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ATT M1 vs. FEATHER AS-D2 - Six week experiment [pics in next msg]

As someone who has sensitive skin and mild to moderate beard hair, these seemed like the premium choices for me. Because of my sensitive skin, I had a suspicion that the AS-D2 would be ideal. (I had been shaving mostly with Merkur 34C and it's variants for awhile and Fusion cartridges before switching to DE). [FYI, my skin is so sensitive, that I can get facial reactions to various creams/soaps/chemicals from shaving that can get out of control, so my Doc has given me a couple of steroidal creams if this happens again.]

The Examination: Both are beautifully crafted from stainless steel. Both have a bar. Both have 0.25 mm of blade exposure (pretty mild on the B&B scale). They both bend the blade, although the M1 seems to bend/curve the blade a little more (or so it appears to me from eyeballing it). The bar of the Feather is further out -- If you look at them, you can see daylight through the AS-D2's gap looking down on the head. It's also possible that the bar is differently shaped or positioned relative to the blade as well, so there are many subtleties that can account for different shaves. Also, the AS-D2 is smooth along the edge, but the M1 still has some of the scallops that many open comb safety razors have. (I never really felt these scallops as I do with the M2, so it's hard to say if this makes much difference for the M1.)


I cannot do a left/right comparison on a single shave because the two sides of my face shave differently. My own grain goes approximately up-to-down and left-to-right and generally 80% of my rough marks, nicks, and blotches appear on the right side of my face. Therefore for testing, I just switched from day to day or, more commonly, several days with one and then several days with the other.


I initially started both razors with Feather blades. I felt that the Feather AS-D2 was designed for and deserved a Feather blade. I found the M1 was more aggressive relative to the AS-D2. After going through two blades each (about three shaves per blade), I switched to the Astra blades that came with the M1 for the M1 but kept the Feather blades in the Feather, figuring that the designers of these two razors had selected a blade to ship with their razor that they thought was best matched. So for all the subsequent comparison, that's what I did. The Astra definitely made the M1 less aggressive, but the M1 with Astra still required slightly fewer passes than the AS-D2. (I ended up preferring the Astra over Feather blades in the M1, but I never made a blade switch in the Feather AS-D2.]


I tried both with different handles, even using the 10.3 oz beast, S5, which made the AS-D2 slightly more aggressive. I tried all three ATT handles. I ultimately preferred the handle that came with the AS-D2 over all the others I tried on the AS-D2 as being the right balance of heftiness, leverage, and maneuverability. I ultimately preferred the Kronos on the M1 for similar reasons. The Kronos handle on the M1 makes for a fair and similar comparison I felt (the Kronos is a tad bit heavier but seems to feel comparable for a comparison since the M1 head is a tiny bit heavier than the AS-D2). So for the last two-three weeks of back and forth, I've used the Kronos handle on the M1 and the Feather handle on the AS-D2.


When seeking BBS, both have some tendency to end up doing so many passes over a difficult spot that you end up with red blotches and stinging alum bar -- then I would realize that I had been over those spots from multiple directions several times. Like any razor, you need to learn the balance of passes; how much XTG and ATG and where on your face you can do XTG or ATG. On average, I got fewer red blotches and next to no nicks, and no weepy scrapes on the Feather AS-D2. But by the end of the 5-6 weeks, I was getting only a few alum bar burns on my neck using either razor.

The M1 is a little smoother/efficient on that first pass when you haven't shaved for a day. But the difference is small. I'd guess that those with heavier beards might find the M1 to be more efficient depending on the blade choice.


The AS-D2 is somewhat more refined in how you feel stubble in a spot and then make that third or fourth targeted pass on your troublesome patches without getting razor burn. If you use two razors for shaving, the AS-D2 might be ideal as your touch up or later-pass razor.


The AS-D2 is more forgiving while the M1 has slightly more learning curve to get the feel of how to work it around your face. Depending on your ability to afford it, the AS-D2 might be considered as an ideal razor to start with for DE if you are coming from the world of long handled cartridges. If you just drag the AS-D2 around your face like a cartridge razor, you will, believe it or not, get a decent shave without ripping off any skin, but not nearly as good as developing proper technique.

