08-24-2015, 10:48 AM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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Occasionally, or frequently, depending on personal defintions of those adverbs, we see on these boards a post by someone who says that he switched from shaving with cartridge razors to shaving with a DE or SE razor because, no matter what he did, the cartridges got “clogged.”  I do not question or doubt the honesty of the persons making those statements.

Until recently, I have assumed that the cause of the clogging was user error, specifically, in the desire to make lather stiff enough that one can sculpt a bust of Beethoven on the shaving brush.  Having never experienced a clog in decades of shaving with cartridge razors, mine was only a guess, and a perhaps unwarranted assumption, but it seemed more reasonable to me than the explanation sometimes given by the person who wrote about his problem with clogged cartridges, that his beard was so heavy that he could sell his whiskers to DeBeers Consolidated Mines for use as an abrasive to polish diamond facets.

A recent observation has caused me to re-order the hierarchy of likely causes of clogging, however.  Currently, I have seven different shaving soaps and creams in my cabinet, among which possibly the product that is most eager to lather is a soft RazoRock soap (one of the generations of XXX).  It is not my favorite soap among the seven, but I must concede that it easily makes a very fast and long-lasting lather.  Recently, I tried an experiment with my “bloom water” technique using that soap — that is, preheating a shaving mug with very hot water while it sat mostly submerged in a sink of very hot water, then emptying the mug and pouring into it the water that had been sitting atop the shaving soap for the purpose of “blooming” it.  Using a dry brush, I then whipped up a lather in the mug from the warmed-up bloom water and no additional product; that is, the brush never touched the soap itself, though I might add a little clear hot water to modulate the consistency of the lather.  I shaved with that lather using a DE razor (iKon stainless DLC Slant); as is my unvarying practice, at the completion of the shave, I disassembled the razor and rinsed all four pieces, and towel dried them for separate storage preparatory to reassemblage immediately prior to the next shave.

During disassembly I was surprised to see that there was a lather “string” on each of the working surfaces of  the blade, near and parallel to the edge, that would not rinse off with my normal swishing the blade in a mug of hot water, or even by running hot tap water directly onto the string.  I ended up having to wipe off the string with a terry towel before rinsing again and drying the blade for storage. As I had never touched the brush to the soap itself, that string could not be undissolved soap picked up by the brush but never fully integrated with the water:  the only soap in use was the bloom water, containing only fully dissolved and diluted soap.  

My conclusion is that the string, and imputedly, the stuff causing the reported cartridge clogging, must be related to the brand of soap product or, more specifically, to the ingredients and their relative proportions, in the soap.  Our water here in Portland is exceedingly soft, so hard water precipitate can pretty much be ruled out of the calculation.  

Thoughts and comments?

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 08-24-2015, 12:28 PM
#2
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I'm one of those people.

I was using a canned gel foam (Edge). Whiskers were doing the clogging probably because I hated the chore so much that I only shaved every 3rd day or so. But it's the basic design of cartridges. Clearly if there is no place for the cutoffs to go something will happen since they get cut off and just stay in place. Shave every day with a cartridge? I'd grow a beard first. Oh, that's right, I did for one winter to rid myself of cartridges. :-)

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 08-24-2015, 01:01 PM
#3
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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I've been shaving with a cartridge razor every day for the last 2 years.  I've used a Trac2, Mach3 and Sensor.  The only one that clogs is the Trac2 and I attribute this to the back of the Trac2 cartridge not being open; the Mach3 and Sensor cartridges have open backs.

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 08-24-2015, 02:33 PM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(08-24-2015, 12:28 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I was using a canned gel foam (Edge). Whiskers were doing the clogging probably because I hated the chore so much that I only shaved every 3rd day or so. But it's the basic design of cartridges. Clearly if there is no place for the cutoffs to go something will happen since they get cut off and just stay in place.

Hmm.  I never had that problem over decades of shaving with various cartridge razors; however, I always have dipped the razor head into the water in the sink after every other or every third stroke or so, and the cut-off whiskers just float away from the blades — with the expended lather soap — into the sink water. 

I am not unfamiliar with aerosol gels; I am pretty sure that I bought a can of Edge Gel at some time for my father when he was still alive and living in an apartment, and I did his shopping for him.  Being a frugal type, I would have finished off the unused portion of that can after he died — but that was twenty years ago.  I am fairly certain I never purchased for myself any lathering product that might be called a gel (other than a travel tube of Aubrey Organics Men’s Stock brushless (non-lathering) shave cream, which I guess that one could argue is a kind of gel).   As well as I can recall, the Edge gel morphed into a rather stiff foam that I can imagine would not rinse off the razor as easily as the thin and slick lather generated by a brush from Col. Conk Amber glycerine soap, which was my preferred shaving soap at the time.   But I do not remember, at this distance in time, ever having any clogging problem with the Edge gel, assuming that I did, in fact, use up a portion of the can after my father died.

