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No Timeless SE razor :(

The Sabre is a really interesting design. The head profile and guard look so similar to the Paradigm SE (which has been lauded as a very mild razor). I love the idea of two guard options so you don't have to use the dreaded Feather Super Pro (which I find very harsh and tuggy) as you would in the Paradigm to get a more efficient shave. The only thing holding me back is the GEM blades, I don't know much about them, but my understanding is that could be more inherently harsher than DE or SE. I will have to research more. A titanium version would be pretty sick.
 
Thanks for the recommendation! I will (hopefully) try the Vector first. If it, along with the AC blades, proves too harsh for my sensitive skin, I may go for the Sabre! It also looks pretty cool! Hopefully, it’s not too heavy!
I discovered the Sabre at a point when I was buying vintage Gem and Ever Ready razors for $2.50 each, so there was a need to think carefully about dropping a couple hundred bucks on the Sabre with both baseplates. I rationalized my caution by making some very ill-considered remarks about that handle and then realized I just needed to either do it or get outta the way, so I did it finally.

It is a higher-end razor. And once it was in hand in the machined finish, the handle's just fine. Not to put too fine a point on things, but the Sabre and a bare handful of other exceptional razors are packed in my bailout box in case we have to evacuate.

O.H.
 
The only thing holding me back is the GEM blades, I don't know much about them, but my understanding is that could be more inherently harsher than DE or SE.
There are Gem style blades for shaving and ones that look very similar but are only meant for boxcutters. I can guarantee you that using a boxcutter blade in your razor is a recipe for tribulation. :) Assume from here down that I'm only talking about Gem blades for shaving. This is not the boxcutter subforum. :)

@Ron R is one of our local Gem experts so he may have some things to add (like pictures!)

The modern Gem blade has evolved over the last 125 years. Long before K.C. Gillette designed his first blade, various companies made razors that were considered a bit "safer" than a straight razor -- being basically a frame for holding a replaceable blade and presenting it in a way that controlled the cut, with a perpendicular handle (a "T shaped" razor).

The blades are similar to a piece of a wedge-ground straight razor, and are called "wedge" blades. While they are replaceable, they are intended to be honed and stropped by the user (often with some kind of tool attachment). Razor sets came with two wedges (for travel, I assume) or up to seven wedge blades for a "seven-day set." The user could use a fresh blade every day or whenever it needed changing, and then "batch up" the blades to be honed and stropped on a weekend. Or, alternatively taken to a barbershop for a professional hone.

Because many of the older lather-catcher razors are designed for wedges, which are thicker than even the vintage Gem blades, there are 3D printed adaptors available to retrofit a modern Gem blade into a lathercatcher built for wedges. There are also a lot of guys who collect and use the wedges and if memory is correct @THall even made a modern lathercatcher design to use with vintage wedges. So it's not a "dead" technology by any means.

Not everybody wants to spend Sunday honing blades. The next iteration was the first Gem blades, which look similar to the moderns. The differences are that the blade is carbon steel, the spine originally was rounded to fit a wedge razor, and the blade was intended to be resharpened at least a few times by the user.

Over time the spine material changed from steel to aluminum, the blade stock got a little thinner, and the blades also were made in stainless with a "3-facet" grind for shaving. Stainless being a tougher material than carbon steel, they are at best extremely difficult to hone and those who have tried report that the time and effort is not worth it for modern stainless blades.

Modern Gem blades are made in blued carbon steel, uncoated stainless and stainless coated with PTFE (teflon). The conventional wisdom says that the "Gem Stainless PTFE Coated" blade is the best you're gonna get. I'm told that a freshly and properly honed wedge blade is even better, but I no longer have a wedge razor (and didn't ever hone one of my blades for it).

There is also a thriving trade in vintage Gem blades, particularly the older ones that are a bit thicker, made from excellent carbon steel, and can be honed and stropped to perfection. That may or may not be to your taste; you may have noticed that I'm not all that keen on it. A vintage steel Damaskeene blade with a steel spine and engine-turning on the face of the blade is a beautiful thing.

Almost done.

How's the shave? Some guys will strop a Gem blade a few times on their jeans, or their hand, or on some other material before using it. Personally, considering the toughness of the stainless I think all they're doing is peeling off the teflon coating, but I want to see micrographs to verify what's going on or not.

A fresh Gem blade is sharp. So is a fresh AC blade or a fresh DE blade. I find it simple to exercise a reasonable amount of care in the first couple of shaves with a new blade. I flip after every shave, so two shaves "face-strops" the edge without losing any shaves. The third and fourth shaves are really smooth, and five and six are increasingly needful of some care and technique.

In short, maybe if you want to try the Gem blades you start with a vintage razor. If Gem as a format clicks with you, then explore the tool that will hold the blade. Up to you, of course.

