Product Review: CJB Razor

Communication Jamais vu Beauty Model WH100B.  CJB Blade Handle.  CJB Razor.  CJB Japanese style replaceable blade razor.  CJB Kamisori.  No matter how you say it, when you bring up the CJB you’re likely to get the same response: praise followed by disappointment.  Praise for the razor’s low cost, overall good quality, and excellent performance.  Disappointment at how difficult it can sometimes be to find these little gems.  Having lusted after this razor on and off for the last year or so, I finally broke down and purchased one.  Sadly, my first CJB had a defective tension spring which made loading and unloading blades extremely difficult (I even managed to bruise my finger tips while loading a blade).  The spring snapped after two uses, turning the razor into a slightly expensive paper weight.  Luckily the eBay seller, Purosdave, was quick to respond and replaced this first CJB with a properly functioning one.  I can’t speak highly enough about this seller.  I don’t  know how many folks out there got their CJB and Sam Seong razors from Purosdave, but he is one of the folks working to spread these amazing razors to the western market.

Before I get into the actual review of this wondrous piece of shaving gear I just want to address a small issue that often pops up when folks talk about these razors: the use of the word kamisori.  Kamisori is the Japanese word for razor.  After speaking to several Japanese folks about this (and, yes they all thought that the question was weird) I have ascertained that this word is used to refer to any razor and does not exclusively refer to traditional Japanese style straight razors.  Some folks in the traditional wet shaving community have taken to calling traditional Japanese style straight razors kamisori, and while this does make things simpler it also creates tension whenever anyone refers to anything else as kamisori.  This is a ridiculous thing to get upset about for a number of reasons, but the most notable is that Japanese folks do not seem to use the term kamisori to refer exclusively to Japanese style straight razors.  So, while I do not refer to the CJB as kamisori, I also do not get bent out of shape when someone does.  And now onto our regularly scheduled review.

One of the most notable issues that people have when considering Feather AC/Kai Captain/Sam Seong/CJB razors is the price.  I purchased my CJB for about $37, including shipping.  This is a fairly reasonable price for a well made razor and did not give me any cause for alarm, but the blades are another story.  The CJB uses the same blades as the Feather Artist Club, Kai Captain, and Sam Seong razors.  These blades are, by far, the most expensive blades that I have come across in the world of traditional wet shaving.  A package of Feather Professionals (the base line standard) will normally run around $20/20 which makes them $1/blade, or ten times the price of my favorite DE blades and about twice the cost of my favorite hair shaper blades.  With some digging I found that it is possible to occasionally find Feather Pro blades for as little as $16/20, but this is still a pretty steep price.  Many users of these types of razors claim that Feather Pro blades routinely last between ten and fifteen uses, which would help to justify paying such a high price, I suppose time will tell.  In any event, one of the things that makes pause when considering a Japanese style replaceable blade razor is the overall cost.  My initial purchase of a CJB, Feather plastic protector case, 1 package of Feather Professional blades, and 1 package of Feather Super Pro blades ran me about $80.  For $80 I could have purchased a nice DE razor and a few hundred blades, so why in the world would I spend that much money to buy a razor that uses such high priced specialty blades?  I have to admit that curiosity was what drove my initial decision, but the impressive quality and performance of the CJB and Feather Pro blades is what hooked me.

The CJB design and construction is all business.  This is a razor designed to be as efficient and lean as possible, but constructed with quality materials.  It feels nice and maneuverable in hand and has as little flash as possible.  Its short Japanese style design means that the handle is ergonomic, the head is easy to use in tight spaces, and the whole thing feels solid without being bulky.  The grey hard rubber handle is about 3 1/4″ long and slopes gently upward to help angle the head properly when using it.  There is a small notch for the thumb with jimps to help stabilize the razor as well as to ensure a solid grip, even when wet.  The head is a little over 2 3/4″ long and has the same design as the Feather RG non-folding razor (the spine is pinched to open up the blade holder and the side piece is removable to allow proper cleaning.  The CJB does have a few quality flaws, such as molding not being cleanly cut away and a mediocre finish, but these are fairly minor issues and mostly aesthetic in nature.

