07-03-2022, 04:04 PM
#1
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I never really thought much about the specs from the beginning, but once I started picking up different razors I did. I'm not sure that it makes the deciding on a base plate much easier. I have some razors that according to the specs seem like they should be aggressive and your mild, at least to me, and I also find the opposite would be true in some cases as well. I'm going to use my one Karve razor and my Timeless razor as examples.

When I purchased my Karve razor I chose the "C" SB plate. I found it to be efficient but on the milder side. On the other hand, my Timeless bronze razor seems like it should be milder than the Karve but I find it to have more blade feel.

Here are the specs:


Karve "C" SB - gap = 0.85mm / exposure = positive 0.09mm



Timeless Bronze - gap = 0.38.. / exposure = positive 0.002
 
Unless I read wrong, on paper it looks like you would think the Karve should be more on the aggressive side than the Timeless. In my experience with both razors, I find the Karve mild, but certainly efficient, and I find the Timeless to have a fair amount of blade feel which I'm OK with. It just makes me wonder how useful these numbers are in choosing a razor.

I remember watching it live video with Shane from Blackland. Somebody had wanted to know the blade gap and/or exposure on one of the razors. He had mentioned that he stopped doing that, I forget exactly why, and now he rates those things on a 1 to 10 scale. I'm wondering if that's a better rating system. I'm interested in a carbon razor and they have a few scratches and dents right now, but I'm all up in arms and can't decide which base plate I would like to get. Their plates are a bit on the expensive side and to buy one that I don't like and then have to buy another one it's just too expensive. It was a smaller risk with the brass Karve razor because their base plates are only about $23. But using the blade gap and exposure information, I thought I bought the right base plate, and it wasn't exactly what I wanted.

Any thoughts or opinions are certainly appreciated.

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 07-03-2022, 05:49 PM
#2
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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Mike, before you click add to cart, why not get in touch directly with them? Tell them your concerns, ask all your questions, and ask them to make a recommendation.

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 07-03-2022, 06:29 PM
#3
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(07-03-2022, 05:49 PM)chazt Wrote: Mike, before you click add to cart, why not get in touch directly with them? Tell them your concerns, ask all your questions, and ask them to make a recommendation.

That is a good idea. Maybe they might know or be able to recommend which one of theirs is similar to the Karve. With the Karve plates, as the blade gap goes up, so does the exposure. On the Carbon plates, as the blade gap goes up, the exposure goes down. Hence, my confusion. I'm not sure if I should go with the larger gap and less exposure, or the smaller gap with more exposure. Because at this point, I'm not really sure if it's a larger gap I prefer or the exposure.

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 07-03-2022, 07:07 PM
#4
  • chazt
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  • Queens, NY
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(07-03-2022, 06:29 PM)Mike Distress Wrote:
(07-03-2022, 05:49 PM)chazt Wrote: Mike, before you click add to cart, why not get in touch directly with them? Tell them your concerns, ask all your questions, and ask them to make a recommendation.

That is a good idea. Maybe they might know or be able to recommend which one of theirs is similar to the Karve. With the Karve plates, as the blade gap goes up, so does the exposure. On the Carbon plates, as the blade gap goes up, the exposure goes down. Hence, my confusion. I'm not sure if I should go with the larger gap and less exposure, or the smaller gap with more exposure. Because at this point, I'm not really sure if it's a larger gap I prefer or the exposure.

Huh

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 07-03-2022, 07:41 PM
#5
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(07-03-2022, 07:07 PM)chazt Wrote:
(07-03-2022, 06:29 PM)Mike Distress Wrote:
(07-03-2022, 05:49 PM)chazt Wrote: Mike, before you click add to cart, why not get in touch directly with them? Tell them your concerns, ask all your questions, and ask them to make a recommendation.

