03-10-2015, 12:12 PM
#1
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
I ordered a Rockwell S6 razor after their Kickstarter campaign was over. I ordered it from their website instead. This is a second batch of razors with initial finish problems resolved. Well, I received my Rockwell S6 today just before my morning shave. The package is very nice consisting of a tin with dense foam inside holding the parts of the razor. Also included was a tuck of Astra SP blades. The razor comes with a very nice bulldog-type handle, top plate and three bottom plates, each reversible. This makes six different bottom plate surfaces. Each side of each bottom plate is marked with a number from 1 to 6. 1 being the mildest and 6 the most aggressive. Every part of the razor is made of stainless steel. The handle looks machined and the head cast and machine finished. The finish on all the parts is very minimal. This is definitely where the corners were cut. There are no mirror surfaces or even shiny surfaces. Most you get is satin finish on the top plate. Purely visually the razor looks more like a tool and less like a work of art. Fit of plates is very tight and precise. The handle is slightly longer than the classic Ikon bulldog I have and heavier. Everything is solid and heavy. The assembled razor is very heavy, but not too much so. I like its weight.

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Now for the shave. I had three days' worth of growth and chose a brand new Lord Platinum blade (a mild but good quality blade) and bottom plate number 3 as I like a medium-aggressive shave. I used Stirling Anise soap and a two band badger brush of my own making. The initial impressions of the shave are very positive. The razor felt very aggressive without being blood-thirsty. The sound it produced made me think of a Harley with straight pipes. Very loud and I could almost feel the vibration. But the quality of the shave was very, very good. I got a BBS with not much effort and almost no blood letting at all. I think the setting of "3" is pretty aggressive and I may go to "2" next time just to see how it compares. I would say "3" is just about right for me, but I want to see how the settings on either side of "3" feel. all in all I think this is well worth $75. The razor is made in US, designed in Canada and comes with three bottom plates (try that with your ATT). I am tempted to polish the top plate to a mirror finish because I feel there is more drag on the skin than I am used to with plated or polished heads. Still, I was able to get a wonderful shave out of this razor and it felt very solid and comfortable. After just one shave I would say it's a good purchase. I will update this thread as I use the razor more to let you know how life with one of those is. for the record my razors of choice up to now were 1922 Gillette Big Boy with New Improved head. Tish razor is my go-to and I've been using it exclusively for almost a year. the other razor is a Frankenrazor made of FaTip bottom plate, Hallmark top plate and Ikon bulldog handle. This razor was my exclusive DE for almost a year last year. Both razors are medium-aggressive with Frankie being a bit more aggressive.

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 03-10-2015, 12:36 PM
#2
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Thank you for a great review. I really like the industrial look of this razor. It reminds me somewhat of the original iKons that were made in Thailand. This razor looks fully machined and heavy. For the money it certainly appears to be a bargain. I look forward to future reviews as you progress through the numbers (base plates). 

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 03-10-2015, 01:33 PM
#3
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
Well, it's not fully machined, but it's heavy. The head parts look to be cast and then machine sanded and polished. Mold marks are visible on base plates. This is fine as the razor is solid steel and heavy. As I said, the finish is not near anything we are used to, but neither is the price. I may attempt to polish the top plate further using a jeweler's rouge and a buffing wheel. I feel the top plate could be a bit more smooth for better functionality. Other than that, it's a lot of razor for $75.

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 03-10-2015, 01:47 PM
#4
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Nice review.
Looking forward to receiving mine. Ordered back in October from Kickstarter.

If I wasn't having so much fun using my SE's, I might be a bit (no, very) annoyed that you ordered recently from their website and received it before me.

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 03-10-2015, 05:25 PM
#5
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Thanks for the excellent review and pictures Vladimir.  This DE appears to be a great value for $75.  At that price point, I can deal with the lack of polishing and presence of mold marks.  It's the fit that determines the quality of the shave.  Even at $185, the ATT has noticeable machine marks under the top plate.  And one reason Weber was able to keep the price of its excellent razors at $75 was by not polishing parts of the top and bottom plates.  I think there is a definite demand for a stainless razor at this price, particularly now that Weber is no longer producing entire razors.

