10-30-2014, 10:28 AM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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This is a thread, not a review, because I think I need more experience with the KAI blades before I can give them a fair review, but there were some interesting aspects to my introduction to them.

When the blade is first removed from the box, the first thing that comes to one's attention is that the single wrapper has no printing on it at all, just plain white paper. And there is no second, inner, wrapper, and no wax dots.

The blade itself is completely unadorned. No trademark, no description of the metal, no 1, 2, 3, 4 numbers at the corners: just a naked blade.

But it is when one puts the blade into the razor cap that one meets the first surprise. The blade is definitely "springy" before laying the baseplate on top of it. Why that is a surprise is that Amazon.com (not where I bought the blades) provides this description:

Quote:Kai Double Edge Razor Blades are made in Japan, using high quality, medical grade stainless steel. Made of a thicker gauge steel than other brands, Kai D.E. Blades have a superior cutting edge that shaves comfortably, without being overly aggressive or harsh. More forgiving, yet still quite sharp, Kai D.E. Blades are best for more experienced wet shavers.

"Thicker gauge steel" suggested to me that the blade would be more rigid in its seat, not springy. In my ongoing assessment of DE shaving/*, I have been alternating Gillette Silver Blues and Polsilver Super Iridiums (my Super Iridiums came in Wizamet "Iridium Super" boxes, but have "Super Iridium" printed on the blades themselves) by blade, which means that I would have about half a dozen consecutive shaves on a GSB, followed by about half a dozen consecutive shaves on an SI, and so on. I inserted the KAI blade into the GSB part of the cycle, alternating by shave: first shave on a new GSB, next shave on a new KAI, next shave the second on the same GSB, etc. The GSB (and, from very recent recollection, the SI) are much more rigid, lying on the top cap, than the KAI blades are. Pressing down a finger on the center of the KAI blade causes an immediate depression, like planting a fist in the middle of a summer camp cot mattress. Releasing the finger, the blade instantly springs back to flat. Whether this is a "good thing" or not, I cannot say, but it certainly is different.

/*
  • In 55 years of shaving, I literally had never picked up a DE razor into my hands until this past spring, when I decided to give DE a fair trial.
  • I purchased a Standard Razors DE razor, 25 GSB (five packs of five) blades, and 20 SI (two packs of ten) blades, and determined to use all of the blades up before making a final assessment whether to return to a Schick Hydro for my everyday shaves.
  • I am about halfway through the trial, and have about a dozen each of the GSBs and SIs, and now ten KAIs, to go before completing the test.

On the face, after lathering with Cold Water Soap Works Vetiver Terreux with a Muhle Silvertip Fibre v2 brush, the KAI revealed itself to be very much sharper than either the GSB or SI. I have a mole just under my cheekbone on one side that does not have much "altitude" -- relief from the surrounding surface -- to it. The Schick Hydro (and its predecessor cartridge razors) easily climbs up one side of if the small hump and slides down the other; the cartridge razors never have cut into it. The GSB and SI have behaved similarly to the cartridge razors. The KAI? It sliced of the entire summit of Mt. Mole, like a West Virginia coal mining operation takes off the top of a mountain. It was the first time in a few months that I have had to reach for the vial of Clubman Nick Relief. Not a big deal, but I learned right off that the KAI demands r-e-s-p-e-c-t (sorry, Aretha).

As for the shave itself, other than the weeper, I was left with a close and smooth face with no irritation. Not quite a BBS shave, but clearly I need to refine my technique for this very different blade, and I expect a KAI BBS shave experience will not be too far distant.

Bottom line: in the same DE razor with the same prep, shaving with the KAI blade is more different from shaving with either a GSB or an SI than shaving with either of the latter was different from shaving with a Schick Hydro cartridge; the KAI is that different.

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 10-30-2014, 11:32 AM
#2
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Agreed, Kai's are my favorite blade, and a whole different animal than the other double-edge blades I like (GSBs, Polish Polsilvers).

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 10-30-2014, 12:16 PM
#3
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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'Medical grade stainless steel' is a variation on the meaningless 'surgical steel' used by many knife companies. There is no such animal. Steel implements used for medical purposes will have a very dense molecular structure or high chromium content. This reduces surface irregularities and the
increased chance for surface contaminants to evade cleaning procedures.Many steel types meet this requirement.
Also, a 'springy' steel is very desireable in cutting tools. think a fine, damascene sword flexing against armour without suffering nicks or fractures. Now imagine the broadsword that shattered during the murder of Sir Thomas A Becket.

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 10-30-2014, 12:17 PM
#4
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the kai blades are certainly different. if i remember correctly i believe the holes through the blade for the razor head pins are also slightly smaller in diameter than usual. in addition i also think the breadth (and thickness) of the blade is slightly larger than usual. all in all a very good and pretty smooth blade - and i also love the fact it is genuinely industrial and completely unadorned.

here are the measures of the blade: kai-group

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 10-31-2014, 05:23 AM
#5
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(10-30-2014, 12:16 PM)kav Wrote: 'Medical grade stainless steel' is a variation on the meaningless 'surgical steel' used by many knife companies. There is no such animal. Steel implements used for medical purposes will have a very dense molecular structure or high chromium content. This reduces surface irregularities and the increased chance for surface contaminants to evade cleaning procedures.Many steel types meet this requirement.
Also, a 'springy' steel is very desireable in cutting tools. think a fine, damascene sword flexing against armour without suffering nicks or fractures. Now imagine the broadsword that shattered during the murder of Sir Thomas A Becket.

Yes, I was quoting from the Amazon description; I do not know where Amazon got it from. The surprise for me was that, if the gauge of steel is thicker than that of a conventional DE blade, I had supposed that the KAI blade would be less flexible than the other blade; yet when prodded by a fingertip, the KAI blade readily sags into the cap of the three-piece razor, springing back when the fingertip is removed. I have not seen such compliant flexibility in GSBs or Polsilver SIs.

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