There are a lot of subtle differences in technique with these two razors, but I find it difficult to describe technically. The angles around my face (esp jaw) required different activity. You have to use your intuition, feel your face, and use the razor to get the shave you want.


One way I'd characterize the difference is that they are similar razors, but the bar of the M1 ends up being more subtle, whereas the bar of the AS-D2 plays a bigger role. This would also account for my general observation that the ATT razors have a milder bar so that the H1 vs. H2, the R1 vs. R2, the M1 vs. M2, and S1 vs. S2 are not wildly different experiences as the differences elsewhere in the DE razor realm.


Another way to characterize the difference is that the AS-D2 is one of the finest razors ever made, but it just takes "less bite at a time."


Another characterization is that the AS-D2 might be the ideal all-purpose razor for a vacation -- vacation being a time where you end up shaving before dinner, but after having an afternoon cocktail. The AS-D2 might be more forgiving at that crucial time when your coordination is reduced.:001_smile YMMV.


Despite all the above discussion, both are fantastic, beautiful razors. Either can give you whatever type of shave you are looking for. There was no "knockout" for me. Both remain in my "rotation."

[Will try putting the pics in next message]


AJ
 
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My try at inserting the pics... The ATT M1 is always on the left.
$2015-01-23 07.00.39-2.jpg $IMG_0005.jpg $IMG_0008.jpg $IMG_0010.jpg $IMG_0014.jpg
Last picture appears to show that the head/base plate of the ATT M1 is wider, but that's just an illusion of the position for the pic where the ATT M1 is sitting up a little higher in its stand while the AS-D2 is balancing by itself. The head of the AS-D2 actually appears to be a little wider to me (thus reflecting it's somewhat flatter blade and bar that is more pronounced).
 
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Nice write-up! Very exhaustive, thanks for sharing this info. :thumbup:

I love my M1, it's gives me a great 2-pass shave every time without worries.
 
Great write up, AJ!

I enjoyed in particular this description:

...Another way to characterize the difference is that the AS-D2 is one of the finest razors ever made, but it just takes "less bite at a time."
I'm going to watch this thread closely for other peoples opinions on these two razor, but for now your review was brilliant & very helpful.
 
I have both too. I agree with review:
"both are fantastic, beautiful razors. Either can give you whatever type of shave you are looking for. There was no "knockout" for me. Both remain in my "rotation."
 
I find the AS-D2 an oddly difficult razor. I've had more nicks with it in a month than I had in my previous 3 years of DE shaving. I use a very shallow angle with it, and it removes hair very well...but it will remove any old scars with equal ease. None of the nicks have bled much - usually stop by the time I've finished shaving. But if I let the razor go to slightly steeper angles, my shaves go to hell and I cannot get a decent shave with it. With the handle at 75 deg, I can get BBS. With it at 60 or slightly less, a SAS is as good as I get. The first week I used it, I nearly put it up for sale as giving shaves no better than dragging a credit card across my face.

However, it is the first razor I've owned that gives me a BBS on the upper lip without cuts. I use Derby blades, and it will get my cheeks polished smooth. And like most razors, it requires no pressure to get a very smooth shave. If I add pressure, all I'm doing is creating pain. It will not shave me any closer by adding pressure.

The bar plays almost no role for me when I use the AS-D2. If I can feel the bar, I'm probably back into getting a PPS - Pee-Poor Shave.

Thank you for the post. I've been debating buying either an M2 or S2 from ATT. I may go for the S2.
 
I wouldn't add pressure.

I do sense that the optimum angle for using the AS-D2 is a little different than what many might fall into. It's easy to fall into using the AS-D2 with a drag. [I get confused sometimes when people use angles. I'm not sure what angles they are referring to.] If you put the handle perpendicular to the skin and then just reduce it just far enough that you get "shaving" action, that's where you want to be. Unlike other razors, you can reduce the AS-D2's angle further without it being so noticeable. Needless to say, experimentation is key.

