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#1
Reviewed are a pair of shavettes from Jaguar-Solingen: http://www.jaguar-solingen.com

Orca

[Image: Jaguar%2520Orca%2520%2526%2520JT1-JT3%2520Blades.JPG]
http://www.jaguar-solingen.com/en/collec.../156-orca/ - part number 3807

Black matt plastic scales with lightweight metal blade frame and black plastic insert to hold 62.0mm Japanese steel, ice tempered, platinum & fluoro-carbon coated blades.

Light in the hand, yet reassuringly stable even with wet hands, the Orca is a formidable shavette. I have used a number of shavettes ranging from cheapo models which sandwich a half DE blade between two plates of metal and clipped together over to top, to vintage Weck "ejectors", vintage Weck-style Feather to Feather Artist Club.

The Orca fits somewhere in the middle, both in terms of price and pedigree; somewhere alongside the Dovo shavette, and like the Dovo shavette the Orca takes blades made specifically for the razor, snapped in half and inserted into a plastic holder and slid into the razor itself.

[Image: Jaguar%2520Orca%2520%2526%2520JT1-JT3%25...es-001.JPG]

Pictured with a half DE blade for the purposes of comparison, we can see that the Orca's blade is indeed long, longer than the Weck compatible Personna hair shaper, longer than the Feather Artist Club but not as long as a regular straight edge razor.

Upon opening the blade pack and removing the first blade, I was just a little dismayed at how flexible the blades are - they are perhaps ever so slightly more flexible than the Feather Artist Club blades, yet much firmer than a DE half. As a personal preference, I like single edge blades and have got along with the Weck compatible Personna hair shaper blades in "ejector" type shavettes.

In use, my spirits were lifted ...

For my first pass on two days worth of growth, I went with a diagonal stroke with (and slightly across) the grain - the Gillette slide. One pass practically gave me a baby-smooth shave! With a second pass, simply with the grain, I was there.

The blade presentation is ever so slight, but don't take that for granted - this razor can still bite as hard as a Feather Artist Club, but the blades do not feel quite as surgical as Feather; a good compromise.

As with all straight edge razors, go light. Light touches and let the sharpness of the blade do the work. The angle is the same as straight edge razors yet the weight is quite different. I tried going across the grain, but felt the razor did not have the heft and sure footedness of a proper straight edge razor and so skittered on my skin. I decided to make a second with the grain pass and that is the key, I think, to this razor - go with the grain, twice.

Most definitely a very clean and smooth shave, a shave that feels safe yet gives you the full feedback from the sharp blade reminding you that you must be careful - light touches and a correct angle to be rewarded.

Orca_s

[Image: Jaguar%2520Orca_s%2520%2526%2520JT2%2520Blades.JPG]
http://www.jaguar-solingen.com/en/collec...157-orcas/ - part number 3907

Black matt plastic scales with lightweight metal blade frame and black plastic insert to hold 39.4mm Japanese steel, ice tempered, platinum & fluoro-carbon coated blades.

[Image: Jaguar%2520Orca_s%2520%2526%2520JT2%2520Blades.JPG]

Much shorter, the Orca_s is perhaps for those folks who are more used to shaving with half DE blades and are looking for a step up. Folks with retained facial hair as shaped beards would, I think, benefit from this razor and it certainly is useful for cleaning up around sideburns and so on without the length of its sibling Orca.

Beyond that difference, the Orca and the Orca_s are the self-same actual razors, their plastic blade holders interchangeable.

Neither are compatible with Dovo or regular DE blades, but the blades can be had from all manner of online stores and auction sites, and it is compatible with the Miraki razor which uses the same blades as the Orca.

I think, although I am unable to check personally, that the plastic inserts from the Dovo shavette: the large black (for Dovo blades) and the short red (for DE half blades) are compatible with the shavette body itself; also the no longer produced Dovo green (for Personna spined hair shaper blades), perhaps.

Summary

I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed my maiden voyage with the Orca (for shaving) and the Orca_s for neatening up sideburns.

Both razors retail around £30 but can be had for maybe £20 with some shopping around. You get the razor in a slim plastic covered package about the size of a large bar of chocolate, 10 blades (so, 20 actual uses) included. Replacement packs of blades cost maybe £8 and replacement blade holders, I have yet to find.

My ratings would be as follows:
  • The shave: 10/10 - with the usual care you'd take with any straight edge shave, a perfect shave can be had.
  • Build quality 8/10 - very well made, but the lightness can affect how the razor is used; some folks may not be able to make cross the grain passes, but a first with the grain (and a diagonal slide) followed by a second with the grain pass will give you baby smooth skin.
  • Aesthetics 9/10 - subjective, I know, but I like it. One niggle ... I don't like the recessed "Jaguar" on the front of the scales, thinking it distracts from the Orca logo. On the back, fine.
  • Value for money: 7/10 - reassuringly well made but that lightness might make it feel perhaps a little cheap.
  • Recommendability: 8/10 - good availability of both the razor and the replacement blades (online) makes it easy to recommend, but the incompatibility with both Dovo and half DE blades gives one reason to pause ... and consider the Dovo for the same price.
In all, a good looking, well priced, high performing shavette that blows the cheaper end out of the water and goes hunting itself for more expensive prey.

To be recommended ...

[Image: Jaguar%2520Orca%2520%2526%2520Orca_s.JPG]

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