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Is Titanium The New Stainless Steel For Premium Razors?

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tatara titanium masamune safety razor

A little over a decade ago a few hardy artisans decided to challenge the conventional wisdom of the traditional wet shaving world by offering premium-priced razors made from stainless steel instead of the usual brass alloy materials.  Their gamble to break the price ceiling largely paid off and stainless steel razors have become more common and accepted.

That price/performance paradigm is being challenged again, this time with razors made with titanium.

Introduction To Titanium

Titanium is a remarkable element with unique properties that make it an ideal metal for a wide range of applications. Its high strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion make it desirable for use in aerospace and medical industries. Titanium is also biocompatible, making it an excellent choice for medical implants. 

William Gregor, a Cornish clergyman and mineralogist, discovered titanium in 1791. The metal’s strength and durability earned it the name “Titanium,” inspired by Greek mythology’s Titans. Despite its discovery, extracting pure titanium was not accomplished until the early 1900s. With ongoing research and development, it is expected that titanium will continue to be an essential metal for various applications in the future.

Where is Titanium Found And Extracted?

Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and can be found in rocks and soils. The metal is widely distributed, with major deposits found in Australia, South Africa, and Canada. 

The production of titanium is a complex and energy-intensive process despite its abundance.  Extracting titanium from its ores is a complex process due to its high reactivity with other elements. Extracting titanium involves reducing titanium tetrachloride with magnesium in a high-temperature vacuum through the “Kroll process.” This process was developed in the 1940s and remains widely used today. However, the energy requirements necessary for this production make it an expensive material to use, resulting in a relatively low production rate compared to other industrial metals. 

titanium molecule

Titanium vs. Stainless Steel

When it comes to materials for everyday objects, titanium and stainless steel are both excellent options due to their durability and resistance to corrosion (though titanium is even more resistant to corrosion than stainless steel). However, they have different properties that make them stand out from one another. Titanium is significantly lighter than stainless steel while also being about 3 to 4 times stronger. On the other hand, stainless steel is subject to fatigue and is usually tougher than titanium in terms of hardness. Nevertheless, both materials are reliable and long-lasting. While titanium is a pure metal, stainless steel is an alloy metal consisting of several metals combined. 

Titanium And “Sensitive Skin”

Titanium safety razors may be more beneficial to those with “sensitive” skin, as its biocompatibility with human skin is more friendly than other metals (including stainless steel).

Titanium Safety Razors?

Like the stainless steel safety razors of over a decade ago, there are only a few examples of titanium safety razors right now.  Here are some razors from artisans you may know.

[Note: Henson and Tatara links are Sharpologist affiliate.]

The Newest Entry: Tatara Masamune Titanium

tatara titanium masamune safety razor closeup

From the Tatara website:

Experience a whole new level of shaving comfort and efficiency with the Masamune Titanium Razor – crafted from high-performance titanium, this razor elevates your shaving experience to new heights….

The Titanium razor is roughly 55% lighter than the Stainless Steel. It is a gamechanger when it comes to the power of manoeuvering and it grants the shaver more control over the amount of pressure, angle and direction of the blade, so the shave itself reflects your technique….

Due to the low thermal conductivity of the Titanium, the temperature of the razor and your skin are easily compatible. This leads to a more comfortable shave. You will have a premium shaving experience that you can exponentiate.

The titanium Masamune, like their stainless steel version, is available with an open comb head and a closed comb head, and the slightly more aggressive Nodachi head.

My Experience With The Tatara Titanium Masamune

I’m a fan of the stainless steel Masamune so when Tatara offered to let me try the titanium version I jumped at the chance.  This lets me compare stainless steel and titanium razors side-by-side with a minimum amount of variables.  The blade exposure specifications of the titanium are the same as the stainless steel version.

The Tatara Titanium Masamune is presented in a sustainable, cork-lined box with some Feather blades, an instruction insert, and a lifetime warranty.  The titanium Masamune uses the same blade loading/clamping design and “golf ball” textured handle as other Tatara razors.

I find fit-and-finish to be exceptional.  All the parts fit smoothly and perfectly, blade symmetry is rock-solid, and all the little details you expect in a premium razor are there.

According to my digital kitchen scale the weight of the titanium Masamune is 49 grams (while the stainless steel Masamune is 87 grams).  More importantly the center of gravity feels quite different between the two razors even though the actual location of the center of gravity is in about the same place.

The Tatara titanium Masamune feels more agile and maneuverable in my hand, while the stainless steel Masamune has that heavier, let-the-razor’s-weight-do-the-cutting characteristic.  One is not better or worse than the other for me: after getting used to the characteristics of these razors they both can give me great shaves but in subtly different ways.

By the way, Tatara tells me that a titanium version of the adjustable Tatara Muramasa is in the works!

Other Titanium Razors

While the Tatara razor is the latest addition to the small-but-growing list of titanium razor options, there are some other well-regarded artisan razor offerings as well:

Henson offers a Titanium version of their popular AL-13 aluminum razor, the Ti-22.  Like the AL-13, the Ti-22 has mild, medium, and aggressive versions.

Timeless Razors offers a titanium razor with a number of options.

Blackland offers a titanium version of their Blackbird double edge and Vector single edge razors.

Carbon Shaving has their Cx-Ti/Web titanium razor.

Design94 (Germany) offers a titanium razor.

Summing Up

Titanium safety razors are still a niche’ within a niche’ in the traditional wet shaving world but I can see them being attractive to those looking for a razor that is not only heirloom quality but also possibly beneficial to those who are concerned about long term corrosion or those looking for a material that will not react with sensitive skin.

Author

Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

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1 thought on “Is Titanium The New Stainless Steel For Premium Razors?”

  1. I suggest the material a safety razor is made from is much ado about little.

    I have about 75 razors and I have wet shaved all my life. I’m 87 years old.

    One of my better razors, all things considered, is my Bakelite (plastic) inexpensive Merkur 45.

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