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Noob shaver, Blackland Blackbird review

As stated, been at this just shy of a year. If you guys read these threads, you know where I'm at:

Noob shaver, Karve review

Noob shaver, Timeless .68 review

I sold all my razors except the

As you can see, I'd settled on the Timeless .95SB in SS for my daily shaver.

Buddy that started me on this whole thing always raved about his Blackbirds, so I was intrigued. Waited for a deal, and snapped on one last week. It showed up Monday and I went at it.



First one went really well....incredibly well, in fact. I'd shaved Thursday morning, bought it later that afternoon, it shipped Friday and I just got caught up in weekend stuff so by the time it showed on Monday I hadn't shaved for about 4 days. I have a medium thick beard and it's like wire for the first 48 hours or so, then it starts to lay back and by the time the 4th day hits it's decently flat and softer.

Blackbird went thru it like a laser beam. I did a WTG pass on that growth and it just mowed it down and it was gone. I was astonished. I did an ATG pass just to help learning the angle and because I had soap left over, but didn't really need to.

AS went on with zero sting (which has never happened to me before) and I called it a day, amazed.

This shave was probably the easiest, best shave I've had in almost a year, and I've had some really good shaves with some really good razors.

2nd shave:


This one was a little more traumatic. I'm a musician and a gamer, and I'd had a new controller and mouse show up and I was eager to get to setting things up. Mistake. I have a routine when I get home from work.
Shower
Shave
Eat
Internet/Music/Games

I'm usually a pretty patient guy when it comes to a razor blade next to my face, but I was in a hurry and the Blackbird knew I was disrespecting it. Lather wasn't on point, I didn't relax into the shave, and I wasn't being careful enough. Cut myself twice....one a pretty decent nick that I still have 2 days later.

3rd shave:


I shouldn't have done this....I had the cut from the day before, I didn't really NEED to shave, but you get that feeling ya know? I had stubble, I wanted it gone, etc....I was a little more careful, but I still opened that cut on my face again. However, aside from that, the smoothness is off the charts with this razor for every shave so far.

Today's shave, with a hardware adjustment:


Yup, if you read those threads, you know I'm a big fan of those short thick Maggard's handles. The maneuverability is off the charts with this handle, so I applied it to this BB situation.

Better....easier to control, for sure. I'm just not built to get along with longer thinner handles, I don't like them, there's a lot of wasted end hanging out that does me no good, etc.

Ugly, but this did the job. Not as good as the first shave, but the best subsequent one, even though I'm feeling (6 hours later) sort of rawish around my neck area. Not irritated, nothing if I don't touch it, but feeling abraded if I run my hand over it. Smooooooth though. Smooth everywhere. Smooth is the BB's middle name....I haven't had one of these shaves where I wasn't blown away by the end result, which seems to be a common theme among BB owners.

Impressions:

The Blackbird is really well built. It's a blade forward razor with a lot more blade feel than the Timeless .95 I've been using as my daily for the last couple months. Super efficient, super cool design, interesting angles. Doesn't weigh a lot like my SS Timeless does, which I don't mind but some people might.

It's a lot more EFFICIENT than the Timeless .95, at least for me. There is less buffing in my problem areas; as long as I get the angle right it just disappears stubble, no repeat passes needed. I'll learn the angles and see what I can see; I'm hoping to make this a daily driver, but I think it might end up being too harsh on my face.

At this point? I'm not sure I like it. It does the job, but it's sort of mean about it. I know this is all operator error, and I'm sure if I can find the right angle with the least amount of pressure, I'll be able to use this no problem.

Would I recommend this? Yeah, if your technique is on point you'll have no issues. Would I recommend this to someone that's newer at this hobby than myself, with less razor experience i.e. Karve, 2 different Timelesses, bunch of Razorocks etc? No I would not.
This would frustrate a noob, almost to the point of quitting. There would be blood. Lots of blood. There's no autopilot with this thing like there is with the Timeless razors, this razor demands attention and respect, and if you don't give both you're going to cut yourself. Repeatedly.

