Tatara Masamune – a review

As I mentioned a little while ago I was lucky enough to receive a open comb Tatara Masamune stainless razor as a gift from Tatara Razors, and – as the ones who have kept track of my SOTD posts will know – used it continuously for three weeks with three different blades. Given that experience, and some time to think, what follows is my opinions and review.

The TL:DR? Good razor, worth the asking price.

The longer version? Okay, I’ll get to that after the unpacking pictures.

As I mentioned in my initial impression report, full marks to Tatara for presentation, fit and finish. The cork block that holds the razor during shipping is distinct and – always a bonus in this day and age – easily recyclable and biodegradable. The card that holds the razor secure also contains some information about the company,the razor, as well as the manufacture process.

As to the design of the razor, it’s obvious to me that the trio behind Tatara are – as the card states – engineers. The page Tatara have on their website with the specifications of the razor just makes that even more obvious. Just one example; the base plate don’t ride on the shank at the end of the handle, instead the hole is slightly enlarged so that it rides on a small ball shaped protrusion. As far as I can understand, this both reduces the chance of damage to the threads and provide a larger bearing surface – thus allowing for a higher bearing pressure on the base plate with less forces acting on the thread.

Craftsmanship gets high marks too, with a consistent finish across all three parts of the razor. No machining marks that I can spot, another sign of Tatara’s attention to quality.

The proof of the razor is in the shaving though, so lets move on to that – after a collection of some shave of the day photos:

The open comb Tatara Masamune is fairly mild, even when used with the aggressive Feather blades. I found it to be more sensitive to the angle of the shave than my Gillette Old Type, but more forgiving than Phil’s Asylum Shave Works Evolution razor – and with a milder blade such as the Shark Super Chrome or Wilkinson Sword the Masamune was more forgiving.

Then handle had a remarkable good grip for being stainless steel, something I attribute to the dimples and the sandblasted finish. Even with with fingers I could maintain a secure grip at all times, using minimal pressure. Balance was pretty close to just where I like it – near the top of the handle – and that makes the Masamune very easy to manoeuvre around the topography of my face.

Add to the ease and comfort of use the ease which I can clean the razor with, and it all adds up to a razor that is – in my opinion – worth the 149€ Tatara asks for it. The only real question that remains for me is shall I set aside money to buy a closed comb base plate for the Masamune, or wait until my self imposed budget allows me to pick up a closed comb Nodachi?

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