09-19-2018, 10:37 AM
#1
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Hello All.   

I've been shaving with a DE for about 3 weeks now, and have been reading a lot, and really becoming immersed in the ritual and proactive of DE shaving. (Had been using high-end electrics for quite some time, and haven't blade-shaved in 40 years!)

I have fairly sensitive skin and fine to average whiskers, and do sport a Van-Dyke-ish beard/moustache.   I'm lucky enough to live in Chicago and have QBrothers to shop at, and put hands on stuff, but also do order via Amazon, when the 'urge' overcomes me.

I quickly discovered that I love the shave/feel from a Polsilver blade, in a Rockwell 6S on plate #4.  I use either Old Taylor's organic cream, or Mitchell's soap.  With this combo, I get a BBS 3-pass shave, with no irritation at all, no cuts or weepers.... (Start with hot towel, finish with Taylor's Witchhazel w/ Aloe).

So, of course, I wonder how to improve upon 'perfection', and have been experimenting a bit.  I bought an iKon 101, to see what open vs closed comb is like.  With a Polsilver blade, and the same soaps/creams, I get a less smooth shave, with more irritation, and do not really feel a difference between the open and closed comb sides.  (I also have a Merkur 34C which helped me learn a bit, but the Rockwell kicks it's butt for my shaving...  I've tried a number of blades as well, including Feather and Kai- too severe for me, and thought the Voshkod, Russian Gillette 7 Oclock and the Wilkinson Swords were OK......


So, the questions:

1. Why are open comb razors deemed more aggressive- it does not 'grok' for me?
2. Can you have high efficiency with little to no blade feel?
3. How can only with the grain shaves produce a BBS result- or is it impossible?  

4. What's the skinny on Slants- which should I try, if any?
5 & 6. What's the skinny on SE or injector razors/systems- which should I try, if any?

7. What's the relative contribution of blade to razor to cream/soap for getting the best shave?
8. What is the rationale for having a 'rotation' of razors (or soaps or blades, for that matter)?
9.  Does anyone have an optimized routine of using different hardware for specific passes, i.e., with, across, or against the grain?


These are not trolls, I am just trying to plot my course to the next stage- or discover that the Rockwell 6S/Polsilver is the Holy Grail for me, and that I should just leave well enough alone.

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 09-19-2018, 10:59 AM
#2
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I'm not going to even attempt to address all those questions.  But when I read your post and before I got to the questions, I thought, "This guy might like to try a slant."  The Merkur 37C is a classic and would get you in at a low price point.  The theory is the guillotine effect:  You move the razor head in a straight line, and the blade slices like a guillotine because of the angle.  I've been skeptical of that theory, but I always seem to get efficient shaves from slants.  By efficient, I mean very close for how little blade feel there is.

BTW, if you live in Chicago you might like to check out Merz Apothecary in the South Loop area, right next to the Palmer House hotel.  Nice selection of traditional wet shaving products at pretty reasonable prices for a big city B&M shop.  If you want blades, just ask the clerk.  They keep a basket of tucks under the counter.

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 09-19-2018, 11:29 AM
#3
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Very good questions, fzman1956. You’ll likely find you get a plethora of answers/opinions.

1. Open combs are often more aggressive than solid bar razors. Perhaps the rationale is because they are used for heavier/longer beard growth.

2. I get very high efficiency with little to no blade feel with 2 razors (4 really, but 3 are essentially the same); Asylum Evolution and iKon X3 slant.

3. Depending on your technique you may indeed get a super close DFS approaching BBS that lasts for a while, but obviously not as long as if you did multiple passes.

4. I’ve only tried 1, the iKon X3. It’s very smooth. Very, very smooth. FWIW, I have never used it for 2 shaves in a row, but for that 1 Shave, it’s a delight.

5/6. Lots of guys love SE razors. Never tried the AC type razors, yet I have tried many models of vintage GEMs but they’re not my bag (I have a thread in B&S with a few left for sale if you’re interested). OTOH, I really dig injectors. The Schick Type I hits my sweet spot. There’s also the modern Supply injector that looks interesting, but as yet I haven’t taken the plunge.

7. It’s really all about your technique. I think most folks would agree that gear is less important than technique.

8. It’s fun! But beware of the slippery slope surrounding the rabbit holes of the various ADs.

9. As your technique develops this will likely become a moot point.

I’m interested in reading other responses.

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 09-19-2018, 11:31 AM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(09-19-2018, 10:37 AM)fzman1956 Wrote: Hello All.   

I've been shaving with a DE for about 3 weeks now, and . . . I quickly discovered that I love the shave/feel from a Polsilver blade, in a Rockwell 6S on plate #4. 

