03-09-2020, 09:49 AM
#1
  • DanLaw
  • Just an old slow fat man
  • Peachtree City, GA
User Info
Haircut & Shave is a company encountered on the various fora over the past year with increasing frequency and a growing reputation amongst cognoscenti for outstanding craftsmanship thanks to the vision of its founder Aji Sunjaya.  Prior to entering the shaving hardware business, Aji had been in the men’s grooming business for 19 years and has owned/operated a couple barbershops in Eastern Maryland for the past decade.  2018 marked the year he began work on his now famous N075 DE razor (originally produced from a hybrid of 303 Stainless Steel with Black Hardcote Al baseplate) eventually evolving into the N075 ALL Stainless Steel version possessing a user friendly combination of 0,75 blade gap and neutral blade exposure - appealing to a wide audience upon which his reputation was built.  The success of the original razor inspired Aji to consider a more efficient razor to keep pace with the trending desire among DE enthusiasts for closer shaves but his focus was on maintaining smoothness with the increased efficiency.  Thus, the P076 design concept was born, adding an ever so slight blade gap increase with slightly blade foreward presence to shave closer whilst yet retaining everyday smoothness/usability.  Further differentiating the new razor, Aji decided to pursue the harder and more difficult to machine 17-4 Stainless in BOTH straight bar and OPEN COMB design – yes, OC in a 17-4 razor!  Haircut & Shave is committed to a strategy of sustainable growth, increasing the company’s presence by adding products and services over time, positioning the company as a reliable full service provider for the wet shaving community both online and in person at his brick and mortar facility.

 
 
While finding the H&S N075 reviews intriguing, as much out of respect for the people touting the praises as the razor’s design, my interest was immediately piqued when learning of developmental work on razorS – emphasis on the “S” - produced in 17-4 stainless steel.  17-4 stainless steel is a rare metal in the razor manufacturing community prized for its hardness and have only ever encountered one other offering – from Paradigm.  There are reasonable arguments for 303, 304, 316 and 17-4 stainless steels ranging from ease of machining in the former thru increased hardness and corrosion resistance in 316 to the sheer hardness and beauty of 17-4 BUT generally, the materials present increasing challenges to production along with the positive traits.  Getting to the bottom of which stainless variant is best suited for razor production is no easy task and will not be addressed in this review.  Whilst not an engineer, have taken some coursework on both the  baccalaureate and post graduate level but even so armed, the lack of transparency regarding treatments and sourcing renders judgment difficult.  Suffice to state, as a general operating principle amongst razor producers (Rockwell excepted), there are fewer manufacturers of higher repute producing higher cost/better machined razors as one moves along the stainless steel spectrum starting with 303 to 304 to 316 and 17-4.
 
Packaging varies widely amongst the boutique manufacturers of high-end razors, likely reflecting the backgrounds and values of the people involved.  Everything from cardboard boxes to beautifully crafted niche market jewelry quality boxes have been encountered with absolutely no correlation to the manufacturing quality of the razor.  I am of mixed perspective in this regard having come from an industry dealing with machine shop craftsmen on a regular basis, receiving repurposed cardboard shipping boxes filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of carefully crafted parts.  In the particular case of H&S, the razors are nicely packaged in the tool & die and military contractor’s favourite, blow molded plastic case.  It is fitting that an artisan handcrafted razor manufacturer would utilize such a container given their familiarity with measuring instruments so protected in cases constructed of this material or wood.  Certainly, this is no insult to very highly regarded craftsmen providing outstanding razors and brushes of extraordinary quality and beauty delivered in cardboard boxes but it does elevate the game, suggesting that the manufacturer views the product as a precision instrument as opposed to a machined product.  Packaging does make a statement of self-image, immediately discernable subconsciously if not consciously.  Opening the case reveals beautifully cut and dense padding securing the razor and a possible alternative head assembly with slit for blades or other ancillaries.  A beautifully logoed microfiber cloth covers the razor, as is de rigeur these days for high-end razors.
 
The razors are striking visually, literally jumping out of the box and making love to the eyes!  Marveling at the damn near endlessly deep mirror polish, one cannot help concluding the finish is about as good as encountered in any razor irrespective of material, price and exclusivity.  Feel to hand is solid but not heavy and the machining is amazing, lending an impression of unending grip without more than a subtle hint of knurling.  There is the suggestion of a design theme present but have not been able to place it; perhaps Asian but unlike any encountered to date – yin and yang vibes ring throughout: the complexity of the various interacting curves, heft and lightness, capricious extravagance and Bauhaus simplicity all interplay in a way to evoke a unique impression that eludes pinning a theme upon.  Kudos to this new generation of boutique razor manufacturers comprehensively changing the rules of the game regarding design themes and elements – end users are blessed for the diversity of design they bring.
 
