09-06-2014, 09:51 PM
#1
  • WriteNoob
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  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA
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Before I begin, let me explain that I'm not trying to disparage my modern razor in this thread. I like everything about my EJ DE 89L, other than the one thing I really need from it, a good comfortable shave. I'm merely trying to figure out a huge disparity, that may very well be limited to my specific case.

I've literally only been shaving with a DE razor for a few weeks. Before I bought my first razor, I went through every source of information I could think of, from YouTube to Amazon reviews to this forum and others. I had shaved with cheap, disposable, Plastic DE's in the Army, back in the 80's, and had no trouble at all accomplishing the task. Everyone seemed to hold the Edwin Jagger DE 89Ll in high regard as a beginners razor, so i bought one. I'd already been using soap and brush for many years, so I was set, there. The EJ came with 5 Derby Blades. I went ahead and ordered 30 Feathers, at the same time. Many have said, in reserved ways, that this was perhaps not the best blade choice for the beginner, but damage done, so I figured that this would, at least, provide me with maximum feedback on my technique. Let me just say, mission accomplished. Tongue

Let me first say that I, Myself, as a beginner of sorts, have had better shaves, and worse shaves, with the 89L. That said, I have never, in nearly a month of use, with both the Derbys and the Feathers, had a truly comfortable shave with it. I had the best shave just a few days ago, and was quite happy, thinking that I was finally getting the hang of this DE shaving thing. I was thinking that something about either my face or abilities with a razor had radically changed, in the last thirty years, since I'd last used a safety razor. The only way to get a passable shave was to spend what was, to me, an inordinate amount of time and effort to get the pressure, angle, and other factors 'just so'. This seemed to be incredibly challenging. Still, I was really happy about the fact that I'd gotten this far, having received much kind advice from members of this forum, for which I'm most grateful, by the way. I posted in that thread that I'd gotten 'a great shave', but a few hours later, the feel of my face made it apparent that I wasn't home yet. Felt like a good case of wind burn.

Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I won an auction for a Gillette Slim, on EBay. It came in the mail, Thursday, and I cleaned it up and put a fresh Feather in it, today. I had my first shave with it, about four hours ago. By the time I was a few stokes in, I literally stood back and looked at the thing, stunned. It was set on three, as I've become a bit gun shy over the past few weeks. It was not only comfortable, but just plain easy to use. When the lather on my face began to dry, it didn't start to stick and chatter, causing nicks. At a setting of three, it didn't get me completely smooth until I'd finished three passes and a bit of touchup, but even at such a mild setting, the shave I got would pass for any circumstance. I'll pop it up to four, tomorrow, to see if I have equal results, comfort-wise, as there is a spot under my jaw that is still just a bit shy of BBS.

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My question is this; are these results something out of the ordinary? I must assume that they are, or everyone would be talking about it. The gap in the 89L seems to be equal to the Gillette set on about seven or eight. There is quite a bit more blade protruding, and it hangs much closer to the edge of the bar, on the Edwin Jagger. The head shape and blade angle is also noticeably different. Is this, literally, down to the ability of the Gillette to close that gap? Because I gotta tell ya, that Feather turns into a pussy cat in this Slim on a setting of three. Smile

I've got some Polsilver SI's coming, and will try them in the EJ, to see if they, or perhaps other blades can tame it, a bit. Unless I can find a good match for it, I don't think it'll be in my shaving den much longer. A Fatboy, however? Well, Ma-aybe ...

Cheers, guys.

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 09-07-2014, 12:47 AM
#2
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I think your results are ordinary enough. I have two friends, younger guys, who I hipped to wet shaving. I gave them both SuperSpeeds as gifts, their first DEs. They both really liked them. One of them lost his (or got it stolen by customs agents), and I gave him a EJ DE89, and he loved it more... like enough that he said "it's the Excalbur of razors!". The other borrowed the DE89 to check it out and much preferred the SuperSpeed.

I think what was happening is that neither of these gentlemen were practiced DE shavers, and somehow a better angle felt more "intuitive" on one razor for one of them, and the other found the other razor to have a more "intuitive" angle.

What goes into muscle memory for something un-practiced? It's highly overdetermined, unpredictable. You are just better with a Slim than you are with a Jagger. I would bet this is true for roughly half the people who might get the opportunity to try both.

And I much, much prefer a Slim to a DE89, too.

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 09-07-2014, 03:53 AM
#3
  • tave
  • Mr whiskers
  • baltimore
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You have just started a journey that will broaden your horizons. You are becoming "curious" . What this means is that you"ll begin to observe other razors, whether they be vintage or modern, and wonder to yourself "Am I missing something?". Before you know it you have acquired 20 razors. This is known as RAD, Razor Acquisition Disorder. This is not a bad thimg in itself. You just have to control it. After a while you can buy razors and designate some as "vintage collectibles and vintage rotationables".
In any event, relax, take your time and enjoy yourself. One other piece of advice, get a second job!!

