Weekly Razor Review

Goodfellas Valynor (Italy)



Yes, the Goodfellas Valynor did proceed the Blackland Osprey; I had the Valynor in hand before the design of the Osprey handle was revealed.

Obviously, it’s the handle that is the standout feature of the Valynor but it is ably assisted by the contrasting polished brass head. The handle has an aluminium outer shell with diamond patterned cutouts machined into it leaving it with a lace like look; after machining, the aluminium outer shell has been anodised in a satin silver and will therefore not tarnish. Screwed in from the handle’s end is a polished brass plug that extends through the handle to past the diamonds cutouts. Visually, the handle has great presence and I’m sure there will be no grip issues. Should soap or any other foreign matter get into the handle, the brass plug can simply be unscrewed, wiped or rinsed clean and reinserted, simple and easy. Goodfellas have a poor track record as far as thread quality goes and the Valynor does nothing to correct that fault, it’s handle fit is sloppy. There are no real standout features to the head: made of brass, thin cap with blade clamping at the outer edge, company name, model and country of manufacture are engraved on the back of the plate.

To be honest, I had no idea what sort of shave the Valynor was going to deliver. It was certainly a relief when that first stroke revealed an efficiency slightly under what a Karve CB Level #D would deliver. There was positive blade feel and the shave was super smooth, all attributes that I admire in a razor. There was ample grip provided by the handle but it did seem to attract a lot of excess lather; no problem, just rinse it away under the running water. I feel I was flushing the diamond laced handle more than I normally do; probably just me admiring that lovely little handle, it certainly is pleasing on the eye. Goodfellas Valynor is a bit of a show pony but at the same time, it is a very honest performing razor. This is a stand out razor that has been let down by a sloppy handle thread.

Blades Used – Crown and Howard

Material – Brass and Aluminium

Blade Tab - Covered

Weight – 77.9g

Head Width – 43.55mm

Handle Length – 86.10mm

Handle Diameter – 12.98mm

Availability – Goodfellas

Final Word – Exquisite
 
That’s why I’m not getting one into my den, because, it’s just another bloody razor and the price isn’t worth it spending, unless you’re getting a new computer system.
I posted this on another board in response to a lot of whipping on the Tedalus because of its price:

Priceless
Oscar Wilde is credited with the quote, "A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing".
I see the Tedalus as more of a mirror into our inner shaver than anything else. Many Chinese and Japanese spend literal decades learning how to properly conduct their respective tea ceremonies. Not very economical or utilitarian if all you want is a cup of tea. Likewise, spending 4 hours for two servings of tea doesn't feel very practical, yet the ones I have participated in are highlights of my life (well not the first one, I was still a Western Barbarian :) ).

We have the same thing with our relationship to shaving. Some of us see it as a chore to get through the day (well probably not reading this) and others see it as an avocation - a passionate interest or a secondary area of expertise that brings enjoyment and fulfillment that we spend an inordinate amount of time experiencing and pursuing (but never reaching) perfection. I can shave in under 10 minutes, but I most decidedly choose not to.

I have a kintsugi bowl that from a utilitarian perspective is probably worth a couple of bucks. It is basically broken pottery held together with gold-infused lacquer. Maybe $10 worth of material and a couple of hours of labor. So its actual costs exceed its utility from the get-go. But to me it is priceless. It is beautiful to my eyes. It helps me appreciate the beauty of imperfection and impermanence. It teaches me to value the history and journey of objects, embracing their flaws as part of their overall beauty. It speaks of all who came together, each bringing their skill, experience, and knowledge across time - from the original potter to those who used it, to those who broke it, to those who honored it with the repair.

I see the same thing with the Velocity-ONE - a single person's pursuit of "perfection" achieved through a network of skills, knowledge, and experiences - even in the packaging. Though not on the same scale, the same passion created Tesla, SpaceX, the MacIntosh Computer, and other things where technology, art, passion, vision, and engineering all come together to create something special.

Yes, I ordered one as soon as I saw it and understood it. Probably shouldn't have, my wife says it is my next 10 birthday presents (which is significant as I am 70 :) ). A tool I will enjoy using, looking at, and contemplating its existence. Priceless...I look forward to it being in the family for a long time.

Oh yes, it shaves wonderfully too! Smooth with a very slight blade feel so you know that it is working. Enough heft to shave itself with no pressure. My first shave (Dorco Prime, Barrister & Mann Melange sample) was an enjoyable 3-pass BBS that lasted over 14 hours.
 
Alpha Outlaw Evolution Ti



As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t too much wrong with the first version of the Outlaw, but in 2023 Alpha seen fit to re-engineer it. Its first obvious change is that this Outlaw Evolution is produced in titanium and is said to have been given 300% more blade clamping area, that’s a hell of a big increase whichever way you look at it. Along with other improvements Alpha are now offering two handle lengths, 85mm and 95mm. Of course I selected the 85mm but felt a little let down when the advertisement stated that the handle was machined in titanium, the 95mm handle is made from sweet, sweet titanium. I’m not in the habit of chewing on razor handles so cannot say what sweet, sweet titanium tastes like or if there is much difference. Being titanium, of course the razor felt light with most of the weight in the handle. Its cap has been designed to be minimalist and there is no excess material in the plate. Round blade posts are located on the cap and these mate into blind recesses in the plate. Lather clearance is taken care of by one large cut out on each side of the plate. Alpha have delivered the Outlaw Ti with the best fitting and smoothest feeling threads I’ve ever felt on any titanium razor. There’s a shallow spiralling groove that runs along the length of the handle and deeper circumferential grooves that will provide most of the grip; any grip that may have been provided by the spiralling grooves has been polished out. Other than the recess in the plate and the back of the cap, the whole razor has been polished.

