02-23-2016, 08:27 AM
#1
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Razor and Blade Combination Test

Razor: The Mergress (modified Merkur Progress) Adjustable


Goal: To find the best blade for each razor.


Method: Compare one blade to another on alternative shaving days. This is not a definitive double blind test, but it will give me, I believe, a good idea as to which blades work best, delivering a smooth, irritation free shave. The best each razor can do and the best blade for that razor.


Initial set up: For consistency, I have decided to use the same procedures and products for each shave, limiting the variables. I am using the Mergress adjustable razor. This is probably my favorite razor right now. I've already discovered that increasing the aggressiveness of the setting as the shave continues produces the best results regardless of blade. Now which blade (or perhaps blades) is best? I might find that certain blades are practically indistinguishable from each other.


I shave WTG at setting #3, XTG at setting #4 and AGT at setting #5. Final cleanup, touch up, buffing and J-hooking is done at setting #5.5, the most aggressive possible with this shaver. I thoroughly rinse the head of the razor between passes.


I clean my face and wet the beard by washing with a glycerin soap (Van de Hagen). I rinse off the soap, wet it thoroughly and apply two drops of a Maggard Pre-Shave Oil, orange scent.


I use an Arko shave stick applied directly to the beard and lather with a Stirling Synthetic “Kong” brush. I rinse and lather again between passes. I remove the blade from the razor when I'm done. I dry it with a microfiber cloth. Naturally I dry the razor.


I finish with an Alum block which is a good indicator of razor burn or irritation.


The procedure is to test one blade against another, on alternate days. After three shaves (total six days) I declare a winner. I've found that some blades still are usable after three or even four shaves, but their efficiency drops off markedly. So I've decided not to worry about how long they last. They're so cheap (depending on the blade I'm spending 6 to 22 cents per blade, with the average being about 9 cents each) that I'd rather throw them out, once shave quality drops off than try to see how long they last for.


This way I'll know what works best in each of the razors I own.


Blade One Croma Diamant: Made in Germany.


These blades cost 8.5 cents each. There's a YouTube about how they are made. It seems to be a well organized process with good quality control.


Findings and Impression:


Shave One:


This blade felt a little scratchy on all passes. It doesn't feel that smooth. Moderately sharp. However, the shave was remarkably free of irritation. It is very nearly BSS. Not quite but very close. Had to work a little ATG and on the final pass but still very, very little irritation or razor burn, after using the alum block. So results defy the subjective feel of comfort as I shave. Pretty good on the chin, under the nose and along the jaw line, the toughest areas, in terms of smoothness without irritation.


Blade Two Rapira Platinum Lux: Made in Moscow, Russia.


These blades cost 9 cents each.


Findings and Impression:


Shave One:


Blade seems sharp and smooth. Far less scratchy than the Croma. I got a truly BSS. No rough patches. No nicks, cuts, or weepers. No razor burn, or irritation around the neck. The alum provided no painful feedback, post shave. I could have got away with a shave with no touch ups. I felt confident AGT whereas I was wary with the Croma, because it felt like it was going to jump and bite me. It's hard for me not to say even at this point that the Rapira Platinum Lux feels better in every way. It's sharper, yet smoother. On the final touch-ups I had to do far less work to remove rough spots, and ultimately got a closer, smoother shave. Excellent along the jaw line, under the nose and far smoother on the chin than the Croma.
If I had to choose which blade to use right now, it would be the Rapira Platinum Lux without any doubt. It seems superior in every way. I'll continue the test for another two shaves on each, but I'm not looking forward to using the Croma tomorrow! Ah the sacrifices one makes for shaving art and science!




Blade One Croma Diamant: Shave Two:


This blade now feels a little smoother, not quite as bumpy. It doesn't drag, but not very smooth. ATG is the biggest test. I'm reluctant to make that pass, because it feels that however I hold the razor to my face the blade is going to bite me. Going ATG on the chin and especially under the nose feels too scary with this blade. I have to make more strokes and passes to get a smooth shave. The shave is acceptably smooth but not quite BSS. The blade is duller than the Rapira Platinum Lux, and so more touch up is required. I got two very small weepers on the neck. It feels like it is hard to get a very close shave with this blade.


