Greetings to all. My name is Dave. Im from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I have been wet shaving for about a year now, and mostly lurking since then (with the exception of a couple posted questions). I thought it was about time that I made an introduction. I started shaving with a Gillette slim adjustable (Free from my grandfather), Van Der Hagen and Williams shave soaps (~$1 each), and a Vulfix VS/5 Boar Bristle brush (~$10), and a large pack of Derby blades from ebay($10?...$20?...i dont remember). I also tried Proraso cream a couple times, but was allergic to it. I have also been using a bowl from Target, and a brush/razor stand that I crafted from aluminium. With my razor set to 3 and doing two passes (one down, and one up) I was able to get a reletivly close shave with no irritation. If I tried three passes or raised the razor setting, I would get razor burn on my neck. I decided it was time to try somthing new, a few weeks ago. So I purchased a Merkur HD, and some Col. Conk soaps, Pinaud after shave, as well as a bamboo bowl (also from target) that I can fill with hot water, and rest my other bowl in (its a great fit) to keep the lather warm. The change was magnificent. I can now do 3 passes, and get a very close shave with no irritation. The HD was a good choice, but I think I will be purchasing the 38C soon, as I am use to the long handle of my gillette. The Col. Conk soaps lather and smell great (Bay Rum, and Amber), and my bowl setup keeps the lather warm the whole time. (Perhaps I will take a picture of my current setup to post...) In a few weeks I will purchase a badger brush, right now Im leaning toward a Shavemac, the 38C, an alum block, and some more new soaps (probably the three T's). Well, now I am just rambaling and my laptop battery is about to die. I just want to say thanks for the massive amount of information you have all created here, I love reading the boards and hope to be more active from now on. Thank you.