The Inspiration of the Carbon Shaving Co Design
The CarbonShavingCo philosophy and goal is to pay homage to great designs of the past while utilizing modern craftsmanship and materials. Our safety razors are made in small batches, we do not mass produce these. Periodically we make limited edition pieces and limited runs of products. This allows for personal craftsmanship which takes time and dedication as each shaver is finished, machined and inspected carefully to meet our high standards.
The inspiration of our safety razor in the wet shaving industry comes from a number of sources including vintage safety razors, single blade razors, shaving brushes, razor builds, and cut throat straight razors. For us it was also finely crafted watches, military, marine, aeronautics, and motor racing design. The Cx safety razor line is the culmination of years of prototypes. It is designed, machined and finished in Minneapolis with the craftsmanship necessary for precision machining coupled with the art of marine-grade Stainless Steel, Titanium, Damascus steel, and Mokume-gane fine metal finishing.
From all these inspirations we have optimized the feel of our single blade razors. We took design principles and best practices, coupled with optimal shaving blade placement and ingenuity in design to create a smooth shave for various types of skin types.
The distance of the shaving blade edge from the skin, the safety guard or base plate position, and all the relevant angles aim for a close shave while also able to avoid razor burn. The traditional wet shave is the ritual found in a relaxing time, enjoying some hot water to open the pores, being ready to receive that frothy shaving cream so that one can indulge in the sensory aroma and shaving experience. Turning experience, science with today's technology, modern materials, and craftsmanship to deliver this unique experience, this is what we are proud to deliver to our clients.
It all starts with a prototype, below are a few photos of our early prototypes.
To say prototyping was fun and frustrating would be an understatement. I wish to thank my in-laws, friends and the shaving community for being the first to try our early versions and share their feedback...this feedback has always been core to our design decisions and process.
What took us the most time was dialing in on the optimal shaving blade configuration. Critical to shave quality is the right razor blade angle, blade exposure, the gap below the blade, in addition to a few other metrics, these were all some of the key variables to optimize. This took us time and we went through about 12 core configurations on the safety razor head alone.
Originally we thought one base plate configuration was optimal but with the help of our consumers and the community we quickly realized that everybody has their own preference. Some people only shave every few days, some have tough beards, others have sensitive skin, some shave everyday, etc…we offer 4 base plate options depending on your preference.
Other key elements of our prototyping epiphanies included:
A handle that balances at your fingers creating an easy, effortless, intuitive balance point.
he base plate is made with “through-holes” only, except for the handle threads no dead end holes exist on our Cx razor, we believe this design allows for the free flow of lather, debris and air.
Thin Head Design
A thin shaving head design was important to us, this allows for a lower weight and gives our users the ability to precision shave under the nose and other hard to reach areas. The intuitive cutting edge allows for precise, efficient and defined trims where needed.
Materials used in our Single Blade Razors:
An iconic material used commonly in the aeronautical, military, and medical industry where corrosion resistance, weight, and strength are priorities. Named after the Titans of Greek mythology, Titanium has 2 key properties of note including its corrosion resistance and its weight to strength ratio. Durability, light, dent resistance, rigidity, low thermal expansion and corrosion resistance make it useful in high-end watches, marine applications, and jewellery. We use only USA Titanium.
316L stainless steel
This grade of stainless is called marine-grade stainless steel. This is the metal of choice for industries like high-end watchmakers, food processing, pharmaceutical, marine, and the petrochemical industry. We use premium US, UK, or German 316L stainless steel. 316L stainless steel is more expensive to machine and more corrosive resistant than 303 and 304, providing you a professional grade shaver material that’s made to stand the test of time.
We periodically make small runs of our Cx razor using precious materials. These types of exotic materials were originally used to make elaborate swords, armor and knives in history. The original Damascus steel was well known for its strength and toughness, the characteristics of this material included grains of different layered metal. Technically the term for our stainless steel and titanium damascus is "pattern-welded" as the true secret to the original "Damascus steel" was lost to time in the late 1800's. This steel was predominantly found in Europe and the middle east and was owned by elite noble men of the time.
