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Beginning to end - my DE journey and search for a RFL

PIF party day 2.

Today was about continued experimentation and using, as best I could, the contents of the PIF from @Chef455.

I wanted to try the open comb today and while I had some stubble, after yesterday's BBS shave, I was not overly well endowed in face fur. Even so, I could not let this PIF weekend end without trying it.

I loaded the open comb Gillette Tech with my existing KCG blade. The blade had about 1 full shave already on it.

The other thing I have never tried is direct application of soap to face, so today I applied the ARKO! directly to my face and with the damp badger brush started to work.

The lather came easy and began to build. One thing I noticed was the badger brush was very soft while working the lather and felt like it was bottoming out (reaching the handle) if I pushed hard. Where a well lathered duckling may have resisted and given out a little quack, the badger brush yielded to pillowey softness all the way to the handle. This was not an issue for me as I don't work my face lather too hard generally but I guess this is what I read about with the backbone of the brush. I am guessing this brush has little backbone, just soft badger all the way down. The brush had more than enough brush to make a nice lather and with the small addition of water from the tips was back to a slick shaving surface again.

The open comb felt nice on the face, a little harder to feel initially where the blade was compared to my safety bar Gillette Tech, but once I had the alignment it was smooth shaving. The blade went well with a bit of blade noise but all smooth cutting.

I was not sure how aggressive the open comb razor would be but it was smooth and after the first pass, no nicks, so I decided I would do a three pass shave today, first two with the open comb and a final with the Rockwell, just because it is a nice razor and I wanted to use it again before the weekend ended. The brush already had enough lather in it for the three passes and possibly a fourth so we were good to go.

Second pass was XTG across the whole face and third pass was all ATG all over with the Rockwell on plate 2. Rockwell against the grain on plate 2 is a lovely experience, smooth and safe, I even went ATG on top lip (couldn't get right under nose) which is something I have rarely done until yesterday and today with the mild plated Rockwell.

Final wash up was smooth and Alum feedback was considerable across the face but with no nicks, weepers or burn.

Final result was mostly BBS with a couple of DFS+ spots. Another lovely shave.

Most of the places I have read about open comb has been where people are looking to shave through multiple days of growth or beard, allowing the comb to do its thing in the longer hair. So I am not sure that I used the open comb to its maximum advantage but it was a lovely shave none the less.

The more I use the Gillette Techs, my own and now the open comb, the more I am impressed at how this mass produced razor is so simple and effective. Although I am now also loving the bigger heavier and far more substantial Rockwell and the adjustment it gives.

The final question is what will I carry forward and what will I go back to. I am not leaving the badger brush, that is continuing with me now. I now have a new level of slickness that I will try to get my Tabac soap up to. If not I may have to switch to Arko! but the Tabac has been good to me and I will give another few chances. For a fair blade test I will go back to the KCG razor as well, I find it perfectly acceptable however, I am looking forward to the end of the balde test when I can start testing blades in different razors now more than ever. I also know that for special events I can fire up the Rockwell and get a safe smooth BBS using the range of adjustment it provides.

Thank you @Chef455, without you none of this would have been possible. I am truly thankful for your generosity and you have elevated my shaving experience and knowledge no end in this short time. Thanks.

Happy shaving all.
Excellent report as always @PersistentlyBlunt !

Just a small clarification. There is technically no open combed Tech. They were the first mass produced Gillette 3 piece solid bar razor

I think what you have there as your first OC example is a late version Gillette Old. It looks to be an example of
They are an excellent and efficient shaver, and if you starting with an OC, probably a member of the original Old family is the ideal place to start!

These are often found in the wild detached from their original sets, and are still pleasantly available if you are lucky enough to be in the US.

If I have the wrong model ID, please chime in.
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I think what you have there as your first OC example is a late version Gillette Old.
I think you are correct @Alum Ladd. The picture looks exactly like what I shaved with, thank you.
if you are lucky enough to be in the US.
Or lucky enough to have someone like @Chef455 in the US send you one.

Is there a way to tell the year? There doesn't appear to be a date code or serial number.

I am even more honored to think the razor I used today could be over 100 years old and still shaving well.

Thank you.
Okay, back to our regular programming.

A-Best day 2.

It feels like a liftime ago that I did the first A-Best test on the KCG razor, barely visible through the haze of two ARKO! lathers. But this morning's shave was like putting on an old pair of jeans, familiar and comfortable, only slightly better because I still used the badger brush.

Shave prep was hot shower and splash of water on face, I loaded the badger brush with Tabac soap in the Tabac container and then face lathered. The badger really soaks up the soap and water. Where my old synthetic would have been dripping and coated in foam the badger just broadens out and holds it all in, a bit like my youngest son when he has something he is afraid to tell me, then with some gentle persuasion it all comes out bit by bit.