The CJB is more or less exactly what I was expecting.  The largest surprise for me were the blades.  I was expecting Feather Pro blades to be just as long as hair shaper blades, but this is not the case.  Feather Pro blades are 50mm long (or just under 2″), while Fromm and Personna hair shaper blades are 57mm long (or just under 2 1/4″) and weigh about twice as much as Feathers.  For a little bit of perspective DE blades are about 37mm long and Injector blades are 38mm long.

Thanks to my first one being defective, I have used the CJB only a half dozen times, but it has quickly become my go to razor.  It is quicker and easier to use than a traditional straight razor, handles better than a hair shaper razor, and just plain looks cooler than a DE.  Using the CJB I have gotten two pass DFS and BBS shaves with almost no effort.  The myth that Feather Pro blades are far more deadly than other types of blades is just that: a myth.  I found the blades no more blood thirsty than hair shaper blades and have yet to either nick myself or cause myself any serious irritation.  While I would not recommend that a newbie jump onto this razor, I also would not hesitate to recommend the CJB to anyone who has enough skill to not mutilate themselves on an aggressive DE or SE.

In a relatively short time I have come to love the CJB.  It is a quality razor with a little bit of mystique and a lot of ability.  If you’re lucky enough to find one of these razors for sale (they are always available through Gmarket, but they also pop up from time to time on eBay and are also occasionally found in the B/S/T threads of various forums) then I would absolutely suggest that you jump at the offer.  You won’t be disappointed.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Advertisements

My Thoughts On Old Style Scuttles And The Shave Of The Day (3 July 2013)

I purchased an old style scuttle off of eBay for the amazingly low price of $9, with free shipping.  Many folks discount the idea that an old school scuttle can produce hot lather and simply write them off as a novelty, but I have read a few posts that contradict this idea.  I wanted to try one out for myself before deciding whether or not to purchase a more expensive modern style scuttle or even one of the low profile old style scuttles, some of which are being manufactured currently and, like the new style scuttles, do not have drain holes in the soap deck.

I have been experimenting with the scuttle since its arrival and have found that there is only one relatively good way to succeed in creating warm lather.  The way to do it is the more or less traditional way that scuttles have always been used.  I use a bit of soft soap or a small puck of hard soap, placed in the soap deck as per usual.  Once I have my soap in place, I heat a small mug of water in the microwave, pour that heated water over the soap and into the reservoir, and then slide my brush into the holder to soak and heat up.  This way produces some fairly hot lather, but requires either a dedicated soap for the scuttle or the constant replacing of soap.  It works, but it’s kind of a pain and it kills the soap much quicker than normal use does.

In all of this experimenting I have found a few truths about old style scuttles:
1) Old style scuttles can be used to make warm lather, but their ability to do so is fairly limited.
2) Old style scuttles do a poor job of keeping a brush warm while it sits on the soap deck.
3) Low profile old style scuttles would likely be much more effective and look cooler.
4) If you’re looking for a scuttle, then a new style scuttle or a low profile old style scuttle are absolutely the way to go.
5) I’m glad I tried out an old style scuttle, and found a way to make it work, but this style of scuttle is not for me.

The biggest issue that I have with the old style scuttle is that it does little to heat the soap deck.  The deck is simply too far removed from the hot water to be effectively heated, unless the hot water is poured directly onto the deck and even then the heat does not last.

In the end, even though I did find a way to make an old style scuttle work, it did not work effectively enough, nor was it usable in enough situations to make it worth the effort.  I will try a different type of scuttle in the future and just use the scuttle that I currently have to warm up the occasional soft soap.