O.H.
 
The Sabre is a really interesting design. The head profile and guard look so similar to the Paradigm SE (which has been lauded as a very mild razor). I love the idea of two guard options so you don't have to use the dreaded Feather Super Pro (which I find very harsh and tuggy) as you would in the Paradigm to get a more efficient shave. The only thing holding me back is the GEM blades, I don't know much about them, but my understanding is that could be more inherently harsher than DE or SE. I will have to research more. A titanium version would be pretty sick.
Looks like @Old Hippie mentioned about Gem blades & myself, he seems to like using the Gem blades and his information is accurate from what I read.
He owns the Blackland Sabre razor with both plates and there are advantages to that arrangement. What I have found with SE blades the first few shaves can be a bit rough and to smooth this issue out would be to use a a mild razor or plate for the first 2 or 3 shaves to take advantage of the sharpness and then go to next plate higher and enjoy the blade with a little more smoothness is what I would do if I owned the Sabre razor or the Gem(ASR) razors.
I have mostly vintage Gem and Everready razors and will use the mild razors sometimes at first to take advantage of the sharpness and progress upwards to aggressive razors to usually 10 shaves(Toss) . The Gem Personna SS PTFE(teflon) blade is the one I like to use and it is very sharp, great longevity and smooths out nicely as you progress through shaves & also it is predictable and is excellent in price per shave.(NO AC 50mm razor blades can beat Gem SS coated blades in pricing, not even close IMO.)
You can also cork a blade to smooth it out it you find it harsh and that has been done for sometime by others. The blade I will cork is the DE Polsilver Super Iridium(great blade) on the first shave because I find it rough and seems to work, iridium is one of the hardest metals known to man. The Gem Personna SS PTFE blade will out last any AC 50mm SE blade IMO and you can expect 8-12> shaves depending on beard type IMO.
 
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Nothing compares to Vector. Some come close, but none quite the like.

The very best razor ever made, apart from the FatBoy, but adjustables are a different animal altogether.
 
Nothing compares to Vector. Some come close, but none quite the like.

The very best razor ever made, apart from the FatBoy, but adjustables are a different animal altogether.
I believe you would not have the Blackland Vector razor if it was not for the Sabre razor, It was the first razor that Blackland modified the cap thread to fit through centre of the Gem blade and did a good job and was a very popular likeable razor when first introduced by many much like the Vector top cap that fits through the AC 50mm blade. You do not see many used Sabre razors on BST from the years I have been on B&B.
 
There are Gem style blades for shaving and ones that look very similar but are only meant for boxcutters. I can guarantee you that using a boxcutter blade in your razor is a recipe for tribulation. :) Assume from here down that I'm only talking about Gem blades for shaving. This is not the boxcutter subforum. :)

@Ron R is one of our local Gem experts so he may have some things to add (like pictures!)

The modern Gem blade has evolved over the last 125 years. Long before K.C. Gillette designed his first blade, various companies made razors that were considered a bit "safer" than a straight razor -- being basically a frame for holding a replaceable blade and presenting it in a way that controlled the cut, with a perpendicular handle (a "T shaped" razor).

The blades are similar to a piece of a wedge-ground straight razor, and are called "wedge" blades. While they are replaceable, they are intended to be honed and stropped by the user (often with some kind of tool attachment). Razor sets came with two wedges (for travel, I assume) or up to seven wedge blades for a "seven-day set." The user could use a fresh blade every day or whenever it needed changing, and then "batch up" the blades to be honed and stropped on a weekend. Or, alternatively taken to a barbershop for a professional hone.

Because many of the older lather-catcher razors are designed for wedges, which are thicker than even the vintage Gem blades, there are 3D printed adaptors available to retrofit a modern Gem blade into a lathercatcher built for wedges. There are also a lot of guys who collect and use the wedges and if memory is correct @THall even made a modern lathercatcher design to use with vintage wedges. So it's not a "dead" technology by any means.

Not everybody wants to spend Sunday honing blades. The next iteration was the first Gem blades, which look similar to the moderns. The differences are that the blade is carbon steel, the spine originally was rounded to fit a wedge razor, and the blade was intended to be resharpened at least a few times by the user.

Over time the spine material changed from steel to aluminum, the blade stock got a little thinner, and the blades also were made in stainless with a "3-facet" grind for shaving. Stainless being a tougher material than carbon steel, they are at best extremely difficult to hone and those who have tried report that the time and effort is not worth it for modern stainless blades.

Modern Gem blades are made in blued carbon steel, uncoated stainless and stainless coated with PTFE (teflon). The conventional wisdom says that the "Gem Stainless PTFE Coated" blade is the best you're gonna get. I'm told that a freshly and properly honed wedge blade is even better, but I no longer have a wedge razor (and didn't ever hone one of my blades for it).

