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!”
- 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.
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.
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.
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.