For my shave today I used Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean soap, a Hawk disposable blade straight razor with a PolSilver Super Stainless blade (on it’s third shave), and my trusty #6 Turkish Horsehair brush.  Following my usual prep (and setting up my scuttle) I performed a three pass with the grain/against the grain/across the grain shave and finished up with a cold water rinse and a splash of T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel.  I ended up with an acceptable shave, zero nicks, and some moderate irritation on my neck and jaw line.  The lather was nice and warm and did an excellent job, but nothing could save me from the wrath of the PolSilver SS blade.  These blades are amazing in DE razors, but awful in DBSRs.  The shave was OK during the WTG pass, but was like torture after that.  My cheeks, upper lip, and chin turned out well, but my neck and jaw line were too irritated for me to get a properly close shave.  The Witch Hazel managed to cool the burn to acceptable levels and helped me to stave off what would have been red, blotchy skin.  The razor its self performed well, as per usual.  I am starting to get a handle on which blades work well in my DBSRs and which ones feel like torture devices.  It’s just a matter of time until I discover the perfect DBSR blade, until then I will continue to experiment and hope for the best.  I think I will skip ,y shave tomorrow and allow my skin a little time to heal up.

Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Hawk DBSR
Blade: PolSilver Super Stainless
Brush: #6 Turkish Horsehair
Soap: Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean (hot lathered)
Post: Cold water rinse and T.N. Dickinson Witch Hazel

image

image

A modern made, old style scuttle (notice the soap deck is sunk into the mug and can be easily heated by the warm water, also there are no drainage holes so that creams can be lathered as well as soaps).

image

A modern new style scuttle with a brush soaker from Robert’s Feats of Clay.

image

A more common style for the new style scuttle, also from Robert’s Feats of Clay.  This one has no brush soaker, and a stopper and lid to keep the heat in.

Product Links:

Scuttles by Robert’s Feats of Clay:
http://www.rabfeatsofclay.com/page3.php?view=productListPage&category=3

Hawk DBSR:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/190796358416?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

#6 Turkish Horsehair Brush:
http://shop.bestshave.net/wooden-handled-shaving-brushes-no6-p-67.html

Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean Soap:
http://kellsoriginal.com/

Shave Of The Day (1 July 2013)

I recently purchased several Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe soaps and have been waiting for a good opportunity to try them out.  Seeing as today is my first day following my month of Desert Island shaves, I figured that it would be the perfect time.  I have used Kell’s Original soap before and was impressed with the performance, but I did not like the scent (Black Tea), so this will be my first try using some of the other soap scents that Kell’s has to offer.  I bought a tin of Juniper Sage, a puck of Vanilla Bean, and a 1 oz. sample of Energy.  I had planned on a puck of English Rose as well, but decided to wait on it.  All of the soaps smell great, but the Vanilla Bean smells so amazing that I absolutely have to try it out first.

I am using my Parker SRW with a PolSilver Super Stainless blade for today’s shave.  I don’t really have a good reason behind choosing the SRW, it just seemed like a good idea.  It’s a standard disposable blade straight razor with a tight blade lock and tightly fitting scales, a good balance, and excellent blade exposure.  I enjoy using it, but I am not a huge fan of its small, bland scales.  I am considering buying a set of replacement scales to make this razor look a bit more flashy.

I am returning to my somewhat neglected boar brushes today, and after a quick glance have decided on the Omega 11137.  I usually reserve this brush for thick superlather where a large loft is an advantage, but it is well broken in and has soft tips, so it will work well as a transition from badger to boar.

Following my usual prep I performed a three pass with the grain/against the grain/across the grain shave and finished up with a cold water rinse and an application of alum.  The Kell’s soap lathered quickly and easily and though it still smelled excellent, it was somewhat diminished in scent once lathered.  I did have to replenish my brush following the second pass, but the soap did well otherwise.  The Parker SRW performed well, but the PolSilver blade is probably done for.  This is the third shave with this blade, it is somewhat harsh and drags a bit more now than it did on either of the two previous shaves.  I am still searching for the perfect blade to go with my Parker DBSRs, unfortunately my experience with DE blades in DE razors does not seem to translate well to their performance in DBSRs. I want something with longevity as well as smoothness; I think that I will try either a Lord Platinum or a Personna Lab tomorrow.  The Omega brush seems to have been a poor choice for this shave.  It created lather well, but did not hold as much as I would have liked.  Having to refresh my lather is an annoyance that I can avoid simply by choosing the correct brush.  Today I chose poorly and ended up having to reload, tomorrow I will not make the same mistake.  In the end I managed a damn fine shave, with zero nicks and just a little irritation on my jaw line.  The soap left my skin soft and smooth with a nice vanilla scent lingering.  A somewhat lackluster shave, but I think that I can improve upon the results tomorrow.

Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Parker SRW
Blade: PolSilver Super Stainless
Brush: Omega 11137 boar
Soap: Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean
Post: Cold water rinse and SAL Alum

image

Product Links:

Parker SRW:
http://www.razorsdirect.com/catalog/item/7409120/8986586.htm

Kell’s Original Ultra Aloe Vanilla Bean:
http://kellsoriginal.com/main.sc

Omega 11137 boar:
http://www.connaughtshaving.com/11137.html

SAL Alum:
http://www.connaughtshaving.com/allumblock.html

Shave Of The Week Part Two (24 June 2013 – 30 June 2013)

This was my final Desert Island shave.  The final week of my month of Desert Island shaves, in which I remained loyal to one set up all week long.  It’s been an interesting experiment and I have learned that if you really want to get to know how a product performs then you have to live with it for a while and get to know its specifics from day to day.  Some items that I didn’t care for before this whole experiment turned out to be simply misunderstood.  Some products turned out to have some hidden weaknesses.  Mostly, my extended use of products basically just reinforced how I already dealt about each individual item.  I’ve enjoyed my time on the island, but it’s time to come home to the land of whim.  I may still spend some time with one set up or another, but now it will be because I want to, not because of the perameters of an experiment.

So, how did my final week turn out?

The Fromm hair shaper is a really great razor, I really enjoyed getting to know its ins and outs.  On the up side it has a longer blade, a good balance, and it looks interesting.  On the down side it is a little light, its short scales are more of a hinderence than a help, and its hair shaper blades cost significantly more than DE blades (approx. $0.60 – $1 each vs. $0.10 – $0.35 each).  The blades do seem to last longer than a typical half DE and with a larger cutting surface shaves are quicker, but at such a high relative price I’m not sure that they’re worth it as anything other than an occasional use item.  In spite of its costs, the Fromm does its job well and with a minimum of fuss.  I liked the razor enough to return to Sally’s Beauty Supply and pick up a Marianna hair shaper, which as it turns out, is identical to the Fromm in every way other than the color of the plastic used on the jimps and tang and the brand imprint on the scales.  I have a feeling that these two razors are made in the same factory and then just branded differently for different companies.

My RazoRock Napoleon’s Violet soap is, as always, a joy to use.  It lathers easily and quickly, provides excellent protection, and is fairly slick.  My one complaint is that it is relatively light in the skin care department.  After using this soap my skin is neither moist nor dry, which is a good thing, but it would be nice if there were some skin benefits.  I really enjoy the clean after scent that lingered following my shaves, but beyond that there wasn’t much of a scent to this soap.  Overall, this is a good middle of the road soap and I highly recommend it, or any of the RazoRock Linea Officina Artigiana line of soaps, to someone looking for their first real shaving soap.

The Vulfix 376S Super Badger performed as I expected.  It is soft and picks up product well, but it is also a bit floppy when loaded down and can create quite a mess.  This brush is perfect for bowl lathering, but can be a little difficult to control when face lathering.  I like the feel and weight of the brush and I enjoy using it…even if it does like to fling lather everywhere.

This last week has been a series of good shaves and I was quite happy with the results.  If I had to use this set up exclusively then I could, but it would get old fast.  In spite of their workhorse abilities, there was nothing particularly exciting about this combination of products.  This set up feels like a favorite pair of old shoes: comfortable and good for a weekend of lounging, but nothing you would want to wear on a night out.  I will likely pull this set up out every once in a while in the future, but I doubt that I will ever use it as extensively as I have this past week.

Shave Of The Week Part One (24 June 2013 – 30 June 2013)

This will be my last desert island shave for a while.  My last week long dedication to one set up.  I enjoy getting to know my products by sticking with them, but I like variety too, so I will return to my random product use after this week.  I’ve learned a lot about choosing set ups that will last the whole week with becoming boring or irritating, and I now know that if I had to choose just one set up that I could do it without too much difficulty.  It’s been fun, but I am ready to wrap it up.

