A Little Knowledge...
...is a dangerous thing.
The Futur of my Past (and Present)
Roughly four or five years ago, I ran across an article on a men's grooming site that touted the advantages of using a safety razor over today's modern cartridge razors. The focus was mainly on the cost savings, and how a DE razor was kinder to the face because of the reduced number of passes made by the blade. I did a little more research but was not able to find much else out there on the subject. I ended up purchasing a Merkur Futur and several packs of Merkur blades. I'll freely admit that the main deciding factor in my razor choice was...sexiness. The Futur looked cool. The Vision looked cooler, but was beyond my price range. Regardless, I decided when I made the purchase that, if I was satisfied with it, I'd wait a year and use the savings on blades as my excuse to "step up" to the Vision.
I received my Futur, promptly loaded a fresh Merkur blade in it, set the adjustment to 3, and set to shaving with it. The razor performed well, though I traded the shaving irritation that I used to get from cartridge shaving for periodic nicks along the base of my neck. I used the razor like that for a year--single pass shaving (no reshaving), paired with modern canned shaving gel.
Vision of Excess
I was so excited when the Vision arrived. I was...much less so after using it for awhile. I set it to more or less a middle setting like I had on my Futur, and found myself shaving dangerously. It almost removed the "safety" from the "razor." Still, I persevered, until I finally had to admit that it really wasn't as good a razor for me as the Futur--or possibly, that I'm just not ready for the Vision. I banished it to the drawer and returned to that which had been my tried and true.
Tale of Two Cities
Last month, my wife took a new job in a nearby city (2 1/2 hours drive). I'm now working four ten hour days here and then spending three with my wife and son there, until our house sells. Given current market conditions, that could take a while. Rather than try to carry the Futur back and forth, I dusted off the Vision, cleaned it, and put a touch of oil on the adjustment spring to get the thing unstuck. I'm using the Vision here now (with the adjustment dialed almost to the least aggressive setting), and the Futur over there (still set on "3").
A Beacon in the Darkness
Over the course of these years, I've used nothing but Merkur blades. On the whole, I've had reasonably good results with them, but I'm not completely satisfied with their performance. I got online and was amazed by the variety of available blades. Through the process of my search I stumbled across this forum and Mantic's blog (and his fine instructional videos on YouTube). Both have proven to be extremely informative.
I ended up settling on Polsilver blades I found on a popular auction site, partly because they were very affordable, and partly because it would amuse my Polish mother. I also purchased a (not overly expensive) badger brush and a bar (is it a bar--should I call it a "round"?) of glycerin soap from a popular online supplier for wet shaving supplies. The brush and shaving soap arrived Saturday. Yes, that's right--I've been DE shaving for four or five years and just now got around to making my own lather. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I saved today's shave until this evening, so that I'd have plenty of time to work with the soap. After a couple of false starts, I managed to lather up and get two passes done, and in spite of the anemic, weak lather I managed to generate from the glycerin soap, it was a much better shave than I've ever achieved with the Vision before. I did manage to get a couple of small weeping nicks on my neck, but the post-shave feel was much more...natural, less raw and sensitive.
Progress at SuperSpeed
I'll soon be looking for a (less dangerous, at least in my hands) replacement for the Vision. There is so much out there, though, that I'm going to take some time to digest the collective wisdom of the experienced DE users on this site before making up my mind on what to get. I'll also be looking to experiment with other blades, once I've evaluated the Polsilvers. Regardless, I'll be lurking more than posting, soaking up the experience of others so that I can correct the mistakes of my past and present. My thanks to those who put this valuable resource out there, and to the community here that provides such illuminating discussion!
Excellent introductory post! Welcome to B&B, glad you found us.
In spite of using the DE for 4 or 5 years, you still need to develop your technique. It will come quickly, and the modest effort is well worth it.
Mantic has done a terrific job with his videos. Also, I recommend you check the stickied post at the top of this forum --it is loaded with links to tutorials and they are a 'must read'. At the top of this page is a starred tab labeled 'Reviews'. As you investigate different product types, look for the reviews of items of interest. These will be most helpful.
-- John Gehman
Welcome to Badger and Blade. It was very nice reading your introduction!
Welcome to B&B! I wish you many great shaves, and many more excellent and subtitled posts!
Great intro. Glad to have you aboard. And feel free to call them "pucks" of soap. Of course, I am a cream guy so what the hell do I know.
Bob, Welcome to B&B
as you are finding out some blades work better in some razors then others, also fyi most don't like Merkur blades, try a sampler pack of blades from http://westcoastshaving.com/
Great Intro. Welcome to B&B.
Thank you all for the kind words!
The more I read, the more I realize how ignorant I've been, and how much more I still need to learn. Fortunately, ignorance is curable. :)
Originally Posted by BroJohn
I might have to find a Sgt. Schultz forum avatar once the holidays are over. ;)
A sampler pack is indeed in my near future. Right now, I'm focused on finding a more forgiving razor with which I can work on my technique. Shaving with my Vision is like learning to drive in a Dodge Viper...on the LA Freeway. I'm leaning toward purchasing a gently used Super Speed blue tip to use as my learning razor, but I've not settled on that just yet.
Originally Posted by crankymoose
I plan to give that a try once I can consistently whip up a satisfactory lather with the glycerin soap (or, once I give up on it). :)
Originally Posted by Mainecanefan
Last edited by FLTiger; 12-30-2008 at 09:04 AM.
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