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Feather All-Stainless DE

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(A discussion thread can be found HERE)

Much has been written (much of it polarizing) about this new offering from Feather and I've already shared my initial impressions. Now that I've shaved with it for a week, I thought a more in-depth review would be helpful.

Many of my friends on the board know I prefer heavy and so-called "aggressive" razors. My daily DE shavers include cooncatbob Bull Mastiffs with NEW or NEW Deluxe heads, Gillette Aristocrats #15 and #21 and a Gillette Big Fellow. But I'm also a big fan of great design and craftsmanship and for this reason alone, I purchased the Feather All-Stainless.

Immediately after opening the vendor's shipping box, I could tell this was no ordinary modern razor. Like so many things our Japanese friends design, the razor's packaging impresses before the razor is even seen. Handsome cardboard cladding surrounds a beautifully crafted wood box in which the razor resides. The razor itself rests in a supportive bed of die-cut foam where a pack of Feather Hi-Stainless blades is also found. Everything I saw at this point oozed quality and craftsmanship, all before I had even removed the razor!

The Razor
The first thing that struck me was its weight. At about 90g, this is no lightweight and it feels wonderful in your hand with very good balance. At every glance, fine craftsmanship abounds and quickly sets this razor apart from any other modern razor I've seen, with the exception of the PILS DE. The razor is made from matte-finished stainless steel that gives off a gorgeous silvery hue that will surprise those who are accustomed to the chrome and nickel finishes so common to other razors. Feather must have invested a lot of money into the production tooling for this razor as every surface and detail is impeccable and without flaw. The handle knurling is deep and exact - one of the best I've used. The cap and base castings are beautiful and include intricate detailing that adds to its handsome design (and likely its function). The only milled surface would appear to be the top of the base plate, which I assume was done to help control the blade gap. This is one of those razors that is fun to just admire and appreciate.

The Shave
Here's where much of the board chatter has centered, in particular because of its three-piece design and similarity to the famous (and mild mannered) Gillette Tech. I'd been using and enjoying Super Iridiums, so I passed on using one of the included Feathers. The first few strokes were so smooth, I first thought the Feather might in fact be the dreaded "mild" shaver that so many predicted. But as I continued, my two days of growth was slicing off with ease and with no irritation. Ah, but how about closeness? Here, the most important test for me is the effectiveness of the razor when shaving XTG and ATG. The Feather passed this test wonderfully and as effectively as any of my regular razors. DFS with two passes (WTG + XTG) and only minor touch-ups. The same setup on my next two shaves yielded the same results.

For my fourth try, I decided to split the shave between the Feather and my Gillette ball-end Tech. It had been some time since I had shaved with a Tech and although a good shaver, I was always unimpressed with how much work was required to achieve a close shave. However, for this purpose the comparison makes sense. WTG strokes with each razor yielded roughly the same result with the edge going to the Feather for its smoothness. XTG and ATG is where the results diverged. As mentioned, the Feather again performed well and easily gave me DFS. But the Tech required multiple passes to achieve the same and I stopped when I felt irritation creeping in. Some of this might be attributed to the weight difference, some to being "out of practice" with the Tech. I was already impressed with the Feather's smoothness, but I also suspected there was a difference in blade gap or exposure.

I inserted used blades in each and measured the blade gap of the Tech at just over .020" [.50mm] (the closest increment in my gage set) which would be consistent with the Wiki's gap of .022" [.56mm]. The Feather comfortably accepted a .025" [.63mm] gage and would probably accept a bit more. This would put the Feather's blade gap in the same range as a Gillette Aristocrat, a Gillette Adjustable set at "3" or a Merkur. Having used all of these at one time or another, this "feels" about right: none possess much "bite" but all are nice shavers.

My fifth shave was with the Feather alone, only now with a Gillette 7O'Clock Yellow. Same smooth results. For my sixth shave and on a member's suggestion, I shaved with my Feather Portable. But first, a blade gap measurement: very similar to the All-Stainless. It's logical Feather has settled on this gap as their standard even though the two razors are made with very different materials and manufacturing processes. A two-pass shave yielded nice results but the strokes felt rougher than the All-Stainless. Here, I think the head design and finish quality of the new Feather sets it apart.

In Summary
I'm impressed. This razor does not announce its shaving presence like my "serious" vintage razors, but it gets the job done almost as effectively. The best words I can think of to describe its "feel" are smooth and foolproof. You know how cartridges are generally safe and care free (never mind their shave quality), tolerating even quick shaves without much issue? That's what I get from the Feather. From the get go, I could shave without any fear of an unexpected bite. But unlike say Super Speeds and Techs, I didn't have to work as hard to achieve the same results. I attribute some of this to its weight but I think its beautiful head design and finish makes a big contribution as well. Is this razor for everyone? Probably not. Am I justifying my investment by offering a glowing report? Maybe. But if you're like me, you'll appreciate its beautiful design and precision manufacturing - all wrapped up in a tool that is both effective and a joy to use. Oh, and it will likely outlast you and your offspring. :thumbup:

A few words to justify my ratings:

Price: Expensive but IMO, a great long-term value.
Quality: Impeccable
User Friendly: Simple, three-piece design - it doesn't get much simpler.
Grip: One of the best.
Ease of Blade Replacement: Only a TTO is easier. No surprises.
Aggressiveness: I'll use the "more aggressive is better" approach. The Feather doesn't possess much bite, but don't let that mislead - it's very effective.
Adjustability: n/a
Balance: Excellent!

