Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SuperMax Titanium and Full-Swing Golf Shots

The Super-Max Titanium Blade V. the Lab Blue

I am continuing my new process of rotating blade models not with each new blade, but rather with each new package of blades, which is most often five blades. My last blade in this process was the Personna Super (the so-called Lab-Blue blade). After using several Lab-Blue blades in a row, my opinion has shifted a bit, and I now consider this blade a bit irritating and weeper-prone on my skin. I found that it gives me the most acceptable face-friendly shaves in very mild razors, though they are still a bit irritating.

Enter the Super-Max Titanium blade. After just a few shaves, I have been able to move up through my mildest razors -- the Weishi 9306-F and the Merkur 33C -- with much more face-friendly outcomes than with the Lab Blue. Tomorrow I'll be using one of my c.1948 Tech razors as the next step in seeking to maintain an optimally face-friendly shave, while at the same time looking to get closer to my ideal baby-smooth outcome.

Yet even this far into my new get-thoroughly-acquainted-with-a-blade program, I can feel the difference between the Super-Max and the Lab-blue blades. I can't say for certain which is sharper, though I suspect that the Personna is. However, clearly the combination of sharpness, edge grind and blade coating makes the Super-Max Titanium the better choice for me and my skin.

I will continue to run the Super-Max Titanium blade through its paces for the next several weeks. I will be using it in razors of ever-increasing aggression until the face-friendliness of the shave begins to decline. At that point, I'll settle on the razors that I find optimal with this blade, and I'll report on my overall conclusions.

It's Spring! Dust Off the Golf Clubs

For those of you who play golf, it's time to hit the range and tune up your game. Now, I know that there's great truth in the old saying, "Drive for show and putt for dough." However, there's also something to be said for being able to hit full-swing golf shots straight when desired, and even better, to know how to draw or fade the ball when desired.

So if you have an unwanted hook or slice and would like to cure that, there is a clearly-explained process to straighten your golf shots. Also, if you want to learn the how and why of intentionally causing your golf shots to curve in a desired direction, that info is out there as well.

There's a book, The Ultimate Slice and Hook Solution: The Final Word on How to Hit Straight in Golf, that's available in paperback or as a download-able PDF ebook.

For the paperback version, it can be seen here:

For the ebook (PDF) version, it can be shopped here:

This book is the result of two years of research and practice in learning to understand and fix my own intermittent (the worst kind of problem) but persistent slice -- especially off the tee. A local golf pro couldn't clearly explain to me why a golf ball curves, how the movement of the club face through impact causes the various deviations from straight-and-true flight, the swing mechanics that produce unwanted club-head movement, and how to correct the relevant flaws in swing mechanics. This book does those things in probably the most direct manner of anything out there.

If you're a golfer, this may be a book you want in your library.

Here's hoping you're hitting 'em straight and long, and happy shaving!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Coming Full Circle

A Bit of My DE Shaving History

I got interested in DE (double-edge) shaving when I came across my dad's long-abandoned Gillette Slim Adjustable razor. It was in a cabinet in my mom's home. 

This discovery led to some experimentation and research. Initially, my research was a simple Internet query for "the best DE razor." This returned a blog article (long since lost; I haven't been able to find it again) that reduced this naive question and its amazingly complex potential answer to a gross oversimplification: the blogger said that the best razor was the Merkur Classic (33C) and the best blade was the Personna Super (the USA-made lab-blue) blade.

Not knowing any better, I bought them both.

My inexperience with DE technique led to dissatisfaction with this Merkur-Personna combination, and the lab-blue blade in the Gillette Slim was certainly not an improvement at that time.  So that began a not-uncommon quest for the "best" razor-and-blade combination for me.

Coming Around Again

The past few weeks, I've returned to Personna Super blade in earnest. Also, as I've previously mentioned, these days I don't rotate through blades one after another. Instead I stick with a given brand and model of blade until I have exhausted the combinations and have thoroughly analyzed its performance in most shaving situations.

I do think that the Personna Super blade is good. It's sharp and durable. However, it's almost too sharp for my skin -- having an unrelenting tendency to open weepers despite my due care. So I've returned to some milder razors including the Merkur Classic and, most notably, the Weishi 9306-F, the mildest razor in my stable.

I have found that the 9306-F is actually the best razor for me when paired with a Personna Super blade that is new or new-ish. As the blade enters the last part of its useful life, I will switch to the Merkur Classic razor to compensate slightly for the degradation of the blade's sharpness.

This is not to say that the mild razors won't shave close. My testing has proven that with these instruments I am able to still get a close shave without much additional effort. The fact remains, however, that mild shaving character doesn't mean harmless. If I pursue the shave closeness that I prefer, I can still easily open small weepers despite my best efforts to shave carefully. These weepers tend to be tiny and often disappear without any special treatment such as the alum block or styptic pencil, but they are evidence that even mild razors with very sharp blades deserve respect and call for good shaving technique.

Back to the Front Lines

So the Merkur Classic and the Weishi 9306-F once again remain close at hand in my shaving laboratory. Previously parked with other reserves, well behind the front lines of my daily skirmish with facial stubble, they have been called up as a good tactical approach when paired with very sharp blades.

So if you have some blades in your inventory that may be a bit too sharp or with an edge grind that is just a bit too irritating for your skin, if haven't already done so, consider experimenting with a very mild razor to compensate. The Merkur Classic is one such instrument, and the Weishi 9306-F is even slightly more mild.


Happy shaving!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rethinking Weishi

I had a rough shave the other day.

