Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holy-Grail Razor: First Adjustments

The point of this holy-grail experiment is to arrive at the holy grail of razors: an inexpensive, close- but comfortable-shaving instrument.

Job one in adjusting the holy-grail razor is to ensure that it can be salvaged. So I checked the top cap for in-plane edges and eye-balled the same edges for being parallel. I have described this process in a previous article. The top cap edges were definitely in the same plane and close enough to parallel to proceed with the project.
This is a side view with blade as the razor was first assembled out of the shipping envelope. Its asymmetical baseplate with non-parallel safety bars, ridiculous blade-bar gap and resulting extremely-positive blade exposure makes this a potentially dangerous shaving instrument as shown.

Since my objective was achieve fairly uniform shaving characteristics on both edges of this razor, my first step was to straighten the safety bar that had presumably been bent in transit. I had a choice in doing this. One option was to restore the bent edge to match the opposite as it might have come from the factory prior to damage in shipping. However, I was going to be modifying the baseplate at both safety bars to make the blade gap much smaller, which would also have the effect of making the blade angle much smaller as well, and would slightly reduce the positive blade exposure.

So instead of restoring the bent safety bar to its likely factory orientation (which would have been to increase the blade gap), I adjusted it to be straight and parallel with the top cap, but with what would be a much smaller blade-bar gap. The main tool that I used was a flat-blade screwdriver, which I use to lever the safety bar into a new orientation by passing the blade over or under the safety bar (as appropriate) and slightly through the punched oval holes that separate the safety bar from the rest of the baseplate. Another tool that I used was a pair of small pliers with a narrow, elongated nose that is bent at about a 30-degree angle. The challenge in making these adjustments is to change the orientation of the safety bars, while keeping them parallel and in the same general contour so that both edges of the razor shave about the same.

This most recent Chinese-made razor has its baseplate made from a bit thinner steel than my original Re,Mei-brand razor [correction: that's Ri,Mei (sic)]. The thinner steel allows me to make slight adjustments with my hands, unaided by tools. So very minor adjustments were made simply pressing with my thumbs in the direction needed.
This is more to my liking. The smaller blade angle and gap should provide a milder shave, but the still-positive blade exposure will allow for a slightly closer shave than my favorite razors, which have negative blade exposures. This first adjustment is not quite uniform -- each edge being slightly different. This will allow for a test shave and subsequent tuning.

What I achieved in this first round of adjustments was blade angles that averaged about 29 degrees. Given the lack of precision in manufacturing, there is compromise required in accepting final adjustments. I chose to put a premium on safety bars being parallel to blade edges, which led to a bit of variation in blade angle -- even on a single edge, where the angle at one end of the edge differed slightly from that at the other end.

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment