The making of a modern blade

June 28, 2018

The first straight razors were crafted individually by expert blade makers in small workshops. Today, Schick® blades are produced in an extremely complex and highly technical process. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at all that goes into the production of our precision blades.

Razor blades start as a coiled, stainless steel strip that’s over two miles long. This metal has to meet strict tolerances for metallurgical composition, width, and thickness. The strip first travels through a press that precisely perforates it with notches and holes that help to align its position during the manufacturing and assembly process.

The perforated strip is too soft to grind into a shaving edge, so it first has to be hardened. It’s heated in a controlled atmosphere at temperatures of more than 2,000°F. Both the time and temperature are critical to the final product—with not enough time or too low a temperature, the strip will be too soft. If it’s cooked too long or too hot, the strip won’t be the right hardness for grinding.

To complete the hardening process, the strip is put into a deep-freeze with temperatures below -100°F. Then it’s heated again—this time to a mere few hundred degrees—in order to temper it. Tempering gives some flexibility back to the now-brittle steel. And if any one of the steps is compromised? The final steel will not be good enough for a high-quality blade edge.

Next, the hardened and tempered coil of steel is sent to the grinding area, where it’s fed through a series of progressively finer grinding wheels to create a sharp edge. You might think that a razor blade is simply a sharpened piece of steel, but the blade actually has three distinct facets that work together for greater sharpness and durability.

The grinding equipment that we use is proprietary, developed by our in-house designers and engineers. Our equipment is highly precise, so we can consistently produce the right edge profile—if a blade is too sharp, the edge will break down more quickly. If it’s too blunt, it will give an uncomfortable shave.

If you were to use an uncoated stainless steel blade, the friction between the cut surfaces of the hair and the steel would cause pulling and discomfort. To reduce this friction, we spray our blade edges with a coating. The film is then melted onto the blade edges and cured at temperatures over 500°F.

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