle make flipping the razor around a bit cumbersome to me.  However just holding the razor in place for a shave stroke is surprisingly secure to me.

I think the “aggressiveness” (or “efficiency” if you lean to that terminology) of The Artifact to be be pretty middle-of-the-road–I would rate it a 4 or 5 on a 10 point scale.  The razor’s “sweet spot” for blade angle is about the same as other open comb razors I have: a bit narrower than safety razors with skin guards in my collection.  That might make the razor seem a bit more aggressive to some.

The shave for me is a bit more aggressive than my personal preference but I still get excellent shaves as long as I’m more mindful of the razor’s weight and the pressure and angle I put on the razor.

PAA talks about The Artifact’s base plate having an area for water to collect while rinsing to use during shave strokes.  This seems to be a variation on the design of “self lubricating” razors (click/tap here to learn more about self-lubricating razors).  The water seems to migrate from the razor to the skin by capillary action: just enough to sit on the skin without dribbling all over the sink.  It’s not a dramatic effect but it really does seem to work.

Summing Up

PAA’s The Artifact razor is an interesting little razor.  At first glance it may seem almost like a novelty razor but there appears to be some solid design and engineering behind it.  PAA has a reputation of making excellent products that have a whimsical or unusual background.  The Artifact is a homage to the company’s ten years in the wet shaving niche.


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

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