However, on the positive side, it's not at all bad. Very little irritation, some on the neck. The shave is still very smooth and not cutting up my face, even with the razor at setting 5.5, maximum aggression. Blade two has the edge, but it's not a huge gap. The Croma may do better in a different razor. Perhaps a slant, or an aggressive open comb. Right now I'm certain I would go with the Rapira.




Blade Two Rapira Platinum Lux: Shave Two:


The blade continues to feel smooth and sharp. No skipping, or dragging. WTG and XTG were both very smooth. ATG was a little more bumpy but still very smooth. ATG feels much more comfortable than the Croma, and I'm happy to do it, not scared like the other blade. After three passes, most surfaces were very smooth. I could easily have left it there. I did a final touch up of some slightly rough areas on the chin, jawline and neck. This blade feels much more comfortable ATG on the chin and under the nose at setting #5.5.


Feedback from the Alum block was minimal, no razor burn. No nicks, cuts, or weepers. BSS and smoother in all the most difficult areas than the Croma.


It's hard to see how the Croma can win. I'm reluctant to do a third shave with the Croma, because the Rapira Platinum Lux after two shaves is clearly the better blade in this razor. It's hard to see how the Rapira could drop off in quality markedly for the next shave and the Croma could surge ahead.


I recently purchased 700 of the Rapira Platinum Lux for 5.7 cents per blade. So this makes it my cheapest blade by far too. At even just three shaves per blade this is less than tuppence a shave. I now have 900 of these blade altogether. If I shave everyday and use the blade just three times that's over seven years of shaving. I'll be 60 before I run out of these!


It's really hard for me to see how a blade in this razor could be much better. I'll continue the test though.


Blade One Croma Diamant: Shave Three


I must confess I was not looking forward to this shave. However I was pleasantly surprised. The blade was a little bit rough yet despite this feel, actual performance was very good. It did not give me a BSS but it was very, very close. I made multiple touch up passes on the neck, jawline and chin to see how close I could get. Those areas did get very smooth and the blade produced no irritation, despite multiple passes.


I continued to be surprised at how well the blade performed. Whilst it had clearly lost some sharpness, and never felt that smooth, it gave a very, very close shave. The most important thing about its performance was that it produced no irritation, nicks, cuts, weepers or burn, despite multiple passes in tough, coarse growth areas. Very little feedback from the Alum block too. These areas remained quite smooth for more than 8 hours; very acceptable for my beard.


This is a case where objective assessment defies subjective feel somewhat. I'm used to blades that feel smoother and sharper, yet this blade did deliver a very good result. I'm not sure that I would want to use it for a fourth shave because I don't want to work so hard to get a smooth shave. However I feel in a pinch I probably could use it one, two or more times, since there was no tugging, pulling or skipping.


For a three shave test this feels like one would get three very close, mostly irritation-free and nick free shaves for less than three cents per shave. Still a great bargain when paired with this German made and American modified razor. The Croma Diamant is a very good blade. If it's all I had I would have no complaints. But the Rapira is superior so far. I'll see how the Rapira shapes up tomorrow.


Blade Two Rapira Platinum Lux: Shave Three:


First observation: Even after 24 hours the shave from the Croma remains not too bad! Of course all areas are rough, but better than the results of some razors after 24 hours.


On this third shave this blade is still smooth and sharp. Noticeably smoother than the Croma and much sharper as well. Every pass is easier and smoother. No nicks, cuts, weepers, or razor burn. There appears to be no drop off in blade efficiency from the second shave. If anything smoother. After three passes I had a very close shave. I wanted to see how close I could get with this blade without causing burn or irritation. I did quite a bit of touch up on the difficult areas, neck, jawline and chin. I had the Mergress set at its maximum setting for this, #5.5. The result was a BSS, with no irritation.
The blade remain smooth, yet sharp, and never bit me. I felt a lot of confidence going AGT because I never felt the blade tug, skip, or that it would jump and nick me. No problem ATGunder the nose, or ATG on the chin


Even though this is a three shave test, I would happily use this blade for a fourth shave because I have detected no drop off in its efficiency both in smoothness and sharpness.


