10-10-2013, 12:18 PM
#1
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Search disclaimer: I've been doing a lot of research on this issue so I can figure out what to buy as X-mas gifts, but I can't find any threads on the subject or even an overview on a review site. So, either my googling skills need a refresher, or the information is buried deep in the search results.

On to the actual question(s).

1) Grip:
I've surmised that grip is important. The deep knurling pattern of the Ikon bulldog is highly touted. The not so good knurling of the Muhle classic is pretty slippery when I saw it in person and can completely understand the issue. The cross hatch pattern of a cheap Rimei seems to be grippy enough.

How deep and aggressive must the knurling be? What about the satin finish of the Futur? Is it special in anyway or just sand blasted?

2) Length
This one seems pretty subjective. Is there a range of lengths that most people seem to like and get along with? There has to be a too short and too long length, no? Is there a goldilocks range? Most of the aftermarket handles seem to be between 80-100mm. 85 being perhaps the truer low end.

3) Diameter
Most forum members seem to like fatter handles. The AOS SA said that the Muhle sold well because it's bigger. The future sold the best because it's so new and futuristic looking. Both handles seem to be on the fatter side coming in at around 14/15mm.

Handles such as the iKon, Weber, & UFO are also pretty fat. Is 13mm-15mm the goldilocks range? Do people prefer skinnier handles, such as 10mm? Several vintage razors and a lot of the cheaper Chinese razors have skinny handles in the 10mm range.

4) Material
Is there a preference for metal over plastic? Just wondering. EJ & Muhle offer more plastic options than metal options.

5) Weight
From what I've read, the vast majority prefer a heavier handle to a lighter handle. Correct?

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 10-10-2013, 12:24 PM
#2
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Lee, as with everything else shaving-related, YMMV.

I would guess that many, although not all, folks like the following attributes :
- shorter length 80-85mm
- moderate diameter/thickness 13-15mm
- medium knurling (Weber Ikon and some of the UFO)
- heavier metal (SS)
... at least these are the attributes I like ... Biggrin

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 10-10-2013, 12:44 PM
#3
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(10-10-2013, 12:24 PM)Agravic Wrote: Lee, as with everything else shaving-related, YMMV.

I would guess that many, although not all, folks like the following attributes :
- shorter length 80-85mm
- moderate diameter/thickness 13-15mm
- medium knurling (Weber Ikon and some of the UFO)
- heavier metal (SS)
... at least these are the attributes I like ... Biggrin

Those would be my preferences also.

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 10-10-2013, 01:11 PM
#4
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(10-10-2013, 12:24 PM)Agravic Wrote: Lee, as with everything else shaving-related, YMMV.

I would guess that many, although not all, folks like the following attributes :
- shorter length 80-85mm
- moderate diameter/thickness 13-15mm
- medium knurling (Weber Ikon and some of the UFO)
- heavier metal (SS)
... at least these are the attributes I like ... Biggrin

I won't even try to square my preferences with what others like. I've seen some handles sold that seem more at home as a stick shift than a razor handle.

But I'm in general agreement with the above, except I prefer a handle of near 70mm and a diameter closer to 12mm, but I could live with the minimum dimensions listed... at least I think I could. Both of my UFO handles are to my specs and IMO are simply fantastic. But folks with larger hands might not like my specs.

Muhle "worn cobblestone" knurling is terrible. It's the same as a wet rounded cobblestone, that is, quite slippery when wet.

I postulate, and have thought this for quite some time, that it's the razor handle that holds many folks back from a really great shave. Too long, too big a diameter, too slippery, and too heavy, means lack of a useable user interface. That's just my opinion.

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 10-10-2013, 01:21 PM
#5
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I've tried a few and the Ikon Bulldog II is the right length, diameter, grip for me. Also has a beautiful finish and design.

One of the few things that Ikon gets right imho...

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 10-10-2013, 04:32 PM
#6
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
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Im my opinion, the "goldilocks" handle is the standard UFO Goliath. It has the perfect diameter/length, it has a nice solid heft and knurling that is not only intricate and beautiful, it gives plenty of grip without feeling rough/sharp like Weber/iKon knurling...more refined, if you will.

