WARNING: BIA$ED/SUBJECTIVE DECLARATIONS AHEAD
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
(and think for yourself!)
The Focus R48 Dynamic SE is an
Italian-engineered safety razor, unique in both good and bad ways; it seems sure to
evolve into a shaving-forum-polarizing piece known by one's stance as well by shaving nerds
as is the chasm between single-hump-camel adherents and those damned double-hump loving tossers in the desert communities.
To wit, some notably charming passionate nadirs of e-opinion have read;
- "...I have used many aggressive razors in my life such as the R41, ER-1914, MMOC and so on but this was the worst shave I ever had.
I won't even try it again. After just one use I am selling the razor..."
- "...In my thirty years of wet shaving I am trying to remember if I had a worse shave than this and nothing comes to mind.
I have nicks and cuts in places I don't normally get...
- I bought one with thoughts of stocking it in my store. I will not be stocking it, and think it's one of the poorest designed razors of all time - though not as bad as the shavinator.
And yet, we've sold multiple copies in different colors to half a dozen men, and get contrasting emails such as;
- "Great shaver!!
I used the lord blade. Nice mild Sunday Shave. Impressive to say the least."
- "I just wanted to let you know that the Focus Dynamic is amazing. I am
an extremely picky shaver, as in "I only use Japanese-made western-style straight razors honed on a LGB" kind of picky, and I
always resent when I have to use a DE (on the plus side, however, I do
not belong to any online shaving forums, so this stuff is usually kept
to myself). Anyway, this razor is by far the best non-straight razor
thing I have ever used. It shaves me extremely well and, most
importantly, doesn't shave off a layer of skin while it's doing it
thing. I keep expecting the alum block to punish me for going so
quickly and using some pressure, but there is nada every time. I am
very impressed. I got it to use in my travel kit, but it is replacing
my DE and Feather-AS-based SE razor whenever time precludes the
As the new old saying goes, "Haters gonna h8." But speaking personally, I cannot deny this truth; ignoring the obvious commercial interest here which should
color your view of this text and all other text on any for-profit chat venues (such as Badger and Blade) or any chat venues owned by for-profit-in-the-shaving-industry vendors
(Shave Nook, Straight Razor Place, and countless others), in the realm of non-adjusting safety razors of all types this is the tool I've put to face which yields the finest shaves I've ever had from the genre.
If lack of stubble and irritation are given truly equal penalty for their presence, the Dynamic gives me the highest minimum; it is not the very closest I've ever used, but it is not terribly far
off, and all the others which routinely get closer usually bite somewhere or another or cause a bit of irritation in trouble spots when used
on consecutive days without rest. The only thing I can do to remove all hair and have no irritation better than using the R48 is to hit a homer with the
str8rzrs, and (now in middle age) either the hand skill or beard degree-of-difficulty have made that result a current exception instead of the norm (but still, I try...it is fun).
I have not seen a single video of someone using this razor as it is designed (read on) and coming away from it with any negative opinion, and I challenge the haters above to Cowboy Up and show it;
it is easy to use it incorrectly. What I tend to read from the haters is a one-and-done experience, with some of them even specifically writing points that clearly indicate they didn't use it as the designer intended.
The R48 Dynamic's made of anodized aluminum with stainless steel for the 'fixing pins' and pivot spring.
It takes 1/2 of a
conventional double-edge razor blade - snap your blade in half in the paper and face the bent shards towards the
headcap and away from the base of the razor. While the bend was considered in engineering, the
half-already 'saloon' blades may, too, work; but we officially recommend you snap regular DEs in half.
By this odd approach, the Dynamic gives the DE blades' ubiquity with some of the SE systems' mechanical advantages (the acute standoff angle is like a "true" SE);
there's no expensive proprietary marriage to some fancy blades here! Please note the image below of someone who accidentally was incorrectly installing their blade into the R48
which caused damage to the aluminum (we replaced their razor at no charge, but obviously wish for this to be the last time this honest mistake occurs), and
be sure the fixing pins align to the spots on the blade that we've highlighted with these red circles.
Like a 'real' SE razor, the Dynamic works best if you lay the whole head of the razor flush to skin starting with the top of the head. Unlike old SE razors, you should
then apply pressure towards the face nearest the top of the headcap, to get the guard bar flush and the pivot to pivot into contact/leverage with the beard before moving along.
Those from the stalwart DE will definitely not recognize this feeling or strange advice, but there it is.
Those who've recently used much older (pre-1990s) pivoting multiblade cartridge designs likely will not find it too terribly jarring to work this way, while
in contrast most modern cartridges tend to pivot differently, and you'll need to learn to use the Dynamic as designed.
The Focus Dynamic has a spring-mounted head which attempts to keep the
blade's angle of incidence to skin at precisely 25° as you move about the face. The guard bar, speaking
relative to safety razor norms, is quite far ahead and rather high to the blade.