AJ

I find the AS-D2 an oddly difficult razor. I've had more nicks with it in a month than I had in my previous 3 years of DE shaving. I use a very shallow angle with it, and it removes hair very well...but it will remove any old scars with equal ease. None of the nicks have bled much - usually stop by the time I've finished shaving. But if I let the razor go to slightly steeper angles, my shaves go to hell and I cannot get a decent shave with it. With the handle at 75 deg, I can get BBS. With it at 60 or slightly less, a SAS is as good as I get. The first week I used it, I nearly put it up for sale as giving shaves no better than dragging a credit card across my face.

However, it is the first razor I've owned that gives me a BBS on the upper lip without cuts. I use Derby blades, and it will get my cheeks polished smooth. And like most razors, it requires no pressure to get a very smooth shave. If I add pressure, all I'm doing is creating pain. It will not shave me any closer by adding pressure.

The bar plays almost no role for me when I use the AS-D2. If I can feel the bar, I'm probably back into getting a PPS - Pee-Poor Shave.

Thank you for the post. I've been debating buying either an M2 or S2 from ATT. I may go for the S2.
 
Incidentally, I have a theory about Feather blades not lasting as long. I noticed that sometimes the pull and roughness from blade degradation came as early as middle of third shave on the AS-D2. My theory is that the AS-D2 contributes to that by taking smaller bites out of your beard which each pass, so that after three shaves, you've done as much cutting action as another razor might have created after 3.5-4.0 shaves. Anyway, it's just a theory and I don't care if blades only last three shaves.

AJ
 

ackvil

Moderator
Incidentally, I have a theory about Feather blades not lasting as long. I noticed that sometimes the pull and roughness from blade degradation came as early as middle of third shave on the AS-D2. My theory is that the AS-D2 contributes to that by taking smaller bites out of your beard which each pass, so that after three shaves, you've done as much cutting action as another razor might have created after 3.5-4.0 shaves. Anyway, it's just a theory and I don't care if blades only last three shaves.

AJ
For me it does not matter what razor I use Feather blades in. Two good shaves and then down hill.

I don't have an ATT M1 but do have the S1 and 2 as well as the Feather. They are two beautiful razors.
 
Also, rsinaz, you might light a mild open comb DE razor. M2 would be a good candidate.


I find the AS-D2 an oddly difficult razor. I've had more nicks with it in a month than I had in my previous 3 years of DE shaving. I use a very shallow angle with it, and it removes hair very well...but it will remove any old scars with equal ease. None of the nicks have bled much - usually stop by the time I've finished shaving. But if I let the razor go to slightly steeper angles, my shaves go to hell and I cannot get a decent shave with it. With the handle at 75 deg, I can get BBS. With it at 60 or slightly less, a SAS is as good as I get. The first week I used it, I nearly put it up for sale as giving shaves no better than dragging a credit card across my face.

However, it is the first razor I've owned that gives me a BBS on the upper lip without cuts. I use Derby blades, and it will get my cheeks polished smooth. And like most razors, it requires no pressure to get a very smooth shave. If I add pressure, all I'm doing is creating pain. It will not shave me any closer by adding pressure.

The bar plays almost no role for me when I use the AS-D2. If I can feel the bar, I'm probably back into getting a PPS - Pee-Poor Shave.

Thank you for the post. I've been debating buying either an M2 or S2 from ATT. I may go for the S2.
 
I've heard that too. It's consistent with the view that Feather blades get their sharpness at the expense of creating a thinner or more vulnerable edge that doesn't hold up as long; so maybe there's a tradeoff in blade technology of sharpness at that level with durability.

For me it does not matter what razor I use Feather blades in. Two good shaves and then down hill.

I don't have an ATT M1 but do have the S1 and 2 as well as the Feather. They are two beautiful razors.
 
