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    I bought a safety razor in my effort to live without disposable plastic.
    I’m having a really hard time figuring out how to identify a blade supply that packages with paper, no plastic — Any chance you can direct me toward a 100-pack that uses plastic free packaging? Thank you! EL

    There are quite a few options for blades packaged with little or no plastic. Here are a few of my favorites:

    • Personna Blue Lab: Made in the US (very unusual), designed for laboratories, but a fantastic shave
    • Astra Superior: Also very balanced
    • Dorco ST-300: very gentle shave, great for sensitive skin. The 100 packs usually are in cardboard packets, but occasionally vendors will substitute versions in a plastic caddy


    Kudos on keeping conscious of the waste stream!


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    Michael Fassbender with the RetroRazor and Hermes

    Michael Fassbender with the RetroRazor and Hermes

    Michael Fassbender, recently starring in Inglourious Basterds (and Band of Brothers back in the day) featured on the cover of the New York Times Style Magazine: Fall Men’s issue on September 13th. Photographed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. No other mentions of shaving in the issue besides the cover shot; Armand Limnander wraps up the issue nicely.

    Thanks to Roberta and Shelby for the sharp eyes!


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    RetroRazor and Finished Lines Barbershop were featured by Jesse Jones and Dino Delarosa for King5 Television’s Get Jesse spot on Friday, April 3rd.

    The RetroRazor and the Straight Razor (wielded by Gino Reyes, owner of Finished Lines) were pitted against each other in a shave off. The faces of Orion Baker and Ben Gomes were the playing field; It was a close match – watch the video for the outcome:

    RetroRazor vs. Straight Razor

    RetroRazor: Faster, cheaper, convenient, darn close shave

    Barber Straight: Slightly closer shave, community, perfect for special occasions

    RetroRazor wins by a hair!


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    Precision blades are the hallmark of Double Edge shaving with a Safety Razor; as you can customize your brand  to your preference. Many users try three or more blade manufacturers before settling on ‘their’ blade.  Variables such as the grinding, coatings, and sharpness can vary the type of shave trememdously depending on your skin and beard type. This is why RetroRazor includes three types of blades to sample.

    Here is a fascinating article about Personna American Safety Razor’s plant in Knoxville, TN. This plant is primarily producing Plastic Disposables for privalte label drug stores, but the segment about blade manufacture is very cool…This is the same company that makes the Red Personna’s, though ours are made in the Northern Israel plant. We also supply Korean and Turkish blades in our starter kit. RetroRazor is seeking out a domestic source of Razors as well for those who want to buy American!

    “Personna American Safety Razor is a private-label supplier of consumer razor blades in the United States. “When you go into a Kroger [a Cincinnati-based grocery retailer] and they have a private-label razor, more than likely that is our razor. Our competition is Bic, Schick and Gillette, as well as other private-label manufacturers. We consider ourselves as competing in the overall wet shaving market, and private label is one aspect of that market,” says Kermit Bantz, director of shaving manufacturing at the Knoxville, TN, facility.”

    skip a ton of QC things about plastic razors…

    “The Manufacture of a Blade

    Operators on the shop floor perform several inspections and quality checks throughout the manufacturing process, and it all begins with 3-mile-long strips of steel. ASR goes through about 25 to 30 coils of these strips each day. First, 2,000-degree furnaces harden the strips of steel at about 50 feet per minute. The strips are then cooled.

    A strip from each coil goes offline to a Smart Scope for inspection. If the strip is out of spec, the entire coil will get scrapped. A statistical process control (SPC) system keeps track of all scrap and data from this point on through grinding.

    Along the way, the steel strips are perforated. In 2004, the Knoxville plant had five presses. Today, to keep up with the increased production, the facility has eight. During the hardening process, the steel strips are at risk for stretching or breaking. ASR employs an inline vision system to check for these defects.

    “Online detection is very important, because with 3 miles of steel, you can get a lot of bad product,” says Daron Roberts, value stream manager/production manager at the Knoxville plant.

    To double-check the vision system used, an operator uses an offline stretch gage to check for stretching and straightness with a tolerance of about 4 /16 of an inch.

    Next, the blades go to the grinding process to achieve their sharpness. Throughout the process, cameras measure blade height. Tolerance is approximately 1 /1,000 of an inch. Offline, an operator checks for blade appearance and edge quality with a microscope.

    An in-house designed machine, called the Sharpometer, is used by an operator to check for balance of the blades—from edge to edge and front to back.

