Review: Razorock Halo Titanium Razor Handle

Posted: September 5, 2017 in Shaving Articles
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The Lengthy Preamble: 

There’s a certain cachet about titanium. It’s a strong, fairly light, non-ferrous metal. It’s biologically inert for most people, doesn’t corrode in water (even salt water), and has exceedingly good heat resistance. It’s come to be synonymous with high technology, jet-age coolness. It appears in racing cars. The SR-71 was built from it. ‘Nuff said.

In the usage case of a razor handle, there’s nothing particularly compelling about titanium. It’s a low duty cycle part. It doesn’t need high hardness or heat resistance. Biological inertness is great for something that touches the skin, especially for people with nickle allergies. The corrosion resistance is on point, of course. Plenty of upside, but probably overkill, considering the requirements of the application.

The classic metals for razor handles are brass, stainless steel, and zinc alloy. Zinc is a cheap material, and corrodes easily if the coating (usually chrome) is compromised. It has decent weight. It’s very easy to work with and common. It suffices for an inexpensive build, but isn’t necessarily optimal.

Brass is typically coated with gold, nickle, or a few other options. Brass is quite heavy, and though it can corrode, it doesn’t rust. The coating will typically protect it. Brass is easy to work with, having a much lower melting point and being far more ductile than some other options. Nickle or gold plated brass isn’t a cheap choice of materials, though. It’s also not particularly sturdy. Impact stress can harm a brass razor. Treat it right…it’ll last forever, but not everyone treats their stuff right. Some barbarous heathens leave their stuff dirty, and sometimes hurl their razors upon the floor. It is possible that they have forgotten the faces of their fathers. That’s not for me to say. Moving on…

Stainless steel isn’t super expensive to buy, but it’s expensive to machine, because it’s…steel. High melting point. High hardness. If you want to machine it, you have to use harder steel, with tungsten carbide or the like. Steel has great weight, great toughness, lots of finish options, and no need to coat the material. It’s generally considered to be the best material around. It’s not particularly workable for complicated parts, unless you have really significant engineering acumen. This is why no one is making a twist-to-open razor out of the stuff. The razor would cost something like 300 bucks.

Back to titanium. It’s lighter than steel, but not feather light, like aluminum (another material you’ll sometimes see). It can be polished, bead blasted, coated, or anodized, so many finish options are available.

Why do we like it? Long and short – just because it’s cool. It’s a space-age material that just gives us the warm fuzzies. Titanium, even the very name itself, evokes a mythic bad ass nature.

The Actual Review:

Which brings be around, at last, to the actual topic of this review. The HALO handle. Razorock has managed to bring us a titanium handle for a great price. From the the promotional material, I couldn’t determine if this is pure titanium, or if it’s the more typical 6AL4V alloy. That, I suppose, has little or no bearing upon its quality as a razor handle. The Halo handle features milled bands, rather than standard knurling, and has a smooth, hard finish.

I find the weight to be just about right, the length to be comfortable, and the traction to be better than it has any right to be. Even with wet and soapy hands, there is no issue with keeping a grip on the handle. It doesn’t have any “twist”, like some traction patterns do. Overall, it’s a surprising and effective design.

The finish is a polished gunmetal gray, and has no flaws or imperfections on the model I have. At least with my example, the photos online make it seem like a much brighter, chrome-like finish. I have no positive or negative feelings about this. Just a data point.

I’ve used the handle with both the German 37 from Razorock, and the Maggard V3A (with which it matches perfectly, color-wise), and the Razorock Hawk. In all cases, it acquitted itself beautifully. It’s right up there, in my book, with the best handles I’ve used on 3-piece razors (AS-D2; Maggard M11). For those familiar with those models, that’s not an inconsiderable statement.

Verdict: We may not NEED titanium for any rational reason, but this is a great handle. I could confidently say that I could put all my other handles in a shoebox and use this as my dedicated handle for all 3 piece razors. Yet another home run for Italian Barber/Razorock.

Cheers, and Happy Shaving!

 

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