The lather was good, slick but nowhere near the Arko!. I understand Tabac now has an old and new formula, old using tallow and new not using tallow. I also understand Arko! uses tallow in its formulation. I was not sure whether I had the old or new Tabac as I threw out the box the glass jar came in and there are no ingredients lists on the glass jar. I think I may be able to guess which one I have now, but being fairly new to this thing I may be way off as well.

The blade was not as smooth as I remember, no real feel of tugging, just not a smooth feel. There was lots of blade noise and the shaving felt mild and safe, no feeling of a sharp blade on the edge of biting.

Shave was the usual two pass, first WTG and second across the grain on face and ATG under jaw and on neck.

Final result gave me minimal Alum feedback and was a solid SAS but not quite a DFS, probably not even a DFS--. Some significant patches with light stubble feel (under sideburns and along jawline), with the rest okay but not smooth in the direction of shaving.

Day 3 of the testing will be key for this blade, I think it is going dull and suspect tomorrow's shave will not be great. Today's shave did not feel like it was sharp, no tugging but just not smoothly cutting.

Happy shaving all.
A-Best day 3.

Yesterday afternoon I was disappointed with my face, for a number of reasons, but in particular because the stubble was significant and it was a reminder of how bad the shave had been. I was so disappointed that I was wondering if I gave this blade another go today. I had to be fair, I may have been clouded by the glorious shaving over the weekend. So I kept it loaded in the KCG razor and started out.

Same prep of hot shower, splash of water and Tabac soap face lathered. On the Tabac soap, I checked the website of the place I bought it from and the ingredients listed include Tallowate derivatives. This would imply it was formulated with tallow. I have emailed the suppliers to see if this is actually correct. It is sounding more and more like user issues rather than product, who'd have thought.

The blade was again very loud as it shaved, but again not tugging or feeling like it was pulling, still not what I would say is smooth either but not bad. The lather felt good as well, better than I remember from yesterday, but still did not have the wow of the Arko!.

Standard two pass shave WTG all over on first pass and XTG on face and ATG under jawline and on neck for the second.

Rinse on the first pass felt okay, not as bad as yesterday but still some stubble. Rinse after second pass felt very smooth. Alum feedback was not excessive but some tingling all over.

After wash up and witch hazel application the final result was a solid DFS possibly even DFS+. A great improvement from yesterday.

I am wondering if the Tabac and the A-Best blade heard me contemplating switching them out and put in a better effort today. Either way the blade has earnt a day four and has redeemed itself so far from relegation to the bottom grade.

Happy shaving all.

PS: While drafting this post I got a response from the Tabac retailer who confirmed the soap I have does not have any tallow derivatives. Maybe the user issues are reducing, maybe.
A-Best day 4.

My name is Persistently Blunt and I have a problem. It has been 1 hour since I thought about shaving with Arko!.

The bigger problem is that it has been 4 hours since I did.

Yes, the prep for today's shave was slightly different to the previous shaves in that I used Arko! not Tabac. The blade had already made it to 4 days, it was out of the relegate pile to the maybe some day pile and I was not going to raise it higher as there were some not great shaves in the first 2 days. So it was a free hit, so why not use Arko!?

Anyway, today's shave was a nice smooth shave. Standard shave in all other respects. There was a lot less blade noise today. After the first pass, rinse felt like there was stubble still but after second pass all felt nice and smooth. Another DFS.

Alum feedback was more than normal but nothing major and there were no nicks, burn or weepers.

The question is do I move on with Arko! or stay with Tabac? 🤔 The scientist in me says I have to stay with Tabac for there to be any meaning to the tests and I probably should repeat today's shave with Tabac to remove the already tainted testing. The pragmatist in me says you are more likely to shave with Arko! in the future, may as well see what the blades are like with that, but also you still have half a tub of Tabac to use so ...

I am Persistently Blunt and I have a problem. It has been 1 minute since I thought about shaving with Arko!.

Happy shaving all.
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Day 1 Willy's Premium.


Another blade that I have not read a lot about, although the one review I read was positive. Nothing special to report about the blade, double wrapped standard.

Preparation today was the standard shower, splash of water in face and Tabac soap lathered on face. I decided that consistency is best and it is a goal to improve my technique with the Tabac lather until the tub runs dry. On that I took longer working on my face lather today and adding water until it got sloppy. I ended up with a nice smooth shave. Some residual slickness on rinse off.

The blade felt very smooth from the start. Very little blade noise, it was there, but only just. The blade did not feel overly sharp and I safely shaved over the lumps and bumps on my chin without fear. Shave felt okay after second rinse, alum feedback was light but picked up in a couple of patches. Two really small weepers that disappeared after alum treatment.

