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The Wow factor

I know I'm still new at this and still have a long way to go to perfect my technique, but it was nice to understand what guys mean about letting the razor do the work and that someday I'd just "know" what a good shave felt like after trying a sampler pack of blades. Just got my sampler last week and just tried a Feather. I have a heavy beard and the Feather glided through three days of growth like butter. With a little work on my technique, I'm confident I can get a BBS in a 2-pass shave vice just a DFS in what has lately been 3-4 passes. I'm eager to see how it's holding up after 2 or 3 shaves. If I can manage a week out of a blade, that would be awesome.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still eager to try more blades, soaps, and even razors. Toss out some suggestions if you're a M-F shaver with a heavy beard.

What I've tried so far is:
EJ DE89

Proraso Blue/Green
Woolfat
Col Conk Lime

Derby
Dorco 301
Merkur
Feather
 
Blades will probably make the the most notable difference. As you may know, Feathers are generally regarded as the sharpest of current production blades, but most feel like they degrade fairly quickly. I'd be surprised if you get five shaves out of a Feather if you have a heavy beard. Probably more like three, and that may be pushing it. Your other blade choices so far appear to be on the milder (some might say duller) side; so no surprise that you noticed a good jump in performance with the Feather. For blades that will give good performance, but also a little more longevity than Feathers, I'd suggest Personna Lab Blues, or one of the St. Petersburg blades, my favorite being the Gillette 7 O'clock Yellow, but Astra SPs and Polisilver Super Iridiums are also popular with the "sharp" blade guys. But, of course blades are very much a YMMV thing, so give several a good trial to see what works best for you. Blades, even the more expensive ones, are cheap compared to cartridges, so you can afford to experiment.
 
The problem with Feather's is their longevity. I have a very dark course beard, and imo, Polsilver SI is just as sharp, much smoother and gives me 7 shaves a blade.
 
There is a WIDE margin of sharpness between Feather and the other blades you listed. There are a lot of blades in between you might like, but if you really liked the sharp, may as well stay there for a while. One thing I will mention, though... it isn't as big a deal to slice through three days growth so much as the wear and tear of butchering your neck everyday with a blade that is too sharp. That is the true test for me... the rough stubble on my chin needs a really sharp blade or i'll be blade buffing all day, but my neck gets irritated easily.

Feathers are great for dialing in your technique... use no pressure or it'll hurt. :001_tt2:
I find they're sharp, and give an adequate shave... just not the most pleasurable.

For me... Astra SP have long been a favorite. They are slightly less sharp, but WAY smoother. I've only tried two shaves on a Personna Platinum (red), but it was every bit as sharp as the Feather for me, and as smooth as the Astra SP. This one might be the one. I've tried at least a dozen blades, and am still trying more... just because I don't want 100 blades lying around after finding a better one... haha.

Gillette 7 0'clock yellow are sharp, and smoother than a Feather, but less smooth than Astra. Super Iridium and Gilette Silver Blues are next on my rotation. I won't bother listing the ones I wasn't impressed with.
 
At first, an Astra would only last me 3 days of 3 or 4 pass shaves. I find with better technique and prep, and less passes, a week is doable.

Anyway, for the price of Feathers versus an Astra, an extra couple days, it doesn't matter. Astras (Personna as well) are cheap as chips. ~$10-15 for 100.
 
I also agree the blade is the most important factor in shaving a coarse beard. I might be wrong, but I find Gillette 7 O'Clock Yellow the same sharp as Feathers, just that they last several shaves for me. A Feather blade lasts only one single shave for me.

For razor testing: Try to get a chance to try an iKon Deluxe open comb. They are expensive, but they are very nice on coarse beard. The only drawback with them are that you need to be very careful with the angle or they will not shave close.
 
In the non-ending search for the magical combination of razor/blade/brush/cream that will give the perfect shave, I too believe that the razor and blade are the most important components. I shave with the ATT system and many believe that it is the best razor available at this time. My favorite blade is the Polsilver. I have yet to try the Feathers. Better said, I tried the Feathers many moons ago when I was early in this quest and let me just say, it did not end well for my face.

I do have one thought: I do not understand the obsession with how many shaves a person can get from any particular razor blade. Many recommend the ATT system which starts at $179.00 and can run hundreds more. Many gripe about the cost of the Feathers which at 2 shaves/blade will cost around $45/year for a person who shaves 6 days/week. Let's say my Polsilver lasts 4 shaves. It happens to cost approximately the same as a Feathers so I am spending around $22/years for blades. So, the gripe is about $23/year. If a Feathers is the best blade for your face, I say GO FOR IT.
 
I have a heavy course beard and i shave daily M-F. I found my holy grail combo right now to be a Weber w/ bulldog handle, Gillette Silver Blue blade, and any TOBS cream. The Weber is a fairly mild razor but efficient. I have tried and used much more aggressive razors in the past and I've always had to do three passes with cleanup and I would get some irritation. With the Weber and my current setup I'm doing my usual three passes with cleanup and find that I don't get any irritation and I can shave much faster with the Weber.
 
Thanks guys. I can't think of better responses.

I do realize the significant jump in sharpness from what I had been using to the Feather. However, those were the only blades I could find locally, so when my sampler came in, I immediately went to what I had heard as the sharpest. Good info on longevity though. I have heard of all the other suggested blades, so am now on a quest to find small amounts of them to try out.