I bought an iKon 101, to see what open vs closed comb is like.  . . . (I also have a Merkur 34C which helped me learn a bit, ...  I've tried a number of blades as well, including Feather and Kai- too severe for me, and thought the Voshkod, Russian Gillette 7 Oclock and the Wilkinson Swords were OK......

These are not trolls, I am just trying to plot my course to the next stage- or discover that the Rockwell 6S/Polsilver is the Holy Grail for me, and that I should just leave well enough alone.

You have been shaving with a DE for three weeks; that is 21 days.  You said “about” three weeks, so let us be generous and call it 24 days as 25 days would be about four weeks.  

In that period, you have tried, just as razors, the Rockwell 6S, have used a Merkur 34C, and you purchased an iKon Shavecraft 101, and you say that you have tried both sides of the '101.  You have determined that you like the #4 plate in the Rockwell; have you tried other plates?

By my count, assuming that you have tried only the #4 plate in the Rockwell, and shaved only once with the Shavecraft, trying each side of that razor for half of that one shave, you still have used at least four different razors (counting the two sides of the Shavecraft as different razors).  That means that you have used each razor, on average (mean), about a half dozen times.  

Within the half dozen times of your use of each razor, you have tried — as blades — Polsilver, Voshkod, Russian Gillette 7 O'Clock, and Wilkinson Sword blades; and you have come to a firm and final decision on Feather and KAI blades.  At most, as I calculate it, then, you have, on average, used each possible blade and razor combination for one shave (or less) so far.  

Please review the posts in this thread on this website.  When you are ready to digest answers — I can guarantee you that you are not ready to do so now — I should be happy to take some of my own time to address your questions.  

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 09-19-2018, 11:57 AM
#5
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8. What is the rationale for having a 'rotation' of razors (or soaps or blades, for that matter)?
I will answer this question, It begins with the "I".
I use many razors because I own them, which I purchased in the pursuit of the perfect razor for me.
Same goes for soaps, creams and blades.    BUT(big but) blades work differently in different razors.
I didn't see any mention of brushes....I will add that to your list for you. 
Same as soaps, creams and blades....AND (big and) just cool to collect...IMHO... Cheers

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 09-19-2018, 01:13 PM
#6
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I lumped a bunch of stuff together, and did not really expect anyone to answer the whole thing- just wanted to get all of this out there while it was in the front of my mind.  I go to the Mertz location on the north side of Chicago- you are correct.

The slant concept is counter-intuitive to me, but seems worth trying.  I am also considering a AS-D2, but cannot tell whether it would give me an experience different enough from the 34C or the 6S I already have.  The iKon is more aggressive, and still not sure if I like it or not.  Gonna play more with shaving angle.

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 09-19-2018, 01:54 PM
#7
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(09-19-2018, 11:31 AM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(09-19-2018, 10:37 AM)fzman1956 Wrote: Hello All.   

I've been shaving with a DE for about 3 weeks now, and . . . I quickly discovered that I love the shave/feel from a Polsilver blade, in a Rockwell 6S on plate #4. 

I bought an iKon 101, to see what open vs closed comb is like.  . . . (I also have a Merkur 34C which helped me learn a bit, ...  I've tried a number of blades as well, including Feather and Kai- too severe for me, and thought the Voshkod, Russian Gillette 7 Oclock and the Wilkinson Swords were OK......

These are not trolls, I am just trying to plot my course to the next stage- or discover that the Rockwell 6S/Polsilver is the Holy Grail for me, and that I should just leave well enough alone.

You have been shaving with a DE for three weeks; that is 21 days.  You said “about” three weeks, so let us be generous and call it 24 days as 25 days would be about four weeks.  

In that period, you have tried, just as razors, the Rockwell 6S, have used a Merkur 34C, and you purchased an iKon Shavecraft 101, and you say that you have tried both sides of the '101.  You have determined that you like the #4 plate in the Rockwell; have you tried other plates?

By my count, assuming that you have tried only the #4 plate in the Rockwell, and shaved only once with the Shavecraft, trying each side of that razor for half of that one shave, you still have used at least four different razors (counting the two sides of the Shavecraft as different razors).  That means that you have used each razor, on average (mean), about a half dozen times.  

Within the half dozen times of your use of each razor, you have tried — as blades — Polsilver, Voshkod, Russian Gillette 7 O'Clock, and Wilkinson Sword blades; and you have come to a firm and final decision on Feather and KAI blades.  At most, as I calculate it, then, you have, on average, used each possible blade and razor combination for one shave (or less) so far.  

Please review the posts in this thread on this website.  When you are ready to digest answers — I can guarantee you that you are not ready to do so now — I should be happy to take some of my own time to address your questions.  