The final result was good, I would say a DFS just. When assessing the final shaves, I feel like I am just splitting hairs at times. ;) Really, most of the shaves I am getting now are far better than I usually got with cartridge. But at the same time I feel that the better blades will shave close on the first pass, while the good but not excellent blades, if compared after one pass, would be clearly different. I am wondering if two passes covers some of the deficiencies in the okay blades and benefits the excellent blades less.

My definition of a DFS is, I think the same as the B&B dictionary, smooth in the directions shaved with no stubble feel and minimal stubble feel in the directions not shaved. While today's shave is smooth in the directions shaved with no stubble feel, it is not BBS in the directions shaved. While some of my better blades have felt near BBS in the directions shaved despite slight stubble feel in the directions not shaved. Rating of BBS for a complete shave is only if it is BBS in all directions AFAIK. That is how I am rating anyway.

Sorry for the extra words just needed to clear that up in my mind.

A good start for the Willy's, look forward to see how they hold up for the coming days.

Happy shaving all.
Day 2 Willy's Premium.

I think I was on autopilot this morning. My prep was the same with shower and splash of water, Tabac soap face lathered (I am still getting better with this as well, working it more on the face gave me a great lather this morning). Same shave with first pass WTG all over and second pass XTG on face and cheeks and ATG on neck and under jawline.

The blade was smooth again and I can't remember there being significant if any blade noise, some blade feel, not much noise. But as I say, I think I was on autopilot going through the shave. I remember shaving around my main lump on my chin and going over the top of it, no claret just smooth.

Final wash-up felt smooth and I had no weepers, burn or nicks. Alum feedback was non-existant.

The result is probably a DFS-, really close but not as smooth as required in all areas for a DFS. Is that a bad thing? In trying to think about how this blade shaved today I am struggling to remember. I was possibly on autopilot and not paying attention sufficiently, but also the blade gave me a smooth comfortable better than SAS shave without me thinking about it.

On the results, is it my best blade? No, as there are just as smooth and closer shaving blades I have tried. But as a blade to have and use regularly when extreme closeness is not required it is, so far, a solid little performer. It was also a cheap blade so if the results hold up over the next two days it could be a solid, cheap, good performing blade. Not bad traits for a blade.

I am looking forward to tomorrow's shave to see what more this blade can do.

Happy shaving all.
Reads like resounding success to me.
I agree, the only thing is it may not be the most efficient blade for me. I like a close shave for work daily. I have had other blades get closer. But on non-work days as a safe perfomer it is so far a great little blade and if I see some on special I may pick a few up to have on hand.

I also have not done any testing with more aggressive razors. I, thanks to @Chef455, now have a Rockwell 6c and trying this blade in a more aggressive razor may get the extra closeness I need.

If it holds out for the full four days it will definitely be at the upper end of my blade trial results.
Which of your razors are you using these days @PersistentlyBlunt ? Have you gone back to the KCG to minimize the variables?
I am back to the KCG to minimise variables, but the Rockwell and my Tech sit there goading me to switch... just for one shave ... what's it going to hurt ... try the Arko! as well ...

Once I am through the blade testing I think the Rockwell is going to be getting a lot of time, I really enjoyed shaving with it and suspect I will have a range of good to great blades, like the Willy's, that may need to be tried in more aggressive razors. Also, as I get into the sharper range there are likely to be blades that would do well in a milder head as well.

I had a more formal dinner to go to last night, which may be why I was on autopilot this morning, but I did contemplate having a second shave before heading out. Unfortunately my shaves now are such that in the evening I was still fine and socially acceptable, but the Rockwell would probably come out for this type of occasion as well to re-live the safe and BBS three pass I had with it. Being able to have aggressive to normal to milder all in the one razor was great for a safe three pass.

Many years ago I went to school with a guy who at the age of 16 could shave in the morning and have the beginnings of a beard by lunch time. I always felt sorry for him having to shave so much, now I wish I could maybe grow enough for at least two shaves a day, then I could continue the testing and have some fun. Not that the testing isn't also fun ... you know what I mean. :facep:
Go back to the original Gillette blade that came w your razor......those are one of the best of all......smooth, sharp and long lasting.....the only con: very expensive.
I agree they are a great blade. I did use the KCG blade initially and it was good. I also loaded the KCG blade into my Tech to try that and it performed well. The cost though is prohibitive IMHO.

I have only purchased one pack of 100 blades and that is BIC Chrome Platinum. The reason I purchased them is because I could not find a BIC blade in any sample pack and the 100 BIC blades were $16 AUD including delivery, if I oreder regularly the price drops to $14 per 100. I paid $14 AUD for the 10 KCG blades which started me down this rabbit hole. If the KCG in my future testing can last 10 times as long as the BIC and are equal or better feel for the whole time then they may be worth it. But at $1.40 per blade there are a lot of other blades that may not require the same investment.

