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How Much Does A Blade Matter

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
I do not think that is my experience. I also think, even limiting this to DEs, as opposed to, say, SEs, that different razors and blades can call for different techniques.
Definitely! No way is my technique the same with a slant! I think I even unconsciously change technique between a gentle open comb and a Tech!
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
Blades make a huge difference to me. There are a few, Treet Platinum, Trig Silver Star, Vidyut Super Platinum and GSB that are on my never again list along with Graham Field. Out of ~35 different blade types though, thats not bad.

I have a top 3 and 5 but two rule my shaves. Derby Extra and Feather. The Feather only for the first shave but I get 6 from a Derby Extra. My ~240 remaining Derby Extra are all the older pre 2016 packaging that most dont like. For me in my razors they work, very well.

Gillette Yellow, Gillette Black and Polsilver round out my top blades. All the other blades I've tried worked fine and I could get a better than decent shave with any of them. The two very clear standouts though are Derby Extra and Feather, and, if I had to pick one between them as my #1 blade, I'm not sure I could.
BROTHER! SAY IT AIN'T SO!

I know you have no love for the GSB, but it may put you into a rubber room in your very own corner of the BOSC!!!

Especially your love for ANYTHING Derby! Lol, sorry bro!
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
BROTHER! SAY IT AIN'T SO!

I know you have no love for the GSB, but it may put you into a rubber room in your very own corner of the BOSC!!!

Especially your love for ANYTHING Derby! Lol, sorry bro!
I dont get it either! lol

In my Grande they're incredibly smooth, dont tug until shave 3 and give me a 10 hour BBS in supreme comfort. The only blade to better it in the same razor with the same soap is a fresh Feather but only if my technique is on point. Its really a toss up which blade shaves me better on shave #1. Feather starts tugging, noticeably, on shave #2 and I dont use them for 3 shaves and rarely use them for two.

If however, I want the absolute best shave from a DE I can have, its a Feather in my Grande. With my top soaps and creams the blade itself just disappears. An easy, quick, no thought 3 pass shave gives me a 12 hour BBS at the same comfort level as Derby Extra.

I know, it makes no sense lol, one extreme to the other. I put it down to whatever blade coating is on a Derby blade just allows them to slip through my whiskers better than any other blade. As that top coating wears through six shaves seems to re-enforce that theory. No tugging at shave 1, barely perceptible tugging at shave 2 and they get progressively worse from there.

A fresh Feather blade on the other hand, counteracts that ideal blade coating by its incredible sharpness but they can still tug on my neck if I drop the angle. Derby Extra doesnt care. I can use them steep, all comb in my Grande, or shallow, all cap, or anywhere in between.

I've given up trying to understand it. I just accepted the fact they work and they have since my first use of them more than three years ago in my fathers old Gillette Rocket and everything else I've put them in since, with one exception. I cannot use them in my R41. When I did try them in it, that razor skipped on my cheek WTG in the first 2"s of my first stroke. The only blade I can use in my R41 is a Feather and only for a single shave. The R41 is my only DE that lacks sufficient blade support and all other blades tug and flex and I bleed.
 
Myself I can shave with the vast
majority of the available brands of DE razor blades .Yes,there are more than a few noticeable differences amongst them :
others are very sharp ,while others are so-so .Others are smooth ,while others are rough and unpredictable .Others glide effortlessly,while others tend to drag .Others bend easily ,while
others are pretty stiff .
Still ,I can shave with almost any of them ,with two or three exceptions ,i.e. no matter what I do or which razor I’m using ,shaving with a Bolzano or a Timor blade was never successful.About the same thing
happens with soaps/creams also.Some are average ,some are exceptional,but only a few
do not provide a decent lather to shave .

My technique is all about no pressure ,good skin stretching,
thorough grain mapping ,short strokes ,etc.
And the whole technique thing does not change a bit ,no matter which razor I’m using.
Depending on the razor ,I do change mainly the angle of attack.But that has nothing to do with technique.Some razors work best when riding the cap,
while others shine when riding the guard,others somewhere in between .

