Wish me luck, I'm headed down another rabbit hole!!! Had my first shave with a recently acquired AutoStrop B2 -- got it from the BST and couldn't be happier with this acquisition!!! A while ago I had picked up a B1 (with a handle) and a VB1/VC1 (without a handle -- still haven't looked closely at it enough to determine if it's a VB1 or a VC1), but neither has been pressed into service yet. After the B2 purchase, I finally took the time to do enough research on how to use a de-spined GEM blade in the AutoStrop's and I'm really glad I did. I had heard positive things about the shaves you get, but I was still surprised at how well this razor did. First let me say that I used a brand-spanking-new GEM SS PTFE blade, which while I'm a fan of these blades, the very first shave tends to be harsh and almost always leaves me with some irritation in my problem areas. But I decided to throw caution to the wind and not use a corked or otherwise "tamed" blade. Despite my devil-may-care approach to the razor blade, I was careful with my technique, and I kept to the familiar with the rest of the hardware/software (i.e., brush [Yaqi Mew Brown Synth] and soap [Arko]). I had just over 48 hours of growth, and after the first pass (WTG), I was shocked at how simultaneously efficient and mild this razor is. Second pass (XTG) I could hear it cutting what was left, but I really had less blade feel than I was expecting. Third pass (ATG), I was whipping this thing around my face like it was a cart, and I still managed to avoid any nicks, bleeders or irritation. Shocked that I was getting a great, but mild feeling shave, I decided to do a clean up pass (although I didn't really need it), and I went for ATG again, except this time focusing on the sensitive areas (Adam's Apple and lower neck). I should've walked away with a ridiculous amount of irritation/razor burn, but instead, I was just smooth -- no irritation, no bumps, no redness. I got DFS-BBS -- no blood, no irritation -- color me both surprised and elated!!! So I'm hooked on AutoStrops. I've got an A1 on the way, and this new B2 has made it into my top 5 razors/shavers. While I'm in love with AutoStrops, the ones that take the GEM blades are really where my interest lies. I haven't heard overly positive things about the Feather Valet blades (SS or Carbon) -- from what I can tell, they are expensive and they don't last very long; this may be a YMMV, but I'm swimming in GEM style blades, so I'm thrilled to have another razor that will help me enjoy them. Here are the pics....the box appears to be coated/sealed brass and copper....it doesn't photograph particularly well, but it is a beauty in it's own right. The razor appears to be silver plated, and while it has a little brassing going on, it still shines up beautifully. Lastly, I love the look of the AutoStrops -- open comb, steam-punk gears, heavy head, and nice handle length.....truly a great razor!!! I'm curious to hear from other AutoStrop users -- especially those using GEM blades -- do you get similar results, or is mine an outlier?