Technically this razor rings all the buzzers; contrary to many new designs, the head assembly is paper thin thereby making it incredibly maneuverable and visually controllable.  The razor is polished throughout – as in everywhere, under the cap, top of the baseplate, the threads – EVERYWHERE.  It is as though the person doing the machine work actually gave a damn, a real damn as in this is a gift for his father or only son damn – have only encountered 2 manufacturers to date so obsessed with visual perfection: Wolfman and Raw, neither being anywhere near the price point of the H&S.  Balance is incredible, which was a concern with the abbreviated knurling and extensive distal design elements.  The open comb teeth are incredibly well executed but especially so considering this 17-4 stainless steel!  I was surprised to learn the razor weighs only 102g in straight bar and 104g in OC, it feels more substantial yet pleasantly so. Were there an area for reasonable debate, it would be that the blade tabs are covered: surely, one can appreciate the aesthetique behind this but given the choice, prefer them exposed for easy removal of blade during cleaning.  Frankly, Aji could easily increase the proposed selling price by a factor plus – this is a big boy razor that easily commands a big boy price.
 
Grooming Dept supplied 2 tubs of their latest soaps: Aion (Nai base) and Asinus (Donkey base) for this passaround.  Given the buzz around the Nai base, used Aion exclusively for this test to determine an impression – and an impression it has made!  Nai really is the best soap encountered per the online buzz!  It whips up easily, has great cushion, glide and post shave unlike anything encountered even if the scent is not a favourite, it is livable.  Asinus is just, pure and simple, a great all around soap as equally home hydrating the skin during dry winters as being refreshing during hot summers.  Those unfamiliar with these soaps, please do use them and comment in your reviews but exercise the courtesy to scoop samples for loading and lathering OFF THE PUCK as this is a passaround and there is a flu outbreak – exercise discretion in considering your fellow shavers.
 
In total, I used the H&S for 3 3-pass shaves: first pass, Open Comb razor With the Grain: second pass, Straight Bar Against the Grain: and third pass, Straight Bar Across the Grain.  The first shave was with a Timor blade which was good, the second shave an Astra SP and the third shave a Gillette Nacet which was optimal.
 
17-4 razors tend to feel hard against the skin to my perspective but in a good way.  While Titanium is all the rage, find it less preferable than stainless as material to date even including a certain artisan making razors in Canada, haha.  The first shave with the H&S P076 OC felt a little harsh but by the second shave had adapted to the feel and found it pleasant.  Irrespective of blade, the SB was always a joy to use being equally as efficient and smooth with the Timor as the Astra as the Nacet.  As anticipated, the balance and maneuverability were exemplary, the blade feel magnificent and quality of the shave BBS spot on with neither nicks nor weepers, lasting a full 36 hours.
 
In conclusion, I could go on about the details of the shave but really, it was uneventful as regards the actual mechanics other than the razor provided incredible feedback and closeness without any harshness.  What was remarkable was the feel to hand, which was a tactile tour de force!  This is about as high a complement as can be given – shaving is not a hobby to me; rather, it is a chore that given an opportunity would be abandoned.  There are razors on the market requiring undivided attention to use or are absolutely dead to feel and mindless while being bulky.  The H&S P076 is akin to driving an old midengine Ferrari 246 or 355 or Porsche 993 – it does exactly what is wanted without punishing terribly for mistakes, makes even a boring daily routine fun and is a joy to touch and look at from every angle.  However, a daily driver like this demands an equally elegant garage: Aji please develop a suitably simplistically stylistic stand to complement these razors!


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 03-09-2020, 09:51 AM
#2
  • DanLaw
  • Just an old slow fat man
  • Peachtree City, GA
User Info
 03-09-2020, 11:35 AM
#3
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Stunningly beautiful razors!

Vr

Matt

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 03-09-2020, 04:28 PM
#4
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
User Info
Great review, Dan. Thanks very much! Thanks also for the plentiful photos  Sisi

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 03-09-2020, 05:44 PM
#5
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Fantastic review. Thank you

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 03-16-2020, 03:00 PM
#6
  • DanLaw
  • Just an old slow fat man
  • Peachtree City, GA
User Info
Shared post on this thread from Dragonsbeard:

I just got the package from DanLaw with both H&S SS OC and SB razors and I'm doing a Shave Off using both in my Shave Off Showdown thread in case anyone is interested. I have to say the fit and finish is up their with the very best modern razors I've had in my den. I can't wait to try them in today's Shave Off and compare the two as far as efficiency and smoothness.


Thanks Dan!

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