Razor Blade Test: Rapira Swedish Supersteel

Posted: June 17, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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Rapira Swedish Supersteel

1) Sharpness: Great
2) Comfort: Good
3) Value: Good
4) Availability: Good
5) Country of Origin: Russia
6) Passes “First Shave Test?: Yes
7) Longevity (# of shaves):
8) Notes: At last, a blade worthy of a full review. After the last few blades I tried, I was becoming concerned that I was too demanding in my tastes. Turns out, it was simply a case of getting a few duds in a row. With the Rapira Swedish Supersteel blade, we are back on solid ground again. Excuse the rather absurd length of the review. I got excited.

First shave: I used Palmolive Classic cream, bowl lathered, and the trusty Feather AS-D2. The difference in cutting performance and blade quickness between this one and the previous review (Bluebird Hi-Stainless) is chalk and cheese. The Feather all stainless razor is not built to judder across your face and require infinite patience to reduce a beard. It is designed to line up and slice. With the Rapira loaded, that’s exactly what it did. First pass was easy, giving performance I would put in the Wilkinson Sword/Astra SP category. Perhaps just a slight bit less smooth? Hmm. After the first pass, my face was plenty smooth to get by at work. The second pass was quite undramatic, as the first pass had done it’s job, and there wasn’t an inordinate amount of stubble to contend with. By the third pass, audible feedback was going away. Emboldened, I went for the often foolhardy cleanup pass on my neck crease area. No blood. The aftershave went on, and there wasn’t an unusual amount of sting. Thus far, I’m seeing performance I’d classify as just shy of the top in sharpness, and decent smoothness. The resultant shave was very close. Not, perhaps “closest shave ever” close, but if there is a weakness in the AS-D2 razor’s game, it is in that arena. Thus, I am not going to fault the blade for that.

Second Shave: I used Proraso Red, both the preshave and the soap. I was experimenting with an old shave brush I found kicking around in the shed. I’ll have more to say about that in another article, but for the sake of the test, it whipped up a perfectly reasonable lather. On the second shave, I feel like the blade was just not as sharp as on the first go ’round. It was still sharp enough to cut cleanly, and ended up yielding a great, super smooth shave, so perhaps I’m nitpicking. I’ve been shaving on an accelerated schedule of late, simply because I have lots of new things to try, and I get restless. I’ll do my damnedest to actually wait two days before I do the last shave with this blade, so that I am not introducing, as Nick Shaves would put it, “confounding variables” into the test. My surmise at this time, though, would be that this is going to be a good, solid blade, perhaps a bit sharper than the Personna Blue, but not quite the equal of the Astra and a few of the other top-tier blades (in my estimation). Still, let’s not rush to judgement.

Third Shave: I changed things up for the third shave, loading the existing Rapira blade into my Merkur 39C slant head razor. I was back using my Omega Syntex brush, and employed Palmolive Classic shave cream. I did my maintenance shave of two passes, with the grain and across the grain, from ear towards the nose. I got very nice results, with no issues arising from the blade at all. No irritation, weepers, or cuts. The application of the Brut aftershave gave no sting on the face at all, which means that things were very gentle on my skin. I can say that, at least to my experience, the Rapira makes a good combination with the Merkur slant.

All in all, I would say that the Rapira Swedish Supersteel is a strong performer, and seems to work with both mild and somewhat aggressive razors. The hints I got of blade dulling on the second shave may have been a false lead. Then again, the AS-D2 is fairly critical of dull blades, whereas the mechanical advantages of the slant head might not react the same way. Altogether, a smooth, sharp blade that’s well worth your time. If you tend to like blades such as Wilkinson’s, Astras, and perhaps Gillette Silver Blues, I’d give these a go. I believe I may shave once or twice more with this test blade loaded into the slant, as it appears to be going strong after three shaves.

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