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 09-07-2014, 06:14 AM
#4
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I've never used any EJ razor. So I can't comment on it. But to have a blade assortment of 3, well, it's not a blade assortment with much of chance of success. Or it wouldn't be for me. I tried well over 30 different blades and possibly 6-8 (I never counted) that would work for me. Now maybe after all these years I could use more today, but as of 1 1/2 - 2 years in when I stopped testing blades, having gone back to some of the failed blades, those few that made the cut remained the few.

What I'm trying to say is that it might not be the razor (again I don't know never having used any EJ) but it still might be a blade issue.

But is the Slim a nice razor? Absolutely. If I hadn't come down with RAD I'd still be using it and be quite happy with it. I don't think it can be faulted for the resulting shave. At least I never did. There are other reasons I don't use any TTO DE razors today. But that's not for here. It certainly wasn't because the shave was lacking though.

I have exactly 2 modern models of razor, a Muhle '11 and '13 R41, all the rest are vintage. The old timers knew a thing or two about stubble removal. In a nutshell, vintage razors work very nicely.

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 09-07-2014, 06:58 AM
#5
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Brian -- I'm going to "borrow" the preamble "If I hadn't come down with RAD..."

There are so many sentences I can put that in front of. Just letting you know you're a role-model!

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 09-07-2014, 07:13 AM
#6
  • WriteNoob
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  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA
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(09-07-2014, 06:14 AM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I've never used any EJ razor. So I can't comment on it. But to have a blade assortment of 3, well, it's not a blade assortment with much of chance of success. Or it wouldn't be for me. I tried well over 30 different blades and possibly 6-8 (I never counted) that would work for me. Now maybe after all these years I could use more today, but as of 1 1/2 - 2 years in when I stopped testing blades, having gone back to some of the failed blades, those few that made the cut remained the few.

What I'm trying to say is that it might not be the razor (again I don't know never having used any EJ) but it still might be a blade issue.

I agree, it may not be the razor. I am planning on trying other blades in this razor. Basically, every blade that I try will be tried in this, as a side to my daily driver. If and when I do discover a combo that works, you can definitely expect to hear about it, here. The other strong possibility is that I just don't know how to handle this razor. That will be explored, as well. But, as a daily driver which will allow me to play around with things like soaps, brushes, pre and post-shave goodies? That spot went to the Gillette within thirty seconds of the start of my shave, last night. I still really like the fit, finish, and style of the Edwin Jagger. I just can't shave with it, yet.

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 09-07-2014, 08:04 AM
#7
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Fit, finish and style will remain pristine if you just don't use it!

The Slim will likely always serve you better. I'd be surprised if somehow the DE89 ever got magically better for you than the Slim, anyway.

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 09-07-2014, 08:16 AM
#8
  • WriteNoob
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  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA
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(09-07-2014, 08:04 AM)wagstaff Wrote: Fit, finish and style will remain pristine if you just don't use it!

The Slim will likely always serve you better. I'd be surprised if somehow the DE89 ever got magically better for you than the Slim, anyway.

Ooh-Ooh, a new category of razor! Razor as wall-art! I like it, I like it!

The slim is in such great condition, I'm not justified in doing a refurb on it. It just doesn't need anything. The minute scuffing it does have could probably be fixed with some Flitz, but in a razor intended for daily use and a nickel finish, instead of chrome, it'd be a matter of rubbing off the plating only to re-scuff it with marks of my own. Some of the nice, really old (and worn) DE's, however, may be candidates, if and when I should happen to acquire them. Rolleyes

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 09-07-2014, 08:33 AM
#9
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Congratulations on the success with the Slim.
The older Gillettes just might suit you better, really. You may need more practice with the EJ89, but it may not be a razor that your skin prefers. I know I didn't really enjoy it compared to other razors. Give it some time with the Polsilvers to determine if it is right for you.
Good luck. Smile

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 09-07-2014, 08:33 AM
#10
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Try a pre-war fat-handle tech or a red tip on for size. Better yet, buy yourself a NEW long/short comb. Gillette made the best razors for almost a hundred years running. I own a Muhle R41 and a Merkur 37c slant and i love them. Other than that, all my DE's and straights are AT LEAST 40-100 yrs old. Something about the vintage stuff that just makes me smile every time I shave.

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 09-07-2014, 04:23 PM
#11
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Everyone is different, you generally need to try quite a few razors to find what works best for you. I love my vintage razors and I have a select few new razors I like, but with all the razor and blade combinations out there...... I believe a lot of people give up before they hit the right combination.