The Willy's tested today which gave an perfectly acceptable shave were $1.50 for a tuck of 11 blades.

I haven't tried the BIC Chrome Platinum yet as it is the sharpest rated blade (over multiple shaves) so will likely be my last test. If it is a terrible performer I'll have a few tucks of BIC blades to sell if anyone is interested I can do a great price!
Day 3 Willy's Premium.

I was a bit more awake this morning and preparation was the same, shower, splash of hot water and face lather Tabac. Lather was really good nice and smooth. Still didn't have the super slick Arko! layer but was a good protective lather.

There was a lot more blade noise today, it had been a very quiet blade until today. I was concerned it may be getting a bit dull but there was no tugging or pulling and it happily sliced its way through my stubble.

Alum feedback was a tingling in places but no major stinging. Final result was a solid DFS+ a great shave and left my face very smooth, very nearly a BBS.

This blade seems to get better and better, a great blade and if it holds out for day 4 will be a definite keeper.

Happy shaving all.
Day 4 Willy's Premium.

I have a confession to make, today I did not follow the same process as normal. I gave in to my desires and today I shaved with the Rockwell and used Arko! soap. There, I have said it, and will do my penance. But oh what a nice shave it was and I regret nothing!

The Willy's is a nice blade and given the clean smooth shave I had yesterday it was in to the great blade list so it had nothing more to prove today other than longevity. So I thought I would give it a try in a more aggressive razor and loaded it into the Rockwell on plate 4.

If I am going to do something for which I need to repent I may as well go all the way so I also lathered up with Arko!.

The shave was nice and smooth, the blade did not feel too aggressive in the rockwell and the Arko! gave a slick surface for the shave. Standard two pass and I left the blade on plate 4 for both passes as it felt good.

Blade noise was not significant again the blade had no issues slicing through the stubble. Final wash-up was smooth and alum provided some feedback but not significant.

Result was a solid DFS with close to BBS on cheeks and face. A great shave and the blade did not feel like it was getting dull, pulling or tugging.

A great shave and a great little blade.

Tomorrow we begin more of the name brands starting with:

Happy shaving everyone.


Head Cheese Head Chef
Plate #4 was my preference for the 6c. I don't think there's anything sinful about changing up your routine @PersistentlyBlunt . I understand you're committed to finding your RFL and the razor blades that compliment it the best. But if you're finding the Rockwell to your liking, I say roll with it. The King C is a fine razor, and I'm glad that it is readily available and hopefully spreading DE joy across the universe but it's not a spectacular razor by any means.

Regardless, I still enjoy reading your entries and appreciate your comments on the forums. Now throw a Feather in the 6c with plate #4 & lather up some Arko! with the badger. After that we'll talk.

Happy shaves!
Day 1 Lord Cool.

The biggest decision for today was what to shave with and what soap to use. Consistency is good but the thread is razor for life so I probably should be trying razors as well. 🤔 @Chef455 has been good to me so far so he wouldn't set me wrong would he?

Despite the challenge @Chef455, I don't think I am brave enough just yet for the Feather blade, we'll talk later. But I did go to the Rockwell and Arko! for today. Rockwell on plate 4 again. Hot shower and splash of water prep and Arko! face lathered with the badger brush.

The Lord Cool blade was smooth with a little bit of blade noise. There was no issue with tugging or pulling or any ragged day one issues like I have had in the past with some other blades.

The shave felt safe even on the more aggressive setting. I can also say my technique is very consistent from side to side. I believe the larger Rockwell head and more open blade caused me to nick the bottom of my earlobe on my right hand side. I promptly did exactly the same thing on the other side, same place, same motion, same size of nick. So I have no issue with left to right consistency of technique that I can see.

Other than the two small nicks no other burn or weepers and alum feedback was minimal all over (other than under the ears).

Result was a DFS but only a DFS (which is still great by the way).

I also added a half pass to this shave, under my jaw and on my neck usually get WTG and ATG passes. This gives a good shave but does leave some stubble feel if I run my hand from under ear to throat. So today with a lot of lather (thanks Arko!) left in the brush I lathered under my jaw and neck and did a XTG from ear to throat on both sides. This has left under the jaw and neck near BBS.

Another great shave from the Rockwell and Arko! combination.

Happy shaving all.


Head Cheese Head Chef
At least you ears match... If I had a nickle for every time I've clipped a dang earlobe when shaving I'd be a few dollars richer. DFS is the bar for me. I never chase the BBS anymore. Once in a while I meander into a BBS shave when the stars align properly, but chasing it just results in irritation.

Great write up as always @PersistentlyBlunt !
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