I was using a Personna Super blade, the sharp, PTFE-coated blade, the so-called lab-blue blade. I have recently concluded that this blade is actually just a touch too sharp to be ideal for my beard and under-lying skin. Yet I've got a large inventory and might as well learn to optimize its shaves.

So this intention led me back to my closeted razor inventory -- the razors that I don't use often enough to keep at hand in the bathroom. My mild-shaving Weishi 9306-F had been relegated there in my belief that it was just too mild to give the closeness of shave to which I aspire.

However, the afore-mentioned rough shave had opened a few weepers that, for one reason or another, I kept re-opening. So as I continued to shave with the lab-blue blade (which is my previously-proclaimed policy of shaving with one brand and model of blade until I completely understand it's performance in all my razors), I rotated through milder-shaving razors and razor settings, but most often a lapse in my concentration would cause me to aggravate those previous wounds. Then I remembered my Weishi.

The Weishi 9306-F razor is a one-piece design, fashioned in the tradition of the old Gillette Super Speed razors. It is hefty at about 57 grams, and appears to be well made. When one gets beyond the insular preconceptions about all Chinese razors being low quality (which obviously isn't true), the knock on this razor is its exceptionally mild shaving character.

It is mild. Yet that is a two-edged sword, so to speak. On one hand, it takes some focus to get an exceptionally-close shave, but on the other hand, it is a face-friendly design.

The bottom line is that my shave with the 9306-F, paired with the Personna Super blade, was both pretty darned close and comfortable. To achieve this, I did vary my usual process.

On most days, I do a regional-shave process. That is, I only lather with the brush a single time, and then shave my beard in discreet sub regions, shaving each sub region to completion before moving on to the next region. As I shave each sub region, I will add water as necessary with my free (non-razor) hand, which I think is the most important aspect of this process: having sufficient moisture. Also with this regional approach, I don't rinse the razor until the shave is done. Instead I will swipe used lather from the underside of the razor and re-apply it as necessary to the sub region being shaved.

With the Weishi 9306-F, I used this same process, but then added to it. After the completion of the regional shave, I rinsed with water, re-lathered using residual lather in the brush, and did an additional against-grain final pass.

As I wrote earlier, the result was as close as I normally achieve, but with less risk and minimal irritation and re-opening of previous wounds.

I actually enjoyed this shave so much, that my 9306-F has been given a new home in the bathroom because I've recognized its value when I'm using a blade that, with other razors, might be too harsh for my skin.

So if you're like me in that you may have some blades that are too harsh or likely to wound despite your best effort, you might give the Weishi 9306-F a try. It comes in regular and long-handled versions. The first three links below are the standard design. The last link is the long-handled version.


Happy shaving!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Matching Blades to Razors: A Different Approach

I have a fairly large inventory of blades on hand. That inventory is far from limited to a single type or brand of blade.

As I've routinely rotated through the different blades in my current cache, for quite a long time now I've noticed a significant variation in shave outcome when using different blades in the same razor.

Yet it's interesting to note that I've had a hard time sorting out exactly which blades in which razors perform optimally for me. The way I've tried to sort that out to this point is to slowly rotate through my brands/models of blades as though they were offered on a carousel. That is, I'd use a given blade until it's useful life was over, then I'd move on to the next brand/model of blade. During the use of a given blade, I'd use razors according to whim, intuition, plan, skin condition or whatever, and try to make note of what works better, what works worse.

This hasn't worked out particularly well. Sure, I have some general ideas about matching blades and razors to the day's condition of my skin, but it's all still rather vague, inchoate -- and as a result, sub optimal.

So starting with my current blade, which is the sharp Personna Super (the so-called lab-blue) blade, when this one particular one is used up, I will NOT switch to a different brand/model of blade. Instead I will choose another of the same lab-blue blades. I will continue to shave with this blade until I fully understand the nuances of combining it with various razors under various conditions.

Then and only then will I switch to a different blade, and repeat the process.

Have you done it differently? How's it working for you?

Happy shaving!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Reconciling with the Gillette Slim

A couple of weeks ago after a really bad shave with my adjustable Gillette Slim razor, I swore I was done with it. But it was like a really bad argument with one's wife; after I cooled down and reconsidered, maybe it wasn't time to divorce just yet.

I don't think my Slim will ever be my favorite shaving implement, but it does have its moments. On my skin, the Slim seems to be more blade sensitive than some of my other razors. I haven't sorted out exactly all the blades that are better or worse, but I do know that a new Personna Super (the so-called Lab Blue) blade is NOT the blade for me in this razor. I had a disastrous shave with a second-use lab blue and the razor set to a mild 3.

Yet I had a great shave with the Slim and a used Personna red label blade, the platinum-chrome blade, with the razor set to a more moderate 5.

The Slim, like any of my long-term relationships, obviously has its ups and downs.


If you are a regular visitor at the blog, you may have noticed that I had an article published there once again about a week ago. That one was on the subject of shaving as performance art. (To easily find any of my articles, simply search the site using my last name, Hansford, as the key word.)

I also have another article on deck to be published in the near future on the challenges and curse of modern cartridge-style, multi-bladed razor designs. You might keep an eye out for it.


Two of my regular razors remain the Merkur open-comb 15C and the Rimei RM2003 (a.k.a. on Amazon as the "Traditional Double Edge Razor"), both of which are three-piece razor designs. In terms of shaving character, I think of them as bookends around the later (after WWII) Gillette Tech razors. The 15C is slightly more mild in shave character than the Tech, and the RM2003 slightly more aggressive though skin friendly. Depending on the blade, the condition of my skin, and the closeness of shave that I seek, these three razors are the ones that I tend to use most frequently.


 Happy shaving!