Taking a break from really sharp blades

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
Post Reply
Bill_K
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Bill_K » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:10 am

Gents,

I was wondering if you occasionally take a break from really sharp blades and revert (temporarily) to a less sharp but smoother blade.

The reason I ask is that I'm using up my second- and third-string blades because I can't stand the thought of ignoring or throwing them out. Earlier this week I dug into a partial pack of Rapira Swedish Super Steel blades and I really enjoyed the experience. Frankly, they don't give me the closest shaves, but they're so smooth that the aftershave hardly stings at all.

I'm now considering adding the Rapiras to my upcoming order of Feather and Wilkinson (made in Germany) blades.

Bill

CMur12
Posts: 6811
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:41 pm
Location: Moses Lake, Washington

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by CMur12 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:51 pm

Bill, there is something seductive about a really smooth blade!

I have a mega-stash of blades, but most all of them are favorites. So, I use them all with great satisfaction.

I determined long ago that I can't use feather blades in even the mildest razor, so I don't use them, at all. I had a lesser, but similar, experience with Kai blades. Otherwise, I like "sharper" blades (Personna Med Preps, Perma-Sharp Supers, Iridium Supers, Gillette Rubies, and such). I don't find myself taking a break from sharper blades, however.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

User avatar
churchilllafemme
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:22 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by churchilllafemme » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:28 pm

CMur12 wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:51 pm
Bill, there is something seductive about a really smooth blade!

I have a mega-stash of blades, but most all of them are favorites. So, I use them all with great satisfaction.

I determined long ago that I can't use feather blades in even the mildest razor, so I don't use them, at all. I had a lesser, but similar, experience with Kai blades. Otherwise, I like "sharper" blades (Personna Med Preps, Perma-Sharp Supers, Iridium Supers, Gillette Rubies, and such). I don't find myself taking a break from sharper blades, however.

- Murray
My experience exactly. Feather blades were a Halloween slasher on my face, but I am able to tolerate and enjoy Perma-Sharp Supers and Iridium Supers. And a few of the really rare and expensive vintage blades - Gillette 'Swedes,' Wilkinson Light Brigades, and Personna 74 Tungstens - give me both sharpness and smoothness (in my particular razors, anyway).
_______
John

brothers
Posts: 19318
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by brothers » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:46 pm

Bill, that's something I've unconsciously been doing with both DE and SE blades. With the best blades, I find I like the results that come from both ends of the spectrum.
Gary

User avatar
Pauldog
Never Shave a Husky
Posts: 6104
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:39 pm

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Pauldog » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:10 pm

If I'm in a hurry to get out the door, but need to shave, I can use a somewhat more "forgiving" blade, or a milder razor, or some combination. (The Maggard slant head I got recently can play a part, too, or an adjustable razor.) Then I get a quicker, more foolproof shave, and to speed things up more, I'll make sure I haven't missed any part of my face, but not try to remove every last fraction of a millimeter of hair. (Not that I succeed that often - I'm trying for a very good shave, not BBS, and trying to avoid irritation.)

One safe combination is a latter-day Schick injector razor and Personna blades.

I wonder if some day the R48 Dynamic Focus razor will become foolproof and quick for me. More practice needed with it...

Bill_K
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Bill_K » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:31 am

Pauldog wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:10 pm
If I'm in a hurry to get out the door, but need to shave, I can use a somewhat more "forgiving" blade, or a milder razor, or some combination
You raise a good point. I tried using my straight razor last Sunday when I was in a rush, and what a mistake that was! In fact, that's exactly why I sought out a gentler DE blade: I had too sharp an angle on my neck and as a result, it was irritated for almost two days.

I'm realizing more and more that I need to get off the BBS bandwagon and go for Damn Fine Shave on most days and Good Enough Shave when I'm in a panic to get out the door.

With regard to Feather and Kai blades, they give me oh-so-smooth shaves but I'm thinking that the cost (in terms of irritation) may not be worth it. Evidently more experimentation is required; I'll definitely expand my selection of blades when I re-order.

Thank you all for your feedback.

Bill

User avatar
Pauldog
Never Shave a Husky
Posts: 6104
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:39 pm

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Pauldog » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:09 pm

With multiple passes, try changing razors/blades. Maybe use the least irritating combination for the first pass, especially if you have more growth than usual, and don't necessarily put 100% of your face through a second pass.

We're trying to optimize the tradeoff between irritation and thoroughness of the shave.

User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8149
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by fallingwickets » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:18 am

Gillette Rubies
thumbs up to these for the smooth:sharp combo worth writing home about!

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 9232
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:59 am

It comes down to technique, doesn't it? If you use a Feather all the time you get used to being very light-fingered in your shave and you don't end up cutting yourself. The problem comes from switching around and confuses the muscle memory. Having said that, in my DE days my favourite blade was the despised Merkur, which I liked for what Christian here called the 'M-factor' - it wasn't sharp enough to cleanly slice the end of a hair, leaving instead a frayed end. This made the returning stubble much less prickly and gave the impression that the shave was lasting longer than it really was. Much nicer than Feather stubble!
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

brothers
Posts: 19318
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by brothers » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:29 am

This explains what I've been seeing while using the Feather AC and Kai blades for 20 - 30 shaves before changing out. At the beginning they will cut the skin given the smallest encouragement. Then they start to mellow out very gradually until after about 10 or 12 shaves when they start to allow a bit of pressure. It's that gradual change in technique that makes the difference. It's when the old blade is replaced with a new one that is dangerous. The muscle memory that worked so well yesterday will bring out some blood tomorrow.
Gary

Bill_K
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Bill_K » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:35 am

drmoss_ca wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:59 am
It comes down to technique, doesn't it? If you use a Feather all the time you get used to being very light-fingered in your shave and you don't end up cutting yourself. The problem comes from switching around and confuses the muscle memory.
This makes sense to me. I'm still using up my sample packs, and when I switch back to Feathers or Wilkinsons I use them with the same fear and trepidation that I have when I use the straight razor on weekends (i.e. I use a very light touch). The less-sharp blades, I'm embarrassed to admit, do not get the same level of respect so I usually wind up with cuts, especially on the last pass.

Bill_K
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Bill_K » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:36 am

brothers wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:29 am
It's that gradual change in technique that makes the difference. It's when the old blade is replaced with a new one that is dangerous. The muscle memory that worked so well yesterday will bring out some blood tomorrow.
Nailed it.

Bill_K
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Bill_K » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:38 am

fallingwickets wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:18 am
Gillette Rubies
thumbs up to these for the smooth:sharp combo worth writing home about!

clive
I sense more samples coming my way in the near future - more confusing muscle memory issues! Yay! :roll:

User avatar
Pauldog
Never Shave a Husky
Posts: 6104
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:39 pm

Re: Taking a break from really sharp blades

Post by Pauldog » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:34 am

drmoss_ca wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:59 am
The problem comes from switching around and confuses the muscle memory.
I agree with this for the most part, especially with a razor like the Muhle R41 (open comb). But some razors are pretty foolproof and give an excellent shave - for me, two examples are the later Schick injector razors and the Razorock Teck II / Baili BD191.

And yes, putting in a fresh blade, especially a sharper one, challenges the muscle memory. It's always a nice surprise when I use a razor I've never used before, with a fresh blade, and end up with a good, easy shave with no irritation or cuts. This happened to me most recently with the Maggard slant head.

Post Reply