What's new
  • Welcome back Guest!
    If you have been away from our site you may have to request a new password. Simply click on the link for "lost" password in the log in page.
    Thank you.
  • Guest
    The BST is now open, please note the changes in our guidelines to address the recent fraudulent activity. Ensure you read the guidelines prior to creating a sale thread in the Buy-Sell-Trade forum with special attention to the new photo and payment requirements.
    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Challenge PIF - Astra Superior Stainless Blades - Then And Now

lancre

Contributor
Yesterday got away from me, so two shaves, #4 & #5, to report today.

Associated gear:

Maggard 22mm 2-band badgers, one original, one in a Whipped Dog handle.
PDP 63
Alum
Thayer's WH Toner
Nivea Men Sensitive PSB

Results:

Round 1: Edge to CZE
Shave #1 (NDC Tech) Astra CZE 8.5/10
Shave #2 ( I1 Tech) Astra RUS 8.0/10

Round 2: Edge to RUS
Shave #3 (I1 Tech) Astra CZE 8.0/10
Shave #4 (NDC Tech) Astra RUS 8.5/10


Two Fat Handle Techs to minimize the differences caused by the razor but the it's the razor that seemed to make the biggest
difference. Blades tied after two rounds.

Round 3:
Shave #5 (Stirling Aggressive head) Astra CZE 9.0/10
Best shave so far. Almost a BBS, but there were a couple of spots on my neck where running my fingertips ATG, I could feel a minuscule difference in texture rather than feeling actual stubble.
Shave #6 (Maggard V3A head) Astra RUS
 
Shave #2 with modern. Setup was a Fatboy at a 3 and Captains Choice Nor’easter.

The modern didn’t impress me in the Mamba 70 on shave 1, but it was great today. The shave was close, comfortable, and irritation free. I don’t know if it was changing the razor or if the blade smithed out for shave 2, but I really enjoyed it.

I can’t pick a round 2 winner—too close to call.
 
Today I started shaving my entire face with one blade and will alternate the blades every day. I started with my Homelike Start with the 1.18 SB plate loaded with the modern Astra. the shave went extremely well. WTG was very comfortable and efficient without adjusting the angle at any time. ATG was the same. I could have stopped at that point to just do minor touch up, but I went and did the usual XTG pass along the jaw line and under the chin. I think this was the smoothest and most efficient shave so far with the modern Astra. I was not expecting this with one of my most aggressive razors, but maybe that was what the Astra needed to really perform well.

Tomorrow night, I have the vintage Astra loaded in my Carbon CX with the ++ base plate. We shall see if how the vintage Astra performs with another aggressive razor.
 


Second shave with the Astra Superior Stainless (Vintage) blade #1

Razor
: Fatip Lo Storto Originale (aka FOCS)
Brush: Yaqi Aqua 24mm Tuxedo
Soap: Vitos Classic Eucalyptus and Lanolin

A top-notch performance from the reliable Yaqi Aqua Tuxedo/Vitos Classic pairing perfectly complemented an exceptionally smooth and comfortable outing by the FOCS/vintage Astra SS duo.

All three of my usual passes were quick and effortless. The slight tugginess experienced during this blade's first use on April 29 has disappeared and the ATG and XTG passes were still trouble-free, as before. Only some minor buffing was needed along the jawline; a major change from the excessive buffing needed earlier.

Therefore, as suspected, smoothness, comfort, and efficiency have all increased as the blade's coating wears down. We'll see if the improved performance is maintained on successive shaves.

Tomorrow: The modern Astra SS again.
 
Today was shave 3 with the vintage. Setup was Mamba 70 and Captain's Choice Nor'easter.

The shave was comfortable with no irritation, but not as close as I've gotten from this combination--which surprised me because the first 2 shaves were so good. Hopefully the longevity is more than 3 or 4 shaves (I usually assume 1 week per blade).
 
Modern Astra SS Blade #1 Shave #4
Tools used: Lupo razor, Sheep soap & Plissoft Brush.
Got a close shave this A.M. The blade is slowing down slightly but. is still giving a close 3 pass shave plus touch up.
No nicks or irritation noted. :thumbup1:
 

BigJ

Ambassador
ThunderDome Challenge, ‘Two Blades Enter, One Blade Leaves!’

Purpose:
To pick a winner, no ties allowed!

Methods: No blinding. Wolfman WR1 (my ‘daily driver’) will be loaded with the test blade. Then I use my (whatever looks good this AM) rotation of (mostly) ‘tallow’ soaps, badger brushes and assorted splashes.

Each shave will be judged using my ‘10 point’ scale during a week of shaves. Then on to the next blade.

