Zeroing In

Good news for the suckers who bought a Viking's Blade "Godfather": you might have broke even by saving the cost of a Slim adjustable. (The more savvy first-time razor buyers who found the Razorock DE1, with a less dildo-ey handle, or the original Baili BD-176, can still lord it over you, unfortunately.) The battle of vintage vs. new has come to a sudden head in my medicine cabinet, and it looks like it's going to be a real fight!

The Undisputed Champion

The Slim long ago unseated a great 3-piece from its place in the cabinet by virtue of adjustability. Not in the "aggressive" direction, but in the mild -- reducing gap made unsafe blades workable, and worn blades perform to their maximum potential. I further used it to increase the edges' reach with successive passes. That's like starting WTG with a gentle TTO, aimed relatively more directly at the skin, and ending with an idealized, Tech-like capability to reach the roots without stabbing. I think it's more than fair to say that the Slim is the greatest razor of all time. Especially considering its original price, historically -- it was, and is, the ultimate legacy of King Camp Gillette's idealism.

The Underdog Contender

And yet, something of a clap-trappy impression is left by its mechanism. The touchy way it must be opened before adjusting, little rattling noises. The Tech is a more elegant razor, and was arguably more accessible to the common man because of its even lower cost. The same attraction brought me to the Rimei RM2001 originally, and today, the Razorock DE1 is an even better option. Where the Tech and the Rimei give the edge a good amount of exposure by default, the DE1 does not, instead relying on the old-style handle loosening adjustment. But that doesn't mean the gap can't be adjusted independently, either, because it can be shimmed.

The Equalizer

The narrow shim I was able to dig up, from earlier times in my technical development, was not suitable to the smooth curve of Chaoying's baseplate, the way it would have been to other razors with a raised portion or ridges in the center. The curve was exaggerated, and when compensated for with greater loosening, flattened the blade to the point where shaving was uncomfortable.

I tried to figure out some slick way to remove only the edge from a razor blade, but manual grinding on a sharpening stone wasn't working rapidly enough, and my blade shattered before I could work anything out with pliers and scoring, just from the teeth of the pliers. So I didn't have anything better to use before lathering up for the next shave, and was like, "Oh, shit" -- off to the kitchen, to hurriedly snip the edges off a blade using a pair of those toothy, penny-cutting scissors.

Surprisingly, that worked just fine. Although the non-edge was now curled and rough, it extended beyond the baseplate, and did not result in any wavy blade. Which I suppose also speaks to the vise-like grip of that cutting head.

Round 2

Slim takes it by a score of 10-9, because I had a good bit of burn with my splash. But the contender is showing some good stuff. Where the narrow shim had given a shiny shave (like other low-angle shavers, Ming Shi 2000S and Dorco PL-602), the wide shim preserved my skin texture. Maybe even improved it, as evidenced by the burn -- hey, a guy can hope!

The smoothness in operation was not as notable as those other mentioned razors, and certainly not the flight over skin that the Tech gives, with its relative inefficiency -- but a good balance of tug-and-cut and not missing any hair. I think that in time, I could shave off a third pass with this, and get my BBS in two. Overall, I could almost be persuaded that I was supposed to have this amount of burn with my aftershave, because it felt natural.

1 comment:

  1. Concerning shimming. One thing that I need to do is mic the thickness of various DE blades. I honestly belief that there is a thickness difference between the various blades. If that's the case, it might be beneficial to build a chart of blade thicknesses so that those who do shim will know how to make minute adjustments.

    I'll put it on my list of things to do!