2 things: I'm only using Gillette Platinums in this razor for now....they're my favorite blade in my Timeless and I just received 100 of them, so no point in not trying them out.

2nd thing is that all the pics are of that tin of WSP and that's because I'm trying to 3017 it.

Any questions, feel free.

Also picked up a polished Dart as well....I'll be reviewing that maybe next week, depending on how the rest of this week goes....if I pick this up and it clicks I might go another week just for the muscle memory on the BB.
 
As stated, been at this just shy of a year. If you guys read these threads, you know where I'm at:

Noob shaver, Karve review

Noob shaver, Timeless .68 review

I sold all my razors except the

As you can see, I'd settled on the Timeless .95SB in SS for my daily shaver.

Buddy that started me on this whole thing always raved about his Blackbirds, so I was intrigued. Waited for a deal, and snapped on one last week. It showed up Monday and I went at it.



First one went really well....incredibly well, in fact. I'd shaved Thursday morning, bought it later that afternoon, it shipped Friday and I just got caught up in weekend stuff so by the time it showed on Monday I hadn't shaved for about 4 days. I have a medium thick beard and it's like wire for the first 48 hours or so, then it starts to lay back and by the time the 4th day hits it's decently flat and softer.

Blackbird went thru it like a laser beam. I did a WTG pass on that growth and it just mowed it down and it was gone. I was astonished. I did an ATG pass just to help learning the angle and because I had soap left over, but didn't really need to.

AS went on with zero sting (which has never happened to me before) and I called it a day, amazed.

This shave was probably the easiest, best shave I've had in almost a year, and I've had some really good shaves with some really good razors.

2nd shave:


This one was a little more traumatic. I'm a musician and a gamer, and I'd had a new controller and mouse show up and I was eager to get to setting things up. Mistake. I have a routine when I get home from work.
Shower
Shave
Eat
Internet/Music/Games

I'm usually a pretty patient guy when it comes to a razor blade next to my face, but I was in a hurry and the Blackbird knew I was disrespecting it. Lather wasn't on point, I didn't relax into the shave, and I wasn't being careful enough. Cut myself twice....one a pretty decent nick that I still have 2 days later.

3rd shave:


I shouldn't have done this....I had the cut from the day before, I didn't really NEED to shave, but you get that feeling ya know? I had stubble, I wanted it gone, etc....I was a little more careful, but I still opened that cut on my face again. However, aside from that, the smoothness is off the charts with this razor for every shave so far.

Today's shave, with a hardware adjustment:


Yup, if you read those threads, you know I'm a big fan of those short thick Maggard's handles. The maneuverability is off the charts with this handle, so I applied it to this BB situation.

Better....easier to control, for sure. I'm just not built to get along with longer thinner handles, I don't like them, there's a lot of wasted end hanging out that does me no good, etc.

Ugly, but this did the job. Not as good as the first shave, but the best subsequent one, even though I'm feeling (6 hours later) sort of rawish around my neck area. Not irritated, nothing if I don't touch it, but feeling abraded if I run my hand over it. Smooooooth though. Smooth everywhere. Smooth is the BB's middle name....I haven't had one of these shaves where I wasn't blown away by the end result, which seems to be a common theme among BB owners.

Impressions:

The Blackbird is really well built. It's a blade forward razor with a lot more blade feel than the Timeless .95 I've been using as my daily for the last couple months. Super efficient, super cool design, interesting angles. Doesn't weigh a lot like my SS Timeless does, which I don't mind but some people might.

It's a lot more EFFICIENT than the Timeless .95, at least for me. There is less buffing in my problem areas; as long as I get the angle right it just disappears stubble, no repeat passes needed. I'll learn the angles and see what I can see; I'm hoping to make this a daily driver, but I think it might end up being too harsh on my face.