That is a good idea. Maybe they might know or be able to recommend which one of theirs is similar to the Karve. With the Karve plates, as the blade gap goes up, so does the exposure. On the Carbon plates, as the blade gap goes up, the exposure goes down. Hence, my confusion. I'm not sure if I should go with the larger gap and less exposure, or the smaller gap with more exposure. Because at this point, I'm not really sure if it's a larger gap I prefer or the exposure.

Huh

Yeah, exactly.   Confused

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 07-03-2022, 08:04 PM
#6
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I agree that blade gap and blade exposure numbers can be confusing and of limited usefulness.

For over 100 years, millions of American men have been getting great DE shaves without having a clue about blade gap and blade exposure numbers.  Sometimes ignorance is indeed bliss.

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 07-03-2022, 08:11 PM
#7
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(07-03-2022, 08:04 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: I agree that blade gap and blade exposure numbers can be confusing and of limited usefulness.

For over 100 years, millions of American men have been getting great DE shaves without having a clue about blade gap and blade exposure numbers.  Sometimes ignorance is indeed bliss.

Agreed. When I first started I just had one razor, my Merkur 38C. I had no clue about any of those things, and with a three pass shave I still got fantastic results. No thoughts about this is too mild, this is too aggressive. Of course, I had nothing else to measure it against not having used any other DE razors at that point, and maybe that was a good thing!

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 07-04-2022, 03:56 AM
#8
  • Bax
  • Active Member
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Early on in my Wet Shaving journey, I got "wrapped around the axle" on blade gaps and whatnot.  I ended up buying a Fat Boy, a Slim (both vintage adjustables) and a Rockwell adjustable (with swappable base plates).  After many shaves with each, I decided that it really didn't make a heckuva lot of difference to me, regardless of the setting.  I sorta went through the same torture with the testing of myriad razor blades -- in the end, the blades didn't matter as much as I'd expected, either.  I believe that DE shaving enthusiasts will end up accommodating razor aggressiveness with shaving technique, making the technical specifications of the razor less important than one might think.  

I stopped worrying about technical aspects of razors and blades, and started making choices by esoteric "coolness" instead, with the theory "if it LOOKS cool, it'll work better!"
   :-)
- Bax

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 07-04-2022, 05:32 AM
#9
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Boys,
I too have wondered about these specs as my razor acquisition process diverged: what I like and what the specs state. Let me elaborate - I prefer the so called mild shavers. I don't like a lot of blade feel. I get DFS with 2 passes, and BBS with 3 passes. My daily drivers in the starting line up are as follows : Karve B, ATT M1, Overlander, Timeless Slim, FEATHER A2D2, Charcoal Goods Lvl 1. I used to love the Merkur 38C and EJ DE89, but abstained per not being heavy /Stainless.

My spreadsheet of gaps & exposure don't necessarily correlate with those preferred razors. In general, the gap does, in that I seem to prefer razors that fall in the 60-70 gap range [with negative to small blade exposures] . However, as noted by the OP, I bought a Timeless brass 38, thinking it would be very mild. Boy, I nicknamed it "the beast" as it butchered me every time. Another shave blog had similar threads, and I sold it. The Timeless 95 was way milder than that 38 bludgeon.

Another example - the new Athena Lambda should be a mild shave per its specs [why I purchased her]. She feels way more aggressive.

And lastly, a few of the Carbons fit right in my apparent wheelhouse but shave way more aggressively per feel and post shave irritation.

So I don't understand - in general the gap exposure concept works. But in practice I have been horribly surprised. There is something there we are missing in the razor head architecture and design that is heretofore undiscovered. I hope some of the razor head experts with mechanical or engineering backgrounds can provide some needed insight.

Looking forward to further discussion.

Happy Independence Day - Liberty and Freedom baby!
Molon Labe

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 07-04-2022, 10:05 AM
#10
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(07-04-2022, 05:32 AM)TommyCarioca Wrote: My spreadsheet of gaps & exposure don't necessarily correlate with those preferred razors. In general, the gap does, in that I seem to prefer razors that fall in the 60-70 gap range [with negative to small blade exposures] . However, as noted by the OP, I bought a Timeless brass 38, thinking it would be very mild. Boy, I nicknamed it "the beast" as it butchered me every time. Another shave blog had similar threads, and I sold it. The Timeless 95 was way milder than that 38 bludgeon.