While I was expecting a shave of similar feel to the original Outlaw, it was totally different, but it wasn’t disappointing. Alpha’s Outlaw Evolution Ti delivered a shave of about Karve CB level #C efficiency proportions, but it was the lack of blade feel that really shone through; so little blade and the shave was so effortless? I’m generally a user who appreciates a generous amount of positive blade but the Evolution Ti shattered my theory and delivered a wonderfully smooth and close shave with its relaxed manners. This is a razor that anyone can use but would be ideal for a novice user, providing a comfortable shave and with its easy going ways can be used with confidence.

Blades Used – Gillette Vintage Super Stainless and Howard

Material – Titanium

Blade Tab – Covered

Weight – 64.2g

Head Width – 43.55mm

Handle Length – 85.00mm

Handle Diameter – 12.97mm

Availability – Alpha Shaving

Final Word – Relaxing
 
Barbaros TR4 (Turkey)



Barbaros introduced the TR4 to the market without any fanfare, I stumbled on it quite by accident. It’s a long time since I’ve seen any razor released with a hexagonal handle. Strange really, hex bar stock is readily available and requires minimal machining to be machined into a handle. It might not be quite that easy though, if the flats on the clamped down handle don’t sit square to the head, the handle looks askew, and the razor can feel awkward to hold; no such trouble with the hexagonal Rail handle fitted to the TR4. TR4’s cap is minimalistic with no excess metal but the same cannot be said for the plate, it is quite heavy by comparison even though its back has been radiused out. Barbaros chose to have the blade posts protrude through the plate; they could quite easily have been hidden in blind holes in that thickish plate. Blade clamping is on large flats very close to the edge of the cap. A bright satin finish is presented on the TR4, it’s not far off being a polished finish and is considerably more appealing than their bead blasted finish however machine marks are present on the underside of the cap. Barbaros claim the comfortable shave from the TR4 has been achieved by opening the blade gap to a whopping 1.4mm and then reducing the blade exposure to neutral. I sort of understand the principal but putting a blade in and using it is the only way to confirm or rebuff their claim.

If that’s neutral blade exposure, I glad they didn’t set it up with positive blade. For me, the amount of blade feel was far in excess of comfortable. I would describe the shave as being in more efficient than a Karve CB level #D and not at all smooth. Any razor with that amount of blade feel will certainly deliver a close shave but at the risk of cuts and nicks. Yes, I speak from experience. As soon as the razor is picked up, it feels comfortable in the hand but it’s the weight that stands out, it’s simply too heavy. Annoying when so much material could have been pared from the plate and the handle with so little effort. And Mr Barbaros, while you’re removing weight you could also reduce the blade gap somewhat. What the quality of shave a razor is going to deliver is never revealed till a blade is fitted; after using it, the TR4 did not deliver what I like in a razor.

Blades Used – Gillette Minora and Royal II

Material – 316L Stainless Steel

Blade Tab – Slightly exposed

Weight – 113.3g

Head Width – 42.05mm

Handle Length – 84.92mm

Handle Across Flats – 12.05mm

Availability – Split Seven International Store

Final Word – Not a fan
 
Alpha Outlaw Evolution Ti



As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t too much wrong with the first version of the Outlaw, but in 2023 Alpha seen fit to re-engineer it. Its first obvious change is that this Outlaw Evolution is produced in titanium and is said to have been given 300% more blade clamping area, that’s a hell of a big increase whichever way you look at it. Along with other improvements Alpha are now offering two handle lengths, 85mm and 95mm. Of course I selected the 85mm but felt a little let down when the advertisement stated that the handle was machined in titanium, the 95mm handle is made from sweet, sweet titanium. I’m not in the habit of chewing on razor handles so cannot say what sweet, sweet titanium tastes like or if there is much difference. Being titanium, of course the razor felt light with most of the weight in the handle. Its cap has been designed to be minimalist and there is no excess material in the plate. Round blade posts are located on the cap and these mate into blind recesses in the plate. Lather clearance is taken care of by one large cut out on each side of the plate. Alpha have delivered the Outlaw Ti with the best fitting and smoothest feeling threads I’ve ever felt on any titanium razor. There’s a shallow spiralling groove that runs along the length of the handle and deeper circumferential grooves that will provide most of the grip; any grip that may have been provided by the spiralling grooves has been polished out. Other than the recess in the plate and the back of the cap, the whole razor has been polished.

While I was expecting a shave of similar feel to the original Outlaw, it was totally different, but it wasn’t disappointing. Alpha’s Outlaw Evolution Ti delivered a shave of about Karve CB level #C efficiency proportions, but it was the lack of blade feel that really shone through; so little blade and the shave was so effortless? I’m generally a user who appreciates a generous amount of positive blade but the Evolution Ti shattered my theory and delivered a wonderfully smooth and close shave with its relaxed manners. This is a razor that anyone can use but would be ideal for a novice user, providing a comfortable shave and with its easy going ways can be used with confidence.

Blades Used – Gillette Vintage Super Stainless and Howard

Material – Titanium

Blade Tab – Covered

Weight – 64.2g

Head Width – 43.55mm

Handle Length – 85.00mm

Handle Diameter – 12.97mm

Availability – Alpha Shaving

Final Word – Relaxing
Thanks for your confidence Errol - by the way guys - shipping to Aus - if Errol gets the thing safely way up in the NT with 700KM++ of unpaved roads then so can you get is safely in any Aussie location. Pop on over to Alpha and use code P&C10 for a nice 10% off any Alpha orders.
 
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