In the continuing test of Maggard’s house brand of razors, I now come to their slant. Please see my list of other articles for the already-reviewed V3 and V2 Open Comb safety razors. If you’re reading this in the future, it’s likely that I’ll have finished posting all the reviews, and done a wrap-up segment. Provided, of course, that I don’t meet with an unforeseen doom prior to posting such articles. Shrug. Anyway.
The Slant razor is Maggard’s most recent product launch. Their promotional literature indicates that a significant amount of time and design work was needed to come to marked with a slant razor they were confident in.
Slant razors, by their nature, require a more complex set of mechanical hurdles in order to work as they should. Because they are slanting and biasing the blade, the fit and design of the top cap and base plate are paramount to making them safe and useful. Poor tolerances could cause them to fit together in such a way as to pose a hazard to the shaver, which is not to be desired. Thus, it’s best to measure twice and machine once, as it were.
Unlike some of the Maggard razors, the slant has a gunmetal coating that has an element of metallic sparkle to it, but is not highly shiny. The finish is very nice looking, although a small holiday did appear on the top cap during my usage, It sort of looks like a fingernail clipping shape of slightly lighter color. It is possible that I dinged the razor against something during its use, but I can’t remember a moment when I dropped it or otherwise used it roughly. I have no complaints about it whatsoever. Other than the small cosmetic flaw I mentioned, the finish is very uniform and luxurious in appearance. The design of the slant head is a fairly high profile head, though not quite as extreme a slant as, say, the Fine slant, it has a resemblance to that razor in shape. I find it to be a good looking razor, all in all.
The safety bar is a smooth and rounded affair, and the blade gap is significant, but not going into the realms of absurdity. Upon loading the blade, a Personna Lab Blue, the blade reveal looked even and moderate across both business edges. No unusual amount of torque is needed to seat the blade. That is to say, one does not need to apply a lot of force while threading the handle onto the cap/plate complex in order to coax the blade into its bent and slanted attitude. A few slants, most notably the Phoenix Artisan Accouterments Bakelite, require a good deal of force in this assembly phase. Just a data point.
As slants go, I see the Maggard slant as fairly mild to moderate. It is not a rough shaver, nor does it feel perilous during the act of shaving. The counterbalance to this relaxed approach is that the Maggard slant is not particularly efficient. I performed my typical “maintenance” two pass shave, and it gave an acceptable shave. Not super close, but visibly fitting the bill in terms of being groomed. Some overachieving razors have managed something more along the lines of a damn fine shave with this same methodology. Examples include a Gillette Slim Adjustable on 9, a Merkur Futur on 3, and a Razorock Hawk with the Artist Club Pro blades. Those, it should be mentioned, are very efficient shaving tools, and are at the very top end of the razors I own in this regard.
The handle I used for this outing was the Maggard MR11, which I like a lot. I think this could be classed a “bulldog” handle, as it’s fairly short, stout, and beefy. It has significant knurling, making grip excellent, even with soapy hands. It is just the right length for me to tuck my pinkie finger under the butt end of the handle, giving me a great deal of control over the razor. It’s pretty much a home run. Yeah. An easy triple, at least, if we keep the baseball metaphors coming. I would say that it’s every bit as useful as the handle that came with my Feather AS-D2, or the great handle that is part of the Gillette Aristocrat. Maybe not as pretty as the old Gillette, but few things are, so that’s not really fair.
I think that the Maggard slant is probably a great first foray into the world of slant bar razors. It could also be great for for people who don’t need huge amounts of bite. If your stubble isn’t super coarse, but a slanted presentation is more comfortable for you than a straight bar or open comb, this could certainly fit the bill. I think it’s less efficient than, say, a Merkur 37/39C, but may be a bit smoother, too. My sense is that you could shave with this razor comfortably every day (for two passes), or probably every other day for a full three. If you did great prep, or had a very sturdy epidermis on the front part of your head, I suppose that this is about as close to an every day, three pass razor as you’re likely to find in the field of current slants. I haven’t tried them all, and it may be that the Ikon X3 is even friendlier, but I’m just basing my impressions off of razors I’ve used.
One point of note: because the slant is a more technologically complex part to make, the razor itself is a good bit more expensive than the other Maggard offerings. While the other three are all less than $10 in U.S. money as of January, 2017, the slant goes for about $20. I think that the quality of the head justifies this price, but if ultimate value is your byword, I would say that the V3 or V3A better suit that criteria.
My feeling is that the V3 straight bar razor is very close to the efficiency of the slant, and is milder on the face. To me, with economics and a slightly better comfort to efficiency quotient, the V3 would get the nod over the Slant. I will say that I typically get along better with a straight bar razor, even one with significant blade gap, than I do with a slant. That’s just my face, my technique, and my preparation, however. I know a lot of people who find that a slant works much better for them.
In the handle department, I am hard pressed to pick between the MR5 and MR11, as they are both great. The MR5 takes the prize for being the heavier and more unusual of the two, but the MR11 has all the right moves for a classic bulldog style handle. They’re very well priced. Probably buy both. In terms of the heads…shoot, all four together are well less than $50 right now. Buy ’em, try ’em, and pick your favorite. As mad science goes, it’s a pretty cheap experiment.
Cheers, and happy shaving.