But the same razor ,depending the blade loaded can range from smooth up to really aggressive.
For example ,R41 can be a beast when loaded with a Feather ,a Nacet or a Bic ,but with an Astra SP or a Treet 7Days Platinum becomes vastly more civilised.

Though, I tend to prefer more rigid designs than the R41 and the like.Blade chattering is quite easily provoked by my “male velcro-like” mediterranean stubble,
especially when shaving ATG.

So,depending on the amount of stubble ,the weather,the skin condition ,the mood ,the available time and few other variables ,I do choose which blade with which razor will be used and with which soap the aforementioned duo
will be combined.

But the first choice is always about the blade.
That is my starting point.

Note:
I’m usually shaving every other day ,
always three passes ( WTG ,
ATG/XTG mix , ATG ) ,
always opt for BBS.
 
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Isn't it strange how the same blade may work great for me but terrible for you. I know its not a mystery but it's interesting to see that play out on B&B. Like, I don't like Crystal blades. They just aren't as smooth as some other's I have used. I know there are some people who enjoy those blades, and good for them.
 

Esox

I didnt know
Ambassador
I personally believe it all comes down to finding a match between the blade coatings and ones own hair composition. Gillette was working on that in the 1950's.

"After discovering in his test lab that shavers could not tell the difference in blade sharpness, he was responsible for break-thru research that determined that blade sharpness was not a critical factor in receiving a good shave; rather a reduction in drag by hair clinging to the blade causing pulling was needed. This Drag Theory lead to the development of coated razor blades and specifically the Organosiloxane Gel coated Super Blue Blade (1959)."
I think all razor blades are sharp enough but what they're coated with might not let them slip through the hair structure as its cut as well as other coatings. Thats the only way I can explain my use of Derby Extra and GSB. GSB for me are like shaving with a broken bottle. I really tried to like them too. I've used two tucks in different razors but its always the same, a bloodbath. The second shave is much better than the first so I think whichever top coating is on them, just disintegrates on my first and second shaves. The second shave is much better than the first, still rough, but less blood.

Most love GSB but not me.
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
I personally believe it all comes down to finding a match between the blade coatings and ones own hair composition. Gillette was working on that in the 1950's.



I think all razor blades are sharp enough but what they're coated with might not let them slip through the hair structure as its cut as well as other coatings. Thats the only way I can explain my use of Derby Extra and GSB. GSB for me are like shaving with a broken bottle. I really tried to like them too. I've used two tucks in different razors but its always the same, a bloodbath. The second shave is much better than the first so I think whichever top coating is on them, just disintegrates on my first and second shaves. The second shave is much better than the first, still rough, but less blood.

Most love GSB but not me.
You just helped me remember something I thought about yesterday.

How many blades treat my incredibly handsome face poorly because of the coatings?!?!

Seriously, I know there are probably like 2 or three coatings used by all blade makers, but.....what if I just happen to be "allergic" (bad use of the word) to the way manufacturer "ABC" applies a coating, or how long they "bake" it, etc?

Sorry for my sentence structure folks! I went to Publick Skool!
 
Derbys give me good shaves, but I have to use two hands to drag the razor through the stubble! Don't know why, as they are indeed sharp, but they have quite a bit of drag. Very close shaves, though, better most of the time than "sharper" blades, and never a weeper.

Funny that you find the blades well know for being the sharpest and the "dullest" equally good for you -- which leads me to think it's not the actual edge acuity that give the feeling of sharpness.
 

Alacrity59

Wanting for wisdom
Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
Seems to me that, in my experience, there are some very bad blades out there.

That aside, it also seems to me that the blade/razor/me combination has a whole lot more variation in quality of shave than I would expect based upon I guess what would be common sense or, maybe, logic. GEM singe edged seems to do amazingly well for me. But even sticking with DEs, Russian blades seems best for me. Feathers are sort of their own thing.
Admittedly I might be subject to some degree of pre-selection in that the stores online that I buy my blades from sell blades that they can sell easily. I.e., not total garbage by a long shot.
 
