First, let me say that this looks like a great place, and even though this is my first post, I already feel welcome. Hopefully some day I can contribute. I've read all the advice for newbs, and I'm ready to take the plunge. Based on what appears to be a general consnesus (sort of), I'm thinking about a Merkur HD, either Proraso or TOBS Avacado cream (or both), and a pack of Derby blades. I have a pretty heavy beard that results in a 5 o'clock shadow by noon, worn collars on shirts, and lots of razor burn/"road rash" on the neck and throat. That being the case, does the above set-up seem appropriate to start with, or would you suggest another razor or blades? Also, what about pre-shave oils and creams? Should I go ahead and try those and if so which ones do you recommend? Aside from a good badger brush and cup, does a beginner need anything else? Any and all thoughts and suggestions appreciated. Thanks in advance!