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 09-07-2014, 06:08 PM
#12
  • eengler
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  • South Dakota, USA
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Glad your finding some good shaves with the Slim, its a nice looker for sure. Hang on to the EJ for a while just to be sureSmile

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 09-07-2014, 08:05 PM
#13
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I would agree it may be the blade selection. Like ShadowsDad I have been through most of the current blades, and have narrowed down to those that perform well for ME. There is quite some variation in blade performance person to person in the same razor.

While, I don't own the 89 I do have the 2011 R41 and they are quality razors. I have several other current production razors and when I DE shave (usually a straight shavers) I enjoy them but with the exception of the Ikon OC and maybe the Weber, I tend to reach for one of my many vintage razors. The suggestions above are all excellent vintage razors.

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 09-07-2014, 08:49 PM
#14
  • WriteNoob
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  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA
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Tried the Slim on 4, tonight. Also used my AoS Sandalwood kit. Probably shouldn't have swapped lathers. Used Cremo, last night. Now I don't know if it's the setting or lather that made things less comfortable. As an aside, while it's scent is awesome, I'm not impressed with the fancy and expensive AoS, compared to my rather plain Cremo, available at the local Walgreens. Going to dial it back down to 3, and stay there, for awhile, regardless. I'll be happy, just to have a smooth, comfortable shave. Once I get a few different blades to try, I'll experiment, a bit.

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 09-08-2014, 05:38 AM
#15
  • Mouser
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  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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When I started wet shaving it never entered my mind to use a vintage. The first educational sites I came across gave links to various modern manufacturers. Then I found one of the many sites that revamp and sell vintage razors and I bought a Fat Boy. Dropped a bomb on me. Blew the moderns I had tried clear out of the water. Then I find my father's and grandfather's razors and it was on. I have all vintage now from a 1920's Old Style to a 60's era Schick Krona, many with original cases. Now I have tried a few moderns that give me as good a shave, but not better, and minus the cachet.
I'm a thoroughly vintage mouser. All my razors, half of my blades, a third of my brushes and some of my soaps(and growing) are vintage

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 09-08-2014, 06:02 AM
#16
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I've been wet shaving for years at this point and own roughly 40-50 vintage razor's and around 15 modern razor's. As far as modern razor go I tend to stick with my merkur 34c or parker 94r & Maggard MR1 for travel and get great results from both but IMHO you can't beat the Gillette super speeds and adjustables cir. 1940's-1960's. I'm not sure if its the blade angle, blade exposure, or head designs but they seem to give bbs shaves with a greater ease of use using little or no concentration. I usually lean towards my red tips, slims, or fatboys.

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 09-08-2014, 08:38 AM
#17
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I'm one off these guys that prefers modern made safety razors over vintage safety razors, but I think a Edwin Jagger could be a little be to aggressive for some.

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 09-08-2014, 06:08 PM
#18
  • matloffm
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  • Culver City, CA
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You're discovering that you have to consider the uniqueness of each shaver's face and beard when recommending a razor. I started with the Merkur HD, tried the EJ and sold them both. I came to realize that any razor with a significant blade gap was not going to work for me. I use select open comb razors (old Gillettes, Merkur, iKon) or razors like the iKon OSS, with a very mild solid bar side, and single edge razors with a minimum blade gap (Gem 1912). I also use shavetts without a problem. So you have to try different razors and find ones with the characteristics that work for you. General recommendations are just that, general, and not for everyone.

I read your other post and I think you are still using pressure when you shave. You will learn that with a sharp blade you don't use any pressure what-so-ever. If you are not smoothly cutting your beard with out any pressure at all, you need to make a change. Good shaving and good luck. Shaving

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 09-09-2014, 05:01 AM
#19
  • SRNewb
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  • No. Va, USA
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I started with what now would be a vintage razor. I have mostly vintage razors. The one exception is the Maggard MR6. It is a wonderful razor, but if it is representative of modern razors it is too aggressive to use every day, at least for me. I like the milder vintages, like Superspeeds, the Tech, Schick Krona, etc. Even my long comb new, though more aggressive than those, is milder, or feels milder, than the more modern razor I have.
Don't get me wrong. The Maggard shaves wonderfully, and it is in my lineup because of that. But if I could only have one razor to use every day it would be one of my vintage DEs. My face just prefers them.
And that's really the point. You may be finding that your face prefers the vintage razors. If I were you, I'd find a Superspeed and give that a go. Not adjustable, but I bet it will surprise you.

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 09-09-2014, 05:53 AM
#20
  • WriteNoob
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  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA
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I'm pretty happy with my Slim set on 3. That's what works for me, so far, as a daily shave setting. I'm actually going to try it on 2, this evening, just to see if it will do the job, there. Seems to me, a guy should find the mildest setting that will still get him the shave he wants. Is there any flaw in that thinking? I'm thinking that there should be one setting for the daily shave, and perhaps something more aggressive for the times you might have something gnarlier, say, I've been sick, or just roughing it, for a week.

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