Conclusions:


The Croma Diamant is a very good blade. Not the sharpest or smoothest perhaps, but one that produces three close shave with very little burn, or irritation. If I had only these blades, I'd be happy, especially at the bargain prices they are available for.


The Rapira Platinum Lux is however clearly the superior blade. It's sharper, far smoother, and my guess is that it will last longer. I don't really want to use the Croma for a fourth shave. No problem doing so with the Rapira Platinum Lux.


Now here is the kicker: Buying in bulk (500 plus) the Rapira Platinum is also cheaper, so clearly the better bargain! So I have to declare the Rapira the clear winner. If I only had this blade to shave with, I'd be very, very happy.

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 02-23-2016, 08:42 AM
#2
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I'm curious as to the criteria you used for choosing these two particular blades. It seems like you based it solely on cost/blade.

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 02-23-2016, 09:08 AM
#3
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The Mergress (and Progeess) have become my go to razors. For me personally I prefer Gillette Silver Blue, Feather, AstraSP & Lord blades. Good luck in finding what works best for you. All part of the fun!

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 02-23-2016, 09:37 AM
#4
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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Progress with an Astra or Super Iridium. Shaves as well or better than any made today. It's all in the perfect head design. Who would have thought in today's wet shaving world. Good old Merkur.

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 02-23-2016, 02:00 PM
#5
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Mergress with Iridium Super or Gillette Silver Blue.  Superb shaves, each blade good for a solid week.

Stanley

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 02-23-2016, 04:09 PM
#6
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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Way too much thought on such a simple decision.....ANY blade you like will work in this razor...they are so inexpensive and easy to obtain you cannot go wrong....best all around razor...easy to obtain...and reasonably priced...Mergress or Progress makes no difference...shave is the same....only difference is the knob..look/feel/cost and length...if someone stole all my razors that is the only one I would buy to start over.

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 02-23-2016, 04:56 PM
#7
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(02-23-2016, 08:42 AM)jruschme Wrote: I'm curious as to the criteria you used for choosing these two particular blades. It seems like you based it solely on cost/blade.

I chose the blades at random. More of a whim!

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 02-23-2016, 04:59 PM
#8
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(02-23-2016, 04:09 PM)Harvey Wrote: Way too much thought on such a simple decision.....ANY blade you like will work in this razor...they are so inexpensive and easy to obtain you cannot go wrong....best all around razor...easy to obtain...and reasonably priced...Mergress or Progress makes no difference...shave is the same....only difference is the knob..look/feel/cost and length...if someone stole all my razors that is the only one I would buy to start over.

I'm not thinking. I'm testing. My tests so far have already demonstrated a difference. My leading blade so far is the Rapira Platinum Lux. Many people disagree with you and say that the Mergress is re-engineered to be more accurate and consistent in adjustment.

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 02-23-2016, 05:24 PM
#9
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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Marketing.......I have 5...1 Mergress and 1 Elite and 1 original and 2 newer and the all shave the same....GREAT.!!!!!(with any blade)

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 02-23-2016, 05:34 PM
#10
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(02-23-2016, 04:59 PM)NDMyers Wrote:
(02-23-2016, 04:09 PM)Harvey Wrote: Way too much thought on such a simple decision.....ANY blade you like will work in this razor...they are so inexpensive and easy to obtain you cannot go wrong....best all around razor...easy to obtain...and reasonably priced...Mergress or Progress makes no difference...shave is the same....only difference is the knob..look/feel/cost and length...if someone stole all my razors that is the only one I would buy to start over.

I'm not thinking. I'm testing. My tests so far have already demonstrated a difference. My leading blade so far is the Rapira Platinum Lux. Many people disagree with you and say that the Mergress is re-engineered to be more accurate and consistent in adjustment.