At this point? I'm not sure I like it. It does the job, but it's sort of mean about it. I know this is all operator error, and I'm sure if I can find the right angle with the least amount of pressure, I'll be able to use this no problem.

Would I recommend this? Yeah, if your technique is on point you'll have no issues. Would I recommend this to someone that's newer at this hobby than myself, with less razor experience i.e. Karve, 2 different Timelesses, bunch of Razorocks etc? No I would not.
This would frustrate a noob, almost to the point of quitting. There would be blood. Lots of blood. There's no autopilot with this thing like there is with the Timeless razors, this razor demands attention and respect, and if you don't give both you're going to cut yourself. Repeatedly.

2 things: I'm only using Gillette Platinums in this razor for now....they're my favorite blade in my Timeless and I just received 100 of them, so no point in not trying them out.

2nd thing is that all the pics are of that tin of WSP and that's because I'm trying to 3017 it.

Any questions, feel free.

Also picked up a polished Dart as well....I'll be reviewing that maybe next week, depending on how the rest of this week goes....if I pick this up and it clicks I might go another week just for the muscle memory on the BB.
Awesome review! Looks like a beauty. Hopefully it'll settle in and become part of your rotation.
 

Graydog

Contributor
Nice write up, I shave everyday and I know that it takes a few shaves to get a new razor just so.
I never used a BB before but I did have a go with the Dart. We parted ways , it was ok but was a little harsh for me.
My Face loves the Titanium Timeless scalloped.95 or the OC.
 
Interesting review! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Reminds me of a similar experience I had. Obviously not in the same league as the Blackbird, I bought the Maggards V3M a while back. It’s a Tech style head and very efficient. For me, it was too efficient for my daily shaving needs. It plowed through 4 days growth so fast, the shave was disappointingly quick! But for daily use, it was very easy for me to nick myself.
 
Excellent review! @Steinmetzify It took me a while to get the Blackbird dialed in... it’s definitely not a daily driver for my skin type, it’s more of an every other day type of razor. Super efficient and smooth, some may not like the blade feel but I do. One thing I learned about the Blackbird is that I have to make a Super Slick lather and the PAA Cube preshave soap helped as well. I’m still a newbie with the Blackbird (Owned it only for 2.5 months). I also learned with the Blackbird that I SHOULD NOT do a 3rd pass because it’s BBS by the 2nd pass and the 3rd pass just adds a bigger chance of getting irritation or nicks/weepers. Thank you for taking us on your Shaving Journey! Looking forward to hear your Dart review and how it compares to the Blackbird! Have some Great Shaves And Even a Better Day! :)
 
Last edited:

Hannah's Dad

Contributor
Great review! One suggestion with the Blackbird — use a very steep angle, with the handle close to parallel to your face. And use a very sharp blade. Feathers and a steep Bird are a match made in shaving heaven.
 
I'll pile on and thank you for the excellent review. Your conclusion is similar to mine. I'll use the same razor for the entire life of a blade, then it's on to another razor. My first run with the BB was kind of disappointing as I found it efficient but harsh. It was months before I developed the courage to give it another go. This time around I gave it some serious respect and I took my time. The results were spectacular, close smooth and irritation free. But boy howdy did I have to focus. For me it is an every day shaver so long as I'm willing to pay it respect.
 
As stated, been at this just shy of a year. If you guys read these threads, you know where I'm at:

Noob shaver, Karve review

Noob shaver, Timeless .68 review

I sold all my razors except the

As you can see, I'd settled on the Timeless .95SB in SS for my daily shaver.

Buddy that started me on this whole thing always raved about his Blackbirds, so I was intrigued. Waited for a deal, and snapped on one last week. It showed up Monday and I went at it.