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 03-12-2015, 09:52 AM
#6
  • Thug
  • Active Member
  • South Africa
User Info
Great review. The razor certainly appeals to me both from a price perspective and its industrial nature.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 03-12-2015, 09:57 PM
#7
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wow your pics look WAY better then the one my friend got. his plates look like they still need to be finished. the top plate is decent at best

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 03-13-2015, 05:37 AM
#8
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
Well, my razor is not exactly wonderfully finished. It's okay, but not what you would expect from a $250 razor, of course. I am pretty sure that finishing is one of the biggest contributors to cost, so this is not surprising. For $75 you will get a minimally finished razor. That's understandable and perfectly fine. In a low priced SS razor I would firstly look at design and function. The finish can be less than perfect. Also, this is a solid metal piece and can be finished by user. If I decide to keep this razor and use it I will definitely do some more polishing on it. That's just me.

Anyway, I had a second shave with it yesterday and used #2 plate. I got a BBS and little to no nicking. the shave result was excellent, but I was a bit disturbed by the amount of blade vibration this razor exhibits. I spoke of it being noisy earlier and it is VERY noisy. But noise in and of itself is not a big deal. The cause of noise is what bothers me somewhat. the base plate does not support the entire length of the cutting edge on the blade. If you look at the base plate you see that a large part of the blade in the middle is allowed to just hang there. The blade is supported in the corners only. I think this is the cause of the vibration and noise. Again, the razor shaves just fine, but the feeling of all that vibration is not all that pleasant to me. I think a ridge that supports the blade needs to be continuous from corner to corner and support the blade through the entire length of the cutting edge. This is a design flaw in my opinion and is much more relevant than the finish. I will continue to use the razor for a while, but as of now I am not too crazy about the feel of the shave, though again, the results are excellent. This may also be my personal preference and others may actually enjoy the noise and vibration because it feels like you are doing something and the feedback is certainly very good. Kind of like riding a Harley with loud pipes. Not for me, but lots of folks enjoy it.

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 03-13-2015, 10:01 AM
#9
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(03-13-2015, 05:37 AM)vferdman Wrote: Anyway, I had a second shave with it yesterday and used #2 plate. I got a BBS and little to no nicking. the shave result was excellent, but I was a bit disturbed by the amount of blade vibration this razor exhibits. I spoke of it being noisy earlier and it is VERY noisy. But noise in and of itself is not a big deal. The cause of noise is what bothers me somewhat. the base plate does not support the entire length of the cutting edge on the blade. If you look at the base plate you see that a large part of the blade in the middle is allowed to just hang there. The blade is supported in the corners only. I think this is the cause of the vibration and noise. Again, the razor shaves just fine, but the feeling of all that vibration is not all that pleasant to me. I think a ridge that supports the blade needs to be continuous from corner to corner and support the blade through the entire length of the cutting edge. This is a design flaw in my opinion and is much more relevant than the finish. I will continue to use the razor for a while, but as of now I am not too crazy about the feel of the shave, though again, the results are excellent. This may also be my personal preference and others may actually enjoy the noise and vibration because it feels like you are doing something and the feedback is certainly very good.

Hi Vladimir

I'm still waiting on my replacement razor to arrive, but below is a snippet from the email I sent Rockwell, relating to the one I received via their KickStarter project...

Quote:Just an observation, the underside of a fitted DE blade is only supported on the outer edges due to the form (shape) of the base plates, this could possibly result in excessive blade flex, which is a cause of DE blades (especially thinner ones) sometimes *skipping* across a shavers skin... Using my digital calipers, base plates are 40.9xx mm wide, outer edge *supports* are 8 to 9mm long, therefore at minimum 22.9mm of the underside of a blade is unsupported.

With what you are saying (reporting), I am now very! concerned I really won't like their razor in its current form... Time will tell though.

Take care, Mike

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 03-13-2015, 10:10 AM
#10
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
(03-13-2015, 10:01 AM)mikeperry Wrote: Hi Vladimir

I'm still waiting on my replacement razor to arrive, but below is a snippet from the email I sent Rockwell, relating to the one I received via their KickStarter project...


Quote:Just an observation, the underside of a fitted DE blade is only supported on the outer edges due to the form (shape) of the base plates, this could possibly result in excessive blade flex, which is a cause of DE blades (especially thinner ones) sometimes *skipping* across a shavers skin... Using my digital calipers, base plates are 40.9xx mm wide, outer edge *supports* are 8 to 9mm long, therefore at minimum 22.9mm of the underside of a blade is unsupported.

With what you are saying (reporting), I am now very! concerned I really won't like their razor in its current form... Time will tell though.

Take care, Mike

Mike, you caught that too, hah? Well, I wouldn't say the razor is bad because of it, but the vibration is definitely there and whether or not you like it is a personal matter. I am not crazy about it and I really wonder why they decided to do it that way. I think with smoother action this razor would be the cat's meow.

