After much wait and anticipation, The Wolfman Razor Company has announced it’s new WR2 razor that is currently available in limited supply. At first glance it resembles another Wolfman razor that has proved itself worthy in the wet shaving world, the BBS-1.
For those of you that don’t know the BBS-1 was a collaboration between Wolfman and the Los Angeles Shave Soap Company (LASSC). It was produced from 2014-2017 with approximately 441 razors built in titanium and stainless steel. The BBS-1 was actually the first razor produced by James, a long term journeyman machinist after several discussions with John the owner of LASSC who was looking for a custom razor to represent his company. It received rave reviews and today is highly collectable.
It was announced on January 24th 2018 that the BBS-1 was discontinued as the partnership between LASSC and Wolfman ended.In the same announcement John mentioned that a similar razor would soon be available under the Wolfman logo. This brought some controversy as there were many people on the waitlist to get a BBS-1 some of which were on the list for more than a year. You may remember reading about the story here on Sharpologist in “The BBS-1: A Modern Shaving Collectible”
After a brief hiatus to rebuild the site, on September 24th, 2018 the WR2 was announced with several pictures debuted on the Wolfman website. Intrigued by the design I decided to contact James to see how this razor differed from the BBS-1. I was very intrigued with his response.
*Disclaimer: I currently own both razors.
Differences between the BBS-1 and WR2
The WR2 is similar to the BBS-1 with the way it holds the blade and the solid bar guard but is otherwise a different design. Lets go over the specifics that came direct from James himself:
Some specific differences:
– Top cap radius and thickness
– Inside the top cap, completely different and improved machining strategy
– Overall length of the razor head is longer, matching WR1 exactly
– Base plate a bit thicker in the middle
– Bar guards much thicker and redesigned
– Bevels added to reduce sharp corners
– Guard slots are now machined on an angle
– Engraving now consistent with WR1
– The weight of the new WR2 head is 34 grams 1 which is 9 grams more than the BBS-1
-Blade gap is set at .92mm for the WR2 and the BBS-1 is set at 1mm
Just by reading his response on the technical differences it’s no surprise that this razor is different from the BBS-1 even though at first glance the two look the same. He took his original designs and tweaked it.
He also mentioned that there are plans for an open comb and dual comb design in the future as well as different blade gaps for aggression. This razor is currently available in stainless steel to start with more options possible in the future.
*Note: On 10/29/2018 Wolfman added several new variations of the WR2 including different blade gaps and different guard bars.
*Disclaimer: This razor was purchased at full retail direct from the manufacturer. Review is based on the sole opinion of the writer and is not a reflection of the views/opinions of Sharpologist.
I was fortunate enough to purchase one of the few available on a recent release. Since each razor is made to order you can choose what metal (currently only stainless steel is available), head (WR1 or WR2), blade gap, handle (WRH1,WRH2,WRH3,WRH7,Darwin), optional razor stand (WRA1,WRA2) and type of finish (polished or brushed). I decided to go with the WR2 head with the WRH7 handle and the WRA1 stand in a polished finish. Just over a week later my new razor arrived and I ripped open the box like a kid on Christmas morning.
When I first observed the razor I couldn’t help but notice the finish. Although this isn’t my first Wolfman purchase. the polished finish always impresses me. It’s near perfect on the WR2 as I couldn’t find any machine marks of any sort.
I’m a little biased when it comes to the handle. The WRH7 is one of my favorite handle designs. Not only does is look cool it has a comfortable grip. It sits easily in my hands and has moderate heft that isn’t overbearing. It’s especially good when shaving ATG (against the grain) because the knurling (textured gripe) is close to the top of the handle which helps keep a sturdy yet balanced grip when shaving in the reverse direction.
The razor shaves aggressively but extremely smooth. The large blade gap allows for deeper angle when shaving which lets the user have more control with how close he or she shaves. This is great for experienced shavers, but might be a little uncomfortable for those just starting out.
When shaving WTG (with the grain) less is more in terms of pressure. A light touch is all you need in with the WR2 as the weight and the exposure of the blade help with overall efficiency. Each stroke just glided easily, and it felt solid..
Shaving ATG (against the grain) requires some attention and a different angle of attack to say the least. I found that 30 degree angle (just angling the top of the razor, until the blade touches the skin) to be perfect. The WR2 performed flawlessly as it just glided down my face and was actually easy to maneuver.. *Remember the ATG pass is just to clean up and the majority of the shave should be done shaving WTG.
Now I know the question on everyone’s mind is : “Does it shave like the BBS-1?” I felt the best way to properly review the WR-2 was in comparison with the BBS-1.
Comparison: WR2 VS. BBS-1
*Left WR2 right BBS-1
I’m pretty sure this is the question everyone wants answered: “Is it the same as the BBS-1?” Well, it’s a little difficult to answer that question but I’ll explain my findings to the best of my ability.
First thing I would like to mention that in terms of performance these razors are very close to each other. I mean very close. The WR2 has a slightly smaller blade gap as previously mentioned (.92 mm) then the BBS-1 (1.0 mm) and I feel it’s less aggressive than its predecessor. Notice how I didn’t say “milder” as the razor is still plenty aggressive.
When shaving with the razor I noticed that the WR2 seemed to glide easier over the skin, due to the new thicker, less angled blade guard and the larger more rounded top cap. To me these changes are improvements over the BBS-1 design and gave the WR2 a smoother feel when shaving.
In terms of efficiency (ability to remove stubble) both razors are in a dead heat. After shaving with them side by side several times it was very hard to tell a difference. The BBS-1 does have more blade feel than the WR2 which may make the razor feel like it’s more efficient but after several side by side uses, I honestly couldn’t tell.
One thing worth mentioning is that all parts from the BBS-1, WR2 and Personna aka BBS-0 (mentioned previously in an article) are interchangeable. You can create a Frankenrazor (razor with different razors parts) if you desire.
To help better explain the performance of these two razors, I made a side by side comparison video.
Check it out:
The new WR2 razor certainly has the interests of wet shavers looking for a new razor based on a design that has received rave reviews. At a price of $425 cad (about $325 usd) for the stainless steel version it’s obvious that the WR2 is classified as high-end in the safety razor world. It’s no surprise that there was a lot of research and development involved in the design.
As for my personal opinion I feel that the razors are very similar and a lot of fun to shave with. This design is what put Wolfman Razors on the map and for good reason. If someone asked me which one I prefer I don’t think I could answer that question. I love the BBS-1s collectability, performance and aggression, while I also love the smoothness, finish and availability of the WR2.
At the end of the day I’ll be keeping both razors and am excited to see the new variations of this design in the near future.
Special Thanks to: James Dufour of Wolfman for providing all the technical information as well as the work he does in the world of traditional wet shaving.
About the Author:
Joe Borrelli is a long-time wet shaving enthusiast and collector. He hosts the Wet Shaving News/Talk Podcast , runs his own self-funded website http://shavestraightandsafe.com/ and operates a YouTube channel to help inform the community of new information involving the wet shaving world. Joe holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University, and currently works for the nation’s largest wine/spirits/beer retailer. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Linda, reading, writing, outdoor activities and collecting wet shaving apparel. Find out more about Joe here.