I had a similar experience with Timeless.  The stainless Timeless SB .68 works very well for me.  I found the brass .38 had more blade feel and caused me significant irritation.  The heads of the Timeless stainless and brass razors are different, showing that the design of the head can be more important than the blade gap.

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 07-04-2022, 10:14 AM
#11
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(07-04-2022, 03:56 AM)Bax Wrote: Early on in my Wet Shaving journey, I got "wrapped around the axle" on blade gaps and whatnot.  I ended up buying a Fat Boy, a Slim (both vintage adjustables) and a Rockwell adjustable (with swappable base plates).  After many shaves with each, I decided that it really didn't make a heckuva lot of difference to me, regardless of the setting.  I sorta went through the same torture with the testing of myriad razor blades -- in the end, the blades didn't matter as much as I'd expected, either.  I believe that DE shaving enthusiasts will end up accommodating razor aggressiveness with shaving technique, making the technical specifications of the razor less important than one might think.  

I stopped worrying about technical aspects of razors and blades, and started making choices by esoteric "coolness" instead, with the theory "if it LOOKS cool, it'll work better!"
   :-)
- Bax

I also had the Rockwell and found that I generally always used it with the #3 plate. Now that I know the specs more on it, it seems it would lean towards a milder shaving razor that I might not purchase. I will have to try it again now because it has been sometime since I used it. It's just that I do like some blade feel, some razors that I've had are so mild it almost doesn't feel like I'm shaving, or I don't have a blade in it. For some reason I just don't like that. Obviously you also have to factor in technique as you mentioned and also what played your using. If you're using maybe a not so great blade vs. a Feather there will be a difference and how aggressive or efficient the razor is. And some of my earlier experiences I found that using the sharper blades combined with the razors that are considered to be milder are a fantastic pairing.

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 07-04-2022, 10:23 AM
#12
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(07-04-2022, 05:32 AM)TommyCarioca Wrote: Boys,
I too have wondered about these specs as my razor acquisition process diverged: what I like and what the specs state. Let me elaborate - I prefer the so called mild shavers. I don't like a lot of blade feel. I get DFS with 2 passes, and BBS with 3 passes. My daily drivers in the starting line up are as follows :  Karve B, ATT M1, Overlander, Timeless Slim, FEATHER A2D2, Charcoal Goods Lvl 1.  I used to love the Merkur 38C and EJ DE89, but abstained per not being heavy /Stainless.

My spreadsheet of gaps & exposure don't necessarily correlate with those preferred razors. In general, the gap does, in that I seem to prefer razors that fall in the 60-70 gap range [with negative to small blade exposures] . However, as noted by the OP, I bought a Timeless brass 38, thinking it would be very mild. Boy, I nicknamed it "the beast" as it butchered me every time. Another shave blog had similar threads, and I sold it. The Timeless 95 was way milder than that 38 bludgeon.

Another example - the new Athena Lambda should be a mild shave per its specs [why I purchased  her]. She feels way more aggressive.

And lastly, a few of the Carbons fit right in my apparent wheelhouse but shave way more aggressively per feel and post shave irritation.

So I don't understand - in general the gap exposure concept works. But in practice I have been horribly surprised. There is something there we are missing in the razor head architecture and design that is heretofore undiscovered. I hope some of the razor head experts with mechanical or engineering backgrounds can provide some needed insight.

Looking forward to further discussion.

Happy Independence Day - Liberty and Freedom baby!
Molon Labe

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
It seems we definitely have had some similar experiences. I also found the Timeless bronze to have quite a bit of blade feel. I also have a Timeless titanium 95 OC and that is a very smooth shaver. You would expect the 95 to rip your face apart as opposed to the 38.