    Blades then go through a cleaning and coating process. Sensors measure position of blades along the way and a vision system ensures that the coating was applied correctly and evenly. Blades are packaged in small boxes and wait for shipment to Mexico for assembly.

    The test and inspection processes don’t stop after the blades are complete, however. “All products are shave tested annually and are tested against the brand name products,” says Anna Hickman, quality engineer and consumer quality manager for the wet shaving division. Hickman sends product samples to a third-party source for consumer testing regularly, as well as conducts in-house shave testing.

    There are two lab technicians on staff responsible for customer quality issues. Offline, a scanning electron microscope at 10,000X to 30,000X power is used to determine how smooth or sharp the blade is and to look into customer issues. The microscope also is used to research the impact of different processes on the edge of the blade.


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    RetroRazor: Low-Tech Approach to a Close Shave

    A couple of weeks ago, my publisher tossed a small package on my desk with a verbal message that went something like this: “They sent this to me by mistake.” Huh, I wondered as I took a look at what was inside the plain brown wrapper. To my surprise, the package contained an old-fashioned safety razor called the RetroRazor. Cool as a slab of South Dakota granite, I resisted the urge to race off to the men’s room to see if my beard looked particularly gnarly that day. Within an hour or so, I was able to quell the sick-to-my-stomach feeling that the big-boss might be telling me that he would prefer the fuzz off my face. Luckily, I remembered that I have never met anyone more direct and to the point than the captain of our ship. That’s when I decided to investigate this cool little shaver a little more thoroughly.

    The RetroRazor is an awesome way to a close shave.

    The RetroRazor is a lot like the device my dad used to hack his face to pieces every morning when I was a kid. Of course it was that he was so stingy with new razor blades that dad so often had those little bits of tissue stuck to his face when he headed out the door to work. I was as impressionable as the next youngster, so when it came time for me to shave – I mean really time – I chose a straight razor with strop. Heck, if the outlaw Josie Wales could shave with a straight razor, so could I. As luck would have it, I managed to avoid seriously injuring myself with the straight razor. I nicked my lip once pretty badly trying to trim-up my dripping-off-the-sides of-my-chin Wyatt Earp moustache, however. It was about then that I decided to enter the high-tech razor world; I’ve been looking for a simple, multi-bladed, fancy-named, tool that I could afford to use ever since.

    Well, I believe that I have indeed found just the right razor. Actually my publisher found it and passed it on to me. The RetroRazor is a metalworking piece of art. It is fun to hold, it is beautiful to look at, there are no plastic buttons or snaps or levers to break off, and it uses regular old double-sided razor blades that are inexpensive and readily available. I used the RetroRazor to trim up my beard and shave my cheeks and neck over the weekend and it performed wonderfully. Not only did the RetroRazor work, but it worked better than my triple-bladed wonder with the super-expensive, proprietary blades. I am happy to report that my face, neck and Adam’s apple failed to shed any blood while receiving a close shave with the RetroRazor. This cool old-style shaver is now my all time favorite – so much so that I tossed all the fancy razors in the trash.

    I still brood that our publisher was sending me a message when he dropped the RetroRazor on my desk. I suspect he was just being nice. In any case, I am tickled that he turned me on to the RetroRazor – it is the only shaver that, in my book, makes the cut.

    Hank Will III is the editor of Grit Magazine.

    GRIT is a bi-monthly magazine distributed throughout the United States and Canada that celebrates country lifestyles of all kinds, while emphasizing the importance of community and stewardship. As North America’s premier rural lifestyle title, GRIT publishes feature-length articles on a broad range of topics that appeal to those already living in the country and those who aspire to get there. Our readers are well-educated, successful and choose to live on the land for many reasons. Most do not depend on their soil for significant income – some choose not to work their land (in the conventional sense) at all. But all share an appreciation for life out where the pavement ends.

    GRIT offers practical advice, product reviews, livestock guides, gardening, cooking and other do-it-yourself information, humor and the inspirational stories of folks who moved to the country and love it. Each issue covers topics related to country living, land management, wildlife, gardening, livestock or pets, skills and techniques, seasonal food, community, machinery or tools, and lifestyle events.


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    by Top Gumby from Shoreline Washington:

    There are supposed to be five stages for dealing with traumatic loss.
    There are twelve steps to sobriety in AA.

    What are the stages a new wet shaver goes through?

