Sunday, October 19, 2014

Trash or Treasure Razor? Part 1

In March of 2014, I ordered the least-expensive, all-metal DE razor that I could find. At the time, I paid $3.31 including shipping! As of this writing, the same or similar razor (perhaps with a shorter, more traditional-length handle) can be purchased for $2.73 including shipping. A drawback to ordering this razor -- in addition to the fact that it's extremely inexpensive, which brings in a whole raft of questions -- is that it ships from China, and will likely take several weeks to arrive.
This is what this razor looked like in the package.

I have never shaved with this razor. When I examined it prior to my intended first use, I followed my own recommended safety protocol, and found the razor to be ridiculously aggressive in shaving character, and obviously unsuitable for use on my face -- or any other, I thought at the time. I found the blade exposure to be alarmingly positive -- that is, the blade was not at all protected within the cove formed by the top cap and baseplate safety bar. An unsuspecting user could literally rip his face to shreds with the razor as it arrived at my mailbox.

This is the disassembled "Silver Tone Double Edge Razor with Non-Slip Handle."
The finish on the baseplate is not as bad as it seems in the picture -- actually it's fine.
(This will be shown in photos in up-coming articles in the next few days.)
But the baseplate, being made of soft, stamped steel,is a key element in this story.
I wrote a scathing review on my seller's web site advising all to avoid this dangerous implement. Initially I gave it one star out of five -- the least possible. Then I upgraded it to two stars, suggesting that one could use the heavier handle and discard the razor head. Then recently I .... but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself with with story.

After my initial inspection showing the blade to be ridiculously positive (that is, dangerously exposed), I put it in the shaving shoe box in my closet, never again to be used -- at least not the shaving head -- or so I thought.

Then the other day I was surfing vintage Gillette Tech razors, and an idea occurred to me -- a thought that connected two otherwise unrelated facts. The Tech was, I believe, the first razor with a stamped-steel baseplate, similar to this Chinese razor. This is fact one. Fact two has to do with a simple repair I made to my vintage Gillette Slim Adjustable razor (and which is mentioned in my article on inspecting a safety razor), in which I straightened out a minor bend in one of its stamped-steel safety bars. What if, I thought, I could use the same repair process on the Chinese razor to adjust its shaving character for the better? It might not only be usable, but it might, just maybe, offer a good, mild shave similar to a vintage Gillette Tech.

This began my little project to transform this trashy, nightmare razor into possibly the best value in DE razors. The experiment begins with tomorrow's article. Stay tuned....

And happy shaving!

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