+1. The Mergress is calibrated so the zero is in fact zero and so on. I have a Mergress, Long handled Progress, and another Progress that has 2 custom knobs, non calibrated. Though it may be minimal I can tell the difference between the 3 on the same setting.

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 02-23-2016, 05:39 PM
#11
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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Whatever...each to their own....just for the record I have over 200 razors and as long as my shave is good I,m happy....I just remember it is a shaver nothing more...nothing less...some you like..some you don,t....main thing have fun and don,t drive yourself nuts!!!!!!

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 02-23-2016, 05:44 PM
#12
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(02-23-2016, 05:39 PM)Harvey Wrote: Whatever...each to their own....just for the record I have over 200 razors and as long as my shave is good I,m happy....I just remember it is a shaver nothing more...nothing less...some you like..some you don,t....main thing have fun and don,t drive yourself nuts!!!!!!

 No ones going nuts or anything. He's just recording his results of his own personal testing and allowing us to join. I just merely agreed with his comment on the accuracy of the Mergress settings compared to the Progress and provided my own experience with my current line up. All 3 are fantastic shavers and I have fun with each! Smile

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 02-23-2016, 09:02 PM
#13
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(02-23-2016, 05:44 PM)FreddieP318ti Wrote:
(02-23-2016, 05:39 PM)Harvey Wrote: Whatever...each to their own....just for the record I have over 200 razors and as long as my shave is good I,m happy....I just remember it is a shaver nothing more...nothing less...some you like..some you don,t....main thing have fun and don,t drive yourself nuts!!!!!!

 No ones going nuts or anything. He's just recording his results of his own personal testing and allowing us to join. I just merely agreed with his comment on the accuracy of the Mergress settings compared to the Progress and provided my own experience with my current line up. All 3 are fantastic shavers and I have fun with each! Smile

Yes. Just reporting. All in good fun!
I'll post others too. Thought it might be fun for others to read too.

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 02-24-2016, 09:34 AM
#14
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(02-23-2016, 04:56 PM)NDMyers Wrote:
(02-23-2016, 08:42 AM)jruschme Wrote: I'm curious as to the criteria you used for choosing these two particular blades. It seems like you based it solely on cost/blade.

I chose the blades at random. More of a whim!

I worked out that I now have enough blades to shave every day for twenty years if I use each blade just three times!


However, part of my goal is to eliminate the blades that really perform badly in any razor, and to eventually narrow it down to one or two blades that work well in each razor. Then buy those in bulk. My guess is I'll get down to perhaps five blades at most, maybe less. Then I'll buy enough to carry me to the grave; clean shaven that is!

With the Rouble so low presently the Russian blades that can actually be sourced in Russia are a bargain. That's one reason why I want to see how the Rapira blades perform. The Croma's are OK. I'm testing the Chinese Baili right now. The Proctor and Gamble blades (Gillette Trademark) like the Polsilvers and Gillette 7 0'clocks etc., are hard to find at true bargain prices because they only allow distribution outside Russia and this artificially maintains price.

I recognize that because of skin and beard variations experiences are mixed. However for men with medium to coarse beards and normal to sensitive skin, I believe that these tests have some value.

For example, I've avoided buying certain blades like Dorco, and Merkur, because overall impressions from others seems to be that the former are rather blunt, and the latter moderate or over-priced.

I'm unsure why German blades are indifferent. They certainly know engineering. I think Croma Diamant are made in the former East Germany. Perhaps there is still a technology lag?

My suspicion is that Polsilver will be good, but if the Rapira is close at less than one third the cost, the Polsilver (or for that matter other pricey blades like the Feather) would have to last three times as long, and produce a better shave on each use. I'm unclear as to how much difference there is in any blade, hence these test. Very geeky I know.


A number of people prefer the RPL to the Polsilver and the RPL is way cheaper. I bought 700 RPL including shipping from Russia, from an E-bay seller for $40.10.

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