Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My other shaver is a double-edged razor blade duct-taped to a trowel

Even though I only shave a few times a year, I consider myself somewhat of a shaving enthusiast. I've tried straight razors, and double edged razors, and electric razors, and whatever the heck you call the things Gillette is selling these days.

What I've learned is that you don't really need anything special to get a decent shave. All you really need is a really sharp blade mounted firmly on a handle (some quality shaving soap also really helps). To prove that point, I decided to cut my big beard off with a razor blade duct-taped to a trowel!  Read on for details (and a 7.5 minute video of the act itself).

The razor blade duct-taped to a trowel design actually makes for a fairly functional shaving implement. Its main disadvantage is the bulkiness of the trowel. I considered mounting the blade near the tip of the trowel, but decided against it because it would be hard to keep all parts of the cutting edge of the blade equidistant from the edge of the trowel. If a corner of the blade were sticking out, then it would much easier to accidentally dig that corner into my face and cause a lot of damage. My goal here was to make a safe design, not a daring one. So I put the blade as close to the tip of the trowel as possible, but still on a non-curved edge. Another safety feature was to make the overhang of the blade over the trowel edge as minimal as possible, that way even if I did dig into the skin, it would never be able to dig in very deep. The bulkiness of the trowel made it hard to navigate around inconvenient obstacles like my nose and ears (I think a better design would be much narrower, and with a cutting edge extending to the end of the tool, almost like a straight razor... in fact, exactly like a straight razor), but overall the shave was just fine. I think with practice, anyone could learn to shave with a trowel.

I ended up giving myself 3 or 4 nicks, but they were not deep at all, and all of them stopped bleeding before I even finished shaving. I did decide to resort to my Edwin Jagger DE89L (for the shaving nerds among you) safety razor for touch-up at the end, and I'll admit the Jagger is much more pleasant to shave with than the trowel (I cut myself once with it too though, which gives you an idea of how clumsy I am and why I don't like shaving very often).

The raw materials: duct tape, a razor blade, and an old trowel.
After hours of hard work, I finally had a functional shaving implement.
Just look at the edge on that thing! In the video I said there was a 1/8th inch overhang, but I think it's more like 1/16th.

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