The semi-scientific search for the favorite blade.

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
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Bobwhite
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The semi-scientific search for the favorite blade.

Post by Bobwhite » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:05 pm

A few months ago I bought a variety pack of different blades. I believe I can say that my favorite are Feathers and a distant second are the others. I just don't seem to tell a noticeable difference in most of the other more common blades. Its hard to fairly compare a 5 day old blade to one fresh out of the package. What qualities do you look for? If sharpness were the only quality, wouldn't everybody use a Feather? I have a hard time buying into the face thinning theory. A Feather that is a day or two old is probably no sharper than any of the others, but still serviceable. I'm sure that the manufacturers would tell me that there is a huge difference, but I'd sure like to know what that is.

Joe

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ShadowsDad
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Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:39 pm

I can tell you the qualities I look for, others will have different specs.

My ideal blades need to be (in no particular order):
1. Sharp
2. Smooth
3. Yield a confortable shave every time if I do my part
4. give me at least 7 BBS shaves
5. Work equally well in all my DE razors to make it simple for this old fart
6. a non-rusting blade is a plus but not mandatory

OK, you mentioned a specific blade, Feather. I love them, but they only give me 2-3 shaves before they become unuseable for me. So while they are sharp, they don't meet the other specs. But in SE for one type of razor they are the only blade available, so I must use them or I don't use the razor.

To shorten this, so far only 2 DE blades meet my specs, 7 O'Clock Yellows and Med Preps. I can use other blades, but I don't see why I would want to. If I did I'd have to remember how they perform and when I should trash them, and I'm old and have one foot in the grave and I'd probably forget and cut myself, so I simplify the selection. :)

Now just to muddy the water a bit, my best blades may absolutely be the pits for your face and in your razor. There's simply no telling unless you try them and find out for yourself. Now whether you should or not, only you can say. You wouldn't be wrong to say, "I like the Feathers, I don't need any others." .

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LookingGlass
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Post by LookingGlass » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:07 pm

Joe,

I look for a close, comfortable shave. For example, a Personna Red in my '59 Fatboy on setting 4 is about as good as it gets for me. I've also got Iridiums, Feathers, Derbys, Astra Platinums, Gillettes (Yellow, Blue), Isreali Blues, and W. Swords (Indian and German). They all work for me...just depends on what I want to use in the blade rotation.

However, I will have to admit they broke the mold when they made the Iridium blade. I was able to pick up 20 or so of these blades and they are superior to any blade I have used.

Not sure if this helps since what works for one person may not work for another. The blades listed above are in my stable, all work for me, and I have a good supply of each.

Take care,
Ed

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Squire
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Post by Squire » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:26 pm

Joe, feathers meet all my requirements, I could and did use them exclusively. I now use others simply because they interest me.
Regards,
Squire

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Post by BeatlesFan » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:28 pm

In my experience there are very significant differences among blades, and Feathers stand alone.

Feathers are one of the few blades that I simply can't use. They cut me (not just nick, cut). The irritate my face horribly. They are just too brutal by far for my face.

But, oh yeah, they're sharper than anything I else ever encountered.

Taking Feathers out of the equation, there's still a big range. I find, for example, Merkurs to be quite dull, and they pull uncomfortably. I think Derbys are a nice balance between close and comfortable. I find the Super Iridium to be close, but harsh (though they certainly don't cut me up to shreds the way Feathers do). I find the NOS Gillette Platinum Plus to be mind-bogglingly great at both closeness and comfort.

So, yes, I think that there is a very wide spectrum as to both closeness and comfort. It is, however, one area in which there are huge differences of opinion.

Squire's outstanding reviews also demonstrate that there is substantial and very real product differentiation among blades.

brothers
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Post by brothers » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:23 pm

I don't even remember how or why I wound up with my favorite blade, but when I loaded that first one into the Slant HD and started using it, I knew it was the one for me, and I've never regretted it for a second.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

CMur12
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Post by CMur12 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:09 pm

Squire's tests are the most scientific that I have seen and they provide an excellent baseline. Even so, we still haven't isolated all of the variables, so no one can really determine what his favorite will be without personal experimentation.

Feathers are truly unique blades and they are clearly the sharpest available. It seems that those who like them really like them, and those that don't really don't. They don't work for me, and skin-thinning is the best description I have found for their apparent effect.

