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What is the hype about Feather blades?

There’s nothing like the feeling of a fresh Feather blade coupled with a mild razor; with the Tatara Masamune, the combination is just heavenly. Yes, it is the sharpest DE blade, so that’s where the hype is.

BUT… the Feather quickly loses its sharpness. There are sharper blades available when averaged over 3 uses, including the BIC CP that after its first use can be AS SHARP as a new Feather blade.

Is it worth using a Feather just for one or two shaves? Sure, depends on your pocketbook. Many here have a collection of expensive brushes and razors. Spend it if you got it; it’s the B&B way.
 
There is electron microscopy research posted that illustrates how Feather blades are honed to a narrower cutting edge angle than other brands - confirming they are the sharpest among those tested. The downside of this is that the edge dulls faster with the result that many Feather users only get one to two shaves from a blade. Recently published MIT research confirmed that razor blades do not wear gradually as was expected per conventional wisdom. Instead wear from the act of cutting hairs causes microchips to the edge. One likely conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, with a narrower hone angle, there is less metal to resist the microchiping. This results in the faster wear with delivery of only one or two good shaves per blade for many users.

Bottom line it's not hype, Feathers are demonstrably the sharpest though this is achieved at the possible expense of longevity compared to other blades. Each of us needs to decide if our beard characteristics, equipment and technique warrant or would benefit from the extra sharpness. In my case I get excellent results from blades with mid-range sharpness such as Astra SP and Dorco so see no reason use Feathers given the much higher cost per shave due to blade price and limited longevity. As YMMV there are many fellow B&B shavers who value or need the extra sharpness given their unique beard characteristics and technique.
 

FarmerTan

FarmerStan the Man
There is electron microscopy research posted that illustrates how Feather blades are honed to a narrower cutting edge angle than other brands - confirming they are the sharpest among those tested. The downside of this is that the edge dulls faster with the result that many Feather users only get one to two shaves from a blade. Recently published MIT research confirmed that razor blades do not wear gradually as was expected per conventional wisdom. Instead wear from the act of cutting hairs causes microchips to the edge. One likely conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, with a narrower hone angle, there is less metal to resist the microchiping. This results in the faster wear with delivery of only one or two good shaves per blade for many users.

Bottom line it's not hype, Feathers are demonstrably the sharpest though this is achieved at the possible expense of longevity compared to other blades. Each of us needs to decide if our beard characteristics, equipment and technique warrant or would benefit from the extra sharpness. In my case I get excellent results from blades with mid-range sharpness such as Astra SP and Dorco so see no reason use Feathers given the much higher cost per shave due to blade price and limited longevity. As YMMV there are many fellow B&B shavers who value or need the extra sharpness given their unique beard characteristics and technique.
Perfectly stated my friend. Thank you.
 

OldSaw

The wife's investment
There is electron microscopy research posted that illustrates how Feather blades are honed to a narrower cutting edge angle than other brands - confirming they are the sharpest among those tested. The downside of this is that the edge dulls faster with the result that many Feather users only get one to two shaves from a blade. Recently published MIT research confirmed that razor blades do not wear gradually as was expected per conventional wisdom. Instead wear from the act of cutting hairs causes microchips to the edge. One likely conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, with a narrower hone angle, there is less metal to resist the microchiping. This results in the faster wear with delivery of only one or two good shaves per blade for many users.

Bottom line it's not hype, Feathers are demonstrably the sharpest though this is achieved at the possible expense of longevity compared to other blades. Each of us needs to decide if our beard characteristics, equipment and technique warrant or would benefit from the extra sharpness. In my case I get excellent results from blades with mid-range sharpness such as Astra SP and Dorco so see no reason use Feathers given the much higher cost per shave due to blade price and limited longevity. As YMMV there are many fellow B&B shavers who value or need the extra sharpness given their unique beard characteristics and technique.
People don’t like facts when they interfere with their beliefs.
 
There is electron microscopy research posted that illustrates how Feather blades are honed to a narrower cutting edge angle than other brands - confirming they are the sharpest among those tested. The downside of this is that the edge dulls faster with the result that many Feather users only get one to two shaves from a blade. Recently published MIT research confirmed that razor blades do not wear gradually as was expected per conventional wisdom. Instead wear from the act of cutting hairs causes microchips to the edge. One likely conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, with a narrower hone angle, there is less metal to resist the microchiping. This results in the faster wear with delivery of only one or two good shaves per blade for many users.

Bottom line it's not hype, Feathers are demonstrably the sharpest though this is achieved at the possible expense of longevity compared to other blades. Each of us needs to decide if our beard characteristics, equipment and technique warrant or would benefit from the extra sharpness. In my case I get excellent results from blades with mid-range sharpness such as Astra SP and Dorco so see no reason use Feathers given the much higher cost per shave due to blade price and limited longevity. As YMMV there are many fellow B&B shavers who value or need the extra sharpness given their unique beard characteristics and technique.
Based on all the positive reactions I'm adding a link to the actual electron microscope analysis of various blades, including Feather, that was referred to in my original post. Article is from Science of Sharp titled "A Comparison of Several Manufacturers Blades"

The key metric to look at is the Aa1 hone angle noted on the various blade images as follows:

Vintage Gillette Blue - 21.0 degrees
Astra Stainless - 24.4 degrees
Feather - 19.2 degrees

Analysis also compares the above to a straight razor, scalpel and snap blade. Also come comments below regarding mico-bevels for the feather blade where the above Feather statistic was reconfirmed.

This is the only analysis like this I've seen that calculates the actual hone angle, others tend to just look at the edge and have limited metrics. Curious if anyone has found similar analyses with the above specific metric for other brands of DE blade? Would be especially interesting to see what the real differences are between different brands from the same manufacturer.


Link below:

 
I've been using DE razors for at least 15 years. I've settled on 3 razors, a Futur (#3), a Long handled Progress(#3) and Traderee. Three Blades, Feather, Gillette Silver Blue, and PolySilver (AKA Super Iridium). I have a pretty good stash of all of them. The Traderee is too mild, but it is a work of art so I keep it. Goto is a long handled Progress with any of the 3 blades. Feathers are sharper, and I seldom cut myself with any blade or razor. I have a pretty mild beard, and can usually get close to 10, 2-1/2 pass shaves out of any of the blades. Maybe its less from Feathers but I don't really notice.

I can't safely shave with the Feather Blades for the Feather Straight. I have to use the Feather ProGuard blade. I did it for a month once and decided the time and blood letting weren't worth the effort.
 
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Use them sometimes with my R41, first time they are great on the 2nd shave they start getting a bit on the rough side. I shave every day BTW.
 
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