This week I am going with a few easy to use products.  For my razor I am using the Fromm hair shaper.  I bought this at Sally’s Beauty Supply for $6.19, but haven’t given it much use.  It came with a single blade and I also bought some Fromm blades to go with it, but after using it once they have just been sitting there.  It’s a nice razor and I look forward to getting to know it better.  The longer blade makes it feel more like a traditional straight razor, but the light weight and small scales make certain that there is no mistaking it for anything other than a disposable blade straight razor.

For my brush I will be using my Vulfix 376S Super Badger.  It’s soft, it’s fun, and it’s easy to clean.  I considered going with a boar because I have been neglecting my boar brushes, but the Vulfix just seemed to call to me.

My first shave soap was William’s Mug Soap.  I don’t know how I got it, I’m pretty sure that it was a roommate’s and that I ended up with it in my stuff by accident after a move.  The first shave soap that I ever bought was Van Der Hagen Deluxe, it came with the Premium Shave Kit.  I still use VDH Deluxe and enjoy it.  The first real, non locally available shave soap that I ever used was RazoRock Napoleon’s Violet.  I like it a lot.  RazoRock Napoleon’s Violet is a soft Italian soap that lathers easily, smells nice, and comes in a big container (I actually used the lid as a lather bowl when I first got it).  In honor of my ending the Desert Island month I have decided to go out with the RazoRock, my first ever “real” shaving soap.

I did my usual prep of a hot shower followed by a warm water splash before jumping on in.  I performed a three pass with the grain/against the grain/across the grain shave and finished up with a cold water rinse.  I also decided to experiment with a recipe that I found online for some home made after shave.  Glycerin, witch hazel, and essential oil for scent.  The result was a BBS shave with zero nicks, zero irritation, and very little effort.  The Fromm was kind of unwieldy the first time I used it, but I seem to have gotten the hang of it.  It glided along smoothly and easily and made for an effortless shave.  I removed the guard and used it with a bare blade, but I would be curious to see how it shaves with it on.  The small scales actually seemed to work in my favor in a few tight spots, but I would still like to see how it does when rescaled with a more traditional set.  The RazoRock continues to live up to its lofty reputation and made me happy with excellent lather and a nice clean after scent.  The Vulfix is a bit floppy, but good.  Its soft hair make it comfortable, even for folks with sensitive skin and it gathers up water and soap like a camel preparing for a long haul.  The home brewed A/S splash still stank, but instead of just smelling like witch hazel it smelled like lime scented witch hazel…ugh.  it did relax my skin and leave it feeling nice and smooth, but there has got to be a better way.  In spite of the witch hazel stink, I was very happy with the shave, and looked forward to continuing with this set up, it is an excellent way to close out the month.

Pre: Hot shower and warm water splash
Razor: Fromm Hair Shaper (minis the guard)
Blade: Fromm Teflon Coated Stainless Steel
Brush: Vulfix 376S Super Badger
Soap: RazoRock Napoleon’s Violet
Post: Cold water rinse and home brewed A/S splash

image

Product Links:

Fromm Hair Shaper:
http://www.sallybeauty.com/Shaper-Razor/SBS-525107,default,pd.html?cm_vc=SEARCH

Fromm Teflon SS Blades:
http://www.sallybeauty.com/Fromm-Shaper-Blades-105/SBS-525105,default,pd.html?cm_vc=SEARCH

Vulfix 377S Super Badger:
http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Vulfix-376S-Super-Badger-Shaving-Brush_p_553.html

RazoRock Napoleon’s Violet:
http://www.westcoastshaving.com/RazoRock-Artisan-Shave-Soap-125ml–Napoleons-Violet_p_1258.html

Shave Of The Week Part Two (17 June 2013 – 23 June 2013)

