Well, I have been DE shaving for a week (brush & mug guy for decades, though). Because I don't have a lot of experience with different blades I will refrain from using numerical grading because I have no base of reference to compare my blades to. So I will limit my comments to my impressions.
My intention is to add each new blade summary to this OP so you don't have to hunt for it on page 6. I started with an Edwin Jagger DE 86, which I love, and VDH Select soap with a Tweezerman brush. I have some Gillette adjustable razors, some Mama Bear soap and a custom made brush from King1976 on the way, and I have since purchased some Kiss My Face cool mint. In the interest of comparing things on a level playing field I will do the first few shaves for each new blade with the VDH and Tweezerman brush, and play with different stuff on the last shaves.
Obligatory photo ...
========== NOS Schick Plus Platinum ==========
I read here that these were one of a handful of blades throughout history that all other blades are compared to. It is also the blade I started shaving with in high school, albeit in injector format. I scored about a 5-year supply on the Bay, so I started with these.
1st shave: (5/13/2011) BBS smooth, no nick, weepers or irritation! Yaaaayyyy! Four pass with touch up. I was probably being very careful since it was my first time 'on the road' and I was lacking in confidence. Awesome shave! Very sharp, can hear the shearing of the whiskers, but no pulling, scraping or grabbing at all. You know it's sharp, but it is really smooth.
2nd shave: (5/14/2011) DFS in a three pass with touch up. One very tiny nick on chin, no irritation at all. Not aware of feeling it is sharp, just smooth sailing all the way.
3rd & 4th shave: (5/15&16/2011) DFS in a three pass with touch up. No nicks, weepers or irritation.
5th shave: (5/17/2011) Just as smooth as 2 through 4, no nicks, weepers or irritation, DFS, but I had to do a four pass to equal yesterday's three pass results. Used Kiss My Face cool mint cream this time, too. No pulling or discomfort, but clearly the efficiency of the blade is on the downhill slope.
Summary: I think I could get more shaves out of this, but why do it? Even at 50 cents per blade this is a heck of a lot more economical than $2.50 cartridges. Besides, we're kidding ourselves if we think we are saving money eeeking another shave out of a blade. The money goes down the drain on extra razors, brushes, creams and soaps and accessories ... not blades! This is a good 3 or 4 pass, five-shave blade for me. Then toss it! I will never push blades, it's pointless and kind of defeats the whole purpose of going old school. Comfort!
This was my first week of shaving DE and I had one very minor nick, no irritation at all, and got the closest, most comfortable shaves of my 37 years of shaving! This blade must be all it's cracked up to be.
========== Derby Extras ==========
1st shave: (5/18/2011) A bit of a disappointment, actually. Of course starting with the vintage Schicks is going to prejudice me, but I guess that was part of what I wanted to know. The Derby was OK, I only have one other blade to compare it to, of course, but I probably won't finish 5 shaves with this one. I tried to do what I did with the Schick, a four-pass BBS, but alas, it was not to be. You could definitely feel this blade scraping a bit. I did four passes plus touch up, but the touch up was for all intents and purposes, a fifth pass. I got a DFS with it, but not BBS. No nicks or weepers, both smoothness of shave and level of irritation are about exactly the same as I got with my Gillette Fusion with a two-pass shave in the shower using a brush and VDH soap. That's not horrible, but what's the point? I don't consider the Derby in the EJ 86 to be an improvement over the Gillette Fusion cartridge.
I will give this a second try tomorrow because I have read that blades sometimes smooth up after the first shave, but I won't go the full test cycle, I have already decided this is not going to be a top contender for me.
Update later that day: Derby's are toast. I'm not gonna even bother with shave #2. It's not very hot today, about 70, mildly humid, and my face is a little irritated 6-7 hours or so after the shave. I should not let others opinions sway me, but I see it is, along with the Merkur, one of the most disrespected blades around. See this thread.
But some folks love them! Feathers get raves from many, but they show up in that thread, too, as hated. Feel free to try them yourself, I shouldn't prejudice you, either, but since this is my review and my subjective observations ...
SUCK!are not for me in this razor.
Next up are the Barber Personnas, Dave from Razor Blades and More recommended to me. I'll be giving the other four Derby's away when I'm done with this thread.
========== Barber Personnas ==========
1st shave: (5/19/2011) Much better than yesterday, thankfully! Because of the irritation/burn I felt yesterday, I did not attempt my 4-pass BBS first shave but simply did a 3-pass utility shave and got the same results I had yesterday with the Derby, with 2 less passes and no irritation. I'd call this a DFS, but I am back to being comfortable. No nicks, weepers or irritation, I'm still slow, but that's fine. I'm learning without any injuries, yaaayy!
I am glad I started with the Schicks, since I had nothing to compare them to, they set a standard for me to gauge future shaves. I'll never use another Derby, but I am looking forward to the second shave on these Barbers, and will try a 4-pass BBS tomorrow. Oh, I got my Mama Bear soap and chucked the VDH. I will make that the standard from now on out.
2nd shave: (5/20/2011) Not bad! I did get a BBS today, 3 passes plus touch-up, no nicks or weepers. These are much better than the Derby blade for me, but not as smooth to use as the Schicks. I used Aqua Velva today and boy, did I feel it before the cool set in! That did not happen with the Schicks. An hour later, I feel great, though! These are definitely decent blades.
3rd shave: (5/21/2011) I was thinking of taking a day off, just to let my face rest, it was getting a little red. But I have to shave for work every day, sometimes you can't just "take a day off". So I changed it up a bit and tried my Gillette Slim Adjustable. I know it kinda blows the whole blade comparison thing but I didn't want to chafe my face too much. I also tried "SuperLather" using unscented Kiss My Face and my Mam Bear soap. I put the razor on #2 and did a 2-pass SAS. Not too close but I could put on a shirt and tie and go to work. Finished with Thayer's Witch hazel and some old Gillette Wild Rain balm. It was a not too close but comfortable 'utility shave'. No nicks or trouble at all.
Two things I learned from this. A Gillette adjustable on #2 is tough to get a good shave with. And though some have called the Edwin Jagger a 'mild' razor, it definitely is not. It can be called mild in comparison to a Red Tip I suppose, but on an absolute scale it is not 'mild'. It's clearly a medium on the aggressiveness scale. It is still perfect for me at my stage of experience, I think.