Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Razor Review: Weishi 9306-f TTO

The 9306-f comes with a nice travel/storage case that
has a small mirror inside if you have to shave in a closet
or in the woods. Also included with my razor was a little
cleaning brush and ten blades (Dorco and Ying JiLi).
Weishi 9306-f DE Razor:
  • Manufacturer: Weishi (China)
  • Razor design: Twist to open (TTO), non adjustable
  • Materials: Chrome-plated brass
  • Weight: 57 grams
  • Handle length: 3-1/8"
  • Purchase price:  about $13 (US) including shipping from China
  • Order-to-delivery time from China to Michigan: 10 days (vendor: Wonderlife)
This 9306-f weighs the same as my Merkur Classic (33C). It has nice heft, and the texture on the classic 3-1/8" handle (7/8" shorter than a typical multi-blade disposable shaving system, and 1/8" longer than the Merkur) provides excellent traction for a secure grip. 

The blade sits in the razor without any slop, and with straight edges that are parallel to the safety bar -- providing a smooth shave from both cutting sides. With 24 hours of stubble (I tend to shave every day) and a
L to R: Shaving Factory TTO, Weishi 9306-f, Gillette Slim Adj.
The right-most two are plated-over brass (not sure what's under the
SF's chrome). TTO mechanisms work about the same, chrome
on the 9306 is superior to the vintage Gillette's nickel plating.
Knurling on the Weishi provides good grip.
normal 3-pass wet shave, I get a comfortable shave that can be as close as I want to make it. (Despite my wiry beard, I have uber-sensitive skin in places (low neck, chin under the corners of the mouth, & upper lip), so I like a non-aggressive razor, especially for my final pass when I'm buffing out any slightly rough areas.) 

[UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, I have become convinced that TTO razors, in general, have a slightly flatter blade curvature than UTO (unscrew-to-open) razors (or, more precisely, a larger blade angle in relation to the shaving plane), and this makes the shave slightly more harsh. So if you have sensitive skin, you might consider a UTO (2- or 3-piece design) such as the Wilkinson Sword Classic, Lord LP1822L, or the Merkurs 15C or 33C instead of TTO.] 

[UPDATE #2: Further research has proved my blade-angle hypothesis incorrect. In fact, the blade angle of this 9306 measures slightly less than my favored UTO razors. Relative harshness of TTO razors may not be universal, and, when present, may be due to a combination of factors including blade exposure, functional gap size (as measured along the shave plane), blade angle (but, obviously, not for this Weishi 9306 razor), etc.]
UPDATE: This photo shows the very modest blade reveal,
which contributes to its very mild shave.

Because this razor has that mild blade exposure, I choose a fairly sharp blade (Personna Blue or Astra Platinum for example). Also due to the mild blade exposure, angle against face matters to find the shaving sweet spot where the 9306-f cuts best. 

A couple of quirks: One reviewer on Amazon mentioned that the b-fly doors close asymmetrically. I was puzzled by this, but once I received the razor, I understood. When closed up for shaving, one door positions JUST SLIGHTLY higher at the center of the razor top. Also, one shaving edge of this DE razor is perhaps SLIGHTLY less mild than the other (but neither are remotely aggressive) -- and this difference might be due, perhaps, to the slight asymmetry of the door closure. 
UPDATE: This view shows both the door-closure asymetry
and the VERY SMALL blade exposure between the top cap
and the safety bar, which provides for the extremely mild
shaving characteristics of this razor.

Also, the TTO mechanism closes on the blade fine, but when brand new seemed to loosen slightly while shaving, which may have been due to my care in not tightening the mechanism excessively, thus avoiding potential gorilla-force damage. So for the first few shaves, as I rinsed the cut stubble and shaving soap/cream after a few strokes, I would give the TTO mechanism a gentle snug-up twist to ensure the blade is secure in the proper shaving orientation within the razor head. 

However, I don't think this remains an issue; I have oiled the TTO mechanism with 3-in-One oil (and will continue to do so periodically, but with mineral oil, as I now do with all my TTO razors) [
UPDATE #3: I no longer oil TTO razors, especially with mineral oil, because I'm concerned about possible oil drying and build up], and it now feels much like the TTO of my 1963 Gillete Slim Adjustable. So now I'm more comfortable applying just a bit more force to ensure the blade stays locked in without any extra fussing.

Anyway, I prefer to view these characteristics as quirks, rather than significant defects -- especially when we're talking about a very reasonably-priced razor that gives such a nice shave.

If the razor had no quirks, then the manufacturer could double the selling price. So, in that light, I still give the razor five stars for shave quality and value, and will happily use it quirks and all.

My experience with Weishi razors in general has been inconsistent.  This 9306 seems a nice razor of acceptable quality, both in workmanship and, certainly, in materials. But I have a sample size of one. As I wrote in a different review on another Weishi razor, the 2003m (click here to see that one), I actually received two of those and neither was acceptable out of the box. Though the design of the 2003m and 9306-f are similar, they are clearly not made with the same tooling because the handle of the 9306 is a bit longer, the 9306 butterfly doors open wider, and the materials, aluminum vs. brass, are radically different. Further, I would suggest that the 2003m has a bit more aggressive blade position. All tolled, the 9306-f seems head-and-shoulders better in every respect -- including weight unless, of course, you're going to backpack the Appalachian trail, which is the only time the heavier weight of the 9306 might be a disadvantage.  However, you probably wouldn't bring a razor along anyway. Or if you do, bring the 9306-f, leave it in the vehicle, and use it to shave your Grizzly-Adams beard when the hike is completed.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. Doug, sorry to contact you via post comment but I can't find your email. Would you be interested in writing an article for Sharpologist about the relationship between diet/nutrition and shaving? Please contact me at mantic59 [at] sharpologist [dot] com