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View Full Version : Are we (wrongly) discouraging learning with feathers?



JMP
03-30-2010, 07:53 PM
I would like to preface this with the statement that I am relatively new to DE. I have been using a badger brush/soap for about a year and a merkur HD for just over a month. I have tried a merkur (yikes...won't be doing that again), 3 feathers, a red pack israeli, a derby, and a crystal. I have to agree completely that the feather is the sharpest. I have had 3 nicks, all from the feathers. However.....

In my opinion, it was using feathers that has taught me correct shave technique. They are instant feedback....you use too much (or any) pressure, nick. You use the wrong blade angle...nick. the last 15 shaves with feathers have been extremely close, extremely comfortable, irritation free, nick free. Thought I should add that I started with the merkur, followed by the israeli, derby, and crystal, and using those blades allowed me to use too much pressure! They almost reinforced incorrect shaving technique that will not work with sharper blades or a fresh blade! IMO, we should be telling people who are learning to start with feathers, warn them they are sharp, and that when the get a nick, they are doing something incorrectly!

Just my 0.02

DeanoG
03-30-2010, 08:21 PM
Interesting subject since one can justifiably be on either side (or even somewhat both). I believe that if someone is committed to learning the correct technique and won't get discouraged by a handful of difficult shaves you're point is right on, the Feathers will give you performance feedback immediately.

At the same time, I would hate to see a new wetshaver give up on the practice because they became intimidated by the perceived diligence an extremely sharp, and to him, unforgiving, blade may pose.

As with most things in our fine hobby, YMMV but you raise a very good point. If you have the nerve to persist I agree that you go for it. If not, start with the forgiveness of another blade and work your way up. I know that I started with some drug store specials that really tore me up. When I used a Crystal or a Derby I thought I was in heaven.

ouch
03-30-2010, 08:25 PM
Are we (wrongly) discouraging learning with feathers?


Not me. The first DE blade I used was a feather. It's a great blade, and will teach you to slow down and take your time. Beginners should be encouraged to try everything.

Agent8426
03-30-2010, 08:29 PM
I've been both avoiding and longing for the feathers in my sample pack. Maybe I should try it tomorrow.

luvmysuper
03-30-2010, 08:31 PM
Meh - Feathers are very sharp.
Razor blades are very sharp.
I don't think there is anything to fear with a feather. It has a needlessly fearful reputation, just like a Slant.
Big news here - but a razor (any razor) with a blade in it (any blade) can cut you if you are not diligent.
Be careful, for sure, but I don't think anyone need fear either of those pieces of shaving equipment.

mwhals
03-30-2010, 08:32 PM
I started with Merkur and Feather. My technique was finalized on the Feather blades. I am now going through a sample pack to find what blades work best with my face/neck. I believe everyone needs at least two different blades since you never know when one might be back ordered when you need blades.

Alacrity59
03-30-2010, 08:40 PM
I think you have it right. There are a huge number of hamburger faced folk on B&B who talk about how badly this or that thing did them bad. I think mostly if you take a little care and pay attention to advice things go well and with little blood loss.

Mr. O
03-30-2010, 08:41 PM
I think it's a case of YMMV. I know I did not like my first experience with Feathers. Truth told I did not like many of the popular blades spoken about on this forum. I did eventually find one I liked and have stuck with it ever since. Having said that I did enjoy a excellent shave Monday with a vintage Gillette:w00t: which now has me questioning which blade I should use.:lol:

I think everyone new to B&B and wetshaving ought to be encouraged to seek out a sample pack from one of our wonderful vendors. Not every blade is for everyone, but there is a blade for everyone-you just have to look for it.

HoratioCaine
03-30-2010, 10:10 PM
Are we (wrongly) discouraging learning with feathers?

Possibly, but we're also rightly discouraging learning with the Charles Roberts method, so it all evens out.

The Nid Hog
03-30-2010, 10:13 PM
Possibly, but we're also rightly discouraging learning with the Charles Roberts method, so it all evens out.