Other than Feathers, I do fine with a lot of blades and I have a number of favorites. On the one hand, my beard isn't very dense, but it is coarse and it benefits from a sharp blade. On the other hand, my skin is very delicate, so the blade can't be too sharp.

The only blade that has been too sharp for me is the Feather. It mows through my whiskers effortlessly and it leaves no apparent razor burn, but my skin becomes markedly sorer with each successive shave. My maximum with a Feather is three shaves, even skipping a day in between.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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Quarterstick
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Post by Quarterstick » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:49 pm

CMur12 wrote:Squire's tests are the most scientific that I have seen and they provide an excellent baseline. Even so, we still haven't isolated all of the variables, so no one can really determine what his favorite will be without personal experimentation.
Agreed. There are lot of interacting variables that go beyond the blade itself that shape individual perceptions and preferences when it comes to blade choice. For instance: individual technique, hair characteristics, skin characteristics, razor being used, ideas of what a shave "should feel like", and what type of results you expect.

I have a best blade for me, but suspect I can do better. If you are very satisfied there may be no need to keep trying. However, if you think something is missing or if you are just curious, keep trying different blades out.
Andy

An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and you have a dime.

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Rufust445
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Post by Rufust445 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:59 pm

ShadowsDad wrote:...
My ideal blades need to be (in no particular order):
1. Sharp
2. Smooth
3. Yield a confortable shave every time if I do my part
4. give me at least 7 BBS shaves
5. Work equally well in all my DE razors to make it simple for this old fart
6. a non-rusting blade is a plus but not mandatory...
Closest thing to the above for me would be a Shark Super Stainless. Haven't used one in a while though as I've been working through Treet Durasharp carbons (my largest stash), Dorco ST-301's, and 7 o'clock yellows.

All of the above are based on use in my standard go-to razor, the Super Adjustable, that is except for the 7 o'clock yellows. The yellows go in a 3-piece razor, the Lord Smart. That wax gunk is much easier to clean out of a 3-piece razor than a TTO.

John Parker
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Post by John Parker » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:34 pm

I had bad results from Feathers in my Gillette SuperSpeed and DE89-rough on the first shave. Gave up on them in favor of Iridiums-smooth and sharp. Then I got a Slim Adjustable. At a 5 or 6 setting Feathers are sharp and smooth. I do get half as many shaves from the Feather than I do with Iridiums, but then Feathers are half the price of the Iridiums. Agree that Yellows are nice as well, but don't find them as sharp as either the Feather or the Iridium; smooth though.

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KM-INSTRUCTOR
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Post by KM-INSTRUCTOR » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:02 am

Thats an impossible one really, because there might always be the ONE found in that next pack of blades from a different maker that you might try.

I have some favorites but i would not stop the daily shave if they where gone all of a sudden, I would just move onward ansd use what was available.

Bobwhite
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Post by Bobwhite » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:45 pm

Squire's Sticky post is a tremendously comprehensive resource. I sure thank him for posting all of that good information. It must have taken a long time to log little bits of information each day. By reading dozens of peoples posts, I've been able to avoid mistakes.

This is one "sport" that more is not better. A 4 setting is good but a 7 is definitely not better! It leaves a mark right on your face in time for the special event. That is no time to experiment! Then again, that could be a whole new post subject.

Joe

brothers
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Post by brothers » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:32 am

Hi Joe! Your post is timely. I've got a mark on the side of my neck that just decided to show up a couple of days ago, caused by a miscommunication between my hand and my eye. I zigged when I was supposed to zag, I reckon. Oh well, a little styptic and an alum block got me out of the house just fine. That's the way it goes!
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

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Ouchmychin
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Post by Ouchmychin » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:12 pm

Well today I shaved with my Merkur Futur and got a great bbs shave without polishing at all. I got curious because it had a blade that had been in for at least a month (never used) and I opened it up to find a Feather. Better shave than any other razor or blade in my collection. The Futur was set to about 1.6. Other blades I have tried include the Super Irridiums; 7 O'clocks; Sharks; Red Personas; single edge Persona 74 injector; Shick disposable; BIC steel single blade disposable; Derbys; and a couple more. None has matched the Feather/Futur combination.
Ouchmychin (Pete)

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Sargon
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Post by Sargon » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:04 am

Not surprising. Feathers are one of the sharpest blades out there, with only, perhaps, Rapira and Kai blades being able to play on their level, so to speak, and the futur is one of the most aggressive razors out there so the combination would, indeed, be very close.

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