Slim Misunderstanding

With every other TTO in the arsenal having roundly shown up my slant's performance with a well-worn blade (see comments to preceding post), the spotlight turned back to the one that the slant actually did better than: the Gillette "Slim" Adjustable. Sticking with the now routine prep of scuttle lathering (palm when I'm lazy), followed by a smear of the soap as preshave (Italian Barber Sandalwood, in this case), I confirmed that even on a low setting of "3," the blade was tugging rather unpleasantly. I closed it down all the way to "1" for XTG, and accomplished little, but stopped the sensation at least. Then up to "5" for a decent finish. Not injurious -- I think I actually forgot about postshave, because of some family distraction -- but again, not pleasant.

When I load a blade into the 70's Super Speed and rest the protruding edges against one another, I can sort of eyeball the comparative geometries. There seems to be a slight blade angle difference, even though the gap looks pretty similar with the Slim on "9." Actually, everything looks almost exactly the same. The angular difference I'm seeing is of the order of the wave in the blade -- which is not very much at all, with Gillettes. Scientific procedure would probably demand that I shave with the Slim on "9" to check if my settings were just wrong, but I'm gonna pass. I'm very sure that would be a harsh dig, because I finished a shave that way when this blade was less dull.

I've previously done the same comparison with the 60's Travel Tech, with a slightly different conclusion: the profiles differed only with respect to the top cap, but the gap looked the same. I always felt that the Tech and the Slim on "9" are essentially the same. And, not surprisingly, I would never choose the Tech to finish a blade.

So, in a way, I already knew the solution to this mystery: the Slim shaves more like a Tech. That is, with a lower natural pitch. It cannot be adjusted in a manner that would simulate any of my growing collection of Super Speed type razors, which apply steeper pitch and balance the increased traction with greater contact areas and/or less exposure. It's more of an upgrade from the Tech, than from the Super Speed.

And yet, the top cap must have SOME, lesser impact on the shave. So my next move is to fish out the "dull" Wilkinson Sword and give the Slim and the Tech another whack at that. Sharper would seem to be their forte.

*Ding Ding Ding*

Setting to 9-5-7, with the Wilkie that had previously been deemed too harsh, if not dull, yielded a magnificent, Sunday-style shave, near BBS, albeit with a fair bit of non-injurious exfoliation. I had to ride the top cap with a firmer grip than usual. (I will try some different settings.) But the hair put up little resistance, under Williams lather: not hairy-kari soft, but close enough. Perhaps this was just the low-angle equivalent? Hard to say, when I know I was shaving with a less than ideal combination of pitch, exposure, and traction control. At any rate, there was no uncomfortable pulling. I just had to take it slow and light.

Sigh. More edits to the Disquisitions! I would have (and generally, always have) associated sharper blades with the Super-Speed type razors, and less acute blades with the Techy side. But that's only because the Techs hurt more, in the shadow of my ignorance, due to their greater exposure. Now that I've settled on a preference for the Super Speed, and re-experienced it in light of the relatively automatic but similar shave of the slant, I see the Tech and Slim relating analogously to the Old Types. And ultimately, straight razors. I guess that's the really counter-intuitive part. What DE looks further removed from straight than a Gillette Adjustable?

1 comment:

  1. Travel Tech raised a weeper on my chin right away, which stopped before the shave was done, but you know I take that as a serious sign. I gave it a good try, but there was no chance for BBS here. Just ran out of stratum corneum, basically. Coconut oil was employed as balm with good effect, but I'll be faceturbating all day, self soothing. Definitely over-exfoliated, beginner quality "great shave."

    What's the take-away message here, for the Tech-wielding beginner, then? Take it easy. It's not hard for one's hair to fall outside the effective range of this low-angle shaver. The traditional, conservative open-blade approach used by barbers definitely applies here: WTG, XTG skim to make it even, quit while you're ahead. Or wait a couple days between shaves.

    From there, the shortest possible developmental path is to buy a Slim, but if one does't suffer ingrowns, I'd seriously consider the higher-traction pathway.