First one went really well....incredibly well, in fact. I'd shaved Thursday morning, bought it later that afternoon, it shipped Friday and I just got caught up in weekend stuff so by the time it showed on Monday I hadn't shaved for about 4 days. I have a medium thick beard and it's like wire for the first 48 hours or so, then it starts to lay back and by the time the 4th day hits it's decently flat and softer.

Blackbird went thru it like a laser beam. I did a WTG pass on that growth and it just mowed it down and it was gone. I was astonished. I did an ATG pass just to help learning the angle and because I had soap left over, but didn't really need to.

AS went on with zero sting (which has never happened to me before) and I called it a day, amazed.

This shave was probably the easiest, best shave I've had in almost a year, and I've had some really good shaves with some really good razors.

2nd shave:


This one was a little more traumatic. I'm a musician and a gamer, and I'd had a new controller and mouse show up and I was eager to get to setting things up. Mistake. I have a routine when I get home from work.
Shower
Shave
Eat
Internet/Music/Games

I'm usually a pretty patient guy when it comes to a razor blade next to my face, but I was in a hurry and the Blackbird knew I was disrespecting it. Lather wasn't on point, I didn't relax into the shave, and I wasn't being careful enough. Cut myself twice....one a pretty decent nick that I still have 2 days later.

3rd shave:


I shouldn't have done this....I had the cut from the day before, I didn't really NEED to shave, but you get that feeling ya know? I had stubble, I wanted it gone, etc....I was a little more careful, but I still opened that cut on my face again. However, aside from that, the smoothness is off the charts with this razor for every shave so far.

Today's shave, with a hardware adjustment:


Yup, if you read those threads, you know I'm a big fan of those short thick Maggard's handles. The maneuverability is off the charts with this handle, so I applied it to this BB situation.

Better....easier to control, for sure. I'm just not built to get along with longer thinner handles, I don't like them, there's a lot of wasted end hanging out that does me no good, etc.

Ugly, but this did the job. Not as good as the first shave, but the best subsequent one, even though I'm feeling (6 hours later) sort of rawish around my neck area. Not irritated, nothing if I don't touch it, but feeling abraded if I run my hand over it. Smooooooth though. Smooth everywhere. Smooth is the BB's middle name....I haven't had one of these shaves where I wasn't blown away by the end result, which seems to be a common theme among BB owners.

Impressions:

The Blackbird is really well built. It's a blade forward razor with a lot more blade feel than the Timeless .95 I've been using as my daily for the last couple months. Super efficient, super cool design, interesting angles. Doesn't weigh a lot like my SS Timeless does, which I don't mind but some people might.

It's a lot more EFFICIENT than the Timeless .95, at least for me. There is less buffing in my problem areas; as long as I get the angle right it just disappears stubble, no repeat passes needed. I'll learn the angles and see what I can see; I'm hoping to make this a daily driver, but I think it might end up being too harsh on my face.

At this point? I'm not sure I like it. It does the job, but it's sort of mean about it. I know this is all operator error, and I'm sure if I can find the right angle with the least amount of pressure, I'll be able to use this no problem.

Would I recommend this? Yeah, if your technique is on point you'll have no issues. Would I recommend this to someone that's newer at this hobby than myself, with less razor experience i.e. Karve, 2 different Timelesses, bunch of Razorocks etc? No I would not.
This would frustrate a noob, almost to the point of quitting. There would be blood. Lots of blood. There's no autopilot with this thing like there is with the Timeless razors, this razor demands attention and respect, and if you don't give both you're going to cut yourself. Repeatedly.

2 things: I'm only using Gillette Platinums in this razor for now....they're my favorite blade in my Timeless and I just received 100 of them, so no point in not trying them out.

2nd thing is that all the pics are of that tin of WSP and that's because I'm trying to 3017 it.

Any questions, feel free.

Also picked up a polished Dart as well....I'll be reviewing that maybe next week, depending on how the rest of this week goes....if I pick this up and it clicks I might go another week just for the muscle memory on the BB.
Nice looking BB. Is that a well used black oxide? It looks like it has a really nice patina.
 