I am 6'5" and 230lbs with HUGE hands...so as always YMMV, it might be considered too large for others.

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 10-10-2013, 11:04 PM
#7
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I think the discussion about length, material, diameter and weight is really a discussion about balance... putting the center of gravity where it needs to be to make the actual cutting surface easy to maneuver.

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 10-11-2013, 02:39 AM
#8
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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(10-10-2013, 11:04 PM)WegianWarrior Wrote: I think the discussion about length, material, diameter and weight is really a discussion about balance... putting the center of gravity where it needs to be to make the actual cutting surface easy to maneuver.

Totally agree

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 10-11-2013, 06:59 AM
#9
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So I can comment on three razors i've used: EJ86, Merkur 34HD and Aluminum Gillette Tech.

The EJ86 was nice but I realized I had better control of the razor when the handle was shorter and I would hold it closer to the underside of the head. The EJ head never really agreed with me, I could never get a close shave with it. I never had any issues with grip; it has no knurling or grippy features to speak of and it has never slipped on me.

The Merkur gives me the closest shave and the handle is the right length but is a tad too thick and heavy.

My aluminium tech is the perfect size and weight, handle is just short enough that I can hold it comfortably. I can't seem to nail down a BBS shave, at best a good DFS.

So my perfect razor (thus far) would have the handle size and weight of the tech, but the head of the Merkur.

I realize that a Weber is similar to this but I was thinking of trying the classic handle, my worry is that it's a tad too long.

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 10-11-2013, 07:52 AM
#10
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(10-11-2013, 06:59 AM)Starkicker Wrote: So I can comment on three razors i've used: EJ86, Merkur 34HD and Aluminum Gillette Tech.

The EJ86 was nice but I realized I had better control of the razor when the handle was shorter and I would hold it closer to the underside of the head. The EJ head never really agreed with me, I could never get a close shave with it. I never had any issues with grip; it has no knurling or grippy features to speak of and it has never slipped on me.

The Merkur gives me the closest shave and the handle is the right length but is a tad too thick and heavy.

My aluminium tech is the perfect size and weight, handle is just short enough that I can hold it comfortably. I can't seem to nail down a BBS shave, at best a good DFS.

So my perfect razor (thus far) would have the handle size and weight of the tech, but the head of the Merkur.

I realize that a Weber is similar to this but I was thinking of trying the classic handle, my worry is that it's a tad too long.

* The Weber Classic handle would definitely be too long for you as they are 4 inches in length. You should really consider a UFO handle! Good luck.

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 10-11-2013, 09:22 AM
#11
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You have to find what you're comfortable with.

But I would suggest the Merkur 1904, seems like it would be for good grip with the handle and such.

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 10-11-2013, 12:07 PM
#12
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I think that, for most people, your "goldilocks" ranges are probably accurate. For example, for girth of a handle, anything skinnier than 12 mm is probably "too thin" and anything fatter than 15 mm is probably "too fat."

I had UFO make me a custom Kaiser and I chose 14 mm. I think it's great, but if it were 13 mm I would probalby like it about as much as I do now.

As far as length is concerned, I agree that between 80 and 100 mm is about right. I always thought the original Tradere handle was just a tiny bit "too long." The second-generation handle is a much better length for most people.

As for weight, despite trying all different weights I can't really decide which I prefer. I can shave comfortably with a fat-handle Tech on its original handle, or with the same head atop my custom Kaiser, which is pretty heavy.

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 10-11-2013, 05:07 PM
#13
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Grip or knurling, length, diameter, weight and material are all elements to designing the perfect razor. As with ALL things these elements must be aligned with personal tastes to achieve a "nirvana" handle.

For me (and many, many others) Juan and Rafael offer the "perfect" handle. The UFO range offers a variety of the elements above, except really for materials. Yes there is a range of metals on offer, but no wood, plastic, horn etc. For me this isn't an issue as I once owned a variety of these materials in Joris handles and sold them all in preference for the metal only offerings from Joris.

