Weekly Razor Review

tim33z

King of 'Spoilers' 2019!
Grand Society
2018 Sabbatical Fail
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Location
Melbourne
One thing that I noticed with the Blackbird was a suction feeling when shaving WTG. However, it was my first shave, the lather was quite thick and dense so that could have been why I noticed the suction feeling.
I noticed the suction feeling with my TiBird. Never felt a razor do this before but have heard that the Henson does it too?
 

Rhinehoth

... and these are a few of my favourite soaps.
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Location
Sydney
I noticed the suction feeling with my TiBird. Never felt a razor do this before but have heard that the Henson does it too?
I have the mild Henson and yes it does it too. The Winning razor apparently does it too, but I won’t be able to confirm that until I receive it and obvious shave with it.
 

Errol

Razor Review Guru
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Location
Nhulunbuy
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements META-4 - Special



After sampling the META-4 in early 2021, I was so impressed with its performance that I penciled it in as an early contender for my razor of the year. In reality, it was never going to prevail but a razor that shaves so well deserves recognition. Shaving results were exceptional but there was too much against the META-4 as a razor of the year, it was very much handle heavy and the machined finish was, to be honest, very average poor. Early on I decided that I would purchase a second META-4, polish up the head and do something with that handle, this razor is the result. After a couple of hours spent polishing the cap and plate, I now have one very presentable head. One thing to disappear while polishing the back of the plate was the etched on razor information, not much of a loss there. Now for the handle, I could have purchased a flash red knob for the standard handle and really exposed my lack of taste; but no, I ditched the standard handle altogether and chose a Windrose K2 Titanium replacement handle. With the titanium handle and head now polished I am extremally pleased with the end result. Presentation has improved out of sight; the razor is now balanced at the forward grip and there has been a weight loss of 40g compared to the standard version. This is how the razor should have been presented from Phoenix.

Obviously, with the head rolling off an assembly line somewhere in China and the handle being turned in the UK, these two parts had never been assembled previously but the thread engagement was as smooth and as good as you’ll find anywhere; it’s a credit to both factories that their machining tolerances are so close. While polishing the head I was very cautious around the critical edges and did only minimal polishing of these parts. Any changes to the performance of the razor should be in the balance and weight reduction spheres and not as the result of a geometry change.

My decision to include the META-4 in the Razor of the Year list was sincere but as the time came closer to reviewing this META-4 Special, I was beginning to doubt my decision. What if this whole exercise was nothing more than a total waste of time, effort and money? Not so. Shaving with a META-4 is a unique experience, very different to shaving with any other mild razor I’ve used previously. Being substantially lighter and a bit shorter than the original (and a whole lot better looking), the Windrose K2 handle was maneuverable and provided positive grip but this did not alter the shaving performance of the razor. The efficiency of the META-4 Special razor was at best, marginally on the high side of Karve CB level #B, there was hardly any blade feel but the shave was ever so close and, best of all, it produced those long lasting close shaves every time; I don’t know how Phoenix have achieved it. Phoenix’s META-4 Special razor would be my first choice if I ever had to revert to a mild razor full time, it is the best mild razor I’ve ever sampled. I’m in awe of its ability and with its pedigree, it just should not shave so well.

Blades Used – Wizamet Polsilver and 7 O’Clock Black
Material –
316L Stainless Steel/ Titanium
Blade Tab - Covered
Weight – 67g
Head Width – 44.76mm
Handle Length – 83.93mm
Handle Diameter – 15.02mm
Availability – You’ll have to build it yourself
Final Word – Pleasing
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Location
Texas
Totally agree @Errol, I have the earlier Prismatic made of zamac and with exposed blade tabs tucked away in the dopp bag. Never ceases to amaze how mild and efficient it is.
My experience and sentiments exactly, Holiday. I kept the Primsmatic and often take it on the road with me. Provides an excellent shave but is very gentle in doing so which is valuable when on the road and the shaving conditions are often less than optimum.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Location
Texas
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements META-4 - Special



After sampling the META-4 in early 2021, I was so impressed with its performance that I penciled it in as an early contender for my razor of the year. In reality, it was never going to prevail but a razor that shaves so well deserves recognition. Shaving results were exceptional but there was too much against the META-4 as a razor of the year, it was very much handle heavy and the machined finish was, to be honest, very average poor. Early on I decided that I would purchase a second META-4, polish up the head and do something with that handle, this razor is the result. After a couple of hours spent polishing the cap and plate, I now have one very presentable head. One thing to disappear while polishing the back of the plate was the etched on razor information, not much of a loss there. Now for the handle, I could have purchased a flash red knob for the standard handle and really exposed my lack of taste; but no, I ditched the standard handle altogether and chose a Windrose K2 Titanium replacement handle. With the titanium handle and head now polished I am extremally pleased with the end result. Presentation has improved out of sight; the razor is now balanced at the forward grip and there has been a weight loss of 40g compared to the standard version. This is how the razor should have been presented from Phoenix.