    My own journey has gone like this:

    1. Dissatisfaction. There was something not right with the way I was shaving. Too expensive, too robotic. Those five soulless cartridge blades and can of foam have robbed me of…something. There must be a better way.
    2. Curiosity. I wondered, is shaving with a DE razor so difficult? Why did they disappear? Could I do this? Do they even make blades for those antiques anymore? Is DE shaving what made the Golden Age of Hollywood Golden? What would Gary Cooper do?
    3. Research. The Internet is a wonderful thing; no matter how strange you are, there are more whackjobs out there like you! I discovered a wealth of good information and goodwill here on B&B.
    4. Fear. Will I cut myself? What if I’m too much of a klutz? Will my wife have me committed? What if I buy the wrong stuff? Why do you need a styptic pencil, anyway? Will it sting? Will I have little bits of toilet paper all over my face when I go to work? Will this make me officially old and eccentric?
    5. Discovery. Hey, that wasn’t too bad, in fact it was fun! The shave was really good, and the satisfaction…Lather doesn’t have to make a sound like the dentist sucking the saliva out of my mouth with a reverse Waterpic when it’s created, and it feels great! Badger hair? How cool is that! Why haven’t I been doing this all along? Why didn’t anyone tell me?
    6. Obsession. These shaves are great! Almost perfect! What would it take to get to perfect? There must be some insight from the fifty pound Razorbrains on B&B that will improve my prep/technique/post shave/philosophy of life! I must know every variation of razor, aftershave and blade by heart! Hey, what’s this Cologne forum? What’s SOTD? I need to know everything! I demand BBS shaves, and by force of will and improved technique and methods, I can get there! Wait, maybe it’s something I need to get…
    7. Acquisition Disorder. Maybe true shaving happiness comes in a tube, or a a cake, or a pack of different blades? Maybe it’s my brand of Witch Hazel that’s holding me back? Maybe if I had a different razor for each day of the week…maybe each day of the month…Look at this BST forum! Hot damn! They make blades in Nigeria? Gotta find out if they are any good. There’s how many different types of soap? One of each would be perfect! There’s more than one Bay Rum? Must have…
    8. Proselytizing. I gotta let my friends an relatives know how great this is! I can save them from their blind, cartridge worshiping dreary lives! Wait, why are they laughing at me? Fools! You don’t understand!
    9. Serenity. I have become one with my shave. The gear I have is merely a collection of tools that I own, my gear does not own me. Not everyone understands my need to shave, but I’m OK with that. I merely wait, the whiskers return, and I meld technique, tools and mind to find that zone where BBS isn’t a goal, but it visits me when the shaving stars align. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Well, I haven’t really got to that last stage, and I’m stuck in more than one of the earlier stages.

    Is it always like this?

    Posted at Badger and Blade, reposted with permission of TopGumby


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    Ramshackle Solid featured a post about this awesome WWII-era Razor Sharpener

    WWII German Razor Sharpener

    WWII German Razor Sharpener

    With many contemporary blades having exotic coatings, I am not sure how the sharpener would affect the performance? But from a consumption angle, this takes the cake. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…

    A British ad from 1954 ads some additional perspective….could this be the same sharpener?


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    I was looking for a holiday gift for the little lady. Jewelry is already a safe gift, and so I was looking for some Retro Jewelry. Rockabilly Jewelry was a fantastic search term, and I ran across this site: Lucky Loo Loo.

    Since Rockabilly Girls wear Retro and Rockabilly Clothes, I thought Lucky LooLoo Jewelry was a good choice. They had a pretty great selection of Retro Jewelry, Rockabilly Jewelry, Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets, Buckles and Accessories. Plus they are based in Portland – love supporting Northwest companies!


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    King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson highlights the RetroRazor Weishi on KOMO-4 TV

    Another link for the video clip: Green Gifts from Tom Watson and Mary Nam

    Thanks Tom and Mary for the shout-out!

    Here are the other products featured:

    Waste Free Holidays program http://www.wastefreeholidays.com

    Seattle Bug Safari – discounted gift offer for Waste Free Holidays

    Sweet Beauty’s Mojito Body Scrub – Made with Seattle’s Theo Chocolate

    Elf booties for baby – Made in Seattle from recycled wool sweaters – From Goods for the Planet

    Iqua Sun Bluetooth solar-powered headset

    Hanukkah menorah made from pipe fittings

    Retrorazor – Traditional double-edge-blade durable razor, from Seattle company: Booyah!

    Totes Eco ‘brella – Umbrella made from recycled pop bottles

    Seattle Coffee Shirt – 100% organic cotton, dyed using recycled coffee grounds – From Goods for the Planet


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    Beards have been part of humanity’s hairy history for decades, this tree of beardly bushiness is from Wondermark’s Beard Spotting Guide by David Malki!

    Here is an orderable poster

    Credit to BoingBoing