At the beginning of this month I posted that I couldn't match my M3 shaves with a DE so went back to using the M3 (sacrilege I know). But even though I was getting good shaves with the M3 the Merkur HD would always be there crying out for another go. At first I resisted, then I cleaned it up one day and put in a new feather (which I corked first). I left it for another couple of days and then buckled. And Im so glad I did. I was back in the game and back to the good shaves that I got at the beginning. I don't know about some of you other new guys but whilst this is a great forum there is a hell of a lot of information here and often conflicting advice. Me, I think I lost sight of a simple shave trying to chase perfection and ended up with irritation ridden shaves. So when I went back I decided that I would drop down to 2 passes again and lose the full ATG. That was about a week ago and I'm back on form and loving the DE again. I'm doing a N to S pass, followed by and ear to nose (with a slight hook) and Im getting such good shaves, easily comparable to my M3 again. Irritation is minimal (if any) and TBH I've surprised myself how well it has gone again. I've also switched to an alcohol AS splash rather than balm which Im loving and is leaving my face much better IMO. So basically although I did quit for a while, for me it was the best thing I did. It gave me time off from the DE and I went back more relaxed and doing what I knew I liked and not necessarily what I've read here. Someone a while ago made a post with a slogan "its your shave" (or something like that!) and how right they were. To any other new guys going through a bad spot I'm not saying you have to go back to an M3 but I do think that it may help if you just take a step back, do what you think is right for you, and maybe don't get so bogged down in what you think you have to do to achieve a good shave because someone else advocates it on here. On another note that feather I used was on its 7th shave this morning and it was still such a good shave. I'll run it again tomorrow with my fingers crossed!