Shaving Product Review - Tallow + Steel "West Indies"
Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)
Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)
Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)
Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)
A warm citrus scent, tinged with ocean breeze and lightly spiced with the smells of the Caribbean - West Indies is the smell of endless sunny days where troubles are left far away.
Created using a blend of essential oils from the Caribbean, the tangy wild orange and smooth coconut dry down to the warmth of amyris and Haitian vetiver, spiced with West Indies bay, allspice, and black pepper.
West Indies brings the relaxed island life to your day with a scent that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
I've written two very extensive articles on the new line, the first being Meet the All-new Tallow + Steel Products with the follow-up Tallow + Steel 2017 - First Impressions which covers the reformulations and performance (besides other aspects) so I won't repeat all of that here. I've also reviewed West Indies extensively so check that out as well. I'd like to focus on the star of the show today, the Timeless Razor TRBR38 #razor in bronze!
It's probably no secret around here that I'm a huge fan of #TimelessRazor. In fact, since I got the stainless models I've practically shaved with nothing else except here and there to add some variety. They're just beautifully crafted and more importantly, incredible shavers. Since then, they've introduced their (matte finish) titanium line with the same geometry. Now, I'm a sucker for anything made of titanium - but I'm holding out for polished versions (hint, hint). But not even a week ago, on October 12, 2017 - they announced availability (after several hints) of this new bronze razor. Obviously, it looks stunning - but also showed a different geometry. One clear difference, if you look at the side profile of the cap/base is there is no lengthwise "channel" as in the other versions.
First off, what is bronze? It dates back to the Bronze Age (3300BC-300BC) - and is an alloy composed primarily of copper, commonly with about 12% tin and often with the addition of other metal(s). The particular alloy that Timeless Razors is using is C954 bronze... The other metal in this case is 5-12% aluminum (giving it the appropriate name "aluminum bronze"). It gives this particular alloy a fairly bright finish, very similar to gold. It also has better corrosion resistance than typical tin or brass bronze alloys due to a hard, adherent, protective alumina film (Al2O3 - a.k.a. aluminum oxide) and because of that, it is often used in seawater applications. Further, it is described thusly:
C95400 Aluminum Bronze is the most common alloy in the cast aluminum bronze family. Used in many heavy duty applications, it is recommended for high load, high wear applications that require tensile strength, good ductility, weldability or exceptional resistance to fatigue and deformation in overload situations. In addition to good anti-frictional characteristics, the metal also exhibits low rates of scaling in atmospheric conditions, resistance to corrosion in sea water, low oxidation rates at higher temperatures and low reactivity with combustion exhaust byproducts.
This is a fully CNC milled razor (made from solid C954 bronze; see this spec sheet) and the process of manufacturing is different than the wire-cut E.D.M. stainless steel and titanium razors. Unlike those, the finish is a lightly buffed and polished version - as such, tool marks will be visible. That said, except for the innards and bottom of the base plate... You'd have to look rather closely to see any but they are there in some spots (seen as very fine grooves over a surface). It's not finished to the high degree that the stainless steel razors are, nor is it matte like the titanium. For all intents and purposes, it's fairly polished. As mentioned, the bottom of the base plate is left "raw" (as is the bottom of the stand) and where the logo and such are stamped. The beauty of this bronze material, unlike the other two - it will develop a natural patina over time. However, because of the aluminum content it may take longer than other bronze alloys. The patina color ranges from a darker bronze color to a rather dark brown; much like old statuary and weapons you might've seen. Conversely, bright spots will then develop along wear areas, such as the safety bar and top cap - and on the handle.
Just for reference, I've included a ring in the photo above that's composed of both regular and white gold. You can see how close this bronze is to the regular gold. Of course, gold doesn't tarnish... Bronze does. So this will be the last time you can make this apples to apples comparison. I'm (currently) of the opinion that I'm going to let the patina develop naturally - despite how gorgeous this thing looks all shiny.
This razor is chunky and solid. The weight of the razor is perfectly balanced between the head and handle. Personally, I find the 85mm handles preferable over the 100mm (which I find both too long and too heavy). In fact, on my existing stainless steel razors I use 85mm titanium handles; but the balance is slightly biased towards the head(s). Not so here. The handle dimensions are 14x85mm, the same as comparable models (albeit in other materials) while the design and knurling is identical to the titanium TRH6 handle. In titanium, these handles weighs 51g while comparable stainless handles are 80g. The whole bronze razor weighs 126.2g. Here are the weight specs broken down:
- Scalloped cap: 14.1g
- Base plate: 27.4g
- Handle: 84.7g
- Stand: 141.1g
Just for fun, here's how the different materials compare in weight for the most comparable (scalloped cap and smooth bar base plate) parts:
The handle and top cap appear identical in geometry to existing razor options (though the latter looks very slightly different; I'm awaiting confirmation). I suspect that you can easily mix and match these components with other Timeless Razor parts, should you have them. This leads me to believe that they could easily offer this base plate in other materials and it would slip right into your collection... Though it's worth pointing out that you can only buy this bronze razor as a whole; the parts are not available individually as the other materials are. The only option is whether or not you want the stand as well. The price is $120 and $160, respectively - which for a razor of this quality - is amazing.
How does it shave? In a word (or three) simply, "OMG." Now, I love my other Timeless Razor and especially the milder .68mm gapped smooth bar and cap version for daily shaves (reserving the custom .95mm scalloped/open comb bar and scalloped cap for Monday mornings). The bronze razor has a gap of .38mm with a smooth bar and scalloped cap; so perhaps not surprising that this is the smoothest razor they offer by a good margin. There's practically no blade feel here. The efficiency is on par with the .68mm smooth/scalloped base plate, perhaps only slightly behind the open comb (if that). This all sounds a bit contradictory, but remember - the geometry of the base plate is all new. The problem with blade gaps is that's the first (or only) thing that people look at, and .38mm doesn't sound like much at all... Mild, sure - but you'd never guess that the efficiency is about double what you might expect. They're really two different variables and the latter due to a number of factors. Suffice to say that the small gap is misleading if that's all you look at. Thanks to a more svelte on-edge profile, it also quite easily reached the (typically difficult) area under my nose with aplomb; nay stubble was left standing.
Just for comparison sake, this razor is nothing like the .95mm gapped stainless and titanium models in either blade feel or aggressiveness. As I said, much more like the .68mm gapped versions - but even smoother.
The razor, obviously, is the bronze #TRBR38 from #TimelessRazor, fitted with a fresh #PolSilver blade on shave one. A #ThatDarnRob brush with a 24mm BOSS knot handled the wet work while the #GTP G12 scuttle kept it all nice and warm.
I'll have to give this bad boy some more face time (literally) before I can make a definitive call, but if first impressions are any indication... This may be my favorite version from Timeless Razor yet! I'll be using this shava for the foreseeable future as my daily driver - so expect continued updates on my experience with it... But so far, I'm convinced this thing is teh sex.
It turns out that this razor is milder than it seemed at first. Check out my first attempt at shimming this razor.
I've done an apples-to-apples comparison against a similarly equipped .68mm stainless steel version (both with scalloped caps and a fresh PolSilver blade).