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 03-13-2015, 10:25 AM
#11
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
(03-13-2015, 10:10 AM)vferdman Wrote: Mike, you caught that too, hah? Well, I wouldn't say the razor is bad because of it, but the vibration is definitely there and whether or not you like it is a personal matter. I am not crazy about it and I really wonder why they decided to do it that way. I think with smoother action this razor would be the cat's meow.

Hi Vladimir

Believe me, when I took the time to look (take a proper look) at the razor I received via their KickStarter project, I caught that, plus a lot! more (all shared via the email I sent them)...

Take care, Mike

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 03-14-2015, 01:12 PM
#12
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
So I had another shave with the Rockwell S6. This is my third shave with it. This time on #4. I am beginning to really not like this razor. I have tried three settings: #3, #2 and #4. All shave okay and all produce the same uncomfortable vibration. This time around I had to switch to my trusty, smooth and efficient Gillette Big Fellow NI half way through second pass. Could not take it any more. The switch from Rockwell on #4 to Big fellow NI highlighted the harshness of the shave of the Rockwell. It feels very aggressive, but cuts normally. Feels as aggressive on #2 as on #4, but the cutting action is actually as you would expect. Mild on #2, less so on #4. So on mild settings you get inefficient, but uncomfortable shave. Worst of both worlds. What?! I will try it on #1 next time and then have my Big Fellow NI ready. Big Fellow is not a super-aggressive razor, but it can be "adjusted" on the fly by using pressure. Yes, I know the "no pressure" mantra we are all taught and I agree with it on most razors, but Big Fellow is a bit different. It responds to pressure by increasing efficiency. I am talking minute pressure here, nothing like with the cartridge. Anyway, without pressure Big Fellow NI is mild, but with (small amount of) pressure can take care of those trouble spots with ease. So the Rockwell on #1 should be compatible to the BF NI. At least in my mind. I can achieve consistent BBS with the Big Fellow, so a new razor in my stable needs to provide at least that for me to be considered as a keeper. So far I am not making friends with the Rockwell, but I will try more settings to be fair.

Here is my SOTD picture:

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 03-25-2015, 09:47 AM
#13
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
After a few more shaves I am still experiencing roughness in shaving and need to switch to one of my regular razors in the middle of the shave because of discomfort. I tried polishing the surfaces that touch the skin on one side of the head and left the other side as is so I could compare. The result was slightly improved glide, but the vibration and most of the discomfort did not go away, though polishing the top plate and the safety bar on one side definitely helped. At this point I am giving up on the razor for now. I have sent Rockwell a message on their website to explain my experiences with their product. I feel I gave it an honest try. We'll see how they react, if at all.

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 03-25-2015, 11:01 AM
#14
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Excellent review! I may give one a try!

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 03-25-2015, 11:26 AM
#15
  • Thug
  • Active Member
  • South Africa
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Thanks for your further feedback Vladimir.

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 03-25-2015, 01:11 PM
#16
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
User Info
I liked the shave I got from the original release of the razor (yes, wavy blades and all).  Even on 6, I got a comfortable, very efficient shave.  The recent distribution of machined old heads and base plates changed both the gap and angle of the blade.  I now find it a mediocre DE and I have a problem with nicks as both the blade angle and gap have changed.  This mickey mouse "fix" was not smart on their part.  They should have waited until they worked out the quality problem and making sure the angle and gap of each base plate combination met specs.  I am waiting for a new head they will distribute to all owners and see how it works with the original and modified base plates.  I like the idea and am sorry it got messed up.  Hopefully they can survive long enough to work it out.  Selling the razor for $100 or less might be a hinderance to the needed quality improvements. 

