Henson Shaving, known for its obsessively tight razor head tolerances, has teamed up with a blade manufacturer to create a double edge (DE) razor blade with equally obsessively tight blade tolerances. Here’s the low-down.
KITCHENER—Henson Shaving, an upstart maker of sustainable safety razors, today announced an exclusive partnership with RKRM International Products Pvt. Ltd., the maker of RK double-edged razor blades. The agreement includes both exclusive distribution rights of RK blades in the North American market, as well as a new version of the blade built specifically for use with the Henson AL13 and Ti22 razors.
“We are so excited to be able to continue to push the boundaries of how shaving should feel, by augmenting our current razor with the use of RK Blades,” said Henson CEO Daniel Jantzi. “The quality of the blades is exceptional and when paired with the precision of our razors, the shave experience is tremendous.”
Henson will begin selling RK blades directly to consumers via their website immediately, and will be launching them on Amazon before the end of Q1. They expect additional retailers and distributors to come online in the coming months. While RK have tailored the spec of their blade to meet the tight tolerances of the Henson razors, they expect this blade to work well with any safety razor using standard double-edged blades.
“I’ve been producing DE blades for almost 40 years and never in this time have I experienced a shave as smooth and comfortable as when I placed my RK blade in the Henson AL13 razor,” said Rocky Malhotra, Chairman of RKRM International. “I can’t think of a better strategic partner for RK to enter into the North American market with, than Henson Shaving.”
Henson plans on shipping 5 RK Blades included with each razor sold, and will additionally sell packs of 100 blades on their website for $9.99 USD. While Henson strongly recommends the use of RK blades with their razors, other standard DE blades may be used if preferred. Built for use by both men and women, the Henson AL13 is available at hensonshaving.com for $69.99 USD.
About Henson Shaving
Established in 2020, Henson Shaving makes one of the world’s best made razors at an aerospace machine shop in Ontario, Canada. Their razors are plastic-free and meant to last decades, greatly reducing waste when compared to other shaving products. There are no subscriptions and the blades are 10 cents each, leading to an incredibly cost-effective way to shave.
About RK Blades
RK Blades was founded in 2018. The team driving RK today, is the original team that had built up the Supermax brand, over three decades, to become the largest razor blade manufacturer in the world (by unit volume). The RK team, collectively, have many decades of experience in the shaving industry.
In four short years, RK has become one of the leading brands in the Indian subcontinent (the world’s largest Double Edge Blade market). RK is sold to over 40 countries and is the fastest growing razor blade in the world today. RK owes its success to the competence, experience and passion for quality that is the central mantra of its leadership team.
RK is proud of its association with Henson Shaving, and is looking forward to a mutually sustained partnership.
The Henson/RK Partnership
I was able to have a conference call with Daniel Jantzi of Henson Razors and Rocky Malhotra of RKRM International about their project. Their initial contact with each other was coincidental, but the more they spoke with each other the more they realized they had the potential of creating a blade that could bring a fresh perspective to double edge shaving.
The basic idea is to create a double edge blade with extremely tight tolerances on the dimensions of the blade’s mounting area, where it attaches to a double edge razor’s head:
While this “blade grip” may not seem overly-important to the average wet shaver, it’s actually quite critical to better control a razor’s symmetry and blade exposure specifications. Henson was frustrated with the inconsistent “blade grip” of many brands of DE blade.
Although RKRM International has only been in business for three years and up to now has not had a presence in North America, their senior management and engineering staffs have 30-40 years of experience with manufacturing razor blades. RK uses an end-to-end manufacturing process, from “hot rolling” the raw materials in-house, to measuring the final results with a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). The CMM can measure dimensions with incredible accuracy down to the micron level. This level of accuracy and consistency, along with RK’s commitment to quality, was what Henson was looking for in a blade partner.
RK blades recently became available on the Henson website, but it is not meant to be an “proprietary,” “exclusive,” or “premium” product. The blades sell for about US $10/100, well within the average range of other DE blades, and will soon be available on Amazon as well.
My Experience With RK Double Edge Razor Blades
But, as Daniel Jantzi of Henson Razors said on our conference call, “Competence transcends verbiage.” In other words, talk is cheap. How do the RK blades really perform? Henson sent me a pre-launch pack of the RK blades to try.
It made sense to first try an RK blade in my Henson AL13. Normally I prefer the “medium” AL13 but I decided to try the RK’s on my original ‘standard’ AL13 first. I had been using Parker blades and got “Baby’s Butt Smooth” (BBS) shaves with a little work. I have also tried Feather blades with great results but with Feather’s usual drama and short lifetime.
I shouldn’t have been a surprise I suppose but when I tried the RK blade in the AL13 I got a three-pass BBS shave shave right off, without the drama of using a Feather blade, and the RK blade lasted far longer–over a week before performance started dropping off.
Hmmm…maybe there is something to this “blade placement accuracy” thing. That and RK’s apparent durability and sharpness.
I have since tried an RK blade in some of my other favorite double edge razors, including a Parker Variant, a Tatara Masasuma, and a Rockwell 6S (plate #2); and some other popular razors like a Merkur 34C, a King C. Gillette double edge razor, and an Edwin Jagger DE89. The RK blade performed similarly well with all of them.
Admittedly it’s a well-known axiom among wet shaving enthusiasts that, when it comes to blades, “Your Mileage May Vary” (YMMV). A blade that works well for one person may not work as well for another. But there is also that fact that even when you find a brand of blade you like, it may not be very consistent when it comes to working with a number of different razors. Subtle variations in head design spec and razor blade tolerances can create unanticipated results.
The Henson/RK partnership has brought a product to market that may bring a new appreciation of how good engineering design and manufacturing can combine to create an exceptional shaving experience.