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 08-24-2015, 10:41 PM
#5
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My last cartridge was a Trac 2 Rufus.

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 08-25-2015, 01:19 AM
#6
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My Atra's carts would clog up with soap and stubble when I was using foams, or gels.

Clayton

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk

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 08-25-2015, 02:24 AM
#7
  • P.B
  • Member
  • UK
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When I used carts I hated shaving so much I would shave as in frequently as possible - usually until my wife complained ...  

The Mach 3s clogged because my stubble was at least three days old.  Often 5 or 6.  Nothing to do with the soap or how often I rinsed the razor.  En route to DE shaving I switched to single blade Bic disposables simply because the single blade didn't clog even with week old stubble using the same soap / gel / foam as when shaving with a Mach 3.

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 08-25-2015, 02:31 AM
#8
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I use Fusion carts on a great chrome handle from Plisson or Mühle or E.J. and to avoid clogging, I just rinse the cart in warm water accordingly - 20-25 times pr. shave is my guess.

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 08-25-2015, 05:41 AM
#9
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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Claus is an example of someone who went back to cartridges and is having wonderful shaves.  I know Rufus in the past mentioned he spent years with quality DE's and has applied those methods to his (hopefully) great Mach 3 shaves of today.  Cartridges do not clog for me now at all because I use a highly hydrated lather.  If you have ever seen those youtube guys I cringed every time I saw their lather prior to to the blade.  As dry as a desert in summer.  Michael Freedberg is the only one who I have seen properly hydrate lather.  More water!  Now I get great clog free shaves from a Mach 3, Schick Hydro 3 (really good) and the Feather MR3 for travel and at home with various DE's equally.

Spent years shaving with dry lather.  A heavy Spanish beard combined with a proper wet lather now equals no clogging at all with carts.

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 08-25-2015, 12:30 PM
#10
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My carts do not clog, but I only do short strokes and rinse under the tap after every stroke. I also do not use shaving gel or foam. I am not a daily shaver, but if I did have a lot of growth I would with a bit of common sense "buzz" it down with a trimmer. It's obvious (to me) carts are not designed to cut a weeks worth of growth...

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 10-31-2015, 06:55 AM
#11
  • naiyor
  • Active Member
  • Ontario, Canada
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I have had problems with clogging and occasionally it seemed that a blade would "lift" and become super aggressive and feel like a hook dragging across my face.

I attribute that to a time when I hated shaving, shaved maybe once a week with crappy goo as fast as I possibly could using cheap, ill-cared-for Carts. 

I now take much care and joy in shaving and when I have used carts (even inexpensive ones) I have not had any problems.

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 10-31-2015, 06:59 AM
#12
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(08-25-2015, 02:31 AM)CHSeifert Wrote: I use Fusion carts on a great chrome handle from Plisson or Mühle or E.J. and to avoid clogging, I just rinse the cart in warm water accordingly - 20-25 times pr. shave is my guess.

When I use Carts, mostly for carry-on travel, this is pretty much what I do.  Rinse, rinse, rinse....

A good soap doesn't hurt either Smile

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 10-31-2015, 07:31 AM
#13
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Rinse, rinse, rinse. Sure I can't cover my entire neck in one shot like with a straight, but that's okay with me. A trivial price to pay for the shaves my Feather MR3 gives me.

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 11-01-2015, 12:32 AM
#14
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Rinsing......and a spritz or 2 of canned air (the type used to clean keyboards.....)....
Works for me!!

Close shaves should SOOTHE ya....NOT SCARE ya!!

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 11-03-2015, 06:35 PM
#15
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I held the clogging thought on my last shave, as I don't recall it ever happening.  Sure enough, if I did not stop to rinse the lather just ran up over the blade and handle and dripped into the sink, floor, etc.  But the Mach 3 kept cutting, no clog.

I make a really wet and slick lather so maybe that is the key.

