Snake Oil!!! Razors Sharpened!!!

I am seeing snake oil salesmen out there… money for nothing… pays for itself… Bunch of rubbish.

The one I’ve spotted recently is the “cartridge razor sharpener!

Yes, this device can actually sharpen your expensive cartridge razor blades…. and no doubt will make you rich, able to fly and speak 15 languages fluently… at the same time.

You see, a cartridge style razor cannot be sharpened properly.

The reason is this:
Unless you sharpen a blade on both sides (so as to match the original blade angle), you alter the geometry – which is a mute point as you cannot get to the back of a cartridge blade without taking the cartridge apart and removing the blades….

If you did manage to sharpen the blade and retain geometric integrity, you still alter the dimensions. If you sharpen something, it gets shorter. The only way to keep the gap between the blade rows optimal is to remove each blade, profile it, sharpen it, then re-seat it in a new position!

The other key point is that modern blades have composite materials to give strength and flex. If you sharpen an edge you remove the coating. E.G: A hard micrometre thick external coating gives a sharp cutting edge. An underlying softer material allows for a flex and contour following blade.

If you sharpen that blade post manufacture, you end up removing the edge that does the cutting & are left with a soft, rapidly blunting, flexible metal strip.

NOTE: Composite doesn’t mean carbon fibre or Kevlar etc! It means it is made up of several materials or compounds. E.G: A chrome effect phone is a composite of the plastic phone body and the chrome effect surface. A pencil is a composite of the graphite core and the wooden body.

Sure, there is a way to re-life cartridge blades – but for all the effort involved in stripping the cartridge, symmetrically lapping the blades, remodelling the body to hold the changed blades, re-plating the sharpened blades (and buying all of the machinery & tools to do this), then it’s better off for you to just buy a new cartridge.

It’s engineering fact.

About LB View all posts by LB

6 responses to “Snake Oil!!! Razors Sharpened!!!

  • Philipnotphil

    For around $1 a week for a really good razor, say a Gillette or similar just how mean do you have to be to want to resharpen these things anyway, and if you want to save the planet that badly try using a cut-throat razor, you might just do yourself a favour.

  • rb73

    Exactly! The guys who come up with these “money saving” rip offs really need to have a go with a cut-throat razor…. whilst on a bouncy castle… and drunk…

  • Tony

    I’ve read the product information and seen several demonstrations & reviews on Youtube.

    The Razorpit does not sharpen the blades, it cleans them.

  • Lucas Black

    Did I mention a razor cleaning product?

    Did I mention Razorpit? (which works well as a cleaner & prolongs blade life)?

    No… I mentioned cartridge razor sharpening claims.

  • TS

    Maybe you should read up on the subject of stropping vs sharping. Yes you can’t get both sides, but just running a cartridge over a leg of a pair of blue jeans, backwards 10-15 times, will strop one side of the blade and make it sharper then what it was. Hell, I strop my knifes running them thru a small hand held device of 2 rows of 4 stainless steel washer that form a V in the middle. A get deal of pressure is put on the sides of the edge point of the blade bending the toothy edge that all blades have back in a str8 line.

  • LB

    I’m fully aware of stropping blades. I strop blades & use various sharpeners.

    What you can’t do with sealed cartridges is maintain the correct cutting angle due to the fact that the very architecture of the cartridge will not allow you to strop at the correct angle. Also for to the way the blades are manufactured you will remove the coated surfaces that give a good hygienic edge.

    A good shave is all about the cutting angle.

    Maybe you shouldn’t assume I wasn’t aware of stropping & sharpening.

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