The weight of metal provides a better balance for me, not only in terms of balancing the cutting end of the razor, but also in the way a rod of metal feels reassuring and comfortable in the hand.

My perfect razor specifications:
  • 85mm in length seems about perfect for me in terms of manoeuvrability and balance.
  • 13 to 15mm provides the right diameter for my hand.
  • Deep knurling is better, but it still must be smooth and not bite.
  • 316L stainless steel IMO is the perfect material in terms of weight, finish and care requirements.
  • Around 100grams is the right weight for me.

I do enjoy handles that vary. For example longer, lighter or less knurling, but if I had to describe the perfect specifications for me, I believe I've done that above.

In short, I currently spell the perfect razor handle: U F O

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 10-11-2013, 06:07 PM
#14
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I find that the better the handle matches the technique, the better the razor will perform.

Sometimes a weird handle is a surprise performer. eg: Damaskeene SE has a tiny short handle... but putting a bigger handle on hurt performance for me. I use the stock handle now.

If you know which handles can be interchanged with which razors without damaging the threads then all the better.

Handles are definitely a YMMV item.

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 10-11-2013, 06:32 PM
#15
  • gagarin
  • Student of Stainless
  • Pelotillehue
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I prefer the 316L stainless bulldog handles from Weber and iKon. 80 mm is my sweet spot, though the 85 mm iKon Bulldog II provides better balance for heavy heads such as the Tradere.

Perhaps my favorite of all is the all-bronze BRW Fluted handle. Bob lengthened the neck a bit on mine - it measures about 85 mm. Bronze looks great and has a special feel in the hand.

[Image: attachment.php?attachmentid=201096&stc=1&d=1321659895]

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 10-12-2013, 03:10 AM
#16
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I'm going to be in a minority here, but I'll take balance over excessive weight.

I've had several custom handles that were just too heavy to get a nice feel during the shave. They did help the razor plough through the stubble, but they actually disguised improper technique and dulling blades.

If you want to fix your shaving technique, use a plastic razor. Biggrin

The best handle I've ever had (for me) is a BRW handle that's made of linen micarta. It has a brass core, giving it weight, without spoiling the balance of the head it's paired with.

[Image: temporary.jpg]

So, for me, the heavy handles don't work as well. Give me one in the 60g range, and I'm happy.

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 10-12-2013, 12:26 PM
#17
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To everyone that has mentioned balance as a priority, where do you want the balance point to be? This is an interesting concept to me coming from straight razors.

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 10-12-2013, 01:50 PM
#18
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Gentlemen,
WOW a thread that's right up my ally!
As a handle maker myself, I tend to prefer a longer handle with more weight and a larger diameter. I have experimented with various diameters, knurls, and materials like aluminum, brass even beryllium copper, but I'll take stainless steel because of the low maintenance of it. Yes, a handle is very much a YMMV item and one that you have to find what works best for you.
I have looked at the UFO, Weber, Ikon etc. and I have extracted characteristics from these to see if it would work for me. What I found my surprise you.

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 10-12-2013, 02:20 PM
#19
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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(10-12-2013, 03:10 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: I'm going to be in a minority here, but I'll take balance over excessive weight.

I've had several custom handles that were just too heavy to get a nice feel during the shave. They did help the razor plough through the stubble, but they actually disguised improper technique and dulling blades.

If you want to fix your shaving technique, use a plastic razor. Biggrin

The best handle I've ever had (for me) is a BRW handle that's made of linen micarta. It has a brass core, giving it weight, without spoiling the balance of the head it's paired with.

[Image: temporary.jpg]

So, for me, the heavy handles don't work as well. Give me one in the 60g range, and I'm happy.

Yohann, that's a beautiful handle ... Bob was a master artist ... may he rest in peace.

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 10-12-2013, 11:24 PM
#20
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(10-12-2013, 12:26 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: To everyone that has mentioned balance as a priority, where do you want the balance point to be? This is an interesting concept to me coming from straight razors.

Personally I prefer having the CG somewhat below the head, ever so slightly above where I grip the handle with thumb and index finger. VMMY off course Wink

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