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 03-25-2015, 02:22 PM
#17
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
Very interesting account, matloffm. I only got the version after the fix. Never got the original wavy blade version. My copy is a very rough shaver. It's effective, but very rough and I think it's because of the design of the base plate. The base plate does not support the blade edge the whole way. Only in the corners. I think this may be causing the blade edge to vibrate (it is a noisy cutter) and the vibration is what makes the shave uncomfortable. Things aren't helped any by a less than smooth finish on the surfaces that touch the skin. I was able to solve the latter problem by polishing one of the sides with jeweler's rouge and a buffing wheel. This does not remove any metal to speak of, so the angles and gaps remained the same. This did improve the glide of the razor significantly. I left one edge as is and polished the other and so was able to tell the difference. It did make a difference in the positive direction. So a polish at least on skin contact area is a desirable change. However, the action of the razor was still very rough and I got nicks from razor practically jumping across my whiskers. Switched to one of my trusty daily drivers in the middle of pass 2 shave before last. Felt so much relief after the switch. The comfort level of Rockwell is terrible for me. I wrote Rockwell an email with pretty much what I stated above in hopes of giving them useful feedback. I too hope they survive to bring this project to success as I think they are very close. I am not sure how much it would cost to make the blade support ridge continuous from corner to corner, but I think if they did that and it actually solved the vibration problem and they polished the part of the head that touches the skin, they may have a hit. I like the concept, I like the aesthetic and quality of production. I also think that a good comfortable DE shaver with 6 settings made in the USA out of stainless steel  for under $100 is an amazing value. Let's hope these guys bring it over the finish line.

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 03-25-2015, 06:25 PM
#18
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Excellent and thoughtful review  Vladimir.  I imagine the costs of retooling to cast redesigned base plates may be significant.  And any additional polishing would certainly add to the cost.  This is a promising stainless DE - made in the USA and at a very reasonable price point.  I hope Rockwell has the resources to address these issues and that the market allows them to recover.  Please let us know if they respond to your email.  Such a response would say a lot about their commitment to making this work.

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 03-26-2015, 07:40 AM
#19
  • vferdman
  • Artisan
  • Western Massachusetts
User Info
(03-25-2015, 06:25 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Excellent and thoughtful review  Vladimir.  I imagine the costs of retooling to cast redesigned base plates may be significant.  And any additional polishing would certainly add to the cost.  This is a promising stainless DE - made in the USA and at a very reasonable price point.  I hope Rockwell has the resources to address these issues and that the market allows them to recover.  Please let us know if they respond to your email.  Such a response would say a lot about their commitment to making this work.

Yes, I agree, their response (if any) will be telling. I am sure they are overwhelmed right now with the initial fulfillment and all. The Kickstarter project was over-funded by a huge margin, so I hope that means they do have the resources. Also, my assessment is in no way based on anything other than a hunch (I am an engineer, so I think in terms of design), so it will definitely need vetting. Design and re-design process can be as expensive, if not more, as the retooling. Design problems are very expensive to fix since they happen early in the product development. Correcting bad design is very expensive. This is why it's important to get it right in prototype stage. I may play around with my idea of a continuous ridge in the base plate using silicone clay I have (Sugru, amazing stuff, BTW). If I get it to improve the performance, it may help with re-design. But again, it's up to Rockwell to have the will and resources to actually do something meaningful with the product. I personally think that they could just produce and sell a razor with a single base plate (2 settings) and offer optional base plates like ATT does. This would afford them a better margin in cost and they could use that to improve the product. I really doubt that anyone needs all 6 settings. I personally love to use Merkur Progress, but once I figured out the setting for it (between 3 and 4) I just stay with it. I also mostly use non-adjustable razors and am fine with them. So this idea of a very wide range of adjustments is great in theory, but in practice most of us will never use more than 2 settings ever. The other base plates will just collect dust. This is wasted resource that could be re-invested in better design and finish. I would be fine with #3 plate if it actually felt good to use the razor.

So, I will tinker a bit in background when I have the time and if I come to anything meaningful I will post here. Also if I get a response I will share it here as well. Now it's a waiting game and I have an engineering problem I bought for $75 instead of a cool razor. Oh, well, I knew it was a risk, so I am sticking with it and I am still glad I did, even if just to support folks trying to bring a product to market on this continent.

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 04-09-2015, 08:53 AM
#20
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Good morning fellas,

I was sent this razor to try out for a bit and see what I think so here goes..

Rockwell is an all stainless razor made in the USA and is of Canadian design aye.. ;-)

First off this a unique design as it comes with 6 different aggression options.  Three base plates however each base plate can be turned over to provide a different level.  I think this is an outstanding razor when your starting out as it won't kill the bank.  At 75$ to get an all stainless razor with so many options it allows the beginner a chance to really figure out what gets along with they're face.  For reference a level 4 is equivalent to an Above the Tie Harsh base plate.

Let's talk about looks.... This is the Ford pickup of razors, functional, tough as nails, gets the job done well but you wouldn't want to take her to a red carpet affair.. The handle is machined but the base plates and top cap appear to be cast with some cleanup to finish them.  Blade location and style is almost identical to a Muhle head.

If anyone would like more info pm me.
Razor was graciously provided by a vendor.

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