Not exactly ‘scientific’ but this is the best I can do these days!

Results:

Astra SS (Modern Russian) Blade 1
Shave #1: 9.5
Shave #2: 10
Shave #3: 9
Shave #4: 9.5
Shave #5: 9.5
Shave #6: 9
Shave #7: 9
Average: 9.4

Vintage Astra SS (Czech) Blade 1
Shave #1: 9

Discussion: Interesting! This old blade is off to a good start!
 
Blades arrived on Wednesday, just after we left for a short out-of-town getaway. Mail going through Atlanta is at least as bad as planes going through! But now we are back so it is time to see how Old vs New pans out...

Thanks to @Grundi and @Space_Cadet for the opportunity to participate and the blades. I'm pretty new to wet shaving, having just started a month or so ago. These will be only the fifth and sixth blade I've tried (I've been using one blade a week for my 3x weekly shave). So far I've tried a blade from a ten year old "Made in Israel" dispenser pack from Dollar General (Personna?), an Astra Superior Platinum, a Big Ben and a Derby Premium. All of them so far have been what seems to me to be adequate, average blades. No major problems, no "wow" shaves. In fact, it has been somewhat difficult distinguishing any of those from the others in any significant way.

Today I used the "modern" Astra Superior Stainless in my 1957 Gillette Super Speed with Arko shave soap. I found the blade to be a bit sharper on this first shave than any of the others I tried and it seemed to bring slightly better results after the first two passes. However, after the ATG pass, I had a few areas on my jawline and around my chin that weren't quite BBS. Perhaps my technique was off a little today after using a Gillette travel tech for my Friday shave, but the final result wasn't quite as smooth as the other blades have been. We'll see how the next two shaves with this blade turn out.
 
Today's shave was with the vintage Astra loaded in my Carbon CX with ++ plate. WTG pass was exceptionally smooth and very efficient. I really believe that the vintage Astras need a couple of shaves under it's belt before showing it real performance. ATG pass went very well, and like last night's shave with the modern Astra, I could have stopped there with minimal touch up, however I went with an XTG pass along my jaw line and under my chin. I ended up with another very smooth and comfortable BBS.

The next two shaves, I will be using my mildest razors. the modern Astra is loaded in my Oristo, which is a clone of the original black Mamba which was slightly milder a shave than the modern Mamba 53, and the vintage Astra is loaded in my Feather AS-D2.
 
Modern Astra Superior Stainless Blade #1 - Shave #5

TL;DR -
the blade gave me one more SAS+ shave and it's done, some tugging but no irritation

Equipment: Merkur 20, modern Astra SS blade (5), PdP 63 shave soap, GrayDog GreyWolf brush

Results: my face has beaten this poor blade into submission. Although I did get an SAS+ shave, it started tugging mid-way thru the shave and left behind a bunch of stubble that I was able to coax off with some buffing.

YMMV results: I loved trying the vintage Astra Superior Stainless, and it did a good job after being in storage for 30 +/- years. For me, shave #1 went to the vintage, with the other shaves going to the modern Astra Superior Stainless, which seemed to get better the more I face stropped it (up until this shave).

Next Up: I've satisfied Gundi's requirements, now I'm just gonna have fun trying different configurations.
 
My Astras have arrived. I’m going to follow BigJ’s example and use a ten point scale. I’ll use the vintage blade this week and follow up with the modern blade next week. I will start tomorrow. My razor will be a Wolfman WR2 1.25 SB, which I will use throughout.
 


Second shave with the Astra Superior Stainless (Modern) blade #1

Razor
: Fatip Lo Storto Originale (aka FOCS)
Brush: Fine Classic 20mm Angel Hair
Soap: RazoRock Black Label

A better performance from the modern Astra SS, today.

The WTG and ATG passes were trouble-free, this time. The roughness that I experienced on the first use of this blade is much reduced. The increased blade-feel is still perceptible, but nowhere near as prominent as before.

Afterwards, there was only some minor post-shave irritation around my Adam's apple... unlike last time when everything from my jawline down was on fire! :mad5:

So, overall, this was a pretty good outing. With any luck, the quality and comfort of the shaves will improve on subsequent uses.
 
Today's shave was brought to you by vintage Astra Superior Stainless.