 I also own the Timeless SSSlim which they list on the website to be very aggressive. I get really good shaves from it and I have no issues with it being too aggressive for me. The Merkur 38C was my first razor and I still use it occasionally and enjoy it. I do also have a couple Edwin Jagger DE89s that I use once in a while. While I originally and generally do gravitate towards razors that have a little bit of heft, I have acquired some aluminum and titanium razors that I use quite frequently.

I originally ordered the Karve "C" SB plate with my CUBR razor and found it to be a little bit milder than I would like. It gave a great shave and it was certainly very efficient, I just wanted a little bit more feel to it. So I picked up the "E" SB plate and I've used it a couple times now and I find it very much to my liking. Not overly aggressive, but it does give some fantastic feedback and so far the shaves have been fantastic with a couple different blades.

Folks, sometimes I think there is a such thing as just knowing too much. For me at this point in time it is certainly created quite a conundrum when it comes to trying to choose something new that I have used before. It's always great to have everybody's feedback, it's one of the things I love about being here, but at the same time everybody's idea of mild or aggressive can certainly vary. Like anything else in life, and we say it here all the time, it's a very YMMV hobby!

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 07-04-2022, 10:27 AM
#13
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Mike, I have very similar experiences as you.

There is something unsolved in the razor head specs, design, architecture that we are all missing. That Timeless 38 though? It was a beast. And the 95 is fine.

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 07-04-2022, 10:37 AM
#14
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(07-04-2022, 10:27 AM)TommyCarioca Wrote: Mike, I have  very similar experiences as you.

There is something unsolved in the razor head specs, design, architecture that we are all missing. That Timeless 38 though? It was a beast. And the 95 is fine.

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Agreed. I think one of the things that I've seen mentioned that affects the aggressiveness/efficiency of a razor is the geometry. I likely mean the same thing that you do when you mention architecture and such. But, yeah. The Timeless 38 and 95, at least on paper, seem like they should perform the complete opposite of how they do in terms of being aggressive. And it makes me very curious about how the Timeless 78 OC performs. Again, you might think that would be aggressive, but based on my Timeless experiences I'd be willing to bet it's more to the mild/medium side.

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 07-04-2022, 05:50 PM
#15
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Small blade gap means a more specific angle. Toss positive blade exposure into the equation and you get a razor prone nicks ... yes, it's often the user, not the razor, but it requires more precision.

Thus, I generally prefer a larger blade gap and neutral to slightly positive blade exposure. I like mildly efficient razors with no blade feel and a larger blade gap gives me more options / angles to achieve that. I don't have razors with stated negative blade exposure, but I can't see how those can possibly be efficient.

Like you (OP), I find the Karve C to be acceptable in terms of blade exposure but slightly less than I want in terms of efficiency. On the other hand, I find the Feather AS-D2, which has a very narrow blade gap and is widely accepted by the community as a very mild razor, to nick me ALL THE TIME.

Blade curvature is also something less discussed but to me is part of the formula.

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 07-05-2022, 09:18 AM
#16
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(07-04-2022, 05:50 PM)Zhang Doe Wrote: Small blade gap means a more specific angle. Toss positive blade exposure into the equation and you get a razor prone nicks ... yes, it's often the user, not the razor, but it requires more precision.

Thus, I generally prefer a larger blade gap and neutral to slightly positive blade exposure. I like mildly efficient razors with no blade feel and a larger blade gap gives me more options / angles to achieve that. I don't have razors with stated negative blade exposure, but I can't see how those can possibly be efficient.

Like you (OP), I find the Karve C to be acceptable in terms of blade exposure but slightly less than I want in terms of efficiency. On the other hand, I find the Feather AS-D2, which has a very narrow blade gap and is widely accepted by the community as a very mild razor, to nick me ALL THE TIME.

Blade curvature is also something less discussed but to me is part of the formula.

Yes, obviously something that would expose more of the blade would definitely require a deft hand and a bit more care. I thought I knew exactly what I liked in terms of at least blade gap, but now it's just gonna become confusing to know all these different specs.