But because of the spring, you can get a finished shave that's simultaneously close and mild-the pinnacle all safety razors should
aspire to achieve. Give the Dynamic opportunity to move across each area of your beard in a few different blade-to-growth-pattern directions,
and it can achieve irritation-free closeness as few others. Note that while the guard bar/blade relationship's fixed, your placement of the
razor's head cap on your skin affects the pivot efficiency, so
IF YOU'RE HEARING/WATCHING IT 'CLICK'/'SNAP' REPEATEDLY THEN YOU'RE EITHER NOT KEEPING THE HEAD'S BEVEL PLANE FACE-FLUSH WHILE SHAVING AND/OR NOT
APPLYING ENOUGH PRESSURE TO THE TOP OF THE HEAD CAP ('ABOVE' THE FULCRUM).
Keep the headcap dead flush wherever you can, and favor the pressure to the furthest point from the blade
while keeping guard bar in contact...that's the secret sauce, and it should only be going clickety-clack at the very end of a stroke when you relocate razor and depart beard.
It is wise to experiment with
many different DE blades; a favorite that's perhaps a bit harsh when paired with some of your harem's options can
perform markedly different here - do NOT make the mistake of casting this aside in your 'too mild' mental closet without feeding it the Feathers, Astras, etc.
of sharping-pissing-contest championships, as in the experience of this author the Dynamic performs poorly with mild blades but exceptionally with aggressive blades.
"I wonder how stable the blade is after a year or so with loading and unloading."
Well, anodized aluminum is very tough stuff, and this system of stainless steel posts coupling to the aluminum
is also used in the Focus Slim AL 'shavette' type straight razor,
of which in 2+ yrs we have sold hundreds including to some barbers who have exchanged blades _MULTIPLE THOUSANDS_ of times with no change in the behavior
(and in no change of the pivot pin tension!).
While the tension setting's carefully set in Milan during manufacture,
you can always make this system behave tighter or looser if you want merely by sticking two needles in the spanner holes and holding the two
simultaneously with a needlenose pliers and then moving clockwise/anticlockwise as you see fit.
We feel firmly that any concern of head durability is summarily without merit, wholly disproven by the fact that the barbers
making a living with nearly the exact same tool design have not once complained to us and we've simply
sold too many for there to be silently displeased folks out there (the next such complaint from an actual owner, rather than a speculating
browser, will be the first).
- Accepts regular DE blades, snapped in half.
- Does not bend the blades like a DE razor.
- Angle of blade-to-skin is set up to be very mild at 25°
- No chrome plating coatings to wear away, and finer machining on the critical stretcher bar than is generally possible with brass and stainless steel.
- Amazingly combines mild and efficient to produce closeness without irritation; I cannot use ANY other razor daily, including a well honed straight razor, and
get this closeness and lack of irritation..."real" straight razors love skin (or perhaps that's truest in reverse), but getting that last bit of hair off
on the loosest spots is always a battle with any non-Shavette, on the A-game days you nail it but you need tremendous hand/lather/stropping/stretching skill to
do so 100%, or use the shavettes and the closeness is always easy but free of irritation much less so
...there's safety razors which can get closer, but if I'd use them 3x in a row my face will be showing the damage here and there w/ red dots, etc.
- You don't have to think very much to use this razor.
- It can, when skillfully administered, ace moves no DE user of average motor skill could ever do - such as
tracing the chin in reverse or while starting below the jaw on the left side and finishing above the jaw on the right.
These moves can reveal new closeness to you, or you can miss having the stretcher flush to skin and do nearly nothing. Pragmatic
thinkers reading this far will be happy the unique potentials exist, or to inject an appropriate wisdom from The Great One
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
- You don't have to think very much to use this razor. I like to shit on the safety razor crowd as they will never know the truest feeling of
being "lost in the shave" the way we superior str8rzr devotees all know, what with the harsh penalties for error that we must always respect so much that
the rote obedience itself becomes somewhat meditative. I can, fairly, see how traditional thick-bladed "SE" lovers and non-pivot DE safety razor folks would say the
same schtick to this razor. Fair enough - this razor is damn easy to use.
- This razor does not feel similar to other DE and SE razors. It feels unique; somewhat strange.
- Going against the growth pattern on most men's faces is not especially intuitive given the standoff angle of the pivoting head...
you at times practically need to pin the handle upon the skin to get the stretcher bar flush where the rubber meets road.
- Dynamic's certainly *not* any "SE" razor purist's cup of tea, what with the use of the thinner/flexible/common DE blades and all.
- Poor stroke-for-stroke efficiency when compared to "aggressive" razors (such as the Mühle R41 'tooth comb').
- There seems (as with the aforementioned Mühle R41) some reduction in maximum blade efficiency lifespan.
- The half-of-a-DE blades will generally only fit if the bent shards of the blade half face UP (= upward-bent bits facing towards the razor's head cap).
- She's a bit of a clogger, so try to use lather that favors slimy, runny, slick, and thinner, as opposed to cushy, voluminous, thicker stuff.
All in all, this is a razor well worth anyone's time if the goal of amazing irritation free closeness is paramount to their pursuit, it is
really hard to conceive of how this isn't within its capacities for any user. Didn't work for you? I dare you to come to our shop and let me guide your hand as you use it on yourself...
c'mon, we have the liability insurance, we're not scared. Are you?
The dedicated R49 stand (108g, 60x40x20mm, 100% aluminum) aids in your loading/exchange of blades due to the way it holds the head in place.