I always thought blade quality was a discussion proper of "humans of late capitalism" (pun intended) but I had to eat my opinions after comparing Super Max against Astra, SP, Wilkinson and Derby.

Yes, they make a difference.

Now... which one is the best? That only can be answered by you.
 

The Knize

Moderator Emeritus
I have to be careful of thinking my technique is all that great! I cut myself this morning on my neck with my current absolute favorite setup these days of a vintage GEM razor and a GEM single edge blade. About an inch long "cut" and very "superficial," but it bleed nicely until I put an alum bar on it. Speed kills! I cannot think of the last time I had anything bleed like that.
 
Yes, anyone can get a perfect shave from any blade, presuming every person has the exact same skin and beard.

Of course everyone doesn't have the same beard. Some beards are light enough to be cut with a fairly dull blade and some are so close to wire they require the sharpest blades.

So on second though it's a ridiculous proposition.
 
Yes. It's very important. Different blades of equal sharpness will have a drastically different feel that cannot be accounted for by technique variations. I've found this to be true across all shaving platforms (DE, SE, Artist Club and SRs)

Some people will try to convince you that "smoothness" is just a lack of sharpness. That has not been my experience in 9 years if wetshaving.
 
Very close shaves, though, better most of the time than "sharper" blades, and never a weeper.

Funny that you find the blades well know for being the sharpest and the "dullest" equally good for you -- which leads me to think it's not the actual edge acuity that give the feeling of sharpness.

I like what you say about blades being "dull". In all honesty they aren't dull at all right. But Derbys sure do feel like it when trying to shave don't they. Is it something to do with the way the edge is honed on the blades? Just like how my Benchmade knife has a different edge than my Buck

Also I don't know if you guys have read this thread but it talks a lot bout the blades edges. Problem area - at 50x - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/problem-area-at-50x.334585/
 

lancre

Contributor
BROTHER! SAY IT AIN'T SO!

I know you have no love for the GSB, but it may put you into a rubber room in your very own corner of the BOSC!!!

Especially your love for ANYTHING Derby! Lol, sorry bro!
I'm with Esox on this The closest shave I've ever gotten was with a Derby Extra in a Fendrihan Mk. II. The secend closest was with a Feateher in an NDC BET.
 
So, my question is, does a blade make that much difference?

By that, I mean that a lot of people will say that a blade “isn’t right for some people but is for others.”

How true is that? Or, if someone’s technique was perfect, could they get a decent, irritation free shave with any blade?

Thoughts?
Everyone's hair and skin are different and a blade that someone loves, someone else might hate. Some people have tougher, wirey hair and need a blade that is sharper and with more cutting power. Some others have sensitive skin and cant stand a super sharp blade, so they like something a bit milder and less sharp.
 
I find with good prep' and pre shave the make of blades don't really matter. All the razor blades and DE razors on the market at times will skip areas of stubble. Albeit some makes of blades will last a little longer than others before they start to "tug." The trick is to make the stubble stand proud of the skin with the whiskers well hydrated
 
My two cents worth, and yes I know many of you are expecting me to mention vintage blades, are probably sick of it but I am going to. Just a little. Yes blades matter and the tougher or denser or coarser your whiskers/beard is the more they matter. My vintage comment is just this, when I was using modern razors and modern blades, certain combos did work better or worse. When I gradually, and reluctantly at first, switched over to vintage razors first, then blades, I found that combination approach doesn't apply at all. All blades work great in every razor and setting, when that's applicable.
 
After experimenting with 4 razors and every blade I could get my hands on, I’d say the razor / razor blade combination is key. But if you want definitive:

The blade is more important than the razor.
Earcutter's conclusions sums it up perfectly, it's the combo of the razor and the blade that matters (if shaving technique is maintained properly). And among those two variables the more crucial one is the blade.

Caveat: you will have to find the blades that work for you on your own.
 
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