Manually re sharpening blades on electric shavers - Any experience?
by Bruce Thomson
(Palmeston North, New Zealand)
First, your website is really excellent in usefulness of content and friendly, respectful manner.
I'm 63 and live in New Zealand. I have bought, and I use, a couple of Philishave (rotary) shavers at garage sales for about $2 or $5. They are reasonably okay except for special times with a girlfriend, when I use sometimes disposables for a baby's-bum-smooth shave.
To sharpen the Philishave heads myself I use a very fine stone - I think that was bought at a hairdresser's supplies place many years ago in Toronto. At that stage I was shaving with straight blade bought at secondhand stores - I got a barber to teach me how to hone, then leather-strop-sharpen straight blades. I have a tough beard, but sure enough could shave to very smooth state. But I found straight blades uncomfortable (despite hot flannel lather etc.) - burn and cuts, and the constant hassle of resharpening after one or two shaves. I still refused to use throw-aways (environment and cost).
I'm still interested in getting a closer shave, and easier and fast. Do you by chance have any experience with resharpening the rotory blades? I looked at my blades with a 30x magnifying monocle/spectacle I have. The angle seems about 30 degrees, and looks pretty sharp. Dunno if the seat of the blade matters, I doubt it, as I know that the test of a hair-cutting straight blade edge itself is that it 'bites' a hair on your arm naturally on contact, rather than sliding off.
A moment ago I tested my newly sharpened Philishave head on my hairy arm, but it didn't 'bite' grip the hair, even though it can shave me when spinning its angled edge in a shearing motion. I suppose I need to leather strop it to get that super-sharp edge. The barber told me it's the heat of the friction on the leather that jaggies the edge. All sharpness is actually jagginess that rips, not just separating things.
Bruce Thomson in New Zealand
Hey Bruce, thanks for the comments and sharing this interesting information.
Unfortunately I don't have any experience with re sharpening electric shaver blades, or straight razor blades for that matter.
This would seem like quite a unique skill to have and I would imagine that not too many people try this out. If you can make it work to increase the lifespan of your shavers then that's great.
As always I still recommend a top of the line foil shaver like the Braun Series 7 for anyone looking for a very smooth shave which can be delivered very fast as well. This is something you may want to treat yourself to.
I used to shave with disposable blades but after switching to an electric shaver like the Braun Series 7, I've never had a smoother shave with less irritation.
Thanks again for your thoughts on re sharpening blades manually, but for now I think I'll just stick to the safety of basic electric shaver reviews.
All the best,