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Asylum McMurphy 17-4


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There was a ton of drama that went on with the Asylum 17-4 that was covered way too much in all the other forums that I have decided to pass on all of it and just cut to the chase. Short version of the story was that Bullgoose revived the Asylum Shave Works label to produce the 17-4, which was a direct copy of the original Paradigm 17-4. There was a mix up in instructions and what was produced was 100 razors that did hot have the bevel cut on the safety bar, thus ruining that original batch. Bullgoose refunded everyone immediately and started over again, this time inspecting everything along the way. He also decided to call this later version the McMurphy 17-4 just to differentiate the two. Recently, because of some customer requests, he released a small number of McMurphy unfinished. The majority went over to the polisher and will be ready in about a month. I was lucky enough to get one of the unfinished razors.

My McMurphy arrived today and I immediately soaked it in Dawn to remove some residual machine oil and possible left over metal dust. The first shave with my razor was tonight.

As stated this razor was described as "machine finished" , but literally meant that it came off the machine with no attempt to do anything else. Other razor vendors who advertise Machine Finish really mean "not polished to some semblance of a shine". For many, a non polished razor is preferred.


As you can see, in this case, the machine marks and even the sharp edges are still left on the base plate and cap. Sharp not to the point of being able to cut you, but not rounded.

Bullgoose had mentioned that the razor had a negative blade exposure, but in trying to get a clear shot of the blade in the head, I see where it is neutral at best and maybe even slightly positive.


No matter what he called it, what really matters is the shave itself.

I decided that over the next two nights, I would be testing the McMurphy against my Paradigm Ti2. I do not have a Paradigm 17-4, however I heard that the Ti2 and the 17-4 heads were near identical.

Like my shave off between the Tedalus Essence and Feather DX, I will be keeping everything the same for both shaves.

blade: Vintage Czech Astra (new)
soap: Victory Shaving Co Rosie (rose/sandalwood)
brush: Sorrentino Brushworks Cashmere
AS: TFS V (rosehip/calamine)

Tonight was my first shave with the McMurphy. I did fool around with the original faulty 17-4 using an O-ring, and later creating my own bevel on the safety bar, and so I had a general idea of how it shaved, however this was the real deal as designed.

WTG pass went surprisingly smoother than with my hacked 17-4. there was absolutely no blade feel and the pass was quite efficient. I started out riding the cap because that was what I did with the other razor and found that there was a large angle I could use and still be efficient.

ATG pass went just as comfortably and as efficient. I could have stopped with just minor touch up at that point, but I wanted to see how well the McMurphy could shave and so I did my usual XTG pass along my jaw line and under my chin. I ended up with a very comfortable BBS. When applying the aftershave, there was no stinging, nor was there any nicks or irritation.

After one shave, I am very impressed with the McMurphy. Maybe one day after I have a couple more shaves done, I might pull out my bevel setting hones and just lightly smooth out the edges, just so it looks a little more decent.

Tomorrow I will shave with my Paradigm Ti2 and compare both.


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Tonight's shave was with my Paradigm Ti2. I owned this razor for a while now and am very familiar with the shave. I compared the head with the McMurphy last night and it appears that they are very similar.


The bottom of the base plate seem to be thicker on the McMurphy, and there seem to be a slight tapering along the area of the base plate that clamps down the blade on the McMurphy. Bullgoose did mention making some modifications to the original design to secure the blade better.

I used the same setup as the night before, except now the vintage Astra blade had one shave on it. As soon as I started my shave, I was immediately remind how much lighter the Ti2 was compared to the McMurphy. This did change some of my shaving style, but not positively nor negatively.

WTG pass went extremely well, as I expected. Blade feel was non existent and the pass was very efficient. I did find that my shave angle did not allow for much variation as the McMurphy allowed, but it did very well riding the cap, which I prefer.

ATG was also very smooth and efficient, and like last night's shave, I could have stopped with minimal touch up. I however did a partial XTG pass along the jaw line and under my chin just to keep things equal. Again, I ended with a BBS.

Applying the aftershave again did not produce any burning, stinging or irritation.

At this point, I have to give the advantage to the Ti2 by the slightest of margin - by a whisker's breadth.


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Wait. WAIT! After declaring the Ti2 the winner by a whisker, the McMurphy immediately filed a protest:

1. it is known that the vintage Czech Astra need at least one or two shaves before it smooths out and so the McMurphy was at a disadvantage.
2. Last night was my first shave with the McMurphy, and
3. I did not have a coin toss to see which razor shaved first as I usually do.

So, to be fair (and because I get to shave with both razors again the next two nights), I decided to accept the McMurphy's protest.

The McMurphy will be up for tomorrow night's shave.

The setup will be:

blade: Vintage Czech Astra (two shaves in)
soap: Victory Shaving Co Pacific Peril (heavy menthol and some other stuff)
brush: Graydog 28mm FS G4 knot
AS: Razorock Blue Barbershop

Both razors has agreed to swap handles to make the weight closer.

May the best razor win!


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Even if Murphy wins I will stand firm and keep my wallet closed (but I have Ti 1 and 2 so that’s not so difficult ) besides all my razors are lonely since those Turkish sailors came live here.