I finished out my week with my Union Cutlery 5/8 full hollow square point straight razor, Van Der Hagen Glycerin soap (in shave stick form), The Art of Shaving Fine Badger brush, and T.N. Dickinson With Hazel.  A few things struck me over the week in regards to this set up.  First, I hate the s,ell of witch hazel.  Even scenting it with essential oils or fragrance oils did little to diminish the awful smell…luckily it does not linger.  Second, shave sticks are awesome!  It’s so easy to run a stick of soap over your face and lather up.  No bowl, no messy puck, just a few quick swipes and some lathering.  I think I will be buying some shave stick containers rather than continuing to attempt to find suitable deodorant sticks to cannabalize.  Third, as much as I like traditional straight razors, I prefer disposable blade straight razors.  With DBSRs there is more customization available, less maintainance, less prep and clean up time, less cost, and just as much cool factor…and if you like the bigger blades, then hair shapers and Feather/Kai/CJB razors have them.

All in all, this week went well.  The VDH Glycerin shave stick worked beautifully, the Union Cutlery did what it does, the AoS brush is becoming a bit more bloomed and feels great.  I got good shaves all around and was happy, but it did take a bit longer than I like, now that I have become obsessed with DBSRs.  I’ll likely keep using my straights, but relegate them to the weekends when I have more time to devote to them.

image

Product Review: Sanguine X-D20 Disposable Blade Straight Razor

I am a huge fan of Disposable Blade Straight Razors (DBSRs).  DBSRs fit into my life perfectly, they have the style and unique look of a traditional straight razor, but without the necessary extra work, cost, and maintenance that traditional straight razors require.  A DBSR will give me an extremely close and effective shave without having to work too hard for it, and the razors look really cool doing it.  The only problem that I have with DBSRs is that, because of their relatively small customer base, they tend to be lower quality razors with quality control issues.  This trend is beginning to change as more and more folks discover a love for DBSRs, but it is still an issue.  I was hooked on DBSRs from my first shave, I love these razors so much that they have largely replaced both safety razors and traditional straight razors as my preferred shaving tool.  Once I became hooked I began my quest to find the perfect DBSR.  While my use and evaluation of DBSRs is an ongoing adventure, I believe that I have come very close to finding my perfect razor. 
During an internet search for DBSRs I stumbled upon an old forum thread discussing the Sanguine X-D20.  Sanguine is a U.K. based manufacturer of barber scissors and razors and is well known for its range of inexpensive half blade DBSRs (DBSRs which use a snapped in half double edge blade).  The X-D20 is unique among half blade DBSRs in that it has actually had some serious thought put into its design.  The razor has an ergonomically shaped handle, a long tang, a set of jimps on the underside of its spine, and a heavier than usual blade arm.  After looking at tons of pictures and reading several reviews of this razor I decided to jump on in and buy one.  While Sanguine does have an online shop, they also run an eBay store, which I found to be the less expensive choice.  After looking through various pictures and color schemes I settled on a yellow X-D20 (with a nifty leather pouch and 5 Wilkinson Sword DE blades), paid the $15 total price (which included shipping), and began waiting for my new razor.

I ordered the razor on a Thursday and was surprised when Sanguine had it posted promptly the next day.  Ten days later, it was in my mailbox.  I have found that, with basic shipping or small packets shipping, packages from the U.K. usually take about two weeks to arrive over here in Texas, so ten days is actually fairly quick.  The package was a smallish padded envelope with the razor inside and no other fanfare to speak of, which is fine by me because I dislike opening a package to find brochures, extra papers, and large invoices.

When I opened the package the razor was securely enclosed in its leather pouch, which was its self enclosed in a plastic pouch, along with my package of Wilkinson Sword blades.  The leather pouch turned out to be fairly well made and was, surprisingly, actual leather.  After taking a quick sniff of the pouch I opened it up and pulled out my new yellow Sanguine X-D20.  A few things struck me right off the bat.  First was the fact that the scales were much more yellow than the web site picture made them seem (I had the same problem getting the yellow to stand out in my pictures), second was that the tang on this razor is quite a bit longer than it is on any of my other DBSRs or straight razors, and third was that the razor felt heavier than many of my traditional straight razors.  My initial impressions of this razor were definitely favorable.

