#1

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
My son and I were visiting last night and I gifted him a vintage Gillette New Long Comb I'd found for him. He had borrowed mine for several weeks and really appreciated how it performed on his very sensitive neck. Unlike his almost-perfect father, his neck follicles are raised bumps not in the same plane as the rest of his skin, thus very prone to irritation. He has found that with meticulous prep, a very light touch, never going against the grain, and the sharpest of blades, he can get very close and irritation free. But then he shared something I'd never thought of before. He said "Feather blades are great first shave out of the package but then I have to cork them". WHAT? I'd heard of a few gents corking blades BEFORE the first shave, especially Feathers, to tone down initial harshness and smooth things out, but I'd never heard of anyone corking after the blade was put into service. I spent the evening cogitating on that post-shave corking and why that might work for him.
As a "sharp" junky one of my peeves is a dull knife. When my wife's sisters come and share the kitchen they always mention how sharp the knives are. Well, I sharpen my own but the real secret to maintaining sharp cutlery is in honing and my favorite implement is a 12 inch smooth steel honing Rod. The blades take some laps on the steel pre and post use and I really only have to take them to the stones about every three or four months. Honing does not remove metal but "sets" or stands the edge back up straight again. And the difference is very noticeable.
I'm guessing that my son corking his Feather blade post shave is in essence honing (or stropping) his DE blade. Given the low cost of DE blades, and my very forgiving skin, I've never considered honing a DE but I'll be fiddling with corking blades to see if I can maintain an edge longer.
Who else has found post-shave corking to help?

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#2

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
I probably ought to mention to readers who have lives outside shaving that "corking" a blade refers to dragging a blades edge lightly through a cork or similar substance.

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#3
DE blades are not knives (obviously) and what imparts the feeling of sharpness in a razor blade is the coating for the most part and not sharpness. The former VP of Gillette R&D for 44 years said as such years ago:


Quote:...He determined blade sharpness could not readily be detected by the shaver and sharper blades did not alleviate the pain and irritation from poor prep. It turns out that, according to Mr. Shnitzler, the improperly moistened whisker is harder to cut and the hair itself will adhere to the steel, as it is being cut, causing the hair follicle to be pulled with the consequent pain/tugging feeling. A chemical engineer by training at MIT prior to coming to Gillette, Mr Shnitzler's solution to the problem was an organic silicon coating to the steel so that the protein in the hair would not adhere to the steel; yielding a better cutting action with less pulling at the follicle....


http://www.gilletteadjustable.com/contact-us.html

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“...As I use a Rim Fire Winchester Rifle, I would like to have one of your .44 pistols that would fire the same cartridge, as carrying two sizes of or kinds of cartridges in this Indian country is a nonsense.”


George D. Merriam letter to Smith & Wesson 9 June 1873.
#4

Member
Peachtree City, GA
Whilst agree with the science, can state anecdotally and empirically, corking prior to every use works magic

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Just an old slow fat man
#5

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
So I've been corking blades these past few days and can say unequivocally that the practice does work. Feather blades are often reported as "harsh on the first use" and although that has never bothered me, corking does smooth that first shave out in my estimation. But this thread was about bringing a blade that is nearing the end of useful life back to serviceable shaving. I find that corking does smooth a tuggy blade back from the brink. So my question to myself, "is corking worth the effort"? I'll be continuing down the cork path at least for awhile to see if my initial quasi-empirical method of blade experimentation leads to predictable patterns. My son, and others swear by it. It seems to stand to reason that if a knife or straight razor seldom come out of the box "shave ready", then a DE or SE blade could theoretically benefit from initial polish or stropping. It also stands to reason that just as a straight razor needs stopped pre and post shave, a DE or SE blade could benefit from an edge honing. Now to figure out if it's worth fussing with a 10 cent blade.

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#6

Member
Peachtree City, GA
My perspective is it improves blade performance whilst increasing comfort new or used. That stated, have yet to find it appreciably increases blade life as only get 8 v 7 shaves/ Timor (but 15% is 15%, no?)

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Just an old slow fat man
#7

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(02-15-2019, 04:57 PM)DanLaw Wrote: My perspective is it improves blade performance whilst increasing comfort new or used. That stated, have yet to find it appreciably increases blade life as only get 8 v 7 shaves/ Timor (but 15% is 15%, no?)

That's what I think I'm seeing too. I'm not seeing a great increase in the life of the blade but more comfort during its usefulness. Except with Feather where I used to throw them away after two or three uses, I got double that.

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#8
(02-08-2019, 12:31 PM)Lipripper660 Wrote: I probably ought to mention to readers who have lives outside shaving that "corking" a blade refers to dragging a blades edge lightly through a cork or similar substance.

Just as a point of clarification, you do not mean dragging the edge across the surface of cork (like handstropping) but rather dragging the blade through the cork in a slight cutting action.  Is that right?

If so, definitely not a technique to use when handstropping! Big Grin

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#9
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019, 05:33 PM by Southsider.)
(02-15-2019, 01:24 AM)DanLaw Wrote: Whilst agree with the science, can state anecdotally and empirically, corking prior to every use works magic

I'll see your "Whilst" and raise you a "hither, thither and yon".

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#10

Member
Idaho Falls, Idaho
(02-15-2019, 05:18 PM)Southsider Wrote:
(02-08-2019, 12:31 PM)Lipripper660 Wrote: I probably ought to mention to readers who have lives outside shaving that "corking" a blade refers to dragging a blades edge lightly through a cork or similar substance.

Just as a point of clarification, you do not mean dragging the edge across the surface of cork (like handstropping) but rather dragging the blade through the cork in a slight cutting action.  Is that right?

If so, definitely not a technique to use when handstropping!  Big Grin

Correct. Dragging the edge THROUGH the cork. In my minds eye I envision the springy cork pressing up against the edge of the blade to ste it up straight again, but hey, I'm no electron microscope.

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