Mel,  Thanks for taking the time to reply in such detail.  I am pursuing this path for my personal edification, not to publish reviews or pronouncements meant to have any sort of objective, demonstrable validity-I'm just trying to figure out which gear gives me a good shave and feels good to use (or at least is not bad-feeling).  I am willing to risk 'being wrong' about a blade, or razor, or cream/soap, as there are so many to chose from, that I would not be making a life-changing sacrifice from lacking experimental rigor in my shaving practices.

That said, there are a staggering number of permutations of blade/razor/'soap' technique, beard-growth, etc. that doing multiple trials on each one would take more life than I have left.  I am not a patient person, am not good at deferred gratification, but am a quick study, and am pretty good at figuring out what I like. I am also quite risk-averse, so that's probably why I am still alive given the lack of patience.   

I've asked these questions to help calibrate myself when I read posts on this and other relevant fora.. More specifically, I am trying to figure out why I get 'a better shave' in both comfort and closeness from the Rockwell than the allegedly more aggressive iKon, and how the open vs closed combs feel on my beard. (Am perfectly willing to discover that the reason is because ' I suck at shaving'-lol).  I've 3-pass shaved twice with it, and used both sides for various passes during both of those shaves.  The Polsilver blade did feel quite different in it than in the Rockwell- which I have used for multiple 3-pass shaves with the #2, #3 and #4 plates, after having used the 34C for a bit.  I'm pretty sure I like the 6S way better, and can always sell or donate the 34C.  Looks like I can probably sell the iKon as well, and  only lose a few bucks in the process.  I just ordered a slant head for the iKon handle, since it seems like an efficient way to try the slant concept just to help me get the basic lay of the land.

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 09-19-2018, 02:50 PM
#8
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(09-19-2018, 01:13 PM)fzman1956 Wrote: I lumped a bunch of stuff together, and did not really expect anyone to answer the whole thing- just wanted to get all of this out there while it was in the front of my mind.  I go to the Mertz location on the north side of Chicago- you are correct.

The slant concept is counter-intuitive to me, but seems worth trying.  I am also considering a AS-D2, but cannot tell whether it would give me an experience different enough from the 34C or the 6S I already have.  The iKon is more aggressive, and still not sure if I like it or not.  Gonna play more with shaving angle.
The 6s does a better job  for me than the AS-D2. The 34c is C for crap....IMHO.
The best thing about the D2 is lighter and thinner head. The 6s can do more because of the adjustability....IMHO

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 09-19-2018, 11:27 PM
#9
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(09-19-2018, 02:50 PM)zipper Wrote:
(09-19-2018, 01:13 PM)fzman1956 Wrote: I lumped a bunch of stuff together, and did not really expect anyone to answer the whole thing- just wanted to get all of this out there while it was in the front of my mind.  I go to the Mertz location on the north side of Chicago- you are correct.

The slant concept is counter-intuitive to me, but seems worth trying.  I am also considering a AS-D2, but cannot tell whether it would give me an experience different enough from the 34C or the 6S I already have.  The iKon is more aggressive, and still not sure if I like it or not.  Gonna play more with shaving angle.
The 6s does a better job  for me than the AS-D2. The 34c is C for crap....IMHO.
The best thing about the D2 is lighter and thinner head. The 6s can do more because of the adjustability....IMHO

Hi,

You have loads of wonderful shaving stuff, including razors. I suggest you settle down and enjoy experimenting with what you have. Every razor  needs time to get the best out of it. Even brushes vary with what soaps they are best with.

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 09-20-2018, 08:12 AM
#10
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I appreciate everyone helping me with my pursuit of a better shave.  I sometimes allow the combination of impatience and intense curiosity to get the better of me.  At times the only remedy is a "Gibbs slapping the back of DiNozzo's head" slap.  After reading your kind and helpful replies, I remembered that the 34C and Rockwell shaves were pretty rough and irritating until I figured out that I liked the 6S better, loved the Polsilvers in it, and took my time to prep and shave properly, working on my technique.  

I shaved this morning with the iKon/Polsilver, using the Old Taylor's organic cream instead of a soap (which was what worked so well for me with the Rockwell 6S/Polsilver combo). I only used the solidbar side, and  I was more mindful of pressure and blade angle, and spot-checked the results during the shave with my fingers, and focused on the areas that needed work.  Got a much better shave- smoother, cleaner, and almost irritation-free.


I am still curious about other blades, soaps, brushes  and razors-but I am going to attempt to move more slowly and mindfully with each shave, and slow my roll viz. changing stuff out too often.

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 09-20-2018, 10:10 AM
#11
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(09-19-2018, 11:27 PM)Roy Wrote: You have loads of wonderful shaving stuff, including razors. I suggest you settle down and enjoy experimenting with what you have. Every razor  needs time to get the best out of it. Even brushes vary with what soaps they are best with.

