PAA Alpha Ecliptic Slant Razor - Black Anodized 7075 Aluminum
Description from Mr. Douglas Smythe:
it's pretty safe to say, The Alpha Ecliptic is truly a one of a kind...at least in our Galaxy.Holding this baby one feels something otherworldly; a vibration, a radio wave, a connection maybe? Is it a relic from the past or from the future? I'd say it's both...but i'm getting ahead of myself.
Anyone who has been following PAA and knows of our secret universe will immediately see that out of all our razors to date this one is just sooooo us. To get woo woo with our words, we tend to vibrate at the same frequency as this one!
The Origin Story
The Alpha Ecliptic is based on one of my all time favorite razors, the very, VERY rare German bakelite Walbusch "Humpback" Slant (Walbusch & Sohnes). I was very lucky to discover this razor...in fact, it was a customer that turned me onto this baby, Michael K, and I thank him very much, for my shaves have never been the same since! To say that it performed way above expectation would be the understatement of the the century!
You won’t even feel it!
Why oh why are such outstanding designs always lost to history? Maybe because it takes a little extra energy to see these creations through and most companies back in the day were all about the bottom line, not interested in recreating the wheel? Maybe the all powerful Gillette had something to do with the burying of the Walbusch or maybe, just maybe it was Merkur this time? I mean Merkur did borrow their Progress handle design from Walbusch...I can only speculate but man oh man, you gotta wonder why this design wasn't explored fully.
Another fine example of Walbusch's cutting edge innovations is their Adjustable Slant of the very same head design...talk about way ahead of their time! You probably, like most, never even heard of such a thing, maybe even thought that was your own original idea, as I did, lol.
Why 7075 Aluminum?
I went with 7075 aluminum to stay true to the original designs lightness but with the added durability of a metal good enough for the aviation industry! 7075 aluminum has a few differences when compared to 6061 aluminum; greater strength, durability, and hardness.
The weight is key to the precision of the razor. Having created more than a few razors by now I have noticed that though a razor's geometry may be exact the material used will greatly affect the feel and quality of the shave.
A fine example of this is my Stainless DOC Evolution versus my Aluminus DOC Evolution. Both are the exact same tolerances but feel and shave quite differently. Had I not created the head in two different substrates I never would have had this realization. That Ah Ha moment was very insightful and has had a huge influence on all my current designs...especially the Alpha Ecliptic.
One could say that all my razors released till now were in preparation of the Alpha, 5 years in the making in that respect!
What is with the shape Doug?
First off, the razor features a unique humpback design which helps guide the user to the proper blade angle for an almost effortless shave. The slant design is a diagonal rather than the more common twist or torqued models. Modern blades are great but are primarily designed for a good ol' DE Safety Razor, they were not created with the slant in mind.
What I mean to say is we are asking a lot of some brands of blades by twisting and torquing them out so wildly, an action that can sometimes compromise the coating or integrity of the edge I suspect. Not a huge problem considering there are so many brands to experiment with, but the Alpha Ecliptic's design offers the same slant action with a more forgiving geometry for any modern DE Blade.
The original design was so on point I made only a few, slight tweaks. That said, I find the geometry/concept simply brilliant, epic even, and a smooth, very close shave to be the end result...every time.
I would personally rate this razor low on the medium aggression plane. The perfect slant for the newb and an efficient shaver for the more experienced.
...and the handle?
The handle is of my own design and fittingly called The Neo Vic (Victorian)...or so I thought! Turns out I inadvertently recreated a classic Wade & Butcher design...sigh. (This was also brought to my attention by Michael K.) What can I say, there's only so much you can do on a lathe. [Note: not exact, but it is similar.]
Regardless, If you enjoyed my Bomb Tip you will absolutely go nuts for The Neo Vic. Sleek, sexy and stylish!
Much like the Bomb Tip you get greater control when you incorporate the now fluted "Pinky Throttle", J-hooks have never been performed so effortlessly before!
The weight and balance compliment the Alpha Ecliptic head harmoniously, in a sense, they are calibrated for one another.
To add to the space-age aesthetic I felt an black color would really tie the room together...and it did. Upon reviewing the original sample, Fran and I sat dumbfounded and in awe, mouths agape as we eyed this beauty of a razor. It was clear we were in the presence of something very, very special.
I have a very good feeling the Alpha Ecliptic will resonate with all who are so lucky to get their mitts on it! Shave on my friends and I look forward to hearing from you about your own experiences with such an epic, out of this world, galactic slant, beard slayer!
You Are Now Part of the Saga...
Weights, Measures & Materials
Build: 7075 CNC Machined Aluminum, Black Anodize
3.5" (89mm) Handle: 20 grams
Head: 43mm long, 25mm wide, 19grams weight
Handle 1/2" Diameter
Total Length: 103 mm