Meanwhile in Japan the katana, nodachi, tachi and other swords were made similarly by master blacksmiths. Masamune who was considered Japan's greatest sword smith would also fold layers of steel, however Mokume Gane was also added as an ornamental detail. Mokume was first created in Japan and used to decorate the handles on the Japanese Samurai Katana swords. Our mokume consists of both copper and brass.
We source our Damascus, Mokume-Gane, Titanium Damascus and other exotic material from master USA blacksmiths. We believe this is the best material with the most striking patterns, we also think this is right for our customers as it allows for the best quality material for their razor.. We have partnered with a number of world renowned USA blacksmiths who have extensive experience forging for jewelers, watchmakers and gunsmiths. We believe the quality and source of the material is just as important as the design...we write more about this material here: Damascus, Mokume and Titanium Damascus
Key design elements in our Cx:
High Polished Finish
A good shave reflects well. Our high polish design is about more than aesthetics. It’s about minimizing drag against the skin. It’s about resisting corrosion. And it’s about reducing the spaces that bacteria and germs can grow and collect on a surface. Each DE or double edge safety razor goes through a number of processes to achieve our high polish final finish including hand finishing.
The sharp clamp design offers comfortable shaving angles. Our Cx pinches and clamps the shaving blade closer to the cutting edge, stiffening the leading edge of the blade and minimizing blade chatter to deliver a shave similar to the traditional barbershop straight razor or cut throat razor, with out the razor burn.
Web Base Plate Design
The chamfered edges and elegant rounded curves of the lightening holes are intentional and add to the strength of the design. Our "Web plate" allows us to use the minimal amount of material to achieve the strongest and lightest structure. Since we built our first Cx safety razor, weight has always been a consideration, our newest web design gives 2 advantages to the shave 1) It allows for the free flow of debri and air 2) It reduces the overall weight of our Cx razor. This design principal of "lightening holes" has been used in marine, aircraft and performance race cars to reduce weight. All the holes on our Cx razor base plate are "through holes" which help prevent soap scum from collecting in the safety razor, helping to keep the razor clean, shave after shave aftershave.. We have continued to make our lather holes bigger to allow for the free flow of debris....
Balance & Weight
Don’t let the vintage look fool you. Our CX models weigh in between ~30 grams and ~88 grams, all designs pay homage to the thin vintage shaving models. Balanced at your fingertips with a maneuverable and tactile feel in your hand. The weight of the shaver is all the pressure you’ll need for a smooth, premium shave. The balance point of our Cx safety razor is at the natural holding point of the razor giving you the most control.
4 custom options for your shaving comfort
Everybody's skin and routine is unique…we believe we have options for all preferences, we offer 4 base plate choices depending on the users preference. Our base plate options coupled with the right blade for you, will give you the perfect shave. Each of our base plates has a unique serial number engraved into the metal indicating the makers mark, material and the year.
Photo: 4 different base plates, each with different gaps and blade exposures
The Shaving Brush
Matching our Safety Razors, each brush is hand finished and assembled in our small shop in Minneapolis, USA. The knots are a synthetic hair (not badger hair or horse hair), custom made and hand tied in Germany by local artisans. The handle is also machined from premium marine-grade 316L stainless steel.. We finish our handles with a refined, small, gritty knurling for extra grip coupled with our high polish finish. Every handle is laser engraved with a makers mark and a unique serial number denoting the year it was finished.
As part of our ongoing evolution of design, we most recently updated our shaving brush design. This new brush design brings a new balance point, larger knot(both diameter and loft), new ergonomic shape, larger maximum handle diameter and is about 40% lighter compared to our first generation shaving brush.
The handle is machined from grade 5 titanium. The shape of the handle provides a natural grip point. The balance point is centered at the natural groove of the handle shape. Our knots continue to be custom made and hand tied in Germany by local artisans. We offer our shaving brush with or with out a knot in case you wish to use your own. I talk more about knots here.
Every brush handle is laser engraved with our makers mark, material and a unique serial number with the year denoted.
We believe designing is a process, not an event. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit" - Aristotle
We will update this blog as we evolve...feel free to reach out here if you have questions or feel like a chat!