Friday, January 13, 2017

Eating Crow, Choking on the Feathers....

I have used a Feather blade for the last two days.

Oh, yeah, I'm the guy that wrote an article about how I'd never use Feather blades.

Well, the fact of the matter is that I had a trial pack of Feathers hanging around for a while, and haven't had a trial shave with the Feather brand for a long time. So I thought, what the heck. I took a new Feather blade, put it in the mildest razor head in my regular rotation, which is the Merkur 33C Classic, and took it for a test flight, you might say. I should mention that I also used my fat, heavy Maggard handle for this maiden shave with the fresh Feather blade.

My second shave on that same blade was using the Lord L6 razor head (which comes as part of the LP1822L razor), but this time went the other way, and instead of using a fat, heavy handle, I used the ultra-light plastic handle from my Merkur 030 "Bakelite" razor.

I went from the heavy handle on shave one to the light handle with shave two for a very specific reason. My first shave with the fresh blade didn't seem to offer a great deal of "feel." That is, despite my intention of using a very light touch, the heavy handle seemed to diminish, dampen the sensation of the razor head against my skin. So by using the plastic handle, I succeeded in regaining "feel," which led to a much more confident shave.

It's interesting how remarkable the Feather blades are -- but bear in mind that remarkable can be either good or bad. With the Merkur 33 razor head and the fat, heavy Maggard handle, the closeness of that initial shave was about what I'd expect with the 33, but I actually got several pinpoint weepers -- and in places that I'm not usually accustomed to seeing them.

In my Feather shave this morning with the Lord razor head and the light plastic handle, I got a close, comfortable shave -- essentially as close as I ever get with any of my razors, but this time had just a few weepers in the more usual places, which is on my lower neck.

So in making some preliminary conclusions, I certainly agree with the common consensus that Feather blades are sharp, but maybe too sharp to be ideal for me. Based on initial sharpness, I could use them regularly (in a mild razor) if I had to. However, when I factor in the cost of the blades as compared to other sharp blades -- Astra is the first brand that comes to mind -- then, no, I would not pay the premium for the Feather brand.

Also, there remains the question of blade durability. There is some opinion offered in shaving forums that Feathers are not particularly durable. However, I take that with a grain of salt. There are too many variables involved that run the gamut from swarthy, wiry-haired gents (whose beards destroy blades) to those who take no care of their shaving tools (leaving blades wet and soapy after their shave) to those who are simply wasteful and prejudiced about blade longevity. As you may know, I take care of my blades, carefully pressing them dry after use and gently palm stropping them a bit before loading into the next razor for a subsequent shave. I typically get 10 to 20 daily shaves from my blades before putting them into the recycle can.

So as the sages say, "Never say never." I have to take the hit for that one, having previously written that I'd never use Feather blades. However, although I'll use up my small inventory of them, it's unlikely that I'll buy more. Of course, opinions do vary.

Happy shaving!

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