Esox

Ambassador
This would frustrate a noob, almost to the point of quitting. There would be blood. Lots of blood. There's no autopilot with this thing like there is with the Timeless razors, this razor demands attention and respect, and if you don't give both you're going to cut yourself. Repeatedly.
That may be a difference in inherent rigidity you've noticed between it and the Timeless. The Timeless is one of the most rigid designs being made.

Notice how and where the blade is clamped.

Timeless.
Timeless.jpg

Blackland Blackbird.
Blackland Blackbird.jpg

Completely different designs and completely different shaving behaviors. A more rigidly held blade is a more stable blade. However, as you suggest, technique can overcome most issues for most people.

It’s a Tech style head and very efficient.
The Maggard heads have more in common with the EJ, Merkur and Muhle base designs than the Gillette Tech.

EJ DE89. Blade support points marked in red.
de89 support points.jpg

Maggard V3A
.
Maggard-Razors-V3A-DE-Safety-Razor-Head-Chrome-Finish-1.jpg

The post war Gillette Tech on the other hand, fully supports the blade very nearly to the edge and is a very rigid design.
SqlH8K4.jpg
 
I agree with your analysis. The Blackbird will chase away new shavers and leave them screaming for a Fusion (Lord help them). There is no autopilot mode for the Blackbird. It demands your full attention throughout the shave, which is why I love it. But your patience is rewarded with a smoothness I can't get with any other razor. I've been using this thing for months and I still think, "holy crap!" every time I feel how smooth my face is after my shave.

For me it can easily be a daily driver. I get zero irritation with it and very few weepers. I have no idea if that's due to technique or my own skin/hair factors. But give this thing a solid month to see how it performs after you've dialed it in. You might be able to get shaves like your first one every day.
 
First shave with the Blackbird. Blade was a Kai, still very sharp.

Very impressive and efficient razor. Was not trying for BBS since it was my first shave with the Blackbird. Ended up pretty darn close to BBS anyway with very minimal irritation.

Some really excellent guidance and advice offered by @McNutt , @Hannah's Dad and others on this thread - especially the advice regarding keeping the handle almost parallel to my face.

Best of all, I did not shred my face. :thumbsup:
 

Hannah's Dad

Contributor
First shave with the Blackbird. Blade was a Kai, still very sharp.

Very impressive and efficient razor. Was not trying for BBS since it was my first shave with the Blackbird. Ended up pretty darn close to BBS anyway with very minimal irritation.

Some really excellent guidance and advice offered by @McNutt , @Hannah's Dad and others on this thread - especially the advice regarding keeping the handle almost parallel to my face.

Best of all, I did not shred my face. :thumbsup:
Bravo, my friend! Bravo!
 

Hannah's Dad

Contributor
Thank you, Sir! :)

Thanks to your advice, I had a really nice first shave with the Blackbird.

Lots more to learn, I am very interested to see how far the Blackbird can take me on my shaving journey.
You’re quite welcome. I spent a couple of years buying and trying over 100 razors (mostly vintage), and my den now only consists of 7 razors. The Blackbird is one of them. It’s your journey and I hope you enjoy it; but candidly, there are very few razors ‘out there’ that will give you a better shaving experience than the one you now possess. I offer that not to cut short your journey, but to maybe save you some time and money.

The Kai was a great choice for a blade. Feathers are also brilliant for this Bird.
 
You’re quite welcome. I spent a couple of years buying and trying over 100 razors (mostly vintage), and my den now only consists of 7 razors. The Blackbird is one of them. It’s your journey and I hope you enjoy it; but candidly, there are very few razors ‘out there’ that will give you a better shaving experience than the one you now possess. I offer that not to cut short your journey, but to maybe save you some time and money.