After having used the razor a few times I can say that I now have a pretty balanced idea as to its drawbacks and advantages.  The Sanguine X-D20 is an excellent DBSR, but it is certainly not perfect, and sadly most of its issues seem to stem from poor quality control. 

A brief physical examination of the X-D20 revealed a razor with a lot of potential, but not enough attention paid to build quality.  The X-D20 fits well in the hand and feels nice and balanced with a good weight to it, which makes for easier control while shaving.  My razor was loose in its scales upon arrival and felt as if that looseness might cause some problems while shaving.  I attempted to solve this issue by peening the rivet down to tighten it up, but the rivet continued to loosen after each use.  I will probably end up replacing the factory rivet with a brass or stainless steel pin.  The scales themselves are plastic and are extremely light, but fairly well made with no rough spots or finish problems.  The blade arm is made out of a nice heavy weight stainless steel with jimps on the underside of the spine for a better grip.  The blade arm feathers to allow easy blade replacement in a similar fashion to the Parker SR razors, with the main difference being that the head of the X-D20 is longer and heavier than that of a Parker.  The arm does not close as tightly as I normally like, which allows for the possibility of blade slippage before the lock secures it in place, I do not know if this is a QC issue or a design flaw.  The brass pins which hold the blade in place are placed farther back than a Parker, which unfortunately reduces blade exposure, again I do not know if this is due to poor QC or is by design.  The blade lock fits into place securely and easily, negating most of the issues caused by the less than spectacularly tight blade arms.  The lock has a sort of diamond shape by its pivot pin as well as the Sanguine name written across it, which I feel gives it a little extra character.  The blade arm locks securely into place inside of the scales when it is folded closed, I did not see any tab that worked to keep it snapped in place, so I assume this is simply a function of friction between the blade arm and the scales.  The tang on the razor is quite a bit longer than any of my other DBSRs or straight razors and, from the right angle, makes the razor look like a duck…which is why I chose the yellow colored scales (classy, I know, but I thought it was funny).  I doubt that the razor’s resemblance to a duck was on purpose, but I like the coincidence and have even started referring to this razor as the “mighty duck” .

Shaving with the Sanguine X-D20 is a bit different than other DBSRs.  The longer tang, jimps, and heavier blade arm make controlling the razor easier, but the loose scales and decreased blade exposure do create problems.  I found that the scales kept slipping while I shaved, especially when I held them straight and in line with the blade arm, as I usually do when shaving my neck.  The decreased blade exposure, while not huge was enough to force me to use a slightly different angle than I normally would with a DBSR.  The razor looks great and, once the scales are properly pinned, will likely handle extremely well, but there is not much that I can do about the lack of blade exposure.  While I was perfectly able to get a very close shave using the X-D20, the lack of blade exposure did bother me.  If the placement of the blade mounting pins is by design, so as to reduce the possibility of nicks and cuts, then I feel that it is a poor trade off and a flawed design choice.  If, however, the placement is a flaw due to poor quality control, then this razor has the potential to be my absolute favorite razor, I will just need to find one with proper blade exposure.

At $15, including shipping, the Sanguine X-D20 is hard to beat, but with just a little more attention to detail and some better quality control Sanguine could easily take over the entire half blade DBSR market.  Sanguine has excellent looking razors, interesting design choices, and an eye for comfort that other manufacturers simply do not posses; sadly, until more can be done to improve the build quality of these razors they will likely sit squarely in the cheap seats.  If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing razor and are not afraid to face the possibility of a little extra work, then the Sanguine X-D20 is an excellent choice.  In spite of its flaws I really like my mighty duck and will gladly do a little extra work to get it up to par.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Product Links:

http://stores.ebay.com/SANGUINE-SCISSORS/Shaving-Razors-/_i.html?_nkw=shaving+razor&submit=Search&_sop=15&_fsub=555674013&_sc=1&_sid=182498003

http://www.sanguinescissors.co.uk/Shaving-Razors/c13/index.html?osCsid=0b277fd0a612e6a8529c28ebc3dd829d