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No Dice! — On Contentment And Tracking Shaves

DEPenguin

Contributor
Ambassador
It had been a while since I’d used my more aggressive razor (a Col. Conk Major); it was a gift which I have learned to use ever so gently and infrequently. I also have a Parker semi-slant which I haven’t used much (but I really like). My daily driver is a Merkur 38C. I most always get a good shave with it and, more often than not, a DFS . . . even the occasional BBS.

But something nagged at me, a restless whisper. I’ve enjoyed the semi-slant, but it is just a hair more aggressive (pun partially intended) than the 38C, but not wickedly so. The Major, on the other hand . . . well, I want to shave with it, not decorticate. Goodness knows I have enough blade variety and stock on hand, so the little boy in me affixed his best look of determination and grit, pulled on his big boy pants, and decided to try some different blades with the Major.

Now I know there will be a tremendous shout declaring “That’s kind of the whole point!” — and the masses would be 100% correct. But when you reach a state of contentment with your shaves it can be all too easy to accept that as the norm and forego the sporadic thrill of change. But life without occasional thrills is, well, boring, predictable. As soothing as that may sound it doesn’t put paint on the canvas, and a pencil sketch isn’t near as eye-pleasing as a palette of colors.

When I first started this journey (thanks to my son, but I won’t detail that here) I was after good shaves and saving some money. We all know the latter is an illusion, a mental prank we play upon ourselves and one another. But the good shaves—yeah, those were well above what I had been getting with a cartridge. Took a little while—as it does for all of us—to get technique down. After some time trying different blades I reached equilibrium in my daily ritual . . . I had arrived at my own tiny slice of shave nirvana. And for quite a while things have been good, you know, until they started to feel less like a mild drinking buzz and more like an unexcited sober.

So now I was resolute in my decision to try different blades in my aggressive razor and figured I’d do the same in my Parker as well. But now I’d have three razors to track blade brand and usage for (waaaah! what a hardship 😭)— and I don’t have any dice (WWAAHHHHH! More hardship! 😭). Sure, I could go buy some, but I hew toward the tightwad side; I’m not against using them, but there had to be another way without spending money just to track usage.

A quick note on my own hypocrisy: I won’t float a couple bucks for some dice but I’ll spend upwards of $15 for another one or two soaps I definitely don’t need, or $7.99 for 100 Rapira SS I don’t need either. Yeah, I have some issues.

Back to my cheapskate conundrum: how to track usage on two razors/blades I use infrequently. I could make my own dice from wood, but I don’t have the patience to drill 21 tiny indentations for one die, much less 42 for two dice. I could use a sticky note and a pen, old school but not exactly innovative or cool. Then it hit me . . . what about the blade wrapper? I could use the blade wrapper and make a hash mark every time I use it—but that would require leaving a pen in the ‘den’. A pen in the den is as out of place as a boiled egg on a dessert tray. Sure, you could eat it, but why?

I had half of the equation—I could now tell which blade was in the razor, but needed to keep track of how many uses. Hmmmm. Then inspiration struck again . . . I could use the folds of the wrapper as an indicator or each use.
  • Fold all the flaps back so all that’s exposed is the white/blank interior.
  • Tear one of the long flaps in half for uses 1 and 2
  • Fold back the piece to its original position to indicate usage
  • Repeat for 2nd,
  • 3rd, fold back an end flap
  • And so on.
IMG_3442.jpeg
(yes, I know it's front facing--no one wants to see the blank side of a blade wrapper, right?)

Of course this only works if you use a blade up to 6 times. I’m usually a 5-and-done guy. But now I can tell which blade and how many uses . . . and my inner skinflint is all smiles! :clap:

I know, I know, seems like a lot of work when rotating a die is so much simpler. But where’s the fun in that?!

And because we like our pics, here's how it looks in my wee razor drawer--yeah, I only have three razors, but working on a (gasp!) fourth.

IMG_3441.jpeg
 
Why do we make shaving so complicated? All you need to track the number of shaves on a blade is a piece of 3 x 5 scratch paper and one pencil. Faster and easier. At least for me.
 

Whiterook

Contributor
+1 for Shaving Buddy. It keeps track of my razors and software as well. It's not perfect but I like it.
 
I used to use a very special dice to count my blade uses and track my shaves. Then one day I realised that there is no point in collating any data unless you have a use for it and will refer to it. I simply do not care how many shaves I get with a blade so I no longer count or record any usage.
 
Memory is a wonderful thing. Use a blade a few times, toss it when it begins to tug, or when you reach five or six shaves. All you have to do is remember how many times you used the blade, more or less: this isn't brain surgery, unless your technique really needs help. Paper, dice, wrappers, nah. Memory, yes.
 

DEPenguin

Contributor
Ambassador
Why do we make shaving so complicated? All you need to track the number of shaves on a blade is a piece of 3 x 5 scratch paper and one pencil. Faster and easier. At least for me.
But then I'd have to actually write, and my penmanship sucks . . . seriously.
Or you could put a dot on the wrapper after each use with a pen or pencil
True, and honestly I hadn't considered that. But I stubbornly refuse to have a writing implement in my bathroom . . . uh, I mean den.
or use the blood from the weeper(s) as dots...
^This is gold!
 

DEPenguin

Contributor
Ambassador
" . . . there is no point in collating any data unless you have a use for it and will refer to it."
This is a very good point. Although, to be fair, I'm not collecting data, just trying to track number of uses on blades in razors I use sporadically.
Memory is a wonderful thing. Use a blade a few times, toss it when it begins to tug, or when you reach five or six shaves. All you have to do is remember how many times you used the blade, more or less: this isn't brain surgery, unless your technique really needs help. Paper, dice, wrappers, nah. Memory, yes.
First, I dig the moniker. One of the better (if lesser known) Roman emperors. I use my semi-slant maybe once a week, and the Major once i a blue moon. My memory isn't horrible but it's not quite that elastic :confused1
 
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