Friday, October 24, 2014

Analysis of the Weishi 9306-F Shave Head

The Weishi 9306-F a Chinese copy of an old Gillette Super Speed razor. It is largely brass substrate with a chrome finish. I have previously written a review of this razor, so today, as a follow-on to yesterday's analysis of the Gillette Slim Adjustable razor head, today I'll take a similar look at the Weishi, which also seems to be sold under the Micro Touch One brand.
Side view of the Weishi 9306-F razor with blade mounted. The shave plane is drawn in to better show the blade exposure and blade angle in relation to the shave plane. (BTW, the butterfly doors are closed as much as this razor allows. The asymmetrical closure is a characteristic of this particular razor.)

Side view of the vintage Gillette Slim Adjustable razor with blade mounted and adjusted to one, its lowest-capacity setting. The shave plane is again shown.
To review the four design characteristics shown in these side views...

  • Blade reveal is the length of blade exposed beyond the edge of the top cap. All other things equal, larger reveal means potentially a more-harsh shave.
  • Blade exposure is the degree that the blade edge lies above or below the shave plane. Generally speaking, larger exposure means potentially a more-harsh shave.
  • Blade gap (between the blade edge and the safety bar) is a key determinant of razor shaving capacity. Larger gap (more capacity) generally means more risk, a potentially more-harsh shave.
  • Blade angle (the acute angle, the one less than 90 degrees, in relation to the shave plane) determines whether the blade cuts whiskers with more of a slicing action or more of a scraping action. Larger acute angles mean more of a scraping cut, which is a more harsh cutting action.
  • It should also be mentioned that the angle of the shave plane itself in relation to the razor handle is largely irrelevant. That only determines the angle that the user must hold the razor handle in relation to the face to optimize the cutting efficiency of the razor. It is the angle of the blade in relation to the shave plane that affects the potential degree of shave harshness.

Although the Weishi and Gillette side-view camera angles are slightly different, they do suggest very similar blade reveal, exposure, gap, and angle -- that is, when the Gillette Slim is set to its most mild setting. The Weishi has a slightly smaller blade exposure and the gap is arguably perhaps a bit larger. These two factors would tend to offset each other, thus suggesting the shave of both razors would be similar.

The key characteristic of note is the similar blade angle (in relation to the shave plane). Again, both the Gillette and Weishi razors are very much alike in that regard. So even though these razors are of very limited shaving capacity (when the Slim Adjustable is set to one), their acute blade angles are noticeably larger than the blade angle of the Merkur 33C (as discussed yesterday), as well as the Lord LP1822L razor head.

[CORRECTION UPDATE: After printing enlarged versions of these photos, extending the shave-plane and blade-angle lines, and then measuring the blade angle with a protractor, I have proven my eyeball assessment of these angles to be incorrect. The Weishi's blade angle is actually about 28 degrees -- smaller than the Merkur or Lord! If the relative harshness actually exists, it is more likely due to the neutral blade exposure combined with possibly a larger blade gap, when measured along the shave plane, compared to the Merkur.]

Side views of both the Merkur and Lord are shown below.
A side view of the Merkur 33C with the shave plane drawn in. The acute blade angle in relation to the shave plane is significantly smaller in the 33C than the TTOs above, which is going to provide a more face-friendly, less-harsh slicing cut of the whiskers. [CORRECTION: Not true. See the correction update, above.]
A side view of the Lord LP1822L razor head with the shave plane drawn in. It has an acute blade angle in relation to the shave plane that is similar to the 33C, so it too will provide a more face-friendly, less-harsh slicing cut of the whiskers. [CORRECTION: Not true. See the correction update, above.]
These four razors provide evidence tending to support my general assertion that if one has rather sensitive skin, a TTO razor such as the Gillette Slim and the Weishi, the subject of today's article, are less desirable that three-piece designs such as the Merkur or Lord brands as shown here.

In particular, the Weishi 9306-F, though being a low-capacity, low-risk razor (in terms of nicks and cuts), it will give a relatively-harsh shave on sensitive skin owing, primarily, to its comparatively-large acute blade angle as shown here in the photos. [CORRECTION: Not true. See the correction update, above.]

Again, to quote Walter Cronkite: "That's the way it is." [At least when one includes the correction update, above.]

Happy shaving!

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