Obviously, with the head rolling off an assembly line somewhere in China and the handle being turned in the UK, these two parts had never been assembled previously but the thread engagement was as smooth and as good as you’ll find anywhere; it’s a credit to both factories that their machining tolerances are so close. While polishing the head I was very cautious around the critical edges and did only minimal polishing of these parts. Any changes to the performance of the razor should be in the balance and weight reduction spheres and not as the result of a geometry change.

My decision to include the META-4 in the Razor of the Year list was sincere but as the time came closer to reviewing this META-4 Special, I was beginning to doubt my decision. What if this whole exercise was nothing more than a total waste of time, effort and money? Not so. Shaving with a META-4 is a unique experience, very different to shaving with any other mild razor I’ve used previously. Being substantially lighter and a bit shorter than the original (and a whole lot better looking), the Windrose K2 handle was maneuverable and provided positive grip but this did not alter the shaving performance of the razor. The efficiency of the META-4 Special razor was at best, marginally on the high side of Karve CB level #B, there was hardly any blade feel but the shave was ever so close and, best of all, it produced those long lasting close shaves every time; I don’t know how Phoenix have achieved it. Phoenix’s META-4 Special razor would be my first choice if I ever had to revert to a mild razor full time, it is the best mild razor I’ve ever sampled. I’m in awe of its ability and with its pedigree, it just should not shave so well.

Blades Used – Wizamet Polsilver and 7 O’Clock Black
Material –
316L Stainless Steel/ Titanium
Blade Tab - Covered
Weight – 67g
Head Width – 44.76mm
Handle Length – 83.93mm
Handle Diameter – 15.02mm
Availability – You’ll have to build it yourself
Final Word – Pleasing
What a great idea Errol. I sold my Meta 4 for many of the reasons you mentioned with your original version. I kept the first edition of that design from PAA called the Prismatic. The head on the Prismatic is much more narrow with quiet a lot of blade tabs exposed…but the shave is just as you describe your modified Meta 4. I may duplicate your experiment later in 2022. Thanks as always for the review and ideas!
 

Errol

Razor Review Guru
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Location
Nhulunbuy
Wolfman WR2 1.25 – WRH3 Handle (Canada)



I don’t own a BBS-1 Titanium and maybe never will; at best, they’re a little bit scarce; I have other razors that are just as rare so I’ll keep trying to find one. Recently, Wolfman reopened the manufacture of their razors in different metals, copper, bronze and titanium to compliment their stainless steel range so I immediately took the opportunity to put my name down for a WR2 in titanium. What’s this got to do with the Wolfman being reviewed today? Well, a lot really. There are many similarities in looks between the BBS-1 and a WR2; my next Wolfman Ti won’t be a BBS-1 but it will be as close as I can get without having a true BBS-1 Ti especially when I put a WRH1 or WHR2 handle on it. Should I just ask for this WR2 Ti to have a 1.00mm gap, the same as the mighty BBS-1 or select another efficiency level. This week’s subject WR2 1.25mm razor is my latest Wolfman acquisition and is going to assist me in making that selection, besides, I haven’t used a Wolfman in a while and everyone should use a Wolfie at least once per year.

Back to the WR2 being reviewed here; the stainless steel version was a given; there was no other option; I selected the basic polish, safety bar, 1.25mm gap and the hollow WRH3 handle. Other than the hollow handle, this is about as basic a Wolfman as you can get, but in true Wolfman tradition it is breathtaking in both quality and presentation. Other manufacturers, or probably more correctly their users, are really kidding themselves when they compare their razor to a Wolfman. While the WRH3 is my least preferred Wolfman handle, it was chosen so I could have a WR2 with each handle option available. I record each level of efficiency and match it to a handle. Wolfman does not engrave the efficiency level on their plates so the different handle option is the method I use to identify the efficiency of the WR2 I’m using. Someone will come along one day and swap handles around so I won’t have a clue as to the efficiency. By then I’ll probably be pushing up daises, so it won’t matter to me at least. Every time I handle a Wolfman I’m blown away by the quality of the threads and how smooth they engage; again, genuine quality most manufacturers can only dream of. It is pleasing to see that Wolfman now supply a nylon washer fitted into the handle recess at the back of the plate.

With efficiency in excess of Karve CB level #D, how can a razor shave so smooth? This Wolfman shaves so effortlessly and makes a mockery of the idea of requiring large amounts of blade protrusion to get a close shave. Certainly, there is blade feel present but it does not dominate the shave. I can tell you from experience that with one little lapse in concentration, this razor will draw blood, totally driver error and in no way a criticism on the capabilities of the razor, simply a warning for the user to pay attention. Immediately apparent from the first stroke, this razor just sang as it went about its business, I wish I had some musical ability as I’m sure a tune could be played on it while I’m merrily shaving away. This razor is an engineering masterpiece and that translates to it being a delight to use.