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 11-28-2015, 04:36 PM
#16
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(08-25-2015, 05:41 AM)VTMAX Wrote: Claus is an example of someone who went back to cartridges and is having wonderful shaves.  I know Rufus in the past mentioned he spent years with quality DE's and has applied those methods to his (hopefully) great Mach 3 shaves of today.  Cartridges do not clog for me now at all because I use a highly hydrated lather.  If you have ever seen those youtube guys I cringed every time I saw their lather prior to to the blade.  As dry as a desert in summer.  Michael Freedberg is the only one who I have seen properly hydrate lather.  More water!  Now I get great clog free shaves from a Mach 3, Schick Hydro 3 (really good) and the Feather MR3 for travel and at home with various DE's equally.

Spent years shaving with dry lather.  A heavy Spanish beard combined with a proper wet lather now equals no clogging at all with carts.

I recently went back to carts after a few years of "rediscovering" DE and SE shaving.  Best decision I've made in a long time; good shave in a single pass, no irritation, no nicks and no rotting Zamak.  I started with an injector back in the mid 50's and have used about every shaving "innovation" since, so I'm no greenhorn.

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 11-28-2015, 04:43 PM
#17
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I saw the title and wondered if it was a response to me - just said that in a response on another forum (but did notice the date).  My clogging of carts started in the two blade days with Barbasol or other canned goop.

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 11-28-2015, 05:16 PM
#18
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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I had forgotten about that post. I certainly mix them in. My go to DE's thee days are the Wolfman WR1-SB, Shavecraft 102 & RR Baby Smooth. All wonderful razors and shavers in their own right. I also use the Mach 3, Schick Hydro 3 & the fantastic Feather MR3. That's a really good one. These carts do provide better and smoother shaves with no irritation as you noted. The DE's do provide a fun shave though that are pretty close as well.

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 11-28-2015, 05:43 PM
#19
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(11-28-2015, 05:16 PM)VTMAX Wrote: I had forgotten about that post. I certainly mix them in. My go to DE's thee days are the Wolfman WR1-SB, Shavecraft 102 & RR Baby Smooth. All wonderful razors and shavers in their own right. I also use the Mach 3, Schick Hydro 3 & the fantastic Feather MR3. That's a really good one. These carts do provide better and smoother shaves with no irritation as you noted. The DE's do provide a fun shave though that are pretty close as well.

I now do a mix, when I have the time.

One of my 6 Fusion handled beauties (No plastic cart handles in my rotation, only steel and wood) for first pass.
One of my 4 2-piece DE razors for second and (if needed) third pass
Touch up is then done with the Fusion.

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 11-29-2015, 11:12 PM
#20
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Well this is an interesting thread I would have made myself if I had been here sooner. There are many things I learned when I started out shaving 20 years ago with a 2 blade cartridge. and soap, and canned foam.

The first issue of clogging a DE blade is this fact. Look at a DE razor blade. the spot on the blade where the bevel starts, where the blade goes from being flat to angled, is where junk congregates. Dead skin, cut hair, soap and water residue. I get it often on my blades, and it doesn't determine how good a shave I got or not. I can get it and have a rough shave, or get it and have a delightful shave.
The only way to prevent it is to make my lather so thin and runny that it doesn't want to lubricate properly. That's the issue.. And in order to get it off the blade, I have to rub the blade on my hand the way Gillette advertised people to get oil off the blade edge with his original carbon blades with round ends.  Rubbing alcohol wont touch it, and running water wont either. I have to manually remove it with my hand.

Now this happens to cartridge razors as well. Doesn't matter if you use soap or canned foam to generate a lather. It just happens. its nature of the beast. However, the cartridge razor has two issues that increase the issue.

They are thin, the gap that say a Gillette slim creates on a setting of 4 is shared by 2-5 blades. That means that the amount of room given one DE blade in that slim, is now cut in half for each of the 2 blades. And even more for 3-5 blade systems.

For the user that means CLOGGING. You now have less room to cleanse the blade off with running water then you did with one. Thus the clogging effect is doubled. And as the effect is doubled, it grows exponentially as the clogging decreases the amount of room to clear the blade off. And that in turn speeds clogging action of the blades.

I started with a 2 blade cartridge. Atra or sensor, I cant remember. I believe it was a pivoting head with gel strip. Their was no way to prevent the clogging. I tried but never could. And how did I deal with the clogging? I used a tooth pick or piece of super thin plastic to manually push the debris out.  Some days I could get the debris out in a single between each blade.
The issue is, that the two blades generally had enough room in the back of the cartridge that I could push something in to get debris out. But the 3 blade systems, were horrid as they used the same window dimensions, but put 3 blades into it instead of 2. As a result it became extremely hard to clean them out.

Clogging is real.

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