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I think McMurphy was payback to Paradigm for an undelivered batch of 17-4. I saw it as an opportunity to get a 17-4 without paying $2000 for one. I am comparing the shave against a Ti2 only because I was told that the head was the same as the 17-4 but in titanium. Of course many are favorably impressed with the Rocnel. Perhaps if the McMurphy turns out better than my Ti2, I might sell that one and pick up a Rocnel with the funds. Until then, my Pearl Flexi and soon to be received specially modified Yaqi with the non sequential numbers will have to do for my adjustables. :daumenhoch


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I find that there is a significant difference between the paradigm Ti2 and the 17-4


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So after the protest by the McMurphy of the shave off results, a second round began tonight. The McMurphy once again went first and used the vintage Astra blade with two shaves on it. Both razors agreed prior to the start of the shave that handles would be swapped just to equalize the weight difference between the two razor heads.

After having one shave down using the McMurphy, I learned that there was a pretty large angle I could use with that razor. For the WTG pass, I immediately rode the bar instead of my normal cap riding start. I was surprised that there was no roughness in the pass and the pass ended up more efficient than the other night.

ATG pass, I stayed primarily with riding the bar, but adjusted the angle slightly in certain areas that were more sensitive. At no point did I resort back to riding the cap, even though I was tempted to do so. Again, I could have stopped at that point and do just minor touch up. but I continued with an XTG pass along my jaw line and under my chin. I ended up with another BBS, and the Blue Barbershop AS did not produce any stinging, nor was there any irritation or nicks.

Definitely after two shaves with the McMurphy and a slightly more mellow Astra (and a slight change in method), this shave off is really starting to get interesting.

One thing I did notice was that there were two times when I felt something sharp touch my face, but realized that it was only the unrounded edges of the base plate. After this shave off, I will be bring out my fine grit sandpaper and getting to work on the head.


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So we FINALLY come to the end of the shave off between the Asylum McMurphy 17-4 and the Paradigm Ti2.

Tonight the Ti2 was up using the McMurphy's handle to equalize the weight difference. All else was the same from the previous night, except the vintage Astra now had three shaves on it and definitely had mellowed out judging from last night's shave.

For the WTG pass, I tried to ride the bar like I did with the McMurphy the night before. The Ti2 clearly preferred riding the cap or maybe a medium angle. Shifting to a medium angle produced a comfortable and pretty efficient shave.

The ATG pass, I went back to riding the cap like I usually do with the Ti2, and it fell into what I expected of it, even with a heavier handle. Once again, I could have stopped with just touch up, but went for an XTG pass along the jaw line and under the chin as I did for this entire shave off. I ended up with a very comfortable and efficient BBS. The Blue Barbershop AS did not produce any stinging and there were no nicks or irritation.

So now comes the hard part - which razor won.

The McMurphy has the advantage of allowing a wide range of shave angles from riding the cap all the way to riding the bar. I noticed that it was more efficient when riding the bar. The Ti2 is definitely a cap rider and is the most efficient when used that way.

The McMurphy, when riding the bar is not as comfortable a shave, but does not have significant blade feel (like maybe an Ikon Tek). It is more efficient a shaver, clearing whiskers better.
The Ti2 is definitely the more comfortable of the two, and just a whisker less efficient.

The McMurphy is currently in production and the polished version will be for sale in a couple of weeks.
Good luck in finding a Ti2.

It all comes down to what you look for in a razor. One thing that was pointed out to me was that the Ti2 is not the same as the Paradigm 17-4 even though it shares the same head design. Not having owned or shaved with a Paradigm 17-4 I cannot extrapolate and say that the McMurphy is better than the Paradigm 17-4. I can say that it was an equal to the Ti2.

For all others that got the machine finish version of the McMurphy or will eventually get the polished version when it becomes available, this thread was created for you to post your reviews and impressions. have fun.


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First shave tonight with the polished version of the Asylum McMurphy 17-4. First of all, I have been shaving with the McMurphy for a while now since getting the raw machined version. That version was sanded down along the edges because the edges were a little sharp. Not sharp enough to cut or scratch, but enough to not have a pleasant feel on your skin while shaving. The comparison pics between the polished and machined razors show what the machined razor looked like after I sanded and filed the edges.


The polished razor is on the left, and there is a significant difference in the looks of the razors.

As usual for me when testing a new razor (even though the McMurphy was not new to me), I loaded a blade that had a couple of shaves on it. WTG pass surprised me because it was slightly more blade feel than I was expecting. I immediately adjusted my angle and rode the cap a little more and then the smooth shave I was expecting really showed. ATG pass was very efficient and comfortable. After the ATG pass, I found that thee wasn't much left over to do my usual XTG pass along the jaw line and under my chin and so I just did minor touch up. the two pass plus touch up BBS is something I come to expect from the Asylum 17-4 going back to my hacked "Oops" model and my raw machined finished razor.

One thing I did notice was that the polished version of the handle seemed to have no grip as the micro barber pole pattern got polished down to almost being smooth, however when shaving, I found it to have a feel closer to a very fine grit sandpaper and so it was not slippery as I was expecting it to be. As for the initial roughness went, I am believing that the polishing rounded out the head parts just slightly enough to make it a little more aggressive than the machined version. Most folks shaving with the McMurphy for the first time will probably find the correct angle immediately and get a comfortable and efficient shave from it.