How can we tell when we've disturbed the cosmic equilibrium?

Stubblefield
03-30-2010, 10:47 PM
Not me. The first DE blade I used was a feather. It's a great blade, and will teach you to slow down and take your time.That, and also that the best razor is not always the most aggressive. I get excellent results with a feather in my favorite, fairly mild razor.

How can we tell when we've disturbed the cosmic equilibrium?Generally when you run very low on Feather blades, or have an abundance of Method Shaving products in your medicine cabinet.

memoryleak
03-31-2010, 01:30 AM
IMHO, bloodletting is not learning, no matter how/what/where.

To advocate a specific product or methodology as a unique path to a goal indicates confusing the path with the destination as well as illustrating one is a tool of herd mentality/peer pressure/marketing.

raisindot
03-31-2010, 05:43 AM
I think we should have a permanent ban on using the word "should" on this site.

:001_rolle

Jeff in Boston

JPDyson
03-31-2010, 06:02 AM
raisindot - hilarious; I love a good self-defeating statement in the morning :lol:

I will say that, as a newb, I am punished and rewarded the most with Feathers. I think it's that extreme which prompts a lot of gents to discourage their use at first. I have seen people recommend IP's, Iridiums, Kai's, etc - but none of those blades give me what a Feather does in terms of punishing and rewarding feedback (not to mention a smooth glide through the thickest of beards).

I don't think they're as bad as people make them out to be, but I do think learning with Feathers will teach you quickly and perhaps spoil you rotten.

JMP
03-31-2010, 06:04 AM
agreed!

dod.e.ratherwell
03-31-2010, 08:25 AM
Feather was my first blade (ok I used a Wilkinson for two shaves then switched). For me a Feather provides a great shave but isn't as smooth and comfortable as others I now prefer.

Learning with a Feather was great. It cut well and if I was slow and methodical (not method shaving) in my actions it was good to me.

Part of the success of learning with the Feather came from lurking on B&B...I had no idea what to buy so I went with what got the highest amount of universal respect on here. There was confidence that came with knowing the respect given Feathers and that a lot of people got good results with it. "if they do it so can I"

I stuck solely with Feathers until I could get a DFS every-time then started trying other things. Learn with the best, most minimal gear possible. Learn all the variables that go into a good shave in a controlled manner....then go nuts!

xivex
03-31-2010, 10:26 AM
I have been eyeing the Feather blades on my shave shelf for quite some time now...I have yet to try one because of advice on this very forum. So far I've used Merkur blades, Red pack personnas, crystals, Gillette 7 O'Clock yellows, and tonight I'm trying a derby. In another week or so I'll probably move to a feather for the very first time, but I admit, I am a bit leery and a bit nervous about doing so from what I've read on here.. That said, my technique has improved substantially over the last several weeks, so maybe it won't be an issue. Either way, I'm both nervous and excited to get around to test driving my first feather blade. :thumbup1:

Bertilak
03-31-2010, 11:58 AM
Are we (wrongly) discouraging learning with feathers?


Now this hasn't happened to me personally, but someone told me it did happen to a relative of his. If you leave an opened feather blade in an open drawer or cabinet (or heaven forbid lying out on the counter) it will actually jump up and slash you!

Think about this -- Feather Blades and Toyota accelerator pedals are both made in Japan. Coincidence? I don't think so.

planto
03-31-2010, 12:18 PM
Now this hasn't happened to me personally, but someone told me it did happen to a relative of his. If you leave an opened feather blade in an open drawer or cabinet (or heaven forbid lying out on the counter) it will actually jump up and slash you!

Think about this -- Feather Blades and Toyota accelerator pedals are both made in Japan. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Have to agree with you there i would never shave with a feather blade whilst driving a prius that would be just asking for trouble.

manythoughts
03-31-2010, 12:23 PM
i've been both avoiding and longing for the feathers in my sample pack.