Signs011  

Moreover, every man’s face and beard changes, sometimes for incalculable reasons and inexplicable causes, from day to day.  Speaking from personal experience, I shave seven days a week.  I have a “rotation,” exaggeratedly called, of 2½ DE razors [note 1, below], and — for the past 30 months or so — have narrowed my selection of DE blades down to two, the two Japanese brands manufactured in the same town in Gifu Prefecture north of Nagoya:  KAI and Feather [note 2, below].  Given that narrow range of selection, with only six possible combinations of razor plus blade, and a selection that has remained stable over the past 30 or so months through 800+ or so [note 3] daily shaves, one might reasonably expect that I would have a pretty firm assessment of what each combination of razor and blade will deliver for a given shave the next day.  

Really, I cannot make a reliable prediction of tomorrow’s shave.  

Some days, the skin of my face is more flaccid, and some days it is firmer, than other days.  Using any given shave soap, and following the same lathering technique, some days the brush produces mounds of firm, dense lather, and some days the lather remains a bit runny no matter how hard I work it with the brush — perhaps related to unannounced minor variations in chemicals used to maintain the potability of the municipal water supply.  Therefore, any conclusion I may make on Monday of the qualities of a shave I get from using razor X with blade Y and soap Z must be tentative, awaiting my trying the same combination on Tuesday, when the result may be different, but better — or worse.  Or the same, sometimes.  If I use the same combination for an entire week from Monday through Sunday, every day, within that span I may reach three or four different assessments of the combination.

[note1]  Currently, I own and use two complete DE razors:  a Feather AS-D2, and an iKon Stainless (DLC coated) Slant (for fizm6an1956:  there have been several iKon slant designs, including one, the Shavecraft 102, that was not a true slant, but rather a tilt-head, design).  In addition, I have an iKon Deluxe Open Comb baseplate, which is directly interchangeable with, and, therefore, swappable into, the Feather AS-D2 razor, effectively transforming the Feather AS-D2 into a clone of an iKon Deluxe Open comb razor; the two baseplates make for two razors with very different personalities.  Hence, including the Ikon Stainless Slant, I have 2½ DE razors.

[note 2]  There is no question in my mind that Feather and KAI are numbers 1 and 2, or perhaps 2 and 1, respectively, in sharpness among all commercial DE blades.  However, the two Seki-made blades are different from each other.  After about 30 months of alternating blades, using a Feather for 5+ shaves in its turn and a KAI for 6+ shaves in its turn, I still cannot decide which of the two I prefer; fortunately, I need not banish either from my bathroom.

[note 3]  When I travel by air, I carry my personal effects in a small carry-on bag into the cabin; on those trips, I carry my Feather MR3 neo cartridge razor instead of a DE razor; hence 0nly ~850 DE shaves in ~30 months.

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 09-22-2018, 10:38 AM
#12
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Thanks again for the thoughtful, detailed reply, and the obvious care and collegiality it evinces.  I have been more patient, and have been working to better my technique, and not flail around from item to item.  That said, I do have a few razors I have yet to try, that I bought before I slammed on the brakes.

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 09-23-2018, 10:49 AM
#13
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The only advice I can give is: don't buy a lot of anything right away, esp soaps and razors.

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 09-25-2018, 06:48 AM
#14
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I try to temper my curiosity and impatience with a healthy dose of rationality and an analytic approach (the struggle continues!).  As such, it seemed to me that it would be worthwhile to try mild and aggressive razors, a slant, and a vintage.  (I may be completely wrong about these 4 'categories' covering the field, but that's what I came up with. And I do know that 'slant' and 'vintage' are not antonyms of 'mild' and aggressive')   So far, I still have to try the vintage Gillette Bluetip birth-year razor I scored, as well as the X3 Slant head for my iKon handle.  I have tried the Feather AS-D2 for 3 or 4  shaves, and a few with the Blackwell Dart.  All were bought before I declared my moratorium on buying and trying with wild abandon.

Just in my limited scope, so far, and subject to revision, etc. etc.  The AS-D2 might be a bit too mild for me, and my technique makes the Dart a bit beyond my capabilities so far-tried it, got a mirror-smooth shave, but got some nicks and weepers - it is ME, not the razor......  The iKon shavemaster 101 and the Rockwell 6S seem to my limited experience/talent to be more suited to my current shaving journey.  They both gave me smooth shaves, between DFS and BBS-the iKon requiring more attention......

I also bought a Razorock Hulk brush, which works nicely for both face and head, and Haslinger and SV Dolomiti soaps to try instead of the Mitchells, which was hard to lather with my water.  Both soaps, per the recommendation of Ramon at (can I say name of shop here?) are quite nice.  The brush is like training wheels.... 

There are many blades to try, but I will put that on hold for a bit.  I think I will return the AS-D2 and possibly the Dart.  They are both very nice tools, but neither may really be for me.  I am not sure there would have been a better way to really know without actually trying them.

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