Latest reviews

Pros: Heft and balance, satin finish, all stainless steel construction
The Feather AS-D2 is a superbly crafted, high end, all stainless steel razor that you could pass down for generations if it is looked after.

The price is pretty high, but you get what you pay for and that is a perfectly machined and balanced razor with a beautiful satin finish and crisp lines. Every part of this thing screams "precision engineering and machining" at you when you pick it up.

The handle and head match each other perfectly in terms of weight and balance and the grip is excellent. I am used to wide and heavy stainless steel handles on my razors, but there were no issues with the Feather handle. I wouldn't want to put another handle on the head that didn't have the beautiful matching satin finish to the steel.

In action with a Feather blade loaded, the AS-D2 is a comfortable, smooth razor to use that glides across the face with minimal fuss and less feedback than I am used to, but it is doing its job very well all the same. There is no room for the blade to move at all, so no issues with alignment or blade chatter.

Some people complain about this razor being "too mild" which I don't understand. How could a razor be too comfortable? Maybe they mean that it's not efficient enough for them, but for me, this razor mowed down 36 hours worth of stubble in three passes with ease and left me buttery BBS without any irritation.

People also report that the angle you need to use the AS-D2 is different from other razors and narrower. I think all razors are different from each other and didn't have any problems finding the sweet spot with the Feather.

Who should buy this razor?

1. People who want a comfortable and easy to use daily shaver that will consistently give them irritation free BBS shaves, even when they're tired or in a hurry to shave.

2. If you want an all stainless steel razor that will outlast you and keep your son and grandson looking sharp.

3. Those that appreciate finely made razors with a superb finish and feel.

4. You need to be able to afford the higher asking price, but this thing may stop you from wanting to buy any more razors in the future and save you money in the long run.

My previous DE razors include the Merkur 34c HD, Edwin Jagger DE86, iKon B1 solid bar, iKon B1 slant and Muhle 2013 R41. In the future I see the Edwin Jagger being my travel razor and the Muhle being kept for when I have more than a three day growth to shave off. The others I plan to give away or sell. The AS-D2 will be my daily shave.

If you can scrape together the asking price for an AS-D2 razor then I doubt you would ever regret your investment. If you did change your mind, you would have no trouble selling it for a high percentage of what you bought it for. So if you are thinking of getting one - I say take the plunge.
Grip
4.00 star(s)
Price
3.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
0.00 star(s)
User Friendly
5.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
2.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
4.00 star(s)
Pros: The greatest razor ever made by a man.
Cons: Nothing. It's pricey, but it's a work of art.
I had the Feather plastic travel razor; I used that to relearn DE razor wet shaving.

But this is just the most amazing *instrument* I have ever used to shave.

I still use a Gillette Pro-Fusion on travels; it's becoming increasingly harder to find DE blades when I travel.

While relearning DE shaving has improved my multiblade experience, I have to say it plainly: Plastic razors break down. And one of the things you NEVER read about is that.

The plastic Feather razor broke eventually.

This is an heirloom. An heirloom you can sterilize in an autoclave. And it shaves as close or not as I want.


If you can afford the layout of money, buy it. In 2 years you've earned back the money you'd have spent on blades alone.
Grip
5.00 star(s)
Price
3.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
3.00 star(s)
User Friendly
4.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
2.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
5.00 star(s)
Pros: Excellent workmanshio
Cons: A bit too unagressive
It's been a while since I participated, but I couldn't resist this Feather any longer. I held my nose and paid the price for it hoping for the best.

Prep for me was as usual. Right out of the shower and on with the GFT Lime from an Omega boar. While waiting for that to do it's magic I loaded up a new Personna surgical prep blade, which I've found to be sharper and smoother than Feathers, and which give me incredible shaves in my ball end Tech.

To my great surprise, after the first pass there was still considerable stubble left. There was nearly no drag at all to the razor. I relathered and tried again at a more aggressive angle. Still not smooth. One more time and still not up to par. I ended up grabbing the trusty Tech to finish the shave, which cleaned me right up. So, while there is no question the razor is an absolute work of art, it's much to unaggressive - far more than even the proverbially gentle Tech. And for way more money. Given that, I'd skip it. As a point of reference, with the same prep and blade I end up with a BBS shave with two passes using the Tech
Grip
5.00 star(s)
Price
2.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
0.00 star(s)
User Friendly
3.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
0.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
3.00 star(s)

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