+1

planto
03-31-2010, 12:33 PM
Have been wet shaving for many years but only recently (last couple of months) started using a de. Started with wilkinson sword blades then moved on to derbys and very quickly graduated to feathers and have been there ever since, they are fabulous blades. Cant wait to take delivery of my new slant bar to try them out in it.

Ivan.

Defcon5
03-31-2010, 12:41 PM
I haven't tried that many DE blades. Basically the blade that came with the Merkur razor (didn't work out so well). I swapped it out for a feather, and that's my goto blade. I get very few nicks and a really smooth shave, so I figured I'll focus my AD on soaps and creams and stay with the blade that works well.

sjedwardz
03-31-2010, 01:25 PM
I'm pretty new to DE and started with a Red personna in a DE89L. A pretty forgiving blade that was good to learn with. Then I tried an Iridium and Armageddon descended onto my face :blushing::blushing: Cuts everywhere.

Went back to a personna, then Crystal to learn good technique.

Tried a feather the other day with no problems whatsoever. Nice and smooth with little or no irritation. I need to use them for a week or so as some folks have said they can be a bit harsh on the skin.

But so far I like them.

I guess its a bit like learning to drive do you start with a Nissan Micra or a Ferrari. Both use the same system and technique but get it wrong and one is a lot more forgiving!

bewp
03-31-2010, 01:50 PM
Have to agree with you there i would never shave with a feather blade whilst driving a prius that would be just asking for trouble.

:lol: :lol: made my day

I will agree with some that from what what I've read on the forums, I did intend on keeping feathers for later on, but I tend to over think everything.

luvmysuper
03-31-2010, 04:19 PM
:lol: :lol: made my day

I will agree with some that from what what I've read on the forums, I did intend on keeping feathers for later on, but I tend to over think everything.

Not me. I don't over think things.

I mean the things I think about, I don't think that much of them.

I don't mean that I don't think much of them in the way you would say you don't like someone, I mean it in a way that means less not more.

By less, I mean less than probably most people would think of something, if they were inclined to think about it.

By inclined, I don't mean leaning, just more apt to than less.

By more, I don't mean a lot more, just maybe a bit more than even.

I think.

dod.e.ratherwell
03-31-2010, 04:24 PM
And once again Phil makes laugh out loud...

DougK
03-31-2010, 06:39 PM
If you use poor technique or don't pay attention to what you're doing, any blade will bite you. With Feathers, I pay a little bit more attention to what I'm doing, which means I'm less likely to cut myself, and they're sharp enough to cut smoothly and cleanly, which also means I'm less likely to cut myself.

I see no reason for a beginner to avoid these blades. Take your time, do it right, and you have nothing to fear.

HoratioCaine
03-31-2010, 06:44 PM
I see no reason for a beginner to avoid these blades.

Avoid, no. Beware, perhaps. And by that, I mean I think it's fair to say that Feathers are very sharp, and can, but not necessarily will, be more irritating than other blades. Personally, I don't like them, as I do find them irritating. One could argue my technique isn't honed well enough. To that I would counter that my technique is honed well enough to get great shaves using Gillette "Swedes" and Super Silver Platinums, such that I don't feel the need to keep wrestling with the Feathers in the hopes that I might get shaves that someday equal what I can get with the other blades. To a newbie, I would say try them if you like, but be careful with them, and be aware that they may or may not be for you.

DougK
03-31-2010, 06:56 PM
Avoid, no. Beware, perhaps. And by that, I mean I think it's fair to say that Feathers are very sharp, and can, but not necessarily will, be more irritating than other blades. Personally, I don't like them, as I do find them irritating. One could argue my technique isn't honed well enough. To that I would counter that my technique is honed well enough to get great shaves using Gillette "Swedes" and Super Silver Platinums, such that I don't feel the need to keep wrestling with the Feathers in the hopes that I might get shaves that someday equal what I can get with the other blades. To a newbie, I would say try them if you like, but be careful with them, and be aware that they may or may not be for you.
Excellent point and I agree that this is a fair statement.

misbeshavin'
03-31-2010, 10:02 PM
I'm a newbie who recently threw caution to the wind and tried the one Feather blade I got in my sample pack as a bonus. Have used it for two shaves now and like it quite a bit. It really reminded me of how much work I still need to do in regards to my neck area but all in all two very good shaves with minimal/minor nicks and irritation. Just ordered a 20-pack.