I don't believe I own any razors to my knowledge that have negative blood exposure, but I would have to agree it doesn't seem like that they would be very efficient. A smaller blade gap and still efficient, yes.

I had no issues with the results that I got from the "C" plate from Karve, but I just wanted a little bit more feel. Though I don't see it being a plate that I'm likely going to hold onto, because now that I have something a bit more efficient, I'll probably never use it. I also had a similar experience with Astra SP blades like you did with the Feather. They are very highly regarded most circles, and I have not been able to use one yet without nicking myself. I'm looking to try them again at some point and see if I can get a better results, but so far they haven't worked for me personally.

I would believe that played curvature also plays into the performance. I think blade exposure and blade gap or just two of many things that can affect our razor performs in terms of efficiency. When you look at one razor that might speck out similarly to another one, but you don't know some of the other things such as curvature, head geometry, and other things that can definitely affect the performance, the razors can definitely perform differently with similar basic specs. And, again, the blade itself plays into it as well. If you're using a good sharp blade, a mild blade, or just a cheaper blade that starts out dull. And, if I had to guess, I would assume that the thickness of the blade would play into how it's clamped down on and the curvature based on the rigidity of it.

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 07-05-2022, 09:22 AM
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I'm sure there's a model out there where we could plug in the various numbers and get a fairly good sense of equivalency. Alas, I don't have the math skills to develop it.

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 07-05-2022, 09:26 AM
#18
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(07-05-2022, 09:22 AM)Zhang Doe Wrote: I'm sure there's a model out there where we could plug in the various numbers and get a fairly good sense of equivalency. Alas, I don't have the math skills to develop it.

Neither do I. For me it looks like it will continue to be trial and error at the moment.

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 07-05-2022, 09:45 AM
#19
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I messaged Timeless directly to see if they would or could shed some light on the subject.

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 07-05-2022, 11:28 AM
#20
  • DayMan
  • Senior Member
  • Tennessee
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(07-03-2022, 04:04 PM)Mike Distress Wrote: I never really thought much about the specs from the beginning, but once I started picking up different razors I did. I'm not sure that it makes the deciding on a base plate much easier. I have some razors that according to the specs seem like they should be aggressive and your mild, at least to me, and I also find the opposite would be true in some cases as well. I'm going to use my one Karve razor and my Timeless razor as examples.

When I purchased my Karve razor I chose the "C" SB plate. I found it to be efficient but on the milder side. On the other hand, my Timeless bronze razor seems like it should be milder than the Karve but I find it to have more blade feel.

Here are the specs:


Karve "C" SB - gap = 0.85mm / exposure = positive 0.09mm



Timeless Bronze - gap = 0.38.. / exposure = positive 0.002
 
Unless I read wrong, on paper it looks like you would think the Karve should be more on the aggressive side than the Timeless. In my experience with both razors, I find the Karve mild, but certainly efficient, and I find the Timeless to have a fair amount of blade feel which I'm OK with. It just makes me wonder how useful these numbers are in choosing a razor.

I remember watching it live video with Shane from Blackland. Somebody had wanted to know the blade gap and/or exposure on one of the razors. He had mentioned that he stopped doing that, I forget exactly why, and now he rates those things on a 1 to 10 scale. I'm wondering if that's a better rating system. I'm interested in a carbon razor and they have a few scratches and dents right now, but I'm all up in arms and can't decide which base plate I would like to get. Their plates are a bit on the expensive side and to buy one that I don't like and then have to buy another one it's just too expensive. It was a smaller risk with the brass Karve razor because their base plates are only about $23. But using the blade gap and exposure information, I thought I bought the right base plate, and it wasn't exactly what I wanted.

Any thoughts or opinions are certainly appreciated.

I used to have the original carbon and I have the ++ now. The original is a little more aggressive and more efficient. The ++ is pretty mild in my opinion. I like both plates that I have tried, but they feel completely different to me.

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