Tools
Blade: Vintage Astra Superior Stainless (1st use)
Razor: Fendrihan Kingston on WCS 79BR
Brush: Van Der Hagen Night Star 3 Band
Cream: Captain's Choice 45th Parallel
Balm: Captain's Choice 45th Parallel
Alum: generic alum block from local Indian market
Bowl: Daiso bowl with ridges inside

Procedure
Soak brush in warm water while taking a refreshing hot shower
Scrape lid of shave cream sampler and put cream in bowl, then add some hot water to warm up bowl
After showering, dump water from bowl into empty yogurt cup
Use a knife to add an almond sized amount of cream to bowl
Squeeze brush to remove excess water
Apply brush to cream in bowl and whip up into a lather, adding water from yogurt cup as necessary
Apply lather to face
Shave WTG
Apply more lather to face
Shave ATG
Apply more lather to areas to be buffed
Buff difficult areas ATG (make sure to stretch skin)
Rinse soap off face then apply alum
Clean brush, razor, and bowl
Rinse alum off face and dry face on towel
Apply balm

Results
I got a BBS shave.

The blade felt so smooth on the WTG and ATG passes, it almost felt as if there were no blade in the razor. During the buffing, though, I felt the blade a little more. It was still fairly smooth, but I managed to open a tiny weeper.

The alum block quickly stopped the weeper from bleeding. More importantly, the alum provided no other sting, indicating the shave was good and not too harsh.

All in all, I had a great shave. The Captain's Choice cream provided a great cherry scent (I smelled sweet and possibly even overripe cherries--it kind of reminded me of when I had a plum tree in my yard as a kid and some overripe plums hung from the tree and fell to the ground) during my shave while providing good cushion and really good slickness. The balm provided the cherry on top of the shave as well as a a wonderful post shave feel. The scent of the balm was a little less sweet than that of the cream, but made me think of cherry ice cream.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

BradWorld

Contributor
Shave #7

I used two very similar Fat Techs today. Vintage blade right side in the refinished Tech; Modern blade left side in the Tech with the original finish. Two very nice razors. Two not so nice blades. This was the second shave on each of these blades. They should have done better. I got weepers and irritation starting with pass 2 XTG. Not something I should expect from a Tech with any blade. After the second pass, and into the 3rd ATG pass, I began to feel the irritation setting in. I finished the shave to irritation and weepers on both sides. The shave results were sub par as well. I could still feel a good bit of stubble running my fingers against the grain on my neck. More than normal. This shave required the always soothing Lucky Tiger splash. First time in a very long time I needed it. The rest of the shave equipment consisted of an old school Whipped Dog 24mm and TFS Intenso.

I think this will be my last shave with these blades. As we all know this is a ymmv type of hobby. And these blades clearly dont work for me. I like the Astra SP a lot. And my experience has shown that people either like the SS or the SP, but not usually both. So I proved that out for myself. I gave it a good amount of time. But I know when its time to pull the plug.

Many thanks to @Grundi and @Space_Cadet for hosting this shindig. It was great fun. I enjoyed this very much despite the results. Until the next one!

2021-05-03 08.37.20.jpg
 
First shave today:
Wolfman WR2 1.25 SB
Astra Stainless Vintage
Simpson Chubby 2 Super
Grooming Dept Preshave
Tallow and Steel Boreal soap and aftershave

A very nice shave. I’m a big fan of Astras, although I prefer SPs. I had two days of stubble. This blade shaved sharp and close. Out of the gate, I’m impressed.

Vintage
Day 1: 9.5
 

BigJ

Ambassador
ThunderDome Challenge, ‘Two Blades Enter, One Blade Leaves!’

Purpose:
To pick a winner, no ties allowed!

Methods: No blinding. Wolfman WR1 (my ‘daily driver’) will be loaded with the test blade. Then I use my (whatever looks good this AM) rotation of (mostly) ‘tallow’ soaps, badger brushes and assorted splashes.

Each shave will be judged using my ‘10 point’ scale during a week of shaves. Then on to the next blade.

Not exactly ‘scientific’ but this is the best I can do these days!

Results:

Astra SS (Modern Russian) Blade 1
Shave #1: 9.5
Shave #2: 10
Shave #3: 9
Shave #4: 9.5
Shave #5: 9.5
Shave #6: 9
Shave #7: 9
Average: 9.4

Vintage Astra SS (Czech) Blade 1
Shave #1: 9
Shave #2: 9

Discussion: Interesting! This old blade is off to a good start! And another fine shave!
 
RR GC .84 SB, Astra Vintage SS (1), Proraso Red Pre-Shave, MWF with a little Proraso Red Cream, Stirling Splash, Stirling unscented balm. Wasn't expecting a great shave, my go to blade is a Kai, (3) pass very comfortable shave, very similar to Kai just not as close, not as sharp. A couple times had an odd feel, almost like a bur, felt like small scratch but no weepers, alcohol or alum no reaction. not vey good rating with numbers, 8/10. Will use Astra new Tue evening.
 
Top Bottom