BUT that being said I'm still not sure I prefer them to the Gillette Yellows which I found to be nearly as sharp and perhaps smoother. Hard to say but I'll probably order some of those as well. Iridiums were pretty nice also. Derbys weren't bad but felt less smooth than the Gillettes. Astras I found to be smooth but not sharp enough and is definitely the least favorite blade I've tried.

trewornan
04-01-2010, 12:09 AM
In my experience we generally encourage people to try a selection of different blades. Start with something middle of the road so you can decide which direction to go from there just seems common sense. I'm not aware of anyone being actively discouraged from trying a feather blade. Most people seem to have some instinctive sense of what will likely work for them - I've seen posts where a beginner started with a feather and slant because they just "knew" that was what they would need and it worked out.

Dib
04-01-2010, 12:45 AM
brand new to wet shaving

thick coarse beard.

blade that came with my 38c was absolute crap.
Derbys arrived and 110% better. great shave. no irritation.
Gillette yellows arrived today. 100 pack from WCS. Reviews were excellent and Im looking for sharp and smooth.
20 pack of feathers are on their way. Ordered them a few days ago. I'm not scurrred.

I read all the reviews and the sample pack sounds like money wasted to me. Spend a few $ on the well respected blades and your bound to finish them.

I know the 100 pack was a bit extreme but I couldn't find one negative thing said about these blades. Thats why I bought 50 Derby's and 20 Feathers.

By the way my 100 pack of yellows that arrived today had 20 packs of 5 + 1 free. I received 120! Thanks WCS! Derbys from amazon $9.99 + free shipping. Feathers from Amazon $12.99 + free shipping.

luvmysuper
04-01-2010, 06:21 AM
brand new to wet shaving

thick coarse beard.

blade that came with my 38c was absolute crap.
Derbys arrived and 110% better. great shave. no irritation.
Gillette yellows arrived today. 100 pack from WCS. Reviews were excellent and Im looking for sharp and smooth.
20 pack of feathers are on their way. Ordered them a few days ago. I'm not scurrred.

I read all the reviews and the sample pack sounds like money wasted to me. Spend a few $ on the well respected blades and your bound to finish them.

I know the 100 pack was a bit extreme but I couldn't find one negative thing said about these blades. Thats why I bought 50 Derby's and 20 Feathers.

By the way my 100 pack of yellows that arrived today had 20 packs of 5 + 1 free. I received 120! Thanks WCS! Derbys from amazon $9.99 + free shipping. Feathers from Amazon $12.99 + free shipping.

You would think that this would be the case, unfortunately, blades are probably the single biggest example of "Your Mileage May Vary".
One guy will have excellent results with one brand, and another guy has major issues and problems with them.
The thought behind the sampler pack, (which is a great idea) is to find a blade that works for you, not just to say "hey, these are the top blades, use them".

vern
04-01-2010, 07:38 AM
if you use poor technique or don't pay attention to what you're doing, any blade will bite you. With feathers, i pay a little bit more attention to what i'm doing, which means i'm less likely to cut myself, and they're sharp enough to cut smoothly and cleanly, which also means i'm less likely to cut myself.

I see no reason for a beginner to avoid these blades. Take your time, do it right, and you have nothing to fear.