Excellent write up. This is a common question that is asked here and until now the response is pretty much the ATT razor is a little more aggressive then the Feather and nothing more information wise. This will be a nice reference for those choosing between the two.

Very well done. Thank you.
 
I also have the S1 and S2 and I suspect those might be my ultimate favorites . I particularly like the mild slant angle. However, I'm working my way through the ATT ladder of razors at a leisurely pace.

For me it does not matter what razor I use Feather blades in. Two good shaves and then down hill.

I don't have an ATT M1 but do have the S1 and 2 as well as the Feather. They are two beautiful razors.
 
The first time I shaved with the AS-D2 I thought it was pretty bad. I "lather-planed" quite a bit, which annoyed me. So much so that for the second shave, I replaced the baseplate with that of the iKon Deluxe OC. This created a quite aggressive razor and I had a satisfying shave.

The next day I went back to the Feather AS-D2 as it was meant to be used and was very suprised to get a really nice, close, comfortable DFS in two passes plus touch-up. Ever since, I have had no problems getting smooth, comfortable shaves in two passes. The technique/angle for the Feather is slightly different, but once I figured it out, it became easy and seemed intuitive.

I don't believe that it is as mild as people say it is, nor do I believe that it requires more passes than other razors. I believe it is a technique issue, and that if you get the technique figured out, it can shave you very closely just like any other razor.

It's beautiful, elegant, and perfectly balanced. I really like it.
 
I initially started both razors with Feather blades. I felt that the Feather AS-D2 was designed for and deserved a Feather blade.

After going through two blades each (about three shaves per blade), I switched to the Astra blades that came with the M1 for the M1 but kept the Feather blades in the Feather, figuring that the designers of these two razors had selected a blade to ship with their razor that they thought was best matched.
While the DE plays a role, blade selection is really a matter of the individual.

I've received some terrible blades with DE's where the same DE's performed very well with other blades. For the purposes of this comparison I can understand the selections used but never assume that a blade that is included with a DE is a best fit.
 
In addition to the Astra SP, the Gillette 7 O'Clock Yellows are highly recommended for the ATT razors as well.
 
Kingfisher, you make a great point. The AS-D2 changes to a much milder razor if you just lower the angle a little. You can see how that would push its prominent bar out some more. I was guilty of this quite a bit. It's like the AS-D2 has two sweet spots:


1.) one with a more aggressive angle where the bar barely touches the skin -- while still moderate, a relatively more aggressive cut; and

2. ) one where the bar is riding along the skin as part of the razor -- a very moderate shave.

The first time I shaved with the AS-D2 I thought it was pretty bad. I "lather-planed" quite a bit, which annoyed me. So much so that for the second shave, I replaced the baseplate with that of the iKon Deluxe OC. This created a quite aggressive razor and I had a satisfying shave.

The next day I went back to the Feather AS-D2 as it was meant to be used and was very suprised to get a really nice, close, comfortable DFS in two passes plus touch-up. Ever since, I have had no problems getting smooth, comfortable shaves in two passes. The technique/angle for the Feather is slightly different, but once I figured it out, it became easy and seemed intuitive.

I don't believe that it is as mild as people say it is, nor do I believe that it requires more passes than other razors. I believe it is a technique issue, and that if you get the technique figured out, it can shave you very closely just like any other razor.

It's beautiful, elegant, and perfectly balanced. I really like it.
 
Hi AJ,

Thanks for posting this in-depth comparison. For shavers wanting a high-end mild razor ... these are the two that come up most often.

Your skin sounds somewhat similar to mine (I've actually ended up shaving with just water from a misting bottle ... no soap, cream, or oil as they all either irritate my skin or make me break out like like I'm 30 years younger). I also really like my ATT M1, but in the end, steep angle shaving (pivoting on the safety bar, with the handle more parallel to the skin) with my H1 baseplate has proven to provide my best shave by shaving in fewer passes, and getting a very good result without having to shave ATG. For me, the benefit of steep angle is especially significant on my neck. If you have an H1 or H2 in your set, I'd be curious to see if the steep angle works well for you too.

