Sunday, November 1, 2015

Two Blades at Once?

Based on a reader's comment, I gave some thought to shaving with two DE blades mounted in a three-piece DE razor.

This was purported to have been tried by soldiers -- sort of a do-it-yourself Trac II razor.

My initial thoughts were as follows:
  • Similar to shimming a razor, it will change the geometry of the razor head making it a more aggressive shave.
  • The two stacked blade edges are likely too close together to create beneficial hysteresis, and may in fact inhibit the effectiveness of the blades.
So yesterday I stacked a couple of slightly-used blades in my mildest three-piece razor, the Merkur 33C  Classic.

An examination down the edge confirmed two things:
  • The razor geometry was made more aggressive due to the lower blade having a more positive blade exposure.
  • The blade edges were so close together that it was difficult to even distinguish them; they appeared as one blade.
As an initial experiment, I took this two-blade set up and shaved the hair on the back of my neck, which has always been rather insensitive and not susceptible to being easily wounded.

The outcome was no skin damage, but not a particularly close shave -- certainly not an improvement over my usual back-of-neck shave with my Merkur 15C open-comb razor and a single blade.

The Merkur 15C open-comb razor.

But this morning I went ahead and tried a standard shave with the two-blade set up. Bottom line, it wasn't an improvement. After about a 1/3 first pass, I went back to my Tech with a 16th-shave Bluebird blade.

Using that standard set up, I finished the shave with oblique, slow buffing strokes in an anti-raking pattern for two full passes. First pass was with grain; second pass was against grain. Then I took a few touch-up strokes and wound up with a very close, comfortable shave.

Happy shaving!

1 comment:

  1. I played around with the Rimei and my box of used blades. To get anything that even looked like two edges required both ordinary shims, sheared at the side notches, and special shims with little more than the very edge removed, two apiece.

    Like you, I chose a safe location on the back of my monkey paws to test. It clogged immediately, of course, but didn't encourage further testing either.

    I wouldn't put it past a soldier to tackle razor design this way, but it's clearly something that would never have formed the root of a tradition, even if the stacking puzzle had been solved.