+1

Silk
04-01-2010, 08:06 AM
Big +1 to this. I think there's a 50/50 chance that some yellow Gillette blades might be turning up on the BST forum some time soon:laugh:

I was very much looking forward to the Bluebird blades in my sampler, since they get such great reviews (and I love the logo:001_cool:). First pass WTG in my Slim (on 6), andů nothing. The razor just slid all over my face as if it didn't even have a blade in it. Two passes and a touch-up later, and my chin still felt like sandpaper. Similar experience with the Gillette Super Stainless blades in the green pack. I guess blades are a lot like colognes; don't assume that you will have a good experience with a particular blade just because 100 other guys rave about them.


You would think that this would be the case, unfortunately, blades are probably the single biggest example of "Your Mileage May Vary".
One guy will have excellent results with one brand, and another guy has major issues and problems with them.
The thought behind the sampler pack, (which is a great idea) is to find a blade that works for you, not just to say "hey, these are the top blades, use them".

taffy
04-01-2010, 09:23 AM
I waited a long long time to try a feather blade and when i popped one in my aristocrat the other week i took an age to shave because of the reputation, but i found the feather to be quite "normal" and nothing to fear and as has been said before every blade is a dangerous tool so just as every other blade, respect it.

wilkin52
04-01-2010, 10:13 AM
I started with Derby blades in my HD at Christmas, I then moved on to Gillette 7o'clock yellow, and moved again to Feathers. I learned the most with the Feathers and now switch between them and the '7'.

I have a last Derby in ATM and it feels like it is dragging the hairs from my face. I'll be sticking with Feathers and 7s from now on.

Mateo
04-01-2010, 07:36 PM
I would like to preface this with the statement that I am relatively new to DE. I have been using a badger brush/soap for about a year and a merkur HD for just over a month. I have tried a merkur (yikes...won't be doing that again), 3 feathers, a red pack israeli, a derby, and a crystal. I have to agree completely that the feather is the sharpest. I have had 3 nicks, all from the feathers. However.....

In my opinion, it was using feathers that has taught me correct shave technique. They are instant feedback....you use too much (or any) pressure, nick. You use the wrong blade angle...nick. the last 15 shaves with feathers have been extremely close, extremely comfortable, irritation free, nick free. Thought I should add that I started with the merkur, followed by the israeli, derby, and crystal, and using those blades allowed me to use too much pressure! They almost reinforced incorrect shaving technique that will not work with sharper blades or a fresh blade! IMO, we should be telling people who are learning to start with feathers, warn them they are sharp, and that when the get a nick, they are doing something incorrectly!

Just my 0.02

I too am a DE noob. Been DE shaving for almost 1 month now, and will be using a Feather for the first time tomorrow. After reading all of the positive endorsements of the Feather, I am looking forward to it. Have been using Merkur exclusively up to this point...anxious to finally be able to compare two different blades.

mhuelskamp
04-01-2010, 07:56 PM
If you use poor technique or don't pay attention to what you're doing, any blade will bite you. With Feathers, I pay a little bit more attention to what I'm doing, which means I'm less likely to cut myself, and they're sharp enough to cut smoothly and cleanly, which also means I'm less likely to cut myself.

I see no reason for a beginner to avoid these blades. Take your time, do it right, and you have nothing to fear.

+1:thumbup1:

I couldn't agree more. I avoided the feathers for the longest time due to the feather's reputation for making minced meat of faces. After the first time, I was hooked. Pay attention to what you're doing and you'll be fine.

Uncle Erik
04-01-2010, 10:23 PM
I don't think Feathers are the best place to start. I chewed up my face the first few times I used Feathers. I hated them and went with different blades.

This was, however, entirely my fault. My technique was not good enough.

Since, I spent a lot of time with other blades and recently tried Feathers again. They're wonderful! When I run out of the handful I have, I'm going for 100.

Bay Rum
04-02-2010, 08:30 AM
I've been both avoiding and longing for the feathers in my sample pack. Maybe I should try it tomorrow.

I have been putting off trying the Feathers in my sample pack because I was afraid of the "Ninja" sharp blades.