Friday, January 9, 2015

On Razor Handles and Lengths: Post Redux

Comparing two classic TTO DE razors to a modern, 2-blade
 disposable.  Left to right: Weishi 9306-f, Gillette Slim, and
Gillette Custom Plus Pivot
I buy most of my shaving hardware, that is, double-edge (DE) razors and blades, online. Part of the on-line-shopping experience is the availability of customer-written reviews.

"Forehand" or "down-stroke" grip.
One aspect of DE-razor design (and any wet-shaving-razor design for that matter) is length of handle.  The classic handle length for DE razors is about 3" or slightly shorter for the earliest 3-piece types, and about 3-1/4" for the twist-to-open (TTO) designs. Yet because most North American men that wet save have never used a DE razor, they tend to be familiar with the common 4" handle length of many disposable razors.

One result of this is that there are surprisingly frequent complaints in these razor reviews from customers unhappy with the slightly shorter, more classic handle lengths of 3 to 3-1/4 inches. Frequently the specific comment relates to a customer saying he has large hands and therefore the shorter, more-classic handle lengths are hard for him to hold.

"Backhand" or "up-stroke" grip.
I have to admit that I have a hard time relating to these complaints.  I have what I would describe as average-sized hands -- not particularly large nor small.  I have used hand tools of all kinds that have handles such as hammers, scrapers, paint rollers, tennis racquets, saws, screwdrivers, and on and on. Virtually all of these tools I grasp with my full hand EXCEPT wet-shaving razors, which I've always held with the pads of my fingers and thumb. These are RAZORS, for the love of Mike! I'm using a sharp implement on the skin of my face and neck, not scraping paint off an old boat. I don't see that any other grip beside a gentile, sensitive, finger-tip grip is appropriate -- much like a surgeon delicately holds a scalpel as he operates, not like someone gutting a deer with a hunting knife.

In the pictures, you will see two ways of holding any wet-shaving safety razor, whether DE or a modern multi-bladed disposable.  These grips or variations on these themes should work no matter what size your hands.

Happy shaving!

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