There is also a thriving trade in vintage Gem blades, particularly the older ones that are a bit thicker, made from excellent carbon steel, and can be honed and stropped to perfection. That may or may not be to your taste; you may have noticed that I'm not all that keen on it. A vintage steel Damaskeene blade with a steel spine and engine-turning on the face of the blade is a beautiful thing.

Almost done.

How's the shave? Some guys will strop a Gem blade a few times on their jeans, or their hand, or on some other material before using it. Personally, considering the toughness of the stainless I think all they're doing is peeling off the teflon coating, but I want to see micrographs to verify what's going on or not.

A fresh Gem blade is sharp. So is a fresh AC blade or a fresh DE blade. I find it simple to exercise a reasonable amount of care in the first couple of shaves with a new blade. I flip after every shave, so two shaves "face-strops" the edge without losing any shaves. The third and fourth shaves are really smooth, and five and six are increasingly needful of some care and technique.

In short, maybe if you want to try the Gem blades you start with a vintage razor. If Gem as a format clicks with you, then explore the tool that will hold the blade. Up to you, of course.

O.H.
Wow! Thanks for your detailed information and advice! I'm only interested in modern (preferably titanium) razors. I currently have only one razor in my den...and I plan to keep it that way! I'm not a collector or long-term hobbyist. I will try one new razor at a time, beginning (hopefully) with the Blackland Vector Ti. If that doesn't work for me, I may try a Gem-style razor like the Sabre.
No serious rush anymore as I already have a winner ;) Thanks again!
 
I believe you would not have the Blackland Vector razor if it was not for the Sabre razor, It was the first razor that Blackland modified the cap thread to fit through centre of the Gem blade and did a good job and was a very popular likeable razor when first introduced by many much like the Vector top cap that fits through the AC 50mm blade. You do not see many used Sabre razors on BST from the years I have been on B&B.
The Vector and Sabre are the two razors I'm most interested in. The fact that the Sabre is seldom seen on BST speaks to the satisfaction of its owners! Thank you for that insight ;) I will probably start with the Vector (if possible), because of the rave reviews, its sleek appearance, and now its titanium construction. But, believe me, if I find it at all harsh, it will be "vectored" back to San Diego faster than its Blackbird sibling!
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I have been using the Vector for a couple months now. Everyone jokes about selling off your other razors whenever you get a Vector, but I've literally sold everything else with exception of 2 DEs which are currently listed on the BST for sale.

That being said, if you are expecting the Vector to be anything like the Timeless .68, you are going to be very disappointed. There is blade feel, but it's different than blade feel you get from a DE. SE blades, and AC in particular, are much less prone to bite in my experience so far. They are thicker and more rigid, so it's just a different feel altogether. At first you might feel like it's too much, especially compared to the .68 Timeless, but you should give it a fair chance before making up your mind.

The Vector gives me the closest shaves, day after day, than any other razor I've ever used. Not only that, but it's the only razor that has never given me any form of irritation. All that being said, I don't personally find it to be overly smooth as others describe it, at least not in the same sense that a Timeless .68 or H&S Z074 are smooth. It is, however, smooth in the sense that it delivers great shaves without any feeling of irritation or roughness.

I know that doesn't make much sense. But if you get one and give it a chance hopefully you will understand.
 
I have been using the Vector for a couple months now. Everyone jokes about selling off your other razors whenever you get a Vector, but I've literally sold everything else with exception of 2 DEs which are currently listed on the BST for sale.

That being said, if you are expecting the Vector to be anything like the Timeless .68, you are going to be very disappointed. There is blade feel, but it's different than blade feel you get from a DE. SE blades, and AC in particular, are much less prone to bite in my experience so far. They are thicker and more rigid, so it's just a different feel altogether. At first you might feel like it's too much, especially compared to the .68 Timeless, but you should give it a fair chance before making up your mind.

The Vector gives me the closest shaves, day after day, than any other razor I've ever used. Not only that, but it's the only razor that has never given me any form of irritation. All that being said, I don't personally find it to be overly smooth as others describe it, at least not in the same sense that a Timeless .68 or H&S Z074 are smooth. It is, however, smooth in the sense that it delivers great shaves without any feeling of irritation or roughness.

I know that doesn't make much sense. But if you get one and give it a chance hopefully you will understand.
I appreciate this explanation! I think what you are saying is that it gives you the best comfort / efficiency ratio that you have been able to find. I have a Timeless .68SB and there is very little blade feel. That being said it is a punches above its weight class for efficiency given its blade feel. When someone realizes that is possible (compared to let's say a 34c), they begin to think, "wait - maybe I can sacrafice a little more comfort and increase a little more blade feel - and if so, how much more efficiency can I get?" This is what has happened to me at a least - and the exploration continues!
 