When I reviewed my first WR2 razor, it was fitted with the 0.95mm plate and I could not understand at that time why anyone would need too much more in efficiency but this razor demonstrates Wolfman ability to understand their customer’s requirement and build a razor accordingly. I don’t think I need a Wolfman with any more efficiency, I’m close to my useable upper limit but a 1.35mm could be interesting? In reality, the choice in efficiency for my imitation BBS-1 is now a personal choice; anywhere from 0.95mm to 1.25mm.

P.S. Since writing this review I’ve been the successful bidder in a Wolfman auction for a WR2 Ti; this razor has a 0.95mm plate and is fitted with a WRH4 handle; now there is a family resemblance to a BBS-1 handle if I’ve ever seen one. I’ve always imagined that there would have to be WRH4, WRH5, WRH6 handles in the Wolfman inventory but I’ve not seen them before. I’ll be doing a review on this one soon after I receive it so this will give me a good idea on what to order. I may have already found the BBS-1 Ti look alike and won’t have to worry what the next order.

Blades Used – Gillette Nacet and Gillette 7 O’Clock Green
Material –
316L Stainless Steel
Blade Tab - Exposed
Weight – 76g
Head Width – 41.58mm
Handle Length – 89.9mm
Handle Diameter – 12.69mm
Availability – Wolfman
Final Word – Exemplorary
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Location
Singapore
I am not Errol and hopefully he doesn’t mind if I reply to your question. There are pros and cons to both. The Blackbird does not cover the razor tabs fully while the Blutt does. There is slightly more blade feel to the Blackbird compared to the Blutt. The Blackbird is more efficient and I guess more aggressive but not in any way unsafe. One thing that I noticed with the Blackbird was a suction feeling when shaving WTG. However, it was my first shave, the lather was quite thick and dense so that could have been why I noticed the suction feeling. The Blutt razor that I have is in the .99 gap. I like the Blackbird a smidgen more.
I use the Blutt with the 1.2 gap. I must say that this gives me more efficiency compared to the Blackbird SB. But the Blackbird OC trumps the Blutt in cutting power. However, the smoothness of the Blutt is simply incredible. Definitely can recommend the 1.2 for those who like their razors highly efficient.
 

Errol

Razor Review Guru
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Location
Nhulunbuy
Wolfman WR2 1.15 – Darwin Handle (Canada)



This Wolfman was ordered with all the bells and whistles; WRA2 stand, Darwin handle and everything premium polished. Reviewing the basic polish version last week and this premium polished finished Wolfmans has given me the opportunity to compare the different levels of finish back to back. Probably the easiest area to distinguish the difference is on the back of the plate where the premium displays a smooth flat mirror finish no matter the light direction. On the basic finish, if the light shines in the right direction, marks can be seen, probably from when the raw material was rolled at the mill and then polished over; by hell you’ve got to be picky though to identify it. In some photos of the basic polish finished Wolfman, marks are visible on the cap, but these are not visible to the naked eye; no marks show up in the premium finish photos. Maybe Wolfman can explain clearer than me the difference between their two levels of polishing. Wolfman refer to their Basic polish as textured and the Premium polished as mirror. I can see that now, but in a week or so ask me to identify the finish on your polished Wolfman and I would struggle. I would have no hesitation in recommending either finish on your next Wolfman purchase but this razor is the last premium polished Wolfman for me.

Not for one second had I considered that shaving with the Wolfman WR2, 1.15 would be anything less than perfection. After all, I have shaved with a WR2 one step higher in efficiency and another one step lower in efficiency and had been suitably impressed by both. If anything, the shave felt better than I expected so I’m giving the Wolfman top marks all around. Efficiency wise, the WR2 1.15 is somewhere between Karve CB levels #C and #D, smooth as, and the 1.15 simply wiped away any whisker standing in front of it. There’s something special when I use a a Darwin inspired handle, it’s artistic and its beauty are something to cherish. While I enjoyed using the Darwin handle during this review, I don’t think it would remain on the razor if I was using the WR2, 1.15 full time, my preference would be something like a WRH7. Wolfman have delivered another special razor in the WR2 1.15 and this is one to remember.

Blades Used – Gillette Minora and Gillette Wilkinson
Material –
316L Stainless Steel
Blade Tab - Exposed
Weight – 88g
Head Width – 41.56mm
Handle Length – 89.96mm
Availability – Wolfman
Final Word – Precision
 

Mark1966

Canberra dwelling Happy Clapping Bean Counter
Staff member
Site Moderator
Grand Society
2016 Sabbatical Fail
2018 Charity Auction Winner
2019 Charity Auction Winner
2020 Charity Auction Winner
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Location
Canberra
:yawn:

A Wolfman razor

:yawn:

Thanks for taking one for the team and doing this review @Errol !
Same again mate -

:yawn:

A Wolfman razor

:yawn:

Thanks for taking one for the team and doing this review
 

klinker

... seems to have LOTS of brushes
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Location
Sherborn, Massachusetts


That sure is a mirror finish. Great review @Errol. Wolfman razors sound amazing. Some day, maybe, I might explore but not just yet. I’ve made too many recent purchases and I’m hoping to avoid the dog house for as long as possible.
Awesome job @Errol. That razor leaves me virtually speechless.
 
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