Friday, September 12, 2014

Thoughts on Handle Weights, Dimensions, and Overall Razor Balance

The super lightweight: the all-aluminum Weishi 2003-m,
weighing in at about 21 grams.
My two-part article of the previous two days was pretty much silent on any substantive information regarding handle dimensions and razor weights and balance.  I thought I should follow up and briefly address that today.

Another lightweight: the Lord LP1822L, with its 4"-long
aluminum handle, weighing in at about 44 grams.
I, personally, have little preference when it comes to DE-handle dimensions or weights. Likewise, I don't much care about razor balance. Some shavers apparently do. I have shaved with the lightest of razors in the Weishi 2003-m all-aluminium TTO and with some of the heaviest by pairing my Maggard MR3B handle with various razor heads. Yes, they feel different in my hand, but, bottom line, I don't see much difference in the shave outcome, and I honestly don't have a preference.  My prejudice on this issue is my belief that it is similar to having a hammer as your only tool in the shed, and when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Likewise, when all you know is handle size, razor weight, and razor balance, then all shaving characteristics are attributed to these factors. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but that's what I believe. But in any case, if you have read the two postings on picking the right razor for you, now you certainly have more information about the design characteristics that influence razor capacity and potential harshness.

Because a razor is more akin to a surgeons scalpel than a paint brush or paint scraper, it is best held with various fingertip grips, which I have always done without thinking -- even the multi-blade-cartridge razors. The various fingertip grips provide good razor control and feedback.
My current champion in the heavyweight division: the
Maggard MR3B, tipping the scale at 93 grams.

Therefore I find that a light grip tends to render handle length largely immaterial. The same seems to apply to handle diameter. I do, however, prefer a good texture on the handle; I really dislike smooth razor handles because I don't want to risk razor slippage in damp fingers!

Again, I acknowledge that some razor reviewers seem to really care about handle length, weight, and the resulting razor balance. But over the long haul, I've just gone back to the factory handles on my razors, and they are totally fine for me. My experience is that with a light finger-tip grip on the handle -- whatever its dimensions -- I have good control over razor direction and pressure against face no matter what the razor weight and balance.
A classic three-piece DE razor: the Merkur 33C, with its traditional narrow,
three-inch handle and 57 grams of total weight.

By the way, on the morning that I wrote this article, I did a 2-1/2-pass shave with my Merkur 33C, which has the classic, rather narrow, three-inch handle. The razor weighs in at 57 grams. All this makes it a rather small-handled, lighter-weight razor. Yet I got a comfortable shave with a smoothness that is very rewarding to the hand and eye.

Of course, opinions and experiences vary from person to person.

Feel free to share yours.  Happy shaving!

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