I'll definately keep the ikon in mind, but might be a pricey purchase for a trial. I do want to try an OC, Slant and adjustable just for kicks, so will see how that goes. Have been eyeing the R41, the 39C, and the 59/60 FatBoy....yes, I have heard of how brutal those can be.

As for shaves per blade...I'm not necessarily trying to stretch the money, especially considering how cheap they are compared to cartridge razors and I was using those for only a week as it is. My wife got me the EJ for Christmas as something to try to get rid of the razor burn, ingrowns and just a classy thing to do. Mostly, I just like the clean cutoff of a week's use. I typically don't shave on the weekends, so having a fresh blade to start off the week is nice and if I can get a blade to last the week, it would make a nice easy timeframe to change out the blade.

Again, great info. All of you were saying the same several blades, so will definately try to find samplers of those. If nothing else, I can do two Feathers a week for what I consider a great shave. Thanks guys.
 
I have a list of about 10 razors that are in my sights that I've been looking into and the Weber/Bulldog was one of them. Do you know how the mild/aggressiveness compares to the EJ? I'm definately addicted to this, as many are, and want to build my collection and try new razor/blade combos as a YMMV thing, but if I was stuck with the EJ/feather, I'm sure I could manage. Thanks for the info.
 
Blades will probably make the the most notable difference. As you may know, Feathers are generally regarded as the sharpest of current production blades, but most feel like they degrade fairly quickly. I'd be surprised if you get five shaves out of a Feather if you have a heavy beard. Probably more like three, and that may be pushing it. Your other blade choices so far appear to be on the milder (some might say duller) side; so no surprise that you noticed a good jump in performance with the Feather. For blades that will give good performance, but also a little more longevity than Feathers, I'd suggest Personna Lab Blues, or one of the St. Petersburg blades, my favorite being the Gillette 7 O'clock Yellow, but Astra SPs and Polisilver Super Iridiums are also popular with the "sharp" blade guys. But, of course blades are very much a YMMV thing, so give several a good trial to see what works best for you. Blades, even the more expensive ones, are cheap compared to cartridges, so you can afford to experiment.

I have some personnas. Not sure if they're lab blues or not. What's your take on med preps?
 
I have some personnas. Not sure if they're lab blues or not. What's your take on med preps?

I haven't tried the Med preps. The debate rages as to whether they are the same blade as the Lab Blues; some say they shave the same, others swear they're completely different. Since I have no direct experience, I can't proffer an informed opinion on this one. The Med preps do sell for roughly twice the price of the Blues. Since the Med preps are marketed primarily to hospitals and clinics, perhaps they are simply the proverbial $50.00 screw driver?
 
I've found that buying 5packs individually is normally cheaper than the marketed "sample packs"... Typically they are $.75 to $3 each, and at an avg of $1-2, it doesn't hurt if you don't like em. If you don't like one, I'd recommend stashing them for later and trying again after your techniques have improved and expanded,and with different razors.
....However, Maggardrazors.com has build your own sample packs that are cheaper and a great deal.
 
Gillette 7 0'clock yellow are sharp, and smoother than a Feather, but less smooth than Astra. Super Iridium and Gilette Silver Blues are next on my rotation. I won't bother listing the ones I wasn't impressed with.

Let me know how the Polsilver SI and the Silver Blues work out.

Update to the Feathers.....Just shaved day two with it and the quality was seriously degraded from yesterday, just as everyone here said.

Maggard razors was out of stock on a few things and had a somewhat limited selection. Decided to go with the $2 per 5-pack at West Coast Shaving. Polsilver SI, Astra SP, Lab Blues, 7 O'clock Yellow, and Silver Blues all in stock for about $2 each.
 
Let me know how the Polsilver SI and the Silver Blues work out.

Update to the Feathers.....Just shaved day two with it and the quality was seriously degraded from yesterday, just as everyone here said.

Maggard razors was out of stock on a few things and had a somewhat limited selection. Decided to go with the $2 per 5-pack at West Coast Shaving. Polsilver SI, Astra SP, Lab Blues, 7 O'clock Yellow, and Silver Blues all in stock for about $2 each.

Excellent selection. I'm predicting you'll find one or more of those blades to your liking, and with a longer life than the Feathers.
Have fun.
 
Shaving for years; have tried Feather and KAI blades, both go dull too quickly and require practice at the same time. They also cost a bunch. I prefer Israeli Red Personnas which last much longer yet are forgiving. YMMV.
 
I found the silver blue to be better than feather in every way. Seemed a bit sharper than I'd like in my EJ style Maggard MR1... I''ll probably love it in my superspeed. Very sharp and smooth. I find Astra to be perfect in my MR1, and very good in my superspeed, (the superspeed is milder, a 40s style). So far the Personna Platinum (red) was perfect in both.
 
More good suggestions...and more about feather/kai longevity. Thanks. Razors or razor/blade pairing brings up a good point.

The problem with Feather's is their longevity. I have a very dark course beard, and imo, Polsilver SI is just as sharp, much smoother and gives me 7 shaves a blade.

What razor are you paired with the Polsilver SI?
 
Yet another Update....And everyone was right. Pressed my luck and tried (in the name of science) to use a feather blade for a third shave. After a single WTG pass, it was too painful and had to change out the blade. Looks like feathers are only good for 1-2 shaves.
 
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