Closed Pass Around: Rocnel SE-G (GEM/FHS blade) razor - Finished

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riverrun
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Blademonkey

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Sure.
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Thank you very much, to say I am excited is a gross understatement :)
 
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Less than a handful places left on the list...
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As I am just back after a lapse of a few years...I will probably give this fantastic offer a miss for now. I will however be very interested in the reviews.All shaving expenditure has now been frozen until I see hows this one pans out!
 
OP
riverrun
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The razor is with me now. That was quick. Thanks, @Paul.
First impressions later. Pictures possibly tomorrow.
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OP
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Day 1 - First impressions

Packaging
The razor comes in a sturdy, brown cardboard box containing a piece of rustic, rough cloth, the razor and a little cardboard note with a red seal on it. Nothing over the top - just the way I like it.

The razor
The packaging tells me, that the razor is made from '316 Stainless Steel', it is however coated in black. There was a GEM blade in the head. Having seen the video on how to change blades (see my first post) I quickly removed the blade. The razor consists of three parts: The head (it's one single piece), a set screw (or grub screw) and the handle.
I got my measuring tools out and determined the vital statistics:
  • The complete razor is 92mm long and weighs 98.7g
  • The handle is 75mm long and weighs 72.0g
  • The head (with the screw) weighs the remaining 26.7g
  • The grub screw is an M5x0.8 screw and 20mm long.

The looks
This will be a Marmite razor. In my eyes it looks refreshingly different from 99% of what is out there. I like it. The guys at Rocnel are very good at thinking outside the box- with mixed results - but here they have succeeded. They also have the annoying habit of inscribing their heads with a lot of text. This time most of the engraving is black on black on the underside of the head and doesn't bother me at all. The handle has good knurling. It could possibly be a bit longer for my taste, but I'll see how it will work for me. The finish looks perfectly alright to me, but I'm easily pleased, especially without reading glasses.

Changing the blade
I'll be quite unfair and compare this razor with one of my absolute favourites - a humble British made Ever-Ready 1912. To change the blade in the 1912 you flip the head open, take the blade out, put a new one in, flip the head closed. I've tried this and it took me 6 seconds to do this.
To change the blade of the Rocnel you unscrew the handle, loosen the grub screw, slide the blade out of the head, slide a new blade in, tighten the grub screw and screw the handle back on. With the blade that was in the razor already, this process took me 25 seconds.
As I don't know where the blade in the head has been, I decided to put a fresh GEM blade of my own into the head. This is where the problems started. I assume that the slot for the spine of the GEM blade is not wider than absolutely necessary. To the best of my measuring capabilities the spine of my own GEM blade is 0.03mm thicker than that of the blade that was already in the razor. This makes all the difference. It took me at least two minutes to wiggle the blade into the head, needing to tap it from the side occasionally (yes - I did loosen the grub screw). Forget about using an old stropping blade in this razor - their spines are twice as thick. I'm writing this pre-first-shave, so I'm hoping that I didn't damage the blade edge in the process. I might have to de-spine the next blade I use in this razor. There is absolutely no reason why the slot for the spine couldn't be wider, as the blade is held in place by the grub screw, not by a tight fit (otherwise Feather FHS blades wouldn't work). From a £200+ razor I expect better.

So far my first impressions. I'll have a shave with the Rocnel now, but a shave report will have to wait until I return from shopping duties.

To be continued…
 
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