Straight Razor Series – Comparing Grinds

Straight Razor Series – Comparing Grinds

As our Straight Razor blog series continues this week, we’re explore blade grinds. We’ve broken it down to highlight the main aspects of the grind.

What’s the Grind?

Simply put, the grind is determined by a blade’s hollowness. Blades that have a thinner edge have a hollower grind and vice versa.

Grinding Methods

Grinding methods refer to two aspects of the razor. The first describes the curvature of the straight razor’s cross section. The second involves the blade’s final shape post-grinding by its manufacturer (hollow, flat or straight). A general guideline for wet shavers to follow is the thinner the grind, the closer the shave. If a straight razor has a hollow grind, its sides have concave cross sections. Most modern straight razors will fall under this category as non-hollow grinds are extremely rare to find in contemporary models.

Here’s a better look at four of the most popular grind types:

FULL WEDGEBeginner - Experienced -Flat
-No concave shape
-Lasting sharpness
-Stiff blade
QUARTER HOLLOWBeginner - Experienced-Stiff blade
-Easy to maintain
-Good for thick/coarse hair
HALF-HOLLOWBeginner - Expereineced-Slightly concave
-Less maintenance
-Suited for all hair types
FULL-HOLLOWExperienced - Advanced-Most widely available
-Fully concave
-Very Sharp
-Produces closest shave
-Flexible blade (not recommended for heavy beards)
-Expert honing and sharpening required

Blade Width

Razor blade widths are usually measured as an eighth of an inch. Typical sizes vary from 3/8 of an inch to 7/8 of an inch. Although a wider blade lasts longer, it requires more dexterity, training, and experience. Preferred for their ease of sharpening and shaving, razors with thinner blades wear out more quickly.

Extremely narrow blades can be a shaving challenge, as they tend to sink into – rather than glide over – the skin. Widths of 5/8” and 6/8” are a good compromise for effective shaving, stress-less sharpening, and length of service. They are also the best choice for the less experienced wet shaver.

To learn more, download a copy of our Shaving Manual: