|Maggard MR3B razor, with its fat, heavy handle, which I like in|
combination with my Merkur 33C razor head.
The point of today's article, however, is additional insight into the nature of the "Bakelite" razor -- specifically the way that it fastens together. In my previous article, I described how the "Bakelite" razor seems to screw together less positively; that is, as I tighten the handle onto the razor head, from the point where the handle touches the compressed (with my fingers) razor head to the point that the handle is securely snug against the razor head, there seems to be a bit more turning required that with my metal razors.
This begs the question: why? Is it the spring force of the extra blade curvature of the "Bakelite" razor head? Is it the extra plastic "give" of the center post in the razor top cap? Is it the extra plastic "give" of the threads in the "Bakelite" handle? Some combination?
Well, for starters, I don't believe that the separation force of the extra curvature of the blade has anything to do with the issue. I say this because as I tighten the inverted plastic razor together on my bathroom counter top, I apply more than sufficient force with my free hand to completely cancel the separation force of the blade-as-spring, and fully compress the top-cap-blade-baseplate sandwich.
Here's what I know from screwing metal handles onto the "Bakelite" razor head, and from screwing the "Bakelite" handle onto metal razor heads: it's subtle but I think that, not surprisingly, both the plastic handle threading and the center post mounting in the plastic head each have the slightest additional "give" when tightening up the razor -- not a lot; just a bit. When both are mated together, however, the combination becomes more obvious. It's still not a lot, but it is discernible.
So what does this mean?
I guess it means that one would expect the life of the "Bakelite" razor to be, as I surmised in my previous article, a shorter life than a metal razor, when all other things are equal. Not a shocking conclusion, I guess, but it means that over time the continual micro flexing of the plastic parts will lead to failure. How quickly this happens depends on both frequency of use, how the razor is stored (tight, with blade or not), and how tightly the user actually tightens up the razor prior to use.
Nothing is forever, of course -- and that's certainly true of the "Bakelite" razor. So if you have one or plan to get one, then enjoy it while it's working, with the knowledge that it may be a bit more temporary than your other razors.