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I have been using the Vector for a couple months now. Everyone jokes about selling off your other razors whenever you get a Vector, but I've literally sold everything else with exception of 2 DEs which are currently listed on the BST for sale.

That being said, if you are expecting the Vector to be anything like the Timeless .68, you are going to be very disappointed. There is blade feel, but it's different than blade feel you get from a DE. SE blades, and AC in particular, are much less prone to bite in my experience so far. They are thicker and more rigid, so it's just a different feel altogether. At first you might feel like it's too much, especially compared to the .68 Timeless, but you should give it a fair chance before making up your mind.

The Vector gives me the closest shaves, day after day, than any other razor I've ever used. Not only that, but it's the only razor that has never given me any form of irritation. All that being said, I don't personally find it to be overly smooth as others describe it, at least not in the same sense that a Timeless .68 or H&S Z074 are smooth. It is, however, smooth in the sense that it delivers great shaves without any feeling of irritation or roughness.

I know that doesn't make much sense. But if you get one and give it a chance hopefully you will understand.
Wow...that's quite an endorsement considering the elite razors you put up for sale! 😲
I think your nuanced description makes a lot of sense. Thank you for explaining the differences in feel!
How would you compare the feel of the Vector with the feel of the Blackbird? I found it had way too much blade feel, even though it did not cause any nicks, cuts, or post-shave irritation. Shane tried to convince me to give it at least a week, but it was nothing doing. That "bird" felt like it was ripping the skin off my face!
1626714223039.png
 
I appreciate this explanation! I think what you are saying is that it gives you the best comfort / efficiency ratio that you have been able to find. I have a Timeless .68SB and there is very little blade feel. That being said it is a punches above its weight class for efficiency given its blade feel. When someone realizes that is possible (compared to let's say a 34c), the begin to think, "wait - maybe I can sacrafice a little more comfort and increase a litttle more blade feel - and if so, how much more efficiency can I get?" This is what has happened to me at a least - and the exploration continues!
Thank you for articulating what I'm feeling! Comfort is the most important thing for me...and I found the most comfortable (yet efficient) razor in the Timeless .68 SB. Now, I am willing to experiment and give up a tiny bit of comfort iff there is a significant bump in performance. I'm hoping the Blackland Vector Ti or the Sabre will be that razor.
 
Wow...that's quite an endorsement considering the elite razors you put up for sale! 😲
I think your nuanced description makes a lot of sense. Thank you for explaining the differences in feel!
How would you compare the feel of the Vector with the feel of the Blackbird? I found it had way too much blade feel, even though it did not cause any nicks, cuts, or post-shave irritation. Shane tried to convince me to give it at least a week, but it was nothing doing. That "bird" felt like it was ripping the skin off my face!
The Vector feels completely different from the Blackbird. The bird have a lot of blade feel and makes you respect it. The vector is a lot smoother. Not ripping face feel.
There just a little blade feel and it is a blade feel that is not menacing at all. But it is crazy efficient. The AC blades are very different from DE blades.
 
Just a note: Comparing the Blackbird and Vector is a strange exercise, in my opinion. Sure, we make them both, but they're completely different. A bit like cross-shopping a Toyota Prius and Toyota Supra. Far better to compare them with similar products of different makes than to compare intra-brand.
 
I have been using the Vector for a couple months now. Everyone jokes about selling off your other razors whenever you get a Vector, but I've literally sold everything else with exception of 2 DEs which are currently listed on the BST for sale.

That being said, if you are expecting the Vector to be anything like the Timeless .68, you are going to be very disappointed. There is blade feel, but it's different than blade feel you get from a DE. SE blades, and AC in particular, are much less prone to bite in my experience so far. They are thicker and more rigid, so it's just a different feel altogether. At first you might feel like it's too much, especially compared to the .68 Timeless, but you should give it a fair chance before making up your mind.

The Vector gives me the closest shaves, day after day, than any other razor I've ever used. Not only that, but it's the only razor that has never given me any form of irritation. All that being said, I don't personally find it to be overly smooth as others describe it, at least not in the same sense that a Timeless .68 or H&S Z074 are smooth. It is, however, smooth in the sense that it delivers great shaves without any feeling of irritation or roughness.

I know that doesn't make much sense. But if you get one and give it a chance hopefully you will understand.
Brother, I hear what you are saying and my thoughts are exactly the same.

Vector is the best razor ever, but it's far from smooth. It has a HUGE blade gap and significant blade feel. It requires a rather special technique, which is a combination of constant pressure and changing angle. Once mastered, it indeed shaves like no other, but I agree there are many far smoother/milder razors.
 
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