Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gillette Slim Adjustable: Further Design Analysis

Based on my recent surprising (to me) discovery that the blade angle of the Gillette Slim Adjustable razor, when set on its smallest setting, is about 31 degrees -- about the same as my prized Merkur 33 -- the question remains:

Why does the Gillette Slim seem to me to give a more harsh, more irritating shave even on its most mild setting, when compared to the Merkur 33?

Since the apparent harshness of TTO razors in general and the Slim in particular isn't due to the blade angle (as I confirmed recently and immediately documented in a blog article), I believe the photos below suggest the answer. The upper picture is the Gillette Slim TTO set on its most mild setting, one. The photo clearly shows that the blade exposure is positive: the blade edge lies above the shave plane, which is a more aggressive, potentially-harsh orientation. But what about the blade-bar gap?

A casual observer may assume the blade gap is the distance between the dots at points A and C. But in reality, the gap is about twice that at A-B, when the hard-copy enlargement is measured with a ruler.

Razor edge indicated by red dot at A. Smallest gap measured at A-C. True gap at A-B.
Compare these two factors, blade exposure and gap, to those in the Merkur design. The blade exposure in the Merkur is negative: below the shave plane as indicated by the red dot near A. The minimum gap, A-C, is also about half the effective blade-bar gap at A-B, when the hard-copy photo is measured.
Razor edge indicated by red dot at A. Smallest gap measured at A-C. True gap at A-B.
A key question, though, is what is the relative gap size of the Gillette Slim when compared to the Merkur 33? That question I can't currently answer with confidence. Recent events have taught me not to trust eyeball evaluations, whether on the actual razor or a photo; and I have no micrometer to make any actual measurements (a ruler would likely be too inaccurate).

At this point, I would attribute the potentially harsh shave (that I seem to consistently experience) to the positive blade exposure of the Gillette, while the negative blade exposure of the Merkur seems to better agree with my skin texture, thinness, and general sensitivity.

Happy shaving!

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