Cheers,
Shawn
 
I tested my alternative new hypothesis about the Feather this morning. The prevailing wisdom (and my previous testing above) seems to be that the AS-D2 has a wide sweet spot and requires more passes for a given level of cutting. So this morning, I tested my idea about the two sweet spots by carefully using the feather at only the sharpest angle I could (handle closer to perpendicular to the skin) so that the bar of the closed comb barely or rarely touched the skin. If I erred in angle, it was just too perpendicular and I pushed the lather with no abrasion at all and could then could just repeat over the same spot with no harm. I concentrated very hard on just this. Amazingly, I got 75% of my shaving done on the first pass and my second pass was just touch up! [my first pass always mixes a little partial XTG with WTG/] I had a BBS shave without irritation and the AS-D2 had performed very efficiently! I will try this some more and compare to a slightly softer angle where the bar drags a bit on the skin and see if my hypothesis is confirmed that the reputed lack of efficiency of the AS-D2 is largely due to the angle bringing the bar into play. The acid test will be a shave after 2-3 days to see if the AS-D2 can, in this mode, match the efficiency of the M1.

Kingfisher, you make a great point. The AS-D2 changes to a much milder razor if you just lower the angle a little. You can see how that would push its prominent bar out some more. I was guilty of this quite a bit. It's like the AS-D2 has two sweet spots:


1.) one with a more aggressive angle where the bar barely touches the skin -- while still moderate, a relatively more aggressive cut; and

2. ) one where the bar is riding along the skin as part of the razor -- a very moderate shave.
 
Very interesting post Shawn. Your skin may be even more sensitive than mine. I've found several soaps and creams that I can stand, but a lot of them and a lot of normal bathroom products set off reactions on my facial skin. My allergy tests show I'm even got various degrees of allergy to about a half dozen emulsifiers/emollients that are in the creamy products in the bathroom. A soap I'd recommend for either face, body, or shaving that seems the most mild on my skin is Shea Moisture's "Raw Shea Butter Soap"

http://www.amazon.com/Shea-Moisture...1423667602&sr=8-2&keywords=shea+moisture+soap

I originally got this for a mild face soap before shaving, but discovered it lathers well and is good for everything and is truly moisturizing. I even went to the company's web site to look and make sure it was really a soap because it was so mild on my skin. [FYI, IMO, stick to their block soaps as SM's other products are not good or not as good.]

One thing I have been experimenting on recently is to use actual cold pressed oils on my skin (a little rubbed in - both body and face) rather than the products that might or might not have these oils in them -- almond Oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, cocoa oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, shea butter oil, avocado oil, apricot oil etc. For thousands of years in the middle east oils have been used for cleansing skin - an anathema idea to my thinking for the many years that I had acne where everyone preached the opposite. I've found a few oils that irritate my skin and a number which do not. If you can find one that works for you, you'll be better off doing this before shaving with your water.

Back to your original point... I like your idea of protecting sensitive skin by finding the most efficient razor/blade/technique. The opposite thinking being to use a very mild razor (and make extra passes) so you don't irritate your skin. I doubt if I'll ever end up using the ATT H2 or the Muhle R41, but I get your drift. I'll probably end up with the ATT S1 or S2, but we shall see...

Regards,

AJ

Hi AJ,

Thanks for posting this in-depth comparison. For shavers wanting a high-end mild razor ... these are the two that come up most often.

Your skin sounds somewhat similar to mine (I've actually ended up shaving with just water from a misting bottle ... no soap, cream, or oil as they all either irritate my skin or make me break out like like I'm 30 years younger). I also really like my ATT M1, but in the end, steep angle shaving (pivoting on the safety bar, with the handle more parallel to the skin) with my H1 baseplate has proven to provide my best shave by shaving in fewer passes, and getting a very good result without having to shave ATG. For me, the benefit of steep angle is especially significant on my neck. If you have an H1 or H2 in your set, I'd be curious to see if the steep angle works well for you too.

Cheers,
Shawn
 
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