The Kai was a great choice for a blade. Feathers are also brilliant for this Bird.
That's such a helpful, and truthful, post there Mr. Dan. Good job.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 
Great review! One suggestion with the Blackbird — use a very steep angle, with the handle close to parallel to your face. And use a very sharp blade. Feathers and a steep Bird are a match made in shaving heaven.
Just did this....I was working an angle I'd found on another forum and trying it out...wasn't working for me. I cheated today and rode the bar and you know what? Best shave since Monday. I think I've got this.

Nice looking BB. Is that a well used black oxide? It looks like it has a really nice patina.
Not super well used, but used.....I'm vain about my shaving pics so I highlight that facet of its appearance in photos lol

That may be a difference in inherent rigidity you've noticed between it and the Timeless. The Timeless is one of the most rigid designs being made.

Notice how and where the blade is clamped.

Timeless.
View attachment 1018622

Blackland Blackbird.
View attachment 1018623

Completely different designs and completely different shaving behaviors. A more rigidly held blade is a more stable blade. However, as you suggest, technique can overcome most issues for most people.



The Maggard heads have more in common with the EJ, Merkur and Muhle base designs than the Gillette Tech.

EJ DE89. Blade support points marked in red.
View attachment 1018626

Maggard V3A
.
View attachment 1018625

The post war Gillette Tech on the other hand, fully supports the blade very nearly to the edge and is a very rigid design.
View attachment 1018628
Thanks for the pics and specs man...I DO think I am feeling that, it's nice to know where it's coming from.

I agree with your analysis. The Blackbird will chase away new shavers and leave them screaming for a Fusion (Lord help them). There is no autopilot mode for the Blackbird. It demands your full attention throughout the shave, which is why I love it. But your patience is rewarded with a smoothness I can't get with any other razor. I've been using this thing for months and I still think, "holy crap!" every time I feel how smooth my face is after my shave.

For me it can easily be a daily driver. I get zero irritation with it and very few weepers. I have no idea if that's due to technique or my own skin/hair factors. But give this thing a solid month to see how it performs after you've dialed it in. You might be able to get shaves like your first one every day.
Oh there's no quitting...one of the reasons I got it was because of you too, man. I know if you're offing a Timeless this thing has to be special, and I'll make it so for me too.

First shave with the Blackbird. Blade was a Kai, still very sharp.

Very impressive and efficient razor. Was not trying for BBS since it was my first shave with the Blackbird. Ended up pretty darn close to BBS anyway with very minimal irritation.

Some really excellent guidance and advice offered by @McNutt , @Hannah's Dad and others on this thread - especially the advice regarding keeping the handle almost parallel to my face.

Best of all, I did not shred my face. :thumbsup:
Really glad to hear this man....my first with this thing was awesome too, hopefully you don't have the same issues I did afterwards.

SOTD:



I cheated on my 3017 too...needed a break. I also tried out an Astra Platinum, worked pretty well. Like said above, I just gave up on the angle I'd been working and rode the bar and it seemed to work. I'm not bleeding, there wasn't excess buffing and very little feedback from the alum. AS stung a bit, but nothing I'm not used to...I think this is coming along nicely and preparing me for the Dart as well.

Thanks for following along, fellas. I read a lot of threads here when I was considering this razor, hopefully this helps someone.

@never-stop-learning and @McNutt and anyone else, if you guys want to chuck your continuing experiences into this thread, ok by me.
 
You’re quite welcome. I spent a couple of years buying and trying over 100 razors (mostly vintage), and my den now only consists of 7 razors. The Blackbird is one of them. It’s your journey and I hope you enjoy it; but candidly, there are very few razors ‘out there’ that will give you a better shaving experience than the one you now possess. I offer that not to cut short your journey, but to maybe save you some time and money.

The Kai was a great choice for a blade. Feathers are also brilliant for this Bird.
That’s impressive and speaks volumes of the Blackbird. I’m learning that it’s more important about the technique rather then the razor itself. It amazes me how well it shaves with such a little blade gap, shows that blade exposure is more significant
 
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