Rimei Reexamined

The $20 IB slant cast a lot of shade on my first and long-time favorite razor, by giving me good exposure without the risk I had associated with that feeling. Even with heavy glycerin treatment yesterday, I noticed a degraded skin texture from the Rimei in the evening. Why -- HOW -- the hell did I ever shim, or use a DEvette? The Rimei now represents the most extreme exposure, the dangerous razor that I use for fun, or a test of manly skill.

Perhaps my skin has thickened, but not in the way I expected. Blood vessels and nerve endings seem to have been the primary beneficiaries of my shaving aptitude, more than the stratum corneum. I only recently noticed that both approach the surface within dermal papillae (drawn exaggerated in a chapter on heat transfer). In other words, when you have a weeper, it means you removed the entire thickness of the epidermis. And the epidermis is thinnest at those points. You can't win!

Unless... you continually assault the intruding circulation and innervation, with amputation under the blade, and chemical warfare in the form of alcohol splash. Is that what my first few years of shaving were really all about?

Not really. Glycerin at least swelled the tissues to minimize the damage. Today I turned the same gear to the mixed moisturization of KMF-VdH croap, and skipped the pumpkin juice. That's a setup I would gladly recommend to a beginner, and one I would have used regularly as a beginner. Jojoba and cured Witch Hazel provided some protection, and I got the full depth again, but I caught the edge on a bad stroke near the corner, for a nick.

Exploring blades for the first time, I considered Racer to be the dullest blade I could safely use. I can now appreciate that the hair softening isn't really optional in that setup. By present standards, as far as skin condition went, I was probably banging my head against the wall most of the time, with the Rimei as well. On the other hand, I was wont to bend its baseplate to suit, which recourse is still available to me now.

Or, maybe not

A couple whacks with the rubber hammer cracked the hardened steel baseplate like brass, and I have another DEvette. But it's a half-sider: one side held, so I can at least see what it does with a narrow gap. For fellow Rimei owners' reference, I lifted the bar closer to the blade, such that when the cutting head is viewed from a narrow end, the curve of the support looks truly parallel to the plate; whereas before, the vertical aspect of the crimped edge was more true. Update to come in the morning...

Update: That modification knocked the Rimei cleanly back to the casual, low-angle side of shaving, where the GEM and Merkur OC safety razors reside. Even with double pumpkin juice, before and after the preshave Williams emulsion, I wouldn't think of scooping into the follicles with the guardless edge. And the closely-guarded side wouldn't reach that deep if I wanted it to. I only got a close shave near the midline and under my eyes, where the long-forgotten steep angle proved useful. I suppose I could have tugged my skin around and attempted the same elsewhere, where it would have been more difficult, but I'd much rather let Ruby do the work tomorrow.

I guess that proves I've jumped the shark, as far as the real traditionalists are concerned. Sorry, men. Even though the intact (possibly increased gap) razor could reach the bottom of a follicle, at great peril, it just wasn't a good experience. For a close DE shave, TTO and slant are legitimate technological advancements. (Strikes gavel, exits.)

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