Razor Review: Fine Superlight Slant Razor

Posted: December 24, 2016 in Shaving Articles
Tags:

img_20161204_140918

The Fine Slant razor is made of plastic. There, I’ve said it. One can obfuscate the truth, calling it “composite” or “polymer”, of course, but it’s plastic. Which is okay. It isn’t as if they hid this fact from me, and I was aghast when I opened the package.

“You assured me that it was titanium, Alexander! It isn’t! It’s plastic!” Yeah, that never happened.

In my continuing exploration of plastic razors, this was my second stop. The Fine razor is made of injection-molded plastic, a modern polymer thermoplastic, rather than Bakelite, as the vintage or vintage-homage razors you might find are composed of.

Bakelite is a hard material that is not pliable. It can be finished in such a way as to have no injection-point sprue, and feature a somewhat high sheen. The type of plastic that the Fine razor is made from is more like the type of plastic that is used in the grip frames of combat pistols, such as a Glock. ABS plastic made in this way has many positive features. It is easy to manufacture, sturdy, inexpensive, and has good strength-to-mass properties. It will flex without breaking, whereas Bakelite can be somewhat brittle under extreme impact or sheering stress.

One thing that the injection molded plastic cannot do is this: it cannot look in any way luxurious. It looks cheap. There simply is no other way to say it. Despite any surface treatment, colorant, or the like, a close examination will always reveal minor imperfections that result from the injection molding process. You can’t make the material something that it isn’t.

Thus, the Fine slant razor, looked at up close, appears to be something of a toy. You would be excused, after paying the asking price, if you were to wonder if you’d been taken for a ride. Razors made of metal can be had for the same price. Easily. And not just pot metal. You can get a Parker, which is chrome plated brass, for equivalent cash.

So…what’s the deal?

I believe that the Fine slant is probably at least influenced by a classic design. It’s possible that it is a direct interpretation of such a precursor, but I can’t tell you anything about what razor that may have been. I’ve heard vague allusions in that direction, but I was not able to find anything specific to pass along.

The Fine Superlight Slant, as would seem obvious, is a slant-head razor. This means that it biases the razor blade and presents it at a slanted attitude. This means that the razor is not in a perpendicular orientation to the handle, and that it also has a camber, if you will. What does this do? Primarily, it creates a mechanical efficiency, such that the blade is always at an angle with respect to the hair follicle that it is cutting, slicing the hair rather than chopping through it.

That’s the theory, in any case. When the razor in question is able to cash in on the mechanical advantage that it theoretically has, it goes through the hair with less effort and takes off hair faster than a straight bar or comb would do.

In reality? Well, there are lots of factors, and each razor has to be evaluated on its own merits. Assumptions are the enemy of science, are they not? Let’s get to it, shall we? (I can hear you groaning right now. Yes, yes, I’ll stop dithering.)

The Fine slant really bends the blade. A lot. It creates a more extreme bias of the razor blade than the Merkur 39c. If you leave the blade in the razor for a while, it’ll actually take a “set”, or permanent bend. As discussed above, it is a very light razor. It weighs almost nothing. So, you have an extreme slant, which will add mechanical advantage, while the extreme lightness will typically decrease perceived aggressiveness.

To start, I used the Dorco ST-301. The Dorco blade is a smooth, moderate sharpness model. I consider it to be similar in performance to the Personna Lab Blue, which is my benchmark for a medium blade. As I had used a similar blade, the ST-300, with the previous razor, the Merkur 45, I thought that this would allow me a direct comparison.

The Fine slant is not kidding around. It is not harsh in usage, but you can clearly feel that the razor is there to get the job done. There is a purposeful sense as you’re going over the face, one that tells you that the razor is taking no prisoners.

The feeling is not simply a seeming. It is a fact. Even with a blade that is simply moderately sharp, there’s very little stubble left after two passes. For me, there would be limited utility in going for a third formal pass. A few touch ups might be all that’s required. This appears to be a good candidate for the maintenance shave, with two safe passes and very little risk of injury.

That, in fact, was how I used the razor for the first two shaves. I would say that it will run with anything in my stable of razors in terms of the amount of hair that it’ll take off in this usage case.

I didn’t find the angle was difficult to locate at all. It is not a particularly challenging razor to employ. I completed two very nice shaves with no irritation or injury. Basically, you just need to keep in mind that, though light, there’s no reason to force this razor into your face with muscle power. You can trust the implement. It’ll do the job.

In terms of cleaning and maintenance, there’s not much to say. It’s plastic. Rinse it off, shake free the water, and perhaps wipe off the soap residue. Easy as pie. That said, of course, I have a whole cleaning regimen, and my razors are always cleaned with alcohol and lemon oil after a shave, left with the soap and water cleared away and any biological contaminants killed off.

For the second blade in the test, I used the Rapira Platinum Lux, as I did with the Merkur 45. With the Merkur, this blade brought an increased level of aggressiveness, and a slightly less “friendly” demeanor.

The Rapira Platinum Lux blade had an altogether different effect on the Fine than it did on the Merkur. Rather than making the Fine feel more aggressive or more perilous, it actually seemed to simply work better, and with greater comfort. No complaints, no injuries or irritation. Though the Fine doesn’t “need” the sharper blade, it seems to react nicely to it. I can see why the recommended blade is the Astra SP, which is in the same basic sharp/smooth quadrant as the Rapira.

I tried the Derby Extra as a final test. I found that, with the Derby, the first pass was a little bit slow and rough. This cleared up with the second and third pass. As I found before, doing a formal third pass can lead to just a bit of irritation here and there, and this is not overcome by a “smooth” blade. That said, even with a Derby, this razor’s mechanical efficiency is very high.

The usage case, for me, is probably similar to other slants, which is to obviate a formal third pass, or even allow a “socially acceptable” shave of a single pass, in cases where time is a factor, or where you are trying to allow your skin to heal up from some misadventure.

The Fine Slant is a comfortable, efficient design that is easy to use and care for. While its extreme slant and curvature of the blade may be off-putting, it really isn’t difficult to adapt to.

Yes, there are razors made from what many take to be better materials at this price point (which isn’t high, in my view), but I think you’ll find it hard to discover many that have this matrix of comfort and efficiency. As a travel razor, it would likely be a great choice, allowing for quick, breezy shaves while on the road. If your “daily driver” is a large and heavy slant, this might be a great option. If you wanted to try out a slant, but didn’t want to spend quite as much as a Merkur, Ikon, or Above the Tie would cost, this is also a razor to consider (though it is altogether different in what it is “trying” to be.)

Cheers, and happy shaving.

Up Next: The Phoenix Artisan Accuterments Bakelite Open Comb Slant.

Advertisements
Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s